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faust

Rope Managment on Multipitch Climbs

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I've spent this spring getting comfortable with leading trad, and have just started doing multipitch climbs. I'm having a blast, but at belays my rope ends up a mess. What kind of techniques/tips have you accumulated for keeping the rope neat and ready to go?

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The quick answer is to lay the incoming rope over the small piece you use to tie into the anchor. There are also "rope hook" gadgets you can buy, but this seems unnecessary.

 

Other tricks are described in readily available books such as "How to Rock Climb" or "Climb On" etc.

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I've been using a rope hook by Metoliuos on some climbs and it can really help with managment. It isn't necessary, but it helps to keep me focused on keeping the rope in good order.

 

2 cents

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I don't like laying the rope over the tie-in because it usually turns into a big mess if I move around much. Plus, it sorta gets in the way. Plus, if your second wimps out, err...decides he doesn't wanna lead the next pitch, you gotta drop all the rope anyway.

 

I usually just pile the damn rope up on the ledge I'm standing on if there is one. If not, I usually get an extra sling (those stupid stiffy dogbone draws will not work for this), hang it from the anchor and flake the rope through this. If I don't got a sling or a place to pile then I use Bob's method.

 

I usually don't have a problem with the ropes tangling (and I often use double ropes). Some guys just let the rope drape down the entire pitch, but I worry that this could be a big problem if a loop gets stuck on something below when your partner is leading above. More experienced guys than me do this though.

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-Over my tie in point

-over/through a piece of webbing/runner

-let it hang if smooth wall or slab

-pile on ledge

-over a horn

-over a branch

--over my neck (not reccomended)

 

yeah...Falcon Series "how to rock climb" and "advanced rock climbing" are great books. Get them.

Edited by Bill_Simpkins

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learning to propperly coil the rope was KEY in my multi pitch enjoyment. Climb with some one who has good skills. When I SAW things done in a well organized way a cupple of times, it no longer seemed like such an issue grin.gif

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Use a lap coil over your belay tie-in (start out with exaggeratedly large loops and shorten with each consectutive loop), or use a pack as a rope bag (for packs with a bivy extension sleeve, simply cinching it separates the rope from the shiznit in your pack).

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Here is a little trick...

 

When you are coiling the rope, start with smal loops and gradually get biger and bigger. Then pass a sling under the coil and clip it into the anchor. The rope should feed off the top without getting stuck, just keep pulling loops out before the climber moves up. Be sure not to miss an alternation while coiling, or that loop will get caught in the sling and the whole system will be shot.

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to Bill's list I would add:

 

- over the neck can go horribly wrong if you are not careful

 

- over your foot

 

- tie loose bighted overhand knots every 20' or so and clip them off to the side. (overhand == easily recognized as NOT being somebody's clip-in which would be a fig8 or clove hitch)

 

you can practice a lot of this stuff cragging before you get on a multi-pitch obviously.

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i've used lambone's technique with success, though prefer to go big loops first as i belay the second, progressing to smaller. this way when #2 leads up, the smaller loops feed first--if smaller to bigger as L. suggests, then the bigger loops can catch/loop the smaller ones and cause a mess.

 

go over the foot or tie-in for hanging belays, else the above recommendations work. yet another opinion....

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Yes fern. you must be careful with over the neck. Never wrap it around, just lay it around the back and make sure you have plenty of slack between the coil and belay device. If you have to lower someone, like more than a couple feet, pick it off your neck and set it somewhere else. Works good in cramped quarters. Good point Fern.

 

Yeah, it isn't the best choice by any means. But it has come in handy for me a few times, and may for someone else in a pinch. I'll try to edit the original post.

Edited by Bill_Simpkins

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It all depends on who is taking the next lead. If you are swinging leads (meaning that your partner gets the next lead) you will want to stack the rope in such a way that it will feed smoothly with no snags from the top. If you are going to lead the next pitch you have to stack the rope in such a way that it will feed smoothly from the bottom. I think this is what Lambone was talking about with the small coils on the bottom and the larger ones on top (if I am reading this correctly). The other option is to re-stack the rope at the top of every pitch. The best thing to do is climb lots and you will figure it out. Good comment about the neck being a bad idea. I don't recommend letting it hang ether. It can get cought in things, nock things off, get blown all over the place, get in the way of parties below and if it is just hanging out in space you will ware your self out belaying with the weight of the rope.

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I like to face the anchor with back to climber like a hanging belay, then fold the rope back and forth over my tie in to the anchor.

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i've used lambone's technique with success, though prefer to go big loops first as i belay the second, progressing to smaller. this way when #2 leads up, the smaller loops feed first--if smaller to bigger as L. suggests, then the bigger loops can catch/loop the smaller ones and cause a mess.

 

 

Yeah, maybe I had it backwards... cantfocus.gif

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this tread makes me think im not the only one to hear 'are you in a good place?' so the belayer can fucks with his own cluster. madgo_ron.gifpitty.gifhahaha.gifcry.gif

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or the classic "you're on belay but don't fall" most often heard on volcanic chosspiles

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Lambone said:

i've used lambone's technique with success, though prefer to go big loops first as i belay the second, progressing to smaller. this way when #2 leads up, the smaller loops feed first--if smaller to bigger as L. suggests, then the bigger loops can catch/loop the smaller ones and cause a mess.

 

 

Yeah, maybe I had it backwards... cantfocus.gif

 

You can do as Lambone suggests, then flip the whole pile onto your partners tie in, if you are leading all the pitches, or in blocks. This works pretty good.

 

I usually pile on the tie in. Sometimes I stack on my foot, although this might not be good advice for ice climbers cantfocus.gif .

 

If you have a ledge to stand on, I flake the rope down. If I am leading off again, I grab the whole pile and flip it. Works pretty good.

 

 

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I agree with ChucK that I try not to pile on the tie-in if there is another choice available because I seem to make a mess out of it if I move around very much while or after I've piled on the tie-in. I also find it can be difficult to collect carefully measured loops Lambone-style and neatly drape them over my tie-in and still manage to focus on the belay and keep the second on a tight and secure belay all the way through a pitch. In many alpine rock situations and on some crags, the angle is low enough and/or the rock broken enough that a very small ledge or a bit of a slab is sufficient to pile the rope near the belay as long as everyone tip-toes around it so as not to kick it off.

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USe ledge or dangle it, just make sure the belayer cleans it up and makes sure it won't get snagged on something while paying the rope out. This takes a couple of minutes and can be done while the leader is getting ready for the pitch. Never had any problems with rope snags, a couple of dead branches have had to been removed from coils but that's it.

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One of the first things you may do after yelling off belay when leading a pitch might be to identify where the rope's gonna go. You'll be limited sometimes by the terrain where you set the belay obviously. As you gain more experience you may already have this idea in mind once in a while.

 

Using cracks, ledges, over your legs, shoulders, over the rope you may be tied into the belay with are all good ideas and some of them are too detailed for me to sit and explain pros and cons.

 

On some stance belays where there's not a good ledge I might coil it over my feet.

 

The key to me seems to be that you need to coil it with the intention your partner is going to lead the next pitch many times. The more attention you pay to the rope management at the belay the quicker you'll be able to dispose of routes and the less epics you'll have. I think it's one of the best skills to work at.

 

Just think of it like folding clothes for your mother and you don't want her pissed if you do it wrong. It doesn't have to appear pretty but just be organized.

 

Think of everything as a cycle for each pitch and make sure you include the step where you want your rope to go before you start telling your partner to follow.

 

If all else fails and everything sucks and there's nowhere to put your rope just have an epic and think about what you could have done later on. My guess is that you'd be able to figure out some ideas that would have worked once on flat ground bigdrink.gif

 

I own a rope bag but only use it for aid climbing and sometimes not even then. I don't think they are a necessity for 95% of free climbing including hook gadgets etc. However if you really like to organize like that and find it works well for you then go for it.

 

Just remember there are no rules in climbing as long as you get back home safe and don't hurt anyone else. wave.gif

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Yeah, Here I agree with Matt P and Chuck. I only coil it if its a full-on sling belay, otherwise just pile it up...

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This is good stuff, guys, thanks a lot. thumbs_up.gif

 

Just one more thing to practice and practice I guess. Better get out there and go climbing.

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It is gonna be fukked up until your not a goober anymore.

 

BTW, If you stack the rope in a pile on the ledge and don't kick it around very much, it feeds just as well off the bottom of the pile 99% of the time.

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Retrosaurus said:

BTW, If you stack the rope in a pile on the ledge and don't kick it around very much, it feeds just as well off the bottom of the pile 99% of the time.

 

Very true. I think attempting to turn it over has more potential to create a snarl than to help. At least for me anyway, but perhaps I am inept in that way cantfocus.gif.

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