/ how many clove hitches

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somethingelse - on 27 Jun 2013
I'm just starting to lead climb and when building belays I have been using clove hitches and 8 on a bite combinations to attach to anchors and seal the belay set-up off. I was wondering, though, how many knots should you really be running through the carabiner attached to your harness? (I have one carabiner for attaching to the belay, and one for belay device, both attached through belay loop).

Say setting up a belay with 3 anchors out of reach I would typically have two clove hitches and an 8 on a bite to seal the loop attached to a big locking carabiner. (I'm using an 8 on a bite to seal the loop because thats what the person I'm learning from does, but presumably I could just use another clove hitch?)

I read on the link below that clove hitches have to be orientated correctly against the strong spine of the carabiner. Does this mean you should only really have one clove hitch per carabiner? Or does it simply mean that each of the clove hitches should be correctly orientated (see diagram in link) with the load running on the spine-side of the knot? If the latter then is the only limit on the number of clove hitches you can have on a carabiner down to the size of the carabiner itself?

Apologies if this is daft question, can't seem to locate a definitive answer anywhere easily.

Link to mentioned article:

http://www.guidetricksforclimbers.com/index.php/appendix/78-gtc-articles/78-use-and-abuse-of-the-clo...

Thanks,
GrahamD - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse:

It rather depends on the size and type of Karibiner. With a decent sized HMS (like the belay plate screwgate)and normal double rope thickness (8.5mm) I wouldn't be overly concerned. Even with strength reduction from non perfect alignment there is a huge amount of strength there.

Presumably you are using 3 anchor points because you are in doubt as to the strength of two anchors - in which case that will be the weak link in the system.

You can also consider tying back to the harness rather than use a krab (my favoured method), or use more than one krab.
SteveoS - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse:

Yes, another clove hitch would be ok (Instead of a figure 8).

I doubt you'd put enough force through a system to make that an issue (unless your seconder was massive!)

Also, if you run out of space on a crab or worried about the loading angle you can just add another crab to your rope loop and clove hitch into that instead.
Jonny2vests - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse:
> I'm just starting to lead climb and when building belays I have been using clove hitches and 8 on a bite combinations

Just a clove hitch is fine. Any modern literature will back that up.

> was wondering, though, how many knots should you really be running through the carabiner attached to your harness?

No more than 2 in one (HMS) krab. When the gear is in reach, tie the clove hitch at the gear end. Or you can tie gear off with a fig 8 loop and remove the need for a krab at all.

> Say setting up a belay with 3 anchors out of reach I would typically have two clove hitches and an 8 on a bite to seal the loop attached to a big locking carabiner. (I'm using an 8 on a bite to seal the loop because thats what the person I'm learning from does, but presumably I could just use another clove hitch?)

Then they are stuck in the dark ages :-). Almost nobody does that these days. A clove hitch won't slip, it just gets tighter under load, this has been tested.

> I read on the link below that clove hitches have to be orientated correctly against the strong spine of the carabiner. Does this mean you should only really have one clove hitch per carabiner? Or does it simply mean that each of the clove hitches should be correctly orientated (see diagram in link) with the load running on the spine-side of the knot? If the latter then is the only limit on the number of clove hitches you can have on a carabiner down to the size of the carabiner itself?

Use an HMS for two clove hitches. It's better suited to a 3 way load. Orientation of the load rope to the spine for 1 clove hitch in a D gate is good practice, especially with small lightweight gear
woody0606 on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse: Even with a big HMS you'll struggle to get more than 2 clove hitches on. If you need 3 you can just add an extra krab to your rope loop or belay loop. As Graham says you can tie the third anchor back to your harness instead, but I tend to favour the extra krab method, as I find it easier. Of course, the other way round this is to link 2 or your anchors with a sling or by 'christmas treeing' the rope, eliminating the need for a third knot at your harness all together.
I would get out of the habit of using a fig 8 in your belays, it's not ajustable, and an entirely pointless way of doing things.
David Ponting on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to woody0606: There is another possibility, which is to use one of the huge DMM Boa HMSes as your main krab - while bulky and heavy, it can easily fit 3 clove hitches, even in a single rope (unless you're using a 12mm rope or something equally crazy...)
needvert on 27 Jun 2013
Long ago I posted a thread on here asking about clove hitch load strands and if anyone which was closer to the gate.

No one cared.

(Triaxial loading concerns me more....But I can't actually find any test data. I do wonder what happens when one takes a DMM Boa and loads it in 3 directions with 120 degrees between.)
woody0606 on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse: Anyone aware or any real-world instances of carabiners failing due to the 'wrong' clove hitch strand being loaded? It's not an issue I've ever come across in books or SPA training. Is it something to be concerned about?
David Ponting on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to needvert:
> (Triaxial loading concerns me more....But I can't actually find any test data. I do wonder what happens when one takes a DMM Boa and loads it in 3 directions with 120 degrees between.)

That sounds scary... I try for something less extreme if at all possible (and certainly when I'll be leading off the belay), but I'm perfectly happy with two or three attachment points routed into the one Boa (I have a 30kn one just in case) that span a 90 degree angle between them!
Jonny2vests - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to needvert:
> Long ago I posted a thread on here asking about clove hitch load strands and if anyone which was closer to the gate.
>
> No one cared.

I think there's definitely an argument with lightweight gear.

> I do wonder what happens when one takes a DMM Boa and loads it in 3 directions with 120 degrees between.

Nothing would be my guess. That thing is a beast.
Jonny2vests - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to woody0606:
> As Graham says you can tie the third anchor back to your harness instead

You can do it for all three. If you do one, might as well do the others.
somethingelse - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse: Thanks very much for all your replies. Yes, I was worried about loading the carabiner in different directions too. I've been using a single, 10mm rope, and one of those DMM Boa things (not the 30n one though). I guess what I've been doing is fine, so long as the angles are not too extreme. And yes, I think I'll ditch the 8 in a bite thing. Thanks very much for all the feedback, much appreciated!
CurlyStevo - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
"
Then they are stuck in the dark ages :-). Almost nobody does that these days. A clove hitch won't slip, it just gets tighter under load, this has been tested."

Actually this isn't true the clove hitch will slip until roughly half the failure load is reached at which point it stops slipping until failure.

http://www.geir.com/mythbuster.html
jkarran - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse:

> Apologies if this is daft question, can't seem to locate a definitive answer anywhere easily.

It's not a daft question but you're unlikely to get a definitive answer here either. In reality you don't need the strongest or the safest possible set-up, you need one that is simple, adequately strong and adequately safe. Peoples views differ on what's simple/adequate so their favored set-ups differ.

> I read on the link below that clove hitches have to be orientated correctly against the strong spine of the carabiner. Does this mean you should only really have one clove hitch per carabiner? Or does it simply mean that each of the clove hitches should be correctly orientated (see diagram in link) with the load running on the spine-side of the knot? If the latter then is the only limit on the number of clove hitches you can have on a carabiner down to the size of the carabiner itself?

I'd be suspicious of anything telling you you *must* do something a particular way.

One hitch per krab with the loaded strand nearest the spine is the strongest configuration for a clovehitch (itself not that strong but strong enough for what we use it for).

Load the krab further out toward the nose and you start to impose bending loads on the krab. Is that serious? For bodyweight: No. For holding a big (factor 2 say) fall? Well for starters the krab is unlikely to fail even if the rope holding the fall is clipped in sub-optimally with no other load limiting devices involved. Add in the load limiting effect of the hitches slipping and a belay plate plus a realistic human belayer... The problem is the belayer, not the rigging.

Where does that leave you? Personally I pack as many on as will sit neatly on the end bar of the krab, on a small screwgate that's maybe an 8 and a clovehitch, on a big HMS that could be 3 or more clove hitches in skinny rope. Thoughts of the krab failing don't even come into my mind.

Actually, what I usually do is tie back without any krabs because it's quick and simple. Worth learning even if it's just as a back-up plan.
Jonny2vests - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)

> Actually this isn't true the clove hitch will slip until roughly half the failure load is reached at which point it stops slipping until failure.

It tightens, but it doesn't slip (which is after all the myth he's trying to bust). That's the bloke that shoots belay plates isn't it? I've got mixed feelings about the validity of that.
bpmclimb - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse:


>
> Apologies if this is daft question, can't seem to locate a definitive answer anywhere easily.
>

Not daft at all - a good question.

It rather depends on the angles. Two clove hitches from fairly close together anchors will normally sit side by side quite nicely on a single HMS, but separate those anchors and you'll get a greater degree of three-way loading, and would be better off with separate crabs.

I usually carry two or three lightweight screwgates in preference to a chunky HMS - there's not much extra weight penalty.
colina - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse:
did u mean your carabners are attached to your belay loop on your harness.my understanding is its the norm to attach your carabininers to your ROPE loop when leading or seconding along with your belay plate and anything else (not your harness belay loop) .apologies if this isn't wot you meant.
pigeonslipper on 27 Jun 2013
Jonny2vests - on 27 Jun 2013
In reply to colina:
> (In reply to somethingelse)
> did u mean your carabners are attached to your belay loop on your harness.my understanding is its the norm to attach your carabininers to your ROPE loop when leading or seconding along with your belay plate and anything else (not your harness belay loop) .apologies if this isn't wot you meant.

Indirect (belay loop) vs. semi-direct (rope loop), both are valid. I agree though, in that I prefer to use the rope loop too. Taboo in N America though!
CurlyStevo - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> It tightens, but it doesn't slip (which is after all the myth he's trying to bust). That's the bloke that shoots belay plates isn't it? I've got mixed feelings about the validity of that.

no it slips a bit as it tightens theres no way 5 inches of rope is only the knot tightening. yeah I thought the belay plate shooting prooved very little!
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Jamie B - on 28 Jun 2013
The DMM Boa is a mighty tool to have at your disposal for tying back to your harness with 2 ropes. I reckon you could get a third clove hitch onto it but it would be bunched up and potentially getting a bit close to the gate - I wouldn't.

The newer Boas with I-beam construction definitely take the knots more easily and feel significantly lighter.

Needless to say it still pays to know how to tie further knots off with a Figure-eight on the bight.
Rog Wilko on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse: In my view what matters most is not subjecting your belay to a shock loading. So if you have all the rope links in your belay set-up really tight - adjust the clove hitches again when you get installed in your belaying position - you'll never get anywhere remotely close to the breaking strain of your screw-gate even if not all the clove hitches are in a perfect position on it. Just my two pennorth... Others may not agree.
The Ex-Engineer - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse and others: FWIW I have heard of some worst case pull testing being done on HMS krabs loaded off-axis (i.e. gate side) and they were still looking at them holding 13kN rather than the required 20kN+.

That sort of strength reduction could be fairly serious if you are rigging something like a slack line or tyrolean but it can't see it being an issue in normal climbing.
Andy Long - on 28 Jun 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Interesting where he ("Mythbuster" Geir) says that the rope broke at the clove hitch at about 2700 pounds. That works out at 12kN as near as dammit, same as the impact strength of a single rope.
Donnie - on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to somethingelse: not sure if this has is right or has been said already, but I think you might have to take the angle between the different anchors into account.

Using a simple example of two anchors - the wider the angle between them the more force is placed on each anchor. I think the force placed on each anchor will placed on the karibiner their attached to....

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