/ What to teach a new second

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DaveH70 - on 27 Mar 2013
A couple of friends are wanting me to take them climbing and wondering what I should teach them. When weather permits I'll take them out for some VDiff fun so I've taken them indoors and they have belayed me and each other so happy they will be ok with that. Also showed them how to lock off the belay if needed in case of and emergency and I'll cover pro removal when we are at the rock. Now don't want to fill their heads with too much info and would rather them concentrate on good basic rope technique than have them worry about much else but is there anything else you think I should be showing/teaching them?
highclimber - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

depends what you want them to know/learn. if you know this you can plan the session around that. you are right not wanting to overwhelm them with info. it's generally best to let them find things out for themselves with you just facilitating this by questioning them about what they did and getting them to analyse this. generally people will figure out the things you want them to learn given enough time to evaluate.
Gordon Stainforth - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to highclimber:

I hope you will have them wearing helmets, for reasons that have nothing to do with fashion, costs, the media, or methods of construction.
DaveH70 - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: I always wear one outside and I've mentioned about helmets to them and they are going to get them hopefully!
The Ex-Engineer - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70: Assuming you going to be climbing straight-forward routes you would pretty much be happy soloing, then to be honest you can just crack on and go climbing with them. Everything will then just fall into place and you can explain things in more and more detail as the day progresses.

Provided you start easy and keep pitches/routes short, so you can communicate really easily, you can't really go too far wrong.

I always put a high priority on buddy checks and on going through the series of standard climbing calls, but for pretty much everything else I'll generally provide a bit of a running commentary and explanations as and when we do things rather than go in for long explanations beforehand.
DaveH70 - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: Agree on teaching the calls, I was even making them say climber ready and climbing ect at the wall!
needvert on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

Giving appropriate amounts of slack.

Jamie B - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

I find that introducing any sort of rescue scenario, even a very simple one like tying off the plate, too early in the journey sends out the wrong message and complicates the picture. You want them to be absorbing the key principles and enjoying themselves, not stressing about the distant possibility of a leader fall. I can't imagine you'll be on ground where you're likely to pop?
abseil on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:
>...is there anything else you think I should be showing/teaching them?

Keep your eye on the leader at all times.
JayPee630 - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to abseil:

Likewise to the above, I wouldn't cover locking off the belay plate. I'd cover:

Belaying a leader/second, taking gear out, climbing calls, bit of outdoor ethics/crag etiquette, some safety stuff.

Jamie B - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to abseil:

That reminds me, abseiling. It's a core climbing skill and even if you don't require it on day one, there's something to be said for getting it taught at a benign environment before asking someone to step off a ledge halfway up a mountain/sea cliff. It's also a handy use of time if someone is knackered and doesn't want to climb anymore.

I'd use a back-up for abseil one as a matter of course, which needs to be more than just sending someone over the edge with their own prussik!
climbingpixie - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

I'd teach them to place gear so then you'll have climbing partners instead of just seconds.
DaveH70 - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70: all good advice and basically what I was thinking as in not over fazing them with self rescue, thought locking of the plate would be a good idea as in the very unlikely event of something going wrong they can at least make the system safer while calling for help, I'll take them somewhere busy so there will be others around in case of emergency. it might sound over cautious but it's me that's probably at the most danger! Abseiling is covered really as they have both done that before thankfully as I hate it with a passion! lol Told them that while a leader is on the rock there basically isn't anything else, eyes on the leader and hand on the brake line all the time and if I look and see them not paying attention a number 9 hex will be heading their way! lol
DaveH70 - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70: Here's another question along the same lines. If I'm bringing up 2 climbers on a single rope, I'd tie in as usual, tie another to the other end but what about the middle climber, what knot would be best to tie them in with? Want to have everyone tied in while I'm still there to check everything.
rug - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

I would suggest that you choose short routes, and you tie on in the middle with a fig 8 on the bight, then each second is a 'normal' second. Easiest (therefore safest) for you and them.

Rug
PanzerHanzler on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

When reading a guide book the importance understanding what words/phrases like: interesting, traditional, requires a workman like approach, green and off width mean.
needvert on 29 Mar 2013
Oh oh, I have one.

Not to untie from the rope to the other second.
needvert on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

Alpine butterfly, with two lockers connecting it to belay loop, is what I do.

There's binerless ways, but they involve more hassle.
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

1) That its their job as a second to bring cake
2) How to coil the rope, definitely rope coiling!
Martin W on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:
> thought locking of the plate would be a good idea as in the very unlikely event of something going wrong they can at least make the system safer while calling for help

If they've belayed you at the wall then they already know how to lower a climber, which is probably more useful then leaving you dangling. Provided, of course, that you've chosen an appropriate location & route where it's safe to be lowered if the sh!t does hit the fan.

If they do for some outlandish reason have to leave you up there then, if there's two of them, one can hold the rope while the other calls for help.
DaveH70 - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70: Defiantly rope coiling, all the the name of practice obviously ;-) Also agree with them bringing cake, got to keep their leaders strength up! lol Guide book translation would be good but possibility leave that for a while as I don't want to put them off before they start up a climb! On a more serious note, me tying into the middle and bringing them up on the ends sounds like a good idea, I've got a 60m single so no worries there.
mockerkin on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to climbingpixie:
> (In reply to DaveH70)
>
> I'd teach them to place gear so then you'll have climbing partners instead of just seconds.

>> That's right (I'm assuming that taking them on v.diff means trad) as they reach each of your protection points, if you can see where they are, tell them where and why you chose that point to place pro. and why you used this type or that, cam, threaded sling, old peg etc. May slow a climb, but it's on the job learning.


DaveH70 - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to mockerkin: that's a good idea, at least get them to look at where the pro has been placed to get a feel for placements.
rug - on 29 Mar 2013
> (In reply to DaveH70) Defiantly rope coiling...

I now have a mental image of a burly climber throwing the coiled rope to the ground, saying "Aye, and fookin' stay coiled !"

Rug
Pyreneenemec - on 30 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

If you ever progress to Alpine with new seconds, the golden rule is that the second carries the rope ! An important advantage with 3/4 hour walk-ins !
Muel - on 30 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:

How to make a decent cup of tea outdoors. Apprentices always need to make tea.
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Andy Long - on 30 Mar 2013
In reply to DaveH70:
On the subject of basic rope technique, they need to be able to take in and pay out quickly and safely, both left and right-handed. People who learn on walls generally only learn to do it with do it with their strong hand, unaware of the fact that on a real climb they may not have a choice. Apart from that, how to take belays and runners off. Keep pitches short. Agree with remarks about cake.

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