/ Climbing wall tie in...

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Sam_Marsland - on 10 Jun 2012
I was climbing in my local wall the other day, and had a small group of around 3/4 people. All brand new to the sport and were along for a taster and just wanted to get on some routes.

We went over to the top ropes and I tied a figure of eight on a bight, with a stopper knot and put a krab on the loop. This eliminated the phaff of keep tying each individual member in with a re-threaded figure of eight. I screwed up every lean myself and checked all systems before committing people onto the wall and it proved efficient and quick and a lot of climbing was enjoyed by all.

However I was later approached by a member of staff asking me not to use this method and although I understand the wall has rules and will acknowledge their request in the future i just wanted a gauge of peoples opinions, whether they believe it compromises safety or whether it be legitimate?

Note: if any on the group wanted to progress and take to the sport I would teach them properly how to tie in and explain all forms of safety.
Sam_Marsland - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93: Where it says "I screwed up ever lean myself" it is meant to read 'I screwed up every krab myself'. Sorry.
Thelongcon - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:

On topropes at my local gym in Oz this is the standard set up. I can't see any harm in it. But I'm sure someone much more experienced will be along to correct me shortly.
pcummins60 - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93: At my local wall (in the Netherlands ) this is standard practice. This I was told makes it more efficient for climbers when swapping top ropes. However, we have to use special Krab (I think it is called DMM belay master ) or two HMS screwgate Krabs with the Gates oppositie each other. This is to prevent, in the event of fall the rope loading sideways across the gate. If lead climbing, then we have to tie in as if you take lead fall greater forces come to bear on your safety devices. In my opinion (based on seeing my groups first attempts at trying to tie in), this system is better for novices, who after a brief training can climb with minimum supervision.
AlH - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93: IMHO as usual it is about pros and cons rather than rights and wrongs.
Clip in with one krab.
Pros? Very quick to change people over.
Cons? Possibility of forgetting to do up the gate, gate working its way open or novice fiddling with gate (more likely with children) and doesn't really introduce people who might go on to become climbers to one of the basic skills involved. I do know of one friend who attached someone with a single krab that he swears he checked who then became detached from the rope part way up a climb.
Clip in with 2 krabs.
Pros? Almost a quick as one crab and gives a safer set up than 1.
Cons? Needs a little more kit and doesn't really introduce people who might go on to become climbers to one of the basic skills involved.
Clip in with belay master (one that is in good condition and can only be closed when krab is done up- they do wear and get slack with time).
Pros? Almost as quick as a single krab, crab hard to cross load and should be done up if plastic clip is applied.
Cons? Needs a little more kit and doesn't really introduce people who might go on to become climbers to one of the basic skills involved.
Tieing in.
Pros? Done correctly it is secure and won't work undone. It is a basic part of climbing that works in any climbing situation. Also single krabs are easily overtightened and can be hard to undo after this. Getting them to check their/each others/the knot you have tied engages them in the process a bit more and increases the number of people involved in the safety side of things.
Cons? Takes a little longer.

On a practical note, from working in walls, leaving fig. of 8 on the bight in ropes for repeated use can make them hard to get out when someone wants to tie on and some people don't recognise when it is not appropriate (e.g. I've seen someone clip in to the end of a rope as they were about to lead- they normally climbed at a wall where they clipped in and had decided to try leading themselves). On balance most British walls discourage it because of the nature of the 'cons' and the chance of something going wrong.
There is some stuff from the UIAA on this issue here: http://theuiaa.org/upload_area/files/1/Attaching_to_rope_by_karabiner.pdf

So does it compromise safety? Usually no but possibly yes. Are there safer ways of doing it that are almost as quick? Yes.
muppetfilter - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to AlH: I always have to laugh atthe hypocrasy...

If a single Screwgate is so dangerous then why do we use one to connect the Belay device with.
Trangia - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to AlH) I always have to laugh atthe hypocrasy...
>
> If a single Screwgate is so dangerous then why do we use one to connect the Belay device with.

Interesting question! I've noticed that the krab does sometimes have a tendancy to work round so that the gate is against the belay loop on the harness and has to be repositioned. A potentially weak link in the chain where say on a multi pitch climb there is the potential for huge forces to be exerted onto it?

Basically climbing is inherently unsafe, so we take reasonable precautions to illiminate the risk. But there comes a point at which there is a risk of going OTT on one particular aspect only to overlook another.

The safest option is, of course, not to climb at all.

Going back to the OP in a top roping scenario the risk of a gate failing due to side ways gate loading must be very very small indeed as the krab is designed to withstand sideways forces significantly greater than the weight of any climber even at it's weakest point, the gate. It's only in a leader fall scenario that greater forces come into play.

I'd be interested to learn if there has ever been a recorded failure of a gate in a top/bottom roping situation?

Wide_Mouth_Frog - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to AlH) I always have to laugh atthe hypocrasy...
>
> If a single Screwgate is so dangerous then why do we use one to connect the Belay device with.

How else would you do it?
Hannes on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93: The way they see it at my local wall is because there is one more thing in the chain that can go wrong. Not that it is inherently unsafe but there's just more points in the safety chain.

When I tie in in the middle of a rope with an alpine butterfly I tend to use a screwgate and a normal snapgate just for a little more added security.
bouldery bits - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
> [...]
>
> How else would you do it?

Gaffa tape
markez on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:
"I screwed up every lean myself and checked all systems before committing people onto the wall and it proved efficient and quick and a lot of climbing was enjoyed by all."

I can't see a problem with this as an instructor was clipping in.

I would be very uncomfortable if I was part of a group that was sharing lines and doing this, and I suppose this would have been why the floor walker came over.

Again, once understood that the instructor is going to be on-hand, I don't see any problem. Glad to hear they had a fun time and plenty of climbing.


Ciro - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to AlH) I always have to laugh atthe hypocrasy...
>
> If a single Screwgate is so dangerous then why do we use one to connect the Belay device with.

In a fall, the forces at the belayer end are much less than the forces on the climber end of the rope.
muppetfilter - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog: I wasn't questioning the safety of screwgates belaying, I was pointing out if they are unacceptable by walls at one end of the belay system then why are they integral at the other ?
Wide_Mouth_Frog - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
Oh right ok, well at a guess I'd say you're in more control of the whole belaying 'system' when you're at the belay end, but when you're on the climbing end you've got other things on your mind
The Ex-Engineer - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93: Well, the official, definitive and completely unarguable advice is that it DOES compromise safety.

The UIAA published official guidance nearly a decade ago advising people of the dangers of using standard screwgates in light of numerous accidents where those involved did, beyond reasonable doubt, did screw up their carabiner but still later decked out. Read http://theuiaa.org/upload_area/files/1/Attaching_to_rope_by_karabiner.pdf

Thankfully there is no shortage of options as explained in the UIAA report, including just teaching people to tie-in, although individual walls will vary on what they may allow.

The simplest one is to use a DMM Belaymster carabiner. Pretty much any climbing wall that uses an auto-belay should be happy with that, as that is the method of attachment invariably used with them.

Another good option is to use a captive eye carabiner with a triple action gate.
The Ex-Engineer - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: I always laugh at the complete and utter muppets who post on UKC without the slightest clue about what they are talking about...
AlH - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: I don't feel it is hypocrisy. For whatever reason (call it the krab rubbing against the wall, the ability of a foolish student climber to fiddle with the krab, the nature of the loading whatever) I know of at least 2 situations where someone has come detached from single screwgate at the rope end with no clear explanation why. I don't know of any where they have become detached at the belay device end (where the attention of the belayer and an instructor is focussed on the device).
I also don't like the tendency to refer to things in absolutes. I don't think 'safe' and 'unsafe' are helpful terms (whatever the UIAA says in the link I posted). I'd rather think in terms of assassin what can go wrong and the likelihood of it happening vs the consequences. Have I ever attached students to a single krab on a knot on a bight? Sure I have. Do I do it regularly? No, I use 2 krabs back to bcd more often as it is easy and i personally know of no incidences of a climber becoming detached using this system. Most common of all i tie people in as I'd rather teach them to and even if I'm doing it it doesn't take me long at all. But that's just my preference based on my experience.
muppetfilter - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: Coming from someone of your caliber I take this as a compliment.

The clue I have about the function, performance and limitations of carabiners comes from the fact I get paid to dangle off things (via screwgates) and hit other things with a big hammer.

Anonymous on 10 Jun 2012 - no-reverse-dns.metronet-uk.com
In reply to muppetfilter:
And everyone who's passed their driving test is a perfect driver...
See the links provided above for evidence of where screwgates have come undone.
andyathome - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to AlH:

> I'd rather think in terms of assassin what can go wrong

Crackin' typo, Al. You got many 'contracts' at the moment? :-)
ads.ukclimbing.com
highclimber - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93: That's why I use a Bowline - its quicker and safer than the screwgate method (assuming you are using a regular non-captive Krab and can tie a bowline properly!)
AlH - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to andyathome: Sure its just easier to kill the problems than to solve them ;-)
balmybaldwin - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:


My understanding of this issue is that the screwgate is only part of the concern.

Another concern is the fact that a (semi)permenantly tied knot with a krab on it will exert a force on exactly the same place each time a climber falls, which over time will wear ropes out much quicker. With a knot that's retied each time, the rope gets a chance to "rest" betweeen climbers, and the knot will be in a slightly different position each time.
Nick Russell on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:

The most commonly expressed concern about this system is the possibility of cross-loading the krab in a fall. Since they're rated to 7-9kN on the minor axis, I'd be very surprised if a top-rope fall could cause failure. I guess you've only got a safety factor of ~5, rather than 10+, but I'd still say it's not a large concern.

In fact, even in a lead fall situation, you'd struggle to exert enough force to cause failure (and if there's >7kN transmitted to your harness you've probably got other problems!) I'm definitely not recommending using a screwgate to tie in for lead climbing, just trying to figure out how dangerous it would really be
jenniwat001 on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:

My two local walls use this technique with the kids parties they do.
oggi on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93: I have investigated one instance where an accident was directly the result of this technique. You can see a report at http://www.lessonslearned.org.uk/docs/Case%208%20Management%20failings.pdf

In this instance an inexperienced "instructor" clipped a child to the rope and somehow it came undone. In my opinion the instructor did not clip the krab fully to the harness and did not therefore screw it up. However it is not possible to prove this.
muppetfilter - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to oggi: In a situation where an incompetent, inexperienced and outnumbered supervisor makes an error it could as easily have been tieing the victim rather than simply clipping. In fact to speculate further if someone could screw-up a simple screwgate procedure just think of the balls-up they could make if they were let loose with a knot.
taps323 - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: I have instructed and operated several walls and have a pretty severe hatred of this method. It breeds complacency and everytime is asking for an accident.
1) It adds a non-dynamic element to a chain that is not neccessary.
2) It can easily be fiddled with, with one hand by a student and thus resulting in it opening or turning. Plus whats to say even using a tri-lock carabiner that movement against the wall cant open it.
3) It gives novice or less experienced instructors an excuse not to competently learn their knots.
4) A half competent instructor can tie a student in, within 5-10 seconds and therefore the speed element of a carabiner is a defunct argument. As an instructor if you cant tie in then you should not be instructing. Furthermore are you runnig a production line or are you trying to give someone a good experience, take this 5 seconds and learn the persons name/reassure them/learn their favourite colour.
5) The 'ease' of clipping can often result in attaching to the wrong point of the harness. By tieing in you are going through the correct process of 'reforming' the belay/abseil loop (not applied to alpine harness' of course).
6) Maybe a seperate argument but the increased frequency of loading the belay loop is going to reduce the life expectancy of harness'.

But this is just my lonely opinion. Im sure there are some positives to this method but in my opinion they do not outway the lorry load of negatives.
timjones - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to oggi:
> (In reply to smarsy_93) I have investigated one instance where an accident was directly the result of this technique. You can see a report at http://www.lessonslearned.org.uk/docs/Case%208%20Management%20failings.pdf
>
> In this instance an inexperienced "instructor" clipped a child to the rope and somehow it came undone. In my opinion the instructor did not clip the krab fully to the harness and did not therefore screw it up. However it is not possible to prove this.

Congratulations on managing to write a whole 2 pages without providing any real answers. Where is the evidence that any of the "issues" that you highlighted contributed to whatever error actually caused the accident ;(
timjones - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
> (In reply to smarsy_93) Well, the official, definitive and completely unarguable advice is that it DOES compromise safety.
>
> The UIAA published official guidance nearly a decade ago advising people of the dangers of using standard screwgates in light of numerous accidents where those involved did, beyond reasonable doubt, did screw up their carabiner but still later decked out. Read http://theuiaa.org/upload_area/files/1/Attaching_to_rope_by_karabiner.pdf

The report mentions "several accidents". Isn't that rather different from your more sensational claim of "numerous accidents"?
Jonathan Emett - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

good link, thanks. I was curious as to why the knot in both photos doesn't seem to be a fig8, but rather and overhand knot - or do my eyes deceive me?
muppetfilter - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to timjones: Dont let the presentation of the facts get in the way of anecdotal incinuations .

Oceanrower - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to Ciro:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
> [...]
>
> In a fall, the forces at the belayer end are much less than the forces on the climber end of the rope.

Is that true? "Equal and opposite reactions" and all that?
highclimber - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to Oceanrower: yes as some of the energy is absorbed by the rope and gear. quoting Newtons laws is too simplistic when it comes to climbing physics!
Gareth Pritchard - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:
3-way locking krab on the end and it's safe as houses, assuming you're the one clipping them in.
3 Names - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Oceanrower) yes as some of the energy is absorbed by the rope and gear.

would this not still effect both ends of the system?

Catpain Blackudder on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Vince McNally:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> would this not still effect both ends of the system?

Think about it logically using climber hanging on the rope having fallen and belayer of exactly the same weight.

The climber (or in this case, the faller) is dangling in free space exerting all his/her/its weight on the rope. The belayer is standing on the floor with their feet still taking some of their weight, therefore that end of the rope is not seeing the same force as the other end. The difference is being held by whatever gear the rope is running through.
3 Names - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Nick B, Another One:

Logically?

How about the force on the anchor is the combined weight of both the belayer and leader,
and that each end of the rope is seeing an equal amount of force.

This would be why lowering off puts double the force through an anchor, compared to abseiling?
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to taps323:
It breeds complacency and everytime is asking for an accident.

Is it really?


1) It adds a non-dynamic element to a chain that is not neccessary.

I'll add the word always between not and neccesary.


2) It can easily be fiddled with, with one hand by a student and thus resulting in it opening or turning.

Sorry but that doesn't match my experience. That'll be the third hand they're not using to hold onto the wall then?



Plus whats to say even using a tri-lock carabiner that movement against the wall cant open it.

They are incredibly reliable, more so than a screwgate. Probably why they are preferred in many "Working at Height" situations.


3) It gives novice or less experienced instructors an excuse not to competently learn their knots.

How so? They need to tie a knot to clip into the krab. Admittedly they are not using a re-threaded Fig. 8, or a bowline. Any CWA/SPA should be competent in tying knots to pass assessment, surely?


4) A half competent instructor can tie a student in, within 5-10 seconds and therefore the speed element of a carabiner is a defunct argument.

I don't think so, It is twice as quick to clip/unclip. Particularly if you end up with the totally inexperienced participant attempting to thread a harness. (They may not want you fiddling around by their crotch.) Also as it is far simpler and quicker to clip in than tie in, it reduces the room for error by getting distracted. Probably the most common cause of tie in error. (IMHO)


As an instructor if you cant tie in then you should not be instructing.

I think I covered that one.


Furthermore are you runnig a production line or are you trying to give someone a good experience, take this 5 seconds and learn the persons name/reassure them/learn their favourite colour.

Perhaps I already know their name/favourite colour and don't want to waste time. Sometimes it's about giving folks an experience and not about teaching them to climb/tie in.


5) The 'ease' of clipping can often result in attaching to the wrong point of the harness. By tieing in you are going through the correct process of 'reforming' the belay/abseil loop (not applied to alpine harness' of course).

If you can't clip in to the correct part of a harness, or ensure the participant has done so, then you shouldn't be instructing.


6) Maybe a seperate argument but the increased frequency of loading the belay loop is going to reduce the life expectancy of harness'.

Really? You are talking rubbish now. Tied in or clipped in, the harness will be subject to the same amount of wear and tear. If you have some magic way of tieing in that places no load on waistbelt and legloops, perhaps you'd care to share. In my experience, centre use harnesses are retired on cosmetic or age grounds before they become unsafe.


But this is just my lonely opinion. Im sure there are some positives to this method but in my opinion they do not outway the lorry load of negatives.

Trying to work out if "lonely opinion" is a typo or not.
(lonely/lowly) I'm leaning towards not.

I have instructed and operated several walls and have a pretty severe hatred of this method.

You seem to have assumed a very forthright position/opinion.

My guess is after 3 years of climbing you've just passed your SPA.

Come back to these opinions after a few years in the game and see if you still feel the same.


;~))
GR
colina - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to andyathome:
> (In reply to AlH)
>
> [...]
> > I'd rather think in terms of assassin what can go wrong

> Crackin' typo, Al. You got many 'contracts' at the moment? :-)

what do you charge for taking out my x wife ? shes screwing me for the house

ads.ukclimbing.com
Oceanrower - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Nick B, Another One:
> (In reply to Vince McNally)
> [...]
>
> Think about it logically using climber hanging on the rope having fallen and belayer of exactly the same weight.
>
> The climber (or in this case, the faller) is dangling in free space exerting all his/her/its weight on the rope. The belayer is standing on the floor with their feet still taking some of their weight, therefore that end of the rope is not seeing the same force as the other end. The difference is being held by whatever gear the rope is running through.

You've just made that up, haven't you? I'd love to see the physics behind that.



Catpain Blackudder on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Oceanrower:
> (In reply to Nick B, Another One)
> [...]
>
> You've just made that up, haven't you? I'd love to see the physics behind that.

In what way is it made up? Have you never held someone who weighs roughly the same as you on the other end of a rope? Some of your weight remains on your feet therefore the rope at your end is not supporting the same load a the rope at the other end. That load is being taken by whatever gear is between you and the person hanging adding friction to the system.
andyr - on 23 Jun 2012
The reason for a lot of Walls banning clipping in with a krab is not a strength issue. A locking karabiner into the belay loop is quite strong enough; although the intial loading in a fall is predominately on the leg loop connector and leg loops which increases the chance of flipping upside-down. Unfortunetely, and this happened on a regular basis, climbers clip into the wrong part of the harness. Just the rope loop on the waist belt. The leg loop connector. A single leg loop on skinny harnesses and gear loops are a particular favourite.

If you think this wouldn't happen that often, just remember that there have been many incidents of experienced climbers failing to clip in or inappropriately clipping into autobelay machines. And they represent a tiny fraction of the numbers who would be clipping in with krabs if it was allowed practice.
3 Names - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Nick B, Another One:

As I said above this is incorrect.
Thoms6974 - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Oceanrower:
> ...I'd love to see the physics behind that.

Walk into any high school maths classroom when they're covering mechanics.

Think of any time you've been on a route with horrific rope drag - tight on leader, slack on belayer (i.e. no force) - obviously the extreme end but the principle holds, even toproping indoors; I find about 1/3rd of my weight gets held by friction in the system (judging on having lifted belayers that are less than 2/3rds of my weight)
Oceanrower - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Thoms6974:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
> [...]

Maybe. Due to friction. But that has absolutely nothing to do with you being heavier than your partner because your feet are on the ground!
3 Names - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Thoms6974:

think about it this way

2 x 1kg weights held at opposite ends of a rope, with the rope running up and down via an anchor. Move the weights until one is on the floor and one is in the air. Now which one is heavier? Also any friction in the system effects both ends of the rope, so that the force on either end of the rope is the same.
biscuit - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:

I was working with some American clients last week and they were horrified at me tying them in without a nice big metal carabiner to keep them safe. AT the walls they climb at they have a policy of only using a crab to clip in. The lad was a very handy climber who had done a fair share of regional and national comps. It was the rules in those too to clip in with a carabiner.

They also had a totally different way of belaying that properly shit me up until they showed it me in slow motion. It works but to my eyes has a much bigger likelihood to go wrong as you were in the un-locked position for much longer. Its obviously fairly common as some different American clients from a different state belayed the same way today.

It's almost as if different experts will come up with different solutions according to their experiences and knowledge and there is no perfect answer. Who'd have thought it.
needvert on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to smarsy_93:

Two opposed biners (one gym owned, steel) is normal here.

I wouldn't feel comfortable with a single biner.


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