/ Figure of 8 abseil device used to belay?

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Robin76 - on 16 Jul 2013
Would this be kosha or is it irresponsible! Bear in mind, my partner body belayed me off no anchors on the route we did previously so I don't feel too guilty (imagine my surprise as I topped out), I figured it would be safer than a body belay - I would be interested to know though, for future reference.

We had an ATC with us but that was used to belay the leader. The figure of eight was used to bring up the second.
SCC - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:

If I was in that situation I'd be inclined to use the small end of the fig 8 as a tube style plate.

Depending on the weight of the second and thickness of the ropes then using it in "conventional" mode as you would for abbing may not provide enough braking should they fall.

HTH

Si
JamButty - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76: used to be pretty much the norm.. Better on an 11mm rather than a 9mm but perfectly ok, as long as you keep it locked back
Robin76 - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to SCC: That's a good idea. I suppose I could also have used an italian hitch as well (with the benefit of hindsight)
DreadyCraig - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:
Will work fine, but be sure the small end of the 8 doesn't move down the spine of the Krab as if it's loaded it has the possibility of breaking siad Krab
highclimber - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to DreadyCraig:
> (In reply to Robin76)
> Will work fine, but be sure the small end of the 8 doesn't move down the spine of the Krab as if it's loaded it has the possibility of breaking siad Krab

Use an offset d shaped crab (not HMS) and it'll be perfectly fine though most climbing walls won't allow you to use one for belaying. They can be quite slick used with the big end so do as mentioned above and use the small end.
Neil Williams - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:

Did it once to see what it was like. Not nice to handle, but usable for top rope. Wouldn't for lead, and wouldn't unless I had nothing else better.

Neil
ashley1_scott - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:
I have belayed topropes using a Fo8 belay device and yes it can be done, as others have said it would be easier to use the small hole as a tubular device but can be done as you would when abseiling. Its is quick and you wouldn't want to allow any slack to get in the system.
I wouldn't recommend trying to belay a leader on it as no matter how strong your grip is, there is so little friction you would not be able to hold a fall.
Of all I had was my HMS and a Fo8, I would use an Italian Hitch. Learn how they work, and how to tie it and you will never be without a belay device. Even if you are half way up a route and drop your ATC, you will know that you have learnt how to use an Italian Hitch so your good to go.
One note about the Italian Hitch/Munter Hitch, you need to practice it as you belay with a totally different hand position.
Hope that helps.

As for your partner belaying with a body belay, unless it was just a scramble I would have gone mental at them.
Bruce Hooker - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:

> As for your partner belaying with a body belay, unless it was just a scramble I would have gone mental at them.

A somewhat excessive reaction! There's nothing wrong with a body belay, assuming you know how to do it.
Jamie B - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:

It works, but a FO8 is a pointlessly heavy piece of kit to use at any time. You could carry a spare ATC and still be ahead on weight.
jimtitt - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:
YouŽd be suprised, the 8 has a lot better stopping power than you give it credit for, tests by the CAI, DAV and myself to mention a few show they are more powerful than many conventional plates and with thinner ropes the difference is more marked.
turtlespit - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76: I've heard both the figure8 device and italian/munter hitch will result in significantly more twisted ropes, though haven't used either. (apart from learning how to use a munter just in case)
markus691 on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:
> I wouldn't recommend trying to belay a leader on it as no matter how strong your grip is, there is so little friction you would not be able to hold a fall.

Please, if you have no clue, don't comment. Especially not on safety matters.

The Figure of 8 used to be pretty much the standard belay device for both lead and toprope on the continent. It's main advantage is that it feeds very quickly. Holding a fall requires a bit more practice and more hand strenght than a tube.
On multi-pitch and for belaying a second, one needs to make sure the two strands of rope are not aligned, as that reduces friction even further. Again, something that can be handled with a bit of forethought, but less fool-proof than other devices. (Munter hitch is preferrable IMO.)
On the plus side, the Fo8 offers a softer catch than a tube, which is pleasant when sport climbing and potentially safer when tradclimbing with poor protection.
Oceanrower - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:
> (In reply to Robin76)
> I have belayed topropes using a Fo8 belay device and yes it can be done, as others have said it would be easier to use the small hole as a tubular device but can be done as you would when abseiling.

True

> Its is quick and you wouldn't want to allow any slack to get in the system.

Partly true

> I wouldn't recommend trying to belay a leader on it as no matter how strong your grip is, there is so little friction you would not be able to hold a fall.

Absolute rubbish!


> Of all I had was my HMS and a Fo8, I would use an Italian Hitch. Learn how they work, and how to tie it and you will never be without a belay device. Even if you are half way up a route and drop your ATC, you will know that you have learnt how to use an Italian Hitch so your good to go.

Probably good advice. Personally I'd still use the FO8 but both twist the ropes a lot.

> One note about the Italian Hitch/Munter Hitch, you need to practice it as you belay with a totally different hand position.
> Hope that helps.
>
> As for your partner belaying with a body belay, unless it was just a scramble I would have gone mental at them.

You obviously don't climb much on SS. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is standard practice, but it really is quite common.
Zebdi - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:

It's perfectly safe and it is still used in some World Cup events. . You can increase/decrease friction - depends on how you use it. I can post some pics later today if anyone's interested.
a lakeland climber on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Bloomin' heck! I'm in agreement with Bruce!

To the OP:

Both body belays and fo8s are fine for belaying, in fact in winter they are the preferred means of belaying.

Some years ago a friend was climbing in Yosemite and had teamed up with an American climber who used a body belay exclusively - the American's name? Bruce Jardine.

ALC
fire_munki on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Zebdi:
I'd be interested to see some pics.
GrahamD - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:

Still a very popular belay device in Germany and much easier to use with gloves and iced up ropes.
M0nkey - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:

> I wouldn't recommend trying to belay a leader on it as no matter how strong your grip is, there is so little friction you would not be able to hold a fall.

That's just not right. Fo8 was the norm (or at least one of the norms) for belaying either on lead or top rope only a few short years ago. The classic euro belay involved a Fo8, 5 yards of slack piled up on the ground, and a belayer smoking a rolled up cigarette. Commonly seen in Bout du Monde area in Buoux in the 90s, it has now largely been replaced by the Gri-Gri although the belaying technique is much the same.

Juicefree - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Oceanrower:

Belaying with a FO8 in Italy/Europe is absolutely not standard, nor recomended. It provides hardly any friction and if you release the tension, you, or your will partner, will fall.

A FO8's sole adavantage is when abseiling it will spread the heat caused by friction.

I'd suggest ditching a FO8 all together and use an ATC or Italian hitch.

For the folks on here who would disagree; climb to the top of a route, allow someone to belay them with a FO8, then let the belayer remove both hands, then throw themselves off the top of said route. Come back and tell everyone how great a FO8 is.
3 Names - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Juicefree:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
>

> For the folks on here who would disagree; climb to the top of a route, allow someone to belay them with a FO8, then let the belayer remove both hands, then throw themselves off the top of said route. Come back and tell everyone how great a FO8 is.

What kind of moron would do that with ANY belay device?

a lakeland climber on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Juicefree:

A complete non-argument, Why would any belayer remove both hands? As stated before a fo8 does have advantages over other devices in certain situations.

I, like many others on this thread, have used: direct belays; body belays; fo8s; ATCs and a myriad other means of belaying with no problem. Open your mind and don't just believe the hype about the latest fashion or device.

ALC
John W - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Vince McNally:

Obviously the moron who posted it :-)

It does however make you wonder exactly what the level of experience this twerp has.

JW
Oceanrower - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Juicefree:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
>
> Belaying with a FO8 in Italy/Europe is absolutely not standard,

I don't believe I said it was

> nor recomended. It provides hardly any friction and if you release the tension, you, or your will partner, will fall.


Absolute bollocks!
>
> For the folks on here who would disagree; climb to the top of a route, allow someone to belay them with a FO8, then let the belayer remove both hands, then throw themselves off the top of said route. Come back and tell everyone how great a FO8 is.

Have you been drinking?
Oceanrower - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Juicefree:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
>
> Belaying with a FO8 in Italy/Europe is absolutely not standard, nor recomended. It provides hardly any friction and if you release the tension, you, or your will partner, will fall.
>
> A FO8's sole adavantage is when abseiling it will spread the heat caused by friction.
>
Do you not see a contradiction in those two sentences?

Where, exactly, do you think this heat comes from if there is "hardly any friction"?

Have you EVER used one of these devices?

I generally belay with a Petzl Piranha (which is, basically, a FO8 with knobs sticking out the side.

In the time I have been using it, I have never killed a single climber. Not one. Not even nearly.
Neil Williams - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Juicefree:

"For the folks on here who would disagree; climb to the top of a route, allow someone to belay them with a FO8, then let the belayer remove both hands, then throw themselves off the top of said route. Come back and tell everyone how great a FO8 is."

Even when using a Gri-gri that is a downright stupid thing to do (it's a brake assist device, not an autoblock device). But it's also true of ATCs and similar, which is what I use almost all of the time.

Neil
Zebdi - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to fire_munki:
> (In reply to Zebdi)
> I'd be interested to see some pics.

Here are some pics:

normal friction: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z65uaxpcnrpdg0h/normal.JPG
That's how I used it most of the time. It gave me more than enough braking power - even when belaying a 90kg climber. No matter how weird it may sound, but I still prefer Figure of 8 to GriGri - simply because it gives me more control over catching a fall.

high friction: https://www.dropbox.com/s/66z5xljirq4k4il/high.JPG
Never used it in this mode - but then again, I never used ropes thinner than 9.8mm with Fo8.

low friction: https://www.dropbox.com/s/aqinmjin0aee4n0/low.JPG
That's probably NOT recommended by manufacturers, but I found it useful when dealing with very thick and/or stiff ropes, or when belaying children.
jon on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Zebdi:

The low friction version was used regularly by sport climbers throughout the 90s. My climbing partners and myself used it all the time. I think you're probably right that no manufacturers would or did recommend it. However, I don't recall anyone ever getting dropped because of it. Its only problem that I can remember was that it didn't always maintain this orientation - the 8 moved around in the krab. You had to keep an eye on it - and also know what you were doing! Luckily Grigris came along and saved us from ourselves.
fire_munki on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:
Normal looks just like abbing, unsurprisingly!
ashley1_scott - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:
Clearly my comments have upset a few people on here, so to those Im sorry. But they are my thoughts, maybe I don't have the grip strength or maybe I just dont have the technique to use one now.
People that have said that they were common place a few years back, we have moved on so why not let the new equipment do its job.
Can someone please post a link to a current supplier of Fo8's that say that they are suitable for use for lead belaying, that doesn't use it as a sticht plate thru the smaller hole.
Thanks, and again sorry if people think that I'm wrong or over reacted.
ads.ukclimbing.com
ashley1_scott - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to markus691:
> (In reply to ashley1_scott)
> [...]
>
> Please, if you have no clue, don't comment. Especially not on safety matters.
>
>

What part of "I wouldn't recommend belaying a lead on it" did you not understand.

Where do you get that I have no clue about it, and i'm pretty sure that I have every right in this country to make a comment. If people choose to listen to me is a totally different matter.
Zebdi - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:

> Can someone please post a link to a current supplier of Fo8's that say that they are suitable for use for lead belaying, that doesn't use it as a sticht plate thru the smaller hole.

Here's Mammut: http://www.mammut.ch/belaydevices_product_handling_8

To be honest, I don't use Fo8 anymore. The main reason is that GriGri is so much more comfortable when climber is studying the route or resting in the middle of it (although you could lock Fo8 as well). But that doesn't mean using Fo8 is dangerous - if that was the case, they wouldn't be used in World Cup events. However, if I had to choose between ATC and Fig8, it'd be Fig8.

Oh, I mostly climb single pitch sport routes. When I do alpine routes, I use Petzl Reverso or something similar.
jimtitt - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:
> (In reply to Robin76)

> Can someone please post a link to a current supplier of Fo8's that say that they are suitable for use for lead belaying, that doesn't use it as a sticht plate thru the smaller hole.

Edelrid:-http: //www.edelrid.de/download-document/79-gal-figure-of-eight.html
Singing Rock:- http://www.singingrock.com/data/downloads/pdf1/SINGING_Belay_devices_2011_11.pdf
DMM:- http://dmmclimbing.com/instructions/AbseilBelayInstructions.pdf
Wild Country:- http://www.wildcountry.co.uk/files/public/Instruction_Booklets/V5129_WC_Lite_8_Descender_V3.pdf

Do we have to look at any more?
John W - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:
> (In reply to markus691)

> What part of "I wouldn't recommend belaying a lead on it" did you not understand.

The part where you said it, because it's nonsense
>
> Where do you get that I have no clue about it,

See above...

>and i'm pretty sure that I have every right in this country to make a comment. If people choose to listen to me is a totally different matter.

No, the problem is that somebody might actually listen to you.

If I were you, I'd quit now and stop digging.

(ps - have a look at the profile of some of the contributors to this thread (Jon for example) - you might discover that they are actually quite qualified to comment on safety issues).

HTH, JW



John W - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to John W:

Oh, and perhaps the occupation of JimTitt could be a pointer in the matter of equipment safety issues...
Juicefree - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Vince McNally:

you?
Juicefree - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

A complete non-argument, Why would any belayer remove both hands?

When you're knocked unconscious by a rock, or ice, or other climber?

a lakeland climber on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Juicefree:

A finite remote possibility.

How many belayers do you know who have been incapacitated by a falling object or even something like a bee/wasp sting? I've been climbing 33 years and haven't met a single one or even a climber whose belayer was incapacitated, nor do I recall any of them mentioning a belayer being incapacitated. Now I (and my acquaintances) may have been lucky but given that the range of experience is from bumbling up V Diffs in the Lakes to first ascents in the Alps in winter it's far more likely that the risk of a belayer being incapacitated is very, very small. Of course someone is likely to step in and say "I do" or "it happened to me", but that's the nature of accidents - they never happen until they do.

The fo8 is fine, if a little outdated, as a belay device. In winter I'd use it in preference to any Sticht/ATC type device as it's easier to pass frozen ropes through it - though a waist belay is even better. It's also beneficial in winter as it has a low braking force meaning that weaker parts of the protection system like ice screws don't get high peak loads during a fall. Even on a sports route I'd rather someone belayed me using a fo8 than a Gri-Gri, though an ATC is better still.

ALC

climber666 on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:
> Would this be kosha or is it irresponsible!
Was the norm many moons ago - perfectly safe and effective if used correctly with care.
drolex - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76: For the older chaps with whom I climb in France FO8s are standard - I had to buy a new one the last time I went there as some people positively refused to be belayed with a bug. That was witchcraft to them.

I have learnt to belay with them, even at a time when ATCs were already common. I find FO8s more versatile when you have to use ropes of different diameters, in weird conditions (stiff, frozen, wet etc...). But I prefer to use a bug in Britain as people seem to be a little defiant towards FO8s. Cultural stuff.

As mentioned above, Mammut among other consider them perfectly suitable for lead belaying. I would be surprised to find a single manufacturer that sells them as ab device only.
deepsoup - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to climber666:
> Was the norm many moons ago - perfectly safe and effective if used correctly with care.

Here's something, perhaps not immediately obvious, to be careful about:
http://theuiaa.org/upload_area/files/1/Karabiner_Breakings_when_using_a_Figure-of-eight.pdf

Oh, and without adding any comment of my own, a quote from the text (more in the context of group use than individual climbers I think):

"For belaying there is no need to use a FoE. The FoE was designed for abseiling not belaying, so it could be argued that using it for belaying is a misuse of equipment."
jon on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

Which is why I said:

> Its only problem that I can remember was that it didn't always maintain this orientation - the 8 moved around in the krab. You had to keep an eye on it - and also know what you were doing!

(I was referring to the 'low friction' or 'huit rapide' version, though obviously it applies to the regular way of threading the rope too.)

> The FoE was designed for abseiling not belaying, so it could be argued that using it for belaying is a misuse of equipment."

It could be argued. But Wild Country (and others) may argue back - I refer you to one of Jims links above:

> (2) Belaying: we recommend the use of
> this device for belaying only if the rope
> or ropes are threaded as in diagram (B).

jonathan shepherd - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Robin76:
> Would this be kosha or is it irresponsible! Bear in mind, my partner body belayed me off no anchors on the route we did previously so I don't feel too guilty (imagine my surprise as I topped out), I figured it would be safer than a body belay - I would be interested to know though, for future reference.
>
> We had an ATC with us but that was used to belay the leader. The figure of eight was used to bring up the second.

I've used a figure of eight to belay for the last 30 years or more and have been held on numerous falls by various belayers using one, even my daughter when she was 12 years old has held me in falls on one which pretty much dispels the ridiculous grip strength comment above.
JoshOvki on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to jonathan shepherd:

You climbed with a 12 year old?| You're going to UKC Hell!
deepsoup - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to jon:
> Which is why I said:
> [...]

Indeed, hadn't noticed that.

Nevertheless, the link I posted makes it somewhat clearer what the problem is than your post had, and it's a pretty stark warning from a fairly authoritative source so well worth posting I think.

> It could be argued. But Wild Country (and others) may argue back - I refer you to one of Jims links above:

Asked to recommend a belay device, I suspect all of those manufacturers would prefer to suggest something else from their respective ranges. But there's no need to refer me to anything, I wasn't really putting forward an opinion of my own.

Though if you do want my opinion: I don't much care for the FoE as a belay device. Tried it briefly in the Foundry back when it was common practice and didn't like it at all. If other folks want to use it, that's absolutely fine with me, as long as it's not me they're belaying. ;o)
jon on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

Yes, I wouldn't recommend it either. I was simply remarking that at one time it was common practice and not unsafe as such.

I use a Grigri all the time now when using a single rope - I hardly climb trad any more, but when I do always use double ropes. I just don't understand the fad for singles with trad, but that's irrelevant. Your link to the Fig8 breaking the krab is something that has appeared a few times on here, and is of course worrying. However, a Grigri can wangle its way into just about an identical orientation. Try it - clip a screwgate into your belay loop and clip the Grigri into it and screw the gate closed. Now turn the krab around through 180° so that the opening end is towards you. Now slide the Grigri over the gate of the krab, up to the screw barrel itself. Its not hard to see that it could easily get itself into that orientation on its own - indeed I've had that happen. I've no idea if there have ever been any krab failures due to this - I suspect not - but I guess its not impossible...
wildirishman - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Vince McNally: Juicefree has a valid point. If your belayer becomes unconscious for some reason and you fall, you would be thankful for a belay device that locks up on its own without the belayer's assistance.

Why might the belayer become unconscious? Falling asleep, rockfall, medical reasons...Sh1t happens.

I would not allow anyone to belay me on a FO8 ever.
Oceanrower - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to wildirishman: Falling asleep! Shit, you've got WAY more problems than someone belaying you with FO8. How slowly do you climb?
3 Names - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to wildirishman:

What belay device do you always use?
Neil Williams - on 19 Jul 2013
In reply to wildirishman:

Nor an ATC?

Neil

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