/ New to Lead- Question about placing protection

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AwfullyBigAdventure - on 24 Jun 2013
Hi all,

Sorry if this is a stupid question

I am fairly new to climbing, been indoor and outdoor bouldering for a few years and just moving onto the ropes now. I have done an intermediate course on setting up for basic top roping, and I have a good understanding of ropes, slings, carabiners etc but I am now reading up on nut, hexes, and cramming devises.

Obviously I will not use them until taking a course but my stupid question is... once placed in the rock, what is to stop them from moving upwards as the climber ascends and coming loose?

Thanks
ABA
GridNorth - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure: a) a good fit b) a long sling/QD c) a short sharp tug d) being aware of the direction you are climbing after placing the nut. Despite all this now and again a nut will dislodge, it happens to the best of us.
Cameron94 on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure: A well seated nut shouldn't lift out, give it a downward tug if you need to (while still on the racking biner that way you can hold the other wires).

Extending gear using longer quickdraws or slingdraws will also help reduce the chance of it lifting out especially cams.
jkarran - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure:

You isolate them from rope movement pretty well using a sling or quickdraw. The krab on the quickdraw slides freely on the rope. Wherever possible you 'seat' the nut giving it a little tug (tug the quickdraw or the rack of nuts) so the rock bites into the nut surface holding it in place.

Where this isn't possible or the placement is really critical and still prone to lifting you can sometimes tie the nut down (or across) to another bit of gear so it can't fall out. Generally that's overkill, you just put plenty in and rely on the combination of well seated, well extended and redundant gear.

jk
Skyfall - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure:

> cramming devises.

Nice typo

> Obviously I will not use them until taking a course

The aforementioned cramming devices might help you with this ;)

> once placed in the rock, what is to stop them from moving upwards as the climber ascends and coming loose?

Gear can indeed lift out if you aren't careful (and sometimes even if you are). However, you connect the gear to the rope with what is normally called a quickdraw (two snapgate krabs joined by a sling), or an extender, which creates flexibility and helps prevent ropedrag. This means the leader doesn't feel like he or she is being pulled backwards but also helps the gear stay in place. Also, the gear isn't exactly loose in the crack - you tug your nuts in to "seat" them properly and cams, by their nature, expand into the crack and generally stay put (though they can "walk" a bit).

Serious point - it's a shame to feel you need to take a course to learn to lead. Most of us on here will have learnt to lead trad without any course. It's very normal (and cheaper!) and more in the spirit of adventure (I note your username) to start without formal instruction. I think most people learn to lead by seconding some routes and looking at the gear you remove, how it was placed, the belay set ups the leader used etc. We used to call it serving your apprenticeship though, with climbing walls etc, that seems to have gone out of fashion. Do you have anyone you could tag along with to have a look to see how it works, second some routes etc, before trying it yourself on some nice friendly easy routes?
needvert on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure:

> Obviously I will not use them until taking a course...


So, I'm all for professional instruction. It's great if you are time poor and have spare cash. But...I'm not sure I agree with your use of the word obviously! About half the stuff I do I learnt in person, the rest from books/internet.

Most of the time, the only upwards force on a piece is friction of the rope against the biner, but if you extend well then the weight of the carabiner tends to win out.

The bottom piece if the belayer isn't standing under it is an exception, if to take an extremely silly example your belayer is standing 5m back from the cliff and your first piece is 1m off the ground, then near the top of the pitch you take a fall, the load on that piece will be up and outwards.

Hence, the common advice to make the first piece capable of handing multidirectional loads.

GridNorth - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to jkarran: I remember a photo in a magazine of someone on Cloggy using duct tape to prevent slings lifting off small spikes.
Carolyn - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

> Serious point - it's a shame to feel you need to take a course to learn to lead. Most of us on here will have learnt to lead trad without any course. It's very normal (and cheaper!) and more in the spirit of adventure (I note your username) to start without formal instruction.

How awfully Old Skool of you, dear chap..... ;-)

In reply to the OP:

You've had some good, detailed answers - in short, that's the main purpose of using a quickdraw (etc) to extend a piece of gear - it isolates it to some degree from the rope pulling it about, and reduces the chances it'll lift out.
Skyfall - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Carolyn:

On reflection, I did pick up some awfully bad habits from the person I served my (short) apprenticeship to. For example, I got the impression that every knot I tied had to be a figure 8, which made for some incredibly bulky belay set ups in my first year or so of climbing. I also got a grade A grounding in how to faff, both before setting off on a pitch and whilst on it. Anyway, it was all character building stuff. Oh yes, and to wear walking boots at all times when not climbing ;)
EeeByGum - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure:

> Obviously I will not use them until taking a course but my stupid question is... once placed in the rock, what is to stop them from moving upwards as the climber ascends and coming loose?

I am sure the question has been answered by those above, but there is nothing to stop you climbing before you have taken a course. It isn't rocket science. Just get out there, get on something easy and give it a go. You don't have to wait for someone to give you the nod. In my experience most gear (including my own) from newbies often pings out, but as long as you are on easy ground this isn't a huge problem. Practice placing gear at ground level and then go for it!
needvert on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:

RE placing gear at ground level
Aggressive bounce testing will give you an idea of what definitely won't hold in a fall.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krH-bTSuilo 2:00 onwards

Don't need aiders/daisies, just girth hitch a sling to your belay loop, and try not to fall on your ass or get hit in the face with a nut.
Will Nicholls - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure: A good way to practice safely is to place gear as you're belayed from above, on a top rope. If your rope's long enough, or you have a second rope, an extra belayer can lead belay you. That way how much you need to extend runners will be more apparent as you look down and see any potential zig-zagging. As you grow more confident, allow the top rope to become slacker and then test some of the bits of gear but falling off- if they don't hold it's fine, you're on a top rope anyway!
I started off at a club and have to admit that there were a lot of dangerous practices going on which were oblivious to me at the time. Instruction is a great way to get safe practices.
woody0606 on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure: Applying to be a mock student could also be useful to you: http://www.pyb.co.uk/mock-students.php
Jonny2vests - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure:

I was going to reply, but no follow up from the OP.... anyone else smell a Troll? Not really allowed in this forum.
thommi - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to needvert: I don't think this is a very good idea for a number of reasons. :-(
needvert on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to thommi:

Perhaps enumerate them.
ablackett - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to needvert:
> (In reply to thommi)
>
> Perhaps enumerate them.

1. If it blows you are going to land on your a**e and probably loose a tooth or 2 when the nut hits your face.
2. It will wear the gear placement or perhaps bust the rock.
3. The nut will get stuck.
4. It makes you look like a wally.
Jonny2vests - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to ablackett:
> (In reply to needvert)
> [...]
>
> 1. If it blows you are going to land on your a**e and probably loose a tooth or 2 when the nut hits your face.

Good, so you'll learn quick. You're no more likely to loose teeth than when normally aid climbing.

> 2. It will wear the gear placement or perhaps bust the rock.

It's at ground level, nobody needs those placements and again, you're no more likely to bust the rock than in a lead fall normal bounce test.

> 3. The nut will get stuck.

Good practise for the real deal then.

> 4. It makes you look like a wally.

Arguably, but I don't think that should be a barrier to learning.

Needvert is right. Testing gear at ground level is integral to any sensible lead climbing course.
Hillwalker - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure: If you are worried it might lift out a longer sling helps, so does an extra carabiner to give it some weight and not get lifted by the rope!
Steve Dunne on 12 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to ablackett)
> [...]
>
> Good, so you'll learn quick. You're no more likely to loose teeth than when normally aid climbing.
>
> [...]
>
> It's at ground level, nobody needs those placements and again, you're no more likely to bust the rock than in a lead fall normal bounce test.
>
> [...]
>
> Good practise for the real deal then.
>
> [...]
>
> Arguably, but I don't think that should be a barrier to learning.
>
> Needvert is right. Testing gear at ground level is integral to any sensible lead climbing course.

Think i'd rather look a wally at ground level than 40ft up!!!
John Stainforth - on 12 Jul 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure:

The main factor is a good placement, which is one with the maximum amount of metal snugly fitting against rock. This has maximum friction with the rock, so is least likely to walk, and is the strongest type of placement. One generally gives a nut a slight jerk or a stronger jerk, depending on rock type to make the nut stick.

Another point to watch, when you are new to this, is not to put your placements too deep. Generally, one or two inches into the crack is the maximum, and flush with the surface is fine. This way you can place the nut better and see how well it is seated, and it is also quite easy for the second man to get out. If you put them too deep, you can't see how well seated they are, and they have a tendency to fall deeper into the crack and get into a position where they are really hard to extract.
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Lukem6 - on 12 Jul 2013
In reply to AwfullyBigAdventure: get out and place lots of gear experience will teach you the rest. I'm always overextending gear with slings and longer quick draws.

When you fall your gear will be pulled down thats the important part, place gear in direction of fall.

To lessen chance of gear moving extend it, still unsure back it up.

also make sure belayer is close to the wall... a bad belayer can strip a route because your first piece is pulled out or diagonally upwards. test it you'll see. :-)

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