/ Ropes behind legs

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bpmclimb - on 22 Mar 2013
Looking at various photos and videos of climbers in recent years, I'm struck by how often, when using two ropes and making moves other than vertically upwards, climbers still seem to feel the need to keep at least one rope running down between their legs (and not infrequently both). I've also watched a fair number of vids of climbing falls, and I'm struck by the large number of times the leader finishes upside down, tangled in at least one of the ropes.

The two things seem clearly related to me. I think the upside down and tangled scenario is almost always avoidable, yet it seems increasingly common.

Cheese Monkey - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: Bad habit I think that is easy to slip into, I'm definitely a victim and trying to right it :]
Aaron Hauptmann - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

I was climbing in the peaks with an American climber who was with our club on a term abroad. He'd never climbed on twin ropes despite 7+ years of experience. We were doing an E2 Overhang on high neb and his leg got caught behind the rope on the crux. He came off and got spun upside down, luckily jut dangled in the air due to the overhanging nature of the climb.

I do think a lot of climbers need to be more aware of how the move in relation to their ropes as this can cause some really dodgy situations which are easily avoided. But it is even more difficult when dealiing with twin or double ropes as there is twice as much to get caught up in, and sometimes one of the ropes hasn't clipped into gear in a while and isn't pulled into the wall making it even easier to flag out a leg behind the rope. In the end wearing a helmet is always a good idea!

jkarran - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> The two things seem clearly related to me. I think the upside down and tangled scenario is almost always avoidable, yet it seems increasingly common.

They are clearly related and sometimes it's very hard to avoid it. Sometimes you spot it too late and it's better just to get on with the climbing rather than fall trying to sort it out. Some folk are just oblivious.
bpmclimb - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to jkarran:

I quite often put both ropes over my foot or thigh before making a long and/or difficult move diagonally in the opposite direction. I don't know if this is considered best practice, but it seems to work - I don't recall ever being upside down after a fall.
Jonny2vests - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

Makes me cringe every time I see it, and when I feel the brush my calf, its always priority one to sort it. Even with gear above your head, you can end up with decent rope burn on your calf.
Siderunner - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

Ditto - and especially when the climber is not wearing a helmet.

I've observed that this combination is quite common with experienced trad climbers going sport-climbing, presumably because of the leader-doesnt-fall mentality combined with the perception that sport climbing is for sissies and totally safe.
Jonny2vests - on 24 Mar 2013
In reply to Siderunner:

As if on cue, saw someone take a big whipper today in Squamish, rope inverted him and he stopped with his head about a foot off the ground. He did had a helmet on thankfully.
RKernan - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

It's a particular problem if your belayer is being a numpty and belaying too far out from the base of a climb, then you fall off in the lower section and catch the rope behind your leg as you fall. Especially when wearing shorts. Makes it painful to wear jeans for a few days.
JIMBO on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: I've had two friends fall foul of this.
First inverted and smashed his head (no helmet) and luckily after a trip to hospital all was ok. - sport climb
Second cartwheeled and smashed his leg on the wall breaking it. Resulting in a lengthy extraction and trip to hospital. - trad climb
Good to avoid this scenario...
Kemics - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

saw a guy fall/invert and smash his head in avon. He was wearing a helmet but the helmet was totally trashed (the foam had split completely in half and was held by the fragments of plastics) Really made me appreciate the importance of wearing a helmet and not placing the rope behind your leg :)

While making any traverse away I always flip the rope over my thigh/foot. Take's less than a second.
LizS on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to RKernan:
a good point that the belayer can contribute as much to a bad fall as the climber!
hms - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: out of interest, see FCQ guide, page 28!!
bpmclimb - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to hms:

Yes that pic occurred to me soon after starting this thread! I would definitely have been spun round if I'd fallen at that moment. Although I wouldn't have fallen very far, given your highly attentive belaying pose. Ah well ... apologetic :)

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