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Two belay loops??


Original Post
Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 743

I have a big gun harness with two belay loops.

Twice now, I have had a belay loop interact in an unusual way with twistlock carabineers. Both times at a gym where this is the only option to.get on their top ropes or autobelay.

First time:

I clipped into only one belay loop. When it was time to lower, I looked down and the second loop had worked it's way into the lock mechanism, jammed into it.

Second time:

Today, to finish up the day at the gym, I was on an autobelay, climbing with wooden ice training tools, and wearing gloves to learn to have a loose grip. The tools are on a simple tether of elastic cord, with a single tiny carabineer to clip them to your harness. None of that remotely weight bearing, except the tools themselves, of course.

I had both belay loops clipped, with both the autobelay twistlock and the tool biner.

I hooked the tools on the wall, elected to climb up a bit, hit a ton of chalk on a foothold, and flew off.

The tool cord snapped, the (very light) tools came down, I came down on the auto, irritated that I "died" (any fall or drop of the ice tools).

Then. I noticed that one of the belay loops had escaped the autolocker. I had just unclipped one of the two belay loops entirely, somehow.

Thoughts, generally? And some questions:

1. What are your thoughts on what is going on with the belay loops and these "autolocking" carabineers? How did this happen?

2. Those two belay loops are useful, at times. But clearly I'm not understanding some dynamics of how they work. Any guidance on that? Ill dug it out, but I don't remember any thing unusual from the sheet for the harness.

3. The tools, and anything that doesn't matter, I now get should be clipped to a gear loop. I set at a gym, so I have a lot of stuff attached to the harness at times.

4. I'm also thinking to back up the gym biner with my own screwlock, maybe the gym's on one loop, mine on the other, to keep the two loops out of mischief?

Thanks a bunch!

For what it's worth, I did get on a regular top rope route and get a climb in, adrenaline shakes and all. :-/

Best, Helen

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Doubtful that an autolocker would open by itself, unless it is defective or not closed to begin with. I also doubt that it had anything to do with the number of belay loops.

It's hard to say, without seeing it in person.

Personally, I don't like autolockers and only use screwgates.  

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

I'd recommend not climbing on auto-belays with your big gun- keep it for setting, as the belay loops are nice for positioning and such.

The two belay loop thing is really exclusively for big walls to keep things separate- they're not meant to act as one protection point, so i'm not surprised you're having issues. 

Nicholas Gillman · · Las Vegas · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 327

Sounds like operator error to me perhaps you didnt have it cleanly inside the gate in the first isntance and in the second just simply forgot to clip the second with the confusion of having so many things attached to that area.

It’s been a while since I’ve used one but iirc every auto-belay I’ve ever used has had a 3 stage twist lock on it which I believe are purpose built ( I can concede that might not be the case on literally everyone in the country but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s an insurance standard) ... which I couldn’t imagine opening and then closing in such a way as to partially trap or entirely free a belay loop with the constant upward pressure auto belays put out. But even a “regular” 2 stage twist lock that this particular gym might have just thrown on the autobelays I couldn’t see behaving in the way you described. 

SeƱor Arroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

I have the same harness. If having two loops is bothersome bear in mind that you can easily nest one inside the other. Or cut one off. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Colby wrote:

you certainly don't need to post a new topic on here every single day. 

Oh yes she does! She can't help herself.


Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 743

Thanks to those who choose to be helpful. To the others, sorry you don't have anything better to do than be shitheads, at the moment. It happens. Have some pie. You'll feel better.

I talked to the staff. No ideas. "One in a million, that could happen".

I checked the harness carefully both times. I come to this from outside, and actually do safety checks.

The autobelay is a twist lock, although a honkin' big one. Twist, push, open gate. The "tie in" ones are as well. The autobelay is a slight wrestling match to get on, so it isn't just a quick, casual clip.

No, I'm not cutting off a belay loop. Sheesh. Andrew, yes, they are usually nested and treated like one, except when I'm setting. 

OLH

Joe Garibay · · Ventura, Ca · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 96

I don’t go to the gym often and have never used an auto belay. Is it something that always has to be clipped into your harness with a locker? Rarely, if ever do I do that. I always tie in. I have used lockers to top rope children though I prefer teaching them how to tie in themselves. 

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 743
Colby wrote:

I generally stay away from these things, but the overwhelming spray of unhelpful and flat out incorrect advice given by this lady is annoying at best, and deadly if actually taken at face value. I find it appalling that somebody can give advice to new climbers and then come on here and ask the most trivial of questions. Helen, if you are reading this, you need to get your priorities in order and actually go climb. You have arguably climbed the least out of anybody on this site, but comment more than anybody I know. Saying things like "I know that tethers should be clipped to a gear loop" is wrong. Assuming that you know everything and then sharing wrong information with people is incredibly irresponsible and a good way to get people killed. 

Colby, the tethers in this case are simple pieces of elastic cord, similar to what hair ties are made out of. The "tools" are wooden ice training tools, very light weight. We aren't talking about ice axes at the climbing gym, nor real tethers. 

Thanks for clearing that up. We're in total agreement, perhaps, on that. Maybe not.

Colby, I don't claim a bunch of experience. I specifically posted this asking for the experience of the group.

I can't speak for you, of course, but I sure as hell wanna know how a belay loop can get out of a twist lock.

Maybe when I have more experience, I won't care.

Helen

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Helen,

I've suggested to you before that you shouldn't offer advice until you have a couple hundred outdoor pitches under your belt, but you ignored that advice. Believe it or not, that helps you, as well as the new climbers seeking advice. Yet you continue to do so in numerous threads.

I agree with Colby.  

Frank

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0
Old lady H wrote:

Colby, I don't claim a bunch of experience. I specifically posted this asking for the experience of the group.

That may be the case in this specific thread but more often than not you are chiming in with "advice".

Colby is not the first one to raise the issue of you giving out dangerous advice. Please listen. 

alexd81 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20

The only likely explanation is that you did not have both loops clipped with the gate fully closed and locked before you left the floor. 

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0
Joe Garibay wrote:

I don’t go to the gym often and have never used an auto belay. Is it something that always has to be clipped into your harness with a locker? Rarely, if ever do I do that. I always tie in. I have used lockers to top rope children though I prefer teaching them how to tie in themselves. 

Typically autobelays are not made with regular climbing rope, usually what appears to be nylon webbing, and have auto lockers on them. Tying in is not an option on any that I have seen. 

Steven Kovalenko · · Calgary · Joined May 2014 · Points: 25

Clip the tool umbilical into your top rope above your knot with a carabiner.  Don't girth hitch it to your belay loop or gear loop.  If you fly off the wall, the tools stay above you connected to the rope (they don't go anywhere) and don't smash into anyone, or make scary loud cord breaking noises which scares the boulderers.  Describing it another way.... the master point of the umbilical can slide up and down the top rope on the biner.

Obviously won't work if you lead with the wooden tools, but my gym doesn't let you lead with them, only TR.

Joe Garibay · · Ventura, Ca · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 96
Adrienne DiRosario wrote:

Typically autobelays are not made with regular climbing rope, usually what appears to be nylon webbing, and have auto lockers on them. Tying in is not an option on any that I have seen. 

Thanks for clearing that up. I’m a total gym noob. I feel suffocated and confused when I’m in them. I might hire a guide the next time I venture indoors. I have a problem keeping that little lead cert. tag on my harness. They always fall off in cracks and chimneys. 

Matt Stroebel · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 115

As was said above, sounds like you forgot to clip one of the loops... 

On a separate note... what is wrong with your gym? Dry ice tools + paracord + autobelay is best case going to lead to broken gear loops, worst case going to slingshot tools around or snap the cord in a “you’ll shoot yer eye out” kind of fashion. 

Luke Pace · · Arkansas · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 70



Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 240

Don’t clip both belay loops, there is no need for that and not what it was designed for.   One belay loop is plenty strong on its own.  

Kevin Mcbride · · Canmore AB · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160
Colby wrote:

I generally stay away from these things, but the overwhelming spray of unhelpful and flat out incorrect advice given by this lady is annoying at best, and deadly if actually taken at face value. I find it appalling that somebody can give advice to new climbers and then come on here and ask the most trivial of questions. Helen, if you are reading this, you need to get your priorities in order and actually go climb. You have arguably climbed the least out of anybody on this site, but comment more than anybody I know. Saying things like "I know that tethers should be clipped to a gear loop" is wrong. Assuming that you know everything and then sharing wrong information with people is incredibly irresponsible and a good way to get people killed. 

It's about time somone said this

alpinist 47 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

Take advice.... from old lady h.......ha ha ha ...that's funny

I do like reading her post though....keep em coming

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 743

All: if I, or anyone else, give out advice you consider dangerous, ill advised, or even just unfun, call it out and state why. Otherwise, just post "get off my lawn". 

Thank you, Steven! That's helpful, simple, and won't scare the boulderers.

I did check this carabineer, tonight. When the loop got into the carabineer, "first time", in the original post, two of us checked it. So, a two in a million chance of a twist lock untwisting? 

No, I don't have hundreds of ticks. I'm not the only one. But, I also don't tick everything, just the stuff I want to remember.

So why does the noob ostentatiously have that Big Wall harness?

No. I do not need a big wall harness, although it is great for being a route setter. But, that came later.

It is because my son and I happened to have swapped harnesses, so I could try out the big gun, when he body bagged a climbing fatality on a SAR mission. He was wearing the regular harness that I usually used on loan from him, as I did not have my own yet.

That now stained harness was respectfully retired.

I bought a big gun, to match his, so he could have an extra harness to borrow when he was teaching new climbers. When I bought it, that was all I had in mind, and knew nothing about big wall anything. It was comfortable. It helped him out.

If the SAR mission hadn't happened, I would have bought a big gun, and traded it to him for the regular harness.

Matt, the tools are just wood handles with a strap attached, that you can loop onto small, juggy climbing holds. No paracord, as I said, just some very skinny elastic that simply snapped as soon as it stretched tight.

I looked at the sheet for the harness. Nothing of note there. 

I really am curious about this, and hope someone comes up with a theory, at least. I understand operator error is the most likely, but that only works for tonight, not when two of us carefully checked.

Best, Helen

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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