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Info on setting rope for photo/video


Original Post
Colton Andre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 3

Hey all, I am planning on doing a ton of photography on rope over the next few months and was hoping for some tips. I have looked into setting a single line anchor system but still havent landed on a way that seems best for me, ie (Biner block? or something more secure that I could go up and change at the end of the session) I assume I would set anchor, single line rap along with a prussik down to where i want to be and then use my jumars to adjust on the line? Any info or links would be awesome. Thanks

Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 334

I've just started playing with photography from a rope too, so I'm definitely not an expert. I am mostly concerned with single pitch sport routes, most of which are overhung (I'm in the south east).

I usually lead the route and either tag a (preferably static) line or go in direct and lower a loop to then bring it up. I put a figure eight on a bight on the tagged line and then secure it to the anchors. I jug the line and use my Grigri to lower myself off. I tie backup knots (I've been using an overhand on a bight) behind me wherever I stop, just in case. Last climber cleans it off when the clean the route. Not sure if this is best or easiest, but it seems reasonably easy (assuming I don't have to stick my way up the route).

I am very interested in seeing what other people suggest. 

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

Super 8- one loop to each bolt with a draw or locker, whatver is handy.

A regular 8 to each bolt, or an 8 to one and clove to another, a quad, whatever is fine. You're fixing a line. Static is obviously better for photography and jugging in general. I like fixing with a super 8 because it's a big knot that's super easy to untie and it also goes to both bolts so I only have to tie one knot.

You'll also definitely want a grigri- I suppose other locking assists will work, but the grigri will be nicer and easier for all those micro adjustments on the line.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,749

I just got into it too and I've been doing some research.  A lot of it (most?) depends on the terrain.  I'm pretty familiar with ropework, so the rest of it just boils down to what route the climber's going to be on, vs what vantage point I want to get vid or photos from.  Leading a route like Alexander does, if you don't have any access to the top, is the quickest way.  But that's also dependent on your ability.  I can't lead every adjacent route that I need to use for positioning myself.  

Time also plays into it.  Certain times of day offer better lighting than others, and sometimes you need lead time so you can be set up when your climber gets on the route.  You need time to rig before you get the shots, etc.  For single pitch stuff, fixing the rope is the best option in my opinion.  With a biner block (reepschnur) it's unlikely that you'd screw up and do something on the pull side of the line, but the possibility is there.  If you're going to be doing tons of work, moving up and down, etc., it's better to just fix the line.  This also depends on how proficient you are at moving up and down a line, and if you're proficient enough to be 100% on your own while rigging and working.

There are 3 ways that I've done it so far- fixing on the same anchor as the route the climber is on (works well for overhanging routes or traversing routes), fixing on a neighboring route's anchor, or setting up a rappel station from the top that puts me where I need to be, because the other two options didn't.  I've also stuck my way up routes solo instead of leading (freeing) them and the only downside I've noticed is that you may run into a situation where you can't stick the next bolt because of the terrain.  It's rare but it happens.  I still don't know if it's better (when sticking my way up) to anchor to the first and second draw and take my rope with me, or to basically slingshot it, backing up the rope below me as I go up.  I've gotten pretty proficient and quick at sticking, and this comes in real handy when you want to get out before the climber or group arrives so you can be set up and pre-rigged so people aren't standing around waiting for you.

Anyway, it takes a lot of trial and error and figuring out positioning and methods for getting up, and also filming- surprisingly, keeping my own rope out of the frame, especially when filming from above has proved to be one of the problems that I didn't foresee.  Saddle bagging helps.

As far as working the line, I either rap in or lead up (sticking or climbing), fix the line so I don't have to worry about it, then jug up it at the end of the session, rig it for rappel and pull it after I've rappelled.  If I sound like I don't really know wtf I'm talking about, it's because I don't and I'm learning as I go.  Interested in reading other methods from people that actually know what they're doing.

ClimbingOn · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 405

The above info is good. Next consider investing in a pair of stilts.

Tyler Newcomb · · Burlington · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 86

A fixed line using a figure 8 on two Lockers into the masterpoint of any suitable anchor.

Grigri with catastrophe knots, a left hand ascender with a foot loop to get back up. Push away from the wall and experiment with distances and angles and lenses.

the rest is figuring out your style. 

Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,661

Be careful to pad edges if you're planning on going up and down the rope a lot.

rockklimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 0
Colton Andre wrote: Hey all, I am planning on doing a ton of photography on rope over the next few months and was hoping for some tips. I have looked into setting a single line anchor system but still havent landed on a way that seems best for me, ie (Biner block? or something more secure that I could go up and change at the end of the session) I assume I would set anchor, single line rap along with a prussik down to where i want to be and then use my jumars to adjust on the line? Any info or links would be awesome. Thanks

What exactly are you asking?  Are you trying to figure out how to build an anchor or how to rappel?  Why would you need to use a biner block on a single line?

Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 334

I spent the weekend taking pictures from a fixed line on a steep route. I have my ascending system pretty figured out, but I still have a couple of questions that someone might be able to answer:

1) I'm hanging from a single fixed line in the air far from the wall, and I'm having trouble with the line spinning. I keep having to fight the rotation and twist of the line. I'm not really close enough at any point to use the wall reasonably or attach a tether to the wall. Does anyone have a system for staying facing one direction?

2) How do you clean your lens? Its been hot and sweaty and if I accidentally touch the lens or it touches my body then it gets super greasy. I have been using a lens cloth, but now that's just kind of spreading the grease around. Is there a good system for this?

Thanks. 

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 1,673
Alexander Stathis wrote: I spent the weekend taking pictures from a fixed line on a steep route. I have my ascending system pretty figured out, but I still have a couple of questions that someone might be able to answer:

1) I'm hanging from a single fixed line in the air far from the wall, and I'm having trouble with the line spinning. I keep having to fight the rotation and twist of the line. I'm not really close enough at any point to use the wall reasonably or attach a tether to the wall. Does anyone have a system for staying facing one direction?

2) How do you clean your lens? Its been hot and sweaty and if I accidentally touch the lens or it touches my body then it gets super greasy. I have been using a lens cloth, but now that's just kind of spreading the grease around. Is there a good system for this?

Thanks. 

1) Use collapsible paint poles to stabilize yourself against the face. clip them to your harness or bosun's chair, and you can brace them against the wall to keep yourself in position and oriented.

2) Use a lens hood and UV filter. For digital cameras, a UV filter isn't necessary for picture quality, but it's good to have a sacrificial piece of glass in front of your lens's primary element. The lens hood also helps prevent objects from contacting the front of the lens.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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