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Belaying the second climber

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Eagle Mount · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

Hi guys. What do you think about this way to belay from the top? is it safe or not?

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

Nooooo.
Use your gear the way the manufacturer recommends. If you want to belay off the anchor, get a belay device that can be used in guide mode, or use a munter, and get some instruction while you’re at it. 

Chad Silva · · Arlington, VA · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 62

YGD, 100%.

Really though - why not use an ATC with guide mode? I know the ones without guide mode are bundled with intro gear some times... but that's the kind of mistake you can move past for $20.

Noah R · · Burlington, VT · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

Interesting, while I cannot really think of a reason it would not work, I would assert that YGD anyway.

I would certainly opt for the tried and true redirect belay if you want to use a non guide mode atc. I still do it with my pivot sometimes cause it can be easier in certain situations. 

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

You can lower a climber from the top like that, but not belay them like that. Seek competent instruction before climbing.

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,696
Noah R wrote:I would certainly opt for the tried and true redirect belay if you want to use a non guide mode atc.

While I usually avoid a redirected belay, I would prefer it over “A”.

For “A”, my obsessive compulsive tendancy would be to maximize friction by extending the ATC to be a little lower than the brake-side redirect. Seems a pretty ok way to lower. But then I suspect taking up slack through the ATC plus redirect biner could be a bit cumbersome as well as perhaps requiring more effort.

Eagle Mount:  Try it out in your backyard and report back? ... both lowering a load and taking up slack meters of slack.
Noah R · · Burlington, VT · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0
Bill Lawry wrote:

While I usually avoid a redirected belay, I would prefer it over “A”.


I think the redirect is probably the best way for someone who is pretty new to multi-pitch to belay their follower.

-Pretty much the same as top rope belaying

-Easy to asses

-Lowering is totally safe and includes no faff 
Chuck Parks · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 2,171
Eagle Mount wrote: Hi guys. What do you think about this way to belay from the top? is it safe or not?


I think you'll find that the setup as shown will make it a major pain to take in rope from the ascending climber below.

If I were in the situation as pictured, I'd remove the ATC and the non-locking carabiner and stow them. Then I'd belay with a Munter hitch on the locking carabiner. Simple, safe, and it will work much better.
Lucas deHart · · WNC -> Denver · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 40

Like Chuck said, definitely just Munter in this situation. On low angle terrain or with a thick rope, I prefer the munter even to guide mode because it's so much easier to take in slack quickly.

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,696
Chuck Parks wrote:

... belay with a Munter hitch on the locking carabiner. Simple, safe, and it will work much better.

Agree. If the goal behind “A” is to belay up a second directly off the anchor, +1 for the munter. Set the plain ATC aside.  That said, the hitch will probably flip before really catching. So be prepared to have 8 or 10 inches of free movement in the brake strand.

Noah R wrote:
I think the redirect is probably the best way for someone who is pretty new to multi-pitch to belay their follower.
Perhaps.  Pros and cons with either way.  The sticking point for me is that a redirect is not always practical on multi-pitch.  But the answer to that is probably to not take a new person on a climb with that case.
Eagle Mount · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

Ty guys, It's explained

Ryan Williams · · London (sort of) · Joined May 2009 · Points: 1,265

Most of the time I just find a comfy seat and belay off my harness. Have caught plenty of falls this way, never had a problem.

If I’m gonna belay off the anchor I use guide mode or munter. 

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,696
Eagle Mount wrote: Ty guys, It's explained

The inserted “A” and the black and white photo have the looks of being from a book.  If so, I am curious which book / date.  It is a configuration I have not seen in 15 years of climbing.

Cosmiccragsman AKA Dwain · · Las Vegas, Nevada · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 106

A is NOT good!!!!

Jim Amidon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 880

When you have a perfectly good anchor why in the heck would anyone belay off their harness ???  The anchor is the belay point and yes spend the few extra dollars on a belay device you can use for auto lock/hands free belaying from above it's such a useful tool I wish all other belay devices were just taken off the market.

What did forest gump say "stupid is as stupid does"

Simplicity in everything it's simple to belay from the anchor in auto lock...

  

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526
Jim Amidon wrote: When you have a perfectly good anchor why in the heck would anyone belay off their harness ???  The anchor is the belay point and yes spend the few extra dollars on a belay device you can use for auto lock/hands free belaying from above it's such a useful tool I wish all other belay devices were just taken off the market.

What did forest gump say "stupid is as stupid does"

Simplicity in everything it's simple to belay from the anchor in auto lock...

  

There are a number of situations in which a direct anchor belay is suboptimal.  Some examples:

1. A very featured location with features that could interfere with the plaquette operation.  I know of a guide who, in such situation,  had his plaquette jam in a corner and couldn't lower someone who was hanging in space.  He had to go into full self-rescue mode to get the plaquette unweighted so that it could be replaced with a Munter.

2. A very low anchor that forces the belayer to bend over double to handle the device.  If the anchor is really low, the potential for interaction with the plaquette and the ground can raise problems as in Item 1.

3. An anchor remote from the cliff edge.  A typical solution is to put the plaquette on the anchor and then walk to the cliff edge, with the result that the plaquette cannot be tended and becomes even more of an annoying and possibly counterproductive ratchet for the second than such devices already are.  Add to this that, in order not to bend over, the belayer typically holds the belay line up by their hip, thereby building in slack that will be delivered to the second in a fall.

Items 1 and 3 involve the bad gotchas of plaquettes; some of those problems wouldn't be present with a Munter on the anchor.

One doesn't have to give up on the advantages of a perfectly good anchor.  The belayer can snug up their anchor strand and then clip the belay device to the rope tie-in loop rather than the harness belay loop and belay as in the classical harness belay.  This has the geometry, comfort, and stability advantages of a seated harness belay without the discomfort incurred by including the harness itself in the load chain.

As usual, the point is to have a spectrum of strategies and choose the method that is best suited to the conditions, rather than embracing a single approach to all cases that isn't going to be the best approach in some of them.

PS: the method posted by the op is a configuration for lowering with an ATC on the anchor.  It is poorly suited to taking in rope, as has already been mentioned, and, in view of a host of better options, should be considered worthless as a belay technique.
Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 311
Jim Amidon wrote: When you have a perfectly good anchor why in the heck would anyone belay off their harness ???  The anchor is the belay point and yes spend the few extra dollars on a belay device you can use for auto lock/hands free belaying from above it's such a useful tool I wish all other belay devices were just taken off the market.

What did forest gump say "stupid is as stupid does"

Simplicity in everything it's simple to belay from the anchor in auto lock...

  

Hi... let’s just say No to goofy belay technique. 

Rgold says it best. 
Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,696

I wish they’d take the Munter hitch off the market. ;)

Ron O · · middle of nowhere, southern… · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

A year ago I was following a millennial slacker when I got crossed up in the crux, so I tried to climb down to rearrange the order I grabbed stuff.

I called for slack but none was forthcoming. I screamed "SLAAAAAACK"!

The reply; "I can't. .... It won't let me."

Sheesh! Climbers who don't understand what a good belay is vs a shitty job.

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 674
Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 674
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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