/ When does someone get taken off belay?
I'm struggling to think of a situation in which the leader needs to be completely disconnected from their belayer.
In both sport and trad, single and multipitch, if the leader wants to be lowered then the belayer can pay out enough slack for the leader to do his ropework, and if the belayer will second the route then they can be tied in before the leader sets off (hence still anchoring the end of the rope after the belay plate is removed).
The only scenario I can think of where the belayer would hear "safe" and remove themselves from the rope is if they didn't want to second the route, and the leader wanted to abseil instead of being lowered. This can't be a very common occurrence shurely?
Why then do people keep falling off routes due to belayer miscommunication?
I think the call "OK" has played a part in a few ground falls.
I agree with your single pitch lowering scenario, but if there is no lowering, usually a big pile of slack needs to be taken in, are you suggesting that gets passed through the plate?
Tying in at the bottom is good practice, but that's obviously nothing to do with belaying, and it obviously won't always save you if the route is short.
Your partner leads a 15m pitch on a 60m rope, they get to the top, set up an anchor and tie in to that, they are now safe. They still need to bring up 45m of rope (minus anchorage rope) before they can belay you. Now you could pay all of that through a belay device, but that is a huge amount of work. Calling safe means they can release the rope from their belay device and you can pull it up at your own will.
Ok, in that case even if the second is tied in to the rope, then the slack means that the leader would hit the deck if they fell off.
I don't think you can lump sport and trad into the same scenario. In trad once the leader has shouted "safe" he/she should be belayed to the stance and independent of any belay protection by from the second. The second needs to take off their belay in order to start seconding the pitch.
Sport is a different scenario where the leader is re-arranging the system in anticipation of being lowered off. It is in isprocess that there is the greatest potential for misunderstanding between the leader and belayer.
> the leader would hit the deck if they fell off.
Why would they fall off?
But because the leader is anchored on at the top it means the leader is safe, the second is either on the ground or anchored on themselves. Both achors are independent with a whole load of excess rope between them. The leader brings up the excess rope until it's tight on the lower climber, they then take ther anchor out and start climbing.
I weuld add that when seconding multi pitch I tend to carry on keeping the leader belayed even after they have shouted "safe" and only start to dismantle the belay when they shout "climb when you're ready". There is then a delay whist I undo this until I shout "climbing" and start to climb.
> Why would they fall off?
Because they were expecting to be lowered, but got taken off.
Most of the people I climb with shout 'safe' when they at the top of the crag (single-pitch) but before they have belayed. Not the 'modern' way of doing things, but we all tend work on the principle that we are unlikely to fall off the top of the cliff.
Multi-pitch, you keep them on until they let you know they are attached. If in doubt, pay out a metre of slack and put an overhand knot in it - you can both get on with stuff, but they are still belayed.
In sport we would never take the leader off (why would you?), unless it was multi-pitch and it was clear they had belayed.
Yeah, I think the US style (and air traffic control style) of repeating the instruction back, e.g. "climbing"..."climb on" is safer, as then you know what the "OK" is for and you could shout "stop" or similar if it was heard to be the wrong instruction.
I don't do much single pitch trad, the majority is multi pitch, hence I like to stick to the tried and trusted trad calls. The sequence of calls between leader and second is also important because it's often difficult, sometimes impossible to hear in wind. So I have tended to continue this discipline into the rarer occasions when I climb single pitch.
I prefer to be a live old dinasaur than an extinct one!
I was asking relative to Bstar's scenario. The leaded isn't being lowered they are bringing the second up.
> I was asking relative to Bstar's scenario. The leaded isn't being lowered they are bringing the second up.
Yes. Jalien mixed up staying on belay with being tied on in the OP, which has confused things.
I don't get this. If the leader shouts 'safe' that tends to mean they're safe. What's wrong with taking them off belay? It's probably one of the main reasons they shouted it in the first place.
If you're about to be lowered, why shout 'safe'? Just attach yourself, pull up some slack, rethread, shout or look down for confirmation, then lower off!
Equally if you're about to lower someone why take them off belay?! Makes no sense at all.
Elsewhere on the site
Urban climber James Kingston will be on stage at all UK screenings to answer questions about his remarkable film... Read more
Shortly after the sun crested Half Dome on 28th October, two of Yosemite Valley’s fastest women started up the Yosemite... Read more
Last year, Finn McCann wrote an article about climbing El Capitan with his terminally ill father Seamus, who had been... Read more
Save £20 when you buy a Petzl Elios Helmet!! The Petzl Elios helmet (2013 Version) is tough & durable,... Read more
The B.D.V. — short for Black Diamond Vertical — jacket and pants are Black Diamond’s most versatile climbing... Read more