/ Bringing up a Second and Third on a Scramble

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bowls - on 09 Oct 2012
If on a hard scramble/easy climb when the leader is happy to solo, but has a nervous second and third is a valid way to bring them up/get them to tie on as follows:

1.) The leader ties onto the rope and the last man ties onto the rope as normal with a fig of 8
2.) The Second (Middle man) ties onto the rope a few metres up from the last man as follows:
- A bight of rope is threaded through the harness through the normal tying on loops
- This is then tied off in a bowline and the loop clipped through the belay loop on the harness to act as a stopper knot

I appreciate there are many variations and other ways of doing this (and apologies if this has been covered before), but in the principle of using a single rope and belaying a second and third up at the same time would this sounds relatively sound?

Neil Williams - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to bowls:

It does mean that if the third falls they'll pull the second off, no? Perhaps better to belay them separately on the two ends of the rope if long enough?

Also not sure if the tie-in for the second is a bit overcomplicated... fig 8 on a bight clipped to their belay loop not easier? (I might be missing the point though).

razzorbuzz - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to bowls: I generally don't wear a harness scrambling. I would climb up as mentioned then tie a Figure 8 as a stopper knot for a Double Fisherman. I can then lower this "loop" down the the nervous 2nd (and then third) who I will then body or block belay to my stance.

The best/easiest way (for short sections) to tie a man in-to the middle rope would be to use an Alpine Butterfly and then clip this to the harness. You could also use a Figure of 8 threaded the way you mentioned. It takes quite a lot of skill/practice to move together on a rope without wanting to keep pulling each other other so you may find for nervous climbers it would be better to move them individually, though remember this is less efficient and your time on the scramble will take considerably longer

There are a lot of variations for moving to "clients over steep terrain" so sometimes its a question of what works best for you/ the situation at the time.

Hope that helps
rocky57 - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to bowls)
>... fig 8 on a bight clipped to their belay loop not easier?
An Alpine Butterfly would be better.

bowls - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to razzorbuzz:

I guess the scenario is that for pretty much for all of a grade 3 scamble one of my friends/both of my friends will want to be on the end of a rope, so I would probably anticipating going ahead and then setting up a belay to bring them both up.

I am wary of just clipping the middle guy through a karabiner, since I have heard this could be dangerous, i.e. shock loading the harness, although with a dynamic rope this should be partially absorbed by the rope?

birdman - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to bowls:

Fairly standard practice in the Alps when short roping / doing short pitches with 2 seconds is for the middle person to tie on a few meters from the end using an overhand knot to isolate a bite or rope. tie a second overhand knot a few inches away from first knot, thread bite of rope through harness as per usual and then rethread the overhand knot, clipping loop back to the harness.

Jack B on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to bowls:

It sounds OK, the knot should be sound, if a bit bulky.

One potential problem is that if #3 falls, he will pull #2 off the rock.
This problem can be mostly avoided using an 'isolation loop'. The bottom part of this diagram: shows what I mean. I think the diagram originally came from a Petzl article on glacier travel, but it works for scrambling too.

The top part of that diagram shows an ingenious way of quickly and securely attaching #2 to the rope, though it would probably be hard to undo if the rest of the rope (#1->#3) is weighted. I don't think there's any harm in attaching #2 with an overhand on the bight + screwgate.
Jack B on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Jack B:

That is to say, an overhand on the bight at the end of the loop, and an alpine butterfly to make the loop.
Jim Walton on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to bowls: 1) 3rd man ties on to end of rope using fig eight.
2) Measure 2 full armfuls along rope.
3) Tie a big Overhand knot (or and Alpine butterfly, but it is a harder knot to tie). Loop wants to be about 1.5m.
4) In the big loop, tie a 2nd overhand knot about 150mm up from the 1st knot. This creates a small loop between the two overhand knots, known as an "isolation loop".
5) 2nd man know tie into the rope by threading the long loop through his harness and re-thread through the 2nd overhand knot.
6) Measure out about 12 full armfuls along the rope and tie a little marker knot.
7) Leader ties on to other end of rope using fig 8.
8) Leader coils rope around shoulder until he gets to his marker knot.
9) Tie coils off. There should now be about 15m between leader and 2nd.
10) Short rope till your heart is content.

The distance between the 2nd and the 3rd man should be a length that they can't kick each other.

This method of roping up is quite hard to explain in the written word, much easier to show. Scrambling is great fun and if short roping is carried out competently then it can be just as fast as moving together and certainly much faster than pitching and bringing up seconds individually. It does however require a HUGE amount of judgement on Belay methods and anchor selection. Looking after 2 seconds on mountainous terrain can be quite daunting and it might be worth your while hiring an MIA for the day to show you the principles. For example I haven't mention putting a rope reservoir on the 3rd climber as sometimes it is useful to increase the distance between 2nd and 3rd on more technical sections.

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