/ NEW ARTICLE: Leading and Seconding - How it all works

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Ever wondered how the system of leading and seconding works? How does the leader get the ropes up there in the first place? What happens if he/she falls? This article goes through the system step by step.

Read the article here - http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=628

It is taken from the book Trad CLIMBING+ published by Rockfax - http://www.rockfax.com/publications/books/item.php?id=140
sutty on 13 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

You do realise that with a bit more work on the text, that book could become the Janet and John book for young climbers?

I must review the whole thing, and do some nit picking and give plaudits as well.
freelancer_85 - on 13 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

Sorry, I just have an insane desire to repeatedly stab myself in the eye. I'm sure it'll pass, hopefully in the not too distant future.

I mean wtf???:

"The leader has taken a fall from the climb! His well-placed protection has held and his partner has locked-off the belay device to prevent any more rope from passing through it.

Phew, the system has worked!"

C'mon man, tell me it's all a sick little joke?

Josh.
tobyfk - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

The first how-to-climb book I owned - purchased mid-70s, I think - had a very stern warning against belaying on trees; citing a fatal accident the author had witnessed. Advice I have since found hard to follow at vertical-forest venues such as Cheddar, Tremadoc and Squamish ... At a minimum it suggested careful inspection of the depths of roots, overall sturdiness and so forth. I'm concerned that your cartoon people may have omitted that procedure?

;-)
tobyfk - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

Downloaded the sample chapter - looks great.
bryn - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
It's good to see a clear simplified book for trad climbing.
I do have slight concerns that some of the technical aspects are a little out of context and could be misleading to new climbers using the book as a direct aid.

Firstly the belayer being tied in and belaying from the belay loop and not the rope loop - fine, but no reference to this on the leader belaying at the top of the crag. Also the leader is standing on the edge belaying the second.

Just my observations! Looking forward to seeing the whole book.
MeMeMe - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to freelancer_85:

> "The leader has taken a fall from the climb! His well-placed protection has held and his partner has locked-off the belay device to prevent any more rope from passing through it.
>
> Phew, the system has worked!"

They figured the other version where all his gear ripped and he is carted off to the Northern General wouldn't sell as man y books.
Caralynh - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

PMSL!!! However, it does look great for explaining things to young children. My 6yr old godson is getting interested in climbing and I think he'd like it :)
In reply to bryn:
> Firstly the belayer being tied in and belaying from the belay loop and not the rope loop - fine, but no reference to this on the leader belaying at the top of the crag. Also the leader is standing on the edge belaying the second.

Obviously, this is just 2 pages from a book of 288 pages. The subtleties of belaying, leading and seconding are all covered in much more detail elsewhere.

Alan
In reply to freelancer_85:
> C'mon man, tell me it's all a sick little joke?

What is your point?

Keep in mind that:

a) this is the Starting Out Forum
b) this is 2 pages out of 288 pages

Alan
CJD - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

cool drawings! They're done by the person who did a lot of the BMC posters, right?

I especially like the one of the second having a flap on the end of the rope - reminded me of me :-)
In reply to CJD:
> cool drawings! They're done by the person who did a lot of the BMC posters, right?

Yes - Ray Eckermann. He also did the illustrations in Sport Climbing +.

I'll put his web site link up but it seems to have a faulty Flash Player detector on it which is blocking entry for me at the moment.

http://www.smallmountains.co.uk/

Alan
CJD - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

... which I would have noticed had i read the top of the article.

d'oh.

rich on 14 Nov 2007 - host86-140-165-116.range86-140.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Alan James - UKC: :¬)

after some recent thoughts prompted by one of Mick's threads on here, the only thing i'm slightly unsure about is the idea that it's normal for them both to fall off
Glyn Jones - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC: PHEW! Glad I saw the third picture as the second picture looks like leading dude is about to back clip his first piece of gear!
Profanisaurus Rex on 14 Nov 2007 - 205.228.73.13 whois?
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

The belayer in the first picture looks like Keith Flint...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=628
Glyn Jones - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Masood: The leading dude is wearing 5.10 Anasazi Lace-Ups!
Glyn Jones - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC: One question - does it cover the use of helmets?
In reply to Glyn Jones:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC) One question - does it cover the use of helmets?

Do you mean the technical aspects - like adjusting, fastening and removing?



Chris


;-)
Glyn Jones - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Chris Craggs: Yeah, like the simplified approach the link provides. I think if it is in the book it will be very helpful to the newbie.

As well as the technical the benefits of wearing one too.
In reply to Glyn Jones:


Joking aside (not sure what 'the technical benefits of wearing one' actuall means) - there are a lot more shots of people wearing helmets than I was expecting - and for beginners that has to be a positive influence.


Chris
Glyn Jones - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Chris Craggs: Cool
Rob Naylor - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

Not sure about the whole "Janet and John go Climbing" cencept.

But I like Ray's detailing...it was only on the second run through the cartoons that I noticed the belayer's wearing approach shoes when he's belaying, but has changed into rock shoes for the climb...a very "Ray E" kind of thing to do!
dingbat46 - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to bryn:
> Also the leader is standing on the edge belaying the second.


Just a curious question, what is wrong with standing on the edge whilst belaying a second? It allows you to see them clearly and stops your rope running over the edge.

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot on 14 Nov 2007 - host-155-88.sm.le.ac.uk
In reply to dingbat46:
> (In reply to bryn)
> [...]
>
>
> Just a curious question, what is wrong with standing on the edge whilst belaying a second? It allows you to see them clearly and stops your rope running over the edge.

You are more stable sitting?

rich on 14 Nov 2007 - host86-140-165-116.range86-140.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Mr Justice Cocklecarrot: i was going to disagree with you but in this case the belay looks to be a touch lower than the leader's harness which might make me think a bit about standing too
JRG on 14 Nov 2007 - host217-43-110-68.range217-43.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Alan James - UKC: Good grief - what is the target audience? This appears to be aimed at someone who has never seen a climber or a rock face or a video. I confess immediately to not having seen the full monty (and not sure i could stand the strain) but this seems a tad, er, basic!
sutty on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to JRG:

If you scroll to the top of the page it tells you who it is targeted at.
bryn - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to dingbat46:

Standing is fine if your anchors are above head height. In the diagram if the climber falls off then all their weight is onto the belayers legs. If you sit on the edge you should still be able to see them, and having the rope run over edges creates additional friction making it easier to hold them if they fall (as long as it aint sharp!).
Hope this makes sense.
Bryn
bryn - on 14 Nov 2007
In reply to bryn:

Don't get me wrong about the book - I am ordering a copy as I really like the simple pics and would like to see the rest of the content!

Jamie B - on 15 Nov 2007
In reply to JRG:

> what is the target audience? This appears to be aimed at someone who has never seen a climber or a rock face or a video.

A good percentage of indoor wall users match this description. I have often wished that I had access to simplified cartoons of climbing gimp-men while trying to describe the perplexing world of outdoor climbing ("So on crags there's not a rope in place? Somebody has to go up first and put it there? Mental..")
In reply to JRG:
> Good grief - what is the target audience? This appears to be aimed at someone who has never seen a climber or a rock face or a video. I confess immediately to not having seen the full monty (and not sure i could stand the strain) but this seems a tad, er, basic!

Here is a section from chapter 8:

The mind and gear

Climbing protection has two roles to play - physically, it is there to stop our falls, but it also provides psychological support in spurring us on. An attempt is more likely to end because we aren’t happy with the protection than because we physically can’t do the next move. Often, it is psychologically advantageous to place more protection than is strictly needed in order to boost our mental morale, whether the physical cost of placing the extra protection is worth paying is a matter of judgement.

Anyone who has climbed with marginal protection will testify that what seems crazy from the comfort of flat earth, may make complete sense when you’re runout on the lead. Placing protection that is barely able to support the weight of the quickdraw you’ve clipped to it clearly isn’t a good idea from a ‘fall arrest’ perspective, but often, the mere act of having a rope leading upwards rather than downwards, and the visual impact of having something clipped is enough to get you through a bold section and out of trouble. Needless to say, ‘psychological protection’ is something that requires a calculated approach, though once in a while, it actually holds.


The book has a very broad appeal. We have designed it to be useful right though your climbing career, but that inevitably means that it will contain stuff that isn't useful for everyone at the same time.

Alan
Not Remotely Foz on 16 Nov 2007 - host86-162-50-178.range86-162.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

The crag-and-tree ensemble bears an uncanny resemblance to the way the Promontory at Auchinstarry Quarry used to look.

Could we perhaps have an amusing cartoon of the moment when the second slips, the belay tree falls down the cliff, leaving both the second and leader halfway down the cliff, dangling off a backup belay, in a state of some distress.

That's how it worked in real life......
JRG on 16 Nov 2007 - host217-43-111-20.range217-43.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
> (In reply to JRG)
> [...]
>
> Here is a section from chapter 8:
>
> The mind and gear
>
> Climbing protection has two roles to play - physically, it is there to stop our falls, but it also provides psychological support in spurring us on. An attempt is more likely to end because we aren’t happy with the protection than because we physically can’t do the next move. Often, it is psychologically advantageous to place more protection than is strictly needed in order to boost our mental morale, whether the physical cost of placing the extra protection is worth paying is a matter of judgement.
>
> Anyone who has climbed with marginal protection will testify that what seems crazy from the comfort of flat earth, may make complete sense when you’re runout on the lead. Placing protection that is barely able to support the weight of the quickdraw you’ve clipped to it clearly isn’t a good idea from a ‘fall arrest’ perspective, but often, the mere act of having a rope leading upwards rather than downwards, and the visual impact of having something clipped is enough to get you through a bold section and out of trouble. Needless to say, ‘psychological protection’ is something that requires a calculated approach, though once in a while, it actually holds.
>
> The book has a very broad appeal. We have designed it to be useful right though your climbing career, but that inevitably means that it will contain stuff that isn't useful for everyone at the same time.
>
> Alan

This probably means I will have to read it otherwise I get shot down - nevertheless, when some of us started climbing there was little by way of advice and so we asked someone we knew to take us climbing or went to a crag and watched what happened etc etc (twangs braces). On a route, if we were terrified we placed more gear, if we could (and if we had anything that fitted). If we could not we either retreated or climbed out (or died messily). We did not need telling.

The impression given is that somehow, by reducing an essentially silly but worthwhile activity to a set of cartoons and stating the obvious makes climbing something that Tom, Dick and Jenny can easily take up safely. I have no problem with folks having a go - I did. My problem is with yet another book that seems to add little, however admirable its aims and however eminent a climber the author.

I certainly cannot claim to know it all (and only a fool would) though I am amused by the changing fashions in climbing technique. The fact remains that some people are not equipped, either psychologically or physically, to do anything remotely difficult or dangerous. They should not be encouraged. Those who are so equipped do not need jolly cartoons.
JamieAyres on 16 Nov 2007
In reply to JRG:

I tend to agree - the book seems to do what it sets out to do very well (from the little I have seen) - but should we be encouraging people to learn rock climbing by reading a book?

I question the fundamental rationale for such a publication (which probably makes me a dinosaur, but hey..)
In reply to JRG:
> The impression given is that somehow, by reducing an essentially silly but worthwhile activity to a set of cartoons and stating the obvious makes climbing something that Tom, Dick and Jenny can easily take up safely. I have no problem with folks having a go - I did. My problem is with yet another book that seems to add little, however admirable its aims and however eminent a climber the author.

I do wish you would stop judging the entire book on this one excerpt (the article I mean). There is a lot, lot more to the book and despite the fact that I have been climbing for over 25 years, I still found some very useful stuff in it.

I'm afraid that you can't possibly say that the book "seems to add little" until you have seen it. What evidence have you got to base that absurd statement on when you have seen approximately 5% of the book?

> I certainly cannot claim to know it all (and only a fool would) though I am amused by the changing fashions in climbing technique. The fact remains that some people are not equipped, either psychologically or physically, to do anything remotely difficult or dangerous. They should not be encouraged. Those who are so equipped do not need jolly cartoons.

Again, this is a ridiculous thing to say based on the small amount of the book that you have seen. It isn't all cartoons, and the information is presented in a down to earth manner without making sensational promises about what people can acheive.

Your attitude comes from the the old fashioned and extremely elitist 'let's keep it as a mysterious black art' school. This attitude is the same one that gave us guidebooks that didn't really tell us how to get to the crags, nor exactly where the routes went.

Alan
sutty on 16 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

Watch it James, not read the book yet but expect you will have got some information from Kirkuses 'Rock for climbing.', Showell Styles books, Peg Leg Young, Blackshaw, A Greenbank,

Sorry, did someone say there were no books giving instructions before? ;-)

Oh, your dad as well;

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=59699
In reply to sutty:
> Watch it James, not read the book yet but expect you will have got some information from Kirkuses 'Rock for climbing.', Showell Styles books, Peg Leg Young, Blackshaw, A Greenbank,

I certainly did - and from my father - I would never deny it.

I just object to the suggestion that education in climbing is a bad thing, as if there is some sort of natural filter where-by only 'the right sort of people' get through if you keep quiet and pretend it is some sort of black art.

In fact good guidebooks and good instruction books are essential for people to get the most out of their climbing and may also introduce it to some people who would have never tried it otherwise.

Alan
sutty on 16 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

Alan, ignore the wazzocks who know it all, after all this is in the starting out forum, that those who think they are past that stage could turn off if they wanted.

All those books have been useful or inspired me over the years, and am still learning myself. Even last week I used a belay method well known by most but I had not used before for a relative beginner, didn't want them learning my bad habits/old style belaying even if it is perfectly OK.

Look at the thread on the youngster back clipping on the wall, something he had not been warned about. All those little things add up.
Jamie B - on 17 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:

It looks like a good addition which appears to cut to the chase of what novice leaders really need to know without the ephemera of some other publications.

Trad-climbing isn't a black art, but it can seem so to people who are raised on much simpler systems. There is a whole generation out there who are scared to escape the reassuring confines of the walls. This book will help them do so.
grimly feendish - on 26 Nov 2007
I dont understand why it only shows a single rope in the pics. I've just started trad after an apprentiship indoors and experienced ppl tell me they NEVER trad climb on a single rope. So why not tell it as it is? Or am I talking shyte? I dunno, Im confused. I bought the Cicerone guide "Rock Climbing" published this year and that implies you can trad climb on a single rope too. But from all the few secondings Ive done its pretty fecking obvious that 2 ropes are a necessity.

grimly
Glyn Jones - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to grimly feendish: I've climbed on twins only a few times in my life. I'm still here.
Mr Justice Cocklecarrot on 26 Nov 2007 - 78.145.10.162 whois?
In reply to grimly feendish:

"experienced ppl tell me they NEVER trad climb on a single rope": sounds like you are being fed a load of old cock to me.

I prefer double ropes on any route, but a single is fine, especially on routes that don't move about a lot.
climbingpixie - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to grimly feendish:

Two ropes aren't a necessity, and on many routes they're just additional faff. I tend to use them for everything rather than take three ropes to the crag but if I'm doing something straight up, with good gear mostly in a straight line (like most crack climbs!), then I'd rather use a single if there's one available. As I understand it you only really need doubles for stuff that wanders, traverses, has marginal gear/gear that's spaced apart or from which you'll want to be able to do a full rope length abseil.
Glyn Jones - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to climbingpixie: you sound like fiend!
grimly feendish - on 26 Nov 2007
problem for ppl like me who want to climb indoors, sport AND trad climb is what effing rope do I get? I cant afford two half ropes and a sport rope and a 30m rope for indoors. is there a happy compromise?

grimly
Caralynh - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to grimly feendish:

You'd be fine with a 50m 10mm single, surely, unless you're doing longer sports routes?

I started with such a rope - and it was fine. I prefer halves for trad though, so have those now, and save the single for easy winter stuff, or as an ab rope.
climbingpixie - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to Glyn Jones:

LOL! I'm not sure whether to be flattered or offended ;-)
Glyn Jones - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to climbingpixie: It's a climbing complement unless you decide to post a picture of cows in a field!
climbingpixie - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to Glyn Jones:

Cows, eh... hush you, you'll get me banned. I posted a picture of a piece of rock I thought looked a bit like a penis though!
Glyn Jones - on 26 Nov 2007
In reply to climbingpixie: I had a goat in my gallery for over two weeks without anyone noticing! hehe!
icnoble on 27 Nov 2007
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
> (In reply to bryn)
> [...]
>
> Obviously, this is just 2 pages from a book of 288 pages. The subtleties of belaying, leading and seconding are all covered in much more detail elsewhere.
>
> Alan

Could you publish the other 266 pages on the foum please, it would save uying it!!!

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