/ Backrope for the second
What I assume it means, and the technique I used this morning was-
Reach piece of fixed gear to set up backrope. For a normally seized maillon I would Untie, thread it, re tie in, downclimb (normally a downclimb I guess).
Finish downclimb, resume placing gear etc as normal and finish pitch.
Second reaches downclimb, leaves fixed gear threaded, completes downclimb with rope above them, unties, pulls rope down, reties, carries on.
Does this sound right? Obviously makes most sense with two ropes.
Anyway, we pulled it off this morning and it was a neat little trick for protecting the second on a downclimb.
Yeah, sounds about right. The ones where you are "expected" to do this usually have an old krab in situ so as leader you don't have to untie.
If the section to be backroped is short and reasonably close to the belay then you can get away without the second untying as well. The second gets to the back-rope anchor and clips a krab in to the side of the back rope that is going to the leader, then clips this in to their harness. (The path of this rope is: leader; through krab at 2nd's waist; backrope anchor; second's harness) It does mean that the leader has to pay out on one rope more than they are taking in on the other.
Yes, that sounds about correct. It is also useful on protectionless traverses, especially where the hard move is just after some gear (for the leader) before a long runout, thus making it serious for the second. You may need to leave a piece of gear and/or a biner. I usually lead the route as usual and leave it up to second to rig a back rope if they want, if that means leaving a piece then so be it.
As a leader you can also traverse back above a bold traverse from higher up the climb to place a piece off route, creating more of a toprope for the second. Look at some photos of Voyage of the Beagle on the Dubh Loch as people often employ several of these techniques for the 'Voyage' pitch on that.
Ahh now the peg sporting seemingly random tat just before the crux traverse makes sense too. Although I protected it for my second from above quite easily like you say. The whole backroping thing seems dead handy now I think about it and it makes sense, I like traverses!
Just dawned on me what this meant. Why should it be short or close to thr belay? Could work up to half the rope length surely? But in practice I would imagine the rope drag to be ridiculous.
The rope needs to be long enough to reach the second and then run 3 times up to the peg. Drag on the second isn't too much of an issue if they are climbing down, they might even find it comforting.
With a single rope the second will take a very long fall if the peg blows. But the approach is the norm when seconding an aid climb.
I'm glad you have done this route at last, Ben! Your notes about the grades are right. The current guides (LWV2007 and SWC1) are correct and the logbook ones out of date. The finger holds on pitch 3 have 'improved' somewhat over the years, while about ten years ago a peg and a hold were pulled off the chimney crossing on pitch 4.
Yeah it was pretty good, must of been great fun on the FA! I'm not too sure I took the right line on the 4th pitch, it felt tough at 5a. Glad I didnt decide to descend to the chimney to do it the easy way though. Maybe I've been climbing sport too much recently!
3 times? The way I thought on a traverse would be rope from leader to back rope point to second. To limit the swing the second uses a crab on the rope coming from leader to back rope point? And thats it I think.
The method I was talking about (which is super quick, and doesn't mean untying at any point) is simply to pull a bight through a krab clipped to the peg and clip the bight with no knot at the belay loop. Now climb, or lower yourself down. When the bottom of the lower is reached, unclip the bight and hope the leader takes in super quick if you are not on double ropes.
Ah ok yes that makes sense! The placement blowing is not a nice thought...
Hence double ropes on routes where you feel the need to protect a nervous second.
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