/ Top roping using the lower off anchors (rant!)
Yet another plea not to do it! Last Sunday despite my mate very politely pointing out to a couple the reasons for not doing this; apparently they understood the reasons why. We noticed when leaving the crag they still continued to do it. I can't decide whether it's better to be less polite or save my/our breath.
Go on then, Jim, spill the beans! Where were you?
I tried to explain the same issue recently to a group on Portland. Unfortunately, they really did not understand the problems and their argument was that;
1. Don't be stupid, the metal can't wear away.
2. Someone will replace the bolts if they are dangerous.
Fortunately I had my very sensible and reasonable 13 year old son with me who suggested we go elsewhere to avoid my getting into trouble!
What can you do with people like this?
Excuse my newbie ignorance, but what is the proper way to do it? (I'm off to Portland in a few weeks and don't want to be shouted at!) Rig up something using slings and screw gates?
Top roping a route should be done using your own quick-draws or screwgates, but not directly through the anchors. In Dorset that is usually the 2 staples at the top of the route.
Lowering off obviously requires going directly into and through the anchors.
Pretty much. Have the rope running through your gear instead of fixed gear. Some people favour rappelling rather than lowering off for that reason too. That said, some places plan ahead and have the fixed gear involve a replaceable mallion or similar to absorb the wear, rather than having to replace two ring bolts.
I do something like this: http://www.climbing.com/skill/bolted-toprope-anchors/
What - Xav has sussed you out already Rich?
He should stood back and watched you rip into them, can't believe you didn't...
"someone will replace the bolts" - yes, of course - the Portland Bolt Fairies will sort it out!!!!
What can you do with people like this? If they won't listen to a reasoned argument, pull their rope down at the first opportunity you get.
>That said, some places plan ahead and have the fixed gear involve a replaceable mallion or similar to absorb the wear, rather than having to replace two ring bolts.
There's an ongoing (expensive) programme in Dorset to replace belays on the more heavily used routes with replaceable rams-horn lower-offs. It's being funded through the Dorset Bolt Fund, using purely voluntary effort from local climbers.
When many of these routes were put up (some of them 20 years ago) we didn't realise how popular they were going to be and that they would wear out so quickly. In hindsight we should have put something more easily replaceable.
Unfortunately im one of those people. I will lead up and if were climbing more routes on the same line ill hang it of quickdraws but the other-half isnt massively confident at rethreading so on my last but one climb ill thread the top. Providing they are nice big and smooth rings (like at horseshoe quarry) then the other half will have a last climb but it will be through the loweroff.
Once she is more confident she will be able to thread the top as well at the end of her climb but until that point we do tend to use the loweroff bolts.
Fully aware of the extra wear that is going on but without getting flamed actually how much extra wear is there from running 10 metres of rope through on the way down as it would be very slack on the way up.
there must be thousands of available lowers on a decent sized bolt before it even gets to the point of causing some wear. Having many people top ropeing on the lower off is not right through.
Sorry but can I clarify what you mean? Do you mean single pitch bottom roping? or multi pitch top roping?
I didn't see the first thread on this so a bit confused.... sorry!
Yours is the exact argument that is causing the situation to get worse.
"It's ok, we are only top roping through the anchors a little bit!"
How about all the locals who have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds on drills, resin, staples just remove them all!
My 13 year old son can safely thread and strip a route with staples. It's not difficult.
"Bottom-roping" is a horrible term used by outdoor centres to describe top-roping where the belayer is on the ground. It's all top-roping because the rope passes through an anchor at the top. Logically-speaking 'bottom-roping' is leading!
Perhaps (most likely) im being selfish but if I lead up and came down (lowered down) on the staples. thought oooh that was better than I thought and then went up again but didn't leave the quick-draw the top from the last time and came down again (lowered off) have I not used my quota of two lowers on the staples.
Quite often there is a large screw gate and or other old stuff i can feed it through.
I try not to come across as selfish and un understanding of the environment and try my hardest to reduce the wear on the staples. often if there is a offset lower-off i will thread it through one and stick a screwgate on the other thus making all the weight go through my screwgate.
You say it isn't much - if everyone took that attitude, the lower-offs wouldn't last very long at all.
He means someone climbing a single pitch sport route, threading the anchors (probably of the twin glue in staples type) and lowering off, then the rest of said group repeatedly top roping and lowering off direct from the anchors.
Just don't do it. There's no such thing as a quota. The only time the rope should be through the bolts is when you're lowering off for the last time. End of. Teach you're friends how to thread them it's not hard.
I get what your saying, your wife climbing last, and especially if she doesn't fall, then being lowered off, isn't much different in terms of wear to the normal procedure (edit: woops, I failed to account for your lower off + the wife, your procedure is notably more wear with the two loweroffs!). And it does take a while to wear through...But, I think its worth abandoning that practice because:
- Threading the anchors is an easy skill to learn and worth the second knowing
- People who walk by won't know your plan or logic, they just see you seemingly wearing out the fixed gear for no good reason and may think less of you
- People who walk by may see you doing it and adopt the practice for all top roping
- While steel wears slowly, its still fast enough that it is a real problem that has required numerous pieces of hardware to be replaced. It also becomes a safety issue as the hardware weakens. Admittedly abandoning lowering off completely and abseiling would make a big difference, but I've never climbed in an area concerned enough about it to make going that far the norm (I suspect lowering off is safer due to being slightly less error prone).
I am willing to change for the main reason and the same as all of us "I dont know everything" I only know what I have learnt or been shown which gets passed on by many and thus watered down until you get corrected.
I understand the wear problem next time were out ill be getting the other half to practice threading the lower-off I don't think it will make a blind bit of difference in the short term but in the grand scheme of things I will feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing im helping to not wear out the fixed staple or the lower-off ring or what ever we find at the top.
> I am willing to change for the main reason and the same as all of us "I dont know everything" I only know what I have learnt or been shown which gets passed on by many and thus watered down until you get corrected.
> I understand the wear problem next time were out ill be getting the other half to practice threading the lower-off I don't think it will make a blind bit of difference in the short term but in the grand scheme of things I will feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing im helping to not wear out the fixed staple or the lower-off ring or what ever we find at the top.
Nice one Steve.
Wow! UKC doing some good.
Better to say something. They may not respond this time but who knows, the message is out there and next time they may do it right.
Thank you Phil, now I understand what the op is talking about :)
@john arran -"Bottom-roping" is a horrible term used by outdoor centres to describe top-roping where the belayer is on the ground. It's all top-roping because the rope passes through an anchor at the top. Logically-speaking 'bottom-roping' is leading!
Here in France "bottom-roping" means the same as your anally retentive outdoor centres. Sorry you find it a horrible term and although you knew what I meant, you didn't answer my question. ;)
I thought he did. Maybe you didn't understand?
Sorry for nor answering your question - too busy ranting ;-)
I've never heard any equivalent of 'bottom-roping' in French. They always seem to refer to top-roping as "en moulinette", which seems like it's used exactly as we use 'top-roping'. Maybe the French have anally retentive outdoor centres too!
I thought that too. Never heard bottom roping mentioned round here.
And you're right its a crap phrase.
Similar thing happens at Rjukan where winter ice routes are hogged ALL day by 'top ropers' (I'm sticking with the term - we all know what it means). Because of the many trees available this issue can sometimes, and at great risk, be circumvented. Just as in gyms where you are not allowed to hog machines at busy times the climbing fraternity should have more sense and do the decent thing at crags. However, some people need to be asked firmly....
I've seen a number of different lower-offs at different crags, though I've never seen an example lower off at ground level to:
a) inform the climber of the type of lower-off used
b) to allow climbers to practice or more importantly teach other climbers how to use the lower off or
c) figure out alternative tie offs that protect the fixed gear better at ground level rather than at the end of a grueling climb.
I don't know the cost of bolts or whether anyone would benefit from having an 'example' lower off at ground level, but the thought came into my head so I thought I'd share it.
I recently asked my local climbing wall to fix up a lower off 6ft from ground level so i could practice before getting to the crag. Rather practice there then when im pumped 20 meters up. I still haven't got my head around cow tails though :-/
This is exactly my point. Its not very good knowing one type of anchor then going somewhere else, getting to the top and getting surprised by an anchor you've never seen before, the result could be potentially fatal.
However, a ground level anchor in an obvious place could have a nubmer of benefits.
Great minds think alike etc...
There is a bolted 8ft boulder in Dungecroft Quarry on Portland exactly for this purpose.
For those I meet who are toproping through the top anchors and don't believe moving ropes can wear through a metal staple, I show people a copy of the photo in this article: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4578
Also, when I ask people to wipe their shoes before climbing a route (on limestone) to minimise polish they think I am joking.
If these things were included, even briefly, at the SPA training level, more outdoor group leaders would be aware of the issues and more beginners would hear about them.
There is plenty to climb in the Rjukan area, if top ropers bother you move onto the excellent multi-pitch routes instead.
nice one, what I'd do in your current situation is leave my screwgate(s) up there,
and re-climb it myself before rethreading and lowering (and if i were paranoid,
ab off for even less wear- and it means your belayer can be packing up while
you rethread etc)
and a good time for Jon's picture
Or this one: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=115364
Or this one: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=229615
You can quote directly from me next time Rich - some of the belays we replaced at the cuttings were less than 5 years old and were worn through by nearly a third...
Short term -- sure, it won't make a difference this week, or even next. But what's long term? A good metal staple or lower-off ring should last 20-50 years with proper use. With people top-roping through it, it may need replacing in 3-5 years, especially at a popular crag or on a popular route. If you distribute this across all the routes, and all the crags... suddenly long term becomes bad anchors/lower-offs all over the place.
My local climbing wall, UCR in Bristol, has just such a facility, next to the upstairs circuit board. I'm pretty sure Redpoint in Bristol does too. They have the commonest types of lower-off, so staples and rings. Only thing to watch is that the staples are much bigger than normal outdoors ones, so it is possible to do 'quick style' rethreading by doubling the rope through & using a screwgate whereas outside one would need to do 'old school' instead.
Lower offs at Castle Inn for example have been replaced frequently, exactly because they were badly worn from top roping. I've seen plenty at Portland and the Peak also the recently developed A55 crags.
In reply to lithos
That's the ideal World, we were asked in Kalymnos once why the last one to climb abseiled; even though the persons asking climbed only sport it had never dawned on them to ab'.
In reply to Rob Kennard:
OK no problem! It was at Penmaen Head.
Most good indoor walls have a set of anchors at ground level. That is where I try to inform people who I am going to climb with the correct procedure, and can check to make sure they have got it, before I take them outside.
At Masson Lees I was told that as I was a trad climber I knew nothing about sport climbing and how to use the gear when I pointed out that he shouldn't rig a toprope directly through the anchors.
It was so funny, later in the day, watching the same plonker demonstrate for real (accidentally) the (dieing?) art of back-clipping and falling on it. It is the only time I have seen a back-clip unclip, but the 10 minutes it took me to stop laughing attracted quite a lot of attention. (Fortunately he was high enough to be caught by the next bolt!)
Iīve occasionally fitted a practice lower-off BUT they vary from one route to the other so realistically unless the whole crag is equipped the same then it achieves nothing and unless we are going to turn crags into artificially equipped climbing school venues they are still just a collection of climbs for climbers.
I assume when I bolt a cliff that all people going climbing are capable of the basic single strand thread-through before they leave the groundand re-tie and since you can do this with all known lower-offs then there seems no difficulty. They can practice at (nearly)ground level on any first bolt anyway.
Climbing walls are different as they are built with instruction on mind and most will have a few different types to practice on, Iīve just sent a selection to Southampton wall for this.
Abseiling off lower-offs is not only a non-sequitor but a stupid idea, especially once you get onto more overhanging routes, top-roping through lower-offīs is stupid as well but as a manufacturer I can only encourage it!!!!
go on Jim enlighten me
(unless you are concerned about cleaning the route on the way down)
Can someone explain please?
Say you've led a route and your 2 mates want to do it but not on lead. Why can't they top rope it? I'd have thought most of the wear would be from the lowering off as the rope is moving much quicker than when they are climbing?
....... and how do they get back down without lowering?
...which you have to do after leading anyway. So not a great difference?
Hardly "stupid" to save the wear and tear; of course a bit of common sense has to be applied on overhanging routes. Whenever my wife used to belay me with a toddler in tow it made complete sense.
?? abseiling from lower offs is technically being in control of lowering oneself.
The difference between one person lowering and three?
OK, so your argument is that those not good enough to lead sport routes shouldn't climb them at all. Sorry, but I disagree.
they can, when the leader gets to the top, use a screwgate and lower off that and TR off that, remove it for the last person down (that maybe you if you do it again)
What? How did you come up with that? Read Lithos's comment above... it's what the whole thread is about!
Well OK, but there's no guarantee they will get up it, and then you're left with gear at the top.
but you (the leader) can get up it
If needed, you get to go again and can harvest your gear from the top.
Have you actually read the thread?
Do not top rope on the lower offs.
Use your own gear for top roping and strip it when everyone has finished.
You may not agree, but dozens of staples have been replaced recently as a result of excessive wear from top roping.
Which part do you not understand?
That is such a crap and feeble excuse it is mind boggling!!
If no one can do the moves again, tie in for a final top rope and then just pull up on the down side of the rope with the belayer helping you. Basically, just dog / frig / hoist your way to the top and then strip it.
OK. Even disregarding the potential faff involved with having to leave gear and then climb the route again, I still don't see why the force of the argument should be about toproping? After all, if 3 folk want to lead a route, one could also leave gear at the top until the last one goes up.
Spot on! That's exactly the way to do it. :-)
Thanks, I may consider that in the future. Just not sure why toproping has become the main issue when just as much damage could be done by repeated leads/lowers, which must be just as common?
thats exactly how i do it (the first person leave a screwgate krab, it's much quicker than
everyone rethreading) last person rethreads.
the main issue is against TR because - thats what the OP saw, and people TR's a route
through the lower offs will load it if they fall (and put ore force/wear on the lower offs
than even normal lowering) which they will possibly often do. Every fall is on the loweroff,
when leading - no falls are.
It really isn't neuroscience ! look at the jon's images linked above to see the damage
We always put a pair of quickdraws through the loweroff to prevent wear. Whether it be repeated leads or subsequent top-roping. Two quickdraws, bang bang, if you are tired just pull on the rope to the belayer, what you do when working a route...
>just as much damage could be done by repeated leads/lowers, which must be just as common?
Not if it's off your own gear it won't!
[This may have been said earlier in the thread but it's a] good idea to leave the rope always through the last quickdraw before the lower-off, just in case things should go tits-up at the lower-off. Unlikely, but...
To summarise, the golden rule when more than one person is climbing a route (whatever the style) is, ideally, that only the last person to climb the route needs to thread the lower off.
Less money replacing lower offs means more money to equip brand new routes :-)
In a nutshell :)
Thanks for the tip, will have a think about doing this? But how does the next climber get past the clip immediately before the loweroff.
Of course the question has to be asked why the chuff are we still using staples when the French sorted the wear and tear issue out decades ago by installing freely moving rings,
Just get them to pull up on the belayers side of the rope... Its hard work but they will get to the top. Obviously this isn't really possible on very steep or traversing routes but the vast majority it is quite simple (and I would of thought obvious?)
If climber is seconding and cleaning route as they go then at the last bolt unclip from climbers rope and clip it to belayers rope. Or take one up to do that if the route has been cleaned already.
Yeah it was the latter thing I was wondering, yes I suppose you could swap the climber's rope for the belayer's side. As the two anchors at the lower-off provide the redundancy, I don't imagine I would do this unless I was particularly worried.
As a quick aside I'm a supporter of the term bottom roping, at least until someone comes up with a better set of words. Despite the existential pain it seems to provide for some posters I think you need a term to distinguish between those belaying at the top and the bottom of the crag protecting climbers (esp groups) from above. Multiple seconds doesn't work if there is no leader (nor does the rope go through the anchor). Bottom roping may also be the lowest form of climbing.....
...only joking :)
Takes his end of the rope out and clips the other end of the rope in.
Cost? I've put in about 1,500 staples on Portland. Say, Ģ2 per staple and glue, that's Ģ3,000. All my own money. Never mind associated costs, say another Ģ2,000+.
What would it have been otherwise? I'm told pig's tails (which are now being installed in some places) are about Ģ15 each. According to my feeble arithmetic, that would be Ģ22,500 - of my own money.
Perhaps the French have deeper pockets than I have? Perhaps they get council funding? Perhaps they get other funding? I really don't know.
> Cost? I've put in about 1,500 staples on Portland. Say, Ģ2 per staple and glue, that's Ģ3,000. All my own money. Never mind associated costs, say another Ģ2,000+.
> What would it have been otherwise? I'm told pig's tails (which are now being installed in some places) are about Ģ15 each. According to my feeble arithmetic, that would be Ģ22,500 - of my own money.
> Perhaps the French have deeper pockets than I have? Perhaps they get council funding? Perhaps they get other funding? I really don't know.
But rings are cheap and if you are replacing stuff that could last 50 years every 3 years...
So far I've had to replace none of the staples I've placed. Some of them are now 12 years old.
> So far I've had to replace none of the staples I've placed. Some of them are now 12 years old.
Ok. I was going off some of the wear rates described above. Having used rings on ab-points myself I would say they are a very simple solution to the problem of wear. I was able to get them for Ģ2-Ģ3 each a few years back. I've been at a couple of places where rings were put directly into the staples or hung from chains.
I've always been open to different, maybe better ways of doing things. Staples seemed a simple solution at Portland. Personally I prefer them; to me, chains are a bit obtrusive. Obviously they've been needed though on some Portland routes which are getting hammered relentlessly.
Ironically there's a popular route at The Cuttings where new bolts, chains and a ring have been placed before the old staples. I regularly see people ignoring the new setup, climbing up to the old staples and, yes, threading the rope for lots of top-roping.
Maybe glued up maillons on the staples of popular routes might be a short term answer ? at least these can be replaced at lower cost and more easily than the staples.
That's certainly an idea. Thanks. However I've got a feeling that, faced with maillions on staples, people will still thread the staples! I may be wrong though. Maybe we should experiment.
Sometimes, on Portland, when people bail, instead of threading their top staple, they put the rope through a maillion on the staple. Unless you remove these pretty quickly, they tend to rust, can't be unscrewed and are unsightly.
All in all a tricky business, requiring the attention of far greater minds than mine!
Mick (who'd better go off and do some work)
Just putting a maillon onto each staple isn't an answer as you will have changed the oriention. You would have to put two maillons on each staple to get the orientation correct so that the rope can run freely without being trapped against the rock or terminally twisted. Yes, maybe glue up the top maillon of each pair but not the bottom one as it'll need to be changed from time to time. A circular welded ring instead of the bottom maillon would be even better as it'd last about ten times longer (in this case of course, don't glue up the top maillon!).
I deliberately didn't want to get into the orientation! Life sure is complicated. Sometimes you walk round in circles and end up bumping into the door.
You know when you read posts on here from folk who can't understand why their ropes are twisted...
I'm going climbing. It's VERY hot here at the moment...
Placing two maillons, one on each of a pair of side by side bolts, is the most effective method I know of for kinking ropes.
Happens here in Catalunya too:
In this instance I've never seen anybody top-roping off just the in-situ 'biner (just as well because it's a cheap piece of crap) but people often set the back-up quickdraw hanging too low, so it's the lower-off that takes the strain.
In my opinion the best lower-offs to install are these:
They take an age to wear out and, when (if) they do you can just replace the unit without having to place new bolts.
When I first learnt to lead, we were taught to abseil off the anchor. Saves virtually any wear on the staples and once learnt is almost as quick as rethreading, and is a better skill for all-round climbing. Don't really understand why being lowered off is the stock standard approach.
The orientation issue occurred to me after I posted ! so a maillon and a ring needed. The maillon seizing up isn't an issue as it can be cut off with bolt cutter when needing replacement.
I've not been to Portland for a year or two - i'm assuming the problem is mainly prevalent on a few honey pot lines ?
> When I first learnt to lead, we were taught to abseil off the anchor. Saves virtually any wear on the staples and once learnt is almost as quick as rethreading, and is a better skill for all-round climbing. Don't really understand why being lowered off is the stock standard approach.
You'd have to take up a Krab and rap device. Think of the weight!!!
I was also wondering why we (the climbing community) don't promote abseiling as the most sustainable means of getting off sport routes. I suppose stripping the route is harder while abbing, especially if the route is at all wandering or over hanging. I often have to use both hands to pull myself onto the rock while unclipping the crab. Not many people carry prussics etc up sport routes.
Chuck in a couple of dirty loops around your leg and hey presto, hands free!
Problem is, by the time you've set the ab up, got on the rope, lowered off, cleaned the route, your mates are so pissed off with waiting they have gone to the pub.
What a faff!
Pain in the arse for steep routes or routes that wander. Otherwise, yes, good practise.
10mm Pigtails usually cost Ģ4.83 for bolt funds (depends a bit on the discount and material). 10mm rings are Ģ5.37 and 12mm ones Ģ6.35, the downside with rings is you need a maillon to join to an existing bolt, with a pigtail itīs already to fit.
The point about the maillon, though, is its dead easy to cut off when the lower off needs replacing whereas the Pig tail needs to be pulled and refitted to the rock. In any case I'm not sure how much faith i'd have in a single failure point top rope anchor especially on rock as soft as Portland !
You just whack the pigtail out with a hammer and fit a new one, about a minutes work. Standard practice is to join the pigtail into the other bolt with a chain.
I'm glad I'm not the only one seeminly wasting my breath on this!
It seems each time I climb on any of the Dorset Sport crags I come across this problem, often whole families and large groups all topping off the loweroffs. Do they stop when asked/shown a Y hang? Not a chance.
The best so far was the family last weekend using doubled single ropes through the lower off and wondering why their daughter got jammed at the top (muggins here ended up sorting it out). I wont go into crag etiquette here either!
In response to an earlier comment, I was taught not to top on just the bolts on my SPA courses several years ago, to preserve both the bolt and rope.
Very few people I have spoken to are aware of the Dorset Bolt Fund - there must be a better way to raise awareness of the costs and effort that goes into bolting routes (Thank the bolt fairies!)
Sorry, maybe I've been misinformed about the price of the pigtails (not pig's tails!) Maybe the Portland ones are gold-plated. (Cue Goldfinger theme - bring back the lovely Shirley Eaton!) Or maybe I'm just going gaga.
Personally I'm not mad on them either as they also seem unsightly. I guess, for me, two staples are as unobtrusive as you can get. Next up is Pod's two bolts joined by a chain with a ring. Maybe that's the best option.
Another thing I don't like about pigtails is the 'clip and go', well fix rope and go aspect. One could rightly argue this is the whole point of them. But to me they reinforce the 'easy, lazy, convenience climbing' mentality. I suspect that if people are used to toproping through pigtails they'll be even more likely to toprope through staples. ("Wot, no pigtails!?")
Hmm... am coming round to Pod's option as maybe the best one.
I have to say I think sport climbing is partially about convenience and I'm all for pigtails (or something you can clip and lower off).
Hi Mick, I must have the deepest pockets in Britain? Mind you I do have long arms to reach into them. I have worked out that I have spent over Ģ50,000 on gear over the years and that doesn't include petrol.
Hi Gary, I always wondered what your long arms were for - well, apart from reaching distant holds! Agree, you must have spent far more than anyone. Bang in the petrol and the time, even at a nominal figure, and it's off the end of the scale in terms of contribution to climbing.
I'll send some used tenners in your direction and suggest others do the same.
Your routes must have had hundreds of thousands of ascents in total and given many thousands of people great days out. Just half a dozen that instantly come to mind in Cheedale gave me great days out.
Keep the fire burning!
Best wishes to Hazel and Phil.
Quite a few of of these at Malaucene and St Leger.
No significant wear on these and I've been here 10 years. I'll happily replace them out of my own pocket when the time is right.
Hi Mick, all is well with us. The fine continues to burn. Finishing off a whole new crag this Friday, then onto the next.
Yeah I've used something a little like that before (as well as pigtails etc).
Would you consider it safe enough for regular top roping from? (even with say kids)
To be honest I don't do a lot of top roping but if I was going to spend time on a route or a few of us were going to top it I'd still consider putting one of my own screwgates on.
Edit - the ones at Malaucene have a really stiff wire gate on them. They are very heavy duty and I'd have no qualms about TR'ing off them.
I think if stuff is replaceable (and you're prepared to replace stuff) it's ok to TR.
The problem is when people TR off permanent stuff like staples and glue ins.
These are ace, not seen any round here though. Hardly surprising at 75$ a shot.
Pigtails are definitely the way forward. Especially for crags close to major connurbations where you are going to inevitably get a lot of top roping. If you are popping down for a couple of hours in the evening with a few mates then the usual scenario is that someone leads then everyone else top ropes to save time and get some climbing in. OK, the pigtails are quite expensive but at popular crags you can usually get people to chip in if they need replacing. I wouldn't expect altruistic route-putter-uppers like Mick Ward or Gary Gibson to pay for them, though.
Itīs difficult with lower-offs, there are loads of different opinions and different lower-offs as well. I just sell all the possibilities and let the customers make the choice!
The downside to karabiners is they are expensive, have moving parts so are unreliable, need maillons to fit them and they are familiar to climbers so they are more likely to top-rope through them. The good aspects are everyone knows how to use them, are quick and easy to use and avoids the dangers of threading and re-tying.
The pigtail is unfamiliar to some but simple enough, no parts to get damaged, jammed or corrode, need nothing extra to fit and are cheaper. As they look "different" most people are reluctant to actually top-rope through them in our experience at least without a back-up draw somewhere. Quick to use and avoid re-tying.
Rings are o.k but often the claimed durability isnīt what it should be, they often donīt rotate in use as they should and get wear grooves anyway though slower than a karabiner. You still need some way to fit them which jerks the price up and the problem of threading and re-tying is still there.
When you get to the top of a sport route itīs all about convenience, safety and cost/durability. Personally I fit either just two bolts if the route isnīt going to get loads of traffic and a pigtail and chain if it will be popular. at a guess Iīd say I sell about equal amounts of pigtails, karabiners and rings so clearly the customers arenīt decided either!
That's great and very much appreciated by everyone who enjoys the routes. Of course I wasn't suggesting replacing all the staples with rings - just the lower-offs!
Yeah I realise that. I was thinking of people top roping off staples at portland. People do this for all sorts of reasons including if their mate can't get up not wanting to re-climb the route them selves. So a solution which can cater for top ropes as well as lower offs is obviously a bonus all round in these scenarios.
In Finland increasingly most routes have two bolts and a chain with perma-wire gate on them http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_3bhSo6922y4/Rq9nJ56kxcI/AAAAAAAAAJw/gXzSQXq3AG0/s1600-h/135_3584.JPG At many crags you get that at the top of the trad routes as well.
They seem pretty sturdy and I've not noticed significant wear on ones that must see an awful lot of ascents both lead+lower or top roping. I always add in a sling and screwgate if using them to top rope and try to set it up so my krab is higher than the lower-off krab, but many don't or just clip in a loose QD as a back up. The national climbing association tends to pay for most of the bolting work done here so perhaps people don't think much about the cost, plus 90% of Finnish sports routes will not be old enough to need replacing of lower-offs yet.
> These are ace, not seen any round here though. Hardly surprising at 75$ a shot.
They wouldn't last long on a sea cliff.
How does one replace the carabiniers when they wear too far through in that rig?
They are stainless steel.
Replace the whole thing you skinflint ;-)
would it not need to be marine grade? AFAIK many stainless steels corrode in salt water.
Perhaps an explanation / picture of the worn through bolts on a sign board with do's and don'ts and a practice pigtail etc in the more poular climbers car parks at Langton, Worth and Weston / Cheyne Weares?
At least in the car parks they wouldn't be an intrusion into the beauty of the area and a larger number of people will be made aware of the issue?
Or perhaps a page dedicated to this in the guidebooks?
Prevention being better than a cure and all that.
No idea, I'm two hours from the sea.
> They are stainless steel.
Even in stainless the design itself traps salt into the innards. Wire gates might work.
> Perhaps an explanation / picture of the worn through bolts on a sign board with do's and don'ts and a practice pigtail etc in the more poular climbers car parks at Langton, Worth and Weston / Cheyne Weares?
> At least in the car parks they wouldn't be an intrusion into the beauty of the area and a larger number of people will be made aware of the issue?
> Or perhaps a page dedicated to this in the guidebooks?
> Prevention being better than a cure and all that.
It's all gotta help but I think we have to accept that this will happen and popular routes should be equipped accordingly.
The Draco is stainless steel with an aluminium gate and has all the usual problems that alloy krabs have at the seaside.
All-stainless wiregates donīt go wrong, thatīs the why I and AustriAlpin sell them. Fixe used to, the one Toby linked to is one but no longer available.
Screwgates get grit washed down into the threads and sieze up eventually, snapgates get water and grit down in where the spring and slider are and sieze up as well.
I was thinking that there are still new ones going in around here like the one in my photo, but was just checking some newer pics and now it seems the ones being used in Finland have a bent gate rather than a wire gate. I presume the gate is alloy? Do you know if there is a reason Fixe at least stopped making the wire gate versions?
No idea really but I could guess the profit margin is better. BUT the aluminium gate version is gone as well and the Draco now comes with a bent wiregate, probably got too many complaints.
It was always curious anyway since they were to EN959 which specifically prohibits mixing metals, nowadays the aluminium gate version is sold seperately and to EN 12275 which is the norm for normal karabiners.
I did re-furbishment on the old ones when they got grooved for a couple of clubs by welding them up. They were o.k as you can fling them in the post-weld tumble and acid treatment but the aluminium ones canīt go in so I donīt do them.
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