/ where should a second tie into your belay when swinging leads?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
wjcdean - on 28 Dec 2012
morning all,
im relatively new to trad climbing and was wondering what your advice would be for securing a second once they reach the belay station? So far ive only done easy climbs that have lovely big ledges to belay from so i usually just tie them off as we exchange gear. obviously this is no good for harder routes where you might have a hanging belay, so what do you do in this situation?

i get that if you've used a cordalette they can just pop a crab through the mainpoint and clove hitch on, but this isnt possible if you've tied in with the rope.

any advice would be appreciated, thanks :)
Will
jimtitt - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to wjcdean:
They just clip into the most convenient piece of gear and tie them off as usual.
AlanLittle - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to wjcdean:

I'll try not to be too critical/sarcastic here since you say you're new, and asking for advice is not a bad thing. But there is a very noticeable tendency - here and in other online climbing forums - to over-analyse and over-complicate very unimportant questions about very minimal risks, and my initial reaction when I saw the thread title was that this would be one of those.

Deep breath, constructive ....

> i get that if you've used a cordalette they can just pop a crab through the mainpoint and clove hitch on

They can just do that to any point of the belay anyway. You say you're new to trad climbing it's unlikely that you'll be doing anything with fully hanging and/or dodgy belays for some time yet. Therefore your belay has two or three bomber points and is on some kind of a ledge. And these two or three bomber points are tied together in some way, even if only indirectly via your harness.

Think about it: the soon-to-be-leader at this point is standing on a ledge of some kind, albeit perhaps not big/comfy. Should he nevertheless slip - supposing he nearly drops a piece of gear that you're handing over, or something like that - the fall factor onto a bomber piece is minuscule, and that bomber piece is backed up.

He/you should be worrying instead about real risks, such as getting a bomber runner, ideally independent of the belay, asap after he starts climbing again, because then he is facing the possibility of a factor 2 fall that would seriously load the belay.

AlanLittle - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks Jim, while I was writing the long-winded version you said what I actually wanted to say very succinctly.
Ben Sharp - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to AlanLittle: There seems to be a tendency on here for old timers to get worked up about tiny, irrelevant things...like someone asking for a bit of advice. I remember when I start climbing I couldn't get my head around how you could hold a leader fall on a multi pitch without ripping all the gear out because it's all for a downward load and you'd be getting pulled up. Things like that get asked all the time, they seem stupid when you've been there and done it but I'd much rather someone had the humility to ask a question rather than just shut up for fear of sounding stupid. As the saying goes, the only stupid question is the one not asked.

Over years of climbing you have formed the opinion that the risk at changeovers is minimal, do you remember your first multipitch? It seems plenty complex when you're up off the ground and unfamiliar with the routines and I've heard much worse questions than asking how best to secure your second at the belay.

To the OP, there isn't a one size fits all approach to many things in climbing and this is the same. If you've tied an overhand with a long tail before the belay plate then that might be enough, if it's an uncomfortable stance you might want to clip the best or most convenient piece of gear, if you need to change the orientation of your belay plate then it would be polite to make sure that your second is comfortable being tied into just one piece while you do this (as AL said, it's backed up).

You can always clip your partner as a back up as well. There's nothng wrong with clipping into a screwgate either, easier than trying to wiggle two into a weighted wire.

If you're just starting out you may well be carrying lots of screwgates and using them on everything, if you start to use wiregates to build part of the belay then you might want to weigh up what would happen if you clipped into only one piece that was connected with a wire gate while you were off belay (Distant possibility of a piece of gear ripping, you falling and then your leaders rope unclipping from the gear and you being connected to 50m of rope.)
jimtitt - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
Nice rant! There is a beginners forum for beginners, otherwise there are good instructional books, instructors, guides and mentors available.
As it happens I can remember my first multi-pitch leading through, since in those days "gear" consisted of the rope itself slung around a spike it was easy to identify the strong point on the belay.
When the ex-leader changes his plate over most of us just hold onto the rest of the belay in the expectation we are strong enough for the time it takes or just clip into something else.
In reply to Ben Sharp:
>
>
> If you're just starting out you may well be carrying lots of screwgates and using them on everything, if you start to use wiregates to build part of the belay then you might want to weigh up what would happen if you clipped into only one piece that was connected with a wire gate while you were off belay (Distant possibility of a piece of gear ripping, you falling and then your leaders rope unclipping from the gear and you being connected to 50m of rope.)

Two things; if there is a possibility of a piece of gear ripping it shouldn't really be part of your belay (and certainly not the single bit you choose to clip the 2nd to).

..and have you tried 'accidentally' unclipping from a wire-gate - a worthwhile little experiment,

Chris
birdie num num - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to wjcdean:
Depends on the stance. Quite often we just tie off with a couple of half hitches at the belay plate. transfer the gear then carry on.
nniff - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to wjcdean:

I've got a Metolius full strength harness, so I'll clip the other party to a gear loop when they arrive. Guaranteed to freak them out. Usually change to something that's supposed to be more substantial afterwards, for form's sake!
wjcdean - on 28 Dec 2012
ah, sorry, i'm kinda new to UKC and missed the beginners forum. thanks for the advice, i get what you guys are saying and appreciate the composure shown! i understand that you must get a lot of similar questions coming up pretty often from us n00bs.

what you guys have said all made good sense, thanks for the quick responses and for clearing that up for me.
cheers
GrahamD - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to wjcdean:

Personally I would concentrate on keeping the belay stance un cluttered so that you can see immediately where sensible clip in points will be (and as noted above there will be a choice of a few - a clove hitch to the nearest piece will do if you aren't happy to simply tie off your belay plate). Look out for your ropes and leave room for your partner.
duchessofmalfi - on 28 Dec 2012
I think it is ok to ask questions here like this - in fact this particular question hasn't come up too often:

My answer is: The lead sets up the belay with protecting the second and transitioning to the next pitch in mind and the second comes armed with appropriate gear to make it easy.

On a big, safe belay this means the lead simply leaves safe space for the second sit / stand / gear up.

On a difficult belay this means placing gear with a mind to tying on the second and switching over for the next pitch and the second to climb with a short sling and crab larks-footed onto their belay loop - this is either for their protection at the belay or as a short term measure while transitioning to something more comfortable.

This should be super simple and no big issue. Worst case is to arrive at the belay ledge discovering nothing is ready, you've got to stop in a dodgy place (usually after a hard traverse) and cling on for dear life while the lead "adjusts" (read dismantles and rebuilds) the belay only to discover that it is impossible to sort out the ropes and gear or transition to the next pitch.
GridNorth - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to wjcdean: I only tend to use a cordalette when I am doing all the leading. It's particularly convenient if the belay is good enough to take a direct belay which I quite often use in those situations. If you are just swapping over gear a cows tail will probably suffice as long as you ensure that no slack is built into the system. With an experienced partner who I know well and who is likely to be on his way pretty quickly I might just tie-off the rope on the plate.
John Stainforth - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to wjcdean:

I thought swinging leads meant alternate leads, in which case the second climbs straight through as the leader of the next pitch. He/she will only stop to collect necessary gear for the next pitch. Whilst doing that he/she may like to clip into any part of the belay system, so that the belayer can help with the gear exchange.

Otherwise, if the same leader is leading all the pitches, swopping over belays is way quicker and easier and safer if the leader rigs the belays with a cordelette (or web-o-lette) as other have suggested.
Ben Sharp - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
> [...]
>
> Two things; if there is a possibility of a piece of gear ripping it shouldn't really be part of your belay (and certainly not the single bit you choose to clip the 2nd to).
>
> ..and have you tried 'accidentally' unclipping from a wire-gate - a worthwhile little experiment,
>

Firstly it's quite clear from my post that I wouldn't be worried about that myself, however it is polite to give someone you've not climbed with as much security as possible till you know them, some people are unbelievably anal and that's fine, it's their life so they are within their rights to request what makes them feel safe.

Secondly I did say "distant possibility", which it is.

Thirdly, yes I have tried accidentally unclipping the rope from a wire gate, quite scary what a flick of the rope can do.

Like I said, distant possibility but there are people who would want their sole point of connection to a belay to be with a screw gate. I don't have a problem with that, why do you?
xplorer on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

"Two things; if there is a possibility of a piece of gear ripping it shouldn't really be part of your belay (and certainly not the single bit you choose to clip the 2nd to)."

I'm sure we have all come accross marginal gear placements on belays before.

In reply to xplorer:
>
>
> "Two things; if there is a possibility of a piece of gear ripping it shouldn't really be part of your belay (and certainly not the single bit you choose to clip the 2nd to)."
>
> I'm sure we have all come accross marginal gear placements on belays before.

Have we?


Chris
xplorer on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Yea
Alan M - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)

>
> I'm sure we have all come accross marginal gear placements on belays before.

Talking about marginal placements and or down right dodgy belays. I once climbed up to my lead to find him belaying from a cross axe surface belay!! I nearly shit myself when I seen it. When I asked why he chose the location he did he said ran out of rope, when I asked why he didn't down climb a bit to better placements he said he had no gear to protect himself for the down climb so improvised the best he could. To this day I have never seen anything so marginal, Its a good job I didn't put any weight it!!.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Twisty - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)

>
> ..and have you tried 'accidentally' unclipping from a wire-gate - a worthwhile little experiment,
>

...have you tried comparing which is easier to 'accidentally' unclip - a screw gate or wire-gate? I think that was the point.


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.