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catbirdseat

"Reeling In" a Falling Leader

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Thinker said:

They are not ALL set up that way. I've only been to a handfull of gyms in several states, and I've only seen two with the configuration I've described.

Does Vertical World still have this?

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mattp said:

Sphinx said:

This thread should be taken out and shot. thumbs_down.gif

thumbs_up.gif

yellaf.gif Finally MattP agrees with me on something!

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Attitude said:

Thinker said:

They are not ALL set up that way. I've only been to a handfull of gyms in several states, and I've only seen two with the configuration I've described.

Does Vertical World still have this?

 

Cascade Crags does... sort of. They ask you to anchor yourself with your belay biner to the floor. thumbs_down.gif

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So I was belaying this guy on this route in Yos that had a low angle start, 50 ft to a big roof split by a crack, the crack above the roof narrowed to a seam on steep slab and then the angle decreased above. 3 bolts to the roof, A good cam on the roof, a small brassy above in the seam.

 

He managed to miss a clip in the only bolt above and pealed about 40 feet above the brassy, just prior to the anchor.

 

I was belaying, old school with the small hole of an eight. At first he controled his fall. I reeled 4 good pulls and stepped back a couple of steps. As he started tumbling I realized that I had better make it has dynamic as possible...A; he would slap hard under the roof and B; that brassy wouldn't hold much. With the running start I had created I dashed up the slab with the rope locked. As the rope got taught he pulled me (still peddaling my legs) clear to the first bolt and landed in my lap. We cliped the draw, shook our heads in disbelief that a brassy had held a 80 footer and sopped up the minor amount of blood from his rock rash.

 

( The above is pure fiction...but it could have happened with perfect belay technique.)

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Ahh, but if you had squatted down while you were reeling him and then immediately jumped up, you would have prevented his rock rash.

 

I do this all the time.

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mattp said:

We have had this discussion on this board before, and it was clear that opinions on the matter may vary, but I believe that in almost all cases I would generally rather have my belayer reel in whatever slack they can. I say this because I am always fearful of hitting things on the way down unless of course I am falling off an overhang, and in that case I am just plain fearfull of falling.

 

 

In the most recent discussion that I recall, one cc.com poster made a case for how it is better not to reel in the rope, and he even advocated what in effect amounts to letting some rope OUT by having the belayer remain unanchored and then jumping up just as they make the catch in an effort to add some additional slack or cushion that would absorb some of the shock to be placed on the climber and to the top piece of gear, and which would reduce the force of a rapid swing back in toward the rock. I would rather have my belayer reel in as much as they can because I have never heard of an injury stemming from the shock of a short catch (I'm sure it happens), and I think that the danger of hitting footholds or ledges or gear on the way down is greater than the danger that a short catch may increase the severity of the slam back into the rock -- unless perhaps you are falling from overhanging rock (around here, that is most common at the gym or at some sport crags). I am not overly optimistic, either, that a dynamic belay will allow my sketchy TCU with only two cams in the rock to catch me when it would have failed otherwise.

 

I'd say that, on average, most non-overhanging bits of rock offer the possibility that the falling leader will hit something on the way down even if they place every possible piece of pro, and I have never heard of an instance where trying to reel in slack caused the belayer to drop the climber because they were not "locked off."

 

Matt- your post about never hearing about injuries from short falls makes me roll. Most of the injuries I have seen and heard about have been because of short roping during a fall. Ask Allison about both or her broken ankles.

But also to defend you there has been almost no talk about the responsibility of the leader during a fall. Most people fall like stiff stick people instead of graceful cats. Also the leader needs to evaluate the terrain as they are climbing and keep the belayer posted as to what kind of catch they want.

 

dale

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Dale-

 

I did not state that I have never heard of injuries in a short fall -- I have heard of plenty and my brother boke his ankle in a short fall just a few months ago. I was referring to prior discussion of the advantages of the "softer" catch afforded by "the hop" and I said that I, personally, had never heard of an injury caused solely by the shock of the catch. If you read the discussion, you would also see that I said I fully believe that Rudy was hurt by being "short roped." However, in this and in prior discussions I have repeatedly stated, and I continue to believe it is true, that when the rock is not overhanging, the shorter you fall, the less is the danger of hitting things. In my own experience, I have also found that pieces generally either hold or fail - that is, that a dynamic belay is usually not going to make the difference between a piece that holds and one that does not hold.

 

Read carefully here: OUTSIDE OF SPORT CRAGS AND GYMS, most rock-climbing falls take place on terrain that is not overhanging. The modern technique of having the belayer hop up to, in effect, let rope OUT is one that I would recommend in very limited situations (generally where the leader is on overhanging terrain with no prospect of hitting anything if he or she isn't pulled back toward the rock and belayer is on the ground or a very good ledge).

 

Yours and others' responsed to my arguments on this point seem to ignore the fact that I specifically have said that I see the value of the dynamic catch where it is most commonly used. Laugh all you want, but then see if you can understand and respond to what I wrote.

 

 

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Here's a case in point. In the 30 ft fall that dryad described in another thread, her belayer said he brought in some rope as she slid down the slab. How much rope it was, he couldn't say exactly. However, it was enough to prevent serious injury as she stopped about two feet above her belayer, who was anchored. Asked how it felt, he said it was a surprisingly "soft" catch, probably a combination of dryads light weight, the amount of rope out and fact that the slabs were not vertical, but rather 60-70 degrees or so.

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I have not read this entire thread, but I would be very interested in hearing MattP's take on this! cool.gif

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by - Vdiff Dave on - 21:31 Wed

In reply to peterborden:

 

A skyhook can be used as leader protection to protect a move where no other protection is available. The technique requires 2 ropes, so it is most practical when climbing on 2 half ropes. One rope is first pulled up, to create a good loop of slack, and then tied off onto the skyhook and used to hold it in tension. The other rope passes through a crab in the normal way and protects the climber. The belayer has to keep tension on the skyhook with one rope while belaying in the normal way with the other rope. Once the difficult move is passed, or better gear is available, the skyhook is pulled up to the leader and removed.

 

To prevent groundfall when the leader is above the gear and would otherwise hit the ground before coming tight on the gear it is possible for the second to take in as much rope as possible as soon as the leader falls. One technique to make this as effective as possible is for the second to belay from the top of a spike or ledge (near the ground) and to jump off it if the leader falls. This is easy to achieve. It is theoretically possible to amplify this effect (by a factor of 3x) by using an elaborate and complicated system of pulleys, where the rope from the second passes up to a pulley fixed to the rock and back to the second's harness (through a second pulley) and then off to the lead climber. I do not beleive that this is practical, however well it is set up. Most of the energy of a falling climber is absorbed by the section of rope between the climber and the first bit of gear, so the fall factor that can be achieved by this technique effectivley increased and the most likely result is that the gear will rip out.

 

 

fruit.gif

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I really like the idea of the 3 X 1 reeling setup though! What would that do to the Fall Factor? wave.gif

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catbirdseat said:

Yes, shamelessly resurrecting a thread with nothing less than REAL data.

 

But it's anecdotal data CBS! Can't make valid scientific inference out of that now can we?

 

I think you would have a better point if you also post to this thread everytime you hear of someone taking a lead fall where they were not reeled in. Also, present lead falls where the person was reeled in, but wouldn't have hit anything anyway. Then we'll have something to talk about. bigdrink.gif

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forrest_m said:

let's have a show of hands from everyone who has ever used a tensioned sky-hook as lead pro. rolleyes.gif

 

I used a hand placed hooked Spectre on a mixed route once -M4 var to 3rd pitch Gib wall - that was my only pro on the whole pitch [insert chest beater icon here!!!!!] shocked.gif

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Al_Pine said:

catbirdseat said:

Yes, shamelessly resurrecting a thread with nothing less than REAL data.

 

But it's anecdotal data CBS! Can't make valid scientific inference out of that now can we?

 

I think you would have a better point if you also post to this thread everytime you hear of someone taking a lead fall where they were not reeled in. Also, present lead falls where the person was reeled in, but wouldn't have hit anything anyway. Then we'll have something to talk about. bigdrink.gif

It was not anecdotal, since I was there. So it doesn't prove that you can always reel in a falling leader. It proves that sometimes you can.

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catbirdseat said:

It was not anecdotal, since I was there.

 

Picking a nit here...It is anecdotal because the reporting was spurred by the fact that it was an "interesting" result. We would likely not have heard about it otherwise. I guess you could make it non-anecdotal by also including, without bias regarding the outcome, all lead-falls that you witnessed.

 

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trivia:

 

Leader falls from 50m above belay to 50m below belay. Factor 2 fall.

 

Leader falls from 50m above belay but belayer takes in 10m of rope. Ends up 40m below leader. Fall factor is 90/40 = 2.25 shocked.gif

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The fall factor analysis does not take into account the braking effect introduced by whether the person may be sliding down a slab or bouncing off ledges or whatever. It is a useful calculation, but in my view it does not answer very much in the context of this debate.

 

Numbers suck. To borrow a word from Forrest in another thread, I'm of the "gestalt" school of fall/danger analysis. No equation that I am aware of can account for friction against the rock, different diameters of rope, different belay devices, whether or not the belayer is bigger or smaller than the leader, how far out on the lead the poor bastard is, ....

 

Wait a second, here's the equation:

 

Distance lead from belay (D) divided by length of runout (L) minus coarsness of rock © plus the rock temperature coefficient (rtf) times the rope diameter (rd) less the average size of ledges bounced off (aslbo) times the square route of the belaying technique cubed (srbtc) over the different weight of the climber and belayer (c-b) minus the amount of rope to be reeled in ®, or

 

(D/L - C) + (rtf x [rd-<aslbo x sqrt{srbtc x srbtc x srbtc - c-b}) - R

 

Isn't science great?

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the example shows that reeling in increases fall factor and force on pro meaning pro is more likely to pop.

 

conclusion: reeling in should only be employed if it will prevent ledge fall or ground fall.

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