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SplashClimber

A-B-C when using munter (necessary?)

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Well if any of you guys would ask a certain local climbing legend whom used nothing but the hip belay for the last 50+ years your comments might be a tad different.

 

Ever heard of Fred Becky? No one even used a stitch plate/ATC till the 1960s.

 

PS Joseph wasn't talking about belaying roof climbs sitting at a hanging belay station. For almost 100% of alpine, a correct hip belay is far superior to an ATC which is very slow in comparison. For pure rock climbing big walls it is different. I don't think Joseph is telling folks to use a hip belay on vertical multipitch rock walls.

 

PPS when training at marymoor, I will use a hip belay and carabiner most of the time. It is VERY easy, it puts very little strain on your hands since you are not fighting the rope pulling it through the $#*%$))$)(#)(#)(_$)_#)_$# ATC to give slack to the lead climber. Or when on top, pulling the rope through the #*$#)(#))(@)#()(#)(@_@!_+@)$#%$%#$$ ATC. True, you have to wear a shirt or get rope burn on your back! A hip belay deos require one to pay attention to what you are doing!

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I don't think Joseph is telling folks to use a hip belay on vertical multipitch rock walls.

Wastral, actually I am. It actually took us quite awhile before we trusted stitch plates for vertical multipitch trad; we knew, used, and trusted our hip belays. We did in fact use hip belays on roofs from hanging belays and I wouldn't hesitate to do the same today. We led Foops in the Gunks that way and held plenty of solid falls on hip belays at home, the Gunks, and in Eldo on them during that time. The notion that you need a device to safely hold falls of any length is entirely a modern myth. The increasing lack of competency with the technique over time, though, has clearly bred the entirely mistaken notion that you can't give a 'real' belay without a device - nothing could be further from the truth. No device is necessary at all to provide solid and safe belays on vertical multipitch rock. But make no mistake about it, and as Wastral says above, competent hip belaying - on vertical rock or alpine - is a technical exercise where you have to stay engaged and pay attention to the details.

 

Hell, I forgot my harness (with ATC) a couple of weeks ago and led Blownout at Beacon tied into the rope, belaying with a hip belay, and rapping off on a biner brake. When I'm in Red Rocks and climbing with Larry DeAngelo we do multipitch FA's back up in the canyons on hip (me) and shoulder (him) belays. It's a basic climbing craft and sadly one that, along with stancing, is all but a lost art. Do I use a belay device? Sure, I use a Kong Ghost, but it's strictly a convience, not a necessity, and certainly not one my climbing is in any way dependent upon.

 

P.S. One technical note relative to your comment about burning your back sans shirt or coat. In a proper hip belay the rope should never be higher than the top of your pants, i.e., should never be up on your waist. You want it down on your hips between the thigh socket and the crest at the top of your hip, there is a notch between the two and that's where you want to keep the rope.

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that roof looked pretty boring.

Yeah, boring. I was at a party of old Valley guys back in March down in Jtree, my first visit there because I'd always avoided it and Vedauwoo like the plague. After one day climbing there I couldn't bail for Red Rocks fast enough - the basic movement was just that, intolerably boring.

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In the end, I'm more than open to valid criticisms of hip belaying, but not from people who aren't competent doing one.

Except anyone who criticizes hip belays appears to be incompetent by definition in your book. You're willing to call out genepires despite not knowing anything about what he represents as a climber, and the same goes for others on this thread...

 

Hip belays have their uses, but they have their limitations...

Again, which one of you on this thread has ever spent any significant amount of time or effort figuring out how a hip belay would have to be done to competently belay vertical rock? How many of you have used a hip belay on a vertical, multipitch rock climb? Any of you? I can tell from the comments on this thread that folks commenting negatively on hip belaying don't have the requisite experience or knowledge to make those claims. Even your comment of "but they have there limitations" smacks of it. How about elaborating on exactly what those limitations are if that's what you think? What I'm attempting to get across here is there is a wholly mistaken and now deeply entrenched mythology and urban legend around the topic that has no basis in fact.

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Perhaps I could summarize the tangent on which this thread has somehow gone:

 

1) JosephH has done a lot of hip belaying and he likes it. He states that if its done properly, there are no limitations to its effectiveness.

 

2) Other folks are less comfortable or experienced with this technique, and prefer to use a belay device with which they are more comfortable, and which is now currently more of a standard in the practice of climbing.

 

3) JosephH wishes people wouldn't state that hip belaying has its limitations. He feels compelled to point out that they have limitations as climbers, rather than the technique having limitations. People can't learn the merits of hip belaying in only a few hours or days.

 

4) JosephH can in fact evaluate the merits of Joshua Tree in only a few hours, and decide that it's boring.

 

5) JosephH can also evaluate the merits of other climbers on this board based on a few comments in the "Newbies" forum, and decide that they're incompetent.

 

Did I miss anything?

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you forgot that JosephH doesn't like the munter hitch.

 

 

And to lock off the hip belay, one needs to "Lock off by diving your brake hand between your legs."

 

Maybe Joseph could elaborate why this is a better lock off than wrapping the rope around the waist as far as possible? I am used to hip belays in a seated stance. Maybe this between the legs thing is a standing hip belay method for belaying leaders?

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In the end, I'm more than open to valid criticisms of hip belaying, but not from people who aren't competent doing one.

Even your comment of "but they have there limitations" smacks of it. How about elaborating on exactly what those limitations are if that's what you think?

Two limitations that spring to mind are

1) can't belay two climbers simultaneously

2) difficult to go hands free or tie off

 

The first one isn't a big deal often, but when it arises, it is a dealbreaker. The second one is just a big PITA. Tying off a munter to go hands free is a 3 second affair to transfer the load to the anchor.

 

It has its uses on less than vertical terrain when speed is of the essence. Everything else in climbing has tradeoffs and limitations, and the hip belay is no different.

Edited by mkporwit

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that roof looked pretty boring.

Yeah, boring. I was at a party of old Valley guys back in March down in Jtree, my first visit there because I'd always avoided it and Vedauwoo like the plague. After one day climbing there I couldn't bail for Red Rocks fast enough - the basic movement was just that, intolerably boring.

 

maybe u just suck at jamming like others suck at face climbing. you proly don't like yosemite much either.

 

you say u like to climb on sandstone mostly, you otta try indian creek some time. i think you'd really like it.

 

joseph, you just need to get laid. maybe you need a little strange to spice up your life.

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4) JosephH can in fact evaluate the merits of Joshua Tree in only a few hours, and decide that it's boring.

 

5) JosephH can also evaluate the merits of other climbers on this board based on a few comments in the "Newbies" forum, and decide that they're incompetent.

 

Did I miss anything?

Yes, a) that I can evaluate the merits of any climbing area relative to my interests in climbing in only a few hours, and b) that I can evaluate the merits of other climbers on this board based on a few comments in the "Newbies" forum, and decide they're incompetent at hip belaying.

 

Big difference.

 

 

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you forgot that JosephH doesn't like the munter hitch.

I like the munter for a variety of uses, just not belaying or rapping, both of which tend to destroy a rope pretty damn quick when done with any frequency. It was fine on goldline, sucks on sheathed ropes.

 

And to lock off the hip belay, one needs to "Lock off by diving your brake hand between your legs."

 

Maybe Joseph could elaborate why this is a better lock off than wrapping the rope around the waist as far as possible? I am used to hip belays in a seated stance. Maybe this between the legs thing is a standing hip belay method for belaying leaders?

If you were paying attention to the details, the actual complete quote from my first post in the thread was:

 

Lock off by diving your brake hand between your legs. Tie off by just tying off the brake side to the climber side. ...

Both work equally well standing or sitting.

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Two limitations that spring to mind are

1) can't belay two climbers simultaneously

2) difficult to go hands free or tie off

 

The first one isn't a big deal often, but when it arises, it is a dealbreaker. The second one is just a big PITA. Tying off a munter to go hands free is a 3 second affair to transfer the load to the anchor.

In thirty five years of climbing I've never had the slightest inclination to belay two climbers simultaneously. I don't particularly like climbing in threesomes and when I do it's one at a time. as for tying off to go hands free, it couldn't be simpler, just take the brake hand side of the rope and do a wrap around the side of the rope to the climber. Takes seconds and you're hands-free.

 

It has its uses on less than vertical terrain when speed is of the essence.

Again, you do the exact same unsubstantiated "less than vertical" innuendo when nothing could be further from the truth - hip belaying done right is a completely sound and solid method of belaying on vertical rock of any size to hold falls of any length. Last time I checked rotues like Blownout at Beacon and Yellow Spur in Eldo qualified as vertical.

 

Everything else in climbing has tradeoffs and limitations, and the hip belay is no different.

You're right - and belaying two people is certainly one of them.

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Come on JosephH, lets play nice here. I am asking a question that I am curious about since you have more expereince with the hip belay. Why is the braking position down between the legs vs. across the front of the waist, towards the loaded strand. It would seem like the braking position you say would have less friction. Are you saying that with the 180 degree bend is enough friction and don't need the extra?

 

Just curious and not meant as an arguement. I am paying attention to the details. That is why I am asking.

Edited by genepires

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Genspires, my mistake, I thought you were confusing 'tying' and 'locking' off - clearly you're not.

 

Across the front of the body (waist) is a gently curved continuation of the rope path and you don't have much of anything to brace your hand against. Diving between your legs provides another bend and allows you to brace your hand against the inside of your thigh. Across the front would be ok if your intent was going to be to eventually tie-off, otherwise my opinion is you're better off between your legs with your hand / wrist braced against the brakehand-side leg. This bracing also comes into play in any case where you have to lower someone any distance as you want the very fine control over the lowering speed that helps provide.

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Well, guess I will have to try the ol' hip belay on truely vertical rock sometime here. That is if marymoor doesn't count, which I think it does, at least for practice!

 

I have climbed with 3 people and its a PITA, but have never actually belayed 2 at once since never wanted 2 ropes dragging me down when leading. I suppose this is easily attainable when using dual twin lead ropes of the 8mm variety. Always hate the rope management problems when at a climbing ledge with 3 people/2ropes.

 

Hmm, maybe when I go to Waddington next summer, or try for waddington again next summer, I can lighten my climbing equipment and simply leave the ATC at home. Carabiners work fine for repelling as well.

 

Brian

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If anyone is ever down at Beacon I'd be happy to demo it. Or I suppose if I knew someone with a video camera I record it and slap it up somewhere; might have to think about that with regard to both hip belays and stancing.

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i've got a video camera...

now all you need is to find a sucker to lob off on a lead fall on vertical rock while you're hip-belaying....

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There have already been a few locally. And what the hell, first-person 'leaderview' camerawork would probably be perfect for the job.

 

[ Edit: I feel compelled to note the abject terror permeating everyone's use of the term 'vertical' in this thread. It [self-]reinforces the sad resilence of this myth. It's like, "but oh my god, I want a 'real' belay on vertical rock...!". A sad mass hysteria entrenched so deep it's probably pointless even attempting to discuss anything within a grenade's distance of reality on the topic at this point. How could I have missed the world is flat? C'est la vie...]

Edited by JosephH

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Well damn, what is the world coming too, not using a gri-gri for belaying, oh no! I still have the Original freedom of the Hills, the second edition and I might add the 5th? The first 2 editions all have the hip belay as the primary belaying method. Guess all climbers died before 1970. Guess there was never a vertical route put up before 1970 either... Lets see, when was Liberty Crack put up on Liberty bell? Oh yea, 1965

 

Wastral

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