/ Multi-pitch Technique

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WillC - on 26 Oct 2012
Hi all, after a bit of advice regarding efficient change overs at the belay on a multi-pitch route.

I climb with my brother and the intention is that I will lead all the pitches and he will belay me and second. Say for example that I make a 3 point anchor then equalise and make independant with a sling, after I've bleayed up my second what's the best way of making him safe and then swapping over the belay so that I'm ready to climb the next pitch?

Thanks in advance! Will.
GridNorth - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC: I find this technique handy in these situations: http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/making_a_cordlette_and_making_it_work

James
lithos on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:


1) as he climbs coil your ropes carefully so he can back coil them

2) clip him into the powerpoint (sling) with a clove hitch on his rope and a screwgate

3) he back coils the rope (carefully so your end is ontop) while you - de-gear him and re-rack

4) he puts you on belay

5) you unclip your screwgate from the powerpoint and off you go,
professionalwreckhead - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

I lead all pitches and my girlfriend seconds. This is what we do:

1. leader builds anchors and ties in with rope
2. second arrives at belay and adds crabs BELOW my crabs on the gear, then ties in
3. I take my gear back from the second as she flakes the rope
4. she sticks me on belay and I undo my crabs and climb
Nick Russell on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

After building the anchor, tie into it with your rope(s) using a clove hitch and a screwgate, then weight the anchor a bit, so there is some tension in the rope

As you take up the slack/belay your second, coil the ropes over the rope that you've tied in on

When your second arrives, tie them in in the same way as you did, also weighting the anchor to keep tension in the rope

Flip the pile of rope from your tie-in onto theirs. Your end should now be on the top and so it should feed nicely as you lead the next pitch*

*In practice this never works unless you're a guide. I don't know what magic I'm missing, but I always end up with the most horrendous clusterf*ck. It's a neat idea though
WillC - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to professionalwreckhead:

So do you put a krab through each piece of gear and then clovehitch to them? As you would if building an anchor at the top of a route? This would work but seems time consuming compared to using a sling/cordellette and just having to clovehitch to the one krab.
professionalwreckhead - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:
> (In reply to professionalwreckhead)
>
> So do you put a krab through each piece of gear and then clovehitch to them? As you would if building an anchor at the top of a route? This would work but seems time consuming compared to using a sling/cordellette and just having to clovehitch to the one krab.

Yes.

I don't find clovehitching the rope onto a crab that time consuming, depends how pushed for time you are I suppose :-)





WillC - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

Thanks for all the advice! So far lithos method is seeming the most efficient.

Is that way of coiling the rope over your anchor rope called lap coiling? Maybe I could get it to work after a lot of practice whilst tied to my kitchen furniture!
lithos on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

they are all practically the same,

try to be flexible sometimes lap coiling (yes its called that) wont work but coiling onto a ledge will, sometimes using a cordalette is hard work so you clip direct to anchors. swings and roundabouts but the principles are the same/v.similar.

practice is good on stairs is quite common !

WillC - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to professionalwreckhead:

Yeah, I suppose I was pulling hairs a bit :-) I guess you either spend the time getting a sling through the gear or clovehitching to it, however it would save time when getting the second onto the belay because you wouldn't have to reconstruct the whole anchor for them.
WillC - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to lithos:

Ah stairs didn't occur to me! Problem is I live in a single story flat... Maybe I could convince my parents to let me use their stairs...
beardy mike - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC: It depends on how fast is fast. Alpine efficiency is different to cragging efficient. If you are block leading, and you are looking for the absolutely most efficient way of changing over, and you are both proficient at tieing in, then:

reach belay and construct belay with power point, whether that's slings or cordlette.
Clip in with a fully rated cowstail. Not sling, but rope cowstail.
Belay second on magic plate, and untie from your end of the rope.
Stack rope as normal.
Second reaches belay, and clips into power point. He unties and reties into your end of the rope. Meanwhile you derack gear from him and rerack on you.
You retie into his end.
You leave the belay.

This method is inherently more risky and you must pay attention when retieing. It is bloody quick though, especially if you are using a single rope. It helps if you use the same knot as each other.

If you are not comfortable with this, then use powerpoint belay, second reflakes rope whilst you derack and rerack.
jkarran - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

> Hi all, after a bit of advice regarding efficient change overs at the belay on a multi-pitch route.

Firstly: Don't worry about it. So long as you're not dicking about doing nothing for ages you'll be efficient enough.

Secondly: Experiment. Flexibility, adapting to the situation you find is ultimately the key to being smooth and efficient in the real world when you realise you've left your belay plate below, dropped the small nuts and used the sling you really need :)

One simple solution I use:

Two ropes, two good belay points
You clove hitch one rope to each and add a spare krab to each
Bring partner up
They clove hitch one rope to each spare crab
Retrieve your gear
Once you're on belay retrieve your belay krabs and away you go

Very similar to what others have suggested and easily adapted to 3 belay pieces, single rope etc. For what it's worth I just throw the rope in a heap, my partner teases some working slack back out of the heap as I climb slowly, it works fine for me but many people prefer to be neat with ropes.

jk
GrahamD - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

Personally, I think you can over analyse these scenarios. In reality, provided that you both stay attached you should be able to work it out as you go.

In fact, you don't even always have to stay attached 100% of the time. Often belay stances are safer than the scramble to the base of the route you just did unroped. Use common sense and don't get too dogmatic.
lithos on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:

i'd be wary of advocating this in the starting out forum.
beardy mike - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to lithos: Yep absolutely. OP, you NEED to both be really comfortable with tieing in. Do not do what I suggested unless you are on a route that is so long you need every spare second...
WillC - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

Good points, I will not be climbing routes that require me to be ridiculously fast. Me and my brother climb well together, have good communication and are more than adequately organised for the sort of routes we climb.

Personally I would like to keep all climbers tied on at all times if possible, the point about unprotected scrambles is a good one but this is just how I like to do things. I always try to be open minded and flexible however so will get some practice in and try and adapt all this advice into something that works for us!
MFB - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann: Cool system however I prefer the security of staying attached
beardy mike - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to MFB: Well you do stay attached at all times with a rope cows tail. In terms of
Belay strength etc its no different, the difference comes with untiring, so the simpler the knot used the better. It needs to be easy to check visually and not require a stopper, so bow lines are out. I use a ring bend, but have also used a fig 8. In hans florins book, speed climbing, he suggests using 2 locking krabs and a loop on the end of the rope, which might be even quicker, but personally I didn't see the point and preferred to re tie... So I guess it all comes down on how quick you need to be and how safe... There's not wrong with 2 krabs but somehow I think it would be less clean and more of a pain when leading.
ian caton on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:

2 krabs is super quick. Good small matched screw gates. No problem at all. Did a 36 pitch route this way. So 1 minuit extra on each belay adds up to quite a lot.

Also on steeper ground clip a sling to belay and to yourself and flake rope over it. Second arrives, clip your end of sling to them. Sorted!
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beardy mike - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to ian caton: ooh that's a nice one!
Ampthill - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

I think the only thing to add is to have thought through what you'll do if you can't create a single strong point with slings.

One day you 'll find a belay that need some huge amount of rope to go round something or because you're anchors are well above the ledge.

Everything you need to know is described above, just don't assume you'll never need it. Final tip if there is alot of work to do the a huge over hand not in the live rope will mean you can quickly have 4 hands working.
MFB - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:
sorry i should have said 'attached to the rope' however more cool stuff - loving the ring bend
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au8KiUS4RCc
I have wondered for a while why we will join a rope to rap on overhand knot but don't tie in with one
can you clarify, does the ring bend behave differently from a rethreaded overhand
thanks

beardy mike - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to MFB: yes. An overhand rolls when loaded across the loop, a ring bend does not. It's what was used for tieing lengths of sling before they came stitched. I tried getting dmm to do some tests on this but never got an answer...
jimtitt - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:
What on earth could there be new to test about a water knot?
Rory Shaw - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC: if on a good ledge you can just flake the rope into a pile on the ground. If semi hanging or hanging stance then lap coil the rope over your tie in rope. MAKE EACH HANK SMALLER THAN THE PREVIOUS to avoid tangles - but watch out for really big hanks getting caught on downward pointing spikes.
beardy mike - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to jimtitt: just as a tie in knot. Nothing else. Also the crossly adding of square knots as a tie in and whether this could be an issue or not... Seems like we have that discussion every few weeks...
jimtitt - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to MFB:
Well itīs worth noting that the overhand was the standard knot for tie-ing for many years and some still use it. It was also the knot (as it was the standard tie-in knot on the continent) used for the UIAA rope tests until not so long ago until this was changed to reflect the more modern and popular re-threaded 8.
Ring-load failure has not been a practical problem for tie-in knots despite some theoretical doubts, in reality either the knots are more stable than is made out or ring loading never takes place, the millions using the rethreaded 8 for decades with no reported failures show this is so.
Both the ring bend (which had itīs day in the USA along with swami belts and the like) and the overhand have been superceded by the 8 and the rethreaded bowline. There have over the years been loads of tie-in knots, some like the Tarbuck knot or the Edwards bowline being ridiculously complex ways of achieving a simple objective.
The 8 and the rethreaded bowline both have the virtue that inadvertantly missing a crossing in the knot usually gives a usable and safe knot, the ring-bend doesnīt.
beardy mike - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

that's interesting, how do you miss a crossing in a ring bend? Seems like its the simplest knot to tie of any of the bar the overhand...

To me the other things I like about the ring bend are practicalities. It's a very neat knot that keeps the knot closer to you harness, meaning you don't have to reach as far down for it, which I like. Doesn't make a massive difference, but its something I appreciate. Also I find it easy to check visually and pretty much anybody knows how to tie an overhand to start it off, unlike an eight. Yes you need to watch which way you retread it, but if you get it wrong it just becomes an overhand.... Maybe I'm missing the way you can mis tie it?
jimtitt - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:
There is a way (in fact a couple) if you donīt start the rethreading parallel with the main rope, pretty unlikely Iīll grant you but looking at how people screw up other knots everything seems possible!
It just doesnīt float my boat somehow though, be interesting how strong it is and how easy it is to untie after fully loading, one thing about the rethreaded bowline is it is not only extremely stong you can undo it even after the rope has broken.
MFB - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann: bit suprised by this answer - i though i used overhand (to rap) precisely because it didn't roll, unlike the fig 8
MFB - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

hijack thread

Karabinar orientation of the rope end of a quickdraw

I am aware that the rope biner of a quickdraw can release the rope if it runs over the gate and enters the 'basket'

being of a nervous disposition i clip the rope and then rotate the biner through 180deg (the gate opening is then pointing up)
should the lead rope then manage to open the gate the gate orientation should assist the lead rope to slip safely down the gate and away while also helping to retain the captive rope - or am i delude
lithos on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to MFB:
if you clip from back to front dont worrry

i rotate krabs if i think the gate will interfere/touch the rock
MFB - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to lithos: back to front - yes , Thanks
Orgsm on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

I break it down into a few simple things

1. Arrive at stance, make myself safe " shout safe"
2. Continue to build belay, whilst second gets ready.
3. Think about how I intend to leave stance, build attachment point for second with that in mind.
4. Take in rope, second on belay, bring them up etc.
5. Attach them to attachment point
6. Take them off belay
7. Swap gear over so don't forget anything.
8. Finalise their belay attachments,
9. Any final rope tidy up, or turning over
10. They put me on belay
11. Final checks, untie from belay, and set off.

Make the rope tidy before the second comes up, then keep it tidy as they climb.

As long as you keep it safe and a person is either attached to belay or on belay, you won't go far wrong.
beardy mike - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to MFB: nope. A badly dressed overhand can roll, hence long tails. Eights just roll at stupidly low forces. I also use overhands for abseiling, but I tie another right behind the first and make sure the knot is well dressed. This is well known and documented.
MFB - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann: snap-couple of tidy overhands, long tails and a lot of checking -thanks
colina - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:
if you can do an easy multi pitch using just one rope ,it is far easier as two ropes on the stance is twice as confusing so maybe box off your technque before trying two ropes (imo)

defo need to run the rope through (back coil)at every stance if YOU are to lead every pitch ..2 reasons
1. no tangles
11. when you start climbing up the next pitch, the coil is being unravelled from the top of the pile (not the bottom)so should "run" smoother

re clipping in, too many variations really ,what i tend to do is once the second (your bro) arrves on the stance is to put a significant overhand knot in the rope above the belay plate so at least he isnt going anywhere and is quite safe whilst he is clipping into your anchors.

probably already been said but havent read all the threads so apologies in advance
rgold - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

I think the most important aspect of efficiency is that, at the stances, the two climbers should always be working on different tasks, and neither should be idle.

So, for example, an obvious time-waster is having one climber hand gear over to the other piece by piece. The second should clean everything onto an over-the-shoulder sling, which is handed (with care!) to the leader. While the leader is racking, the second should be doing other things, such as restacking the rope, adjusting his or her tie-in, and and setting up the belay for the leader.

The same principle applies when the leader and second are a pitch apart. Whenever possible, the leader should clip into the first anchor piece placed and call off belay (I love the wishful thinking of screaming "safe" into the howling gale), so that the second can start getting ready. I think this works best if the leader has an installed tether for the purpose.

The second should be clipped to one of the anchor pieces, also with a tether, so that as soon as the leader has gone off belay, the second can start getting ready to climb (put on/tighten shoes, put on the pack, take apart all but the last anchor piece and stow the cordelette if one is used). When the leader has finished the anchor and pulled up the rope, the second should be ready to climb as soon as they are on belay, with only the slight delay of unclipping the tether and removing the last anchor piece.

Getting back to the original question, when the second reaches the stance, they immediately clip their tether to one of the anchor pieces so that the leader can get off belay and so that the second is set up for an efficient departure later on. The second hands the leader the sling with all the gear and then proceeds to anchor themselves with the rope and restack the pile while the leader is reracking the gear and perhaps checking the topo.
john arran - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to rgold:

> (I love the wishful thinking of screaming "safe" into the howling gale), so that the second can start getting ready.

Probably worth a thread of its own but the sound of "Safe!" in a howling gale is indistinguishable from the sound of "Take!"

Since most climbers are now using "Take!" quite frequently it makes sense to choose something that sounds different when you actually mean the opposite! Reluctantly I have to admit that the American "Off Belay!" is a better idea and worth getting into the habit of using.
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jon on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to rgold:

As John says, it could make sense to use 'off belay' - as long as it didn't get shortened to 'I'm off' as it does on your side of the Atlantic. But I Think the chances of us adopting it are about the same as the chances of Yanks using double ropes - which make far more sense than a single especially given the current trend of linking pitches into 80m rope-dragging marathons!
Ramblin dave - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to john arran:
There have been a couple of occasions now where I've been glad of the system that someone suggested on here a while back whereby if you can't hear each other properly, you get to the top, make yourself safe and put the rope on belay before starting to take in, while the second continues paying out through their belay device until they run out of rope and then dismantles their belay and starts climbing. Having that system agreed ahead of time as a fallback can save a lot of worrying decisions on long easy pitches...
beardy mike - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave: Or you just work on the principle that when you pull through the slack, everything at the belay is sorted and you are ready to belay. In the time it takes for a second to start disassembling the belay, you can get some one on a belay plate. Or if you're not happy with that, you use a system of tugs. 6 for safe and 3 for climb is how I do it. 6 tugs is very obvious and all they have to do is watch the slack disappear, and then wait for the next very obvious tugs. Have I been climbing in Avon for too long?
Orgsm on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to john arran:
> (In reply to rgold)
>
> [...]
>
> Probably worth a thread of its own but the sound of "Safe!" in a howling gale is indistinguishable from the sound of "Take!"
>

Ah - but I take two way radio on multi pitch to save all that bother. with the backup agreements as stated elsewhere on this thread.
Liam Brown - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

Just wondering if anyone would make additional suggestions when climbing as a three. Here a cordolette seems the only way, as opposed two crabs in gear as suggested by some on here. Would anyone behave at all differently? I was also wondering about karabiner attached to the cordolette as a power point rather than the loops of the cordolette itself.
jimtitt - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Liam Brown:
Parties of 3 (or more) did routes before cordelettes were invented.
bobmalaria - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

I found those two pictures helpful:
1) https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15487093/belay-fix.png
2) https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15487093/belay-harness.png

Both show how you can set up if you are the only leader. 1st shows the technique with belaying from the fixpoint, 2nd with belay from harness.

It is from this document that was sent to me by a friend
http://www.alpenverein.de/chameleon/outbox/public/10134/standplatzbau_juli_2011_17869.pdf

It is from the german alpine club and the pictures are nice and self explaining even if you don't read german.
Liam Brown - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to jimtitt:
True story. I was comparing it to the method proposed above as an alternative rather than making a general comment.
Ampthill - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to WillC:

The revelation for climbing as a three for me was using 3 ropes, this method is best if more than one person wants to lead.

Each climber has a rope tied to each of the other 2 climbers. They could stand in a field and look like a giant equilateral triangle.

First person leads on double ropes. Next person follows on one of the rope, back belayed from below/ behind as well. last person then seconds on double ropes and idealy leads through on the ropeshe has seconded on. Repeat as needed. Sometimes middle rope pile will need inverting
rgold - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Ampthill:
> (In reply to WillC)
>
> The revelation for climbing as a three for me was using 3 ropes, this method is best if more than one person wants to lead.
>
> Each climber has a rope tied to each of the other 2 climbers. They could stand in a field and look like a giant equilateral triangle.
>
> First person leads on double ropes. Next person follows on one of the rope, back belayed from below/ behind as well. last person then seconds on double ropes and idealy leads through on the ropeshe has seconded on. Repeat as needed. Sometimes middle rope pile will need inverting

This is the method used by Hans Kraus, Jim McCarthy, and John Rupley in the late fifties or early sixties on the first ascent of the West Face of Snowpatch Spire in the Bugaboos, B.C., Canada. They called it the "triangle method."

But nowadays, it is quicker to have the two seconds climb simultaneously.

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