/ Confused at the anchor?
There was some peripheral discussion about it in the original thread, with some thinking it was OK, with others thinking it was dodgy.
I thought it merited a separate thread. OK? or dodgy?
different to the way I do it but seemed fine to me. Always has at least one point of attachment. If anything he was was very slick with it
The thread was about the anchors, not how to thread them!
The ones illustrated far exceed any requirements (legal or otherwise), are common and are better than you need or will often get.
Only issue is that when he switches between the two Fig8s, he takes him self off the rope/belay, so is relient on the the one bolt and sling for a second or so.
Unlikely to come a cropper, but unlikely isn't impossible. A crab for each knot would sort this out.
Agreed! The original thread was about anchor strength.
> Only issue is that when he switches between the two Fig8s, he takes him self off the rope/belay, so is relient on the the one bolt and sling for a second or so.
Except that when he starts lowering he's dependent on just those bolts, and the more QDs he removes as he lowers, the worse it gets.
Certainly safer if he re-threads each bolt on the way down as well when he removes the draws :~)
It's not how I do it but it was perfectly safe though personally i'd have re-tied into the rope rather than clipping it with a fig 8
I would teach people to re-tie rather than re clip the fig of 8 on a bight just to be 100% but for personal use i quite like it and would be happy to use it.
Not sure why he clove hitches the rope to the other quickdraw though. At first i thought it would be to save his belayer holding his weight. However he wouldn't have been able to tie it with weight on it. Then i thought it might be a safety in case he dropped the other end, but he's already got a safety knot so if he dropped it it wouldn't go anywhere.
Any ideas or have i missed something totally obvious ?
Just watched it again a second time. The rope is still attached to him via his original fig of 8 and through the quickdraw ( on the other bolt ) and then down to the belayer who has given him slack, but should not have taken him off belay, so he is still safe but would be in for a ride if the other bolt failed. That's how i normally do it. SO why the clove hitch ?
I think i may have figured it now as i write. If the cows tail bolt fails he falls onto the quick draw one. When he has tied the safety fig of 8 and clipped it to himself he then ties the clove hitch. This means no shock loading/fall if the other bolt fails. HOWEVER ! he can tie a clove hitch one handed without taking the rope out of the krab. If you can't you would have to take the rope out of the krab to do it, which kind of defeats the purpose.
So, if the other bolt fails he ends up on one bolt attached to it by a fully weighted ( assuming a steep climb ) clove hitch. Fairly easy to sort but i can't think of a really safe way to sort it with the kit you're likely to have - a load of other quickdraws.
If he doesn't tie the clove hitch and the other bolt fails he is looking at a small fall onto the other bolt assuming an attentive belayer. Depends what's underneath him i suppose. If that would land him on a spike he's best off doing what he did.
It also looks like he's taken all the draws out on the way up. If i do that i always leave the last one in if i can just in case anything happens with the anchor i know i've still got one back up and i take it out once i've committed to the anchor set up and am happy with it.
I'd just like to add that if anyone videod me climbing ( without clients ) for a day i am sure it could be picked to pieces for hours. We all make decisions according to our abilities and the situations we are in, which don't always come across on a 2 minute video clip.
> different to the way I do it but seemed fine to me. Always has at least one point of attachment. If anything he was was very slick with it
I'm sorry, but "at least one point of attachment"?
A slightly illogical habit at at a guess.
OP: Of that video I'd say it obviously could be done differently, it could be done marginally better but on the whole it is fine. It could be *much* worse.
thanks for that brilliant, brilliant video. Very funny and informative at the same time.
I think you and our friend from Italy who does the manovra in sosta are doing, from my perspective, almost exactly the same thing, only your suit allows me to tell you apart.
Is it youtube policy to thread the belay like that or is it just coincidence?
So I guess we have another vote for OK, with only one or two very, very cautious individuals counselling more, er, caution. And let's not forget the guy that originally posted, kinobi. I don't think he really liked it much actually, when you look at the sea cliff bolt thread.
Seems like the collective wisdom of UKC has not quite decided yet if it is actually OK ...
Sounds like you are in the cautious camp then ...
Just to add that your last point is valid and was also made in the sea cliff bolt thread. I agree it is probably best for the leader to thread the belay, not the second. This is also sound as there is a chance that the second won't be able to climb up to the belay and thread it - for example if it started to rain and the section from last bolt to anchor became unclimable, and in any case after the last bolt has been unclipped he will be climbing with the protection of only one carabiner or quickdraw on the anchor and failure would be a disaster.
In contrast to the sea cliff bolt thread, my original question is not about the failure of gear. Although gear (bolts, slings, carabiners, ropes, harnesses etc ...) can and does fail and caution is appropriate, I think it is very rare. The vast majority of accidents, or breaches of safety, are down to human error. One form of human error happens within the system you operate, for example, you incorrectly tie a knot or forget to screw shut a carabiner. Another form of human error is operating a system which is not as good as it could be, for example having the second thread the anchor bolts rather than the leader. It is this second form of potential error, the operation of an inferior system, that my question wanted to address.
It all looked good to me, different to how I would have done it.
Must go off and practice MUCH more, I waste far to much time with my ropework :(
This of course means that the second is toproping through the anchor and not your own gear. Lot's of folk on here get quite excited on this topic. It also means that if the anchor is badly set up you stand a chance of stuffing your rope. If you are that worried about your second being clipped to the belay and nothing else while they are threading it, then as they approach the belay and uncip the last bolt, rather than removing the quickdraw, get them to clip the rope that comes down to you into it. In that way they are at no more risk than you would be when threading the belay as a leader.
Yup that's what we do whoever is re threading.
There is also a call towards pulling the rope up and abbing down thus reducing the wear on the in situ gear to virtually nil. I think this is more commonly done in the USA.
What chance of stuffing your rope are we talking about here?
Is there some advantage to the second threading the bolts at the belay? If not then overall it would seem best to let the leader do it. I think in practice this happens 90% of the time anyway, so not really much of an issue. My original question above is not about this though. I mentioned it only as an example that has come out of the discussion. The climber in the video is the leader, from what I can see.
> What chance of stuffing your rope are we talking about here?
If the ring/maillon is lying flat against the rock and is out of line of the route this will cause twisting (in varying degrees obviously) - in fact, just this set-up alone is probably responsible for most the threads moaning about crap twisty ropes/sheath slippage. I virtually ruined a newish rope on an appallingly badly placed belay in Spain. It was, out of interest, a route that had been equipped by a Brit. God knows how a simple task is so challenging to some people. If the rock is rough, then this will further damage a rope, when the maillon is flat. By simply putting a screw-gate onto that maillon you change the orientation of the lower-off by 90° which prevents any potential twisting/abrasion. When eventually lowering down at the end of your session, the belayer should stand directly underneath the belay to reduce the tendency to twist to a minimum.
This type of belay set-up concerns the majority of belays here in France - two regular hangers, a maillon in both connected by a length of chain. Inevitably the maillon lies flat against the rock. My other 'favourite' belay set-up is the two big 12mm bolts connected by a bit of chain you wouldn't hang your car keys on, but that's another story...
This is why the Fixe Moulinette anchor (and other commercially produce anchor units) has the krab at 90° to the rock: http://www.expe.fr/sport-catalog/anchors-and-rigging/chains-belays-moulinette-inox-10-mm-c1_57_362-p...
For the American option of abbing down, do you:
1)pull your rope up to it's middle marker,
2)get on it ready to abb with belay plate
3)untie from the rope and drop both ends down
4)take up slack and remove cow's tail
Would you use a prussik or rely on your partner to yank the ropes tight and stop you if needed?
I'm asking the questions here.
No one anywhere is advocating abbing down from single pitch sport climbs that I am aware of. Except maybe those inspired to climb by watching the SAS raid the Iranian Embassy in London. Overall, best to forget that. It is certainly not at all the "American option".
There are those, in America and elsewhere, who advocate using two carabiners or quickdraws in the top two bolts when they are working a route, perhaps for hours and days, or have set up a top rope for a number of climbers and the wear to the maillons would be significant. That seems a very good idea as it will reduce unnecessary wear on the maillons.
Ah I think I see what you mean.
All I know is that it is important to thread the top ring, if lying on the rock, so that in the end it looks the same as if you had clipped a bolt, ie the end you are tied into is going in the front and the rope to the belayer is going out the back. If you do this the other way around then the maillion will tend to jam the rope into the rock and abrasion to the rope can happen. I suppose it is also possible to have rough edges at the belay that will wear you rope down even if you do thread the top bolt correctly, and these are simply best avoided! More details on this tricky business on Petzl website if you are interested.
If you are planning on working a route on top rope then a carabiner might let the rope run more freely, and will prevent the mallions getting unduly worn. One carabiner in each bolt would be the way to go.
Have you ever heard of the expression "teaching you grandmother to suck eggs"?
I´m not so sure jon really needs to look at a website for the tricky business of threading lower-offs nor to know where the problems lie with ring orientation.
I would agree with you that some opinions are better left unsaid.
It was me that said it after having met many Americans who do it as it is their local ethic to protect the kit. I've also met many Americans who don't do it but it's not an option to be thrown out with no consideration.
I don't do it but it doesn't mean it won't be a viable option in some circumstances.
Yes it stops the fixed gear getting excessive wear as it's your krab that gets used as the top rope krab so lower offs need replacing less often.
>If not then overall it would seem best to let the leader do it. I think in practice this happens 90% of the time anyway, so not really much of an issue.
Where ? I haven't actually climbed outside of Europe but have climbed with a lot of different nationalities and none of them do this, it's always been my experience that it's the 2nd who re threads and cleans a route unless it's obvious they will struggle and may not get to the top.
Thanks for coming on and raising some interesting points to debate. Let me respond to both your posts like this.
I am unaware that abseiling from single pitch sport is the local ethic anywhere in the US or elsewhere. I would rather believe that there might be some confused individuals out there. There can be no objection whatever to climbers climbing up single pitch sport routes, threading the belay, and getting lowered down. That is what those two rings on the bolts are there for. The sea cliff anchor thread, that you can find on
was very clear that the leader should thread the belay. In case of failure, then there always the lower bolts that may be sound that will arrest the fall of the leader, but once beyond the last quickdraw, which the second removes, there is no more protection for the second in case the anchor fails and he risks groundfall.
The reason I assume that the leader does in fact thread the belay in the majority of cases is that in practice I expect the stronger and more experienced climber to climb first and thread the belay, and its safer to boot. I have no data to back up the 90%, I have seen both at the crag but far more leaders threading. I used the number as a figure of speech (no pun intended) and would be interested if you had any stats?
You say that abseiling should not be dismissed out of hand. I completely disagree. If you start mixing an occasional abseil into your descent routine then there is a risk of misunderstanding your partner. If the leader is out of sight and sound, and he thinks the belayer is going to lower him and the belayer thinks the leader is going to abseil, you have accidents like these
As I stated above I am all in favour of saving fixed gear from excessive wear as this is also dangerous. Excessive wear, the phrase you use in your second post, is not people climbing up and being lowered. Excessive wear is groups on top rope, prolonged sessions of top rope falls including long periods of suspension and/or bonging while working a route, the practice of rescue scenarios etc.
I am not willing to contemplate a system in which fatal accidents have in all probability happened in the past and can easily happen again in the future, to save 0.001 pence worth of steel abrasion on some rings that were put there exactly for the purpose and I don't think anyone else should either.
It´s standard practice everywhere I have climbed for the first climber to simply clip the lower-off, the second climber really should be pulling the rope down and leading himself and this is standard practice.
There is no "leader" and "second" in single-pitch sport climbing, what you term a second is generally known as a top-roper and they have to follow the line stripping the draws on any overhanging route which is usual once you get past the 6´s (and in the Franken the 5´s). The last person threads.
Top rope is climbing with a top rope. Seconding is climbing and recovering the gear, namely the quickdraws, while the leader belays you. See the difference?
If the second wishes to lead the route as well then it is fine for the first climber (a leader) to clip both the anchor bolts with quickdraws or carabiners and and leave them in place. When the second climber, who is now not seconding but also leading the route, comes to the belay, he will thread the anchors and be lowered down. I see no problem with that. You see it every day at the crag, but only where partners are evenly matched and routes are well within their ability, as otherwise you risk leaving your gear on the route.
Incidentally, I have twice left my quickdraws at the top of a sports route because partners who could not do the route, and when I went up to get the gear at the end of the day found that I couldn't repeat the sequence either because of fatigue. Each time a pair of girls, very nicely, rescued them for us. A bit embarrassing though!
simple alternative - second doesn't remove the last quickdraw, and instead unclips his end of the rope from it, and then clips the belayers end of the rope in its place. Then when he is re-threading he has the last quickdraw in as a backup.
I´ve only been sport climbing for 20 years so perhaps I misunderstood something, however since this is the definition that all my acquantances use I´ll stick with it.
If you are so weak you can´t dog up a rope from above with your belayers help then pehaps one should try another sport.
I've read one or two guidebooks where this would be a fair question :-)
Hmm. Very inventive.
But you have a bit of faff getting the rope in and it might be difficult to do as you are almost at the end of a climb. Besides, once threaded, the second will have to take the quickdraw out on the way down (more faff) and after all that he is still unprotected when being lowered below the top bolt.
Besides, what is the advantage to all this added faff and risk taking? It seems must simpler to just have the leader thread the anchor. Unless, as per above, the second also wants to lead the route, in which case he will be leading and the rope comes through all the quickdraws on the way up and everything is fine.
I see that you climb in Portland. What did you make of the sea cliff anchor thread? An issue here in the UK or not?
The staples in Portland are stainless and AFAIK have had no issues. There is, however, a well known problem with people toproping/seconding directly through the loweroff staples, causing wear that is not easily rectified, and which is being addressed by Mr Titt's brother at some expense. That is the reason for the extra 'faff' which is pretty minimal IMO.
>after all that he is still unprotected when being lowered below the top bolt.
I don't understand how that is any different to your scenario.
Sorry to be unclear: I led the route clean. I left the gear in place. My partner pulled the ropes. My partner couldn't climb past the 5th bolt. I lowered him and climbed up to the fifth bolt, but found I could not reach the next bolt either. So three quickdraws on bolts and two at the anchor were left unreachable above the fifth bolt. There was no visible way for us to get above and ab down for them. Hence the embarrassment.
On a side note it turned out that I knew a friend of a friend of one of the girls the first time this happened, and so word got out. I had to get them a bottle of wine and plead with them to stop spreading the story in the end!
Thanks for the info on staples in Portland. The bolts at issue are older bolts, which are stainless, from what I can gather. Have you read the thread?
Which Mr. Titt and whose expense?
Not sure which of my scenarios you are comparing yours to. Seconding or re-leading on gear?
> simple alternative - second doesn't remove the last quickdraw, and instead unclips his end of the rope from it, and then clips the belayers end of the rope in its place. Then when he is re-threading he has the last quickdraw in as a backup.
This was mentioned already further up in the thread. That's what i teach people to do if they are top roping and cleaning a route.
Jim's point that the 'standard' procedure should be for both to lead after pulling the rope through was a good one i thought. How quickly you get blinkered on these discussions.
Where do you climb out of interest ? I can assure you there appears to be a lot of American confused climbers out there as i have come across the abseil descent technique 3 times recently and they were all American and they all said it was their local ethic. It was a new one on me though. I can't see it being anymore dangerous than the 'normal' descent technique as on single pitch you would just tell your belayer what you're going to do before you set off.
I would suggest getting a copy of Libby Peter's Rock Climbing or Rockfax's Sportclimbing+ books and have a look through. They are excellent clear texts and both cover lowering off.
You come across as open to new ideas and wanting to discuss issues ( brilliant ) but whenever anyone shows you a different way you dismiss it whilst showing what appears to be a lack of general knowledge about the things you are not taking on board.
It may be a language issue ( i am guessing from the vid you found and the user name), in which case i apologise, but there are some very sage voices on this thread that it would be good to listen to.
Scott, current president of the BMC, through the BMC bolt fund i would guess.
Jonathan means my brother Scott who is President of the BMC. The expense is from the Dorset Bolt Fund and the BMC though the discounts I give them perhaps I should be included there somewhere!
I´m the other Mr Titt (Jim) who owns one of Europe´s leading bolt manufacturers (though it is admittedly a small pond I swim in), member of the BMC Technical commitee, corresponding manufacturer to the UIAA on bolts and corrosion and presumably an expert on bolts since I´m invited to be adressing the ASCA in Las Vegas about them.
I´ve climbed a lot as well, badly for at least 40 years as it happened.
Either. Unless you leave all the draws in as you climb up by climbing on the other end of the rope, which can have major disadvantages depending on the nature of the route, you will at some point have to commit to the top anchor alone. If you do leave all the draws in, or even the top one, you say that's too much faff so i guess you won't be doing that.
The leaving the top draw in is not a faff and 99% of the time is very easy to re-clip as it is so close to the top anchor, especially if your belayer can walk in to help you. Give it a try ( once it stops raining if you're climbing in the UK ).
why untie before you've threaded the rope through the anchors?
Hi Jim. I am well aware who you are. Your comments on the sea cliff bolt thread were extremely valuable.
If it's your bolts at Portland, I have probably taken a winger or two onto them, I unfortunately can't leave you a monopoly on climbing badly. :) They always held!
My point is that its the bolt fund which is funded by punters like us who are the ones paying for fixed gear replacement, so all is as it should be. I think Jonathan probably felt it was your brother the president who was paying for it, but I can well believe that we are getting a good deal on those bolts and it is really you, more than anyone else, who is making the re equipping possible. Thank you.
My point is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the leader threading the belay and being lowered off, and the second cleaning the route and being lowered in turn. The gist sea cliff bolt thread would have us do this because it is safer, and I have explained above why this is so.
If you don't want to do this because you feel it causes excessive wear on the lower offs, then you are sacrificing a very small bit of safety (that two bolts blow is very unlikely, after all) for a tiny bit of faff (usually). I would not recommend it, but it is overall a really minor point that we have debated at some length now.
In the video I believe it is the leader who is threading the belay. Any one else want to express an opinion, OK or dodgy?
Sorry biscuit but this was Jonathan's point and I think he should respond.
The leader commits to the top anchor, but has the lower bolts as back-ups if it fails. Once the second gets there the rings and the bolts they are on have already held the lowering off of the leader and will have to be assumed to be OK. No need for any more faff - unless it conjours up more safety, and as I said it does but only as long as you stay above the top bolt, after which you take it out and you are back to square one in trusting the two bolts (which I think are fine anyway because they have been tested by the leader).
I am willing to discuss these minor points with you up to an extent, and they bring up interesting discussion, but I think we have digressed a bit and I would be interested in hearing from anyone who thinks the video is OK, or dodgy.
Sorry if my English is not good enough.
Amen to going climbing when the weather clears up!
Thanks for getting back to the original video.
What if the rope is too thick to thread double?
When you say untie, what do you mean?
The general way these threads work is that anyone is free to comment on anyone's post which is why i responded to what Johnathon said as it appeared you had missed the previous explanation - easy to do in a thread this long.
I was not in anyway criticising your English i was just wondering if that was the reason for what appeared to be some misunderstandings.
The minor points came direct from opinions whether the video is OK or dodgy. These are the points that show whether the video is dodgy or not. Why did he use the clove hitch etc.
Do you just want a yes or a no ? Any reasons why it's a yes or a no or just a yes or a no ? Because if you want reasons then there will also inevitably be discussion.
I for one have enjoyed the thread, it's been a good informative discussion, but i am no longer clear as to what you want from it ? Do you want to learn something, point out good/bad practice or just have an arbitrary vote on a you tube video ?
My vote is dodgy.
My reason ( if you want it ) is the clove hitch where he ends up on 1 bolt. It's only for a second but it's totally un-necessary.
Back on track for you, i hope.
The staples at Portland are not from me.
To be honest I and clearly most posting here don´t think that the advice given on the other thread or by you that the leader should thread is either logical or better or safer. I shall continue to ignore both your and Peter Herolds advice and use other methods which keep me alive and set an example on care of community equipment to others even though I could eventually profit from their misuse.
If the bolts on a route are suspect I don´t clip any of them, that is simple and logical, if the top-anchor bolts are prone to breaking under body weight then I don´t want to be falling on the third one either.
The video scenario is perfectly o.k. but more complicated than is either usual or nescessary. I would dump the twistlock because I don´t like them (a typical problem for those of us who are left handed in a right handed world) and forget the clove hitch in the lower bolt as unescessary. I probably wouldn´t thread the lower bolt either as I´m accustomned to single-bolt lower-offs.
You could well note that this is a forum for beginners and discussing a video made in a foreign language in a way I find very confusing is no help to people taking their first steps on sport routes. There are many better instructional videos available and most of your arguments confusing at best.
Clearly nobody here is particularly interested anyway apart from yourself which is understandable in some ways since the theme has been covered far better many times before.
I vote ok!
> Clearly nobody here is particularly interested anyway apart from yourself which is understandable in some ways since the theme has been covered far better many times before.
A good point but your last point is incorrect. This has had over 2500 views, which makes your first point more important.
Thanks guys, I will put you down for one dodgy and one OK.
Thanks to all of you who have posted on this thread, Are You Confused At The Belay?, which now seems to have run its course. It was fun to exchange opinions on some things that I had not thought would come up and hear from some people who I would not have expected to hear from, and I have learnt a lot.
The original intention of posting the link above was to talk about how to thread the anchor on single pitch sport climbs. It was a gimme/slam dunk/open goal question, since the technique shown in the original video, and the one posted subsequently, are obviously wrong. The climber in both becomes detached from the rope. That is confusion about what roped climbing is. To avoid potentially dropping the rope the climber then clove hitches it to the nearest quickdraw. The problem with this is that it implies that the climber is no longer on belay, and is like a written invitation for the belayer to take his eye off the ball (and have an emergency pee, flake the rope or put his shoes on) at just the moment (or 30 seconds before) the climber at the anchor is going to rely on him, and only him (or her), for his safety.
There is one last point, which is that some insist on going through the trouble of rethreading your figure 8 or bowline rather than clipping into a twist lock crab before lowering. If you are guaranteed to be simply lowered, then there should be no objection to the twist lock. I have done this many times to save time. However, in single pitch sport, time is not the factor it can sometimes be on the hill and every time I have done it I have felt a bit funny. So now I always re-tie the knot - personal preference.
On this last point I think its worthwhile expanding a bit. The obvious flaw in the video above was spotted by quite a few posters, but I admonished them for being cautious. I think its good to be cautious when actually climbing, sometimes very cautious. But on a discussion forum, and when coming up with systems that are as safe as they can be, I think its time to let your deepest paranonia run riot.
For example, I sometimes climb indoors at a wall which is no more than 12m high. I have a 30m rope. When I climb I always make sure that the dead end of the rope has a knot in it to prevent it pulling through when lowering after climbing. Of course at the wall, the rope can't pull through because the rope is easily long enough. But I want the system I operate to be as safe as it can in all situations. When I get out to a crag I want a short rope accident, that has cost many lives all over the world, to be as unlikely to happen as possible.
Reading posts and opinions on the internet is a good place to start when planning your personal safety in the hills. Reading books too. Ultimately the decision and the responsibility is yours, and you would be a fool to believe everything you read. Be smart on the ground, figure out the safest system, and go. Being slick with safety is good, but only if the safety is sound in the first place. Even the best system will fail sometimes, as fatigue, complacency, misunderstandings and loss of concentration take their toll.
Believe me, in my time, I have threaded the belay much, much worse than the video above. Nevertheless I think I have a clear idea in my head now, which I think maximises safety. Until you have a clear idea of how to get down, its probably best to not venture into single pitch outdoor sport at all.
For the sake of completeness, the manip I was taught a while ago now is to put in a draw at the anchor, clip it, clip into the upper bolt with a twist lock on a sling, put a twist lock on your belay loop, pull up some rope, tie rope into twist lock, close it, undo your knot, thread the bolts from back to front and tie back in. Then get your belayer to take hard to pull you to release the twist lock and let him lower you. There is a variant if the rings on the anchor bolts are big enough to allow you to pull the doubled rope through.
You might have a safer way? Let us know if you are sure ...
I would disagree. Presumably the climber got down safely and so it was right for him. This 'right' or 'wrong' dogma distracts from the real safety issue which is whether people are concentrating or not
>"Presumably the climber got down safely and so it was right for him."
I'm guessing you don't play the lottery because you know you will never win. I put a pound on every week 'cause I think - you never know...
Staying tied to the rope and a couple of anchors is, for me, the equiviant of wasting my pound every week on the lottery... perhaps one day it will turn out to have been worth while.
Maybe not, but what's he done on grit?
The difference with a lottery is its pure chance. In climber safety situations the first and foremost variable is the climber themselves and whether they are concentrating on the job in hand. Just maybe they concentrate harder because they know they are disconnected from the rope and are therefore safer.
>"Just maybe they concentrate harder because they know they are disconnected from the rope and are therefore safer."
When a flake of limestone decides that this is the moment to become detached and fall on the climber's sling, no amout off concentration will help him re-tie back into the rope fast enough.
People die all the time climbing, some are just unlucky, some have become complacent and some are both complacent and unlucky. I recon the complacent tend to be more unlucky.
How many people does that happen to ? just at that time ? as opposed to hitting them or the belayer ? you might as well worry about being hit by a meteorite.
Compared with people who abseil off the end of the rope or get lowered off the end of the rope the probability of something cutting the sling is trivial.
Sad but not relevant. In the case discussed here the climber is only exposed to the imaginary hazard for a few seconds.
>"Sad but not relevant."
>"The difference with a lottery is its pure chance."
When bad luck strikes, resilience in your systems may be the key to your survival. The Portland incident demonstrates how bad luck can (and does) strike and how combined with systems with low resilience (eg. climbing on a single rope) can lead to tragedy.
I think those that habitually cut corners, for example hang on a single bolt, on a single sling, on unlock crabs, when alternatives are available, are likely to, at some point, find themselves unprepared for the unexpected.
I'm not inferring that the Portland incident was anything more than bad luck. Climbing on a single rope is the normal acceptable risk for most.
By your argument, a much better safety procedure would be to eliminate the single failure point for the longest possible time which means not lowering off a single rope, ever.
The extra miniscule chance of the tiny cross section of the sling being hit at the exact second the climber unties is totally swamped by how much the climber and belayer were concentrating at the time and how well tuned into the system that works for them. What appears in the video is not "wrong", it is just a different method which you and I would chose not to use.
>"What appears in the video is not "wrong", it is just a different"
So you'd be happy if this method was the standard taught to kids and can see no problems ever arising if this was the universally used threading technique?
Sure the guy is very very unlikely to ever come a cropper on any given day and perhaps has a level of compedence which means his short cuts will never become a cluster-fcuk, but to characterise his technique as just "different" rather than inferior to my mind is shady ground.
I wouldn't teach kids to use this method because its not one I'd personally use. I wouldn't tell an experienced climber they were wrong to use it, though.
By the way, the concept of a "universally used threading technique" is exactly what bugs me about these threads.
You cannot have a universal threading technique because there is no universal anchor set up nor is there a universal best compromise method in any situation. Trying to distill things to a compulsary method not only removes the flexibility to adapt to new situations, it also diminishes the climbers involvement in the situation.
You do not want a climber to blindly follow a restricted set of rules. You want them to be constantly aware of the situation and dangers around them and to respond accordingly.
>"I wouldn't teach kids to use this method because its not one I'd personally use. I wouldn't tell an experienced climber they were wrong to use it, though."
What would you do if an experienced climber was teaching it to your kids?
I'll leave it at that and agree, everyone's free to do as they please (so long as I'm not standing under them at the time).
> I would disagree. Presumably the climber got down safely and so it was right for him. This 'right' or 'wrong' dogma distracts from the real safety issue which is whether people are concentrating or not
Hi Graham and thanks for posting.
I don't think the design of safety protocols has anything to do with concentration. The design happens on the ground before you go and can be good, bad, or ugly. Having a clear idea of what you should be doing is the real safety issue I wanted to address in this thread. Of course it doesn't guarantee your safety - you still have to concentrate, as you point out. But all the concentration in the world is not going to make a "poor belay", as Kinobi called it, into a good one.
There is also a difference between getting down OK this once and getting down safely in general. In single pitch sport you are expecting to lower off hundreds or even thousands of times, so the correct procedure has to be more bomb proof than a one-off where you are happy to take your chances.
Well I'm not denying that there are far better practices which could be followed but I really do disagree with the dogmatic branding of methods as'right' and 'wrong'. To me it confuses the situation because what we see in the video is not "wrong", just as someone chosing to solo is not "wrong".
I have been watching this thread since it started and have been a bit confused about some peoples opinions.
When i started sport climbing i had no one who was "experienced" to teach me about threading the anchor so i resorted to reading books, googling and using common sense.
This is what i do and why.
I get to the anchor and clip in to a quick draw at the anchor, then i use a sling to attach to the other anchor.
If the anchor is too small to pass a bight of rope through then I tie a figure 8 on the bight and attach it to my belay loop with a locking crab.
So at this point, the rope on a bite on my harness, going through the quickdraw at the top and back down to the belayer, and also being on the sling to the other bolt.
I then untie my original knot, pass it through the bolts and re tie in. Undo the fig 8 on the bite - undo sling.
So at each point im still on belay as a backup to my sling, albeit on a slack rope at times.
If i can pass a bight of rope through the bolts or staples, then i would sling in, pass a bight through and tie a fig 8 on the bite and just place a screwgate on that and back to my harness. then lower from that.
So my confusion is, are people on this thread not happy about being lowered off a fig 8 on the bite attached via a screwgate?
I dont really know what the "done thing" is?
One thing i dont like that i see others do at the crag is actually taking people off belay at the anchor. Ie, sling in, im safe, off belay, ....
I like to be kept on belay as a redundancy whilst threading?
I'd guess that's what 99.9% of people do. I don't know why folk get so excited about this.
The most important ingredient
I daresay there are, but it seems an obvious and efficient system to me. What people are getting excited about on this thread, it seems, are that a) at one point in the video, the climber was attached to the belay at only a single point for a couple of seconds and b) he could have dropped the rope end at some point.
Yes. This is out of all proportion. If you fail on a sport route and back off a single bolt, most people wouldn't bat an eyelid. So why the fuss?
As you say, common sense would solve that.
You don't need a clear idea of what you're going to do, that kind of rigid thinking just leaves you flummoxed when you arrive at the top to find it's not what you were expecting or you've forgotten something. What you need is a good idea why you're going to do something and a reasonable understanding of what is and isn't an acceptable risk, that leaves you free to improvise safely.
Ok watching again (for the 3rd time i think) i can see he took the fig 8 off the harness and replaced it with the other one. Ok thats not so good!
but at least he couldn't have dropped it as it was clove hitched to the draw.
So i guess then, for everyone that doesn't like this video because at one point he is only on the sling, i guess they do not like being taken off belay when threading the route?
This seems like standard practice with everyone else I see at the crag?
> So i guess then, for everyone that doesn't like this video because at one point he is only on the sling, i guess they do not like being taken off belay when threading the route?
> This seems like standard practice with everyone else I see at the crag?
I saw it just yesterday !! I hear it all the time. Safe, off belay... and i cringe going dont really take them off belay, just give them some slack to thread.
> I saw it just yesterday !! I hear it all the time. Safe, off belay... and i cringe going dont really take them off belay, just give them some slack to thread.
Exactly. At the crag you see lots of people threading the belay wrong, and using those calls, which are also completely wrong. See the thread following the 10 Tips For Better Belaying on UKC for more details about just how wrong this is.
I don't think there is anything you can do about this at the crag itself, which is a good thing because climbing is about being responsible for your own actions. Let those others be responsible for their actions and leave it at that.
In a discussion forum like this one though, which is a recorded conversation for the benefit of many others who do not post, I think people can afford to be much more critical in deciding what ultimately they themselves want to be doing when they get out on the hill.
Again, would I walk up to the climber in the video at the start of this thread if I had been there on the day to tell him his belay was poor? Hell no, that is none of my business, and I have plenty of other things to worry about myself when I am out on the hill. But if I come across his post on youtube which is meant to be a demo of threading the belay and it turns out to be not best practice, I let him know on his youtube page and bring the matter for discussion here, just like Kinobi did in the original thread. I have to recognise his much greater economy of means though: he only used about 5 words, posted one link, and left it to you, the reader, to figure it out for yourself.
Completely agree with your point jk. Not preconceived mechanical actions are required, but an understanding of general principles.
My overall principles in single pitch sport are to
1. stay attached to the rope, your primary source of safety in roped climbing, and
2. to stay on belay, without which being attached to the rope is useless.
The rest, as you say, can be made up on the hoof when you get to it.
In the video, both these simple principles are violated. Hence it gets an F grade from me.
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