UKC

/ Running pitches together and falling

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
bedspring on 11 May 2017
I was climbing at the weekend and linking pitches as we were using 60m halves. I got to thinking later on that if I had fallen mid way up the second linked pich I would take quite a fall, what with rope stretch, just slack in the rope, me a meter or more above gear, falling what 8 or 10 mtrs very possible. Often the crux of a pitch is near the start, so could linking not be the best plan?
jkarran - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

> Often the crux of a pitch is near the start, so could linking not be the best plan?

Linking pitches where there are features or ledges and a fall a real possibility is often a very bad plan. If there aren't features to hit on the way down you probably aren't linking natural pitches. Falls are always *much* bigger than you expect, going 10m from feet at the gear 50m up wouldn't be at all surprising.
jk
bedspring on 11 May 2017
In reply to jkarran:

This is what I am thinking. I much prefer using 50m ropes, but so many people have a 60m I thought I would give it a go, but on reflection I will not again.
jkarran - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

> This is what I am thinking. I much prefer using 50m ropes, but so many people have a 60m I thought I would give it a go, but on reflection I will not again.

I really don't enjoy being a long way out from the belay, I hate rationing gear and I hate not knowing for sure where a fall will put me. Doesn't seem to either occur to or perhaps bother a lot of folk though. Each to their own.
jk
ModerateMatt - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:
Outdoors I have not noticed that crux's are usually at the start of a pitch, how convenient. Why are linking pitch's together any different from routes assigned long pitch's assuming no hazards are in your path?
Post edited at 15:46
d_b on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:
I have 60m ropes, but it is very rare for me to do anything close to a 60m pitch. I mainly like them for the extended abseil range.

Hitting ledges on rope stretch is something I worry about too.
Post edited at 15:52
Ron Rees Davies - on 11 May 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> I have 60m ropes...... I mainly like them for the extended abseil range.

Also for making belays where the anchors are a long way back from the top of the crag.

bedspring on 11 May 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

> Outdoors I have not noticed that crux's are usually at the start of a pitch, how convenient.


I said often, not usually, there is difference


Why are linking pitch's together any different from routes assigned long pitch's assuming no hazards are in your path?

Because may be climbing past belay ledges, which if you hit them when you fall, will hurt, a lot

1
Robert Durran - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

> This is what I am thinking. I much prefer using 50m ropes, but so many people have a 60m I thought I would give it a go, but on reflection I will not again.

I agree that I don't like to be on hard climbing for me (ie that I might realistically fall off on) really much more that 30m out, but the advantage of 60m ropes is that you can sometimes climb longer pitches and reach belays on easy ground or run a harder pitch into an easier one to save time. Having said that, I don't think that 60m ropes offer any real advantage on UK rock (I don't use them). They come into their own in winter or on alpine climbs.
Robert Durran - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

> Why are linking pitch's together any different from routes assigned long pitch's assuming no hazards are in your path?

I would struggle to think of any UK rock climbs with the technical pitches longer than 50m and very few longer than 40m even.
bedspring on 11 May 2017
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

> Also for making belays where the anchors are a long way back from the top of the crag.

Bogus, a 50m is plenty enough, and that would only be likely to happen right at the top on a Multi Pitch, then you can untie, fasten end with a fig 8 to anchor, then walk back (or use belay device) to edge and clove hitch in.
3
nniff - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:
I think a lot of people underestimate how far they will fall on a trad route - perhaps a function of clipping bolts indoors, with little rope out, in a nice straight line and bolts every few feet.

I spoke to someone leading an route adjacent to me last year and suggested that they were looking at something close to a ground fall from 60 feet up, based on fairky sketchy, zig-zaggy gear, some bulges and a belayer with a large amount of slack out. The physical prowess but poor gear suggested sport climber having a go at trad. The response was that they were comfortable with a lot of slack because they didn't like slamming into the wall. No chance of that, I thought to myself. One can but try.
Post edited at 15:59
1
Toerag - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

It's also not a great idea on sport routes - A couple I know did that in Kalymnos a couple of years ago because they had an 80m rope. The seconder fell off halfway up the first pitch and really struggled to get back on because they fell so far on the rope stretch.
ModerateMatt - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:
> I said often, not usually, there is difference

My point was that rock was formed randomly, at least in rock climbing terms. Therefor they are as often at the bottom as they are everywhere else.

>"Why are linking pitch's together any different from routes assigned long pitch's assuming no hazards are in your path?" Because may be climbing past belay ledges, which if you hit them when you fall, will hurt, a lot

You quoted what I said but apparenly didn't read it. By your measure are ledges not hazards? Ledges were included in my list of hazards.
Post edited at 16:59
1
bedspring on 11 May 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

Whatever.
12
Luke90 on 11 May 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

The rock might have been formed "randomly" but the rock was split up into pitches by design so your argument against his suggestion isn't as cast iron as you seem to think. It's entirely possible that climbers might be more likely to put in a belay a little before a crux section.
Luke90 on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Really interesting thread, this.

I often link a couple of pitches together at crags like Wildcat where you can get straight to the top by skipping one belay. I guess I knew in theory that any potential fall would be longer but I can't say I'd really considered it properly. Might think more carefully next time I'm anywhere near my limit.
Cake on 11 May 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

Matt, you need to be more moderate. What Luke90 wrote is correct
Dan Arkle - on 11 May 2017
In reply to:
I love running pitches together. With a competent team and the right terrain it saves loads of time, so we can do more climbing.

There are many downsides, most have been mentioned but here are a few more:
-communication is likely to be a lot more difficult.
-protect the second; unless the rope is tight the second may be effectively soloing the first few metres.

Post edited at 17:26
ModerateMatt - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Yeah that may well be true. I think in general more belays are in the easiest postion or the most comfortable as aposed to just below a crux. By virtue of my thinking the crux being close to a nice ledge is as likely as anywhere else.
TobyA on 11 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

Really? That's odd considering how experienced you are. Being 30 mtrs out means your runners are all safer because the fall factors will be small. It's? definitely something you are conscious of on ice climbs using screws.
1
ModerateMatt - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Cake:

Feeling a little severe today. He's not wrong.
GrahamD - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Case by case for me. Nowhere near 60m but I tend to try to run Swanage pitches together (60 m to the belay usually ). Usually what stops me on trad is rope drag.
Bulls Crack - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Luke90:

> The rock might have been formed "randomly" but the rock was split up into pitches by design so your argument against his suggestion isn't as cast iron as you seem to think. It's entirely possible that climbers might be more likely to put in a belay a little before a crux section.

They'd make a ledge?!!
Robert Durran - on 11 May 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> Really? That's odd considering how experienced you are. Being 30 mtrs out means your runners are all safer because the fall factors will be small.

Yes, but the point is that you have to weigh that against the surprising distance you fall. Fine if it's a clean fall, but on the sort of routes that I and other punters are mostly on, it's more often than not a serious consideration. It's also maybe worth noting that max force is proportional to the square root of the fall factor, do you get diminishing returns with every metre of rope out.

Michael Gordon - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

>Having said that, I don't think that 60m ropes offer any real advantage on UK rock (I don't use them).

Maybe more useful than running pitches together is retreat options. It's definitely not uncommon for 60m abseils to reach the ground but not 50m, or on a multipitch less abseils being needed. I would usually try and take 60m ropes if doing hard (for me) multipitches.

Luke90 on 11 May 2017
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Lots of multipitch routes have alternative potential belay positions that aren't used, either because there are more ledges than needed or because not every belay even has to be on a ledge.

Look, I'm not suggesting that there's any strong pattern in the position of cruxes, they appear all over the place and sometimes where you least expect the buggers! I just argued against Matt's overly strong assertion that there CANNOT POSSIBLY be a pattern because the rock is random. All kinds of human decisions go into line choice and belay positions so I don't think we can rule out the existence of some trends.
bedspring on 11 May 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Yes on Sunday I did 2 which probably ran to maybe 50 mtrs, one was straight up with only 3 or 4 runners in the first 30m easy pitch, then as I started the second an the crag steepened I put in multi directional runners to keep the rope tight to the crag, but there would still be a load of rope stretch. But the one that got me thinking was another that was 30ish mtrs of easy ground running at an angle, then 18m of "adequately" protected climbing straight up of a wide ledge. Looking back I was unwise, and its no point me thinking I do not fall off that stuff , I would not dream of soloing it, but in retrospect, thats what I think I did
jonnie3430 - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> I love running pitches together. With a competent team and the right terrain it saves loads of time, so we can do more climbing.

Me too, I reckon pitch length and position came from olden times of hemp ropes and body belays. Far more efficient to run it out to near the end of a pair of 60's and stick in a belay. It's different if you think you're going to fall, but if you don't the gear is just for accidents, so it's to stop bad injuries and death. I'd be surprised by a 10m fall with 45m rope out and gear at my feet though.

Better than running pitches together is moving together, you can get 4-5 pitches done before a belay to swap gear; bliss! Already looking forward to the invention that removes ropes from climbing ;-)
ModerateMatt - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Luke90:

Luke read back what I've said. By my bias point of view I wasn't being overly strong, and at no point did I say (in all caps) that there CANNOT POSSIBLY be a pattern.

This is what i said on the topic:

"Outdoors I have not noticed that crux's are usually at the start of a pitch, how convenient."
"My point was that rock was formed randomly, at least in rock climbing terms. Therefor they are as often at the bottom as they are everywhere else."


petestack - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I would struggle to think of any UK rock climbs with the technical pitches longer than 50m and very few longer than 40m even.

We used the full length of our 60m ropes on Time Lord and maybe Indian Slab in Glen Gour... great VS climbing, but long ropes useful given a general lack of protection and poor belays. So not so much a case of notional pitch length as where you're prepared to stop.

http://www.petestack.com/blog/not-over-protected-in-glen-gour.html
Misha - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:
I love linking pitches but you have to be conscious of the falling possibilities. Somewhere like High Tor is a good example - some 50m pitches if linked and steep so falling off is generally ok.
bedspring on 11 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

> I love linking pitches but you have to be conscious of the falling possibilities.

I feel I have learned something here.

Kevster - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

I'd agree, if I can link pitches, I will. I have 70m half ropes that I'll take to some crags, like high tor, or baggy point, knowing there's some 60m pitches.
I like climbing, though setting up and belaying is fun, it's not as good as getting in the zone and climbing.

Falling, though possible, isn't a frequent event when linking pitches. Not many will push their grade and double up the pitches too, that'd be daft and optomistic.
Distance fallen does get bigger, I know this, and have fallen lots of meters when not that far above the gear, if the fall out is safe, no problem. I can think of many routes with single pitches which offer a pin ball descent too.

Often, the pitches aren't long anyway, so running 2 together isn't a biggie

Anyway, rambled on. +1 for running pitches together.
Ade in Sheffield - on 11 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Grades, your experience and locale would give context (in absence of a truthful/ actual profile), and hence more useful insight into your point of view.
What route did you do on Sunday, what grade do you and your partner normally climb etc, etc....
Then, responses may be be more relevant and helpful ?
Robert Durran - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Maybe more useful than running pitches together is retreat options. It's definitely not uncommon for 60m abseils to reach the ground but not 50m, or on a multipitch less abseils being needed.

I shall reply despite your use of "multipitch" as a single word and as a noun...... Aaaargh..... ;-)

Yes, a good point, though unlikely to be more than convenient on UK rock.
Toerag - on 12 May 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

> Outdoors I have not noticed that crux's are usually at the start of a pitch, how convenient.

I have. I think this is because the first ascensionist got there and thought "ooo I don't like this! I know, I'll stop here and let my mate try it "
Offwidth - on 12 May 2017
In reply to ModerateMatt:

There are several reasons why older lower grade routes have crux sections just off a belay. In the old days spotting was common and early belay styles favoured smaller falls (spotting on routes is a declining art, whereas low runners, that are often useless in anything other than adding rope drag, proliferate) so you want a belay spotter at or close to you, or the belayer close so they don't lose their skin and drop you if you fall. Next up, ledges are dirty so the moves immediately off a ledge are the most prone to polish on a route (more so on any crux such situated). Finally many ledges where belays were available were belays so the climbing bits were not average they were average of the bits without most of the ledges.
1
beardy mike - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Not bogus at all. At my local crag, Fairy Caves Quarry, I remember getting to the top of a single pitch route which is 40m long and the only belay being 15m back from the cliff edge. I ended up piling up rocks, slinging them and sitting down to take a belay. Again, on multipitch winter climbs it seems almost inevitable that you get to 50m from the belay just as you reach the cornice. Sure you can take a belay underneath a cornice and the hack away at it or you could posityion your belay well out of the way and further down and use an extra 10m to execute the exit more safely. As for linking pitches, if I get to a crux pitch and am worried about hitting a ledge, then I'll take a belay. If not, then I carry on through. I guess it's about having the flexability to climb as you please. But by all means, use a 50m rope - it's what suits you best.
Exile - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

> Yes on Sunday I did 2 which probably ran to maybe 50 mtrs, one was straight up with only 3 or 4 runners in the first 30m easy pitch, then as I started the second an the crag steepened I put in multi directional runners to keep the rope tight to the crag, but there would still be a load of rope stretch. But the one that got me thinking was another that was 30ish mtrs of easy ground running at an angle, then 18m of "adequately" protected climbing straight up of a wide ledge. Looking back I was unwise, and its no point me thinking I do not fall off that stuff , I would not dream of soloing it, but in retrospect, thats what I think I did

That's very reflective and really made me think too.
1
Robert Durran - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Of course the 50m versus 60m debate is really pretty arbitrary. When I started climbing it soon went from 45m to 50m and ropes used to be typically 100ft, about 30m (another reason for many routes having quite short pitches). Ropes have gradually got longer. The interesting question is how far this will continue. At what point does a longer rope clearly become daft?
Oliver Smaje on 12 May 2017
In reply to jonnie3430:

> Already looking forward to the invention that removes ropes from climbing ;-)

This? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MubrSXdjjQ

bedspring on 12 May 2017
In reply to beardy mike:

> Not bogus at all. At my local crag, Fairy Caves Quarry, I remember getting to the top of a single pitch route which is 40m long and the only belay being 15m back from the cliff edge. I ended up piling up rocks, slinging them and sitting down to take a belay. Again, on multipitch winter climbs it seems almost inevitable that you get to 50m from the belay just as you reach the cornice. Sure you can take a belay underneath a cornice and the hack away at it or you could posityion your belay well out of the way and further down and use an extra 10m to execute the exit more safely. As for linking pitches, if I get to a crux pitch and am worried about hitting a ledge, then I'll take a belay. If not, then I carry on through. I guess it's about having the flexability to climb as you please. But by all means, use a 50m rope - it's what suits you best.

For UK Summer Rock you do not need anything longer than a 50 m. Obviously there will be the odd exception, as in your example, and in that case you would indeed need to untie as I suggested as a 60m is not really long enough, but I would expect such outliers to be clearly marked in the guidebook. People have 60m ropes because they winter climb and or climb abroad where they are useful, and they would rather not buy a 50m as well which is fair enough.
bedspring on 12 May 2017
In reply to Ade in Sheffield:

> Grades, your experience and locale would give context (in absence of a truthful/ actual profile), and hence more useful insight into your point of view.What route did you do on Sunday, what grade do you and your partner normally climb etc, etc....Then, responses may be be more relevant and helpful ?

JKarran succintly answered my question in the second posting, we are just shooting the breeze now. But your suggestion is valid, thanks
jonnie3430 - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Don't forget that most of the cragging routes in the UK are fairly short, so one 60m half rope, doubled over does you fine. You don't need a pair of fifties and can swap the half you are using until winter comes, or you get some decent sized mountain routes in.
jonnie3430 - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Oliver Smaje:

Poor internet here, is this the video of the guy bouldering around with a mat hanging below him?
bedspring on 12 May 2017
In reply to jonnie3430:
I hate doubled ropes, in fact I think they are potentially dangerous, they can confuse the belayer and climber at at moment of stress this could be catastrophic.
I have,
60m Sport
60m Half
50m Half
Pair 30m Halves

Like a scene from indiana jones under our bed, a snake pit
Post edited at 16:51
1
Luke90 on 12 May 2017
In reply to jonnie3430:

Good guess, but no, it's Black Diamond's advert for their HonnSolo pack. It's a small rucksack to wear while soloing that inflates into a huge boulder pad if you fall. Launched very early in April.
beardy mike - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Alright, in that case for summer trad you hardly ever need something longer than 40m as in the vast majority of cases pitches are no longer then 30m and very rarely longer than 40m. Especially on Grit where you could get by for an entire climbing career with a 30m rope. What's your point? I really fail to see how the length of your rope has anything to do with your decision making process. If you feel you want the comfort of a belay close by, then bring your second up and get him to belay. 60m ropes have their place and your point is valid about rope stretch, but like everything in this game you take your choice based on what's happening. Like you, I don't much like doubles apart from when the route requires a very weaving line. But they all have their good points and bad points. I used to have a 50 and 60m double just like you so I could use the 60 to build my belay with and still be able to climb a 50m pitch...
Misha - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Kevster:

Agree, a lot of the time it's two 15-20m pitches so not mega long to link and as you say you wouldn't normally do it when pushing the grade, so unlikely to fall off.
bensilvestre - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

The question if whether its okay to link pitches or not (which is precisely what the OP asked) is basically one of those questions that reads 'can i apply one rule to all situations' and the answer (to the latter) is obviously no. As i've said many times climbing is risk assesment first and climbing second, all routes are different and going in with a one size fits all attitude both limits experience on the one hand and creates unnecessarily dangerous situations on the other. Personally i love being a long way from the belay, in fact i think climbing only really starts getting interesting 10-15 m out and more so the further out you are, but id never link two pitches at my limit in a dangerous situation just because i wanted the exposure
Ade in Sheffield - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:

10m fall on an E2 is probably going to end differently to a similar length fall on a V. Diff, but this is more implicit than explicit it Jame's post ?
bensilvestre - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:
My post was supposed to say isnt what the OP asked but cant see the edit post button
Post edited at 22:58
andrewmc - on 12 May 2017
In reply to bedspring:
The extra friction (rope drag) means that the effect of extra rope length on fall distance due to stretch is less than expected (yes, you will fall nearly all of that distance eventually, but more slowly). How much so will, like all things, depend.

Finally, part of the reason that you don't 'need' 60m on UK trad is, as others have said, because the belays are placed in accordance with current rope trends (i.e. 50m). Routes often used to have twice as many belays (every 30 ft or so) as they do today. I have done a four pitch route in a single pitch on 60m ropes (albeit without putting too much gear in! Route B (HVD) )
Post edited at 23:09

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.