/ Going leashless -- couple of questions

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valjean - on 10 Jan 2013
after a few seasons of climbing with leashes on i decide that it was time to give leash less climbing a real go this season. been ok so far.

when running laps on TR or on single pitches, im not to concerned about dropping a tool. the prospect of dropping a tool on a multi-pitch does worry me a bit. So i have rigged a DIY spinner tethers - small climbing crabs, a spinner from the hardware store, and accessory webbing.

The question i have is regarding the safety/danger of these tethers. I keep getting that image from the BD instructions with a guy falling and his axes coming down and rearranging his face.

The manufacturers all say this thing is not designed to take a fall on, I imagine my DIY job is in the same boat. But reading and searching through these forums, ive found a number of people who see/feel the tethers are an added safety in the case of a fall -- having taken a fall on them.

any thoughts?

2nd question is on the safety of clipping into the bottom of your axes while placing gear (either with the rope or directly with your personal acnhor/tether. I've climbed with people who do this quite regularly (hard point themselves into the axe, cinch up the tether, then put in screws. And im certain ive clipped into the bottom of an axe with the rope while making a V-thread or building the belay.

any thoughts on this?

thanks in advance
Graham - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:
No umbilical (commerically made or not) is designed to do anything but stop a falling tool. Some may actually be strong enough to stop a fall - but anyone who is actually counting on this to happen is a fool. I've known a few people who have fallen and been successfully caught by their umbilicals, and I know a few people who have fallen and had their umbilicals break. Don't count on them to do anything but save your tool from falling into the abyss.

Clipping into the spike is an old-school, cheating, method of climbing. If your tool is solid, it's reasonably safe. If your placement sucks, then it's not so safe.
ice.solo - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:

Go to kelly cordes' latest blog post.
george mc - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:
> > 2nd question is on the safety of clipping into the bottom of your axes while placing gear (either with the rope or directly with your personal acnhor/tether. I've climbed with people who do this quite regularly (hard point themselves into the axe, cinch up the tether, then put in screws. And im certain ive clipped into the bottom of an axe with the rope while making a V-thread or building the belay.
>
> any thoughts on this?
>
> thanks in advance

Cheating gits! ;)
andyinglis - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean: Springer leashes are designed to stop/hold a falling axe and are not technically rated for falling on however..... I have fallen and been left hanging from my springer leash, and I know of a couple of others that have also had the springer hold them. However, sometimes/often(?) they snap under the force, so do not expect them to hold a fall! The small snap links / crabs you choose to use may even be lower (force) rated than the springer and may open up when you fall on the springer (i.e. they are the weak link). Obviously if you want some form of gurantee of security then use a 22KN rated screw gate to some 6 or 7mm cord back to your harness (need to make it long enough as there wont be much stretch!).

2nd question - Am also aware of this am my perception is that it is a good option in the right circumstances i.e. pure ice/cascade climbing. Think Will Gadd recommends it in his book on ice and mixed climbing....

Andy
valjean - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:

thanks for the responses so far. the tethers catching me isnt really what im concerned about.... its the scary axes that might come down on me and will more than likely impale that worry me since the tether makes it likely that it will fall in my direction. not that i plan of falling

having a look at the cordes blog now
daWalt on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:
not that i plan of falling

There you are, you'll be fine then.
If you do you'll almost certainly end up upside down due to a combination of being top heavy with a rucksack and snagging your crampons. In the latter you seriously risk broken legs in the process.
So, I'd take it as you're more likely to be spiked in the arse than smacked in the face with the power of a length of bungee cord.
GridNorth - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean: Cheating be damned. The first rule of ice climbing should be don't fall, the second rule should be don't fall, the third rule is that if you get into a position where you think you might do everything and anything possible to prevent it.

I don't normally hang on my axes but would not hesitate to do so if I thought it advisable. I do however pass the rope over the horn or head of the axe whenever I place a screw in an awkward position just in case. After all the very act of placing the screw tends to force your body outwards.
nniff - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:

Falling and ice climbing are generally incompatible. If you have an axe on a leash and you've fallen (and are travelling some distance) the axe is in close proximity to you. If it's on a tether, at least it's a bit further away. Sure it might hit you when you stop, but frankly I'm a bit more worried about what it is that makes me stop. It's not the fall that kills you, it's the rapide deceleration at the end. If you survive that only to be murdered by your axe - well it really isn't your day!

I have a cow's tail with a krab and fifi hook on my harness, and a daisy chain. At a stance, the daisy/cow's tail gets clipped into something as soon as possible (often one or two axes), then the belay gets built and things arranged to suit, often with the axes incorporated.

If it's all going wrong, I have no qualms about clipping into an axe and taking a breather - getting into difficulty is not a problem, just as long as you can get yourself out of it, I tend to think. My ethical compass points very clearly to 'clip in' instead of 'piss off down the mountain'. It's not something I'm comfortable doing, but it's saved me on occasion.

If it seems prudent, I'll also pop the fifi into the axe when placing gear.

wilkesley - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to nniff:

Beware clipping into the bottom of your axes, without first checking the axe. In the days of Chacals the bottom ferrule with the hole was attached by some very weak system.
James Dunn - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean: The leash will either hold the fall (unlikely in my opinion having seen 2 falls with springers snap both times, perhaps it would hold a small slump though), or it will snap. Either way the tool is not going to come rocketing at you.

You could try attaching the leash to a fixed point in the house and (with a tool on the other end) testing the slingshot capabilities of the leash for added piece of mind, but I suspect that the slingshot will be a poor one with the weight of the axe and the springyness of the leash.

With regards to your second question, if you don't feel comfortable enough to place a screw and clip it without clipping into your axe on an ice route, then the route is probably too hard for you at that time; in which case clip you axe whilst you clip a screw, build a V-thread and run away.

See above posts about incompatibility of ankles/general life and falling off whilst ice climbing
James Dunn - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean: oh, and leashless is WAY better

:)
Morgan Woods - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:

i have the old grivel spring leashes but have stopped using them, mainly because i only do fairly cruisy climbs and they can be a bit of a faff.
abcdef - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to James Dunn: can i ask what the circumstances of "seen 2 falls with springers snap both times" were? and what part broke? i suppose if you are climbing steep stuff you could free-fall till the tethers went taut (a metre or two at most?) but it would need to be a solid placement. in most cases i think they would simply slow your slither on average angles terrain and would unlikely be enough force for a failure. more likely an axe would rip first.

also would consider the chance of being impaled by your tethered axe following you down is surely less likely that old style leashes which keep the axe closer to you?
Nick Harvey - on 10 Jan 2013
No one seems to consider the consequences of falling onto, essentially, a static line (assuming the elastic takes very little force to reach its limit. If i had a low axe, fell, that held in the ice and the tether held, i would be taking a metre fall onto the tether. No idea if this is actually an issue, but i bet people would question falling onto a sling from one meter.

I use them off and on and find them a pita.
Robert Durran - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Nick Harvey:
> No one seems to consider the consequences of falling onto, essentially, a static line.

Yes they are. That's why they break.
James Dunn - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to abcdef: pretty steep both times, but I suspect any fall on techy III or IV and above would snap the leash, they are usually made out of pretty flimsy material, certainly mine is more a covering for the elastic than of any structural assistance. Both times the middle of the leash snapped, about 1/3 of the way along one of the umbilicals.

There is a video here of the first one I was referring to, skip to 3:30;
http://www.vimeo.com/34832352

You can see the leash snap immediately before the tool placement rips, and the tool placement was only thinly in pretty thin ice, not what you'd want to belay off anyway. I suspect in any kind of average mixed route the placement would be much more secure, thus still snapping the leash.

I suppose it depends by what you mean by "average angled terrain", I'm talking IV-VI, but equally on easier stuff I still think the leash would fail 90% of the time before the tool ripped (assuming its in an actual placement).

Agreed its probably less likely to impale you than wrist loops.

Back to the OP, I forgot to mention that I traditionally don't use them on ice since I can just whack the tool in anywhere and let go, whereas on mixed the placements often need weighting all the time.
Nick Harvey - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: Aye, I guess if the fall is enough to damage the faller by a sudden stop, the tether just breaks. Just as well really.
Hannes on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean: I wonder how many of those falls where spinner leashes have snapped or held was because of the faff with the leashes themselves. By all means try but there is a good chance you'll just chuck them when you see how much of a faff it really is, besides, you don't drop your axes.
AlH - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Hannes: It takes a bit of practise to get used to them like many things. I've had to retrieve axes for different partners at least 3 times when dropped fully leash less. Usually in quite full on weather conditions. All 3 of them now use spinner leashes.
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Michael Gordon - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:

I have the idea that spinner leashes are not as strong as some other lanyards; therefore while none of them are designed to hold a fall some may be a little more likely to do so than others.
Jamie B - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to James Dunn:

I'm sure I read about Guy Robertson being held by one somewhere (Applecross?); I'd guess that if he was lobbing it was fairly steep!
KiwiPrincess - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to valjean:
I See old boys clipping to their axes to Hang on while putting a screw in so I assumed it was something people used to do In the straight axe era, and that Sport climbing influenced do it clean ethics are a newer way.
Again up to you, and in desperation You'd do anything,
Clip your safety in rather hang on leashes that aren't rated for it, Some clip in holes are really small and people tie Cord loops to them to Clip to, and not all axes have this as a rated clip in, (sometimes it's the head) so find the maunal for what you have.
James Dunn - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: hmmm, interesting. Ye I would assume it would be steep then.

Was it relatively recently? I wonder what leashes they were as the two I have seen snap are the new Grivels (which I imagine Guy will be using now?), I'm pretty sure my old Grivel's would snap as they are even less sling-like, and from memory the BD ones are pretty flimsy too.

In the video I posted above the fall is pretty mellow (onto the leash) as the leash is placed quite high, its definitely not the most dramatic fall onto a leash one could imagine, but the leash still snaps.

I think as long as you follow the #1 rule in winter then it doesn't really matter, and as above, if you ignore that rule, then your tool assaulting you is probably not one of your major concerns at that moment.

They are great for if you ever do accidentally drop a tool though.
Ross McGibbon - on 11 Jan 2013
If I clip into an axe while placing a screw, it is because the axe is temporarily my runner, to be replaced by the screw once placed. Nothing unethical in that.
Easier still, pop the rope over the top of the axe instead - instant runner.
Tim Sparrow on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to valjean: DMM's fabled Predators had a rope groove in the top of the head designed for just that purpose. It worked too.
Oh they were good when they went in,.... right to the hilt on the 3rd strike, never to be removed!
mark turnbull - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Ross McGibbon:
Yip just put the rope over the top off the axe!
As u quite rightly said it is getting used as a temp runner
nothing wrong with that on steep ground.

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