/ Tieing belay anchors back to harness?

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BigBrother - on 14 Dec 2012
I don't think there is enough discussions of knots on UKC so I thought I would start this one following comments I have seen on here.

On a recent thread I saw people talk about carrying an HMS krab which they would attach to their harness and then tie anchors to it using clove hitches. I always used to tie anchors back to my rope loop by pulling a bight through the loop and tying a Fig 8 around the loop so that the rope loop went through the middle of one end of the Fig 8. I am not sure how clear that description is but hopefully some people will know what I mean.

I can't remember where I learnt to do it that way but I don't think I would have made it up myself but now people seem to use the clove hitch to a krab method. The clove hitch/krab obviously needs an extra krab but will use a bit less rope but the fig 8 is very quick and easy.

Is my method no longer used because it is now considered dangerous for some reason?
john arran - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother:

Not sure about your fig. 8 description but tying off the rope with 2 half-hitches works just fine. However clove-hitching to a krab is far better if you want to adjust the length later to equalise or reposition.
Jamie B - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother:

> Is my method no longer used because it is now considered dangerous for some reason?

Lots of people still use it. I do so, but not exclusively.


martinph78 on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother: Do you have a photo? I can't picture what you mean. Always willing to learn something new :)
matt perks - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother:
> I don't think there are enough discussions of knots on UKC so I thought I would start this one following comments I have seen on here.
>
Then you'll be pleased to know that UKC are considering introducing a special "Knots" forum.

Oh - both methods are fine.
paul lane - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother: I often use the fig 8 method if the anchors are out of reach. I picked it up on spa training about 10 years ago and have used it since, although like previous post, not exclusively
cuppatea on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother:

I like the clove hitch method. Easier to equalise the belay anchors and would be easier to escape from.

Besides which the alternative involves those pesky figure eight things. Ice skating techniques have no place in climbing.
JohnV - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

I'll second the request for a photo of tying off with a figure of 8. I know what you mean but I don't know how this should look.
OwenM - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother: I was shown a way years ago, does use a lot of rope.

1st, Put a loop in your rope with a figure 8 on the bight about 12 -18 inches from your tying in knot, using a HMS type crab clip this back into your tying in loop.
2nd, Set up your belays feeding the rope back to the HMS crab, tie figure 8 on the bight around the crab - so that you end up with the crab through the knot. Do this for each belay point.
3rd, Using the loops at the end of the bights clip your belay plate and belay as normal.
If you need to come out of the system you just untie from your harness.

I don't really use this system as I say it uses a lot of rope and since I started climbing back in the early seventies I've not yet felt the need to escape the system.
The Ex-Engineer - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother:
> Is my method no longer used because it is now considered dangerous for some reason?

No, it's just gone out of fashion a bit. IMO more because 3 decades of advertising by equipment manufacturers have succeeded in convincing climbers to carry more carabiners than any other reason.

However, despite your contention we need more discussion of knots we haven't really had any proper discussion of the knot itself yet.

It is a Figure-of-Eight Hitch tied on the bight. As knots go, the Figure-of-Eight Hitch it is actually pretty poor in terms of security as any research would quickly determine. However it does have other useful attributes.

From http://www.scoutingresources.org.uk/downloads/knots_fig8hitch.pdf
Figure-of-Eight Hitch This hitch can be tied very quickly and is easy to untie. However it is not very secure.

The good news is that tied on the bight it is more secure than tied normally, but it is certainly be prudent to tie it with a generous tail. Fortunately, a long tail aids tying it quickly so this generally happens fairly naturally. Having given the knot very serious consideration over a number of years, I am content it is secure enough when used as you described, but it is worth being aware of its potential disadvantage.

For the excessively paranoid there are certainly more secure options.

IMO the best option is probably tying a buntline hitch on the bight. This is extremely secure and suits climbers to the extent that after starting in the same manner as the Figure-of-Eight Hitch you effectively tie a clove hitch (with which most climbers are already familiar) back around the standing rope using your bight. See http://www.scoutingresources.org.uk/downloads/knots_buntlinehitch.pdf

Another potentially simpler option, as a poster has already mentioned is to tie Two Half Hitchs on the bight.

HTH
AlanLittle - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

> IMO the best option is probably tying a buntline hitch on the bight.

But if you learn to tie more than one knot you are sure to die! I though everybody knew this these days. Haven't you been reading the news?
highclimber - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

> Another potentially simpler option, as a poster has already mentioned is to tie Two Half Hitchs on the bight

that#s what I do sometimes though aas alluded to above, using the HMS with Cloves is much more adjustable and uses marginally less rope than tying off without a crab
Andy Long - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother:
The method you describe was taught as standard for many years and is still perfectly safe, though it becomes rather cumbersome if you're using more than one anchor. The clove hitch has superseded it because it can be adjusted easily when tied and because it allows for the modern fashion for "building" belays. The carrying of extra krabs is also less of a hassle these days. Always a good idea to have a variety of techniques at your disposal.
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Gudrun - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother: It is a pleasant surprise to arrive at a belay and be presented with an alternative method or some elaborate anchoring to admire and i would lkie to think i'll give this a go sometime.When deep down i know i'll just stick to the same old cloves on a screwgate.

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