/ NEW ARTICLE: Ten Top Tips For Staying Alive

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UKC Articles - on 22 Apr 2012
Big fall on Break on Through with gear ripping, 4 kbIn this article UKC Chief Editor Jack Geldard takes a lighthearted look at a deadly serious topic - staying alive whilst climbing - and gives us ten things to think about whilst we're out at the crag.

"You need to know when your arms have reached the point of no return, or what I call the 'Terminal Pump', the biggest jug in the world won't bring you back from this..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4586

Wee Davie - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article! The only thing I would add to it would be 'don't place gear that is unlikely to hold'. I've been involved in a nasty accident where a sh1t wire popped and the only thing it did was invert the guy onto his nut.
Oli W on 22 Apr 2012 - host86-176-42-23.range86-176.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Wee Davie:

Not sure about that. I've placed a stack of gear I knew wouldn't hold, but when the whole lot ripped it did a very good job of slowing me down! But like Jack says, it's a matter of judgement and experience. Maybe "don't place gear that is unlikely to hold... unless you have a plan".
birdie num num - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Hi Jack,
Great piece. I can do all of that except the clean underpants. All of my underpants are rank.
pebbles - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to birdie num num: as a mate of mine just pointed out, once youve had (or even almost had) an accident your underwear may no longer be clean anyway
wilkie14c - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to birdie num num:
I think num num should learn the 4 day climbers technique - used on trips away one can make a pair of undercrackers last 4 whole days and nights - normal, back to front, turn insideout and repeat. doesn't work if you are wearing thongs though.
michael83 - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
One to add: when abbing out after a route, check, check, check and check again that you are a) actually attached to the rope (not just holding it in your hands) and b) both ropes are passed through your plate AND the carabiner.

An easy one to forget in the tired and elated moment of topping out a long route. I've caught myself once with the above.
mkean - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to michael83:
Yes, also when borrowing a mates ropes check they are the same length before abseiling off; realising you are only holding 1 rope instead of two is not a fun experience. (Same advice applies to middle marks on trimmed ropes.)
a crap climber - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to michael83:

I was about to abb of a route the other day. I was tied into a hanging belay and about to untie myself when I realised that I'd clipped the belay device into the rope loop, not the abb loop...
Calder - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to a crap climber:

That's exactly the sort of thing where I'd normally think, "you must be a right idiot."

Thing is though, I've done exactly the same when threading the belay at the top of a sport route.
Ron Walker - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

A good article with plenty of good sound advice based on experience rather than the usual go for it media hype...
Dave Foster - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to michael83:

Another one being if you've tied the ropes together make sure you're abbing off the long end, not the two foot tail!
Ron Walker - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to a crap climber:
> (In reply to michael83)
>
> I was about to abb of a route the other day. I was tied into a hanging belay and about to untie myself when I realised that I'd clipped the belay device into the rope loop, not the abb loop...

Threading a cows tail onto the tie in rope loop when preparing an abseil or lower and then undoing the rope is an all to common cause of accidents :-(
Ron Walker - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Dave Foster:
> (In reply to michael83)
>
> Another one being if you've tied the ropes together make sure you're abbing off the long end, not the two foot tail!

I've also seen people clip the overly long rope tails into the lower-off krab or runner rather than the rope...
tlm - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Making sure that your rope is long enough when lowering a partner from a longer sports route on the continent.

Tie knots in the ends of your ab ropes on long abseils.
Brendan - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice article. Another good tip is to make sure your belayer stays in close to the wall to avoid gear unzipping. If that's not possible, place a directional runner at the start that will keep the rope in close to the wall in the event of a fall.
chrisbevins - on 23 Apr 2012
who is that handsome belayer on the third picture? i bet the lady are lining up around the corner for him!
GrahamD - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

A lot of common abseil accidents happen in 'safe' situations.

Either because of complacency because there is such a convenient bolted abseil station (only abseil accidents I've seen personally have been at 'safe' sport crags where people have abbed or been lowered off the end of the rope.) OR because the abseil set up has been so confused with safety back ups etc. that you can't actually see the fundamentals any more (KISS).

Al Evans on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: Don't attempt K2, don't solo above your grade and most of all, don't cross the road!
In reply to Wee Davie:
> Good article! The only thing I would add to it would be 'don't place gear that is unlikely to hold'. I've been involved in a nasty accident where a sh1t wire popped and the only thing it did was invert the guy onto his nut.

Disagree strongly with this. Placing psychological runners has got me up many a climb. Additionally, as others have noted, even a bad runner will slow you down.

It is an advanced technique though and requires the experience to know what is a good runner and what is a bad one, which isn't obvious to beginners.

Alan
Offwidth - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Cant be that advanced, I've used it sub VS at times! (otherwise I agree completely with you). One useful trick is to climb with half ropes and put the 'marginal' runner on other rope from the last bomber runner.
SCrossley on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
>
> Cant be that advanced, I've used it sub VS at times! (otherwise I agree completely with you). One useful trick is to climb with half ropes and put the 'marginal' runner on other rope from the last bomber runner.

I`m thinking about that one, why does it matter, maybe if I thought longer, but go on tell me please.
sarahjharrison - on 23 Apr 2012
All these stories of people nearly abbing off the wrong thing... Am I really the only person who's so cautious as to always fully weight the rope before I unclip from the anchors/belay? Always always always, and it doesn't take any longer to do it.
That said, I have done the abbing on someone else's ropes of unequal length. The adrenaline kick of feeling only one rope in my hand where previously there were two was NOT good - grabbed the other rope, and made it down fine. Then slept the rest of the day.
Calder - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to sarahjharrison:
> ... Am I really the only person who's so cautious as to always fully weight the rope before I unclip from the anchors/belay?

No. That's why I'm still here. But I made the mistake all the same.

It goes to show that all the little checks and routines are there for a reason - because mistakes will happen.
mattrm - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to sarahjharrison)
> [...]
>
> No. That's why I'm still here. But I made the mistake all the same.
>

I always have a larksfooted sling or similar and will weight the rope as fully as I can before committing to an abseil. Even with that I still *hate* abseiling. Non-climbers don't seem to understand, but most climbers aren't fans of abseiling.

nigel pearson - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:
I now have a little ditty - 'check the (rope) tails before you abseil' to make sure I haven't put the belay device on the tails of the knot rather than the main ropes.
Michael Gordon - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article and some interesting points in the thread.

One thing I would add to the 'Don't be a Hero' subject is if the cracks (for example) don't look great it's sometimes better to just continue climbing rather than spending time getting pumped while placing shit gear. Of course this again requires judgement and hopefully evidence of good holds / a rest point above.

I think some of the above anecdotes are good reason not to make the abseil tail too long, along with the fact that it's more likely to get caught in a crack or something.

I think the only near misses I've had whilst abseiling/lowering off have been due to a breakdown in communication. One time I shouted down to my (inexperienced) partner waiting at the foot of the crag to check if the rope had reached the ground. I thought it was obvious I meant BOTH ends of it!

Another time was while climbing on a crag which topped out on a ridge without any obvious sign of a belay. My mate lowered me down the other side, using himself (at the bottom) as the anchor. This worked fine until I reached a ledge halfway down. He assumed I'd reached the ground and took me off belay.
john arran - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Make sure the belay plate is clipped into the belay loop or a rope loop and not not a gear loop - as was humbly and apologetically confessed to me by my belayer once after I'd onsighted an E4 6b second pitch of a route. Gulp!
birdie num num - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> A lot of common abseil accidents happen in 'safe' situations.
>
> Either because of complacency because there is such a convenient bolted abseil station (only abseil accidents I've seen personally have been at 'safe' sport crags where people have abbed or been lowered off the end of the rope.) OR because the abseil set up has been so confused with safety back ups etc. that you can't actually see the fundamentals any more (KISS).

Num Num couldn't agree more here. It is tempting sometimes, ie. at Tremadoc, to arrive at the top and use an ab station as one of the belay anchors. Be very careful if subsequently using it to ab off that it is threaded correctly, I have witnessed in the confusion of ropes, the bight being passed through and knotted. When abbing, all your eggs are in one basket. Check and check again.

thin bob on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
Nice article.
And, yes, even if it 'looks' OK, a little check or a tug doen't harm...
neilbowers - on 24 Apr 2012
The PS to 4 (pre-climb partner) check deserves a point of its own.

Definitely agree on the helmet at the foot of the crag. I became more religious about that after some gear was dropped off the top of Stanage and hit me, "fortunately" on the shoulder and not the head.
Dave Musgrove Jnr on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: I might have to check out that Zombieland
Ampthill - on 24 Apr 2012
I thought it was a great article. I thought I would add one other minor thing

It sugests double up on runner befor a run out.

Some times its worth doing the same at the the other end of a run out, even if it was easy. Otherwise you can end up high on the route with only 1 runner between you and the ground

I suppose its all about having a continual view of the safety chain
Foglet - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Dave Musgrove Jnr: Great film - enjoy! Other than pulling the ropes through for the next descent pitch without being clipped in to the lovely belay I'd just set up (I was tired, but it's still pretty stupid) the only one I'm guilty of is the clean underwear. This was due to an unfortunate incident on the walk-in though, so I'm not sure it counts!
Anna G - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: i would add tie a knot in the end of the rope as i found out recently!
tom_in_edinburgh - on 26 Apr 2012

Don't do anything shown in a Bear Grylls survival video.


natetan - on 03 May 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: the front page pic is of Oli - who also made the video which has gone down well in the Rock talk forum..

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=504074
George Ormerod - on 03 May 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Erm, your last point. I doesn't matter how clean you pants are, if you shit yourself on the way down. Like a mate I watched fall off Gillercomb Buttress whilst scrambling in the rain. The nurse subsequently asked if wanted the soiled undercrackers back; he didn't.

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