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catbirdseat

Rock Climbing with a Team of Three

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I know it is not the most aesthetic way to rock climb, but sometimes you end up with an odd number of climbers and don't want to leave anyone home on an alpine trad climb. There are various ways to handle this, from dragging a rope to having simultaneous followers, double ropes, etc.

 

Of those of you who have done climbs with three, what is your preferred way to deal with it and what equipment do you like best?

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i actually almost climb all my alpine routes with 3.

 

we use eldelweiss 9mm and petzel reversos

 

it is great to share the difficulties.

 

have the two followers stager about 20ft

 

 

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I really like climbing with a party of three, and I've found that it is not necessarily any slower than with 2. Lead on double ropes, two followers climb at the same time, belayed with a reverso/plaquette/gigi device that lets you pull up the two ropes separately.

 

Other advantages are that group gear is split 3 ways and one person is free to do extra tasks like take pictures, deal with tangles in the rope, etc. Oh, and you don't get lonely while belaying.

 

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i actually almost climb all my alpine routes with 3. -- Erik

 

That's true. Erik, his friend and his other friend Pony.....Keg

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one alternative to both climbers seconding at once, is that climber B seconds fast and leaves the gear in, and climber 3 follows on a Ushba Basic on a fixed rope, and takes the gear out.

 

We did this on a summer climb of Rock On, left the car at 9:00 PM and topped out at 11:30 PM laugh.gif i havent done it much in the alpine, and it isnt the greatest method for fullpitch traverses - or when the leader needs the gear back for the next lead. but if you take a rack and a half it works fine.

 

one thing i have found about reversos for 2 or 3, is that you really have to be a few feet below the anchor for them to work in the autolock mode. so if your clip in to the anchor on an alpine route is to gear at waist level, and you cant get below it to pull on the ropes, youre gonna be screwed. also they are suck when the route is low angle. fruit.gif

Edited by Dru

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i actually almost climb all my alpine routes with 3.

 

we use eldelweiss 9mm and petzel reversos

 

 

Staggered on a single 9mm or doubles?

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Climbing in groups of 3 is way more fun on most climbs. More people to make fun of, share the weight and share your experiences with.

 

I have climbed mostly with either a single line with the followers simul climbing tied in 10-15 feet apart on the following end. I find the rope management to be superior for this type of use. Fleblebleb pms and I used this method when we did the NW couloir of eldo and it worked just great.

 

Also I have climbed mostly on very steep ice with 3 people and 2 ropes, having the followers follow on single strands.

 

I definitely think climbing in groups of 3 is real fun. bigdrink.gif That way if you make plans and one person falls out then at least you have a partner too bigdrink.gif

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i actually almost climb all my alpine routes with 3.

 

we use eldelweiss 9mm and petzel reversos

 

 

Staggered on a single 9mm or doubles?

 

2 of them..

 

 

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Would it be safe or practical to use an ATC-type device to belay two followers on separate ropes? Is there a device, which, unlike the reverso, can be used from the harness or below the anchor?

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CATBIRD

 

i dont think i would want two people haging off of my harness..

 

yes you can use the atc for belaying two doubles. the benefit of the reverso et al. is the fact that it is auto locking.

 

and i have not found it a problem having the device below me. since oyu are setting up the anchor you can set it up right. i state this with the intent that you set your achor accordingly to the situation.

 

as far as slabs go...well i think the issue is rope surface area contacting the rock and not so much as with the device.

 

 

Edited by erik

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I only like the reverso when the anchor is set in such a way (seems like above the waist or higher) that it is feasable to manage the ropes well.

 

Otherwise i just use atc. Mostly we dont climb on a level at the same time that anyone would expect to fall.

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it can be...but in 2 years of using a rerverso, i have yet to find a sitmo to where it is an issue.

 

it would be interesting to hear others cases where they have had trouble lowering their followers.

 

look on the amga site and they have the "how too"

 

or you can figure it out on your own..

 

i am not good at explaining things such as this...but i can show you!

 

 

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Never done the lowering with 2 people on a reverso.

 

I think that sometimes that nature dictates your anchor positions. So a reverso can double as an atc as well. Making it a superior device. I don't really think mine is necessary though. It really does suck when anchors must be at your feet. In that case I have not found success or user friendliness with using it for belaying off the anchor.

 

If you think someone is going to fall and must be lowered I cant recommend any solution since I am drinking 40 oz. Usually we climb on a level where if a fall happened then it can be recovered shortly without lowering.

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Can anyone provide a link to a "how to" for the GiGi? I know what it looks like, and how much it costs, but can't find how it works.

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a gi gi works the same as a reverso except you cannot belay the leader, only two seconds... i will sellyou mine, its only ever been used once! moon.gif

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First, remember that lowering with a gigi is basically impossible if both followers are hanging (though it has no problem HOLDING two fallen followers). So, step 1 is to make sure that the second follower (the one not hanging) is not weighting the rope at all. Step 2, put your hand through the "crossbar" biner and lever it towards the slack side (alternately, you can think of it as lifting the tension side), thus opening it on the tension side and allowing rope to slide through. This may take some practice to be able to do smoothly. You can get add'l leverage by sliding the crossbar biner a bit towards the slack side of the system (thus increasing the length of your lever arm).

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We climbed w/3 using the reverso a couple of times last summer. Takes a little while to get comfy w/it using 2 ropes but no probs to report.

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this whole thread reads like a recipe for a clusterf@#$ing epic. rolleyes.gif

 

If you want to know how to climb efficiently with 3 people then find 2 other people who know their stuff and get 'em to take you out and show you ... preferably on a sunny saturday afternoon on Diedre.

 

it's not rocket science but there are many many tricks depending on the climb, the equipment, who wants to lead etc.

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Some people must learn how to do this on their own because they don't have more experienced friends. This does not mean it can not be learned responsibly. Its not like with a little advice their going up Mt. Deathskull to figure it out on the nth pitch.

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Might just keep in mind that whatever method you use, it will invariably be a little more of a pain in the ass than you are used to when you swing leads. Better to lead a couple few in a row. then fuck it all up. You won't have to do it so many times.

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Just remember, nobody unties from the rope and everybody lives.

 

Assuming you're talking about multi-pitch

It's a quick and easy job on easy simul-climbing terrian having everybody on the same rope. I've done three people, we had two 10.5 ropes. One led, one seconded, cleaned up most of gear but kept some pieces in on traversing sections. Once second got there, belayed leader up on a gigi and belayed the second in as well on an ATC. Only a few times second had to lock off the last climber, wraps around the leg, and physically belay the leader on sketchier parts. Took a little longer than a pair climbing but not much.

 

If you have the twin ropes and the reverso, that is the way to go. But sometimes you make do with what you have.

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oNE OF THE MOST EFFICIENT WAYS i HAVE DONE IT IS TO HAVE THE LEADER USE A SOLOIST AND LET THE OTHER 2 BELAY EACH OTHER . tHERE IS ALWAYS 1-2 PEOPLE CLIMBING AT A TIME AND IT REALLY MOVES FAST IF THE LEADER IS QUIK.

Stupid CAPS-LocK BuTTon!!

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It seems that there are almost as many opinions as climbers. I'll have to try the reverso/ two rope deal on some easy climb where I can concentrate on the gear without worrying about time.

 

Now if I were trask, what I'd do is have two cute gals who were perfect partners. They'd take turns leading, I'd second, then I'd always have one to keep me company. smile.gif

 

We climbed Prusik West Ridge last June with one rope and three climbers. We just tied two in about 10-15 ft apart near the end and simul-seconded that way. None of the pitches require all the rope, so it worked out pretty well.

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