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Giving slack to a falling leader


csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 325
other wrote:

Based on all the experts posts here she did it wrong. She should have jumped up and forward. 

No what we are advocating is to know how to belay appropriately for the situation and then do that, whether that means soft, just locking off, or intentionally making the fall shorter and harder. It’s not rocket science, and it’s pretty much a mandatory basic skill set IMO. If you can’t execute this basic skill set you probably shouldn’t be belaying.

Caz Drach · · C'Wood, UT · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 310

JUST KEEP THEM OFF THE GROUND... go on now...

Caz Drach · · C'Wood, UT · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 310
csproul wrote:

No what we are advocating is to know how to belay appropriately for the situation and then do that, whether that means soft, just locking off, or intentionally making the fall shorter and harder. It’s not rocket science, and it’s pretty much a mandatory basic skill set IMO. If you can’t execute this basic skill set you probably shouldn’t be belaying.

this...

Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740
Guy Keesee wrote: 

Jake I have let go completely from the rope before and let rope rip through an ATC.

Kris and I have this little project up at the Rincon. The climb starts from a ledge about 300 feet up and goes out over nothing but air, angling right ward. Kris pops off and is spinning in the air. This made the cord wrap around him and his legs. Because we had nothing but air below us I just let go.... the friction of the ATC alone was enuf to let him slowly “unwind”. If I had just locked down I think he might have lost his Junk or smacked his head. Letting him get to clean air saved his bacon. I got control of the rope by pushing my hand down so the ATC could engage some then grabbed it.... got a pretty good rope burn on my hand, Kris took good care of me that evening and cooked and cleaned up because my hand was on fire. It was about 80 feet of flying as he unwinded and went head over heels. He said it was like a good chiropractor worked on him! I have found that a never this or always that mentality will get you hurt or worse. 

......sketchy. Is this not one of those things where you caused something, unintentionally (fumbling the rope), and everything turned out in your favor, and you claim false valor (I meant to do that!) ? I can't imagine anyone, even with experience, premeditating a scenario like this. 'release the rope while my leader is getting tangled in it, while approaching terminal velocity, while we happen to be over clean air 300 ft off the deck, wait for the rope to clear his limbs, knowing he'll do so before the stopper knot, then slow the rope to a halt with your hand, which is moving at the same velocity that my leader is.' I don't buy it. Perhaps maintain a droop of slack that reaches down to your feet, maybe a little more, with THAT big of a void below you. Don't premeditate on letting go of the rope lol! 

Russ Keane · · Asheville, NC · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 160

The moment when the force of the.fall is actualized, aka comes taut, you damn better have your brake hand firmly gripping and in the right position.  Taking in slack and giving slack means you are changing the pressure in your right palm (and coming to a different angle) as the rope slides through.  You can easily lose the climber if you get this wrong.   Of course the amount of drag in the system changes how pronounced this force will.be but still, a person's life is on the line so you cannot get the braking wrong.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
Eric Carlos wrote:

A soft catch is generally done with the body, not with the hands.  The break is applied, and the body is directed in the way that is best for the occasion.  I once had a belayer give me a really hard catch by jumping down the hill, yet he saved my arse from decking when I blew the 3rd bolt with clipping slack.  But that same belayer would give me a pillow soft catch on slab falls by timing his jump at the moment the rope begins to get taut, keeping me from slamming my ankles.  Both are critical skills for any belayer.


That is perfect.  Unfortunately all this BS about the belayer letting out slack is just that. BS.
Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740
jt newgard wrote: I agree with Sloppy Second. You fall, I catch you................. simple as that. Of course I mostly climb moderate trad at JTree where ground fall is a constant threat........

Also, who are all these people taking "lead" falls. The leader must not fall!!!! I'm over here catching 50-footers on boat rope and hip belays.........

Go check out your local gym or REI 

yer gonna die

Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740
Mark Frumkin wrote: Soft catch WHAT nonsense. The longer your climber falls the more chance to get hurt.  

Chris Sharma was skipping 3-4 bolts at a time on the iconic Jumbo Love, and still getting dynamic belays. 

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456
Russell Bangert wrote:


When falling on marginal trad placements, a soft catch can be the difference between taking a chopper ride or not. Hard catches can increase the forces on your top piece by a margin of over 50%.

If you're just learning to belay then skip the nuance and just lock that puppy up.

As far as the quoted statement above, I place, lead above and fall on a lot of marginal gear on multipitch trad, particularly on FAs. And what do I want from my belayer? Same as the previous advice - don't fuck around, just lock that puppy up.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210
Paul Hutton wrote:

Chris Sharma was skipping 3-4 bolts at a time and still getting dynamic belays. 

Right, but rock is pretty static.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 311
Buck Rio wrote:

That is not generally advised, even with a Gri-gri. What would have happened if you weren't able to re-establish control of the belay? Kris gets his wings, or goes to (hopefully) the stopper knot?

Buck.... the stopper knot was me! Well anchored in, the full rope wouldn’t reach the ground. Big Kris is not afraid to climb 5.12 way above the last bolt. People give him shit about it all the time.... ego routes some say. Sometimes you can’t stop to drill, you might as well jump off. Kris by the way started climbing in the Gunks, the land of steep climbs and almost zero bolts and extremely bold climbs. 

One time in the Needles we got sort of off route and the hanging belay was a #3 TCUand a #4 wired stopper, I was crying for my mommy! Kris told me to shut up and make sure I gave him enuf slack and let rope rip through the device if he fell off so as not to shock the anchor! 
In my experience sometimes you throw away your common sense and get crazy. That causes you to grow grey hair and take up sport climbing. 
We both were ready to go climb “Straight to Hell” a 12 ... sure I’ll follow anything but we both had serious injuries that stopped both of our hard climbing careers cold! 
Maybe it was Gods way of making us stop. 
And to Mark. Thanks, you make a pretty mean stew yourself. 
Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 311

To Paul.... a true story, ask Kris. Nobody else was around. To be clear I didn’t really let go of the rope... I held my belay hand up above the ATC with my hand open. I still have a faint scar on my hand.
Ever seen video of Dan Osmond doing  the big drops at Cave Rock? To do that you squeeze the grigri then toss it up out of your hand when you wish to stop the leader. I have climbed with Germans who will ask, “How many meters?” Before they lower you. I always say zero. 
Crazy shit. 

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877
Paul Hutton wrote:

. Heavy leaders have pulled me into the first draw on sport routes, too, without me providing a dynamic belay. 

 Umm. I hate to tell you this, but, that is a dynamic belay. 
Russell Bangert · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 52
Healyje wrote: If you're just learning to belay then skip the nuance and just lock that puppy up.

As far as the quoted statement above, I place, lead above and fall on a lot of marginal gear on multipitch trad, particularly on FAs. And what do I want from my belayer? Same as the previous advice - don't fuck around, just lock that puppy up.

Switch your belayer to a grigri and have him belay you directly off the anchor with it, then come talk to me about physics once ya get out of the hospital from popping a placement.

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0
Jaren Watson wrote:

Incidentally, do you need me to draw a diagram illustrating why giving a soft catch allowed my climber to avoid the ledge that he likely would have hit otherwise? I’m surprised at the difficulty you’re having picturing this. (Note that 85 degrees is less than vertical but still steep enough for a falling climber to experience plenty of airtime.)

I would like to see the diagram with an 85 degree slab and plenty of airtime.


Paul Hutton wrote:
Chris Sharma was skipping 3-4 bolts at a time on the iconic Jumbo Love, and still getting dynamic belays.

It's notable that in this discussion about falling, impacts, gear strength etc. nobody has made any reference to numbers, like forces, kilonewtons and all that stuff.

But finally we have some quantitative, scientific data: The number of bolts Sharma skips.
Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,395
Sloppy Second wrote:

I would like to see the diagram with an 85 degree slab and plenty of airtime.


In lieu of a diagram, will video suffice? 2:40.


Read Januskiewiecz · · New England · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 241


;)
mbk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Rather than allow the rope to slip during the fall, in some circumstances it may be advantageous to simply leave more slack prior to the fall.

Rolf Rybak · · Penticton BC · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 280

The last fool who assured me he knew how to belay me on a vert sport route, sprained both my ankles and cracked a bone in my foot. He out weighed me by 25%, locked off the grigri and stepped back when I fell , non dynamic belay. The velocity of hitting the wall can break bones and if you are not wearing a helmut, hitting your face or head can kill you.   Most people really dont understand how to properly give a dynamic belay.  READ THIS ARTICLE, LEARN HOW.  ukclimbing.com/articles/ski…  

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877
Rolf Rybak wrote:  READ THIS ARTICLE, LEARN HOW.  ukclimbing.com/articles/ski…  

That’s actually a pretty bad article. First off, skinnier ropes often don’t equate to stretchier ropes. Compare a handful of 9.7’s to some 9.4’s and 9.2’s. You’ll find that the skinnier ropes have less dynamic elongation and higher impact forces. Second, suggesting to walk in towards the wall to soften the fall?  Are we belaying on the moon?  Most falls from start to finish only take about .5 of a second to maybe 1.5 seconds. Of course really long falls take longer.  But there isn’t enough time to walk. Yes, taking a step towards the wall helps. But, you need to act fast.  It’s not a leisurely stroll. Third, suggesting you have time to crouch down after the fall begins, then jump up is pretty far fetched. Sure, it can be done if you are a ninja spider watching the leader every nano second. Maybe he means quickly squat down a few inches so you can spring back up quickly. Just a poorly written article if you ask me. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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