/ Hand/rope signals

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needvert on 24 Apr 2013
After an interesting incident, I'm thinking it would be valuable to go over non-verbal communication methods with partners.

Though, the great question is - what do we use for what? It seems sensible to adopt the most common system.

Is there something wider spread and better documented than everyone inventing their own thing?

(The white water community I've been a part of has everyone following the same system of signals which works quite well, there is rarely any confusion.)
cyberpunk - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to needvert: The only thing I have used is, When you cannt hear each other "3 sharp pulls on the rope from the leader means he is safe, Then 3 sharp pulls again from the leader means the second is on belay and can start climbing."
Darren Jackson - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to needvert:

Famously, Simon Yates chopped the rope to let Joe Simpson know that he was off belay and it was nearly last orders.
needvert on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Darren Jackson:

Hah.
AlanLittle - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to needvert:

Rope stops moving for enough time to build a belay, then starts being pulled in faster than the leader was previously climbing =

- keep him on belay until the end of the rope just in case
- dismantle all but one piece of the belay and make a tentative move
- if the rope gets taken in, remove the last piece of the belay and climb
lithos on 24 Apr 2013
talk to your partner before you set off and agree !

for me

* 3 pulls means start climbing.

* with doubles take in one rope and not the other until taught then t'other,
should be indicative (if enough rope to make it obvisous
EeeByGum - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to needvert: The only signal that needs to be transmitted is for when the belayer at the top is safe and even that is not necessarily required. The signs are as follows:

Rapid pulling up of the rope faster than can be delivered through the belay = "Safe"
Rope goes tight onto the belay below - then goes a bit slack (you are being put on belay) then goes tight and occasionally you feel a tug on the rope = you are safe to climb.
Jamie B - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:

> Rope stops moving for enough time to build a belay, then starts being pulled in faster than the leader was previously climbing =
> keep him on belay until the end of the rope just in case
> dismantle all but one piece of the belay and make a tentative move
> if the rope gets taken in, remove the last piece of the belay and climb

That's increasingly what I'm moving towards, although with clients I don't encourage them to partially dismantle the belay!

Increasingly I'm thinking that climbing calls are only useful in an environment in which they are clear and unambiguous, and that elsewhere they can create confusion and a tyranny that climbers can be reluctant to deviate from. I'm all for the situational awareness that you advocate.

Heard at numerous belays this winter:

"I *think* he just shouted safe, I'll take him off belay"
"ARE YOU SAFE!?" (repeatedly, loudly, annoyingly)
"CAN I CLIMB?!" (repeatedly, loudly, annoyingly)

Basically, if your leader is on belay he is as safe as you can make him. And if the rope is being yarded tight he probably wants you to climb! Work to this and there is no need to try and discern how many times the rope has been tugged, or fanny around with radios.

Additional points to make this run smooth:

1. After the leader has made himself safe he should try to pull the rope up really quickly, it should be clear that this is not climbing movement.
2. Having pulled the ropes tight the leader should let them go a little slack. This discourages the second from dismantling the belay prematurely, gives him a little time to take leader off belay (if he's still on), and gives the leader time to put the second on his plate.
3. Leader then needs to ensure that *both* ropes are tight - test each seperately. Then heave like a navvy, it should be unambiguous.
4. Accept that tight ropes being pulled from above *may* mean you are moving together. Accept this and don't fall off.
5. If the leader runs out of rope and you have to move together he needs to know. Swiftly unclipping the belay and moving on doesn't relay this. Others will disagree, but I'd always stop the rope moving for a second or two so he knows and can re-evaluate the situation.
6. The leader should know exactly what the second will have to climb in the first 10m or so of the pitch. If it's easy and there are runners in, moving a bit further in search of a belay is not a problem. If it's hard and there is any possibility of the second falling, it may be better for the leader to reverse to an anchor.
7. The second should always move with the rope and keep it snug. Chances are you are *not* moving together or leader belayed on something rubbish, but if you are you want to keep the shockload potential down!

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martinph78 on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Darren Jackson: Just spat my coffee out. Hilarious!


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