/ Top/Bottom Belay Gear

notaverygoodclimber on 05 May 2017

Hi,

I recently got a taste of outdoor climbing and it hasn't in any way put me off. In fact I'd like to do more of it.

To start my partner and I off I think we'd like to stick to crags that are accessible from the top, have defined anchors such as rocks that can be slinged, stakes etc, anchor from there and either belay from the top or the bottom.

What would constitute a versatile amount of gear for rigging anchors at the top whilst keeping initial costs down? I, unfortunately, do not have a full trad rack at present and would like to avoid an initial splash out of cash on gear. Ultimately any gear recommended initially I would also like to see be usable further on down the line when, say, I do own a full trad rack when I venture into other types of outdoor climbing.

We currently have (really in essence a basic kit out for indoor climbing):
- 2 harnesses
- 2 pairs of shoes
- 2 chalk bags
- 2 screw gate carabiners
- 2 belay plates
- 2 helmets
- 1 50m rope

What I think we need:
- A number of screw gate carabiners
- A number of slings
- A length of static rope
- A length of accessory cord

Obviously I can't say what would be good and what would be bad and as a result would appreciate and value your opinion(s) and recommendations.

Thanks in advance!
Post edited at 11:40
slab_happy on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

> What I think we need:- A number of screw gate carabiners- A number of slings- A length of static rope

Sounds pretty good!

I'd suggest adding a basic set of nuts fairly soon. The Wild Country Rocks and DMM Wallnuts seem to be the most popular, and a set of the "Classic Rocks" (the non-anodized ones) can be bought for £40-something.

That will hugely expand the number of routes you can rig anchors on, as well as being a core part of a trad rack later.

Also, a copy of Libby Peter's book "Rock Climbing: Essential Skill and Techniques".
Kirill - on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

If you belay from the top rather than from the bottom, you can just use the end of your 50 m rope. That way you already have all you need. If you want to belay from the bottom then you're right - a length of static rope would be useful.
Greasy Prusiks on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

Sounds a pretty good list to me, as for companies personally I'd recommend DMM and Wildcountry.

I'd also recommend a rope protector for the top of the crag, (a bit of old carpet works well).

More importantly make sure you've got the knowledge to set up an equalised anchor!
slab_happy on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:
> A length of accessory cord

What are you planning to use that for? "Prusiks" would be the usual answer, and I'm not sure why you'd need those in a situation where you're top-roping at a crag where you can easily access the top, etc..

Accessory cord is not normally something you'd use for building anchors, as I understand it.
Post edited at 12:09
SuperLee1985 - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Kirill:
I used to use this method for building quick anchors, but have since stopped as looping my ropes around boulders seemed to cause them to wear out much quicker due to them being dragged around the rock and getting caught in pinch points. I now just use a 480 or 240 sling for everything.

Another thing to be wary of if using a 50m rope and belaying from the bottom - check the height of the route and tie and knot in the end of your rope. you don't want to be dropping your partner on the lower off.
Post edited at 12:19
slab_happy on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

Also:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/buying-climbing-equipment-gear-online

I very strongly recommend buying your gear from a reputable climbing/outdoors shop, whether in person or off their website (off the top of my head, Needlesports, V12, Outside and Bananafingers all provide great service, and there are all the obvious chains like Cotswolds and Ellis Brigham). This is not the time to try to save money by buying stuff off eBay.
brianjcooper on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

You've had some sensible responses to your OP. Just go out and enjoy yourselves, and read Libby's book.

Tip: Don't hog routes with top ropes on popular days like weekends.
Andy Long - on 05 May 2017
In reply to brianjcooper:

> You've had some sensible responses to your OP. Just go out and enjoy yourselves, and read Libby's book.Tip: Don't hog routes with top ropes on popular days like weekends.

And start leading pronto!
brianjcooper on 05 May 2017
In reply to Andy Long:
> And start leading pronto!

Give them a chance to learn. Leading and protection are acquired skills and take time to master.
Post edited at 12:57
krikoman - on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

Ditch the chalk, you don't need it
notaverygoodclimber on 05 May 2017
In reply to slab_happy:
> What are you planning to use that for? "Prusiks" would be the usual answer, and I'm not sure why you'd need those in a situation where you're top-roping at a crag where you can easily access the top, etc..Accessory cord is not normally something you'd use for building anchors, as I understand it.

I'm probably going to show my novice-ness here however I'd rather see myself tied in using a prusik at the top whilst setting up the static anchor than not/nothing at all.

> Sounds pretty good!I'd suggest adding a basic set of nuts fairly soon. The Wild Country Rocks and DMM Wallnuts seem to be the most popular, and a set of the "Classic Rocks" (the non-anodized ones) can be bought for £40-something.That will hugely expand the number of routes you can rig anchors on, as well as being a core part of a trad rack later.Also, a copy of Libby Peter's book "Rock Climbing: Essential Skill and Techniques".

Actually I have the book beside me here! It totally took me by surprise how detailed and indepth it actually is. Got it cheap too from Go Outdoors which was a bonus. I also bought the DVD and I am waiting on it arriving.

> Also:https://www.thebmc.co.uk/buying-climbing-equipment-gear-onlineI very strongly recommend buying your gear from a reputable climbing/outdoors shop, whether in person or off their website (off the top of my head, Needlesports, V12, Outside and Bananafingers all provide great service, and there are all the obvious chains like Cotswolds and Ellis Brigham). This is not the time to try to save money by buying stuff off eBay.

Not to worry this doesn't sit well with me at all. A work colleague was offering me a complete rack for £300. Whilst it is inviting I'd rather start and learn from my mistakes buying my own equipment that's new.
Post edited at 13:12
notaverygoodclimber on 05 May 2017
In reply to SuperLee1985:

> I used to use this method for building quick anchors, but have since stopped as looping my ropes around boulders seemed to cause them to wear out much quicker due to them being dragged around the rock and getting caught in pinch points. I now just use a 480 or 240 sling for everything.Another thing to be wary of if using a 50m rope and belaying from the bottom - check the height of the route and tie and knot in the end of your rope. you don't want to be dropping your partner on the lower off.

I'm not keen on putting my rope around boulders hence the wanting to purchase slings. Even though rope is probably the next disposable thing to chalk I'd still like to get the most life out of my rope as is possible - they're not cheap!

Thanks for the heads up though SuperLee1985!
Greasy Prusiks on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

> I'm probably going to show my novice-ness here however I'd rather see myself tied in using a prusik at the top whilst setting up the static anchor than not/nothing at all.

That sounds a little concerning. What are you tieing into using a prussik?
notaverygoodclimber on 05 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

> That sounds a little concerning. What are you tieing into using a prussik?

As in when setting up a static rope anchor for top roping. Prusik onto the existing static rope which is already attached onto an anchor into a carabiner and then onto my harness when near to the edge of the top of the route. Say to attach the actual climbing rope through the two carabiners. Is this not recommended?
Greasy Prusiks on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

False alarm! Sorry I thought were doing something else.

Just be aware it's questionable whether a prussik would stop you if you did fall on it, don't let it give you false confidence.

Anyway have fun out there.
notaverygoodclimber on 05 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

> False alarm! Sorry I thought were doing something else. Just be aware it's questionable whether a prussik would stop you if you did fall on it, don't let it give you false confidence. Anyway have fun out there.

Of course and I thank you for your concern.
Heatybob - on 05 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:
"I'm not keen on putting my rope around boulders hence the wanting to purchase slings. Even though rope is probably the next disposable thing to chalk I'd still like to get the most life out of my rope as is possible - they're not cheap!"

I dont think Kirill meant putting your rope around boulders" I think he means to build the anchors at the top and then tie into them,Its in Libbys book and on the dvd. I'm in a similar position to you,difference is I bought a static rope before I was aware of the technique mentioned.
Have fun and stay safe dude.

PS bit bone I know but how do you post quotes from previous posts?
Post edited at 16:13
djwilse - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:
> False alarm! Sorry I thought were doing something else. Just be aware it's questionable whether a prussik would stop you if you did fall on it, don't let it give you false confidence. Anyway have fun out there.

Does that explain the origin of your username? ; )

Greasy Prusiks on 05 May 2017
In reply to djwilse:

Hahaha thankfully not!

The origin is being told (mid pitch and minus a few expletives) that my beta is as much use as a greasey prussik.
NoddyBoulder on 05 May 2017
In reply to Heatybob:

>PS bit bone I know but how do you post quotes from previous posts?

Use the "Quote original" button above the reply box, and edit to remove the bits you don't want
springfall2008 - on 11 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

I quite like a thick long nylon sling for setting top ropes, often to run over edges.

More screwgates is indeed an obvious one, in theory you should never depend on a single screwgate for your anchor setup (many people might risk it but don't esp as a novice).

To cut costs you could find an old climbing rope and cut it down instead of your static rope.

Finally, get yourself a sling on your harness with a screwgate on the end (cows tails) and when you are near the edge attach yourself to the anchor using the screwgate and not just via a prusik. Take care not to shock load any static rope/slings.

Have fun

radddogg - on 12 May 2017
In reply to notaverygoodclimber:

Whereabouts are you? Are there any clubs you can join? Most have a Facebook page. They will help with paying on experience and maybe old gear.

Outdoor gear exchange is a group on Facebook where you can get second hand gear for cheap.
andrewmc - on 12 May 2017
In reply to springfall2008:

> I quite like a thick long nylon sling for setting top ropes, often to run over edges.

Often handy, but slings are heavily weakened by abrasion. Ropes are still mostly OK until you burn through the sheath (they are remarkably tough). The correct answer is of course multiple independent strands (which a single sling only provides with appropriate knots) not running over an unprotected edge - either get rope protectors or stick a backpack etc. under the rope on the edge.

> in theory you should never depend on a single screwgate for your anchor setup (many people might risk it but don't esp as a novice).

What theory? Single screwgate in an anchor is fine (that's what many climbing walls use, after all) if appropriate (i.e. not running over an edge, not in a position it will rub against rock and unscrew, the right way up so that gravity closes rather than opens the gate)...

> To cut costs you could find an old climbing rope and cut it down instead of your static rope.

So use a bit of old skanky stretch rope rather than £10-£30 of nice new static rope? Static rope will (for the diameters people normally buy) have better abrasion resistance than dynamic rope, and more important you don't get loads of stretch

> Finally, get yourself a sling on your harness with a screwgate on the end (cows tails) and when you are near the edge attach yourself to the anchor using the screwgate and not just via a prusik. Take care not to shock load any static rope/slings.Have fun

Agreed where possible. Often you have a 'safety line' (first leg of your anchor) coming from well back and you want to approach the edge (to put more gear in, arrange edge protection etc). Using a prussik is much less safe than say 'pretend abseiling' across the top of the crag but 'safe enough' if you aren't planning on hurling yourself off the edge - you use the prussik to stop you falling over the edge rather than expecting it to stop you if you do.
springfall2008 - on 13 May 2017
In reply to andrewmc:

> Often handy, but slings are heavily weakened by abrasion. Ropes are still mostly OK until you burn through the sheath (they are remarkably tough). The correct answer is of course multiple independent strands (which a single sling only provides with appropriate knots) not running over an unprotected edge

Yes I'd agree, which is why I prefer the thick nylon ones to thing dyneema for top ropes, and would use multiple strands equalised and independent.

>What theory? Single screwgate in an anchor is fine (that's what many climbing walls use, after all) if appropriate (i.e. not running over an edge, not in a position it will rub against rock and unscrew, the right way up so that gravity closes rather than opens the gate)...

The theory that anchor setups should never depend on a single piece of gear. It's normally human error that causes the failure e.g. didn't close the gate, didn't put the screwgate on the right bit of rope etc.

The climbing centres I have been too would never use a normal light climbing screwgate as they wear out very quickly and tend to abraid the rope as they get sharp. They might use a very heavyweight one but normally it's rings or two back to back clips.

>So use a bit of old skanky stretch rope rather than £10-£30 of nice new static rope?

Unless you are a long way back from the edge the stretch isn't that much and it depends what you mean by skanky, I agree it needs to be safe to use and not discarded as it's worn out.
springfall2008 - on 13 May 2017
Rock to Fakey - on 13 May 2017
In reply to andrewmc:

> Single screwgate in an anchor........ the right way up so that gravity closes rather than opens the gate).


Just figured out what you mean when i was near the end of typing next para...
You mean so the screw mech turned by a combination of gravity and vibration, if the crab is orientated with the gate catch at the lower end, gravity reduces unusual factors that could unscrew it, whereas if the catch was uppermost, such factors plus gravity could unscrew it.

I was thinking about a biner that was not screwed locked before + wondering how gravity might open a sprung gate!.....
Supposing the spring on a carabiner was knackered, or weak, can you really orientate a crab the right way to prevent gravity opening the gate... the carabiner would need to be in a crossloaded orientation with the gate parallel to the ground, but that's not a safe way around!

But yes i suppose you can, with a knackered spring, which must be very rare?, imagine a snap gate rather than screwgate, when hung with the catch uppermost the gate falls shut, but gate catch down, it would be slightly open, although perhaps even without spring there is some metal to metal that holds it shut... but its not that often a biner stays in a perfect vertical orientation, as you climb + rope tugs it.