/ escape the system by taking off harness

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Rich Tyler - on 14 May 2012
Ok so with 'always being safe' in mind ive got a question regarding escaping the system.
The scenario is you have topped out, walked around a tree and tied a clove hitch into your tie in loop, you then attach the belay to the same tie in loop and begin to belay, the climber gets stuck half way up, how do you escape the system after tying off the belay plate?

You could take your harness off but that'll leave you on the edge of the crag without any protection, not very safe at all.

Thanks in advance, Rich.
muppetfilter - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler: Carry a spare long sling, chuck it round your waist, tie a quick overhand knot, clip into the rope loop and "Bingo" you are safe to take off your harness. Or simply "Dont fall off" and just take your harness off and put it back on.
Rich Tyler - on 14 May 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: once your harness is off you cant put it back on as the belay loop is still attached to the system (why you had to take it off in the first place).
muppetfilter - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler: If everything comes into the rope loop (anchors, belay device) and you have tied the rope behind the thread points on the harness (usually stitched loops that hold the belay loop captive) then you can untie and pull the harness out, you will have to unclip or unthread one legloops elastic.
tspoon1981 on 14 May 2012
GrahamD - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:

Actually there are very few scenarios where abandoning a climber hanging suspended in their harness is a good idea. Much better to try to lower them to safety asap in which case there will not be weight on your belay.
&y_Gee - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler: Learn a method for escaping the system which does NOT involve removing your harness. Try something like this:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3472
kevin stephens - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:
Is this obsession with "Escaping the System" a misinterpretaion of the oft reported lifestyle of doly climbers in the '80s? The only one that makes sese to me from a climbing point of view.

".....the climber gets stuck half way up, how do you escape the system .." Why? Are you going to walk round and solo up to him?

althesin on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler: What's wrong with a knife??
Rich Tyler - on 14 May 2012
In reply to kevin stephens: the reason i asked this question is because i havent found a concise answer anywhere else. i am already aware of the methods in the videos and these do not work for my described scenario. the knowledge to be able to safely escape the system is far more valuable than just presuming you can lower someone down, once out of the system you have far safer methods of helping a stuck climber than 'soloing' up to them.
DaveBear - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:

I'm not saying you'd need to here, but to escape it, lock off belay plate, put French prussik on live rope in front of it, attach this to a long sling tied back into your belay or if out of reach around the ropes with a klemheist, take the climbers weight on this. Then unlock belay plate, use the slack rope to tie back into the belay with a Friction hitch, to leave you with more flexibility, take in most of the slack then lock it off. Then release the French prussik until the weight is on the Friction hitch at the anchor. Untie from your harness and you're free but your partner is still suspended in space!
george mc - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:
> (In reply to kevin stephens) the reason i asked this question is because i havent found a concise answer anywhere else. i am already aware of the methods in the videos and these do not work for my described scenario. the knowledge to be able to safely escape the system is far more valuable than just presuming you can lower someone down, once out of the system you have far safer methods of helping a stuck climber than 'soloing' up to them.

You'll still need your harness - or a very long ladder?

Depending how you tie in it is possible to tie off the plate, undo your harness, step out of your harness, undo the buckles and pull through your harness.

Off course there are then the questions of context (not a stunt to be pulling on a multi-pitch stance for example), situation (other options - like what does 'stuck' mean? Stuck as in can't make the move or stuck as in body part jammed tight into crevice...


David Coley - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:
Place prusik around the lines around tree. French prusik on rope to climber. Link the two with a sling. Let some slack out and therefore the get the weight off you. Untie. Back the rope up by taking it around the tree. Walk away.

As concise as I can get.
samthom - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler: Above is good, or use a 3 in 1 pulley to get them past the tricky bit? less dangerous and quicker!
henwardian - on 14 May 2012
In reply to GrahamD:
> Actually there are very few scenarios where abandoning a climber hanging suspended in their harness is a good idea. Much better to try to lower them to safety asap in which case there will not be weight on your belay.

Without wanting to "Abandon" your partner, there are still lots of situations where simply lowering will not be an option and they are not rare, e.g.
Overhanging sea cliff (assuming they don't fancy a swim or are unconscious).
Any lead where they are over half the rope length above you.
Multipitch lead up overhanging terrain if the partner is not able to accept a rope thrown out to them for whatever reason.

Simply lowering someone to the ground is a great first resort and if the sh*t hits the fan, it's almost always easier to get someone down the base of a climb than up to the top BUT there are a lot of situations where escaping the system is an essential skill, some even when your partner is conscious.
Scarab9 - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:

hmm...seems a bit hypothetical here.....

why are you trying to escape your harness? are they stuck on a difficult bit of the route? unconscious? taking too long and you're heading the pub?

what are you gonna do once you're free? an assisted or unassisted hoist can be rigged without getting out of your harness or you can lower off....what is the exact scenario you're looking at? (I can think of a couple but the more I think of it the more unlikey it gets
muppetfilter - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Scarab9: Not hypothetical if you think about the accident that injured Paul Pritchard.
Ramblin dave - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Scarab9:
> (In reply to Rich Tyler)
>
> hmm...seems a bit hypothetical here.....

For all we know he's posting this from a smartphone while still sat on the belay...
Tim Chappell - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:


Take off your harness, go to the pub, have a pint, advertise for a new partner... sorted.
henwardian - on 14 May 2012
In reply to samthom:
> (In reply to Rich Tyler) Above is good, or use a 3 in 1 pulley to get them past the tricky bit? less dangerous and quicker!

3:1 pullies are great in theory but after using them a number of times in practice, I've found that:
1) If you haul a taught rope with 70-90kg of weight on one end over the edge of a cliff and other protruberances, the sheath can very easily get seriously ripped up.
2) If the climber is hanging on the rope and can't give any upward force of their own then the friction just of the rope going over the edge of the cliff will make hauling very difficult even with the mechanical advantage.

If your partner can grab the cliff and pull a bit on the hard section then a 3:1 is a fair idea. If they are in space then make them prussic. If they can't prussic then make them help you out by arranging an assisted hoist, 3:1 still but they can do some of the work and the rope should be subject to lesser ripping-to-bits forces on anything it crosses.

54ms - on 14 May 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:

If you've got enough gear to set up a rescue, you probably wouldn't have set up your belay like that....
jkarran - on 14 May 2012
In reply to David Coley:

> Place prusik around the lines around tree. French prusik on rope to climber. Link the two with a sling. Let some slack out and therefore the get the weight off you. Untie. Back the rope up by taking it around the tree. Walk away.
> As concise as I can get.

As concise as it gets. It's still basically a party trick :)

jk
jkarran - on 14 May 2012
In reply to 54ms:

> If you've got enough gear to set up a rescue, you probably wouldn't have set up your belay like that....

why ever not? I'm not certain what he means by tie a clovehitch back to your tie in loop (I can guess there's a krab missing from the text) but the walk around a tree bit is admirably simple.

jk
mikebarter387 - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nIj4JYHXYs

You have no excuse now!
Gwilymstarks on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to mikebarter387:

I am still chuckling at the 7m prussic. Is it the norm to carry that in your neck of the woods?
Jim Walton on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to mikebarter387: The hard bit (IMHO) of a counter balance ab comes when you have to do multiple pitches. Attaching the person to the new anchor in a way that you can get them off it whilst loaded (Mariners Hitch is useful for that), would be nice to see a video of someone doing that in a clear an efficient manner. The Guide who taught me was a rope wizard, it's taken me many many tries to make it look even 30% as good as his, still think I'm missing a trick...
Kane L. - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to mikebarter387: mikebarter387 on the ukc, surely not. Enjoy your videos, one of the few channels I'm subscribed to. I can't wait to pull out the one handed clovehitch infront of my friends.
Beaky - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler: Belay direct from the tree no need to escape system your not in it!
colin8ll on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:

I tie an alpine butterfly to create a loop just in front of my harness fig 8 knot. I belay and anchor from this point. I could easily lock off the belay, untie my original harness knot and sort things from there. It's the quickest and easiest approach, and the safest I believe.
peas65 - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to colin8ll:

This is very good idea.
ads.ukclimbing.com
EeeByGum - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler: If you do indirect belaying, escaping is simply a matter of undoing your knot. Indirect belaying also gives you the advantage of not having the blood cut off to your leg if your second falls.
speekingleesh - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to Rich Tyler) If you do indirect belaying, escaping is simply a matter of undoing your knot. Indirect belaying also gives you the advantage of not having the blood cut off to your leg if your second falls.

Er do you mean direct belaying (magic plate/italian hitch on a carabiner attached directly to the anchor) ?
jimmysdead - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to colin8ll: I like this idea a lot. It gives you a much easier time if you do need to escape the system and you can do so quickly and without any additional gear. Plus it gices you a bit of room to move around whilst belaying if the rope is loaded after your partner falls. Nice, simple.
colin8ll on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to jimmysdead: Cheers. My loop-in-front method also makes multi-pitch climbing where one person leads all pitches much easier as both climbers can clip into the loop with a sling and screwgate, swap ends of the rope, unclip from the sling then off the leader goes. The rope will be well stacked to feed easily to the leader and the belay does not have to be modified at all. Again I find this method quick, simple and safe.

I will make and post a video of the loop-in-front method for discussion here as I've never heard of anyone else using it (I thought it up) and I think it could save a lot of valuable time in an emergency and therefore should be considered.
54ms - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to colin8ll:

That's a really good idea thanks. I'll certainly having a play with that!
EZ on 07 Jun 2012
In reply to Rich Tyler:

I wouldn't get out of my harness unless it was absolutely desperately necessary.

Learn different ways to transfer loads from one anchor to another and then escape the system with your harness on.

Have a look at these:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3472
http://www.climber.co.uk/categories/articleitem.asp?cate=1&topic=94&item=153
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=zP8GuBEtirAC&lpg=PT95&ots=H-VGQJCbQM&dq=prusik%20esca...

You'll find many more on your favourite search engine. I searched for "prusik escape the system"

Don't forget to go to your local crag and throw a weighted rucksack over the edge from a belay stance and then practice. You'll find that there are many problems to solve when you have a go first time, problems that in a real situation you don't need adding to your stack of decisions.

Good luck

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