/ Belaying...

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Tom Helme 17 Jun 2008
Ok, slightly confused after looking through a book recently - 'The Mountain Skills Training Handbook' by Hill and Johnston.

Now I have always belayed by clipping a Carabiner to the (clue in the name perhaps?) belay loop on my harness, with the belay device attached.

However in this book, (p62) it states 'when attaching your belay device, ALWAYS clip it to the loop created by tying onto the rope', and 'ALWAYS belay from your tie-in loop, rather than the abseil loop on your harness.' the photos show the carabiner clipped to the loop created when tying a figure of eight, the belay loop on the harness not being used.

Is this one of those cases where both methods are acceptable? Only the authors seem adamant that you DO NOT clip to the belay loop.

Anyone any ideas?

Confused...

t_stork 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme: best thing i was always told is to clip into both, cant go wrong if the crab is clipped to belay loop and rope.
Tom Helme 17 Jun 2008
In reply to t_stork:

Good advice, keen to find out reasons for either one way as well though... bit of a father son debate going on
John_Hat 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

I've heard religious arguments both ways. Some people are adamant that the belay loop should be used, others that the rope loops should be used.

FWIW, I reckon the margin of safety of both methods are so high it doesn't matter. Belaying from the bottom (e.g. belaying a leader) I'll always use the belay loop. From the top I'll generally use the belay loop unless its awkward and the rope loops enable me to lock off better.

I'm guessing there's about to be 100 posts, 20 for one variant, 20 for another, 20 saying it doesn't matter and 40 stating that any of the previous 60 know nothing and they have been using one method or another for 40 years and never had an issue.
Tom Helme 17 Jun 2008
In reply to John_Hat: Certainly seems to come down to personal preference. Was just concerned as the way it was written, belaying off the belay loop was a major faux pas. Will be interesting to see if anyone has any strong reason not to use either.
sutty 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

Clue, if the maker of your particular harness says how to tie the rope to it and still calls the loop a belay loop it should be safe to use, end of story.
Dr Rorlasaurus 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

The reason I've been given is because clipping to the tie-in loop allows dynamism in the event of a fall, whereas the harness loop is static.

PLUS if you tie into the tie in loop there is always opportunity to escape the system, without taking your harness off or unclipping.

But thats just what I've been told.
54ms 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

One advantage of using the rope whilst at the top is that it makes it easier to put the force in line with your belay whilst you sit to the side. At the bottom I use the belay loop.
Dr Rorlasaurus 17 Jun 2008

By someone who is rather anal about these little things.
anthonyecc17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme: depends on your anchors i.e if you know 100% that your anchors are bomber then use the loop you have created with the rope. and even then i would still clip both belay loop and rope loop just making sure that the weight of the climber is predominately on the anchors and not going thru myself. (all this only applies when top roping after leading a route)
54ms 17 Jun 2008
In reply to anthonyecc:

But then you lose some of the ability to sit to the side of it, passing the force through your anchors. I used to have this debate with my gf and she got picked up on her SPA for using the belay loop at the top of the climb.
In reply to Tom Helme: I recently read somewhere (some drop test literature) that an untightened fog. 8 knot adds the equivalent of 5ft of rope to a system in terms of shock absorbancy, so by having the leader and the belay attached via a rope loop and knot, that will tighten under the load of a fall, you could theoritically add the equivalent of dynamic shock absorbancy of 10ft of rope. There are other reasons to tie in to the ends of the rope.

However when indoor climbing the protection (bolts) are totally solid so worrying about the impact force is not as big an issue.

Take home message is when climbing trad tie into both end of rope and belay of just the rope loop for extra shock absorbtion, when indoor climbing it is OK to belay off the belay loop.

Climbing is about you deciding what is the appropriate technique to use in a miriad of situations. Often when starting out you will be given a set of rules. However as you start to understand the pro's and con's of techniques, the decision making becomes less black and white and more grey.
54ms 17 Jun 2008
In reply to ligemidio:

I don't think that the tiny loop of rope (doubled) is going to be giving much "dynamism" compared with other parts of the system.
snakebite 17 Jun 2008
In reply to ligemidio:
> (In reply to Tom Helme)
>
> The reason I've been given is because clipping to the tie-in loop allows dynamism in the event of a fall, whereas the harness loop is static.
>
> PLUS if you tie into the tie in loop there is always opportunity to escape the system, without taking your harness off or unclipping.
>
> But thats just what I've been told.

Having just been onmy SPA training course at Plas Y Brenin, a very well respected and experienced mountaineer tols me the exact same as Ligemidio, DYNAMISM is the key, coupled with escapability
Tom Helme 17 Jun 2008
In reply to all:

Thanks for all the replies, and good advice at that. The dynamic properties gained when belaying from the rope alone make sense, particularly when belaying your second from the top. Certainly food for thought
dcturner17 Jun 2008
In reply to ligemidio:

>> The reason I've been given is because clipping to the tie-in loop allows
>> dynamism in the event of a fall, whereas the harness loop is static.

I don't think that's true. The amount of stretch in your tie-in loop is negligable.

>> PLUS if you tie into the tie in loop there is always opportunity to
>> escape the system, without taking your harness off or unclipping.

I don't get you - could you explain? Surely to escape the system you'd have to untie the knot holding the system together?
anthonyecc17 Jun 2008
In reply to Duncan_S: my point is that the wieght of the climber will come on to the anchors first then you are just a fail-safe so to speak for if your anchors are a little suspect. if there is no doubt your anchors are sound then by all means keep the belay direct (totally dependant on the anchors).
Anonymous17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

Various "courses" (none of which I have taken or would ever be inclined to take) evidently teach a method of "escaping the system" in an emergency, that depends upon the belay karabiner being clipped through the rope loop, not the harness belay loop.

That is the only reason. There is certainly NOT an issue of the strength of the harness belay loop being in any way inadequate.

There is certainly more than one safe method of tying off a belay and escaping the system if necessary. I would suggest that a reasonably experienced climber should be able to improvise a safe procedure as and when the situation arises.

An instruction manual that adamantly lays down rigid rules without attempting to explain the rationale behind them is not one to which I would be inclined to pay a great deal of attention.

I also do NOT believe that the very slight extra dynamic behaviour introduced by the short length of rope in the tie-in loop makes any significant contribution whatsoever to the dynamic impact-absorbing capacity of the whole system. The length rope between two climbers does all that is required.

CJ.
Anonymous17 Jun 2008

*length of rope ..
Twisty 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

Many instructors now call the "belay" loop the abseil loop, and insist on belaying from the rope loop, this is what you do outdoors, and it really is so much better. Being escapable, loading the anchors directly, but being able to brace the fall, more dynamism etc.

The only problem arises when you tie the stopper knot on a figure of 8 well above the actual figure of 8 knot- which creates an extra "loop" which you could accidently belay from- which would only be an overhand effectivly.

Having said that, indoors I use the "abseil" loop, and outdoors always the rope loop.

54ms 17 Jun 2008
In reply to anthonyecc:

I broadly agree with you, I'd use my belay loop if my anchors were suspect so I could take as much as the weight as possible. However if you use the loop created by the rope and the belay loop, it will weight you first anyhow. If you rigged as you describe (tiny loop?) then scenario you describe isn't desirable as you don't want anchors failing, then you taking the weight as it will be jerky and harder to hold, you want to take the weight straight of and pass minimal force to your anchors.
54ms 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Twisty:

It wouldn't be an overhand, that would be safe, it would be a loop that fails very quickly. There is nothing wrong with using your belay loop whilst on a single pitch climb, if you wanted to transfer the belay, it wouldn't matter where it was clipped.
In reply to Tom Helme:

Can I add my bit.

The clue is in the fact that the book showed someone with the rope tied onto their harness, the inference is that they are both climbing a multipitch, and the guy at the bottom is already tied in as per normal. Tying into the loop made by the rope means that the belay device is kept away from a ‘busy area’, in other words it does not sit to one side or the other of the loop formed by the knot, and it is held forward of this area therefore making it more accessible and easier to use.

It does not assist in escaping the system in anyway whatsoever.
It does not add any dynanasism (made up word) to the rope in the event of a fall, well none that is noticeable enough to make a difference.
And the only people I ever hear referring to it as an ‘abseil loop’ are cavers, every climber I know, or have known, calls it a belay loop (Q? Does it matter.).

If you are indoors, or single pitch you’d use the belay loop.

And to end on a personal note. I would not go through the belay loop and the loop made by the knot at the time (as suggested by one poster earlier on). Reason, there may be the ever so slight chance that the Krab may be cross-loaded.
Southampton Tom 17 Jun 2008
Am i doing something wrong?
when i build a belay i tend to use the rope or slings/cordalette whatever to extend to my gear and back to me, clipping each peice into a big fat screwgate or 2. which is clipped onto the rope loop which runs through my harness just next to the belay loop. the rope loop is a similar size to my belay loop and just next to it. I don't see how belaying from one over the other makes it simpler or keeps you out of the way much. Also don't see how belaying from the rope loop makes it escapable. luckily i've never had to escape the system but i expect i would be able to improvise with prussics etc to take the load off the belay device. if you;re belaying from the rope loop surely escaping becomes very difficult as the whole belay 'comes to pieces' if you have to untie yourself from the rope?
Mr Lopez 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:
Food for thought:
If the leader must never tie in to the belay loop, how comes the other end of the safety line is?
Tom Helme 17 Jun 2008
The plot thickens... seems to be some very strong reasoning as to why NOT to clip directly to the belay/abseil loop, particularly on multi pitch routes. I will certainly be more careful in considering the advantages / disadvantages of each on future climbs.
pog100 17 Jun 2008
In reply to John_Hat:
> (In reply to Tom Helme)
>
> I'm guessing there's about to be 100 posts, 20 for one variant, 20 for another, 20 saying it doesn't matter and 40 stating that any of the previous 60 know nothing and they have been using one method or another for 40 years and never had an issue.

You don't need to guess. There are enough threads on exactly this subject to be able to do some very accurate statistical sampling and predict exactly how this tread will go!

sutty 17 Jun 2008
In reply to pog100:

It's groundhog day.
Tom Helme 17 Jun 2008
In reply to sutty:

Did do a few searches but couldn't see anything quite along these lines...apologies if its upset you
Wilbur 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

Through rope loop because

a) in the event of a fall the weight goes through the rope and not your harness meaning theoretically you wont get pulled all over the place

b) the rope is dynamic and so will lessen the forces

having said this i see no real problem with belaying through the abseil loop on your harness which i frequently do when sport climbing etc
nolo 17 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme: When belaying somebody from the bottom of a route, I would use the belay loop on my harness, but at the top, I would always use the loop created by my figure of eight, because the seconds weight falls on the anchor, not me. I once had a rather nasty experience at the BMC youth meet, when I had to top-rope some lad twice the weight of me on a route he spent 30 mins dangling around on, not very nice!

Mike
sutty 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

Not upset me, it is just it comes up rather a lot, when you have been here a while you will notice that, and the threads are often rather long.

Nolo has it about right, it really is use the method that suits the situation at the time.
Tom Helme 18 Jun 2008
In reply to sutty:

fair enough, I'll search harder in future. been extremely helpful though, a lot I hadn't considered before.
Mark Stevenson 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:
> Anyone any ideas?

As normal, people on UKC (and climbers generally) make things more complicated than needed.

IF YOU ARE ANCHORED TO THE ROCK (OR GROUND) WITH A ROPE YOU SHOULD BELAY FROM THE ROPE LOOP.

Conversely, in most other scenarios, using the belay loop is fine as that's what it's designed for - belaying without needing to have a rope loop in place.

HTH
John Berry 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:
> Ok, slightly confused after looking through a book recently - 'The Mountain Skills Training Handbook' by Hill and Johnston.
>
>> Is this one of those cases where both methods are acceptable? Only the authors seem adamant that you DO NOT clip to the belay loop.
>
> Anyone any ideas?
>
> Confused...

Try dropping the authors a line to see what their thinking is
jkarran 18 Jun 2008
In reply to John_Hat:

> I'm guessing there's about to be 100 posts, 20 for one variant, 20 for another, 20 saying it doesn't matter and 40 stating that any of the previous 60 know nothing and they have been using one method or another for 40 years and never had an issue.

lol... probably.

Right, I'll weigh in with a:

Tom: Do either, whichever you prefer, sometimes one is more convenient than the other. Both are safe (unless you're tied in with an un-stoppered bowline... I'm guessing you wouldn't do that).

1 down, 19 to go.

jk
<no fancy paper qualifications to wave but I'm not dead yet and I tend to follow my own advice>
Ian McNeill 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:
depends on 'personal choice' and 'experience' these are can be switched in order.

Only extended time climbing in a wide ranges of situations will you be able to settle on the best technique for the situation and route will suffice.

try them all on trad, sports, winter and alpine situations and you will be able to best judge for your self which method is appropriate for any given situation.

I personally favor rope loop for belaying as described, by Hill and Johnston, but I'm a MIA with a wide range of experiences and it allows me to swop over quickly on belays when instructing multi-pitch climbing, after I have lead the pitch and wish the second to take over the lead.

Consider the condition of the belay loop (tape) as it is exposed to lots of forces which may weaken it - unlike rope the working element is fully exposed to forces which may harm it ... so check it with care. Depending on frequency of use one day every month than it will last longer than daily use....

at the end of the day if in doubt sign up for a day with a knowledgeable instructor who can take you through all the pros and cons of everything concerned.

At the end of the day its your informed choice and no one else how you belay, but if you look unsafe and cant explain why you do what you do you may well end up having to buy a bouldering mat.... and give up on climing with other people.


hope that this helps....

IPPurewater 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Duncan_S:
> (In reply to ligemidio)
>
> I don't think that the tiny loop of rope (doubled) is going to be giving much "dynamism" compared with other parts of the system.

Duncan, it is the tightening of the knot which give the dynamic shock absorbtion. It is well worth doing on trad routes.
jas wood 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme: in my opinion through both rope loop and belay loop is best providing you are tied in of course. on single pitch i personally attach to belay loopafter all that,s what it is there for ! for a definitive answer consult your harness manual.
jas
Fidget 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

Others have already answered why to clip into the rope loops, but not sure if anyone has mentioned a disadvantage to this - if you untie the loops before removing various karabiners, it's easy to drop them! I've done this a few times (luckily managed to retrive it) as I tend to switch between which loop I attach to, and often forget which I've chosen.
Will Hunt 18 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Helme:

You want your belay to be as dynamic as possible. If you equalise the points of your belay with static slings and clip it directly to your belay loop and then clip your belay plate to your belay loop then the system is completely static (i.e. non stretchy). This means that all the force of a fall (apart from that absorbed by the climbers, harnesses, belay plate, rope etc) is placed onto the anchors of your belay. This is bad. In the event of a factor 2 fall (or a high factor fall) this results in a larger risk of the anchors ripping. If ropes have been used to equalise the belay then they will absorb some of the force and dissipate it by stretching. By clipping the belay plate through the loop created by tying in then this keeps the system as dynamic as possible. It also means that the force of a fall goes straight to your belay and not though you which makes it much comfier if your partner is going to repeatedly fall off a move. It also makes escaping the system easier which is important for when the shit really hits the fan.
Will Hunt 18 Jun 2008
In reply to cider nut:

Noooo! Dont untie while you're on the route you crazyface!
Will Hunt 18 Jun 2008
In reply to t_stork:
> (In reply to Tom Helme) best thing i was always told is to clip into both, cant go wrong if the crab is clipped to belay loop and rope.


Dont do this. Tis bad. It puts static in the system.

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