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carolyn

belaying a leader

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I belay you belay beshmay. Tie in here tie in there anchor this anchor that. If it is really too complicated go hire a guide.

It aint rocket science. There are books on this sort of thing. There is a lot of common sense with these things. If you dont have any I will sell you some for fitty dollas. [Moon]

Climbing is all about pulling on the next holdm stabbing that fang of ice, grovelling up that mountain or whatever. You get a friggin anchor. You set a belay you continue climbing. It's about finding what system works best for you. Then realizing situation dictates everything you do out there including how you belay.

Get some rock climbing books by John Long. Oops I meant Jon Lambone. [big Drink]

I bet when Beckey had the rope tied off to his dong leading out on Slesse's NE Buttress he had some vintage shit and still persisted. If your that worried about it start LEADING and you might discover what you like.

Situation dictates everything.Situation= how much good pro in the anchorshow scared you or partner arewhat kind of rope system 1 or 2 ropesfall potential ground or injuriousexperienceconfidenceweathertime of day or nightfatiguegear availableknowledge

That said I read a lot of books. I started leading. I learned by trial and error what works good where and with whom.

You drink your bud I'll smoke mine [big Drink] This topic is worse than DDD part II [Moon]

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quote:

Originally posted by Retrosaurus:
The way I learned it, proper technique for belaying the leader hinged upon mastering one-handed rolling. But I since the grigri I fear it is a lost art.

Mitch, you're wierd. YOu should post more often! [big Drink]

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Matt A, you may have missed my point....I was trying to explain why the system is dynamic in the first place, and why IMO, it's ideal to keep the system as dynamic as possible. There are so many variables here though, as pointed out by the myriad posts on the subject. Make no mistake: I never meant to imply static rope or otherwise faulty belay system.

The system stays more dynamic when the belayer is belaying off of their harness (perferably IMO with a device other than a GriGri), and not attached to an anchor if possible. This gives your belayer the control they need to protect the leader and the belay system, as explained by others here.

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For another lesson on shock loading, this time while the leader was belaying the second, check out page 71 of 2000 Accidents in N. American Mountaineering. This accident at Peshastin was due to miscommunication while preparing to lower the second back to a missed piece, but to the point: second falls, cordelette to anchors is loose, belayer whipped down onto rock, fractures his skull, loses belay, second falls 80 feet to ground, fractures ankle, wrist and femur. Miraculously they both survived. Really brings home the importance of being in line with your anchor, and keeping the line of force taut, at all times when belaying a second.

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Thanks for the input everyone.

Like I said before, after reading a different post I was beginning to get the feeling I was lacking info in order to keep the leader safe in the case of a fall. I just wanted to make sure.

Lambone, yes...I was actually told to belay a leader or someone on tr off the anchor..."you should never belay off your harness".

And, cpt...the above statement was spoken by a guide who I hired.

When I have a question about something (especially when it involves safety) I gather info from a variety of resources, and then get my ass out there, using my common sense to see what works best.

Im sorry if this topic is redundant or boring for some. I really DO appreciate those who have contributed to the discussion, and especially those who have tolerated my numerous other questions in the past.

Thanks again, carolyn

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quote:

Originally posted by carolyn:
And, cpt...the above statement was spoken by a guide who I hired.

Well at least you are not teasing some dude and gunning off his topropes wink.gif" border="0 I got more respect for that. Bud still sucks when compared to Guiness though [big Drink]

[Moon]

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I belayed some big logs out of a tree today. Dynamic thats what its all about. Get some leather gloves and let the rope run, so you don't shake the tree too much and scare the climber.

Oh wait we're talking rock climbing

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Carolyn...you should be more careful with your money if you're spending it on some joker who tells you never to belay off your harness.

I agree with MattP. Many times I'll have a lighter climber belay me from an anchor if it is not in an ideal position, but is bomber nonetheless. I might put them on an independent anchor, but that's better than them getting strung up like they're on a clothesline if I were to fall.

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quote:

Originally posted by Gordonb:

OK, I'll bite, Why?

Ok Gordon, the main reason is that belaying a lead climber from a static anchor will dramaticaly increase the forces generated in a fall. Clipping the device straight to the belay loop on your harness add's quite a bit of dynamicness to the system, thus the forces generated are much lower. These forces are distributed through the climber and belayer, the rope, and the piece that the leader falls on. A dynamic belay could make the difference if the piece is questionable. This is why people sometimes use load-limiting quick draws (screamers) on ice and aid climbs where pro may be marginal. Plus wouldn't it be harder to get the angle you need to break the rope properly??

In my 10 or so years of climbing I have never seen any book, mag article, gear catolog, instruction manual, proffesional instructor, etc... recommend belaying a leader straight from the anchor. Maybe people do recomend it, but I've never heard of such a thing.

This is not to be confused with belaying a second(where going off the anchor is fine), because in a top rope situation the fall forces are much, much lower.

Hope that makes sense... smile.gif" border="0

[ 02-14-2002: Message edited by: Lambone ]

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Good explanation, Lambone, but I believe that, as Glen suggested, the decision should be based on the consideration you raised but also upon other factors such as the expertise and physical characteristics of the belayer, rope management concerns, the security of both the belay and the protection anchors, and your ability to set up a belay where the belayer is not going to be pulled off their stance in the event of a fall.

As to jumping off the rock when you fall, I should note that many gym trained climbers get so used to doing this that it becomes so instinctive that they do so even when it is a bad idea, such as when their last piece of pro was a stopper prone to failure when pulled outward but secure for a downward pull.

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I'm not saying that the belayer should'nt be clipped into the anchor. Of course on multi-pitch routes they allways will be.

I'm saying that you should never clip the belay device straight to the anchor point itself when belaying a leader.

I got the impression thats what carolyn said she had been told to do.

[ 02-14-2002: Message edited by: Lambone ]

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quote:

Originally posted by mattp:
Maybe we are doing different climbs, but I would say that it is not all that uncommon for me to encounter belay ledges where the anchors may not be ideally situated right behind the waist of the belayer. They may be bomber anchors, but if they are in a crack next to a ledge, or if belay bolts are placed for east of retrieving a rappel line from below, they may be off to the side. In such an event, the belayer may be tethered to a leash in such a way that a large pull from a leader fall may pull them out of position.

Maybe you only climb with totally bomber partners who weigh more than you do, but I very often climb with people who I fear may do a less than stellar job of belaying me and one of the things that I sometimes worry about is whether they will be able to keep hold of me in the event that they are pulled out of position. Again, particularly if it is a lighter climber, and particularly if they are inexperienced, I fear that a sudden jerk upon them may catch them unaware and they may not do what I had in mind. Someone who is not being pulled off the belay ledge, I believe, will be better able to pay attention to my needs than someone who is dangling in space and being pinned sideways by their anchor tether.


It seems that you don't believe in the principle of a DYNAMIC belay. Thats fine, I'm not tryin to change your mind for you. I'm just saying that there is more than one way to look at it. Here is my perspective:

First, if you are worried about your belayer holding onto the brake rope (as you say you are), you might want to invest in a Gri-Gri. They are a little expensive and heavy, but its worth the extra piece of mind you'll gain.

Second, as I was explaining earlier, I think it is OKAY if the belayer gets picked up by your weight. It will be easyier on the rope, the hardwear, and you. In my opinion, the lighter they are the better. Just make sure they arn't going to fly off the ledge and crack their head open on something. The only time I worry about this type of dynamic motion is if I might land on something and want a tight belay. Then I have them get real close to the anchor by shortening their daisy or clove hitch, or whatever. It's allways important that the belayer can reach the anchor if the rope is fully weighted.

"I would say that it is not all that uncommon for me to encounter belay ledges where the anchors may not be ideally situated right behind the waist of the belayer." Yeah, you wouldn't expect that unless there were trees at every belay ledge (like in washington). But I still don't see why you think a belayer must be attached by the back of their waist...? What if they are hanging belays, you gunna string them up by their ass every pitch? Of course not... So do you have them belay straight off of the bolts on a hanging belay? Even if the only gear the pitch takes are little RP's...?

I used to have a must not fall, allways keep a tight belay, and be firmly anchored in so you won't get pulled up at all kind of mentality. This is great if you run the risk of decking onto a ledge, but otherwise its just silly, and wrong (in my opinion).

Then there are those people who don't trust their belay loop and allways clip in through the tie in points rolleyes.gif" border="0 What to do....

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That's my point: I think there are situations where it would be a mistake not to have the belayer set the device directly on the anchors. For example, if we cannot set up the belay so that the belayer is ancored IN THE DIRECTION of a potential fall force (that is, with the belayer sitting between the anchor and the expected fall force), and particularly if that belayer is small and inexperienced, I would rather set it up so they belay me directly from the belay anchor. I will back everything up, and I will think about using rippers to reduce fall forces on a questionnable piece (I usually have a couple on my rack), but on balance I think the greater shock loading may be offset by the greater security for the belayer in this example.

[ 02-14-2002: Message edited by: mattp ]

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I understand the need for a dynamic system, and the physics involved, and I have too little experience to draw on to dispute it being a "very bad idea" to belay from a fixed anchor. I seem to recall some of the diagrams in one of Longs "how to climb" books and they have some instances of belaying off a fixed anchor (but maybe they are all belaying seconds, I don't have the books with me here at work).

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quote:

Originally posted by Figger Eight:
Carolyn...you should be more careful with your money if you're spending it on some joker who tells you never to belay off your harness.

No kidding!I worry about the person who hears this during a course and takes it literally. I wont be cutting off my belay loop anytime soon. wink.gif" border="0

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quote:

In my 10 or so years of climbing I have never seen any book, mag article, gear catolog, instruction manual, proffesional instructor, etc... recommend belaying a leader straight from the anchor.

Well then I would point to Freedom of the Hills' section on belaying, where it shows someone belaying a leader off a large boulder. Just to point out that the technique is out there, in the rookie's bible no less.

While you should be able to escape any belay, it can be a little easier if you have to do so when belaying off the anchor, which keeps you out of the system and from being yanked into a Bad Spot™.

That said, I think this discussion involves too many what-if's to make a decent point. So many choices in climbing are made with limited data (belay loops, pickets vs. flukes, avalanche hazard, etc, ad nauseum) that you just have to go on what you have found works for you. Isn't that why you climb anyway? The uncertainty of success is part of the experience.

-I

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Other than keep your break hand on the rope, there is no "best" way to belay a leader. There are a million variables to consider like what type of climbing you are doing, how much does your partner weigh, are you on the ground, a ledge or hanging, on snow, ice, or rock, how good is the anchor, etc, etc, The key is learning how to evaluate the set up to get what you want out of the belay like safety, confort, and speed. As you gain experience this will become more automatic.

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Lambone, I agree with most of what you have stated here. Yes, a "dynamic belay" is desirable. Yes, its OK if my belayer gets picked up by my weight. Yes, the only time I worry about dynamic motion is if I might land on something. And yes, a belayer should not attach themselves by the back of their waist. None of these points, however, negate what I am saying.

As imorris noted, this discussion may involve too many what "if's" to make a decent point. But as to your "do you have them belay straight off of the bolts on a hanging belay? Even if the only gear the pitch takes are little RP's...?" My answer is "probably not," but I might if it is an A-1 pitch and there will be a lot of those RP placements and there are bomber belay bolts and my belayer wants to zip up their jacket and pull their shell pants on and... My point is that for me it is a matter of sizing up what I think is going to be my biggest source of possible system failure in the event of a fall and addressing that as my number one concern. There are situations where maximizing the dynamic nature of the belay is one or two places down my list of worries.

By the way, I belay off my waist, and prefer that my partner do so, at least 90% of the time.

[ 02-15-2002: Message edited by: mattp ]

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I have nothing to add to this conversation-- just thought it would be cool to have all the Matts on this site in one thread. [Wazzup]

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Right on mattp, to each his own. As long as your comfortable with what works for you. I was just arguing for the sake of killing time.

But if we end up climbing together sometime, I'll choose to belay you of my harness ok wink.gif" border="0 Have fun in the sun!

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quote:

Originally posted by Lambone:
Have fun in the sun!

Unfortunately, the weather forecast sounds as if the clouds are going to move in today at 4:30 pm and the sun is not likely to return untill -- what do you want to bet -- Tuesday morning about 8:00 am.

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