/ Clipping in rather than tying in?
Bearing in mind these two article:
^ Read the first two paragraphs.
No, I wouldn't.
I would have before reading those articles though.
Knots aren't perfect either (get mis-tied). I guess the belay master thingy would render clipping in a similar level of safety.
To be honest I think the word 'gross' gets added to 'negligence' far too readily. Does anyone ever get found guilty of 'mild negligence' and held 5% responsible for damages?
Actually I guess £12,500 is quite reasonable, about 1% of the payout for a similar injury during healthcare
Why does PACI go into great detail about how to tie in using krabs ( both bloody expensive ) with different knots in various different ways and then at the end say it's OK to tie in with a fig 8 and no hardware.
If they feel that strongly about it why not just say only fig 8 ?
I find some of the wording in their report a bit strong/weird as well.
For the SECURE CLIP-IN AND TIE-IN COMBINATION the primary disadvantage is that the user has to tie a knot - but if that fails it's OK because the krab will protect you. How is that attached to the user ? Oh yeah by a knot - and not an easy one to tie either.
Page 9 says that srewgates can EASILY come undone due to vibration. I agree they can do but EASILY is a bit much in my opinion. This goes against the other words used in the document such as susceptible.
Also the tie in method is the only method allowed if your outside on natural rock. Why ? I don't know they don't say. I can only suppose that an SPA suitable venue causes 2 x swivel headed triple auto closing super safe closing krabs to magically become unsafe but indoors they work ok because......?
Answers on a postcard please.
Only a quick read through of it but it seemed a bit overkill. Surely better just to say single/double kabs are no good just stick to the good old tie in method and we're all OK. It covers all situations they are talking about nd avoids the confusion of double treble locking swivel headed krabs in combo or without extra knots that must be a certain length to avoid fold over etc.
Anyway my 2p to the original question is i don't think it's dangerous but i can see the potential to go wrong ( very small ) and so i don't use it ( or double krab isolated triple auto locking swivel headed krabs ) i just tie people in.
I regularly use a Belaymaster secured with a barrel knot for abseil safety ropes, but generally try to tie-in when top-roping.
Well, I've had it happen numerous time when abseiling to the extent that I no longer use a standard screwgate for my belay device.
I varies between makes I would argue very strongly that it does happens EASILY in some crabiners such with the Petzl Attache 3D which seem particularly susceptible.
I'd say it was less safe, but still adequately safe, though as others have said if tying in is hardly any effort (I can do a one handed bowline in about the time I can screw a screwgate in, and can follow a Fig 8 through in not much longer) then why not be safer? And if you're instructing, possibly teach a useful skill for later climbing as well?
One problem with it is the chance of the inexperienced climber fiddling with it and ending up unclipped, e.g. kids. (Instructing last week I noticed one with an un doubled back harness on the final check before they climbed, and they were checked by two people after putting them on, so I'm pretty sure it had been fiddled with by its wearer).
However i have never had it happen to me. Therefore it is officially safe for 50% of people :0)
I agree with the OP's point and it is no bad thing to keep raising it to get the message out there but i just think that the PACI document is overly complicated and doesn't help matters.
Don't use a single screwgate use 2 triple auto locking captive eye swivel head krabs with 2 different knots and safely equalised. Much easier. Except when you go outside and you have to use a fig 8 direct.
To clarify "adequately safe", I mean for me climbing, though it's not something I've found the need to do. For instructing, I always tie them in, it's the rule at our wall anyway, but it's also safer and doesn't take much longer.
A Belay Master or similar does avoid the cross-load issue, and also protects the gate, so is perhaps a better choice than some of the examples given in the second link. Clip and tie is in my view fairly pointless as a Fig 8 is easy to check, though I suppose it might make the knot easier to untie if a very heavy climber fell repeatedly.
We're in the majority hooray :0)
Yup fig of 8 all the way, could have reduced a 14 page pdf to about 3 pages.
I'm in two minds about the PACI stuff. If you ignore pages 2-5 which I think are complete overkill, I find most of the rest of the document general make a lot of sense.
By coincidence I bought a swivelling captive eye triple-acting carabiner (ISC Twister) just this week and I think they are potentially a great bit of kit for some situations. I certainly don't think they are over the top given that loads of walls and ropes courses are perfectly happy to spend far more money on other hardware like GriGris.
Not a single, no. Two opposing locking gates is fine to me. For myself I'd be happy on my DMM belaymaster, but don't make a regular habit of it.
I am sure they have their place but this is in one situation only, indoor top roping as far as i can gather.
Just because they are out there does not mean they have to complicatedly describe their potential uses when a fig 8 must be quicker/easier than 2 krabs and 2 knots isolated.
My gripe was with the document itself from a quick scan read.
Do you have an idea why the krab set up is OK indoors but not outdoors ?
Just interested not having a go at you, obviously you didn't write the thing.
Having spent a bit of time at climbing walls that use two crabs, I don't think it's any worse than tying in.
It's *much* easier to teach people how to use two lockers than it is to tie then rethread a figure of eight. When you have 20 kids to deal with, that becomes a factor. Seems most people who turn up indoor will do nothing more than climb on top rope indoor, too.
I suspect most people are much quicker and clipping and unclipping two screw gates than they are at trying then untying a weighted FoE.
The biners used at gyms are commonly steel. Even if they weren't, I'd not overly care about crossloading, two min 7kN connection points is good enough for me on top rope!
what are those 2 lockers attached to the climber with ?
I have taught groups of kids to tie the fig 8 countless times without problem.
However i agree with potential forces on a top rope exceeding 2 cross loaded krabs being very un likely. It does seem to have happened though, or at least with 1, but in any investigation there are always flaws and the 'fiddle' factor mentioned earlier is hard to factor in if no one saw it.
In the place I've frequented most:
Rope has an alpine butterfly and a FoE permanently tied at the end. One has a locker normally with one of those small rods or metal clip trapping the rope in the narrow end of the biner, so it can't be removed from the rope.
Hire harnesses are those uncomfortable ones that I've only seen at hire places, with one reinforced tie in point.
Each user has one removable biner hanging off that tie in point. When they get to a rope, they'll clip their biner to the FoE loop, and the locker fixed on the alpine butterfly to their harness tie in point.
I can't remember if the permanent rope biner is always on the butterfly. There's always one on the rope and each user always has one.
It's best not to attach more than 4 children per screw gate.
[More seriously, I'd consider it such. We may argue all days about the merits of tying in vs biners, but I don't think anyone will argue that a single biner is good practice.]
I brought this topic up, because I saw both of those happen at a wall recently. When I asked the guy was supervising the children, his response was "that's the way we do it". People have been paralysed or killed because of this method, and I was pretty disappointed that it appears people won't learn from mistakes, especially more so when they are supposed to be responsible for a less experienced climber.
It wouldn't worry me personally on an occasional basis. It isn't the safest simple solution. There's no such thing as 'safe'.
So should we be complaining that auto belays only have one krab on?
Interesting wee read. However bit of context.
I've heard off/witnessed more near misses/accidents caused by climbers miss-tying their knot (most commonly not finishing of their Fig8)and being dropped by their belayer (mostly using shoddy belay technique or being inattentive) than I've heard/seen/had any issues with clipping someone on a top rope using a single locking karabiner.
If people are concerned about the krab gate coming undone then what I've found useful in the past is to clip the rope into the krab, tighten up the screwgate barrel, then load the krab and tighten it up a bit more. If you are hugely concerned with cross-loading in a top rope situation then use some sort of captive eye arrangement (some krabs come with this others you can buy a wee plastic clip and attach it to the krab).
Personally I'd far rather see climbers using far better and consistent belay technique and be more systemic in using buddy checks. On my list of hobby horses to ride on soap boxes using a single locking krab to clip someone on on a top rope is waaay down there ;)
No, i've not came across an auto belay that hasn't had an appropriate carabiner on it. Steel, triple action, captive carabiners, that are sewn onto webbing with a very small loop, seem to be standard at the walls I've been to.
Yes, I agree. Bad belaying, lack of buddy checks, and general complacency cause accidents, but maybe are harder to solve than, tying in with a carabiner.
I would say its sakfe provided you were happy the karibiner wouldn't rub across the rock. After all, the other end of your link is only attached to your belayer by a single screw gate.
> Yes, I agree. Bad belaying, lack of buddy checks, and general complacency cause accidents, but maybe are harder to solve than, tying in with a carabiner.
That's the point I'm making. Climbers seem to get themselves into a tiswas about something that, arguably like everything we do in climbing, is potentially unsafe - but if used appropriately and managed is no biggie. Number of accidents using this technique very. very minor. Number of accidents caused by poor belaying and sloppy climbing habits - enormous. I'd far rather see people investing time and effort in correcting their bad habits that poorly interpret an article about a potential low risk hazard associated with poor use of twist lock and/or screwgate krabs.
BTW the number of people who use screw gates in climbing situations and always fail to do them up! Surprised we are not up tae oor oxters in dead climbers at the crags and walls! ;)
"climbers miss-tying their knot (most commonly not finishing of their Fig8)"
One of the big advantages of a Fig 8 is that it can be very badly tied and still provide some safety (unlike, say, a bowline which must be tied correctly and have another element e.g. stopper knot to be safe). If you don't believe me, tie in following through only about half the knot and sit on the rope (not recommended when actually off the ground!)
But it depends what situation you're discussing. In an instructed group, the main situation where you get clipping in, the instructor should be checking the knot anyway.
> "climbers miss-tying their knot (most commonly not finishing of their Fig8)"
> One of the big advantages of a Fig 8 is that it can be very badly tied and still provide some safety (unlike, say, a bowline which must be tied correctly and have another element e.g. stopper knot to be safe). If you don't believe me, tie in following through only about half the knot and sit on the rope (not recommended when actually off the ground!)
> But it depends what situation you're discussing. In an instructed group, the main situation where you get clipping in, the instructor should be checking the knot anyway.
I've seen four incidents (all involving experienced climbers) who failed to tie their Fig 8 correctly and when weighted - well they hit the deck. All at climbing walls. Luckily no serious injuries just a sore arse and bruised pride.
Yup I agree about instructed/supervised groups knots, harnesses etc etc being checked by the supervising instructor. Howevere in that context to my mind teaching 'student's to be self sufficient i.e. teach em to tie in, belay etc trumps convenience.
> Bearing in mind these two article:
> ^ Read the first two paragraphs.
Reminds me of a ( near) potentially nasty incident that happened a few years ago at a small climbing wall in south wales. A group had been shown how to clip into their harness by using a screwgate, however one young lad had clipped into the first gear loop on the left side of his harness, plus it was not screwed up!. It was noticed just before he lowered off the climb as the wall had two tiers, and fortunately it ended up without tears for all.
The instructor had not checked the lad prior to climbing, and stated it was the wall policy to use screwgates with groups.
Too many people fail too look at the multiplicative risk (outcome x likelihood), and just think that risk = potential outcome, regardless of the likelihood. Maybe not helped by the HSE removing the need for multiplicative analysis in their Risk Assessment guidelines (because it's too hard?)...
Address the big issues, not the tiny ones.
I also suspect that there's a litigation aspect here, in that belayer error is the belayer's problem, not the climbing wall's problem. Equipment provided by the climbing wall (e.g. fixed krab on top rope, for use by climbers) would be the wall's responsibility, so, if a climber fell as a result of the krab coming unclipped, the wall is much more likely to be liable than if the belayer messed up.
For instructors at a wall, the issue is more complex, because, whatever the method used, they are very likely to be held responsible for failure, be it a krab, a simple tie in, or belayer error.
Then there's the issue of tying in to children's harnesses, and it might be considered than a clip-in krab offers reduced threat of kiddy-fiddling accusations than a tie-in... This might explain why a wall or instructor or organisation might prefer it...
It's also useful when bringing clients up for an abseil when operating from above as a belaymaster is a lot easier to check from 30 feet than a rethreaded figure of eight.
You should ""NEVER"" have inexperienced people clipping themselves into a rope unsupervised !!!
Personally I'd use two screw gates for this (why not you probably have them) and two for setting up a top rope belay for threading the climbing rope through. I've personally had screw gates undo them selves, would you clip in to a rope loop with a snap gate?
I think arguments that there are bigger risks are irrelevant. Not using two screw gates does cost lives and it doesn't make your belayers belaying any better (or worse).
That's not to say I wouldn't do it, just not when I have another screw gate available.!
Practically every wall puts its top ropes through a single screwgate (a few seem to use opposed snapgates instead, e.g. Reading if I recall).
I don't recall ever seeing one fall down.
> Number of accidents using this technique very. very minor. Number of accidents caused by poor belaying and sloppy climbing habits - enormous. I'd far rather see people investing time and effort in correcting their bad habits that poorly interpret an article about a potential low risk hazard associated with poor use of twist lock and/or screwgate krabs.
I've lost count of the number of times I've been told that it is certain death (or similar) if a krab is cross-loaded as it will break at a low load. Number of times this has occurred and resulted in injury when the krab breaks? Very, very few.
We appear to worry much too much about vanishingly small probabilities and not worry about relatively high possibilities - like the climber not tying the knot properly - presumably because its much more comforting to blame the gear than blame ourselves.
> Personally I'd use two screw gates for this (why not you probably have them) and two for setting up a top rope belay for threading the climbing rope through. I've personally had screw gates undo them selves, would you clip in to a rope loop with a snap gate?
> I think arguments that there are bigger risks are irrelevant. Not using two screw gates does cost lives and it doesn't make your belayers belaying any better (or worse).
> That's not to say I wouldn't do it, just not when I have another screw gate available.!
Sorry. You totally miss the point. <Sigh>
> It's also useful when bringing clients up for an abseil when operating from above as a belaymaster is a lot easier to check from 30 feet than a rethreaded figure of eight.
> You should ""NEVER"" have inexperienced people clipping themselves into a rope unsupervised !!!
They're not inexperienced or unsupervised. What I'm referring to is more like a buddy check. Sorry if that wasn't clear. There's normally an instructor on the ground as well anyway.
> Why does PACI go into great detail about how to tie in using krabs ( both bloody expensive ) with different knots in various different ways and then at the end say it's OK to tie in with a fig 8 and no hardware.
This is specific to Australian indoor rules. For the rare times I do actually top rope here i would prefer to tie in than faffing around with 2 heavy captive crabs. I understand that this might have something to do with insurance requirements.
and favouring dual crabs over tie ins with fig 8, would have something to do with at least in theory knowing everyone top roping is tied in correctly without having to observe every single climber every single time.
anyway cheers to the OP for posting the links....hadn't seen them before so now I have some understanding of the reason behind the change.
> Practically every wall puts its top ropes through a single screwgate (a few seem to use opposed snapgates instead, e.g. Reading if I recall).
> I don't recall ever seeing one fall down.
Except when pesky kids decide to yank down on one end really hard.
Sure that should read:
misuse of single screwgates does cost lives
but even then just how often has the misuse of a screwgate cost a life?
Why is there such a tendency to over dramatise minor risks and then complicate systems to cover our arses!
Ahh, 'practically every wall in the UK' perhaps. Never seen that in Australia. Some walls use two steel screw gates, one I noticed used a self braking pulley which was interesting - it limited the max lowering speed - they were using grigris, another wall uses wide radius steel poles. I haven't done a survey but I suspect the two steel screw gates is most common.
Well there is that :)
Yes, I was referring to the UK, as I've never been to an artificial wall outside of it. To expand on that, often there is a second, snapgate krab to allow leading on the same route without removing the top-rope, but that pretty much never has the top rope through it as well. Indeed, the only situation I've seen it through both is at Plas y Brenin, and I never quite understood why because if you lead on the same line and lower off surely the top-ropes will get damaged by the lead ropes rubbing on them.
Never been to Oz, but the whole situation over there seems so over-litigious that I'm amazed it's there rather than here. In particular, the opening paragraphs of that PDF seem to suggest that they are so over-litigious that traditional cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment doesn't apply, and that courts will only say something would fail a cost-benefit analysis if it would bankrupt your business, which is IMO way over the top.
" it limited the max lowering speed - they were using grigris"
Therein lies the problem with the gri-gri used by a novice. So long as you pay attention and don't drop someone through inattention, and your technique is reasonably OK, a normal non-locking belay device is far easier to get lowering right.
If you have to come up with such over-the-top systems to make it safe, that to me says it's a bad idea in the first place.
Added to that, if they learn on that system then use a Grigri somewhere else that doesn't have it, you've got a potential problem. Same reason it's good to start people off on double-back harnesses - if you use the other type, the first time they encounter a double-back they may well not double it back, and thus an accident results.
(The number of times I've seen people tying in to their belay loop the first time they use a non-alpine-style harness would suggest that it would make more sense to use normal harnesses for instructing as well, but getting hold of normal harnesses with double-back buckles is not all that easy, and tying into the belay loop for top-roping, while sub-optimal, is, unlike not doubling the buckles back, not hideously dangerous.)
I've noticed in Oz it seems as though a lot of our rules and laws are spawned from single incidents.
On one hand for myself I consider the PACI PDF as overkill, but on the other...Hell what do I care if indoor walls have swivelling captive eye biners or seconded screw gates. The wall owner has to screw around a little bit more but it's to no detriment to me.
I agree the whole grigri and braking pulley is weird, and expensive. That's at the Sydney uni wall [a public wall, that might be free to students].
> Practically every wall puts its top ropes through a single screwgate (a few seem to use opposed snapgates instead, e.g. Reading if I recall).
> I don't recall ever seeing one fall down.
The reason it is a different situation outside is that most likely the screw gate at the wall is held in such a way it can't move around much and is very unlikely to come in to contact with the wall. Outside you can reduce the chance of this with a good setup but you can't come close to eliminating it most times. Also for top roping southern sandstone you often have to 'lead' above the anchor (to minimise rock damage), which again is quite a different situation especially if the screw has already undone its self!
For attaching a screw gate to a rope loop this is different again as it will be getting moved around a lot and the rope loop will be moving a lot with regards to where it is on the gate and the gate may also be opened accidentally by pressure from the climber or rock.
"We appear to worry much too much about vanishingly small probabilities and not worry about relatively high possibilities - like the climber not tying the knot properly - presumably because its much more comforting to blame the gear than blame ourselves. "
Ahh but what if you already have the other bases covered, is it still sensible to ignore the small probabilities of other potentially fatal accidents occurring unnecessarily. I have had screw gates undo them selves and this does then leave you in a rather risky situation if this is your single attachment point to the rope.
Top roping, from below in doors, must have virtually no chance of the top carabiner accidentally unscrewing. I suspect you would need a spanner for most of the ones I have seen. They often have a captive pin as well.
I tie in by choice anyway, as why use a knot and carabiner, rather than just a knot? Though I can see that for instructors there are different issues (simplicity, less risk of error in knot tying).
I do sometimes clip in to a butterfly knot in the middle of a rope, when outside on a short crag, and usually with 2 or more people following the leader. The butterfly seems the best knot to use for clipping in to, but whether I should clip in (or ask the leader to pull thru for me to tie on to the end of the rope, then after I climb throw it down for the next person)is the significant issue.
In the same circumstances, I will continue to clip in but take on board som of the points raised:
I have always used a standard HMS to clip in with, but as I have a DMM Belay master for belaying, will use that in future. This should reduce the risk of unscrewing or crossloading. I will also keep the loop short, as advised.
I note also that the the "narrow" end of the Krab is shown in the knot, with the wide end clipped in to the belay loop. I had never considered this before, but have always put the narrow end on the belay loop as that is what I do for belaying. In future I will put the narrow end in the knot.
The PACI article strikes me as highly speculative.
Assertions of "cyclic loading leads to ..." come from what?
--testing, or musing and finding a way to manually work out a failure?!
I should think that using two 'biners (nevermind the
problematic locking part --fine, if you have it),
opposite-&-opposed, and tying the rope into them
with a multi-(short)-eye Portuguese bowline will do
perfectly well. The multiple eyes are for stuffing the
inside-'biner cavity with 4-5 strands of rope to keep
the 'biners from floating around. The twin 'biners,
even if in gate-loading orientation, should be amply
If one is sure of the locking mechanism, there are ways
to *snell* a rope to a 'biner's strong axis so to preserve
An alternative approach is to invoke an easy-tying method
(for the adult/trained supervisor) in which a long eye of
<name_your_preferred_eyeknot> reeved through the belay loop,
then through its own eye legs,
turned around those legs and tucked within this turn (a half-hitch sort of thing),
and this eye tip then clipped along with the (twin) eye through the belay loop
--the clipping effecting a simple, low-load locking of the tie-in;
the 'biner run through three parts (eye tip & tie-in twin eye parts)
won't be able to rotate, et cetera (kind of like a cotter pin, in effect).
Snugged down, the structure should hold w/o 'biner,
but the 'biner's there to be sure! (non-locking, fine)
> Knots aren't perfect either (get mis-tied). I guess the belay master thingy would render clipping in a similar level of safety.
> To be honest I think the word 'gross' gets added to 'negligence' far too readily. Does anyone ever get found guilty of 'mild negligence' and held 5% responsible for damages?
Yes very often, but it is known as contributary negligence, very common in liability claims. E.g. employee not wearing safety gear despite warning signs and training to do so even if a site manager was supposed to ensure all employees wore the gear.
In motor accidents its more commonly known as knock for knock
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