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Redirect belay in factor 2 fall


Original Post
John C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 1

So let's say you are on a hanging belay and you're about to lead a tough pitch with a difficult start. If you fall before your first piece, obviously it's a factor 2 fall but what if you set a redirect for your belayer by putting an additional quickdraw on the anchor and have the rope go from your belayer's belay device on their harness to the quickdraw on the anchor and then to you. Wouldn't that make it safer because then the anchor would be the one to catch you and hold the force if you were to fall?

This might've been addressed previously but I can't find that information so any info is appreciated! 

DaveBaker · · Durham, NC · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 130
Matt Kuehl · · Las Vegas · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 1,570

Yes this is pretty standard practice to do multipitching to prevent FF2.

coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70

Read Will's posts and check out these, too:

https://vimeo.com/channels/acmgtechnical/44869774

direct belay section in The Mountain Guide Manual...

Peter J · · Davis, CA · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 145

I use this strategy. Often the belayer unclips the draw after you have 2 pieces in to eliminate the rope drag/belay awkwardness. I took a short fall onto the belay once and it definitely made the fall a lot more pleasant for everyone involved (although my friends hand did get pulled into/cut in the quickdraw... thanks for catching me Tommy!)

beach · · Portland, ME · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 28

In a situation where there is hard climbing right off the belay, I have extended myself (the belayer) about 8-10 feet below the anchor (assuming it’s possible, safe, not an overhang, etc.) and then my partner clipped the anchor as there first piece. My thoughts was this added some extra rope into the system, sufficiently more than the  30cm or so mentioned in wills article.

Thoughts? Am I way wrong here? Flame away!

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
beach wrote: In a situation where there is hard climbing right off the belay, I have extended myself (the belayer) about 8-10 feet below the anchor (assuming it’s possible, safe, not an overhang, etc.) and then my partner clipped the anchor as there first piece. My thoughts was this added some extra rope into the system, sufficiently more than the  30cm or so mentioned in wills article.

Thoughts? Am I way wrong here? Flame away!

Works well. Also works when the gear for the anchor is above, but the good stance is several feet below.

Peter J · · Davis, CA · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 145
beach wrote: In a situation where there is hard climbing right off the belay, I have extended myself (the belayer) about 8-10 feet below the anchor (assuming it’s possible, safe, not an overhang, etc.) and then my partner clipped the anchor as there first piece. My thoughts was this added some extra rope into the system, sufficiently more than the  30cm or so mentioned in wills article.

Thoughts? Am I way wrong here? Flame away!

I think like Leo Houlding talked about using this technique on the Prophet. I have done it a little once or twice.

Dr Strangelove · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 30
beach wrote: In a situation where there is hard climbing right off the belay, I have extended myself (the belayer) about 8-10 feet below the anchor (assuming it’s possible, safe, not an overhang, etc.) and then my partner clipped the anchor as there first piece. My thoughts was this added some extra rope into the system, sufficiently more than the  30cm or so mentioned in wills article.

Thoughts? Am I way wrong here? Flame away!

What is the process you use for this technique? Lower belayer then clove hitch? Long tether? 

beach · · Portland, ME · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 28
Dr Strangelove wrote:

What is the process you use for this technique? Lower belayer then clove hitch? Long tether? 

I tie a munter on the anchor where I would normally clove and then lower myself and then clove to my belay loop to close the system, eats some rope but works well. Or I just tie a long clove if it’s on a slab and I can just hand over hand to the end of it.

Mikey Schaefer · · Terrebonne, OR · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 246

Beach’s recommendation is a good one. You can also just have the follower stop at the last piece on the previous pitch and belay from there with the anchor clipped as the first piece.  Saves the belayer from having to lower back down.  I’ve done this on a few sketchy alpine anchors (Not sure you can even call a single beak an anchor though...)

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 484

Another way to deal with this is the chariot belay talked about by David Coley here. Basically the leader of the previous pitch places the jesus piece for next pitch so that the leader of the next pitch is on a top rope until they get to the jesus piece and can't FF2.

The benefit of not taking a factor 2 isn't in terms of force because it's going to be as bad or worse on the anchor with the redirect. The big benefit is the change in brake hand orientation needed to arrest the fall between a FF2 and a redirect through the anchor, especially if the belayer is using a tube style device.

coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70

"The benefit of not taking a factor 2 isn't in terms of force because it's going to be as bad or worse on the anchor with the redirect."

Keep in mind as soon as the climber clips the anchor as a "first piece," it acts as a 2:1---so if the climber falls, the belayer gets yarded towards that first piece violently and quickly. It *might* be a good idea to clip your anchor, but keep in mind it's almost doubling forces on your anchor in the event of a fall. That might be reasonable with a shorter fall close to the belay (where clipping the anchor could reduce the fall factor a bit), but the farther the climber gets from the anchor, the fall factor quickly creeps back up towards 2 AND you've got a 2:1 on the anchor. With a suspect anchor, that might mean the difference between it holding and failing. As eli poss mentions, too, having the climber fall past the belayer means the brake hand has to go UP to brake---and if the climber falls on the same side as the belayer's hand, it's an even worse scenario/more awkward/less likely the belayer will catch the fall...

The direct belay accomplishes a few things---no belayer displacement, so he's less likely to lose control. In ENSA testing, the direct belay with a Munter gave the softest catch of any belay (including a belayer jumping off the ground)...worth considering. Using a Munter with the direct belay means as the climber falls past the belay, the Munter orients itself in the ideal braking position, too.

Will's blogs above dive deeply into whether to clip the anchor or not....well worth the time to read. While many times it's a great idea to clip the masterpoint (or maybe a bomber high piece) as the climber leaves the belay, it's not *always* a great idea.

The Mountain Guide Manual goes into this in some detail and introduces a few techniques to mitigate a FF2 in the real world---including extending the belayer, the direct belay, belayer positioning, using the first piece of the ensuing pitch in the anchor, and the less elegant but effective...tying an overhand in the brake strand just in case the climber falls and the belayer loses control of the brake strand!

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 484
coppolillo wrote:The direct belay accomplishes a few things---no belayer displacement, so he's less likely to lose control. In ENSA testing, the direct belay with a Munter gave the softest catch of any belay (including a belayer jumping off the ground)...worth considering. Using a Munter with the direct belay means as the climber falls past the belay, the Munter orients itself in the ideal braking position, too.

The fact about this test result that often so conveniently gets left out is that they let rope slip through the munter in that test but didn't do that in any of the other tests. I guarantee you if they had tested a munter on the harness with the same rope slip then that would have been lower force.  

coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70

The Munter, on a direct belay, rotates into its "non-ideal" braking position, which results in slippage...and as you rightly point out, greatly reduces impact forces on the top piece....great! I'm not sure they intentionally did this; it's a result of the system---unless you know more about how they conducted the tests. Who knows how a Munter on the waist would compare, especially if the brake strand is oriented in its ideal position? The surprising thing was that the direct-belay Munter was lower than a dude jumping and giving his best "soft catch"....totally surprised me.

Anyway, hopefully everybody's reading Will's posts....they are really worth the time and do a great job of explaining all the detail of FF2s, clipping the anchor (or not), etc....wayyyy more complicated than people think. What I routinely see these days is a leader leaving a bolted belay (sport climbing, Boulder Canyon mostly) and they reflexively clip the anchor.....they climb a ways, etc, and the belayer is obviously not prepared to be pulled into the anchor (rather than up towards the first draw)....I think many climbers these days clip the first anchor "because it's safer" without realizing they're setting their belayer up to get face-slammed into the anchor/rock in the event of a high-force fall.....yikes! 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 484
coppolillo wrote: The Munter, on a direct belay, rotates into its "non-ideal" braking position, which results in slippage...and as you rightly point out, greatly reduces impact forces on the top piece....great! I'm not sure they intentionally did this; it's a result of the system---unless you know more about how they conducted the tests. Who knows how a Munter on the waist would compare, especially if the brake strand is oriented in its ideal position? The surprising thing was that the direct-belay Munter was lower than a dude jumping and giving his best "soft catch"....totally surprised me.

No it's more than just the hitch flipping, they purposefully some rope slide through their hands and through the munter to give a softer catch. I've been told that this was a somewhat common practice way back in the day, but most climbers today don't learn how to do that. That's why the forces are so low. Same reason why we see higher forces with a grigri than with an ATC

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800
eli poss wrote:

No it's more than just the hitch flipping, they purposefully some rope slide through their hands and through the munter to give a softer catch. I've been told that this was a somewhat common practice way back in the day, but most climbers today don't learn how to do that. That's why the forces are so low. Same reason why we see higher forces with a grigri than with an ATC

I imagine it's a bit more challenging to give a dynamic (rope slipping) catch when you're getting lifted and slammed into the wall i.e. with the Munter on the belayer's harness in those tests.

coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70

Where’d you get the info that they intentionally let rope slip thru the Munter?

Yeah, crazy how low
A
Fall factor slams those dudes into the wall!

Hamish Malin · · Fredericksburg, VA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 15
eli poss wrote: Another way to deal with this is the chariot belay talked about by David Coley here. Basically the leader of the previous pitch places the jesus piece for next pitch so that the leader of the next pitch is on a top rope until they get to the jesus piece and can't FF2.

The benefit of not taking a factor 2 isn't in terms of force because it's going to be as bad or worse on the anchor with the redirect. The big benefit is the change in brake hand orientation needed to arrest the fall between a FF2 and a redirect through the anchor, especially if the belayer is using a tube style device.

A lot on that link to absorb - thanks for that.

  Regarding the “jesus piece”: yup, you can basically build your anchor, continue to lead up to the next piece, then down climb or lower back to the anchor before swapping belayers.  If you backclip the piece, when your follower leads thru it will no longer be backclipped ;)

Xam · · Boulder, Co · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 71
coppolillo wrote: 
Keep in mind as soon as the climber clips the anchor as a "first piece," it acts as a 2:1

With all due respect, it is not a 2:1...a redirect provides no mechanical advantage.  You are correct that the force on that piece of the anchor is doubled, but that is not what the '2:1' nomenclature traditionally means.  Semantics, I know...carry on.

Larry S · · Easton, PA · Joined May 2010 · Points: 840

for factor 2 is to fall as twice as far as there is rope out in the system.  you reduce the fall factor by getting more rope in the system.  If you can get the belayer extended a below the master point a good waysand clip the rope thru the master point, that works well.  If you end up with the belayer in a spot so that if the leader fell, he'd be arrested next to the belayer, you're at FF1.  Anything where the leader stays above the belayer is great.  If there's nothing to hit, but for some reason you can't extend the belay, even just adding a bunch of slack reduces the fall factor, the more rope you give, the FF approaches 1.  Probably a scary ride though.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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