/ Belay question

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Fredt on 13 Oct 2013
OK, one of my anchors is bombproof hex.
It's a fair way back, I.e. out of reach from where I want to stand.
I would always use one of the ropes, clove hitch to a krab on the hex sling, and back to my harness.
The only downside is if it needs adjusting, I have to keep going back to adjust the rope length until it is right.
I see many others use a long sling to bring the krab within reach, so the clove hitch can be adjusted easily on the stance, but I'm always reluctant to add extra links in the chain.

Any thoughts?
BStar - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

Why don't you loop the rope to the hex, pass it through a krab (no knot), then clove hitch onto a krab on your rope/belay loop. Then you can adjust if from where you stand.
jimtitt - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
Clip the rope into the hex and back to your belay loop. Adjust from there.
Any thoughts? Maybe get a basic book on climbing.
saffy - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt: I might struggle to explain this, but if you have the rope going from you harness through the krab on the hex and back to a hms clipped through you fig of 8 loops, you can clove hitch into that crab and adjust from your harness rather than on the anchor. Hope this helps, im sure there will be somebody to come a long a explain it more clearer :D
Jamie Wakeham - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt: exactly that. Really easy to equalise between two out-of-reach anchors too.

Or if you want to save a screwgate, when you get the rope back to your harness, post a bight through the belay loop and then tie an eight-on-the-bight. Less easy to adjust but a neat way to save on extra krabs.
Jon Stewart - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

Climbing more than 20 years?

Something isn't right!
a lakeland climber on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

When forming the clove hitch don't set it but pull on the locking loop (for want of a better term) and move to your desired belay position. Now let the loop go and pull on the side of the rope that isn't attached to your harness. The clove hitch will set with the right length of rope leading to your harness.

ALC
cyberpunk - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt: What you are setting up is called an out of reach anchor. You clip the rope to the hex then walk back to where you want to belay from and clove hitch the rope to a biner on your harness.
Fredt on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Fredt)
>
> Climbing more than 20 years?
>
> Something isn't right!

More than 40 years actually. Techniques have changed many times in that time, as does the current thinking, so one is always changing and adapting.

Doing big wall climbing got me into the habit of clove hitching (especially the first) anchor point, because you were on belay immediately you clove-hitched the anchor.

I would never have just looped the krab and tied to the waist on a big wall.

As I said, doing this on Stanage made me think 'Something isn't right', which is why I asked.
Murd on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt: Download and have a look at this BMC leaflet, explains out of reach anchors well
http://www.bmcshop.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=357_203&products_id=5235
jimjimjim on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt: what you're saying makes no sense. 'Big wall' or not it sounds like you dont know what you're on about.
Offwidth - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to jimjimjim:

That would be most climbers then. Belay systems in the widest context can be way more complicated than most realise in their automated processes in their little areas of the greater game. Just watched some canadian web clips the other day.... very interesting and completely different to what we do here, which is different again to Europe.
Fredt on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to jimjimjim:
> (In reply to Fredt) what you're saying makes no sense. 'Big wall' or not it sounds like you dont know what you're on about.

That is disturbing. Please tell me what I said that implies I dont (sic) know what I'm on about.

r0x0r.wolfo - on 13 Oct 2013
What did you do when you top out anything? Or if anchors are any distance away? Just wondering, not fussed. I knew this after about 2 weeks of climbing outdoors but everyone's different.
Michael Gordon - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> More than 40 years actually. Techniques have changed many times in that time, as does the current thinking, so one is always changing and adapting.
>

Quite right. I certainly wouldn't have known this technique had I not been shown.

Fair point perhaps for big walls but in the UK I doubt there are any advantages of clove hitching straight into the anchor over clipping it and clove hitching back to yourself. The latter certainly makes it much easier to get it 'just right'.
jkarran - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

Cilp the hex krab walk back to the edge and tie the hex-floor strand back to your knot loop (or clove hitch back to your knot loop if you prefer).

jk
r0x0r.wolfo - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt: Bump. Still wondering O.P!
gethin_allen on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
The only time I'd consider clove hitching to the crab on the gear at a belay would be if I was short on rope and would then tie a clove hitch on both bits of gear then adjust the length with 2 hitches on crab attached to my harness.
CurlyStevo - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:
seriously? I always clove hitch the gear it its within reach as its quicker to set up than clip and then back to tie a knot at my waist especially if you can tie one handed clove hitches. Plus it saves rope.

a lakeland climber on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:

Strange isn't it? I've never considered that way of belaying, I much prefer having a clear area around the belay device and find doing all the tying off at the harness a faff.

The method I (badly) described above is both quick and easy and has the advantage of you being tied in all the time even if for some reason (miscommunication) your belayer took you off belay whereas simply clipping the gear and doing the adjustment/tying off at your harness doesn't.

ALC
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Milesy - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

I out of reach I always go through gear crab freely and back to harness to clove hitch.
KTC - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt: if the gear is in reach I'd clove hitch at the gear. If its out of reach I'll clove hitch at my harness.
JClimb - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber: I haven't done much Trad and am not good with theory of any subject so I tend to get a gist of something then work the rest out as I go, as long as it looks safe once I have checked it about 4 times, I go with it... on this basis, I always clove hitch to a Screwgate attached to my belay loop (this may be partly because I don't know what a crab is yet), usually I don't feel in great danger at this point as I haven't yet set up a hanging belay or anything seriously difficult, but if I was doing, I think I might add a prussick and belay to the rope, rope-side of the first gear ( because I know how to use one), I haven't done this yet so haven't checked what this looks like in practice - would this then make me safe whilst I mooch about clove hitching back to myself and setting up the next piece, as I could keep moving the rope through the belay to get more slack?? (this may look very silly in practiceand be a completely impractical idea)
ledifer on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

UKC showing it's nastier side again.
You asked a genuine question, got some very good answers but also got flamed the hell out of.
Hope it doesn't discourage you from asking in the future.

When tying in with the rope I do the clove hitches at the harness method already described. Although if one piece is way back I see nothing wrong with using a sling to bring it closer to the central point / you.
David Coley - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

This web page has photos of more belay set ups than is needed in life:

http://people.bath.ac.uk/dac33/high/6TheBelay.htm

section 3 is this most relevant.
gethin_allen on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
Once u place the first bit of gear on a belay I pull some slack and clip this through the gear and clove hitch it to a crab on my harness so that I'm attached to the gear, I then place the second bit of gear and sort out my stance.
I then belay from a separate crab.
Hope that's clearer.
John1923 - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

Rope is tied to your harness.
Screwgate onto the gear.
Rope through the screwgate so it runs freely.
Clove hitch the rope to an HMS carabiner on your harness.
The gear is now on a loop of rope, between your knot and the HMS.
You can adjust the size of this loop using the clove hitch on your harness.


(This has probably been said by others)
Michael Gordon - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
> I knew this after about 2 weeks of climbing outdoors

yes but I'd guess it was either shown or explained to you.

Michael Gordon - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to gethin_allen)
> I always clove hitch the gear it its within reach as its quicker to set up than clip and then back to tie a knot at my waist especially if you can tie one handed clove hitches. Plus it saves rope.

How does it save rope? It still has to go up to the gear then back to you; the only difference is the clove hitch is in a different place.
Fredt on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
> What did you do when you top out anything? Or if anchors are any distance away? Just wondering, not fussed. I knew this after about 2 weeks of climbing outdoors but everyone's different.

How long do you reckon it will take you to learn all the other possible alternatives when the one you learned isn't safe?
gethin_allen on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> [...]
>
> How does it save rope? It still has to go up to the gear then back to you; the only difference is the clove hitch is in a different place.

Rather than have the rope running back and forth for each bit of gear the rope runs from stance to first bit of gear which is clove hitched then to the second bit of gear that is also clove hitched and then back to the stance saving one length of rope from the stance to the gear and back. This assumes the two bits of gear in the belay are reasonably close.
krikoman - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
> [...]
>
> How long do you reckon it will take you to learn all the other possible alternatives when the one you learned isn't safe?

What's not safe about it?
Fredt on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to krikoman:
> (In reply to Fredt)
> [...]
> How long do you reckon it will take you to learn all the other possible alternatives when the one you learned isn't safe?
>
> What's not safe about it?

Nothing, as long as you have good anchor points to use, and you can stand up and walk about.

What would you do if the only anchors available were dodgy, icy, non-existent? Other methods of belaying would be safer in those situations.
Michael Gordon - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:

Hmmm, ok I see. Clove hitch back to yourself after 2nd bit of gear?

Don't think it would be of any advantage to me to be honest. If the 2 bits are close to each other I'd usually just equalise with a sling; if this is a good way back from where I want to belay I'd use the rope to the equalised sling and back to myself. If the bits of gear are a good way apart from each other I'd just use one rope for one and one for the other!
DubyaJamesDubya - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to krikoman)
> [...]
>
> Nothing, as long as you have good anchor points to use, and you can stand up and walk about.
>
> What would you do if the only anchors available were dodgy, icy, non-existent? Other methods of belaying would be safer in those situations.

How does clove-hitch direct make it any safer than loop to harness?
Fredt on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:
> (In reply to Fredt)
> (In reply to krikoman)
> [...]
>
> Nothing, as long as you have good anchor points to use, and you can stand up and walk about.
>
> What would you do if the only anchors available were dodgy, icy, non-existent? Other methods of belaying would be safer in those situations.
> How does clove-hitch direct make it any safer than loop to harness?

My question to the poster who said he'd learned how to fix a belay after two weeks of climbing, was not about the relative merits of the two methods discussed, I was merely asking how long it would take to learn all the other alternative belay methods that would be required in different scenarios, - for example on a crumbling snow stance with no anchors available, or hanging from a dodgy piton with no other anchor available?
r0x0r.wolfo - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
> [...]
>
> How long do you reckon it will take you to learn all the other possible alternatives when the one you learned isn't safe?

Can you please kindly answer my first question. "What did you do when you top out anything? Or if anchors are any distance away?"

I'm honestly just curious, I'm alawys interested in learning how other people approach things like this. There is no malice in my question what-so-ever, I do appreciate it can appear otherwise online. Feel free to PM me if you are more comfortable doing that.

In answer to your question, I do know there are many ways to skin a cat. I have used many methods of linking anchors together and back to me and/or the belay device, first at home and often experimenting whilst climbing too.

To Michael Gordon:
> yes but I'd guess it was either shown or explained to you.

Various sources, the most helpful being a BMC leaflet on the matter, I must have gone throught that dozens of times when I first started.

> My question to the poster who said he'd learned how to fix a belay after two weeks of climbing, was not about the relative merits of the two methods discussed, I was merely asking how long it would take to learn all the other alternative belay methods that would be required in different scenarios, - for example on a crumbling snow stance with no anchors available, or hanging from a dodgy piton with no other anchor available?

I am still learning all the time. I still look up new anchor systems, tie-in knots and general practices. The learning process is on-going so I must admit I don't think I will ever be done 'learning' alternative methods. So if you like, you can paint me out as a bit of a dunce in that sense. I don't believe I have all the answers at any moment in time.
colina - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
sounds like some people are extending the hex with a massive long sling or even two !seems a rediculas way of doing things.

(if your using just a rope)
thread the rope from your harness through the locking karabiner on the hex sling and clove hitch or fig 8 back to your rope loop on harness at the preferred position.

if you have ,2 anchors one out of reach and one within reach, thread furthest away first and then clove hitch directly onto nearest one ...doesn't every one do it this way??
keep it simple I say!

GrahamD - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to colina:

Not everyone. You can save a screwgate back at your harness just by tying the rope back to the loop formed by the climbing rope on your harness.
Milesy - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to colina:
> if you have ,2 anchors one out of reach and one within reach, thread furthest away first and then clove hitch directly onto nearest one ...doesn't every one do it this way??

Only occasion where two anchors have been really far away (after top out) I have clove hitched both at the anchors leaving a little dead rope between them both to save on rope, but rarely as I always crag with a 60m anyway. I normally always have two anchors at the top and I just run them both back to an HMS on my rope loop out of habit. On multi pitch winter belays etc its normally just straight onto the crab. The best way is the way you can always do consistently, efficiently and safely I guess.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

"I am still learning all the time." Good on you for saying that but maybe part of it should be thinking twice before pronouncing on questions that may not be so dumb. I'm constantly amazed how complex the process of safeguarding climbing can be: to deal with this most climbers learn systems that work for them in their environment but without real understanding of the mechanics. When they shift to new areas of the climbing game they can make false assumptions based on a lack of understanding (eg direct belay on poor anchors or much more common in the UK, on a mulitipich not having multi-directional belays when they are needed). Worse still they can sometimes do seriously stupid things (like clipping a sling or a daisy into the first belay piece on steep terrain then climbing above it to fix another, or, more mundanely standing too far out belaying at the base of a crag). On the crag or indoors I see dangerous practice commonly and occasional minor faults in belaying in around half of climbers (lack of attention when needed, lazy hands, etc).

Even after a quarter century of interest in such things I sometimes still get surprised. I went to a BMC area meeting which had a demo on sling strength and a new sling rubbed heavily across its width on a rock (happens all the time to slings right, we don't need to worry about that so soon do we??) turned out to be weaker than a brand new sling cut half through from one side.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/tech-skills-retiring-textile-equipment

A second even weirder example:

https://thebmc.co.uk/abseil-slings-when-ants-attack
DubyaJamesDubya - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to colina)
>
> Not everyone. You can save a screwgate back at your harness just by tying the rope back to the loop formed by the climbing rope on your harness.

True but if you have the screw-gate it's simplist to use it.
I speak as one who switched to the screw-gate/clove hitch approach after years of doing the other. The last screw-gate I bought were slightly lighter than the snaplinks I used to use.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
>
> "I am still learning all the time." Good on you for saying that but maybe part of it should be thinking twice before pronouncing on questions that may not be so dumb. >

I think the original question isn't 'dumb' but I also understand why some people have expressed surprise that the OP was struggling with what appears to be a fairly basic issue after clocking up 40 years climbing experience. Being a forum the expression of disbelief may appear a little strong.

I think we tend to forget that a lot of stuff taught to beginners now hasn’t always been standard practice. I remember when I started I literally knew the figure of eight knot only. I used to set up ‘out of reach’ belays looping back and tying/retying the figure of eight to get the right length. It was sometime before someone showed me a clove hitch and then I didn’t use it for a long time because I was used to what I knew.
I eventually converted when my wife did a rope-work course and showed me the benefits of a few different things she’d learnt (me being too experienced to need a rope-work course myself!)

Having said that I too was surprised at the OP's question until it occurred to me he is, presumably, seeking the best solution to the problem rather than suggesting he doesn't know any at all.
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

"Having said that I too was surprised at the OP's question until it occurred to me he is, presumably, seeking the best solution to the problem rather than suggesting he doesn't know any at all."

When faced with such information it hardly takes much thought to work out what is most likley: its a joke, badly written, or you, the reader, are missing some subtety are all for starters both way more so than a 40 year climber with a history of reasonable posting sudddenly becoming ignorant. Its a website so people are within their rights to make themselves look genuinely stupid by assuming the latter (I certainly do from time to time, before kicking myself, again).
Oujmik - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to BStar: +1, standard practice for out of reach gear I thought? I'm only a beginner and I have done this countless times.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
>
> "Having said that I too was surprised at the OP's question until it occurred to me he is, presumably, seeking the best solution to the problem rather than suggesting he doesn't know any at all."
>
> When faced with such information it hardly takes much thought to work out what is most likley: its a joke, badly written, or you, the reader, are missing some subtety are all for starters both way more so than a 40 year climber with a history of reasonable posting sudddenly becoming ignorant. Its a website so people are within their rights to make themselves look genuinely stupid by assuming the latter (I certainly do from time to time, before kicking myself, again).

As jokes go it'd be about as mediocre as they come...
jon on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> I think we tend to forget that a lot of stuff taught to beginners now hasn’t always been standard practice. I remember when I started I literally knew the figure of eight knot only. (...) It was sometime before someone showed me a clove hitch and then I didn’t use it for a long time because I was used to what I knew.

Indeed it wasn't until about 1985 that one of our revered National Centres adopted the clove hitch as a safe method of attaching oneself to a belay.
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

As if this site lacks examples of such.
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to jon:

People still occasionally tell me on the crag its dangerous when I use a clove hitch, as they do sometimes for not using locking crabs on belay pieces.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
>
> "I am still learning all the time." Good on you for saying that but maybe part of it should be thinking twice before pronouncing on questions that may not be so dumb.

I never said that his question was dumb. I would have simply answered it myself but it was covered by about 5 different posts before mine. I was simply wondering what methods he had used before now. I understand that people can be sensitive and misread things over the internet but I don't think I should have to 'think twice' before asking a simple question. Are people going to threaten me if I ask them how they have set up belays in the past?

> I'm constantly amazed how complex the process of safeguarding climbing can be:
Yeah, me too. Yes, people blindly follow a set way without thinking about it.

> Even after a quarter century of interest in such things I sometimes still get surprised. I went to a BMC area meeting which had a demo on sling strength and a new sling rubbed heavily across its width on a rock (happens all the time to slings right, we don't need to worry about that so soon do we??) turned out to be weaker than a brand new sling cut half through from one side.
>
> https://www.thebmc.co.uk/tech-skills-retiring-textile-equipment
>
> A second even weirder example:
>
> https://thebmc.co.uk/abseil-slings-when-ants-attack

Nice links, I will look through them later. I really think you have totally misunderstood me though. I still would like an answer to my question (it was a question and not a rhetoric to beat him over the head with).
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

that you likely didnt 'know it after 2 weeks of climbing' you learnt a system someone showed you and are still learning now. Thats all.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to jon)
>
> ...as they do sometimes for not using locking crabs on belay pieces.


I had a climbing partner question it the other day. Do I dare state my opinion/reasoning on the issue or is that another thread in the making?
jon on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to jon)
>
> People still occasionally tell me on the crag its dangerous when I use a clove hitch, as they do sometimes for not using locking crabs on belay pieces.

I expect they're the ones wearing Tweed breeches and red socks.
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to jon:

Its just the opposite: normally young folk fresh from a course. Old folk have seen the changes and usually won't want to talk if they are clinging on to outdated practice (I have to winkle that out of them usually).
r0x0r.wolfo - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
>
> that you likely didnt 'know it after 2 weeks of climbing' you learnt a system someone showed you and are still learning now. Thats all.

What is that in response to? I have already said how I came across the method so I'm not sure why you are stating otherwise... I openly admit that I'm still learning, do you deny that you are also? Why can't I ask a simple question about how someone did something before? Something instrically wrong with that?
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

It came over as a bit of a dismissive thing to say and having reread it now with your explanation easily taken out of the probably intended context.
Michael Gordon - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

To be fair while there wasn't anything wrong with your question, he isn't bound to answer it.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
>
> To be fair while there wasn't anything wrong with your question, he isn't bound to answer it.

Fair enough, is that because in light of the alternative his previous (unrefined due to infrequency?) method appears totally unviable and may be criticised? I've done some silly setups when first learning how to ab that I would be laughed at for now.
Fredt on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
>
> To be fair while there wasn't anything wrong with your question, he isn't bound to answer it.

> Fair enough, is that because in light of the alternative his previous (unrefined due to infrequency?) method appears totally unviable and may be criticised?

OK, I'll answer your first question. "What did you do when you top out anything? Or if anchors are any distance away?"

Answer. It all depends on what's available. If there's a big boulder I walk the rope round it and back to the stance and tie a figure 8 to a krab on my harness. Can be a faff in the same way as clove-hitching the anchor, but its my number one preferred belay.
I'm surprised at the number of times I see big slings around boulders, so introducing at least two more links in the chain, but justifiable if you're short of rope.
Next preference is a sling round a boulder, or around a chockstone or a tree. Krab on the sling, then my original dilemma.
Next preference is a bomber hex or chock, ditto dilemma.
Last resort is a cam.
I have noticed on many busy days at Stanage, that few consider these options, as if the default is two pieces of gear. Is this a training thing?

All the replies to my OP seem to indicate a split in opinions, so I feel justified in asking people's thoughts.

And while discussing belay position, I'll finish with one last observation. Again on busy days on Stanage, I often see belayers sitting with their feet over the edge, or sitting sideways with straight legs, i.e. without feet braced against anything.
When I started we had to use waist belays, and we usually stood up, feet and legs braced to take any strain, or if sitting, you still had the feet braced against something. We'd avoid weighing the anchors, they were more a backup for holding you if you were pulled off your stance. The belayer took the weight by using the 'give' in the legs and waist. I am aware that direct belays may be necessary, especially in cramped multipitch stances, but I would always avoid a direct belay wherever possible. (And its a useful method to know when you have no anchor points)

All comments welcome.





r0x0r.wolfo - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)

> Answer. It all depends on what's available. If there's a big boulder I walk the rope round it and back to the stance and tie a figure 8 to a krab on my harness. Can be a faff in the same way as clove-hitching the anchor, but its my number one preferred belay.
I did this at weekend actually (topped out a sport route). Except replacing the figure 8 with a clove hitch, but it can be a faff either way as the rope gets jammed on the boulder and/or friction so adjusting is a bit of a pain either way.

> I'm surprised at the number of times I see big slings around boulders, so introducing at least two more links in the chain, but justifiable if you're short of rope.
Yeah true, sometimes I will lob a sling (or two if I'm feeling generous) over a boulder as it can (sometimes) be a little quicker to set up/adjust/pack down or if I am using something else as a backup aswell. Quick check for edges is good either way, doesn't matter how big a boulder is if it cuts your sling :(.

> Next preference is a sling round a boulder, or around a chockstone or a tree. Krab on the sling, then my original dilemma.
> Next preference is a bomber hex or chock, ditto dilemma.
To be honest, this was more in the line of what I was asking about. But re-reading your O.P I guess you did just run back and forth adjusting the knot, you probably got this pretty wired though. I understand this rarely being a problem on multipitch but I was sort of wondering how often you topped out a climb to find the anchors were 10m back and then thinking 'there must be a better way' until the thread on UKC. You hint at mainly climbing elsewhere?

> Last resort is a cam.
Fair enough, they walk, more to go wrong, want to save them for the next pitch etc etc. For pure speed I sometimes use them a little more liberally on belays than I should.

> I have noticed on many busy days at Stanage, that few consider these options, as if the default is two pieces of gear. Is this a training thing?
To an extent, some people will place fiddly nuts/make a complicated 6 point anchor for the hell of it. It's their time they are wasting I suppose, though maybe the practice stands them in good stead for leading.

> All the replies to my OP seem to indicate a split in opinions, so I feel justified in asking people's thoughts.
>
> And while discussing belay position, I'll finish with one last observation. Again on busy days on Stanage, I often see belayers sitting with their feet over the edge, or sitting sideways with straight legs, i.e. without feet braced against anything.
> When I started we had to use waist belays, and we usually stood up, feet and legs braced to take any strain, or if sitting, you still had the feet braced against something. We'd avoid weighing the anchors, they were more a backup for holding you if you were pulled off your stance. The belayer took the weight by using the 'give' in the legs and waist. I am aware that direct belays may be necessary, especially in cramped multipitch stances, but I would always avoid a direct belay wherever possible. (And its a useful method to know when you have no anchor points.

I think the attitude towards belaying has changed. I do know that I will effectively direct belay unless I have some doubt about my anchors. Of course if I can arrange a better belay I will just do that over bracing. This is just more comfortable and I feel that I am more patient and concentrate more as a result. Even a 2nd fall with the odd bit of slack is held comfortably and the belayer has less strain on himself to be worrying about. It should impossible for them to be seriously pulled out of position in a way that will adversely affect his or her belaying if connected tight to the right anchors. I think the change has happened just because of changes to ropes/gear and the availability of bomber placements on most well rated climbs. Also, some 2nds I know tend 'work' routes more often, often not being able to follow the route without rests. This would grow tiresome rather quickly if I did not arrange most belays to be relaxed and comfortable.

You seem to be well aware of whether your belays are up to scratch or not, so one could argue that in 98% of situations there is no reason not to belay in that manner
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Jonny2vests - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Answer. It all depends on what's available. If there's a big boulder I walk the rope round it and back to the stance and tie a figure 8 to a krab on my harness. Can be a faff in the same way as clove-hitching the anchor, but its my number one preferred belay.
> I'm surprised at the number of times I see big slings around boulders

Slings are cheaper than ropes, that's why I use them around boulders, I'm willing to put up with the extra links in the chain for the sake of keeping my rope in good condition.


> And while discussing belay position, I'll finish with one last observation. Again on busy days on Stanage, I often see belayers sitting with their feet over the edge, or sitting sideways with straight legs, i.e. without feet braced against anything.

Sitting just makes so much more sense most of the time. The modern approach, is to keep the line between the belay, you and the second as straight as possible, so unless the belay is high (obviously not at Stanage), then sitting is the way to go, holding a fall whilst standing will either bugger your back, or make you sit down faster than you'd like.

You can often still brace whilst sat down, should you feel the need, although anchors at Stanage tend to be very good, so modern gear plus a well built belay isn't really a thing of doubt. Fair enough if you were climbing in Mousetrap Zawn or Red Wall, then I would adopt a braced stance for that.

As for direct belays, I tend not to on trad gear (though it seems there are a growing number that do), and I almost always will do on bolted stances (most stances here are bolted, even on trad routes).
DubyaJamesDubya - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to r0x0r.wolfo)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I'm surprised at the number of times I see big slings around boulders, so introducing at least two more links in the chain, but justifiable if you're short of rope.

You used the phrase 'more links in the chain' a few times. It suggests you think that two or three pieces of gear are weaker/more dangerous than one.
The phrase '...only as strong as its weakest link' can be tweaked a bit to read: '...only as weak as its weakest link'.
What I mean is that all the pieces used in the chain are pieces you'd, presumably, be happy to use individually so if you thought one of them might fail it wouldn't be on your rack in the first place. Weaknesses are not cumulative.
As someone else has noted a sling is cheaper than a rope.

> I have noticed on many busy days at Stanage, that few consider these options, as if the default is two pieces of gear. Is this a training thing?
>
> All comments welcome.

Well I was taught that three good pieces was the amount to aim for (excepting large trees, boulders and monster spikes) I tend to stick to that approach unless there is a pressing reason to do otherwise.
Offwidth - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Fredt:

A few points: like Jonny I'd save my rope getting abraded or dirty and use cheaper slings. There have been a few accidents on grit with boulders moving and releasing or cutting belays so I usually recommend a backup (not that I always use one). I only backup a big tree if the direction of pull is wrong. Cam belays on grit are fine as there isn't a next pitch to save them for and they are often more convenient. I practice old style braced belays at times (so I dont get rusty when I need them) but they are less safe than the standard sitting down set-up on a grit crag and some of my seconds (especially Chris F) object as I insist on keeping a tightish rope to them so I dont get heavily shock loaded.

I don't challenge people about belay style, I do sometimes with clearly unsafe practice (eg sitting on the edge with a belay at ninety degrees off to one side).
garycrocker - on 17 Oct 2013
Good advice. How can this not have occurred to you?

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