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Dru

Fig-8 Devices Can Kill

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I'm new here so I don't know what you've been through a million times. But with all due respect, I've been climbing for thirty years, have put up lots of trad first ascents, seen lots of accidents, done lots of rescues, trained lots of climbers, and do actually know what I'm talking about.

 

I don't care what the manual says, the slop in the system produced by the belay loop, along with "gate up and in" biener orientation, is one of the primary problems associated with these kinds of accidents in both rappelling and belaying.

 

So if newbies are to err one way or the other it should be towards the way that puts the device in less contact with the gate and lends them more control.

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Almost 4 pages on the very subject of using a belay loop versus not.

 

I would love to see numbers backing up your claim that "the slop in the system produced by the belay loop, along with 'gate up and in' biener orientation, is one of the primary problems associated with these kinds of accidents in both rappelling and belaying." Seems there might be a bit of money to made from a class action lawsuit if this is really the case.

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Snoboy,

 

Thanks for the pointer to that extended thread.

 

Nothing I see there changes my opinion which comes from years of experience (including designing and making harnesses). Also, it's not about numbers per se, as whatever accident stats there might be don't account for the endless parade of near misses and unreported incidents. And there's just a certain amount of common sense to understanding that a more complex device chain with more slop and slack (even for short moments) will likely result in far more potentially undesirable configurations than a simpler, tighter device chain. It's not rocket science - more like chaos theory.

 

I'm fine with letting it drop now that you've posted a pointer to the longer discussion. Newbies need to weigh and evaluate this for themselves (put on your harness at home, hook up the various configurations, and study the various advantages/disadvantage or each) - it's just one aspect of many that are part of taking on responsibility for yourself in an activity that is not, and I hope never will be, entirely risk free.

 

P.S. We used argue over the best way to tie a harness out of the end of the rope and what the best way to hip belay was (with or without a biener) - and I'm not sure anyone is much safer today than they were then for all the fancy gear.

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All of this discussion issues from the fact that we rely entirely on that one piece of equipment, the "parabiner", for our lives. There is usually nothing backing it up. When you are belaying off your harness with it, you can ensure it's proper orientation by using your guide hand to provide tension as necessary. But in rappelling, until you get started and have weighted the device, the parabiner might flop into an undesireable orientation. If using an ATC, you will not break the gate by cross loading the biner, unless you put a lot of slack in the system and fall on it. The Figure 8, however, has much more leverage and can break the gate.

 

The use of the autoblock in rappelling should be encouraged more because it represents not only something that can protect you from uncontrolled descent due to inattention or injury, but also because it independently backs up the parabiner/device. Having said that, I have to admit to not using it myself most of the time just because of the extra time it takes to set it up.

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Take a look at the DMM Belay Master sometime ( the one mentioned in the article). REI carries it. It is a manual screw gate type with a plastic clip that snaps over the locking screw ensuring that it cannot turn. Furthermore, the clip will not close unless the screw is completely closed. The clip divides the carabiner into two sections preventing it from rotating and thus avoiding a cross-loading situation.

 

p-5592!559.jpg

 

I needed a new pear shaped locking biner and thought about buying the DMM, but finally went with the Petzl Triact. I wanted the keylock feature. Also, I thought the DMM locking clip would prove to be a pain in the neck. Certainly, if I used a figure 8 device, or a bod type harness, the DMM carabiner Belay Master might be the way to go.

 

The DMM Belay Master is good for climbers over 40 and stoners because it is nearly impossible to not immediately notice if it isn't locked. But it kind of sucks because you cannot use it directly into the harness, bypassing the the belay loop because there isn't enough room for the harness belt,etc. below the black plastic piece.

Edited by gnibmilc

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Take a look at the DMM Belay Master sometime ( the one mentioned in the article). REI carries it. It is a manual screw gate type with a plastic clip that snaps over the locking screw ensuring that it cannot turn. Furthermore, the clip will not close unless the screw is completely closed. The clip divides the carabiner into two sections preventing it from rotating and thus avoiding a cross-loading situation.

 

p-5592!559.jpg

 

I needed a new pear shaped locking biner and thought about buying the DMM, but finally went with the Petzl Triact. I wanted the keylock feature. Also, I thought the DMM locking clip would prove to be a pain in the neck. Certainly, if I used a figure 8 device, or a bod type harness, the DMM carabiner Belay Master might be the way to go.

 

The DMM Belay Master is good for climbers over 40 and stoners because it is nearly impossible to not immediately notice if it isn't locked. But it kind of sucks because you cannot use it directly into the harness, bypassing the the belay loop because there isn't enough room for the harness belt,etc. below the black plastic piece.

 

"bypassing the belay loop" can kill too. wave.gif "directly into the harness" at belt and legloops = automatic crossloading thumbs_down.gifwave.gif

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Take a look at the DMM Belay Master sometime ( the one mentioned in the article). REI carries it. It is a manual screw gate type with a plastic clip that snaps over the locking screw ensuring that it cannot turn. Furthermore, the clip will not close unless the screw is completely closed. The clip divides the carabiner into two sections preventing it from rotating and thus avoiding a cross-loading situation.

 

p-5592!559.jpg

 

I needed a new pear shaped locking biner and thought about buying the DMM, but finally went with the Petzl Triact. I wanted the keylock feature. Also, I thought the DMM locking clip would prove to be a pain in the neck. Certainly, if I used a figure 8 device, or a bod type harness, the DMM carabiner Belay Master might be the way to go.

 

The DMM Belay Master is good for climbers over 40 and stoners because it is nearly impossible to not immediately notice if it isn't locked. But it kind of sucks because you cannot use it directly into the harness, bypassing the the belay loop because there isn't enough room for the harness belt,etc. below the black plastic piece.

 

"bypassing the belay loop" can kill too. wave.gif "directly into the harness" at belt and legloops = automatic crossloading thumbs_down.gifwave.gif

You must be getting something else caught in there. The Whilan's locker or similar and a typical harness seem to keep the carabiner and device and (potential) load direction colinear (in the right alignment to prevent cross loading). some of those mountie courses include overhanging rappels and catching high loads/impacts where cross loading would result in snapped hardware, but it doesn't happen (emperical evidence?). look again, i think you've got your daisy or something in there. wazzup.gif

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yoooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuu arrrrrrrrrre goooooooooiiiiing tooooooooooooo diiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! shocked.gif

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i mean we use rubber tires nowadays instead of wooden wheels, combustion engines instead of horses,and so on. climbing with a fig-8 nowadays is like climbing with EB's and a swami belt. get with the program.

 

as good a place as any to jump in...I've been thru this entire thread and it appears to revolve around various gizmos and their potentially fatal shortcomings.

I hate to seem like a retard, overly reactionary, or excessively temporally challenged, but: What is actually wrong with belaying around your waist? Waist/hip belays have held some rather enormous falls have they not? The selling point of such, to me, is that there's little or knothing to go wrong, get flipped over or sideways, drop & lose, or goof up in the dark. Just gotta keep that hand on the rope & clip in at the station so you know in which direction the pull will come.

 

Rapping is another story; I still use a carabiner brake & freely admit there's a bunch of ways to fuck that up.

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ever try and lower someone off from partway up a pitch with a hip belay? ow.

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ever try and lower someone off from partway up a pitch with a hip belay? ow.

Done it lots of times: No problem for me but I'm a pretty big boy. I grant you hip belay loses a lot of its appeal with a "little" belayer & a "big" faller & even more so it there aren't enough pieces in to provide some friction in the system. In general I don't dispute its shortcomings but I find its simplicity appealing.

 

Back in the day the Mounties used a training rigamarole using manila shocked.gif ropes, run through blocks yet shocked.gif, attached to a free-falling concrete weight shocked.gif. Zero stretch, zero system friction and a damn good wham when you got the weight. I have a lifelong scar all the way across my back from the rope getting under both the pad they provided and my shirt. Ouch! I held onto it though, caught the "fall" proving only that adolescent determination can overcome stupidity in at least some circumstances. Lowering someone with a perlon rope is pretty tame by comparison.

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I often use the hip belay on easy terrain, usually low angle, where I know that my partner is going to follow quickly. It is much easier to keep up than using my ATC. I don't so often use it for belaying a leader.

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A lot of years went by before we used any type of belay device. What we typically did do was clip a single biener to the tie-in point of our harness or sling so the gate was up-and-in and then had the rope from the climber go through it and around the waist for the hip belayed. The single biener added friction, but mostly ensured good control over the rope in a fall - and there were lot's and lot's of them...

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I hate to seem like a retard, overly reactionary, or excessively temporally challenged, but: What is actually wrong with belaying around your waist?

 

I have a lifelong scar all the way across my back from the rope getting under both the pad they provided and my shirt. Ouch! I held onto it though, caught the "fall" proving only that adolescent determination can overcome stupidity in at least some circumstances.

 

Seems to me you answered your own question. rolleyes.gif

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I bet DFA is sooo jealous he doesn't have sexy scars from his GriGri.

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[quoteSeems to me you answered your own question. rolleyes.gif

Only to a point: It was a bummer for sure. How I'd compare my experience to getting my finger sucked into a belay device or, worse, watching my belay device explode or come undone at the instant of holding a fall I can't say cause I haven't experienced those. Seems like the latter could easily be fatal though: given a choice between pain only or pain combined with premature violent death I'll choose the former.

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we use halbmastwurf a.k.a halfclove hitch, or ? you get the picture; we use a carbiner and a knot.

 

one does not see the figure 8 deal much any more.

 

one more piece of gear out of the system???????

 

asstated eariler "avoid crossloading"!

 

ex-pat living in europe

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