/ Clovehitch or figure of eight on bite?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
garbage - on 27 Mar 2013
Hey guys. When creating a belay I have always attached the rope to myself with a clove hitch on a hms biner and sometimes a few clove-hitches depending on how many placements im using. (that makes sense in my head so hopefully will to you too!)

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
dpm23 - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: What was the reason the book gave for the F8 bite and rope loop method being better? In my head this method is great to know as you don't need any kit but I use clove hitches on a hms if I can for ease of adjustment.
garbage - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: because "one of the main advantages of the figure of eight is that it has some shock-absorbing properties. if there is significant loading on the system such as created in a leader fall the know will tighten when loaded. This reduces shock-loading the anchor system"

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.
Milesy - on 27 Mar 2013
trying to understand the technique... Do you mean putting the rope through say 2 bits of gear back to your stance where you equalise and put a figure 8 on like you would with a sling? Then you say without gear I assume you leave enough in the bight so you can rethread the figure of 8 through the rope loop? Seems like a lot of work.
garbage - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Milesy: no thats not it.

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.
EeeByGum - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: If you create a figure of 8 on a bite and then clip your HMS into that, and then construct your belay using clove hitches into the HMS, you end up creating a direct belay system. The advantages of this system are twofold:

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)
skarabrae - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: its handy to know in case you run out of crabs (tho, i never have) i always use clove hitches on a screwgate, bombproof, simple, easy to adjust.
jon on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

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.
garbage - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to jon: not too old. It was this If anyones interested: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Climbing-Introduction-Essential-Technical/dp/1852845295

@eebygum, think you've misunderstood me - which is understandable as it was very hard to explain haha
Jamie B - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

> 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 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?
Milesy - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:
> 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.

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?
Lukeva - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

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?...
jkarran - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

> 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

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.

jk
ankyo - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva: you pull the bight through the bight attached to your harness and continue to tie a fig 8 with it
The Ex-Engineer - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: What you are talking about would be correctly described as using a Figure-of-Eight Hitch tied with a bight of rope.

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.
jkarran - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

> "one of the main advantages of the figure of eight is that it has some shock-absorbing properties. if there is significant loading on the system such as created in a leader fall the know will tighten when loaded. This reduces shock-loading the anchor system"

Which book is that quoted from?
jk
Jonny2vests - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

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.
tlm - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:
> (In reply to garbage) because "one of the main advantages of the figure of eight is that it has some shock-absorbing properties. if there is significant loading on the system such as created in a leader fall the know will tighten when loaded. This reduces shock-loading the anchor system"

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?
Carolyn - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

I think I'm just about following this, but I'm not certain!

> because "one of the main advantages of the figure of eight is that it has some shock-absorbing properties. if there is significant loading on the system such as created in a leader fall the know will tighten when loaded. This reduces shock-loading the anchor system"

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....

Jonny2vests - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to garbage)
> [...]
>
> 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.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Chris Sansum - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

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.
wae76 on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: Good to know multiple techniques but I tend to go with the double clove hitch method, especially when the anchors are out of reach. That's what I got from the Libby Peter book which was on the SPA reading list. I haven't read the second edition yet:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Climbing-Essential-Techniques-Mountain/dp/095415116X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_...

Does anybody know if this advice has changed?
iskra2000 - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: karabiners if it's multipitch and not swapping leads. Eights on the rope loop gives good adjustment and no gates to worry about (except for belay device).
Jonny2vests - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to iskra2000:
> (In reply to garbage) karabiners if it's multipitch and not swapping leads. Eights on the rope loop gives good adjustment and no gates to worry about (except for belay device).

I'm not sure you're talking about the same thing...
trouserburp - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage:

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.
Chris Sansum - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:

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?
garbage - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Sansum: Thats exactly what I was trying to explain ^ much better job than I did haha
jon on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Sansum:

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.
Jonny2vests - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Sansum:

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.
AlH - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: I do either or occasionally a combination (e.g. three pieces of gear- 2 clove hitches on an HMS with a nice narrow angle on the ropes and then a fig 8 hitched around my rope loop). With practise its easy to adjust the fig 8 to get tension:
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.
trouserburp - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Sansum:

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.






Jonny2vests - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:
> (In reply to Chris Sansum)
>
> 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.
Chris Sansum - on 28 Mar 2013
Chris Sansum - on 28 Mar 2013
trouserburp - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Sansum:

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...
Jonny2vests - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:
> (In reply to Chris Sansum)
>
> 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.

trouserburp - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:

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.
trouserburp - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

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
jon on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:

I think Burp, that you ARE completely misunderstanding the application.
earlsdonwhu - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to garbage: If you only use the rope, there is one less link in the chain so in theory one less thing to break/go wrong.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jonny2vests - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> 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.
trouserburp - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to trouserburp)
>
> 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
Jonny2vests - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:

Always with the adjusting. I give up.
jon on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:

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.
trouserburp - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to trouserburp:

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.
jymbob - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to wae76:
> (In reply to garbage) Good to know multiple techniques but I tend to go with the double clove hitch method, especially when the anchors are out of reach. That's what I got from the Libby Peter book which was on the SPA reading list. I haven't read the second edition yet:
> http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Climbing-Essential-Techniques-Mountain/dp/095415116X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_...
>
> 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.
Rob Naylor - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to garbage:

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.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.