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/ Mismatched weight sports climbing setup

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springfall2008 - on 07 Jun 2018

I've been thinking about how to make it safe for a lighter belayer to belay a heavier climber, in this case my 12 year old daughter (who is an experienced indoor climber working on her NICAS level 4) and me.

In the end I decided to go for an Edelrid Ohm paired with a CT ClickUp belay.

I've given the setup a try in our garden (we have a high bar for a swing set) and it seems to work really well. With just the Ohm she can hold me weight with a normal belay device fine, but when I tried taking a small fall her hands were dragged up against the belay device.

Adding the ClickUp it all works really well, the device locks if I take a fall and she isn't pulled off her feet.

I tried also testing the ClickUp with her hands totally off the belay (you are not supposed to use it in that way) and it still locks, which is good to know in case of a mistake happening.

The lowering seemed a little jerky but quite safe as again the ClickUp locks if you let go of it.

The next step is to test the setup at the climbing wall when the rope is through a few clips above the ClickUp and see how much movement goes onto the rope before the Ohm takes effect.

Just thought I'd share, any thoughts?

 

 

paul_the_northerner - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

Sounds like a good setup, the ohm does most of the of the work to hold a fall when used properly (but is no replacement for an attentive belayer)

Word of warning. I found out that if you put it on the rope the wrong way around it does not work at all (me being a dumbass but it is a potential failure mode) luckily my belayer at the time was paying attention and caught the fall. Since then I have put my own markings on it to make the orientation more obvious for both the belayer and the climber.

As you say the lowering can be a little jerky particularly so on slabs and you’ve got to pull the rope up really smooth when clipping. But it is a really good bit of kit and makes sport climbing a lot more fun for my partner.

springfall2008 - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to paul_the_northerner:

> Word of warning. I found out that if you put it on the rope the wrong way around it does not work at all (me being a dumbass but it is a potential failure mode) luckily my belayer at the time was paying attention and caught the fall. Since then I have put my own markings on it to make the orientation more obvious for both the belayer and the climber.

Thanks for the warning, it's also where the ClickUp would come in, it would end up with my poor daughter hanging below the first clip but would avoid any serious injury if she did let go (not that I expect she would).

 

chiroshi on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

I've seen 3-4 groups using the Ohm inside and outside, with children ~12yrs old or younger and adults >80kg. None of them seemed to have any difficulty in lowering or catching falls, even the ones who were testing with lead falls a metre or so above the last bolt. Looks like a great bit of kit!

tom_in_edinburgh - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

Independent of whether the Ohm can deal with the weight difference lead climbing with a 12 year old belaying the supervising adult seems problematic to me.   What if there was an accident and you got hurt, that is going to be difficult for a 12 year old to deal with both in terms of immediate reaction and psychologically in the longer term. 

springfall2008 - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Independent of whether the Ohm can deal with the weight difference lead climbing with a 12 year old belaying the supervising adult seems problematic to me.   What if there was an accident and you got hurt, that is going to be difficult for a 12 year old to deal with both in terms of immediate reaction and psychologically in the longer term. 


True, however this is just for indoors where I expect staff to be on hand as well and the chance of getting hurt is very low

Mike Nolan - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

Worth bearing in mind that a lot of walls wouldn't let anyone under the age of 14 belay an adult, unless they were under direct supervision. Check it out with the wall you will be using first. 

olddirtydoggy - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

We have interest in this thread. Our group of mates has a smaller climber and when you have tested this at the wall we would be interested to see your results.

springfall2008 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Sure, it maybe a few weeks yet before I get around to it.

cb294 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

Ohm plus Grigri in my case, no issue with being belayed by my daughter who is about half my weight. Did some test falls with increasing distances first to learn to trust the setup, but it does exactly what it claims to do.

CB

springfall2008 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to cb294:

> Ohm plus Grigri in my case, no issue with being belayed by my daughter who is about half my weight. Did some test falls with increasing distances first to learn to trust the setup, but it does exactly what it claims to do.

The only reason I didn't go for a Grigri is the lowering can be tricky, the ClickUp seems to work like a normal belay device but with the advantage of the locking feature.

cb294 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

I went for the Grigri because I had one in my kit bag, and my children were already familiar with its use. However, whenn they first started using it I made sure that they practised to control the speed of lowering with the brake hand, not the lever. My girls (who are a bit older and off to uni) now mainly use ATCs.

CB

gilesf - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

I use a clic-up and have suspected that it would lock up with no load on the dead end but have never tried. What thickness rope are you using and is it dry treated?

springfall2008 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to gilesf:

It was a 9.8 mm rope, not dry treated that we tested and it locked without holding the dead end just fine. Clearly it's not an extensive test and you should always hold the dead end but it's nice to know it worked.

 

springfall2008 - on 08 Jun 2018
cambromo - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

I think you should familiarise yourself with the click up yourself first before throwing it in someones hands, the device is more or less fool proof but lowering with it is a pain at times.

As for how I lower people lighter than me it jerks and is a very slow lowering process I can imagine this (in your case) the ohm is making your decent slow down to a crawl.

As I say familiarise yourself with it but if you tilt the click up like normal and then push the device forwards, (towards the manual mode but not unlocking it) you'll lower the person a lot faster while still being safe.

springfall2008 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to cambromo:

> I think you should familiarise yourself with the click up yourself first before throwing it in someones hands, the device is more or less fool proof but lowering with it is a pain at times.

> As for how I lower people lighter than me it jerks and is a very slow lowering process I can imagine this (in your case) the ohm is making your decent slow down to a crawl.

> As I say familiarise yourself with it but if you tilt the click up like normal and then push the device forwards, (towards the manual mode but not unlocking it) you'll lower the person a lot faster while still being safe.


I have used a ClickUp myself with an adult climber, but like you say the Ohm is slowing it down and as a result needs pushing further. We old had a few feet to play with in the garden so it doesn't give you long to experiement with the angle.

 

gilesf - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to cambromo:

My girlfriend is at least a couple of stone lighter than me and I can lower her as quickly or slowly as she likes completely smoothly. Are you completely unlocking the device when lowering, or just tilting the base away from you and letting the route run through?

gilesf - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to gilesf:

I mean rope...

springfall2008 - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to gilesf:

> My girlfriend is at least a couple of stone lighter than me and I can lower her as quickly or slowly as she likes completely smoothly. Are you completely unlocking the device when lowering, or just tilting the base away from you and letting the route run through?

Tilting rather than completely unlocking, but then there's the Ohm in the way too. 

cambromo - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to gilesf:

Not completely, when you tilt the device back as normal and just slightly push it forwards if you're finding the descent slow, I'm not sure if it's a feature or not but it makes descent a lot faster and if you let go of the click up it'll still be in locked mode.

Be safe.

springfall2008 - on 17 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

Well I managed to give the setup a test today with my daughter and a friend as a backup.

Firstly the click-up works really well, it locks off nicely and is easy enough to use. 

Secondly the Ohm seems to take the impact off a lead fall well, meaning my daughter doesn't get pulled off her feet much if at all.

A few things we did notice:

1. The Ohm doesn't actually do much when you are just dangling, but in our case she's heavy enough to hold me on a top rope anyhow so it's not a problem.

2. The big fat center top ropes are really sticky through the click-up, but it works nicely on my 9.8mm lead rope.

3. You have to be careful when pulling up the rope to be gentle or you end up locking the belay.

Anyhow it's a good setup and works fine for us

 

Wiley Coyote2 - on 17 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

 

> 3. You have to be careful when pulling up the rope to be gentle or you end up locking the belay.

>

This is absolutely right but, perhaps perversely, this has actually helped me. Knowing that snatching the rope will lock the device I have learned to pull it up in a more controlled fashion and this has forced me to remain calm in those 'gripper clipper' situations. I suppose I might one day come unstuck because of it but...so far, so good

 


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