/ Paying out rope to leader with a Wild Country SRC - safe?
Last night one of the floor walkers picked me up when belaying a leader with my SRC for taking my hand off the dead rope when paying out slack.
I was cradling the SRC with my left hand and pulling up the live rope with my right. I didn't think I was doing it wrong, so I checked the instructions again:
"Paying Out the Rope (see diagram D) : This technique should be used when paying out rope to a lead climber. Practice holding the SRC/Belay Master system exactly as shown in diagram D, this will familiarise the user with the technique for pushing the SRC against the Belay Master karabiner thereby unlocking the SRC while paying out the active rope with the other hand."
So I was doing it correctly per the instructions but I have to admit that letting go of the dead rope makes me nervous. Would the device lock up if the leader fell while I didn't have a hand on the dead rope?
The best compromise I could come up with was holding a bight of dead rope in my right hand while I pulled the dead rope up with the same hand, but this was cumbersome and limited how much slack I could pay out.
Should I change my technique?
I would imagine the device wouldn't lock in the result of a fall, because you are preventing that from happening with your left hand (as per the diagram). It does strike me a being a bit dodgy?
would it not be possible to hold the SRC with your right hand, while also holding the dead rope with this hand and paying out slack with the left? This would be closer to the correct way of paying slack with a grigri. that way, you never let go of the dead end at all.
Not used an SRC, so not sure how that would work in practice.
I now have a Mammut Smart that works on a similar principle but has a longer extension for the rope that makes it much more intuitive to use. I have never had to let go of the dead rope when belaying or lowering but it does lock off. I don't understand why they are not more popular. On the basis that no device is "offically" hands free I can understand why floor walkers would get nervous about letting go of the dead end. Having said all that I am fairly confident that devices like these and GriGrigs would lock. In fact when I first bought a GriGri it was precisely for that reason but somewhere along the line Petzl got nervous about advertising it as such. Or is my old memory faiing me?
I've never used a Gri Gri but I think you were right the first time http://www.thebmc.co.uk/gri-gri-unmasking-the-myths
I also have a Smart, but the "Alpine" (?) version for winter doubles
I haven't noticed rope slip on SRC like you can get on a grigri, it will take whether you're holding the dead rope or not.
I find the wild country method of paying out a bit clumbersome, the rope should be between forefinger and middle finger so you don't need to let go of it.
Instead of pushing it from behind I find it simpler to grasp the front of the SRC between forefinger and thumb, then pull it forwards and upwards to release the rope to pay it out. That way you keep the other three fingers on the rope, same as you can on a grigri.
Rather than try to pay out too quickly you can step in towards the wall to give slack and then slowly payout as you step back.
Could you have the dead rope going through your thumb and forefinger while holding the SRC with the remaining fingers, and use the other hand to pull the live rope out?
First of all remember the device is designed to add more friction than a stitch plate, not completely lock, as people often say!
I found that holding the dead rope and arc in the right hand and pulling the device up so it had the least amount of friction then pulling on the live rope the quickest and most efficient way while keeping saftey to an absolute maximum as it was centre based work.
I hope this helps,
We also spent time testing how well the device works in terms of 'semi-locking', we belayed several people of below, average and over weight people on a trapeze pole and had them jump off, with a group of instructors holding the dead rope at the bottom, and all loosening their grips on the dead rope, the rope actually slides through the device at a controlled speed that if you were to let go of the rope by accident then the climber would descend to the ground at a much lower pace than say a stitch plate
> I found that holding the dead rope and arc in the right hand and pulling the device up so it had the least amount of friction then pulling on the live rope the quickest and most efficient way while keeping saftey to an absolute maximum as it was centre based work.
With which hand did you pull the device up? With your right thumb and forefinger, with the dead rope running between them?
> Could you have the dead rope going through your thumb and forefinger while holding the SRC with the remaining fingers, and use the other hand to pull the live rope out?
That's how I did it when I used the SRC, (for several years) It's a bit of an acquired skill but worth it IMO for peace of mind. I pinched the device with back two fingers and palm of hand, then held the rope between thumb and front two fingers) I don't like letting go the dead end of rope for any reason, with any device, including a GriGri (which I now use, due to skinnier ropes)
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