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ClimbingCowboy

"Rope", "Slack", or "Clipping"

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for newbies or new partners, I use "clipping", otherwise I say nothing, it is just part of leading, the belayer should know you will be periodically taking up rope to clip.

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I use one single and simple signal. The leader gives five quick tugs of the rope. It means "stop belaying and start climbing." The leader may have a belay set up, or they may be just short of a belay and need the second to start out so they can get there.

 

This has worked well for me, even when river/wind noise is extreme and rope drag severe. Five (or ten) tugs is hard to mistake for something else.

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Yeah. Screw the old fart system. Mattp doesn't know shit. Neither do all us other old fogies who wandered aimlessly for the last 35 years or more. We all knew the standard signals. It didn't get discussed more often than not. It just went the same way.

JT, the Valley, Red Rocks, Ak, City of Rocks, Indian Creek, Bitterroots, Sawtoths, Devil's tower, Suicide, Tauquitz, Tetons-even with Europeans so it must be stupid. Just because people have used and tested the old system for centuries (Chamonix 1786), in wind, whiteout, freezing and thawing, around corners and under overhangs with and without rope drag don't mean shit.

Lets change it to Gym speak because we can carry radios now.

And these new kids are climbin 5.15. They MUST know better.

 

Like I said, this is going to cause a death.

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:lmao: I'd have to agree with Bug, and all the other old farts on this question. If it's not broke, why fix it? I've always had the rope tug non-verbal cue work; if there's a lot of drag you just substitute "yard" for "tug" and the message gets through. Of course, it's always best to agree on your signal before you need to use it.

 

Radios are okay, but really, it's just more crap to malfunction, like electric windows on a car.

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Oh, and sometimes when you can't really communicate by shouting at each other directly, it can work to bounce your voice off a nearby wall. Ever notice how you can sometimes hear both parties on an adjacent route really well, but they can't hear each other? It can be fun to play translator in that situation: Just shout, "he says he's having an affair with your wife."

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but I see no reason to think a new set of auditory signals - at least any new set that I've heard so far - is any improvement over the old.

 

Its not about improvement IMO……it simply is what it is. Just make sure your belayer knows what your commands are…..that way it does not matter if you have ever climbed with the person before or not. I believe clarity before you leave the ground is key.

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Oh yeah….the reason I say (really anything at all) “rope” is to give my belayer a split second to feed rope…..they cant always see my hands (especially if it is a super long pitch)……I HATE BEING SHORT ROPED. When you get into climbing 12’s and up…..feeling anything but the weight of the rope can throw you off the climb. Hence the commands…….

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I absolutely agree with you there Kevbone, but do you REALLY stop and go over audotory signals every time you are going to belay or be belayed by a new partner?

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I do you REALLY stop and go over audotory signals every time you are going to belay or be belayed by a new partner?

 

Yes with being belayed.......I climbed with Ivan for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We went sport climbing and before I left the ground I let him know my habits. That just gave him a “heads up” to what he will hear from me and what I expect him to do about it.

 

Its not like you get out the chalk board and draw a picture……it’s just a simple courtesy for the team to know what the habits are of other climbers. And of course…..it could save your life.

 

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So we are throwing away all "conventions", Right?

No more "Off Belay"?

No more "Climbing"?

Just make up something new everytime you go out.

 

Bad plan Kevbone.

 

Someone is going to die.

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If I go to clip and my belayer isn't paying enough attention to either see of feel it, I'd be yelling more than "slack" but "slack" would be part of it :)

 

If that got to be routine, I'd stick to top-roping with him.

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Ahhhh. I miss climbing with Ivan. I was just telling the story recently of when we were topping out on Beacon Rock in the dark and why headlamps are a good thing.

 

Maybe the wall rat kits in the Windy City are being taught "up-rope". I'll check that out with my friend who is instructing them based on the syllabus the college is providing.

 

I appreciate the great input this has generated.

 

I'll continue to use monosyllables, mostly. If I haven't climbed with someone before, I will continue to cover the agreed upon signals, both verbal and non-verbal.

 

The group I now climb with is used to setting top-ropes at Devils Lake. Being 2 1/2 hours or so from Chicago, it's the logical place to go. A sport or trad fix requires road-triping 6-8 hours either to Jackson Falls or the Red River Gorge. Newer and some not so newer climbers aren't exposed to the different environment/situation that I experienced in Portland.

 

There-in lies the teaching opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So we are throwing away all "conventions", Right?

No more "Off Belay"?

No more "Climbing"?

Just make up something new everytime you go out.

 

Bad plan Kevbone.

 

Someone is going to die.

 

 

What the hell are you talking about?

 

Read my posts more carefully please. I was strictly talking about what I say when I am about to pull the rope up clip. I am not making up something new……jeeezzz…..

 

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OK.

Nevermind.

Or just consider that I mean this in general.

It is not directed just at you although you presented an easy target.

I am talking about the general divergence from established signals that have been worked out for many decades under all conditions and proven to be the best, to a new set of signals that were developed for use in a gym. Or any new set depending on your mood. Or someone elses mood.

What is the compelling reason to change the system that has worked for so long?

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Oh, specifically, "Slack" is the time proven term to use in the instance you present.

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established signals that have been worked out for many decades under all conditions and proven to be the best,

 

The Best? Maybe in your mind.

 

 

to a new set of signals that were developed for use in a gym.

 

I did not learn to climb in a gym……I don’t know those signals….

 

What I do know is that what ever I say…..my belayer needs to know what I mean…..would you agree?

 

 

I was climbing St. Vitas Dance (spelling???) in Squamish a couple of years ago the party in front of us were conucks….they were not using signals that I recognized. The leader would say “secure” when saying off belay.

 

Are you telling me that that guy is full of crap because he did not use what you are used too? That’s what I thought. All areas of climbing are different friend…….

 

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"DIRT ME!"

"MAKE IT HAPPEN SKI KING!"

"FUCKITYFUCKFUCK!"

"YOU'RE GONNA DIE!"

"COW!"

 

These are the only yelled commands any climber needs.

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Ahh here's an idea. How about non-verbal. Nothing ruins a nice peaceful crag day than everyone screaming up and down at each other. Seriously. A few tugs on the rope is adequate in most situations. Much safer as your not going to get confused when another party screams up "Off belay"

 

As for established signals? I didn't know there was an "official' rule book on this. I'm going to say whatever works to keep you safe is the established method. I want to invent my own set of rope commands. From now on instead of calling for a "take" the leader now has to yell "I'm a vagina."

 

Please though, no more screaming commands at the wall.

 

OK.

Nevermind.

Or just consider that I mean this in general.

It is not directed just at you although you presented an easy target.

I am talking about the general divergence from established signals that have been worked out for many decades under all conditions and proven to be the best, to a new set of signals that were developed for use in a gym. Or any new set depending on your mood. Or someone elses mood.

What is the compelling reason to change the system that has worked for so long?

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Other than the OP it appears that we all use the same set of commands. I've never heard of using 'rope' to mean 'slack'. The point I'm arguing is that it is inevitable with the number climbing areas and climbers in the world that there are going to be variations in language. This can only really be a problem if you get on a long dangerous route with someone you've never climbed with before. The first time I climb with a new partner it is always under safe controlled conditions so that we can get used to each others systems and climbing habits. We'll establish a communication scheme that works for that partnership. That might mean that one of the people will have to adapt and I can tell right now that if I ever climb with Bug that person will be me :wink: I also guarantee that if he yells 'slack' I will feed out 'rope'.

 

My beef with the rope tug communication system is that there is no feedback but I must admit that I have little experience with it. Every other scheme has a call and response pattern. The next time I go out climbing I'm going to ask to practice rope tugs so I get a better feel for it. My fear is that I'll mistake some kind of climbing movement for rope tugs and prematurely take my partner off belay. I would rather belay the full length of rope than have my partner unprotected.

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From now on instead of calling for a "take" the leader now has to yell "I'm a vagina."

 

 

Awesome

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Does the leader say, "Rope", "Slack", or "Clipping"?

 

Say what ever you want…..just make sure your belayer knows what you mean. I suggest covering this before you leave the ground.

 

When I am ready to grab the rope and run it through the carabineer, I have a habit of saying “rope” then I say “clipped” once it is in. When climbing with someone new I try to go over this on the ground.

 

 

"Rope" has always been the shortened version of pull like hell, the old language for "almost" take. the human mind remembers things that become ingrained, if you meet some dude and tell him what you just said and expect him to reverse lingo that he has used for years as something opposite, you will end up screwing yourself.

 

this is a very stupid thing to try and reverse old meanings.

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My beef with the rope tug communication system is that there is no feedback

 

Always assume the series of tugs means "you're on belay, start climbing, don't fall"

 

In terms of non-verbal cues, you might want to use standard crane/boom hand signals used on construction sites. Of particular use are "lower" "hoist" and "dog everything"

 

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For "Off Belay" and "ON Belay" everyone should scream "OK Paul"

(like the big fat Harry Mud* guy screaming at the skinny frightened guy leaning on the buzzer when the kid comes into the shop with the human head in Eraserhead)

 

This seems to work in all situations.

 

* Star Trek reference embedded in Eraserhead reference

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This can only really be a problem if you get on a long dangerous route with someone you've never climbed with before.

 

I have done quite a few big serious climbs, including the most technical wall route I ever did and one of the biggest technical ice climbs I've ever done with people I'd never met before. Perhaps that influences my "take" on this discussion.

 

 

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