/ Climbing photography ''hanging gear''

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Lubo - on 19 Sep 2013
I am planning to try climbing photography, hopefully soon. Just to get you to idea...the sorts of rock climbing pictures, which are taken from above the climber, which means the photographer is hanging above the climber, I would say on the side of the climbed route, so he is not in a way. What gear would I need to do that? I can imagine, static rope would have to be from the top obviusly, and I would need some ascenders to get me to the position...and keep me there. And I want to be flexible...so going down, and up as well. (not only down, that would be useless)
So could you give me any ideas how would the set up look like? What would i need?
alooker - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo: gri gri and an ascender? Keep it simple so you can shift position quickly
Kevin Woods - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo: You can make anchors with little more than just rope. I did a setup last week with two stakes and only rope. A tree will need a sling and biner, a rock belay considerably more metal work.. dpeends on the setup at the top.

For moving down, just a grigri will do. For moving back up, an ascender to pull up with one arm (leg loop makes the world of difference) while feeding rope through the Grigri with the other.
Paul Evans - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo:

If you're going to be hanging free for an extended period, you need either a very comfy harness or a harness + belay seat.

Consider whether you want closeups with shallow depth of field (focussing on the climber / face) or more distant shots that give more of an impression of the route and its surroundings. This will determine where you ab down, and what lenses you use.

Setups for ascending / descending take some care and practice. If you have any mates who do rope access it would be good to seek advice from them.

Paul
MJ - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo:

As others have said, descend on a Grigri and ascend on a Grigri and an ascender of your choice.
Further to that, I personally would have a Shunt on a back up rope, connected with a Cows Tail. That not only gives you redundancy, but gives you a quick way to position yourself. Might also be a good idea to put some rope protection in place.
highclimber - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo: Arborist's harness or a bosun's chair.
Dan Arkle - on 19 Sep 2013
Going up ropes, unless you've done a lot of it, can be hard work, and you may not even be going as fast as the climber coming up!

For your first few tries at this, I'd recommend just abbing down to a good position and staying there as the climber comes up and past you.
Sometimes I will change to a wide angle lens as the climber comes closer.
Often holding the camera at arms length (any direction) is enough to get some interesting changes is angle.

Stay safe, keep stable, and consider having the extra backup of a knot in the rope below your prussic/gri-gri.
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> For your first few tries at this, I'd recommend just abbing down to a good position and staying there as the climber comes up and past you.

Yep, if you haven't prussiked or jumared before you spend your time racing the climber up the cliff and not taking photos.

All of my harnesses are perfectly comfy to hang somewhere for 30 minutes to and hour; you don't really need any special kit if you don't plan to be there all day.

It's a cliche but being above and a bit to the climbers side always helps you get nice shot. A couple of mine that I like at least were just taken as I abbed back down from another route:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=147028
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=165609

Asking your mates to wear bright clothing helps too.
chrisprescott - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo: My set up for filming is as follows -

Rigged static line (i mostly use a 100m rope doubled over to create the two lines) (one working line, one back up).

For ascending a combination of either -
One ascender with a foot loop/ daisy + Petzl Rig (bigger version of the GriGri)
Ascender with foot loop + chest croll
Two conventional ascenders (both with foot loops and daisys)

For the back up line I use a Petzl ASAP (which ascends and descends without any need to interact with the device)

Harness wise I use one of the Petzl full body harnesses (Avao i think it is) with an integrated chest croll, which i find suits me really well, although I also use a conventional climbing harness from time to time when the location for filming has a particularly long walk in etc

Definitely get a belay seat otherwise you won't be able to walk afterwards (I rig this to the handled ascender i'm using).

Other than that I also use a mini traxion and a handled ascender for hauling gear up to me, and have a conventional set of climbing protection for building anchors.

The combination of ascender and rig is the most flexible in terms of being able to switch between ascent and descent quickly but is also the most knackering as a lot more weight is on your arms. The combination of chest croll and ascender is my preferred method as it takes barely any effort (it's all in the legs). If you're serious about getting into filming or photography i'd definitely recommend getting a Rig over a GriGri as you can lock the handle whilst not moving to avoid accidental unlocking, being bigger also makes it much easier to handle.
WJV0912 on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Kevin Woods:

For someone who seems so sure of his own ability to use the least amount of gear, why would you need a sling and a carabiner for a tree?
Adam Long - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo:

Whilst owning an IRATA training centre means I've got more kit than you can shake a stick at, I generally keep it pretty minimal for climbing photography.

Most basic kit would be:

Normal climbing harness (DMM renegade)
Petzl Grigri (original or Grigri 2, depending on rope size)
Petzl Basic ascender
Footloop tied to size from 8mm rope

Most of the time I'll add a Petzl podium workseat. Use a big HMS krab on the grigri, and snapgates on the seat, and clip the seat krabs into either side of the HMS.

Low-stretch ropes are nicer to work with than dynamic. Rope protectors are useful, as is knowing how to rig to avoid edges/ deviating with runners etc.

As others have said, a second rope rigged to the side is really useful for positioning (if only to stop you spinning), and as a back-up for the nervous (we all get nervous sometimes - I was not ashamed to use one on St John's head!). There are plenty of devices you can use though none are ideal, and you need to understand their limitations. Petzl ASAPs are the safest choice, but I'm not a fan for this use (they're great for window cleaning tower blocks etc). The Petzl Shunt is traditionally popular and works well, just don't grab it and be careful towing it.
Fraser on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Adam Long:

Can I ask if you use just the one camera when you're dangling on a rope waiting for the climbers or do you take a couple, each with different lenses? I've tried the one camera with a couple of lenses but am always a bit wary of dropping one during a quick switch-over!
Uncle Boz - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo:

A couple of sky hooks on extenders to stabilise yourself.
Kemics - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo:

The bosun's chair is amazing. The first time i used one was a revelation! It's seriously miserable without one. Survivable, but it means you'll be focusing on shooting, not adjusting your position to get blood places.

A good tip which isn't always possible is to build a ground anchor. Attach another rope to the ground anchor and connect to your harness with a gri-gri/ascender. You can then winch yourself away from the wall by taking in slack to get a better angle/perspective :)
Adam Long - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Fraser:

Last shoot I used two cameras - one medium format with a fixed standard lens, and a DSLR with a tele zoom. If carrying more than just a single camera I take a bag - Lowepro Inverse 200 is my favourite, or I've got a reporter which is a bit bigger.

Its worth getting confident with changing lenses whilst hanging, if you think about it the consequences of dropping one aren't that worse than when stood on the ground.
Lubo - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo: do you actuallt have camera ''connected'' to your harness or anything like that?
Adam Long - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to Lubo:
> (In reply to Lubo) do you actuallt have camera ''connected'' to your harness or anything like that?

Usually yes, just a sling larks-footed to the camera strap, then clipped to my harness.
tlm - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to Adam Long:

> Its worth getting confident with changing lenses whilst hanging, if you think about it the consequences of dropping one aren't that worse than when stood on the ground.

Doesn't it depend what you are hanging over? (sea, bramble filled gully etc)

ads.ukclimbing.com
Enty - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to tlm:

I think unless you are very very lucky, dropping a lens onto rocks from 1.5m will leave you with a lens as useful as one which you've dropped 50m into the sea ;-)

E

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