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catbirdseat

"Reeling In" a Falling Leader

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This topic came up in another thread actually. This is something they don't teach in climbing courses, but which is something people pick up, I guess. I haven't had to do it myself, but I have always been prepared for, especially on slab climbs where you have a little more time in a fall. Generally, I figure I can get at least an arm length of rope back through my belay device before locking off, but how does one get more than that without risk of losing the belay. Any advice?

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I think trying to "reel" someone in is a dangerous habit. hellno3d.gif Falls happen so quick that you have just enough time to process what is happening and lock the belay and little else. Why risk having the rope rip through your hand? confused.gif Also why reduce the amount of rope available to absorb energy??? cantfocus.gif

The only reason I can think of is to prevent hitting ground or a ledge - but then either the belayer is introducing too much slack or the leader isn't placing pro properly.

I wouldn't advocate trying to reel anyone in...just lock the rope!!!

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I've been hurt on overhanging terrain when my belayer didn't leave enough slack in the system. I peeled from a roof, and smacked into the wall below it. Sprained ankle, hellno3d.gif, sucked. Unless you're climbing some very runout low-angled slabs, don't worry about reeling in rope.

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I'm not trying to flame anyone here. It seems like there are some opinions above that blanket a lot more circumstance than is reasonable. I have had my life saved by two separate reels and have saved a few lives that way myself. Every situation is different. Even in the same place, as the leader climbs, there may be times when reeling is good and times when it is not. It is a skill based on judgement and can only be improved with experience. Discuss it at each belay ledge. If you are leading and see a place where reeling seems appropriate, inform your belayer. "Be ready to reel." was a common instruction amoung my old climbing buddies.

There is no way to sit here and say 'reel' or 'don't reel'. Hope this helps.

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I think the answer to this question is, it all depends. Somone will note that you can (at least theoretically) create fall factors greater than 2. 20' of rope out w/ no pro from the anchor. The leader falls. Belayer reels in 10' of slack. 30' fall/ 10' or rope = a FF or 3.

 

On the other hand a climber 4 bolts up on a low angle run out bolted slab using a gri-gri. The gear is good so reel away.

 

Then somone will state you want a "dynamic belay" which is kinda the oppisite of reeling in.

 

So I don't think there are any hard and fast rules here. Use you head, and don't fall unless the gear is good. Good gear and dangerous fall consequences (i.e. you will deck) = reel. Sketchy gear and a clean fall = no reel.

 

My $0.02 worth

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catbirdseat said:

What if you are using a GriGri?

Under what circumstances does one use a GriGri to provide a lead belay?

 

In my limited experience, quickly feeding large amounts of slack with a GriGri is not an easy task. When a leader wants slack, they want it now!!! and in those situations a GriGri seems to work against me more than it works with me.

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To feed rope fast with a grigri, the only possible method is to hold the cam down with one hand and pull rope though the device with the other. Just make sure to let go of the cam if the climber falls!

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I was under the impression that you shouldn't realy have a lead climber on a gri-gri, that ATC was a better choice.

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Muffy_The_Wanker_Sprayer said:

I was under the impression that you shouldn't realy have a lead climber on a gri-gri, that ATC was a better choice.

 

Why? GriGris are fine for sport routes. If you are anchored to the ground, though, a grigri can increase forces on your gear as there is no slippage in the system. Don't worry about it for sport climbing.

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catbirdseat said:

This topic came up in another thread actually. This is something they don't teach in climbing courses, but which is something people pick up, I guess. I haven't had to do it myself, but I have always been prepared for, especially on slab climbs where you have a little more time in a fall. Generally, I figure I can get at least an arm length of rope back through my belay device before locking off, but how does one get more than that without risk of losing the belay. Any advice?

 

If you're not anchored in (i.e. on flat flat ground) you can run... if you are anchored in and standing, you can squat.

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Coopah said:

The only reason I can think of is to prevent hitting ground or a ledge - but then either the belayer is introducing too much slack or the leader isn't placing pro properly.

 

You live in a simple world Coopah. How many times have you been climbing outside of the gym?

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Gyms suck... thumbs_down.gif

I actually live in the real world and have seen tests done where a 1kn load was dropped and before the person belaying could lock a munter hitch, it was burning his gloved hand and couldn't hold it. Guess what - the load hit the ground thumbs_down.gif

 

I would have to actually see this "reeling in" done or try it myself with a dead load before believing it would ever work...my hunch it doesn't hellno3d.gif

 

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Coopah said:

Gyms suck... thumbs_down.gif

I actually live in the real world and have seen tests done where a 1kn load was dropped and before the person belaying could lock a munter hitch, it was burning his gloved hand and couldn't hold it. Guess what - the load hit the ground thumbs_down.gif

 

I would have to actually see this "reeling in" done or try it myself with a dead load before believing it would ever work...my hunch it doesn't hellno3d.gif

 

i am amazed at the ignorance on this thread... hellno3d.gif

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chucK said:

Coopah said:

The only reason I can think of is to prevent hitting ground or a ledge - but then either the belayer is introducing too much slack or the leader isn't placing pro properly.

 

You live in a simple world Coopah. How many times have you been climbing outside of the gym?

 

Yes the world is simple...people make it complicated cantfocus.gif

You have a better explanation of why you would need to reel in the rope? I am all ears!

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That's why I run sideways. Or just alpine climb...nowhere to run 1000' of the deck at a hanging belay.

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I was responding to your implication that if a leader is in danger of hitting a ledge then either the belay or the protection is improper.

 

It sounds like that's what you were saying, and if so, it shows that you haven't climbed very many pitches in the real world.

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Fence_Sitter said:

Coopah said:

Gyms suck... thumbs_down.gif

I actually live in the real world and have seen tests done where a 1kn load was dropped and before the person belaying could lock a munter hitch, it was burning his gloved hand and couldn't hold it. Guess what - the load hit the ground thumbs_down.gif

 

I would have to actually see this "reeling in" done or try it myself with a dead load before believing it would ever work...my hunch it doesn't hellno3d.gif

 

i am amazed at the ignorance on this thread... hellno3d.gif

 

I too am amazed that people actually think this works? blush.gif

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I hear what your saying...I was implying that maybe the pro wasn't spaced properly to begin with or the belayer is lackadaisical in rope management. I know there are just times when shit happens...

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I am open to having someone prove to me that reeling in works. It just seems to me that you only have a split second to act and that if you don't lock off you risk losing your grip from the rope ripping through your hand????

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Yeah, I want to see this reeling in shit work too. I doubt if anyone could pull in much rope through any device fast enough to make much difference and still be able to lock off a fall. I especially liked the one about reeling in 10 feet of slack when a leader takes a 20 footer with no pro off the belay. How the heck do you plan on doing that? hellno3d.gif

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