/ Third time dropped at the wall

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SeriousCallersOnly - on 17 Jan 2013
Recently hit the deck at the wall from high up again. No injuries. This is the third time in about 10 years.

All due to belaying mistakes, two with ATC types, once with a grigri.

Is this normal or am unlucky?

Cheers
not my usualself
Double Knee Bar - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: Same belayer?
tk421 on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:
I think you need a new belayer?
SeriousCallersOnly - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

three different belayers, two very experienced climbers, one not so.
SAF - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: Are you a really, really, really slow climber, so that your belayer gets bored, distracted, falls asleep? ;-)
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Missed second (or if you're very heavy) third clip with slack out? Or further up i.e. loss of control of the rope?

I have caught a heavy climber from a missed third clip with a load of slack out to clip, but it was a bit close and involved taking in and jumping backwards at the same time.

Neil
ledifer on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:
What type of mistakes? Seems very unlucky as belaying isn't that difficult if you pay attention.
Jimbo C - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

That's proper bad luck. I've been leading indoors for 6 years and never been dropped.
Boogs on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Seriously ? Bloody hell its good your not seriously hurt . How experienced were / are your belayers ?

I saw this happen at UCR last year , a young inexperienced tiny belayer maybe 7 stone belaying a big lad who must of been well over 13 stone . She was not tied off to the floor anchor even . I didn't realise this until after the fall . She panicked for some reason let go of the dead rope , tried grabbing the live rope . I'm sure you can guess the rest ?! As far as I'm aware he was okay apart from the shock .

I did what I could and kept him talking & kept him still until the staff came over . The young girl stood there screaming until somebone told her to calm down as it wasn't helping .

That was the one and only time I've seen this .
Fraser on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Definitely abnormal! How did the accidents happen each time?
EeeByGum - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: I think you are pretty unlucky. I have only seen a couple of deck outs and it isn't a pretty sight. Not falling off in the first place is a good way of combating hitting the ground! :-)
jkarran - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Have they all been under the same circumstances? By that I mean slumping, falling, lowering or a mix of different incidents?

Touch wood I've been lucky over the years, I don't think I have ever been dropped at the wall but I have unfortunately dropped someone. It does occasionally happen and it seems you've been pretty unfortunate in having it happen thrice!

jk
SeriousCallersOnly - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Fraser:

Two from the very top of the wall, one from two thirds of the way up.

Once was letting go at the top after clipping the lower off, two from falling off.

With the ATC types, both were due to letting go of the dead end. Grigri, not so sure but it didn't lock.

cheers
s
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:

:)

Though you won't climb to your limit if you don't fall off.

Nonetheless I think it's best if walls save the crux moves such that they are made once you have clipped third, that way there is a fairly low chance of decking. But there are points when leading even indoors where it might take an *exceptional* belayer to catch you, e.g. if you're clipping 2nd clip quite high and have slack out to clip when you fall.

I was only dropped once years ago as a novice with a novice belayer, it was on top rope so much of it was probably rope stretch anyway.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Shite belayers, then... never ever ever let go of the dead rope, whatever device you are using, and however you might end up being slammed into the wall.

(I learnt this one early on, I was standing too far out from the wall and got pulled in because of the climber falling right from the top before they got the lower-off in. I was slammed against the wall pretty hard and ended up with a very sore knee, but still kept hold. Lessons learnt there).

Neil
Jim at Work on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:
not really surprised, judging by the belaying I see at the wall, often by far better climbers than me (i.e. almost everyone!). Typically loads of slack, rope almost touching the floor, when the lead climber is only at the second or third clip. With 'normal' slack and the dynamics of a fall, things can get a bit spicy, so, as I say, walk round when you're next there and just see how many examples of same you can spot. It's only people not falling off that keeps em safe in some cases.
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

That's seriously unlucky but you may have to question your judgement of climbing partners. I've been dropped once (about 18 ft)but i've got to share the responsibility as it was my girlfriend and it was her first time. I got up off the floor and screamed at her, "Why did you just let the rope run through?". "My hands were hurting", was her answer. I've never taken her again.
ledifer on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

I don't have any experience with gri gris, but I guess if you hold on to the dead rope (like all the posters tell you to) then even if the auto lock fails you'll still hold the fall.
So you've had 3 belayers and at least 2 dropped you because they broke the golden rule and let go of the dead rope. I'd definitely be a bit more careful in choosing your future belayers, although like you said 2 were very experienced (does not = competent) so maybe you are just unlucky.
Ava Adore - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy:

Personally I think the responsibility is all yours. Assuming you "trained" her. And assuming you didn't arrange for another person to supervise her first attempts at belaying.

Bet she's delighted you've never taken her again.
Bernard Shakey - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

I remember one time at LIverpool. some lad dropped his dad twice in about an hour, both times his dad just bounced up on his feet and tried to act like nothing had happened, amazing
RockShock on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to jkarran:
> [...] but I have unfortunately dropped someone. It does occasionally happen and it seems you've been pretty unfortunate in having it happen thrice!
>

No offence mate, but this "must not happen" and if you say it happens "occasionally" then indeed no wonder some people hit the deck three times in 10 years in what's a nearly perfectly controllable environment if done the right way... OP is lucky to be able to still climb after the first fall...
I put the blame partly on the staff of the walls, I rarely see someone correcting the wrong belaying habits. I may be overreacting, as after a near miss years ago I still have big issues when leading precisely due to the lack of belayer I can trust. Worst thing is, that when you remark to someone how wrong he/she is belaying they not only feel offended, but are too proud to correct themselves.
Indoors the details really matter and every step back you are from the wall, or every 20cm of slack in the rope can mean the difference.
Cheers
RS
mrbird - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: Slap the belayer. It is totally unacceptable.
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Ava Adore:

Oh we'd been there about 2 hours and she was doing fine or i wouldn't have trusted her to belay me. She was fine right up until she realised her hands were too tired. I did say i took responsibility for it. That was the point of my post.
The Ex-Engineer - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: I'd say unlucky.

I've certainly had a variety belaying incidents over the years but they have generally revolved around falls from low down or very short walls or top-roping longer routes with lots of rope out. I've also hit the first clip when belaying on several occasions.

But, as others have said, cases of genuinely being 'dropped' should never happen.

As regards GriGris it is worth being aware of the revised Petzl guidance on how to feed out slack quickly (see http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/grigri-product-experience#GE-assurer ). I see no end of people using GriGris dangerously as detailed lower down in that link under 'Incorrect GRIGRI belay techniques'.
Milesy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to RockShock:
> Indoors the details really matter and every step back you are from the wall, or every 20cm of slack in the rope can mean the difference.

I have seen indoor folk go outdoors and do the same approach of standing way back from the first bit of gear and sometimes with a U of rope going to the floor. We all know the situation here outdoors if unmanaged. At the wall I find I am the only person sometimes standing close with little or managed slack in the system. I approach my indoor belaying to how I do outdoors if only that I stay consistant.
Milesy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy:
> (In reply to Ava Adore)
>
> Oh we'd been there about 2 hours and she was doing fine or i wouldn't have trusted her to belay me. She was fine right up until she realised her hands were too tired. I did say i took responsibility for it. That was the point of my post.

Surely her hands should not be of much importance over body stance? Tired hands should still be able to lock dead rope off while body position taking the fall.
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

I also wouldn't have a novice start out lead belaying with a Grigri. It's just an almighty faff with which they will most likely get confused.

If you need backup, you need another person tailing the rope.

Neil
TheDrunkenBakers - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: Could be complacency?

Im a relative newcomer and Ive never dropped anyone, despite plenty of occasions when the climber has fallen.

John Lewis - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: I'd say you were very unlucky, but having read the thread essentially they all let go of the dead end, so thats three belayers all let you down. How do you check partners out? Could you improve the selection process? I now mainly climb with long standing partners, anyone new we would take as a group and keep an eye on until we were all comfortable with how they belay.
RockShock on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to RockShock)
> [...]
>
> I have seen indoor folk go outdoors and do the same approach of standing way back from the first bit of gear and sometimes with a U of rope going to the floor. We all know the situation here outdoors if unmanaged. At the wall I find I am the only person sometimes standing close with little or managed slack in the system. I approach my indoor belaying to how I do outdoors if only that I stay consistant.

I may have worded my post in a wrong way, of course you are correct that we need to pay attention at all times, be it indoors or outdoors - no discussion here.
I was just pointing out that indoors normally the distance-to-ground is quite short, while clips are frequent (normally people clip above their heads, so you need to pay a lot of slack). Also, indoors creates a false sense of security.
I just posted my remark in response to a post that was acknowledging that 'occasionally' deck-outs indoors can happen - when this is the first and most important thing you should learn to avoid - my hair rises when reading through all the stories here...

Clarence - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

I have only been dropped once and that was a very experienced climber who had threaded a single rope on a double sticht plate incorrectly in a fit of absent minded f*ckwittery. It can happen to anyone, I suspect you have just been very unlucky (or very lucky as you can come here and tell us about it).
pebbles - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy: nope, thats seriously stupid. what part of her brain thought that the consequences of you hitting the deck were less serious than the consequences of her hands hurting?
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Clarence:

I always tend to lock the plate off hard before setting the climber off so that if the rope was going to pull out it would do then. Avoids that sort of problem, or was it a *really* odd way to do it?

Neil
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to pebbles:

Lol. Tell me about it. She once asked me do clouds come out at night.
mrbird - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy: Is she good looking?
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to mrbird:

Yes, and 15 years younger.
dunc56 - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy:
> (In reply to mrbird)
>
> Yes, and 15 years younger.

Jingle Jangle. Jewellery, Jewellery.
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to mrbird:

She also didn't believe that a hippopotamus was a real animal. I think she thought it was a fantasy animal like a Pushme-pullyou.
mkean - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
I've seen someone do the "in one hole and out the other without going round the HMS" which was quite a shock!

I've decked due to an inattentive belayer who was distracted by a rather pretty young lady, in all fairness she was really quite pretty so I sort of let him off. Unfortunately he then dropped me some time later when he attempted to lower me "amusingly quickly" and then decided to let go of the rope rather than hurt his hand. I almost murdered him! He doesn't climb any more.
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:

"I've seen someone do the "in one hole and out the other without going round the HMS" which was quite a shock!"

Never done that myself but I've seen it done. The idea of doing a test lock-off before the climber sets off would catch that if I did ever do it.

I similarly tend to pull hard on the rope tied to my harness before I set off. I find doing this sort of thing as a routine without exceptions means I'd be likely to catch any of the common errors before they become a problem.

Neil
mrbird - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy: I hope you are atleast 31. Introuduce her to bouldering then that way you just have to worry about raining lovelys.
Clarence - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
>...or was it a *really* odd way to do it?

No it was the usual wrong way, in one slot and out the other but the divot decided he could rectify the problem while I was climbing and started to pull the tail end of the rope through.
a lakeland climber on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to RockShock:

> I put the blame partly on the staff of the walls, I rarely see someone correcting the wrong belaying habits. I may be overreacting, as after a near miss years ago I still have big issues when leading precisely due to the lack of belayer I can trust. Worst thing is, that when you remark to someone how wrong he/she is belaying they not only feel offended, but are too proud to correct themselves.
> Indoors the details really matter and every step back you are from the wall, or every 20cm of slack in the rope can mean the difference.
> Cheers
> RS

Kendal wall has (or did have) a line set out about a metre from the base of the wall and the belayer had to be between that and the base of the wall for the first three clips or so. Wish more walls would do it as the number of folk you see standing halfway across the hall is embarrassing and worrying.

ALC

Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Clarence:

Duh...

Neil
jkarran - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to RockShock:

Clearly it 'must not happen', yet clearly it does happen. Criticizing me for something that happened years ago doesn't change the fact that it has happened. It happened to me it's happened to others before me and since and it may well happen to me again one day (from either end of the rope). Try as they might people aren't infallible no matter how much they might like to imagine otherwise, you and me included.

I'm not seeking to excuse my mistake, simply stating fact, people make mistakes.

jk
redsonja - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: your belayers must be crap. it shouldnt happen. but some of the belaying you can see both inside and out is apalling
winhill - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Do you jump on the rope immediately clipping the lower off? Or make sure people are looking before doing something you may fall on?

Something that means they're not ready or perhaps paid out slack to clip the lower off then you're on the rope while they're trying to take in?

I've seen experienced climbers nearly drop someone because their technique has been learnt on fatter ropes, or once just because it was a new rope and didn't offer the usual resistence.
RockShock on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to RockShock)
>
> Clearly it 'must not happen', yet clearly it does happen. Criticizing me for something that happened years ago doesn't change the fact that it has happened. It happened to me it's happened to others before me and since and it may well happen to me again one day (from either end of the rope). Try as they might people aren't infallible no matter how much they might like to imagine otherwise, you and me included.
>
> I'm not seeking to excuse my mistake, simply stating fact, people make mistakes.

Sorry if my initial post sounded offensive, I didn't mean to offend you. It's just that you stated that those things 'occasionally' happen which is, perhaps, a statement of a fact, but you wrote as if you were ok with that and accepting that as a fact of life and part of the normal indoor climber's life (that's how I understood it).
Accidents are accidents and I can just hope that I can avoid it. But accidents come from two causes:
- a simple single f*ck up when you are conscious you should have done something differently and you normally do it differently, but due to some circumstances you failed to do it that one time, equipment failed, etc
- a systematic f*ck up, when you are not aware of the dangers and consequences of what you are doing and will keep doing it, because - well - occasionally such things happen...

The second point is not aimed at you, I guess you learned the hard way how to belay better - but a general remark at the ignorance of the, unfortunately, majority of climbing community.

Cheers
RS
dale1968 - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to RockShock: what majority is this? I haven't met them, do you hang round with complete morons?
ScraggyGoat on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to heidi123:

Whenever people start threads about belaying, there are always cries of 'crap' belaying. Yes as individual events these are crap belaying, but that is not to say the individual is generally crap at it, and thus 'little to be learned'.

Over 20 plus years I've unfortunately seen a few people dropped, and have heard from friends who have both been dropped and have done the dropping. With outcomes from comical, to fatal. Causes have generally been inattention, or miscommunication.

All the more serious incidents have happened to experienced parties (by anyone standards), and as much with thier regularly climbing partners, as with not. To give you examples of level of experience they have included people whom have done all thier alpine 4000's, and names you would recognise as prolific new routers in the back of gritstone guides.

Experience alone will not protect you, and ignoring such stories as simply 'crap belaying'............is blinkered. The line between safe or splat, is often finer than you think, and forum stories should act as a reminder of this.
RockShock on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968:
> (In reply to RockShock) what majority is this? I haven't met them, do you hang round with complete morons?

Calling people who belay badly "morons" is a bit of overstatement, some of them are surely quite bright folks ;)
Anyways, majority is anything more than 50% - I could make a bet that on one vistit to the indoor center you would buy me a pint of beer for each belayer belaying like crap, and I would buy you a pint for every one belaying well - I would surely end up more drunk than you!

Outdoors the situation is normally the same, at least here in Spain where I live now, grigri + one hand in the pocket and other one smoking: more than half of the belayers again....
redsonja - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to ScraggyGoat: maybe so.... it doesnt alter the fact that some people dont know how to belay. i saw someone a while ago at froggat with 2 hands on the live rope and notthing on the dead. it was cary to watch!
dale1968 - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: thankfully this is not a part of climbing that I recognize, and cannot argue with your experience of these climbers, but I can assure you that there are a majority of climbers who don't fit this description
ScraggyGoat on 17 Jan 2013
yes you can spot lots of mistakes, but this doesn't mean you yourself will be free from them for all of your climbing career, or can't learn from others errors.
John_Hat - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Unlucky. I've been dropped once, and very nearly dropped a couple of other times, in all cases either novice belayers not being supervised properly, or just-passed-their-belay-test-and-probably-shouldn't-have new belayers.

However, it is perfectly possible for even the most experienced and safe belayer to cock up once in a while... I've certainly cocked up once, but luckily no damage as the climber looked down and realised that I was busy affecting a rescue and, erm, not holding the dead rope (1)... Whoops.

(1) One of those actual emergency situations where I had a fraction of a second to grab a rope to stop a serious accident on an adjacant route but grabbed it with the hand I should have been using to hold the dead rope of *my* climber.
redsonja - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: totally agree. my mate fell off outside one time. fortunately i was close to the wall but still got slammed into it and cracked my elbow. it still pains sometimes 9 years later. but i never let go of the rope
jkarran - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to RockShock:

> Sorry if my initial post sounded offensive, I didn't mean to offend you.

Likewise, sorry if my reply came across pricklier than intended.
jk
Dan Arkle - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

I find it helps to scream as if I was going to die, every time I fall off, it wakes my patient belayers up but I do get some odd looks.
grithugger on 17 Jan 2013 - host86-175-87-194.wlms-broadband.com
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: i think if most climbers were honest they would admit to nealry dropping a mate or making a mix up with ropes/anchors/belay devices which could of ended in dissaster had we not relised before it was too late.fortunately i've not been dropped,or let my own dodgy rope work pass undetected until it was too late.it would seem you've had my bad luck!

If people tell you otherwise i think they're little fibbs!

That said i think this is a perfect reason never to climb at an indoor wall ever again!




Ciro - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Jim at Work:
> (In reply to SeriousCallersOnly)
> not really surprised, judging by the belaying I see at the wall, often by far better climbers than me (i.e. almost everyone!). Typically loads of slack, rope almost touching the floor, when the lead climber is only at the second or third clip. With 'normal' slack and the dynamics of a fall, things can get a bit spicy, so, as I say, walk round when you're next there and just see how many examples of same you can spot. It's only people not falling off that keeps em safe in some cases.

Somewhat paradoxically, it's people not falling off very often that puts them in danger, by creating a false sense of safety in their belayers leading to complacency. If I find a new belayer acting like that, I'll take an un-announced fall from directly above their head... they tend to pay more attention to my safety after that ;)
dougyt26 - on 17 Jan 2013
i would not bother climbing at all if you have belayers like that there is a bad belayer in are group and i refuse point blank to tie in when hes on belay.
Ava Adore - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy:

No, you said you SHARED the responsibility. Mate, it's all yours.
duchessofmalfi - on 17 Jan 2013
It has happened to me a few times, always at lower off. Every time I've checked with the belayer before letting go and even then the belayer's attention managed to drift off. Never been hurt, since the descent is not a free fall, but shaken up. Now I wonder why I can't push it hard 'til I take falls?
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Ava Adore:

I think if i was belaying you i'd drop yer :-)
Morgan Woods - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:
> (In reply to Fraser)
>

> With the ATC types, both were due to letting go of the dead end. Grigri, not so sure but it didn't lock.
>
> cheers
> s

you can put the gri-gri in that category too. If they were holding the dead end then it would have locked.
sdawson1 - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: Three words Communication, Communication , Communication !

Seriously ! You've got to be joking ! You , me and all others need to recognise that Communication is paramount.

I still have communication errors personally with the usual outcome. Dropped. If we cant sort it out on the wall we definitely cant sort it out on a 100ft pitch on a windy day in the Lakes/ Wales/ Derbyshire. Off sopa box (dropped of north wales more than once Im a bad communicator. Si
needvert on 17 Jan 2013
Must be hard to get over the natural fear of falling on lead with all these droppings happen.

Wonder if a silent partner is more reliable...
unknownclimber6 - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: i was dropped once by my girlfriend about 30ft from the lower offs, she let the rope run through way to fast and i hit the floor at some speed, was pretty sore and was quite pissed off as i explained it was a new and thinner rope and would go through a bit quicker than normal, havent really climbed with her since just bouldered.

belayers really do make an impact on how you climb! choose them wisely!
kos_os - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: if my thinking is right, I was surprised to see you jump up straight away, and even more surprised that I was the first to ask if you were alright and your belayer stayed pretty quiet! Were you using a skinny rope with an old grigri? maybe time to replace a few things...
Sarah G on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:
Only time I got dropped was when someone wanted to try out a gri gri; someone else was trying to instruct them in how it worked, and I was the poor sap on the other end of the rope. They lowered me off far too quickly, and of course kept a grip of the bloody thing instead of letting go. I landed heavily and fortunately, nice and evenly or it would have been broken/sprained ankles etc. i was livid with them both and especially the other person because they didn't even tail the rope. To this day I contend that gri gris are the spawn of Satan, simply because it is counter-intuitive and easy to get it wrong.

I have never dropped anyone.

sx
Neil Williams - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Sarah G:

"To this day I contend that gri gris are the spawn of Satan, simply because it is counter-intuitive and easy to get it wrong."

Agree there. A device where gripping it hard causes it *not* to lock is completely counter-intuitive.

They have their uses, but IMO are more suited to those who know what they are doing than novices.

Neil
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Sarah G: I have never yet understood what problem gri gris are supposed to solve, and this is despite several of my mates using them.

I use a passive, practically fail safe device (WC SRC - other brands are available) and a belayer would have to have murderous intent to drop someone.
deepsoup - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> Agree there. A device where gripping it hard causes it *not* to lock is completely counter-intuitive.

Gripping the dead rope hard causes it to lock.

You're right about the trigger thing though - but with practice it is possible to change that reflex to the 'correct' (ie: this is going too fast, let go of the handle) response.

That's been shown with cavers and industrial danglers using the venerable Stop descender over many years - gripping the trigger in panic is very much a beginner's mistake.

The real mistake imo is to think of the trigger as the thing that controls the descent, rather than as the thing that allows you to lower by controlling the dead rope like a traditional sticht plate.

> They have their uses, but IMO are more suited to those who know what they are doing than novices.

Agree completely. People who give gri-gris to novices because its 'safer' are making a mistake imo too.
winhill - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Sarah G) I have never yet understood what problem gri gris are supposed to solve, and this is despite several of my mates using them.
>
> I use a passive, practically fail safe device (WC SRC - other brands are available) and a belayer would have to have murderous intent to drop someone.

I use both, Gri Gri and SRC, bit of a recent convert to SRC, mainly cos it was just never being used so I gave it a go but also because it disipates heat better if you're doing 4*4s, cheaper to wear out etc.

It looks like Wild Country might have stopped production, which is a shame.

But any device where you have to do something to release it could be considered 'counter intuitive', that doesn't really have a lot of meaning here.
ledifer on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Sarah G) I have never yet understood what problem gri gris are supposed to solve, and this is despite several of my mates using them.
>

Suppose this is as good an opportunity as any to start singing the praises of the mammut smart alpine again :-)
Neil Williams - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

> The real mistake imo is to think of the trigger as the thing that controls the descent, rather than as the thing that allows you to lower by controlling the dead rope like a traditional sticht plate.

True, though because you need a hand on the lever that lowering is much harder because you have to control the rope slipping through your brake hand rather than being able to lower with one hand always firmly gripping the rope as you would on an ATC or whatever. (Never used a sticht plate but I figure that would be the same).

> Agree completely. People who give gri-gris to novices because its 'safer' are making a mistake imo too.

They have their (off-label) uses for bell-ringing with groups and the likes, but if you'll take the hit in terms of rope wear the Italian hitch is far more intuitive to use, particularly when lowering.

Neil
Fraser on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to Sarah G:
> ... I contend that gri gris are the spawn of Satan, simply because it is counter-intuitive and easy to get it wrong.

I don't understand this stance when it's cited. You know when the lever isn't pulled back (and the rope's loaded), it's locked. The climber can't be lowered. As you pull the lever back, the device unlocks the rope and the climber is slowly lowered. More pulling back - climber descends more rapidly. To me it's like a car accelerator: the further you depress it, the faster you go. It's not that hard and not counter-intuitive at all. You don't let go the steering wheel when you go faster, nor do you let go the dead end of the rope when lowering.

What the meerkat said.
Morgan P - on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy) nope, thats seriously stupid. what part of her brain thought that the consequences of you hitting the deck were less serious than the consequences of her hands hurting?

Exactly what I thought, personally I wouldn't want to be with someone with that mindset. Even if someone is inexperienced it's expected that they have the common sense to ask to stop if they're tired and don't feel they could even hold a dead rope..
Morgan P - on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy:
> (In reply to mrbird)
>
> Yes, and 15 years younger.

Okay I'll let you off haha
JayPee630 - on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to Fraser:

Hmmmm, your steering wheel analogy is a good one, except that when you go faster or are scared you grip that harder, which is intuitive, as it is with the Grigri, hence the problems.
Moggsy on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: more like operator error - tell your partner to screw the nut
lowersharpnose - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Agree there. A device where gripping it hard causes it *not* to lock is completely counter-intuitive.

Agree with this. Some grigri falls have only been stopped because the belayer let go at the last second to avoid getting fallen on.
jenniwat001 on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

Ok, usually this is the result of poor belaying however- do you like to be held slack? I have told more than one climber I won't hold them as loosly as they want as I am not sure I can prevent them decking (even high up) I usually find this with 'experienced' climber used to climbing outdoors and free climbing. Not all belayers would do this.

It shouldn't happen. I have belayed much heavier climbers and not dropped them. Never has a climber I have belayed decked, he closest it has come is a missed clip, and a fall at the next clip after bailing out, luckily they were high enough for the missed clip not to be too much of an issue, they hung inches from the floor (with sore testicles!)

If you are unsure on their belaying style then test them, check them and make sure they belay how YOU like, not how their regular partner likes.
climbingrose - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: Belaying is a skill in its own right, and some people forget this. I am actually probably a better belayer that climber *blush* and have had people specifically ask me to belay them on difficult routes as they know i will be attentive and catch them if they fall. Its not just about holding the rope - a good belayer will watch and anticipate a tricky manouver, hold when necessary, and adjust tension on the rope as required to keep the climber safe. I've seen many climbing courses, but never a belaying one. Lead belaying especially should be taught in my opinion. I have also come across some seriously dangerous belaying: I was once purposely dropped by my ex as a punishment, as he felt I had perpetrated a belaying misdemeanor - the rope snagged and he swung into the wall slightly on the lower off, which apparently was my fault ... ho hum ...
pog100 - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to climbingrose:

he sounds like a right charmer.....
woody5 - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: I worked as in instructor at a wall for over 16 years ,been climbing for nearly 50 years ,using this experince I would suggest you need to select your climbing partners with far greater care ,and watch them when they are belaying you .
Quite simply it should never happen.
The Grist - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: I have been dropped twice. In 20 years of climbing. Once indoor when leading. The girl belaying thought I wanted slack when I got to the top. She thought I needed to clip when I had just clipped. As I leant back she gave slack and failed to remedy it. I decked.
Second time was outside top roping. Probably my fault for top roping but I had suspicions about the belayer. I got to the top leant back and decked. The girl belaying had assured me she knew how to belay. I should have listened to the inner voice.
I never climbed with either again. I am also suspicious of new potential partners and will literally do fall tests to test their belaying at first. I will make sure i have seen them belay someone else and hold falls before i will climb with them.I am also wary of females belaying although I realise that is pretty controversial. All I can say is that the stats don't look good for the fairer sex as far as my accidents are concerned.

I think you are unlucky to be dropped three times in ten years. But lucky to have not been injured. I fractured a bone in my spine the first time it happened. Second time I was lucky and hobbled away.
Jenny Seaborne - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to The Grist: As a 7.5 stone female I can say that I don't think it's the womens' fault. Often when climbing with heavier partners it is much much harder to hold a larger fall than a man would with their added weight. The problem is that not enough people are taught about how to dynamically belay properly so that they can hold the larger falls even though they are smaller.
Also, from my experience, there may be a slight element that women tend not to take the larger falls that men do, so that they appear to mostly be the ones belaying when someone is dropped. I once very nearly dropped someone who decided it would be a great idea to try a route way out of his limit who was much heavier than me and slipped off before the 3rd clip. It was not pleasant at all, and I don't see how anyone could see that letting go of the dead end would be a good idea, especially seeing as they're supposed to be holding it the whole time.
SARS on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Seaborne:

Lighter belayers don't really need to dynamically belay - they'll naturally do so by virtue of being lighter...

I've never had any problems being belayed by very light females. I just tie them to the floor and usually get them to use a gri gri.
The Grist - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Jenny Seaborne: it wasn't a problem with weight. They just weren't paying attention.
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sianabanana - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

At the wall tonight, some experienced climbers (they climb harder than me and i see them there often). The climber yells to his mate take, the belayer scrabbles around to take in the slack, as im watching, the lets go of the break rope as he is fumbling.

I think some people don't practice their technique enough in the beginning and get in to bad habits. I don't think the belayer even noticed what he did.

rustynath on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:
I have used a GriGri for years, and was always taught is was an assisting device, not a fail safe.

This makes for an interesting read:
http://www.thebmc.co.uk/gri-gri-unmasking-the-myths
Ava Adore - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to The Grist:
> (In reply to SeriousCallersOnly) I am also wary of females belaying although I realise that is pretty controversial. All I can say is that the stats don't look good for the fairer sex as far as my accidents are concerned.
>

Understandable that you're wary so not controversial as far as I'm concerned. Some of us do know how to belay though :-)
iksander on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: That's not normal, very unlucky I would say. Touchwood, been climbing more than 20 years and never been dropped. If climbing with a new partner, I always ask "Happy?" before I climb and assess their response. You can usually sense any uncertainty at that point and address it. I always at least make eye or vocal contact if possible before lowering off. If someone makes out they can belay and that they are confident to - but isn't - deserves a very stern word at least...
pebbles - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to The Grist:
I am also wary of females belaying although I realise that is pretty controversial. All I can say is that the stats don't look good for the fairer sex as far as my accidents are concerned.
>
hmm. perhaps they are not entirely accidental? just a thought...

craig1983 - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to rustynath:

> This makes for an interesting read:
> http://www.thebmc.co.uk/gri-gri-unmasking-the-myths


I'm sorry, but in both those 'examples' is sounds like a faulty GriGri, or the belayer was pinching the device. In example 1 it says the climber went for a dyno and fell....yet it says it was a very gradual and slow fall.... missing a dyno is not a gradual and slow fall! Example 2, if the climber sits back on the rope at a bolt, its still more than enough load to lock the device.

Agree that its not foolproof tho, and should be treated as any belay device....ie keep hold of the deadrope no matter what!
robblackburn - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: V, Knee, 1, 2, 3 mate. simple. always keeping a hand on the dead rope. Even with a grigri id still brake it, regardless of what its designed for the belayer is in control and responsible for doing their job propperly.

I got dropped at the top of a 15m indoor lead about 3 months ago.
Id clipped in and shouted down, my belayer said go so i let go like standard and he pretty much just let the rope run through his hands. Luckily the floor was padded, but everyone still kacked themselves and rushed over, i jumped up and lost it with my belayer.

Know and trust your partner I guess. Stuff like that shouldnt happen.
jwa - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to sianabanana:
> (In reply to SeriousCallersOnly)
> The climber yells to his mate take, the belayer scrabbles around to take in the slack, as im watching, the lets go of the break rope as he is fumbling.
> I don't think the belayer even noticed what he did.

About a month ago I was watching some other people climb indoors as I was in a group of three. The leader had backclipped the first and third clips which was a little worrying in itself, then I noticed the belayer fiddling with a camera pouch on his waist. There was a hand on the dead rope so I thought that was ok but a bit pointless taking pictures of your mate dogging his way up an indoor route. More camera fiddling ensued and this chap entirely let go of the dead rope to sort something out. It was only brief but they were both very lucky the leader didn't fall at that point.

On the same visit I saw at least one person let go of the dead rope on their Gri-Gri to give their climber who was resting some beta from the ground with all important hand movements included.

RockShock on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to jwa:

> On the same visit I saw at least one person let go of the dead rope on their Gri-Gri to give their climber who was resting some beta from the ground with all important hand movements included.

Now this is nearly a SOP at sport crags in Spain, and if not giving beta than both hands in the pockets... Makes you look more expert I guess...
Sarah G on 22 Jan 2013


> More camera fiddling ensued and this chap entirely let go of the dead rope to sort something out. It was only brief but they were both very lucky the leader didn't fall at that point.
>
> On the same visit I saw at least one person let go of the dead rope on their Gri-Gri to give their climber who was resting some beta from the ground with all important hand movements included.

Oh for feck's sake, in both those instances it would have been the work of just a second to have tied off the belay! Does no-one know how to do this nowadays?

Sxx
Neil Williams - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sarah G:

It's not something that's often needed as an indoor climber, other than when wanting to be a smart arse and say "look no hands", so I imagine most indoor climbers never bother learning.

Neil
Kieran_John - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:

I'm pretty picky with who I let belay me, and even pickier when trying hard routes. I've only ever decked outside though, and I can't blame the belayer for that, it was my terrible, terrible gear placement.
jwa - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to RockShock:
> (In reply to jwa)
>
> [...]
>
> Now this is nearly a SOP at sport crags in Spain, and if not giving beta than both hands in the pockets... Makes you look more expert I guess...

I did get worried once climbing with someone I'd not climbed with before at Stanage. Half way up I looked down and he had his hands in his pockets. I asked if he had me which he did, he was just a bit cold and was still holding the rope from the comfort of his pocket.

jwa - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Sarah G)
>
> It's not something that's often needed as an indoor climber, other than when wanting to be a smart arse and say "look no hands", so I imagine most indoor climbers never bother learning.

I don't see it as something that most people need to know how to do. If there's a problem, particularly indoors, the simplest thing is to lower them off. Holding onto the rope while someone figures out their moves shouldn't really be a struggle. As soon as my brother learned how to do it he wanted to use it all the time, which would have been quite annoying while resting for half a minute and then wanting to go again.

Sarah G on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
It's applicable both indoors and outdoors.

Sx
Sarah G on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to jwa:
It applies to both indoors and outdoors and is handy to know for various reasons.

Jeeeze.

Sx
Fraser on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sarah G:
> (In reply to jwa)
> It applies to both indoors and outdoors and is handy to know for various reasons.

> Jeeeze.


True, but what's far handier and even simpler to know (and to remember to put into effect) is: never let go the dead end of rope, even with a GriGri. I don't like seeing folk do it, nomatter how unlikely a malfunction might be.

Having said that, I don't officially know how to tie it off - and have never been required to - but I'm fairly sure I could fashion something safe.

Neil Williams - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sarah G:

When would you be likely to need it indoors? Because of the lack of ground anchors, you are not going to be able to escape the belay other than by someone putting their plate under yours.

Neil
Wiley Coyote - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly:
In my (not inconsiderable) experience sport climbing, indoors or out, seems to encourage some pretty complacent belaying habits. It's not that people don't know how to belay safely, in fact they are so confident that they feel they don't have to think about it at all. Out on some wind-blasted sea cliff with a big swellrunning everyone seems to be on their toes because it feels dangerous. Move the same climbers onto a sport crag and too many seem to relax because "it's only bolts, innit". This seems particularly true indoors where there are lots of nice distractions, other mates to talk to, people to watch or even just peering round for which line will come free next.
Many people don't view belaying as a pro-active skill, it's just passively 'holding the rope' so they drift off and think of something or ogle someone more interesting.
ablackett - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: What has surprised me about this thread is that 3 people have been dropped from the top of an indoor wall, a total of 6 times and nobody has reported ending up in hospital or worse.

I would expect to be leaving in a box if I was dropped indoors from 10m. Does the friction of the rope passing through the belay device slow the climber down enough? Or am I just pessimistic about my chances?
craig1983 - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to ablackett:

I thought the same...If i was dropped from the top of the climbing centre in glasgow (prob about 12m ish) I couldnt see me walking away from it! Think anybody that can walk away from such a high fall either climbs at a wall with epic padding, or has 9 lives!
Kieran_John - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to craig1983:

6 lives now.
Neil Williams - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to craig1983:

I've always assumed that falling 10m onto the sort of very-slightly-padded floor you get at walls would mean either death or paralysis...

Neil
Neil Williams - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

(Decking on rope stretch being different, as that tends to happen without much force by the time you get to the floor)
RCC - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I've always assumed that falling 10m onto the sort of very-slightly-padded floor you get at walls would mean either death or paralysis...

Falling would possibly (probably??) be very different to being dropped though. The rope running through the belay plate is still going to generate a fair bit of friction I'd have thought.
winhill - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to The Grist:
> (In reply to SeriousCallersOnly) I have been dropped twice. In 20 years of climbing. Once indoor when leading. The girl belaying thought I wanted slack when I got to the top. She thought I needed to clip when I had just clipped. As I leant back she gave slack and failed to remedy it.

This isn't lack of attention, it's lack of communication, as the one at risk, it's in your interest to make sure you're both on the same page.

She may not have been the best belayer but I'd put this is your court.

So one woman dropped you and now you don't trust all women? Totally illogical.

As for not climbing with her again, have you never taught a novice? They tend to improve, so how much has she improved since?
Neil Williams - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to winhill:

Dare I ask (to The Grist), do you lean back on a slack rope? Assuming the holds aren't so bad[1] it's clip and drop, I will stay holding on until I feel the rope go properly tight. That avoids any risk of what you describe happening unless the belayer is a total idiot.

[1] All the holds on that line. Once I've reached the top of what I'm climbing, matched the top hold (optional, depending on your ethics) and got the top clip in, I'm done; I'll hold onto whatever is most convenient to ensure a safe lower-off. If there's only a hard route on that line, I can't, but if there's a mix of routes as there often is, I'll grab the jug on the 4+ while I wait to be taken in properly before lowering.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

FWIW, I like double-feedback on setting off (climb when ready-climbing-OK, sometimes shortened a bit but with those elements still there). I also like it on lowering.

Are there any proper calls for that other than repeated OKs which aren't exactly good for avoiding confusion, anyway? I never heard any. But what I do tend to do (and it does seem to be just me) is to wait for the rope to go tight while keeping hold on the route, then weight the rope and give a thumbs up when it feels OK to start the lowering-off.

Neil
howifeel - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to SeriousCallersOnly: Live rope at the front, dead rope at the back?
I always used to see sports climbers using a relaxed looking double handed control in front of them. I think it is less natural to pull downwards at such a sharp angle over the belay plate when holding the rope in front of you, also you could be weakening the belay plate action which depends on accelerating a clamping action if your hands are in front instead of naturally beneath your belay plate which the holding hand will be when at your side. There a straight arm is more distant from the plate and more downwards.
Reading these accounts I am going back to holding the braking hand more at my side to automatically create a more natural downwards angle. One hand is better than two if the belay plate is inclined naturally to lock or resist.
After all I was taught that these things work easily so something is wrong if I have to work hard.


jimb
If you have been dropped 3 times by 3 different belayers you are definitely NOT unlucky. You have just been very, very lucky every other time that you have sat back on the rope or fallen off, because the simple truth is that your ‘belayers’ cannot belay.

Unless someone can belay safely 100% of the time they cannot be considered to be a competent belayer and should never be allowed to belay unsupervised.

The fact that some people walk away from such accidents is nothing to be proud of. Do you ever consider for a moment that maybe next time you will land on some other perfectly innocent climber and kill or maim them instead?

If anyone insists on climbing with incompetent belayers or thinks that they can teach their partner to belay in a couple of hours then hope for the best, please take yourselves off to a quiet quarry somewhere to practice where you won’t land on anyone but yourselves and you can enjoy fast tracking your own immortality in the Darwin Awards.
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jwa - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Flying Spaghetti Monster:
> If anyone ...thinks that they can teach their partner to belay in a couple of hours...

Most climbing walls seem to think they can teach belaying in a couple of hours.
Neil Williams - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to jwa:

Down to attitude I think. Top rope belaying is easy, but some people panic and fumble, and some people don't get it that the only situation where letting go of the dead rope is acceptable is when the climber is on the ground or you're unconscious.

Neil
johncook - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: For some crazy reason I tend to take a firm grasp of the dead rope as soon as the climber begins tying in and one hand stays there until the climber is either back on the ground or is safely tied in to a belay at the top of a pitch. I have been know, indoors, to start belaying on an unused rope I was holding when someone began to climb on the next route. Several friends watched, laughed, and told me about it afterwards (when I had gone up and fetched the 'live' end which was now 10ft up the wall)
You can't teach belaying in 2 hours (or even in some peoples case.) and some walls try to do it in far less time. With newer belayers I climb routes I can down climb. I look very carefully before I weight the rope, and usually have another friend who also watches the belayer. It can take weeks for me to feel comfotable with a belayer. The last time I was dropped was by a guy who was the clubs 'belay instructor' and 'safety officer' (That was in USA) and I was on a top-rope. No real injuries as the ATC and the friction of the rope on the slab and my body as it dragged slowed me down a lot. His only comment was "Why did you fall there? That was the easy part!"
Another belayer in my book of non-belayers, but he still holds his two club 'positions'!
SteveRi - on 25 Jan 2013
I hate to be the opposite of smug, but I've been climbing for [cough] 30 years and grigri-ing since they were the new kids on the block. I recently threaded the thing the wrong way and had to lower off using a not-very-efficient friction pulley and a very hot hand. Caveat emptor.
needvert on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Flying Spaghetti Monster:

I think if my belayers take more than 30 minutes to learn how to not drop me, there may be no hope for them.

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