/ Why belay off the belay loop?

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MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
Since I got good answers to my question about using ATC, I'll move on to my next.
You tie into the top + bottom front loops of your harness because it's the strongest connection to hold falls. Yet you belay and abseil from the belay loop. Since the strength of the system is its weakest link, then why do this? (Didn't a famous climber die recently because his belay loop was worn?) If the problem is the carabiner size, why not have a specialist larger carabiner for belaying/abseiling?
needvert on 08 Jul 2013
Todd Skinner.

Belay loop isn't anywhere near the weakest link.

Single pitch sport with lower offs, we only have one person tied in at a time generally. Hence less work to use belay loop.
Muel - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

If you're worried about it failing, make a little backup loop out of 6mm could, tied with triple fishermans.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to needvert:

> Todd Skinner.
>
> Belay loop isn't anywhere near the weakest link.

so what is?


> we only have one person tied in at a time generally. Hence less work to use belay loop.

So you are saying tie into belay loop is OK for single pitch sport with lower offs? I've seen this at climbing walls, tieing into a locking carabiner and then clipping it to the belay loop.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> If you're worried about it failing, make a little backup loop out of 6mm could, tied with triple fishermans.


Good idea.
But my question is more that since tieing into both the front top and bottom loops of the harness provides redundancy, why not belay/abseil using them?
Muel - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS: Because you can't clip a biner through the top and bottom loops? Just tie a backup loop, loads of people I know do.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to MikeTS) Because you can't clip a biner through the top and bottom loops? Just tie a backup loop, loads of people I know do.

Well if they made and sold a specialised large flatter biner you could!

needvert on 08 Jul 2013
Lets not blow Todd's belay loop failing out of context, as so often happens.

It's an extremely rare incident, he knew it was a problem (had ordered a new harness before the accident), his partner had commented on its condition...Ergo it was obviously in a bad way.

If we are to start doubling up our belay loops because of *one* case of failure, then perhaps we should:
- Double up the waist loop, as there's been one case of waist loop failure
- Use twin or half ropes, as there's been multiple incidences of single rope failure

...Or maybe we should just replace our gear before it gets to the state of Todds.
mrchewy - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Muel: I happily get a biner through through the top and bottom loops for my prussic when abbing.

To the OP - There's a few situations when you may be belaying and not tied into the rope yourself. The belay loop makes things quicker and slicker, try using an alpine harness at an indoor wall and you'll see what I mean.
haroldoftherocks on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS: If you were to use a biner through the top and bottom tie in loops and use this to ab/belay there would be potential for three-way loading which reduces the strength of the biner severely, resulting in potential failure.

when I belay I always clip my HMS+belay plate into the figure 8 tie in loop which runs through the two tie in points, which (so I'm told) makes the system more dynamic due to the inherent stretch of the rope under loading, reducing the stress on the harness and also the second/gear etc. If leading you are already tied in, and when seconding I tie into the opposite end of the rope before the leader begins to climb so that this system is always possible.

The only time I do use the belay loop on the harness is when clipping into an autolocking crab on autobelays at the climbing wall, or when i have to abseil.

Hope this helps in anyway.
biscuit - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to mrchewy:

It's the orientation of the HMS it affects for belaying though when put through both.You often end up with the narrow end pointing out or the rope running over the gate of the krab.

The reason the top and bottom of the harness are joined when tying in is to join both parts of the harness together, not for redundancy. You are still joined with one thing - the rope. That's more than strong enough not to worry.

The belay/abseil loop is also strong enough not to worry. It too joins the top and bottom of the harness together just like your rope making one equalised attachment point.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> (In reply to Muel)
> [...]
>
>
> Good idea.
> But my question is more that since tieing into both the front top and bottom loops of the harness provides redundancy, why not belay/abseil using them?

Or supply two belay loops on harnesses?

needvert on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> so what is?

My belay loop is rated at 25KN. I would say the weakest link is my belayer.

> So you are saying tie into belay loop is OK for single pitch sport with lower offs? I've seen this at climbing walls, tieing into a locking carabiner and then clipping it to the belay loop.

No, I'm saying I find it more convenient to belay off the belay loop in single pitch sport.

I tie-in using the normal fashion, my harness has wear indicators on that area.

Edelrid advises either method, belay loop tie in or the normal tie in
http://www.edelrid.de/en/download-document/29-gal-harnesses.html
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to needvert:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
> [...]
I would say the weakest link is my belayer.

Ah, so we should always have redundant belayers!!!



MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to needvert:
> (In reply to MikeTS)

>
> Edelrid advises either method, belay loop tie in or the normal tie in
> http://www.edelrid.de/en/download-document/29-gal-harnesses.html

I see. That is very interesting. Are they saying that the choice is only one of convenience and/or situation on the cliff.

MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to haroldoftherocks:

In reply to haroldoftherocks:
> (In reply to MikeTS) If you were to use a biner through the top and bottom tie in loops and use this to ab/belay there would be potential for three-way loading which reduces the strength of the biner severely, resulting in potential failure.

As in http://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/1384/what-does-it-mean-to-cross-load-a-carabiner.

That answers my question I guess!


> when I belay I always clip my HMS+belay plate into the figure 8 tie in loop which runs through the two tie in points, which (so I'm told) makes the system more dynamic due to the inherent stretch of the rope under loading, reducing the stress on the harness and also the second/gear etc.

Again interesting, never seen anyone do it. Is a FO8 knotted rope with some dynamism stronger than the belay device?

Potential for mistake if stressed to clip into the loop between the FO8 and the stopper knots.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to mrchewy)
>
> It's the orientation of the HMS it affects for belaying though when put through both.You often end up with the narrow end pointing out or the rope running over the gate of the krab.

Good point

>
> The reason the top and bottom of the harness are joined when tying in is to join both parts of the harness together, not for redundancy.
> The belay/abseil loop is also strong enough not to worry. It too joins the top and bottom of the harness together just like your rope making one equalised attachment point.

So you could tie into the belay loop without worrying, as suggested by ethelrid

http://www.edelrid.de/en/download-document/29-gal-harnesses.html

jkarran - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

> so what is? [the weak link]

The person wearing the harness usually.

> So you are saying tie into belay loop is OK for single pitch sport with lower offs? I've seen this at climbing walls, tieing into a locking carabiner and then clipping it to the belay loop.

For lowering off there's no harm in tying/clipping into the belay loop, it's often the easiest bit to re-thread. You wouldn't choose to climb like that unless you had a very good reason.

I've never understood why the belay loop attracts so much suspicion and paranoia, they're bulletproof. There are several single points of potential failure in the average climbing set-up but we tend not to worry about those, we mitigate the risk by competently using quality kit.

jk
a lakeland climber on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to haroldoftherocks:
>
> when I belay I always clip my HMS+belay plate into the figure 8 tie in loop which runs through the two tie in points, which (so I'm told) makes the system more dynamic due to the inherent stretch of the rope under loading, reducing the stress on the harness and also the second/gear etc.

Just how much stretch do you think is there going to be in the few centimetres of rope between the knot and your harness?

Dynamic belays are achieved in basically two ways:

1. Use a device that allows some slippage before it actually grabs the rope and stops the falling climber. This is how traditional waist belays and belay plates work.

2. If using an auto-lock device like the Gri-Gri then the belayer needs to move towards the direction of pull. There's quite a few threads on this.

ALC
needvert on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to haroldoftherocks:

Your 'rope has been tested to over 30kN impact force'?

Sounds interesting, any more info?
ads.ukclimbing.com
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to haroldoftherocks:
>
> I assume you mean belay loop not belay device?

oops!!

Thanks for your detailed answer. So the difference between tying into the belay loop and tying into the harness is about 5KN (assuming the harness is stronger than the rope)?

scott titt - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
>
> Potential for mistake if stressed to clip into the loop between the FO8 and the stopper knots.

So don't tie the stopper knot.

MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to scott titt:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
> [...]
>
> So don't tie the stopper knot.

this is another debate, but am I right that a Fo8 with a long tail is a strong as one with a stopper knot?

GridNorth - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS: I use a stopper knot with an F8 but in reality it's really only a check that the tails are long enough and to get rid of the spare rope. Unlike a stopper on a bowline which is critical on a F8 it adds little.
JoshOvki on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

I agree that the belayer is often the weakest point in the system (human error and all). However if you try and have redundancy for every weakest point we will end up in an infinate loop.
Zebdi - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

"So you are saying tie into belay loop is OK for single pitch sport with lower offs? I've seen this at climbing walls, tieing into a locking carabiner and then clipping it to the belay loop."

Not a very good idea. This way the carabiner can easily get cross-loaded which significantly reduces the strength of the biner.
GrahamD - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

> why not have a specialist larger carabiner for belaying/abseiling?

It sounds like your trying to invent the solution to a problem that simply does not exist ! Harnesses aren't the weak link - people are.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Zebdi:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> "So you are saying tie into belay loop is OK for single pitch sport with lower offs? I've seen this at climbing walls, tieing into a locking carabiner and then clipping it to the belay loop."
>
> Not a very good idea. This way the carabiner can easily get cross-loaded which significantly reduces the strength of the biner.

How can this get cross-loaded? The forces go up the rope to the climber and down to the harness, 2 points of contact.

MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> [...]
>
> It sounds like your trying to invent the solution to a problem that simply does not exist

I've backed off this idea cos of cross-loading.

Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

"You tie into the top + bottom front loops of your harness because it's the strongest connection to hold falls."

No, you tie in that way because it's redundant. OK, a belay loop isn't, but 3-way loading a krab weakens it.

The loop is intended for belaying, that's why it's called that. Someone using a worn harness is an entirely different reason and reminds us all why we need to check and discard if necessary on a very frequent basis.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

"so what is?"

Gear loops? :) Anything load bearing is generally rated 23kN or above, no?

Neil
lithos on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=1129

I use both techniques, when stood on the ground usually the belay loop, when
not on the ground usually the rope loop

re stopper knots:
* don't have a gap between them and the knot, snug them right up.
* If as Scott suggests you dont boteer have a ~6inch tail
(dont have a 2 foot tail nor a 1/2 inch tail you can convert to metric :-)
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to haroldoftherocks:

"when I belay I always clip my HMS+belay plate into the figure 8 tie in loop which runs through the two tie in points, which (so I'm told) makes the system more dynamic due to the inherent stretch of the rope under loading, reducing the stress on the harness and also the second/gear etc."

There isn't much stretch in the less than half a metre of rope you have there. It'll make very little difference.

There are reasons for doing this (ease of escaping the belay, perhaps the positioning is more convenient being two) but I wouldn't do it specifically to make things more dynamic. Much more rope is already in the system (going to the climber) and is already dynamic.

If you *do* do it ensure you have used a stopper knot because Fig 8s can roll when loaded in that way.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

I believe tying into the belay loop is common in Germany. It's also the only option with an alpine harness.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

There would be serious injury to climber, belayer or both before the forces got anywhere near 23kN, as I understand it. That's the reason why gear is rarely rated higher than that - you'd just end up with a dead/seriously injured climber attached to the rope rather than one on the floor.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

The krab rotates to a cross loaded position.

The other reason it's not wonderful is that it might be fiddled with by the climber and they might end up disconnected from the rope. That's why we discourage working like that at our Scout wall, though it is common at commercial walls. (Because we're a Scout wall we also see a side benefit in teaching how to tie a Fig 8 with stopper from the word "go".)

Neil
biscuit - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

> Potential for mistake if stressed to clip into the loop between the FO8 and the stopper knots.

WHy is there a loop between your fig 8 and stopper knot ? If you tie one then it should be snug up against you fig 8 not halfway down the rope. That way the potential problem can't happen in any circumstances.

As for cross loading krabs imo it's a moot point for the belay device krab. I'll stick my neck out and say the load isn't big enough on that point of the system to break a side loaded HMS. Happy to be proved wrong though.

My issue with krabs moving round is the risk to opening the gate by rope action ( still very small but enough to be aware of ) and you lose the benefit of the wide, round profile end of the HMS that makes belaying much easier - especially with 2 ropes.
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to scott titt:

Or make sure there isn't a "loop between the FO8 and the stopper knots". Common, but sloppy.

In any case, provided the stopper knot was tied well, that loop *should* still hold if that error was made, surely? Without the Fig 8 it'd slide up the rope, but the Fig 8 would prevent it sliding. Not at all ideal and not something you'd choose to do, of course.

Neil
biscuit - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
>
> No, you tie in that way because it's redundant. OK, a belay loop isn't, but 3-way loading a krab weakens it.
>

I don't think you do. I just don't think they've come up with a way of connecting the waist and leg loop parts of the harness in an self equalising way other than using a rope.

The belay loop does the same job as the rope loop when you tie in so technically you can tie into the belay loop when leading with no problem as far as i can see.

So why don't we ?

There must be an issue i can't see - quite likely tbh.

JoshOvki on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:

Rope on rope abrasion. You risk burning through the belay loop. If you look at the alpine harnesses that are designed for that method they are reinforced. Also it would make the knot sit much highr and hit you.
ads.ukclimbing.com
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to Neil Williams)
> [...]
>
> I don't think you do. I just don't think they've come up with a way of connecting the waist and leg loop parts of the harness in an self equalising way other than using a rope.
>
> The belay loop does the same job as the rope loop when you tie in so technically you can tie into the belay loop when leading with no problem as far as i can see.
>
> So why don't we ?
>
> There must be an issue i can't see - quite likely tbh.

Which is the inverse of my original question. And as someone said earlier, ethelrid say it's OK - and they're German!

MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> [...]
>
> WHy is there a loop between your fig 8 and stopper knot ? If you tie one then it should be snug up against you fig 8 not halfway down the rope. That way the potential problem can't happen in any circumstances.


Yes of course, but one of the principles of a safe system is to eliminate sources of error when tired/hungry/cold/your glasses fell off......
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to biscuit)
>
> Rope on rope abrasion.

But they aren't really moving against each other? And if you had a carabiner between the rope knot and the belay loop?
gd303uk - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> (In reply to needvert)
>
> [...]
>
> so what is?
>
>
> [...]
>
The belay device itself is the weakest link in kn terms.

JoshOvki on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

If you tied directally into the belay loop of course it would, especially in a fall.

That would hold until you got to 7Kn and it cross loaded. Why are you trying to make it much more complicated?
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> If you tied directally into the belay loop of course it would, especially in a fall.
>
> That would hold until you got to 7Kn and it cross loaded. Why are you trying to make it much more complicated?

I'm really am not! I trying to understand for myselg what is safe and whagt is not, rather than rely on random people at walls and crags saying I'm wrong!
JoshOvki on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

In that case, find your harness, read the instructions, they will be sewn into it.

General rule of thumb is keep it simple. By adding extra gear into the loop you are increasing the number on things can possibly go wrong.
biscuit - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

Krabs between the rope knot and belay loop are accepted ( with various safety guidelines specifying specific krabs made for the job ) for top roping but not for the potential forces a lead fall could take. That could break the krab in a side load situation.

I agree that there is no rope on rope abrasion if you tie your fig 8 through your belay loop. No more than if you tie it through your waist and leg loop holes.

The more i think about it i can't see a reason why not to tie in on your belay loop. It equalises, only one point to tie through and it's easier to see than the fiddly leg loop hole.

As for the knot hitting you in the face i don't know how bog your knots are Josh or how big your belay loop is but i'm quite sure mine wouldn't hit me in the face.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

This interesting. (You may all already know this) List of strengths of climbing gear on http://www.mazamas.org/your/adventure/starts-here/C39/

Which I think says you are dead before gear in proper condition and used correctly breaks.

10.5 mm rope 30 kN
harness belay loop (minimum rating) 15 kN
Petzl Attache biner (gate closed) 23 kN
Petzl Attache biner, (cross loaded) 7 kN
sewn spectra 8mm sling 22 kN
1 tubular webbing 18 kN
11/16 tubular webbing 17 kN
5.5 mm Gemini "tech" cord, knotted 17 kN f
sewn spectra/nylon sling 12 kN
7mm nylon cord (Roca) 13 kN
6mm nylon cord (Roca) 8 kN
5mm nylon cord (Roca) 6 kN
4mm nylon cord (Roca) 4 kN


theoretical max force possible in a climbing fall 9 kN
JoshOvki on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:

Look at your harness, where the belay loop runs. You will find that it is reinforced for the rope on rope action. Same as looking at an alpine style harness (where you belay from and tie into the same loop)

I didn't say it would hit you in the face, you added the face bit into it.

You tie into the belay loop and I will carry on tieing in how DMM recommend I do, everyone is a winner :)
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> not for the potential forces a lead fall could take. That could break the krab in a side load situation.
>

That would be nuts, I can see.
But my original question was sparked by having a guy at the crag correct me when I was top roping some beginners whom I had tied onto the belay loop (directly, not via carabiner).
GrahamD - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

A couple of obvious practical reason not to tie directly to the belay loop:

- The knot and rope loop are moved further from the climber making clipping harder and more error prone.
- Most people like to have the belay loop uncluttered to allow them to belay from it or quickly clip into it unimpeded

Neither of these are strenght issues, though.
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> In that case, find your harness, read the instructions, they will be sewn into it.

Mine are too worn.

But on the manufacturers' sites, for my BD they say tie into harness front top and bottom loops, and seems to say it's a bad idea to tie into the belay loop with or without a carabiner, but don't say it's instant death.
For my Petzl they say tie into harness front top and bottom loops, and also seem to offer a new option: single tie-in to the bottom loop after running the rope through the top loop (which suggests equalisation is not the issue?)
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to MikeTS)

I think I'm now only looking at it for top-roping anyway. But thanks.


biscuit - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> (In reply to JoshOvki)

> For my Petzl they say tie into harness front top and bottom loops, and also seem to offer a new option: single tie-in to the bottom loop after running the rope through the top loop (which suggests equalisation is not the issue?)

More to do with being kept upright when your weight is on the rope i would guess. It'd be fiddly doing a knot down there though wouldn't it ?
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

"For my Petzl they say tie into harness front top and bottom loops, and also seem to offer a new option: single tie-in to the bottom loop"

Wha? How does that work? If I'm reading you right I can see absolutely no good reason to do that.

You're not referring to the chest harness diagram on this:-
http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/advice-on-harness-use

are you?

Neil
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

(Doing a chest harness like that rather than with the knot at the top has the advantage that you won't get whacked in the face with the knot when you fall off)
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

In the diagram look at the item 1 just above the text 'Use a Belay Device' about half way down. What do you think it says? Or is it for a bizarre type of harness without both a front top and bottom loop?
JoshOvki on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

Alpine style harness, that have one attachment point for belaying and tieing in. This loop is renforced.
JoshOvki on 08 Jul 2013
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

It's an alpine style harness with a single loop for both purposes as common in centres.

Neil
MikeTS - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

thanks everyone, a mystery cleared up
Neil Williams - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

Good to hear people asking "why", anyway. I find it makes you understand far better than learning by rote as some do.

Neil
biscuit - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to biscuit)
>
> Look at your harness, where the belay loop runs. You will find that it is reinforced for the rope on rope action. Same as looking at an alpine style harness (where you belay from and tie into the same loop)
>
> I didn't say it would hit you in the face, you added the face bit into it.
>
> You tie into the belay loop and I will carry on tieing in how DMM recommend I do, everyone is a winner :)

I am not going to change what i already do, tie into both parts, but i like discussions like this that lead you to really think about why we do what we do. Even the 'simple' things like tying in.

Still not sure where this rope on rope action is coming from ? If i tie in through both points there is only one strand of rope running through. The only place where rope on rope occurs is in the knot itself.

Do you mean rope on webbing/harness material ? If so i follow you. If not ...?

I must have imagined the knot hitting you in the face bit, sorry.
MikeTS - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

Again, thanks everyone.
I think my conclusions are:
1. The belay loop is best for belaying (wow!)
2. Backing up the belay loop is an idea but perhaps a bit obsessive
3. The climber breaks long before the gear
4. You can belay from the F8 knot
5. Tying on to the belay loop is OK for top-roping
6. Tying on with HMS attached to belay loop probably won't kill the climber but is not advised since it might slip and cross-load
7. Alpine harnesses are different
8. Tying onto a rock-climbing harness front top and bottom is good but no-one is quite sure why (strength, convenience, equalisation?)
9. F8 knot should either have long tail or stopper
10. Never create a situation where the carabiner could be cross-loaded
biscuit - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

Good stuff.

Most of all remember that just because something has always been done that way doesn't mean it's not stupid.

Don't just do things because others do. Now you have good reasons why you do things the way you do.
GeoffRadcliffe - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS: If I am bringing up a heavy second, I attach my belay device to my main belay (as well as my belay loop) so that if I need to I can let the main belay take the strain if my second falls off.
lithos on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> 8. Tying onto a rock-climbing harness front top and bottom is good but no-one is quite sure why (strength, convenience, equalisation?)

redundancy & load distribution would be my call, but probably in the other order !
djelkin1992 - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

from what i've always been taught is the 'belay loop' is actually called the 'abseil loop' and should only really be used for abseiling. When belaying, both parties should tie into the rope then the belay device is clipped onto the rope loop. This makes the belay more dynamic even if the belayer isnt moving around. especially useful on trad climbing.

putting a carabiner through the tie in points is a big no-no because you'll be giving it a 3 way load and it massively reduces the strength in this case. When out on sessions i use a D shaped maillon through the tying in points with cows tails on them in case i need to attach myself to something for safety.

I dont see any problem with backing the abseil loop up with old rope as long as the knots were tied properly and the rope in good condition, but surely 2 triple fisherman knots are going to get in the way of your abseil loop and tying in points. Personally i wouldn't go for that option.

I always belay from a rope loop, the comments about it being quicker to just tie one person in is nonsense, if both people tie in at the same time it might take the whole of 20 seconds longer, and i'd rather take that 20 seconds than risk injury to the climber or belayer.

apologies if there any any repetitions here i didnt read the whole forum :D
pog100 - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to djelkin1992:

It is all repetition, I think.....
Neil Williams - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to djelkin1992:

"from what i've always been taught is the 'belay loop' is actually called the 'abseil loop' and should only really be used for abseiling."

Not what the manufacturers say!

"When belaying, both parties should tie into the rope then the belay device is clipped onto the rope loop. This makes the belay more dynamic even if the belayer isnt moving around."

Less than 0.5m of rope plus a bit of knot slip - not all that significant!

"putting a carabiner through the tie in points is a big no-no because you'll be giving it a 3 way load and it massively reduces the strength in this case."

Yep.

"When out on sessions i use a D shaped maillon through the tying in points with cows tails on them in case i need to attach myself to something for safety."

If I wanted to do that I'd just larks foot it to the belay loop (yes I know that weakens a sling, but you shouldn't be taking falls on non-dynamic cows tails anyway). But each to their own.

"I always belay from a rope loop, the comments about it being quicker to just tie one person in is nonsense, if both people tie in at the same time it might take the whole of 20 seconds longer, and i'd rather take that 20 seconds than risk injury to the climber or belayer."

You are not risking injury to anyone at all by following the manufacturer's instructions and belaying from the belay loop. Also no problem if you prefer the rope loop for other reasons e.g. positioning, ease of escaping the belay, but safety isn't really a reason for it.

Neil
MikeTS - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to djelkin1992:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> from what i've always been taught is the 'belay loop' is actually called the 'abseil loop'

According to the collective wisdom of this thread, no.
Apparently they are rated at about 25kN, which is almost as strong as a rope and about 3 times the breaking point of the climber.
The risk it seems is wear and tear - but this risk is avoidable by looking at it occasionally.
andrewmcleod - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

Why do people:
a) think they know better than the gear manufacturers,
b) not read the manuals anyway?

Especially in something like climbing where Petzl (for example) have manuals that basically say 'we don't make our gear for rope soloing, so don't blame us if it all goes horribly wrong. However, since we know you are going to do it anyway, here is the least stupid way to do it...' (which I think is a fairly enlightened approach compared to the ass-covering in most things!)
MikeTS - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> Why do people:
> a) think they know better than the gear manufacturers,
> b) not read the manuals anyway?
>

I'd agree with manufacturers who suggest not tying into gear loops, for example.
But on another thread I was asking advice on using an ATC when top-roping. (I had checked and the top Google links looked wrong) When I looked at the Black Diamond manual and it said nothing about this use of an ATC. And, for this thread, there is a difference between harness manufacturers about whether to tie into the belay loop that does not really seem to be explainable by a difference between their harnesses.
So reading gear manufacturer manuals doesn't always provide an answer, or even the best answer, I'd suggest.
MikeTS - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

PS and where does a manufacturer show clipping your belay device into the F8 knot, as explained on this thread??
mike kann - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS: Think you are making hard and fast rules for yourself here some of which you can easily pull to pieces if you tried.

1. The belay loop is best for belaying until you need to escape the system or just want more mobility at a belay when it is loaded. Do the experiement - load your belay plate on your belay loop as opposed to a tie in loop and you'll see what I mean. End of the day, both are safe, and you are very unlikely to die.
2. Backing up the belay loop is totally unnecessary. You cite todd skinners death - he was a professional climber (who should have known better, but that's another story) and so used his harness far in excess of a normal climber. CHECK your gear periodically, especially when it is safety critical. In the case of a harness, every time you climb will do. Far simpler than shagging about with tied loops.
3. The climber breaks a long time before the gear. Unless it's shagged gear. Check your gear.
4. can't argue with that, It's true.
5. Tying into your belay loop is fine, but certainly not recommended best practice. Best practice is to tie in as suggested as per manufacturers instructions every time. You can tie in with a slip knot if you really want to.
6. Crossloading, yep. But then again a carabiner is usually rated at 9kN in a crossloading. i.e. in reality a fair bit more. But then how would you crossload it unless you are threading it through leg loops and waist belt, i.e. against manufacturers instructions. They do think about these things you know.
7. Yes they are.
8. tying top to bottom is a good idea for one very simple reason. If there is f*ckwittery occuring and you're not paying attention, and you only thread your waist belt, it is fully rated, unlike leg loops which aren't. If you fall on your waist belt, it might hurt a bit, but you won't die. Fall on your leg loops, you will firstly invert and most likely smash your head, and secondly there is a bloody decent chance of your harness failing to some extent.
9. Or be threaded back through the knot, although there are worries about doing this in some circles.
10. Yep - but even if you do, seeing as the crossloading on most carabiners is 9kN, and the average factor 1 fall is about 7kN, you still have something in hand. It's bloody unlikely that you will get a modern crab to fail unless you try really hard...
needvert on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:

Belay loop or knot (hehe, see what I did there), what difference does it make when escaping the system?
GrahamD - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to needvert:

> Belay loop or knot (hehe, see what I did there), what difference does it make when escaping the system?

Which 99.99% of people ever have to do in any case.

MikeTS - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to MikeTS) Think you are making hard and fast rules for yourself here some of which you can easily pull to pieces if you tried.

I'm trying to find out enough to make my own best decisions and this thread had been very helpful.
>
> 1. The belay loop is best for belaying until you need to escape the system or just want more mobility at a belay when it is loaded. Do the experiement - load your belay plate on your belay loop as opposed to a tie in loop and you'll see what I mean. End of the day, both are safe, and you are very unlikely to die.

Surely you're still in the system if you belay off the F8?

> 2. Backing up the belay loop is totally unnecessary.

As someone earlier said, when do you stop with the redundancy? Personally I don't think I'll be doing this.


> 5. Tying into your belay loop is fine, but certainly not recommended best practice. Best practice is to tie in as suggested as per manufacturers instructions every time.

Not all manufacturers agree. And I've been at climbing walls where they insist you do this. Personally I'd only do this for top roping, esp if you're running a lot of beginners up the cliff.

> 6. Crossloading, yep. But then again a carabiner is usually rated at 9kN in a crossloading. i.e. in reality a fair bit more. But then how would you crossload it unless you are threading it through leg loops and waist belt, i.e. against manufacturers instructions.

Agree, but I have had someone at crag argue that this is good practice - now I know why they're wrong!

> 9. Or be threaded back through the knot, although there are worries about doing this in some circles.

The stress tests I've seen on video seem clear that threading back may not be a good idea, and is certainly unnecessary.

> 10. Yep - but even if you do, seeing as the crossloading on most carabiners is 9kN, and the average factor 1 fall is about 7kN, you still have something in hand.

Agree. Would be interesting to know how this varies with biners: would a big heavy more rounded or D shaped screwgate do better than 9kN?

george mc - on 10 Jul 2013
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Neil Williams - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

"And I've been at climbing walls where they insist you do this. Personally I'd only do this for top roping, esp if you're running a lot of beginners up the cliff."

Insist you do what? Tie into the belay loop? In the UK I never heard of it. And it's also usual that you're told not to tie into a krab and clip to the belay loop unless it's an autobelay (special krab), though it is common to instruct that way with taster session groups.

"Agree, but I have had someone at crag argue that this is good practice - now I know why they're wrong!"

Cavers are known to do it as caving harnesses don't have belay loops, but AIUI the krabs they use (or maillons) are different.

"Agree. Would be interesting to know how this varies with biners: would a big heavy more rounded or D shaped screwgate do better than 9kN?"

Different shapes have different ratings, so possibly so.

Neil
MikeTS - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to george mc:

Thanks, I knew it would be somewhere on UKC, but couldn't find it.
mike kann - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to needvert: it's fundamentally not much difference, but as I say, why don't you load a belay plate on your belay loop as opposed to your tiein loop. You will find that the loading pulls tight across your harness rather than the tie in, which means that you become totally immobile, making reaching your anchors more difficult. Using your tie in means the load is redirected mainly to your anchors and the extra movement you get is actually really useful. Give it a go and you'll see what I mean....
mike kann - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS: yes you're in the system, but it's just easier to get out of it when you're belaying from the tie in.

In terms of redundancy, manufacturers take a lot of time to decide what is a sufficiently high level of redundancy. 24kN is way over the top for nearly any situation, bar a major static fall which would leave you with other problems. Mainly death. Putting an extra tie in on is just plainly not required, unless you do it for other purposes such as some manufacturers do on big wall harnesses. But as I said, check your gear regularly, that way you will not die from a worn out harness. Simples.

Manufacturers may not agree, but this was my salient point, that in reality you will most likely not die from doing either. Its more that reaching down to grab the knot is more awkward this way. Bear in mind that alpine harnesses are often designed to be used with a chest harness so the tie in method is different as the knot threads the loop and the chest harness so a high tie in point is better. It helps avoid inverting when you have a pack on and you go down a slot.

In terms of not tying in with a krab, well its simple really, a rope loop is good for any angle pull you decide to pull in. Its strong, and reliable, it can't come undone as long as you tie it right and as far as most people are concerned, an absolute no brainer. Most walls now require you to tie in as leaving a krab and knot tied on the end of a rope is too easily cocked up. What of someone half undoes it and the next person who comes along doesn't notice? Its far easier to require each climber to tie in themselves and then they are responsible for their safety.

And yes the stress tests show failure. At what level? Usually very very high. Some would even say you don't need to tie a stopper or have a long tail. But again it's about redundancy especially for instructors. If a student cocks up their eight, and they have a stopper knot backing it up, then no problem. Without it could mean a law suit.

As for ratings... All crabs are required to have them stamped on them, so you can compare...
Neil Williams - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:

I've heard it said that the stopper is just to ensure you have enough tail (bowlines excepted). It's also necessary, IMO (or very long tails) if you're belaying off the rope loop as a Fig 8 can roll if loaded in that way.

Neil
Jonny2vests - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to needvert) it's fundamentally not much difference, but as I say, why don't you load a belay plate on your belay loop as opposed to your tiein loop. You will find that the loading pulls tight across your harness rather than the tie in, which means that you become totally immobile, making reaching your anchors more difficult. Using your tie in means the load is redirected mainly to your anchors and the extra movement you get is actually really useful. Give it a go and you'll see what I mean....

So how come you said the belay loop was best for belaying? It has almost no advantages over the rope.

Using the rope is called 'semi-direct belaying'. As you rightly say, you have more freedom to move, or put another way, its a floppy loop of rope normally bigger than the stiff belay loop which means forces are transmitted to the anchor more efficiently rather than jerking you around. Escaping the system is no more difficult, I've no idea why that myth persists, try it.

Other advantages; it forces both people to tie in at the base, therefore impossible to lower someone off the end or lose the end if it gets pulled up before the second ties in and you can check each other properly.

There is a little bit more dynamism. Significant? Nobody seems to have tested this, but I think the knot tightening is more significant than the rope stretching.
Neil Williams - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

"So how come you said the belay loop was best for belaying?"

That's a different argument. The belay loop is suitable for belaying. There are other ways as well (rope loop or direct). The OP said it was not, and that was the wrong statement.

Neil
Jonny2vests - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> "So how come you said the belay loop was best for belaying?"
>
> That's a different argument. The belay loop is suitable for belaying. There are other ways as well (rope loop or direct). The OP said it was not, and that was the wrong statement.
>
> Neil

Yes, I realise its a different point to the thread's, but it's relevant. I was talking to Mike Kann, not MikeTS.
MikeTS - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)

>
The belay loop is suitable for belaying. There are other ways as well (rope loop or direct). The OP said it was not, and that was the wrong statement.
>


Actually, I asked originally why you don't belay off the front top and bottom harness loops with a biner, and I've got a definitive answer on that thanks!
Jonny2vests - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> (In reply to Neil Williams)
>
> Actually, I asked originally why you don't belay off the front top and bottom harness loops with a biner, and I've got a definitive answer on that thanks!

Yeah, I know. I was just pointing out a slightly pedantry way that '1. The belay loop is best for belaying (wow!)' is not always the case and there are often advantages to belaying from the rope loop. Google semi-direct belaying.
mike kann - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: Sorry, I mean't it the other way round - I was being rhetorical - but didn't make it clear. What I said without clarity was it's best until you are buggered and need to escape the system, when you will realise that it's not best and wonder why you did it like that. So actually we're agreeing.
mike kann - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann: " The belay loop is best for belaying until you need to escape the system or just want more mobility at a belay when it is loaded." so yeah, I can understand how you misconstrued what I said... only time I use my belay loop is when I'm sport climbing (i.e. the party is not tied in at both ends), abseiling or using a lanyard like one of the Beal flimflams...
MikeTS - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
> [...]
>
> Yeah, I know. I was just pointing out a slightly pedantry way that '1. The belay loop is best for belaying (wow!)'


You were being a bit pedantic - and I was being a bit sarcastic. Nuances don't work on forums!

Jonny2vests - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests) Sorry, I mean't it the other way round - I was being rhetorical - but didn't make it clear. What I said without clarity was it's best until you are buggered and need to escape the system, when you will realise that it's not best and wonder why you did it like that. So actually we're agreeing.

Actually, what I was trying to say was that even if you do belay from the rope loop, escaping the system is still straight forward, and takes no longer to do.
birdie num num - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to haroldoftherocks)
> [...]
>
> Just how much stretch do you think is there going to be in the few centimetres of rope between the knot and your harness?
> ALC

I'm not sure that that's particularly the point, but that the very fact that the F8 on the rope loop slips and tightens when holding a fall adds a little extra dynamism into the system. However I do think much of the way opinion is driven in these debates depends upon how a climber was originally taught to belay and the reasons for the method taught. Most of us have modified our methods over the years, quite often for speed and convenience.

mike kann - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: so was i...
lithos on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

yeah it's not like i poste that link at 10:12 on MONDAY or anything :-)
Jonny2vests - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests) so was i...

Lol, no you weren't. Unless you really were talking in riddles.
MikeTS - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to lithos:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> yeah it's not like i poste that link at 10:12 on MONDAY or anything :-)

yeah, Monday morning, before morning coffee :-)

mike kann - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: " it's fundamentally not much difference, but as I say, why don't you load a belay plate on your belay loop as opposed to your tiein loop. You will find that the loading pulls tight across your harness rather than the tie in, which means that you become totally immobile, making reaching your anchors more difficult. Using your tie in means the load is redirected mainly to your anchors and the extra movement you get is actually really useful. Give it a go and you'll see what I mean...."

What is criptic about that? As soon as some one queried, id say i made it pretty clear? We have been talking about the same frigging thing!
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Jonny2vests - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> What is criptic about that? As soon as some one queried, id say i made it pretty clear? We have been talking about the same frigging thing!

Ok, I believe you, apologies.
mike kann - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: Haha - now on to important business. Belay of a lanyard and use a direct belay to make it really easy but potentially die because your anchors may fall out or semi direct belay and learn lots of knows and tie yourself into a mess houdini would struggle with ;) place your bets... NOW
MikeTS - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to mike kann:

mike

Again - but in English please?
mike kann - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to MikeTS: Haha - what I was hinting at was a thread on here not long ago expounding the concept that magic plates are the diabolical work of satan and your anchors would fail, and you would definitely die... we were all having a jolly good set to on that one too, making a proper job of chasing tails... FYI, a direct belay is one which uses the anchors as the sole attachment point whether that be a "magic" plate device in autolock or a friction hitch. I was saying that all equipment and techniques could be misused and in the right place at the right time, belaying with a magic plate is a useful technique. Others were saying that it loads the belay to a greater level, to which my response was that if your belay is not sufficently strong enough to hold a fall onto it at a seconders weight level, you really should be asking yourself what you're doing - a belay should always be able to withstand that sort of force as very soon, someone would be leading above it which is a far worse scenario. Apparently that's daft and magic plates are now responsible for climate change and small children starving ;)

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