/ Rope put through belay device incorrectly!!!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Big Z on 22 Mar 2013
Hi UKCers,

Me and my climbing partner took a friend of ours indoor climbing yesterday. He has climbed with us several times and we thought it was time to teach him to belay.

When he passed the rope through the belay device he had it the wrong way round ie. the live rope facing the floor and the dead rope facing up. Obviously i saw this and corrected it before my buddy started climbing but i am wondering what the consequences would be if i hadn't seen it?

Would it just twist the belay loop round and correct itself or would it be much worse than that?
martinph78 on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z: If it's how I think that you are describing it then it is no problem, doesn't twist the belay loop round or anything worse.

Just makes taking in/rope handling a little more clumsy.


cuppatea on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z:
the rope through the belay device he had it the wrong way round ie. the live rope facing the floor and the dead rope facing up.

Was it a device like a grigri or was it a belay plate?
innesmac - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z:

Try it and find out, whilst your climber is in the group and get them to either walk away or back.
Neil Williams - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z:

Assuming it's an ATC or similar, it would either twist the belay loop and correct, or just give you way too much friction and be unwieldy.

If a Grigri, it'd be downright dangerous.

Neil
martinph78 on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: Why would it twist the belay loop, or give anymore friction?

With an ATC/Bug type device I know that it doesn't do this. I have belayed like this and compared it to the correct technique and it makes no difference to how the device operates. It works perfectly well. The only downside is rope handling when taking in slack/lowering off can be a bit more difficult as you can't do a hand over hand technique so easily.

yopzul on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

I'd expect the effect of this to be dependant on belay technique; how far to the left or right the brake rope is held whilst belaying; whether the rope is threaded on the dominant side of the belayer, and of course, whether leading or bottom roping.

An ATC or Bug style device with the rope threaded through this way will work fine, in the sense that no-one dies, just may be a little more cumbersome. Try it on the ground with someone weighting the other end of the rope and see!
AWR on 23 Mar 2013
Why not focus on the positive?

The consequences of you seeing it have been at least three positives:
1. It has showed you and your climbing partner that it always pays to be vigilant with buddy checks.
2. It has showed your new-to-climbing friend that you've taught him buddy checks for good reasons.
3. It means your friend will always thread a device correctly as he's learned a lesson early.

In answer to the question, I agree with the poster above who suggested tying in and seeing what happens for yourself by walking backwards while the climber is still on the ground - then it's a more useful climbing session as you'll all learn something AND get some route in :)

Well caught though - three cheers for buddy checks!
jwa - on 23 Mar 2013
I've caught people doing that loads and it doesn't really have an effect from what I can tell, just might make things a bit more awkward.
nickcj - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z:

I've heard of at least one near miss where the rope was threaded incorrectly and the belayer struggled to hold a fall...
trouserburp - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to nickcj:

Really? If you're talking about threading a normal belay plate back-to-front I'd like to hear the science behind it making more than an iota of difference.
Neil Williams - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

It would if you held the dead rope in the "normal" place, not realising you had done it.

Neil
Oceanrower - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: can't see that it would make any difference. The dead rope is still the dead rope isn't it?
Neil Williams - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Oceanrower:

Yes, but if you hold it pointing downwards coming out of the top of the slot it might well catch on the live rope, adding more friction, then again if it's an ATC XP it will miss the friction grooves. Try it, easier than me explaining!

Neil
elsewhere on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z:
Would this be what happens normally when a belayer brings up the second who climbs through to lead the next pitch?
Neil Williams - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Or if you mean using an ATC XP backwards, i.e. dead rope out of smooth slot but clipped on backwards, that reduces friction, which can help if your climber is light, but it's no worse than a Bug if they are heavy.

Neil
TheDrunkenBakers - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices:
> Why not focus on the positive?
>
> The consequences of you seeing it have been at least three positives:
> 1. It has showed you and your climbing partner that it always pays to be vigilant with buddy checks.
> 2. It has showed your new-to-climbing friend that you've taught him buddy checks for good reasons.
> 3. It means your friend will always thread a device correctly as he's learned a lesson early.
>
> In answer to the question, I agree with the poster above who suggested tying in and seeing what happens for yourself by walking backwards while the climber is still on the ground - then it's a more useful climbing session as you'll all learn something AND get some route in :)
>
> Well caught though - three cheers for buddy checks!

Best post of the thread.

Climbing Pieman on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to jwa:
> I've caught people doing that loads and it doesn't really have an effect from what I can tell, just might make things a bit more awkward.
I've seen a few older experienced climbers apparently deliberately using their atc type belay device upside down. Sometimes with the dead end over the side, others up towards them. They sometimes allow the belay device and krab to twist the belay loop up to 90 or more degrees, and in the latter to almost correctly orientate it. Always seemed a bit strange to me and I wondered why not just thread it correctly? Does it not put more strain/wear on the belay looping to twist it? Anyone know why they choose to do it that way?
shrubbery - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to elsewhere: Only if you don't "normally" stop at the stance, temporarily tie/cowstail in the second whilst you swap gear, then flip the rope/belay device over before they set off as leader.
Howard J - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z: I've just had a look at the instructions for my ATC XP and they don't seem to indicate that either way is right or wrong. The diagrams are carefully neutral.

My own experience is that either way will work perfectly well. Which is most suitable will depend on the circumstances - which direction the climber will be heading, whether there are any restrictions on the belayer. What is important, of course, is that the belaying arm is free to move into the 'lock' position.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Mutl3y - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Z: another vote, if one was needed, that this wont make much difference with a normal belay plate.

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