/ Clovehitch or figure of eight on bite?
However I just read a book that said a figure-of-eight on a bite into your rope loop is much better and basically said don't use the carabiner method. I can understand that it means less gear but surely it is much harder to adjust and is extra bulk on your belay.
I'm going to continue with the carabiner method unless anyone can tell me a severe disadvantage? cheers, it is nice to know however in case i somehow end up with absolutely no biners left
I would have thought that the stretch in the rope would have been enough and that the carabiner wouldn't really make a difference. Everyone else i know seems to use the biner method so I can't see it being dangerous at all.
Basically its exactly the same as the normal technique but simply removing your (hms) carabiner from the system and tying straight into your rope loop with a figure of eight.
1. Escaping the system is as easy as untying the knot on your harness.
2. If you are sitting, you can arrange the ropes so that they don't end up going over your leg. This means that you don't end up amputating your thigh if your second falls (something that is pretty painful and always done if belaying from your belay loop)
How old was the book? This was standard years and years ago. It's obviously still a valid method, of course, but it eats up rope.
@eebygum, think you've misunderstood me - which is understandable as it was very hard to explain haha
I doubt if any instructional book worth its price would have put it in such unequivocal terms, there are always shades of grey, pros and cons and different ways to skin a cat. Personally I'd say that if you are so concerned about the belay that you're trying to reduce shock-loading with your choice of knot then it is the belay that needs to be re-appraised!
I'll use the fig8-on-bight (note spelling) if I'm low on krabs, but normally I do prefer the ease of adjustment of the clove-hitch. If the same feels intuitive to you, I'd encourage you to follow your own instincts.
What book, just out of interest?
I have seen a similar one where you pull the rope from multiple bits of gear together and then tie a knot across all the strands and then you just need to clip the bight to your rope loop with a caribiner.
Technique is new to me. So I run the rope up and through the caribiner on the bit of gear and bring it back to me. What now? Just pull it through the rope loop and tie it back onto itself?
By tieing a fig8, it creates a bite. How is the bite tied into the rope lope. They are 2 closed loops? Or am I being stupid?...
That's when it's essential to be familiar with more than one method.
Personally I usually tie back with 8's to my knot loop and don't find it hard to get the position right but then nor do I carry spare krabs. I wouldn't say either method (with or without a krab) is significantly better or worse. Done right both are as safe as it gets.
As you have surmised, there is little advantage other than saving you the weight of carrying extra screwgate carabiners.
These days I try to keep the weight of my rack to a minimum so I do use it fairly regularly.
Which book is that quoted from?
I use the Fig 8 method often. The fact that its not easily adjustable doesn't matter once you get the knack of tying it right first go, every time.
To me, that sounds like a discussion of how you tie the rope to your harness for climbing, not when setting up a belay?
So you are discouraged from your main tie in being on a krab?
I think I'm just about following this, but I'm not certain!
And of course, the disadvantages are that it uses rather more rope, which you might not have available. If I've understood what we're talking about correctly, I'd say either method is OK in most situations, and both have different advantages and disadvantages. And it's worth knowing both....
> To me, that sounds like a discussion of how you tie the rope to your harness for climbing, not when setting up a belay?
Yes, it does.
I tend to use the f8 on a bight, as it means carrying less kit. Once you've practiced it a bit, it is easy to set up to the right length. Although not as easy to adjust once set up. Using more rope is not usually a disadvantage - it can be a minor advantage as there is a bit less to pull in/stack. And a bit less force on the gear due to the knot tightening.
Does anybody know if this advice has changed?
I'm not sure you're talking about the same thing...
You want all your anchors under constant tension. Doing this with fig-8s to each anchor would be a big waste of time. Just use clove hitches at each return to the HMS, for isolated and easily tensioned anchors. Can fig-8 the last knot in the system if you want something more reassuring.
I think the stuff about the fig-8 knot reducing shock is nonsense. In what situation would the extra 3cm of rope make a noticeable difference?
I anchor everything to my harness for a semi-direct belay. Think it's more efficient. The suggestion above to put another bight in the rope and anchor everything to that makes sense on multipitch, makes it easy to escape the system without a prusik.
Sorry, but you're not clear on what is being referred to here. Maybe 'figure of eight on a bight' is the wrong terminology, but what is being referred to is a way of attaching yourself to an anchor out of reach without using a clove hitch on a screwgate. Basically you clip the rope through the anchor like you would if you were tying in on a clove hitch on a krab at your harness. Then instead of clove hitching into a krab, you thread the rope through the rope loop you belay from, creating a bight, then tie it around the two strands (the one coming back from the anchor and the loose strand) using a type of (double) figure of eight knot. I seem to recall there is a good picture of the knot in the Mountain Skills Training Handbook, in case anyone wants to see what it looks like.
I would expect a figure of eight knot of this type tightening up to absorb more shock than a simple clove hitch on a krab.
I'd have thought the knot would still be called a "figure of eight on a bight" - but different to normal applications, it is the figure of eight-shaped part of the knot which is tied into the rope loop, rather than the open loop at the end. A bit hard to explain in words, and I'm having trouble finding an image of this on Google. Maybe someone can post a pic?
It doesn't really matter what it's called Chris, you have the correct interpretation of it from what I've understood. It's an age old method from way back before harnesses and the like but, as I said above, it's still very valid now, especially when you run out of krabs (hardly likely on Stanage, but it happens with startling regularity on real crags). A variation is using two half hitches instead of a fig eight.
Yeah, I like Ex-Engineer's distinction; 'Figure of Eight Hitch'.
And I think people are confused because it wasn't described that well in the OP (apologies Garbage) and because lots of people have never seen it.
Try sitting/standing in the position you intend to belay from, now move your hips towards the anchor just a little, ties your fig 8 around your rope loop as snugly as you can, I usually find there is just a little slack left in the system removed by moving my hips back to where I originally want to belay from.
Fig 8s around the rope loop are bulky and a little harder to adjust. Clove hitches on a krab take a little more kit and introduce another static link into the system (a krab).
Which I choose can depend on what is to hand or how many bits of gear I'm using but for me solid anchors, a narrow angle between the 'arms' of the belay and good equalisation are more important.
We're probably not going to understand each other without a pen and paper. Basically my 2 points are: adjusting fig 8s to get the anchors tense is more time-consuming than adjusting clove-hitches. The tiny bit of shock absorption in a fig-8 tightening compared to a clove-hitch is too tiny to justify anything.
> We're probably not going to understand each other without a pen and paper. Basically my 2 points are: adjusting fig 8s to get the anchors tense is more time-consuming than adjusting clove-hitches. The tiny bit of shock absorption in a fig-8 tightening compared to a clove-hitch is too tiny to justify anything.
Then you need to learn to tie it without the need for adjustment, otherwise, why do you think people bother? It's really not that difficult.
OK, picture of the knot is here:
or on mobiles:
It looks fine but I maintain that with 2 or 3 anchors it's quicker to adjust each one so they're taut using clove-hitches. Would you like to meet up and have a race?
BTW you know you can get harnesses with built in belay loops now...
> It looks fine but I maintain that with 2 or 3 anchors it's quicker to adjust each one so they're taut using clove-hitches. Would you like to meet up and have a race?
Yes. Or try and understand the point re not needing to adjust it.
Like this, http://dl.dropbox.com/u/29097197/equalised%20anchor.jpg
I think I learned it from the Nigel Shepherd book but that was a long time ago now.
I do understand you, I disagree with you. To get 3 or more points properly equalised without compromising where you ahve to sit is easier if you can adjust them individually once you are sat down
I think Burp, that you ARE completely misunderstanding the application.
> I do understand you, I disagree with you. To get 3 or more points properly equalised without compromising where you ahve to sit is easier if you can adjust them individually once you are sat down
No adjustment required if you just get it right. And 3 (or more!) remote anchors is pretty rare.
> I think Burp, that you ARE completely misunderstanding the application.
Now we have photos what's to misunderstand, his is a photo of a big knot on the rope, hard to adjust. Mine is a photo of clove hitches on a crab, easy to adjust.
or do you mean the dropbox application? Sorry if I have misunderstood that application and you can't access the photo
Always with the adjusting. I give up.
No, I've accessed the photo, thanks. Whatever anyone says about this method, its main application is that it can be used when you have no karabiners left - as I said it's a very old technique coming from a time when folk didn't have (or couldn't carry...) as many krabs as we do now. The adjustment thing is that once you sit down and then tie the knot it needs no adjustment at all as you simply keep the rope taut as you tie the fig 8 (or two half hitches). It is not meant as an alternative to the multiple clove hitch method on your photo. Anyone who reads more into it is simply missing the point.
I am going to give up too. I think we have exhausted discussion of the trivial pros and cons of different perfectly acceptable anchoring systems.
> Does anybody know if this advice has changed?
Not as far as I'm aware. It's referred to as "The Book" in our office, and treated with some reverence! It taught me everything I needed to know for my SPA, and then some. If Libby says it's OK, it's fine by me.
I was first taught to set up belays using the clove hitch method but around 2001 an instructor friend introduced me to the figure 8/ rope loop method and since then I've mainly used that when the actual anchors are out of reach. With 3 anchor points you can end up with bulky knots but I've always found it easier to get tight on the anchors than with clove hitches onto krabs at the harness, as there's rarely any adjustment required. Tie off where you want to sit or stand for anchor 1, take the rope back through anchor 2, get in your belay position and tie off again. No adjustment as such required. Repeat again if you have 3 anchors.
Having said that, every belay stance is different and I do use a mixture of methods according to the geometry of the stance.
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