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SplashClimber

rope tugs - does anyone really use them?

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I prefer that my follower NOT tug on the rope once I have completed a pitch and tugged or yelled to tell them so. Even though I am off belay(and, presumably secure), I could be in the middle of completing my belay station or adjusting my anchor or taking off my shoes, etc etc. I don't want to be pulled off balance unexpectedly during this process, or have the rope tugged just as I am attaching the belay device and have it popped out of my hand.

 

Since it's just a personal preference--not necessarily the way the next person wants it done-- I try to remember to mention this before I leave the ground and then everybody's happy. :kisss:

Not only that, Sherri, but if the leader was unable to establish a belay and wanted to follower to simulclimb, tugging on them might be a particularly bad idea.

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When a follower is cleaning and has stopped for longer than the usual few seconds to pull a piece, I find it helpful for them to give two quick tugs to let me know they have resumed climbing. Especially if a piece was stuck or they stopped for a picture, safety break, etc... The first time I encountered this was with Opdycke and although we didn't talk about it, I knew exactly what he wanted without question.

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When a follower is cleaning and has stopped for longer than the usual few seconds to pull a piece, I find it helpful for them to give two quick tugs to let me know they have resumed climbing. Especially if a piece was stuck or they stopped for a picture, safety break, etc... The first time I encountered this was with Opdycke and although we didn't talk about it, I knew exactly what he wanted without question.

 

It seems to me that I remember a situation where Opdycke had to stop and clean a piece of mine and I remember him doing the same thing. Two quick tugs... Two syllables... Hmmm... Coincidence? I'm gonna say NO.

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There is no section describing the sending of Morse code signals using rope tugs. Is there a newer copy of FOH?

Since climbing education comes from multiple sources and not just the literature I am willing to concede that I did not learn rope tugs from FOH, or John Long's book, but from listening to my elders, watching others when I have been out, and asking questions when I didn't know. Jake, I'd be surprised if a section about rope tug signals didn't appear in the next edition of FOH just because there are enough climbers who are aware of the practice - whether they use it or not (take belaying with a Munter, for example.. How many people are aware about that and how many use it? It's in FOH). Though just because it isn't in FOH doesn't mean that it isn't accepted (by at least some group) as a method of communication when you can't hear your partner. Perhaps we should all just carry handheld radios when the wind picks up - that works too.

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it really matters not as long as you and your climbing partner have some agreed set of commands. so if you and your partner like to tug, have at it! my copy of FOH is from 1960, so perhaps there is an update to that section.

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it really matters not as long as you and your climbing partner have some agreed set of commands. so if you and your partner like to tug, have at it! my copy of FOH is from 1960, so perhaps there is an update to that section.

 

Ah ha, that's where the gap is... I have two copies, including the most recent edition, and my bro-in-law has the first edition (isn't that what you have, Jake), and I think that this topic doesn't appear in any of the more recent editions. Certainly, rope tugs have been used for quite some time, but it doesn't surprise me to know that it isn't in the 1960 edition of FOH. Cheers, Jake! :brew:

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So very interesting to hear what people actually use "out there". Thank-you everyone for some really teriffic input!

 

Regarding radios: I have been in situations where partners have radios left behind, or they do not like using radios, use them half-heartedly, or use them inefficiently (do not keep them handy etc, thus slowing down the whole process!)

 

So seems like tugging really is used, to varying degrees!

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Knowing and trusting a partner obviously opens to the door to much simpler systems. It's the "getting to know your partner" phase where things have to be hammered out with signals defined.

 

With the partners I've come to know and love, when the rope comes tight on me as the belayer, I know they either need me to move up so they can reach a belay, or they've already set one. The jiggle-jaggle of the rope can be like morse code.

 

Up, up, up...pause...up, up...pause...pause...pause...then really reeling it in...pause...a little slack comes down...pause...up, up, tight on me...must be time to go. And if I move up a bit, and the rope comes tight again, I really know its time.

 

Study your partner and how they use the rope, their habits and patterns. A good climber has lots of routines, with the same things happening every time. What else is there to do while your standing there. Enjoy the view...riiight.

 

Cheers,

 

N

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Study your partner and how they use the rope, their habits and patterns. A good climber has lots of routines, with the same things happening every time.

 

Creatures of habit - good call! :tup:

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Learn Morse code and use it with the rope. This way you can have actual conversations with your partner - no confusion this way!

 

I love this. I am going to learn Morse Code tonight so I can use it the next time I go out. Great idea!

 

Plaidman

Edited by Plaidman

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Yes, I wish more people would use them. Nothing ruins a peaceful day of climbing like listening to people scream at each other trying to figure out if they are on belay. Seriously, even cragging I like to use simple hand signals to take the leader off.

 

I use 4 hard tugs to take the leader off, and 3 hard tugs to put the follower on belay. Once the follower is on belay, there doesn't need to be any more communication, the follower can climb whenever they are ready. I've always been a bit confused when partners will call back and forth, "climbing" "climb-on." Once the belay is on, the belayer should be ready to catch a fall and assume the climber is moving or getting ready to move. No need to scream up every action your taking. "I'm drinking water" "drink on"

 

-Nate

 

 

My son when teaching him the commands associated with climbing.

When I taught him that when falling you should say falling. He said do you then say fall on.

 

Plaidman

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My son when teaching him the commands associated with climbing.

When I taught him that when falling you should say falling. He said do you then say fall on.

 

Sweet!!! :lmao: The kid's sharp!

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I'd have to go with Halifax on this one. I've never found rope-tugs to be decipherable. When belaying the leader, if we're out of earshot, I belay to the end of the rope. If my leader keeps pulling, it means one of two things - he/she is anchored and belaying, or he/she needs more rope to anchor. In either case, the required response is that I must disassemble my anchor and start climbing. With new partners, I review this procedure, let them know that I will be doing this, and suggest they do the same. Saves a lot of grief...

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I use 4 hard tugs to take the leader off, and 3 hard tugs to put the follower on belay.

-Nate

 

Interesting. I use 2 1/2 tugs to take the leader off, and 3 1/4 tugs to put the follower on. But, that can get confusing because 2 3/8 tugs means that I'm clipping, so sometimes my belayer takes me off as I'm trying to clip because he thinks I did 2 1/2 instead of 2 3/8, which is a problem. But, if I fall, I just give the rope another 1 5/8 tugs, and he puts me back on real quick, because, after all, 2 3/8 + 1 5/8 = 4 tugs, which is what we use to say, "put me back on belay because I'm falling."

 

It's a little confusing, but at least we don't have to scream at each other.

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With new partners, I review this procedure, let them know that I will be doing this, and suggest they do the same. Saves a lot of grief...

Well at least you are working it out before you leave the ground so you are both on the same page. Communicating before you start climbing is almost as important - if not more important - than communicating mid-pitch... Good call, mp! :tup:

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I use 4 hard tugs to take the leader off, and 3 hard tugs to put the follower on belay.

-Nate

 

Interesting. I use 2 1/2 tugs to take the leader off, and 3 1/4 tugs to put the follower on. But, that can get confusing because 2 3/8 tugs means that I'm clipping, so sometimes my belayer takes me off as I'm trying to clip because he thinks I did 2 1/2 instead of 2 3/8, which is a problem. But, if I fall, I just give the rope another 1 5/8 tugs, and he puts me back on real quick, because, after all, 2 3/8 + 1 5/8 = 4 tugs, which is what we use to say, "put me back on belay because I'm falling."

 

It's a little confusing, but at least we don't have to scream at each other.

I like to take the derivative of the length of the climb and multiply by the number of pieces placed, and then take that and apply the universal gravitational constant to figure out precisely where on the rope to tug for the optimum feel on the other end :lmao:

Edited by LostCamKenny

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I like to take the derivative of the length of the climb and multiply by the number of pieces placed, and then take that and apply the universal gravitational constant to figure out precisely where on the rope to tug for the optimum feel on the other end :lmao:

 

:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao:

 

You are like a one man hit parade of comedy funny ha

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I've used rope tugs before, and, I'll probably get flamed for this, used walkie-talkies with great success.

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I've used rope tugs before, and, I'll probably get flamed for this, used walkie-talkies with great success.

 

Naw, I've used radios before too, though they are an extra thing to carry and the most convenient way to carry them is also the worst way (I'm talking about slung around your neck). But if you don't mind they are ok. The caveat to radios, that I discovered, is that they still are hard to hear in the wind and you end up sayin, "what?" and "huh?" a lot anyway. I have used them on long pitches when the wind wasn't a factor but rope tugs were only marginally effective and they worked out great - yelling commands in this case sounded like little more than whispers. Overall, technology has afforded us the opportunity to use this stuff and trying it out is worth it just to see how well it performs. In the end what have you really lost? To recap: tugs = :tup: ; radios = :tup:; whatever keeps you breathin = :tup:;

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I'm not a fan of radios, loud and electronic. I once shared a belay with a couple that had radios and they yapped the entire time at a loud volume. "Ok honey, grab that horn to the left, move feet up. Over." Very annoying. Maybe on a big wall (aid) where the party might be spread out further than a pitch and/or need to manage some complicated logistics. Maybe there I can see the value.

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7 tugs = I'm sitting on a ledge smoking a cigarette instead of building the next anchor. But keep me on belay.

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