/ Belay weight ratios

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L Hali on 14 May 2017
Good evening, I've started bouldering with a new partner and we are looking at doing some ropes climbing; indoor and sport routes only. Thing is I am 63kg and he is 115kg. I am an experienced belayer and climber and likely to do the majority of the leading as he is newer to the sport.
I'm not a fan of ground anchors as I like to be able to move around plus some of the routes we are looking at won't have any anchor points that I can see.
Is this too big a weight ratio? Any tips?
Alpenglow - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Hali:

Does your local wall have a sandbag?

You might want to look into getting an extra grippy belay device to increase the friction if you don't already have one - look for the ones with 'teeth' or grooves (e.g Black Diamond ATC-XP/Petzl Verso/DMM Mantis)
Keiran.A - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Hali:

you can still have some (all be it limited) mobility with ground anchors. other wise if you belaying him whilst top roping an option would be to put a twist in the your ropes, you'd be surprised how much extra holding power that can give.

if he's ever up for leading you could check out the Edelrid Ohm. it's a friction device that the leader places on the first bolt with reduces the force on the belayer in lead falls, I thing your ratios may be outside the recommended range for this device but it still might help.k x
BrendanO - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Keiran.A:

+1 for putting twist (s) in the rope - makes a huge difference, experiment with different amounts of twisting. Some walls don't like this I am told, but have yet to find one that doesn't.
Rich Ellis - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Hali:

yes , ground anchor or two sandbags , or things are likely to end badly for you .
twisting ropes leads to large amounts of heat generated which can be bad for ropes and won`t overcome nearly double your weight difference. which can be tricky with a fall or big drop .
Cusco - on 15 May 2017
In reply to BrendanO:

Is twisting to increase friction unsafe and/or bad or potentially so for longevity of ropes due to nylon rubbing against nylon with friction and heat?

Just seems a odd concept to me (particularly knowing how hot a fast moving nylon rope gets having suffered serious rope burns to my hand once).
MFB - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Hali:

https://www.greggs.co.uk/bakes

These should even things up
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Hali:

That is quite a difference. I'm 100kg and my son is 60kg. Using an ATC locking isn't an issue.

But you will need to be tied down. Unless its sport hem you can use the Edelrid thing mentioned above. I know people prefer to be able to move around but I think everyone accepts that you can't on multi pitch

To give you an idea of what to expect I took a fall at the wall whilst leading. Not a huge one as the bolts aren't that far apart. My son was tied to a 40kg bag. The force was enough to lift him and the bag off the ground. He and the bag landed in a pile on the spare rope. It took quite a time to for my son to move the bag off slack so he could stand up and lower me. All very funny on the wall but a real big whipper outside with a light untied belayer would be serious
SteveD - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:

Its not an issue with twisting the ropes, as both sides are moving so it's not the same as one rope moving over another static rope.

It makes almost no difference when taking in and only comes into effect when the rope is loaded, it is very effective.

Steve
Cusco - on 15 May 2017
In reply to SteveD:

If you say so.

But I have refused and will continue to refuse to allow anyone to belay me like that indoors or outdoors. And it's only something I have seen happening before in the last year.
CasWebb - on 15 May 2017
In reply to SteveD:

Both ropes may be moving hut they may not be moving at the same rate or even in the same direction so friction could still occur. Never heard of doing this deliberately and wonder if anybody has done any formal testing, DMM for instance.
jimtitt - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:

> If you say so. But I have refused and will continue to refuse to allow anyone to belay me like that indoors or outdoors. And it's only something I have seen happening before in the last year.

It´ s hardly a new technique, it was already well established when I was shown it about 25 years ago.
SteveD - on 15 May 2017
In reply to CasWebb:
Its the same rope how can it not be moving at the same speed in opposite directions????
Might end up with a bit more wear on the rope, that is the only downside I can think of.
Post edited at 19:26
Cusco - on 15 May 2017
In reply to jimtitt:

Jim.

You've been climbing far longer than me and your name garners respect in our world. I've only been climbing 26 years and was self taught with mates at the crag.

But I've honestly never seen the technique being used indoors or outside until last year at the wall. And I've seen and done a heck of a lot of top roping.

Is it a technique you use frequently?

C
girlymonkey - on 15 May 2017
In reply to CasWebb:

Of course friction occurs. That is why it helps!

As a tiny climber, I do it on purpose on a regular basis. It is very useful and safe. If I have a sand bag, I get lifted with the bag and then end up dumped on top of my rope with it. Sorting that mess out does not constitute good belaying!
Cusco - on 15 May 2017
In reply to SteveD:

Just to be clear. My concern is not when climbing up or stopping on top rope but when lowering off on twisted weighted top ropes.

That's what someone insisted I did when they were lowering me off at the wall last year because that is what they had been taught on their introduction to belaying course at the wall. And I've seen others do it at the wall since.

It seemed madness to me at the time, looking at a double twist in the rope near the lower off (I'm only 70kg and we were top roping), watching areas of nylon move against areas of nylon at increasing speed and under weight.

And you don't need twisted ropes on a controlled lower off if you have basic belaying skills with a belay plate/device.

I stopped the descent and down climbed. The belayer was annoyed by my implicit and explicit questioning of the wall staff and we did some bouldering instead.

I'm a thick numbskull with no common sense and don't understand and have no real interest in physics, engineering, mechanics, the internal combustion engine and typical man stuff.

But how does twisting the rope help a lighter climber better control the descent of a heavier climber on top rope if it's not in order to create friction (or additional friction beyond the use of a belay device)?

An earlier post seemed to suggest that friction isn't created by twisting the rope because both parts of the rope are moving. In other words, friction requires one stationary and one moving object.

But when I rub my hands together on a cold day to create warmth, the warmth is created by friction and both hands are moving, perhaps at the same or perhaps at different rates - and it's enough to wear down and shed old skin cells if done quickly and fast enough.

If weighted twisted ropes on a lower off do in fact create additional friction, then I am right to be cautious. I remember what a nylon rope did to half my hand during an accident and the extreme heat that was created in milli seconds.

Even if the worst that can happen is rope wear, why would you want that on ropes used by members of the public at a wall?

If they don't create friction then there's no inherent danger in lowering someone at speed on weighted twisted ropes since no friction and heat build up are caused. But I'll let someone else prove the theory if they think that's right.
jimtitt - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:
>Is it a technique you use frequently?C


Me? I weight 90kg so no It´ s useful though with beginners to make learning lowering a bit easier if there is a large weight discrepancy.
Regarding your other theory:
One part of a nylon rope moving against another moving part is no danger, the Italian Hitch has been reliable proof of this for 50 years or more.
There is no noticeable extra wear on the rope, the friction to hold the climber is the same, either it is all produced in the belay device or some in the device and some in the twist in the rope. One way or another you have to always provide friction to hold the climbers weight and it is always produced by the rope rubbing on something.
Post edited at 23:01
Ron Rees Davies - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:

Read the earlier posts again! Nobody suggests that twisting the rope doesn't create friction - it does, and that's how it helps.

However, because both sides of the rope are moving the friction isn't constantly in the same point on the ropes so there isn't significant heat build up.

That's very different to the 'rope burn on your hand' scenario where the friction is all constantly in the same point on your hand so the heat builds up rapidly (bear in mind that although heat built up burning your hand, there wasn't any heat damage to the rope, as no one point on the rope was constantly rubbing)
In reply to Hali:

I only weight 46kg most people are heavier than me, if you can belay properly which you say you can youll be absolutely fine. Just always be prepared to be thrown around in worst case scenario so I suggest always having good grippy shoes on as you can end up being thrown at walls at speed (if your not where the first bolt is, which is another good tip stay close to that!) and use your body weight as best you can i.e. really shove your legs into it, if your leader is looking like they may fall, be ready to lean into your harness and feet and brace (I sometimes end up on one knee or completely crouched) this is also good to do if they are nearer the floor. Basically don't wear flip flops, pay loads of attention and use it as excuse to eat more pies! You will ultimately sometimes end up half way up the wall and you'll learn to right yourself
Si_G - on 16 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:

I was taught the twisted rope technique at the wall. Problem is it works both ways, so taking in is harder.
I can imagine it will increase rope wear but can't see the heat getting anywhere near as bad as in the ATC/other belay device.
The other technique suggested was to loop the rope around an additional krab through a leg loop. This seemed faffy, so I didn't try it, and it won't help prevent you being launched into the air.
I'm usually the lump on the rope, and have climbed with a (much better) partner who needed 2 weight bags, after I launched him with 1.

Agree friction burns aren't fun, either. I'm considering US-style belay gloves, as my hands are mangled from an accident.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 16 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:

Jimtitt hits the nail on the head. The friction to hold a climber is present at the belay device alone under normal conditions. Twisting the rope merely spreads the same amount of friction over a larger area.
Keiran.A - on 17 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:

>" An earlier post seemed to suggest that friction isn't created by twisting the rope because both parts of the rope are moving. In other words, friction requires one stationary and one moving object.

But when I rub my hands together on a cold day to create warmth, the warmth is created by friction and both hands are moving, perhaps at the same or perhaps at different rates - and it's enough to wear down and shed old skin cells if done quickly and fast enough."

there is additional friction when you twist the rope which will give additional holding power to the belayer but there is NO LOCALISED ABRASION as the ropes are moving over each other at similar, if not (the same as an Italian hitch like Jimtitt said). No significant heat or damage will be generated. This would be like you sliding both hands over each other ONCE, not much heat.

When your rubbing your hands back and forth you have the same section of hands rubbing over eachother, repeatedly in a very short about of time. This IS LOCALISED ABRASION so your hand get quite, quite hot quickly
BrendanO - on 28 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:

Hi Cusco

I understand your concern about twisting ropes, and I am by no means expert!

I can only say that my CWA Trainer, and CWA Assessor (different bloke, indeed different venue), as well as another trainer - doing wall rescue training at a climbing wall at which I freelance - all recommended this.

As a ten stone skinny with a couple of pie-eating mates, I am used to getting airborne occasionally when they fall off. Twists do help this, and definitely help control and confidence with differently-weighted 12-yr-olds too.

With wall rescue session, we also used twists in rescue situation where a belayer might be lowering the rescuer plus a client dangling from them...BIG weight difference indeed. I suspect it won't endanger ropes (neither rubbing area is static) but may increase wear. Small price to oay for not injuring anyone?

Neil Williams - on 28 May 2017
In reply to Hali:

As a heavier climber (about the size of him) I find on top rope it balances at most walls roughly at the climber being a third heavier than the belayer. Much more difference than that and it's not ideal. That level of difference for leading could be quite dangerous.

You will need to get used to using a ground anchor or weight bag, really, or consider the Edelrid Ohm if the wall is happy with it and you can find one!
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Neil Williams - on 28 May 2017
In reply to Cusco:
Re twisting the rope.

The Italian hitch is basically proof that it's safe. It too creates friction by rubbing nylon on nylon.

Walls just sometimes don't like it because it wears the sheath out prematurely. That's all. It would only be dangerous if the friction was on the same point on the rope to cut through it.
Post edited at 18:05

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