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RGold- Belay from above question if you have time.


Original Post
Mason Stone · · Boise, ID · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Hey RGold and others who have a lot of multi pitch experience,

I am posting this, rather than a pm as it might help others. How do you account for rope drag, other than slings or tension when belaying from above if there is potential your second might deck on a ledge when they are starting the pitch? Also in 1 scenario little to no communication, in the other, good communication. I offer beer, food or drink of choice if I meet up with you at any climbing area. Thanks for entertaining my question.

M

Kirtis Courkamp · · Golden · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 378

Your second will deck because of rope stretch, not rope drag. Rope drag can make it difficult to keep a taught line right off the belay. If you are really concerned maybe a wandry long pitch that has a hard move right off the deck with ankle breaking potential you can do a short pitch build a belay. The key is to keep the rope out of the system. Using a bigger fatter rope helps reduce stretch for your second. Also, you can keep the system really tight with a simple 3 to 1 pully off a guide mode atc for the first 15 to 20 feet the switch back to normal belaying.

kendallt · · Tahoe · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 98

The easiest solution is to not get that much rope drag, but of course: it happens.

If you already lead the pitch, got a ton of drag, and now have to belay: I find it works best to belay with a device that supports autoblock mode. This allows you to put all your attention/effort/body weight into removing slack and putting tension on the rope, and once you have some rope pulled through the belay device you don't have to hold it.

Protocol isn't really any different with varying communication levels, as long as your partner is experience enough to not climb faster than you can belay. You're just going to have to put in a lot of work belaying.

Jon Hartmann · · Ojai, CA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,320

 My method is to put the person on an auto lock device. My personal preference is an ATC guide. I keep my right hand on the rope at all times and if I'm standing I keep my left hand on the rope to the climber and I'm constantly tugging very slightly to check the tension on the rope. If I'm sitting down I'll actually lay the rope going to the climber over my thigh so that I can judge the tension on the rope just by leg pressure alone. 

Mason Stone · · Boise, ID · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Hi Kirtis,

Thanks, very much, yeah that is the problem, the pitches mentioned are pure sport one at Maple the other at Smith with no way to build an intermediate anchor. Maple rock is tenuous, at Smith crack is nonexistent along the pitch. They are fun with low cruxes but without accounting for drag and stretch they have ankle breaking potential. Didn't think about the 3 to 1, thanks for that. I use a 10.1mm rope for multi pitch so already using somewhat of a fat rope. Will keep your suggestions in mind.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,113
Jon Hartmann wrote:

 If I'm sitting down I'll actually lay the rope going to the climber over my thigh so that I can judge the tension on the rope just by leg pressure alone. 

How does that work for you when the second falls?

Sounds painful, problematic, and unwise to me.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,790

Yup, what they said, lots of tension. 3:1 haul will help a lot.  And "next time" keep the pitch shorter! I say this as a Gunks regular who see folks running pitches together all the time with the now-in-vogue long ropes. Lots of ankle-breaker crux starts here. And BTW it doesn't have to be a super long pitch that presents the risk. Lowering from the top of a 80-100 ft pitch puts the vast majority of the rope in play, presenting the same scenario, if not worse (hard to pull slack out with 3:1 rig when you're on the ground). I see this setup all the time on routes like Bunny, Laurel, Classic, Son of Easy O, Absurdland etc.

splitclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 5

How about putting a mini trax on your first piece

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

I think it is really the follower's responsibility to assess the situation....  

The appropriate action for any second who thinks they might fall and deck is to get on belay, have the rope come up tight, then walk backwards or sit down to remove slack, stand up when the rope comes up tight- repeat the process till the stretch is removed. 

Any good leader will know what #2 is doing so no real communication is required. 

climb on

 

Mason Stone · · Boise, ID · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Kendallt and John,

Based on your suggestions I am realizing the leader needs to work at it. If I understand you, your plate is off the shelf or master-point in guide mode, which acts as a fulcrum allowing for more tension? If so this is the method I use. Thanks very much.

Jon Hartmann · · Ojai, CA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,320
Jason Todd wrote:

How does that work for you when the second falls?

Sounds painful, problematic, and unwise to me.

Not a problem at all. Not painful, not problematic, not unwise. It's the eaisiest way to keep tabs on my followers tension at all times. Obviously if the follower is falling repeatedly I'll remove my leg but it's a nice way to know how much slack is in the line while you're doing all the things you need to do at a belay to get ready for the next pitch. I've been climbing multi pitch for 11 years now and I've never gotten my leg trapped ever. Also, the tension of a rope fall of someone on toprope is really really light. I do remove my leg after the follower has gotten higher up the climb and the rope drag falls off enough to judge slack in the system by normal methods. 

Mason Stone · · Boise, ID · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Guy,

Thanks for that, makes perfect sense, that is where what we do climbing wise is the only communication needed.

Jon Hartmann · · Ojai, CA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,320
Mason Stone wrote:

Kendallt and John,

Based on your suggestions I am realizing the leader needs to work at it. If I understand you, your plate is off the shelf or master-point in guide mode, which acts as a fulcrum allowing for more tension? If so this is the method I use. Thanks very much.

Yup, almost always off the shelf. 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,790
Jon Hartmann wrote:

Yup, almost always off the shelf. 

It's generally somewhat better to hang the guide mode device on the masterpoint rather than the shelf: 1) less chance of a loaded climbing rope (to the second) running over your rope/tether/PAS, and 2) the shelf becomes available to redirect the brake strand and/or the "release sling" if you need to switch to a lower.

Jon Hartmann · · Ojai, CA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,320
Gunkiemike wrote:

It's generally somewhat better to hang the guide mode device on the masterpoint rather than the shelf: 1) less chance of a loaded climbing rope (to the second) running over your rope/tether/PAS, and 2) the shelf becomes available to redirect the brake strand and/or the "release sling" if you need to switch to a lower.

 I don't know if I agree with that assessment. #1 is that if you're tied in to your PAS off the shelf and that means that the device on the master point is closer to you which may be a problem if the belay stance is very close to the anchor. I personally like to clove hitch to the master point and have the ATC on the shelf so I have more room to work the rope. Also by keeping tension on the entire anchor with my pas or clove hitched rope (I don't use a pas) into the master point I'm creating enough tension so that there isn't so much "flop" every time I try to take up the rope.  If you anchor in to the shelf and that means the device on the master point is always kind of floating  and every time you start taking tension in on the rope the master point can go back-and-forth and up-and-down. But doing it the opposite way that doesn't happen. 

#2 you can lower a person off of any of the pieces that are in the anchor so I don't really see any advantage to leave in the shelf open for that purpose.  To each their own though. 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,790
Jon Hartmann wrote:

 I don't know if I agree with that assessment. #1 is that if you're tied in to your PAS off the shelf and that means that the device on the master point is closer to you which may be a problem if the belay stance is very close to the anchor. I personally like to clove hitch to the master point and have the ATC on the shelf so I have more room to work the rope. #2 you can lower a person off of any of the pieces that are in the anchor so I don't really see any advantage to leave in the shelf open for that purpose.  To each their own though. 

Hence my use of weasel words "generally somewhat". I'll leave my comment up for those who maybe are creatures of habit or lack the judgement to assess each situation vis-a-vis where to clip in.

Eric and Lucie · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 140
Guy Keesee wrote:

The appropriate action for any second who thinks they might fall and deck is to get on belay, have the rope come up tight, then walk backwards or sit down to remove slack, stand up when the rope comes up tight- repeat the process till the stretch is removed. 

Any good leader will know what #2 is doing so no real communication is required. 

^^^ THIS.

Jon Hartmann · · Ojai, CA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,320
Gunkiemike wrote:

Hence my use of weasel words "generally somewhat". I'll leave my comment up for those who maybe are creatures of habit or lack the judgement to assess each situation vis-a-vis where to clip in.

Lol. I did see those words after but I had already typed up my rebuttal. My bad. 

kendallt · · Tahoe · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 98
Mason Stone wrote:

Kendallt and John,

Based on your suggestions I am realizing the leader needs to work at it. If I understand you, your plate is off the shelf or master-point in guide mode, which acts as a fulcrum allowing for more tension? If so this is the method I use. Thanks very much.

Yeah, I always go off the master point. It doesn't technically act as a fulcrum for for any greater tension, but in practice it allows you apply considerably more.


I do the rope over the thigh thing that @Jon Hartmann mentioned as well, to @Jason Todd's point when someone falls it will put weight on your thigh, so it's best to do it in a way that your leg doesn't get pinned. It helps a lot in terms of  saving your arms for the next pitch, and not wasting them on belay effort.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 108
Gunkiemike wrote:

Yup, what they said, lots of tension. 3:1 haul will help a lot.  And "next time" keep the pitch shorter! I say this as a Gunks regular who see folks running pitches together all the time with the now-in-vogue long ropes. Lots of ankle-breaker crux starts here. And BTW it doesn't have to be a super long pitch that presents the risk. Lowering from the top of a 80-100 ft pitch puts the vast majority of the rope in play, presenting the same scenario, if not worse (hard to pull slack out with 3:1 rig when you're on the ground). I see this setup all the time on routes like Bunny, Laurel, Classic, Son of Easy O, Absurdland etc.

Yeah, I have a 70m rope, and a lot of the stronger climbers I have climbed with get excited and go a little overboard with linking pitches. Fun fact: it's possible to link all three pitches of Shockley's Ceiling with a 70m rope, but the climber will be tugging on the belayer to get across the last meter of friction slab to the final chains. I wouldn't recommend this, but it sure was amazing to follow.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 867
Guy Keesee wrote:
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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