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Hokus

Munter Hitch for Trad Climbing

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What I disagree with is your disregard for the unexpected. Stuff happens outside. I admit I sometimes don't pay attention outside when belaying. But I try to keep that to a minimum. *shh* If you can stay sharp for 16 pitches while traveling over new terrain and having fun while doing it all the more power to you.

Also, climbing with people who pretty much never fall helps too.

Edited by summitchaserCJB

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The loss of feel and control involved with moving a belay from you to the anchor is simply unaccetable to me. I can see legitimate circumstances for making that trade-off relative to speed or weather on bigger walls and alpine, but that's it and it is a trade-off.

 

I see the point and agree even though i use an auto block on occasion.

 

In one multipitch climb I am likely to use all, an auto block, a hip belay or a standard belay off a BD guide depending on the circumstances and what I require. The least secure moving to the auto block, the most secure a hip belay imo if for no other reason the attention required for either and why you decide on which one to use.

 

A new climber might find that a little scary. Trick is to know and more importantly trust your partner and their skills.

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However, won't you admit

 

Yeah right. Getting Joseph to admit anything is like getting Gorge W. to admit he is guilty of war crimes. It an't gonna happen.

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A person that is autoblocking, and is momentarily unaware, still catches the unexpected fall.

It's sort of like the old Monty Python line: "I was raped...at first.".

 

Adolf Hitler used a Munter hitch. Total Fact. Therefore using munter = Nazi.

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Being dropped is not a common occurrence in climbing. That's a ridiculous statement.

 

Using an autoblock isn't any more or less safe than any other belay method. It's a tool.

 

Of course it's a hypothetical scenario, but it's certainly one that is possible. If given A or B, which do you think would be more likely to arrest a fall?

 

Doesn't seem like rocket-science to me... what am I missing?

The biggest problem with autoblock mode is that it's not trivial to lower somebody; even if you practice every anchor setup is different. It can take time to rig up and double check your release setup.

 

If anything happens to the climber it will take longer to lower them if they're on an autoblock than if belayed off the harness. This can range from them falling out away from the rock climbing out of a roof, to somehow getting badly injured and needing to be lowered promptly.

 

I've heard of enough autoblock horror stories that I employ it more judiciously now. If there's a reasonable chance that the climber will need to be lowered I'll belay off my harness. I will concede to Joseph that I think it is overused (I never use it craging) but for multipitch is it a great tool. Just understand when to use it and when to definitely not use it.

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A lot of good points made so far. I am one of the unlucky "dropped" climbers thanks to an inattentive belayer using a Gri-Gri. Instead of being lowered after finishing a sport route, I found myself in free fall and was relatively lucky "only" having a broken pelvis and internal bleeding. You have got to have a trustworthy, skilled, attentive belayer...whatever type of device you use. Your anchor needs to be bomber. You should know how to use a Muenter Hitch in case you lose your device. You should also know how to tie off and escape your belay/anchor. The climber also needs to give the belayer cues and commands to help them do a good job...though sometimes a challenge when it's windy or you've run the rope out a ways or around some terrain.

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If there's a reasonable chance that the climber will need to be lowered

 

Dont you just stick your biner in the hole and pull up and lower ?

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The biggest problem with autoblock mode is that it's not trivial to lower somebody; even if you practice every anchor setup is different. It can take time to rig up and double check your release setup.
True.

 

If anything happens to the climber it will take longer to lower them if they're on an autoblock than if belayed off the harness. This can range from them falling out away from the rock climbing out of a roof, to somehow getting badly injured and needing to be lowered promptly.
Again, true.

 

...a reasonable chance that the climber will need to be lowered I'll belay off my harness.
Agreed.

 

...I will concede to Joseph that I think it is overused...
No opinion.

 

...(I never use it craging)...
Concur.

 

...but for multipitch is it a great tool...
Again, concur.

 

...Just understand when to use it and when to definitely not use it.
Agreed.

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If there's a reasonable chance that the climber will need to be lowered

Dont you just stick your biner in the hole and pull up and lower ?

Yes, but that takes two hands. One to pull up (and maintain upward force) on the biner, and the other to control the rope's descent. If you're belaying off the harness (i.e., non-autoblocking mode), you can control the rope's descent with only one hand. This can have its advantages.

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IMO you are saying that it is impossible for someone to be attentive AND autoblock. Is this correct?

 

I don't see any compensating going on when I autoblock, but maybe you're partners do? Isn't "compensating/laziness" a choice? And if you aren't lazy, wouldn't you agree that it does add a layer of safety?

No, that isn't correct and you're misinterpreting. I'm saying IF you are using or counting on autoblocking to compensate for some actual or potential failing of your, or your partner's, belaying then you should address the root problem and not attempt to compensate with some device.

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Stuff happens outside.

You're about a 100 million times more likely to be dropped by an inattentive belayer then you are because they got hit by a rock.

 

I admit I sometimes don't pay attention outside when belaying. But I try to keep that to a minimum. *shh* If you can stay sharp for 16 pitches while traveling over new terrain and having fun while doing it all the more power to you.

You should consider working on that. I can stay sharp and attentive belaying over however many pitches I'm doing or I wouldn't do them. As to "new terrain", when I'm doing FAs I definitely want an attentive belayer. I don't even know quite how to respond to the "and having fun" comment; the idea that having fun and belaying might be incompatible when rock climbing is too scary to even having contemplated the possibility prior to this moment.

 

Also, climbing with people who pretty much never fall helps too.

Now that would make climbing so boring I don't doubt people would doze off...

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One thing I've never been too comfortable with is belaying off the anchor, especially in guide mode (auto block). When I can, I prefer to build my anchors at good stances. I give myself a tight leash, but I don't hang on the anchor if I can avoid it. I stand there and belay off my harness, using my legs and the stance to catch my follower. That way, the anchor is just for backup. It's one more level of redundancy I can add to the belay to make it safer.

 

That also allows me to use my legs to haul the climber up the route if he or she starts to hang or want tension.

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IMO you are saying that it is impossible for someone to be attentive AND autoblock. Is this correct?

 

I don't see any compensating going on when I autoblock, but maybe you're partners do? Isn't "compensating/laziness" a choice? And if you aren't lazy, wouldn't you agree that it does add a layer of safety?

No, that isn't correct and you're misinterpreting. I'm saying IF you are using or counting on autoblocking to compensate for some actual or potential failing of your, or your partner's, belaying then you should address the root problem and not attempt to compensate with some device.

How is this different from rope soloing or are you against that too? There you are entirely replacing the belayer with a device and putting your life on the line solely based on faith in the device.

 

At least with an autoblock there is a person at the other end to deal with problems and maybe even give you a little encouragement.

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This is why I won't get in a car with antilock brakes. Only inattentive drivers use that safety crap as a crutch.

 

As for seat belts, I focus on being in the best position possible to absorb the impact with my body, rather than using those "safety" tools.

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The climber also needs to give the belayer cues and commands to help them do a good job...though sometimes a challenge when it's windy or you've run the rope out a ways or around some terrain.

Communication between a climber and belayer is optimal, but as you point out, not always possible. Part of belaying as a craft and skill is learning how to know what a climbers is doing by feel. By holding a very slight tension on the line you should, over time, start to learn how to visualize what the climber is doing based on the feedback through the rope. This is a lot easier to learn if you have a steady partner who's habits on lead you can become familiar with than it is with random partners. After awhile though, you should get to the point where you can have a pretty good idea at any point what's going on with an out-of-sight climber.

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Yes, but that takes two hands. One to pull up (and maintain upward force) on the biner, and the other to control the rope's descent.

 

The ropes descent is controlled by my upwrd force, less force and they stop more and they go faster.

 

Besides why does it matter if you use two hands?

 

Escaping from the belay is fast and easy in a injury situation as well. I dont see the problem of using an auto belay every time you have an appropriate anchor

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This is why I won't get in a car with antilock brakes. Only inattentive drivers use that safety crap as a crutch.

 

As for seat belts, I focus on being in the best position possible to absorb the impact with my body, rather than using those "safety" tools.

 

Adolf Hitler also invented the seat belt, you Nazi.

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How is this different from rope soloing or are you against that too? There you are entirely replacing the belayer with a device and putting your life on the line solely based on faith in the device.

 

At least with an autoblock there is a person at the other end to deal with problems and maybe even give you a little encouragement.

I'm guessing off hand that it's a good bet I rope-solo more than pretty much anyone else on cc.com. Roped soloing is another case of a calculated trade-off being made for a specific purpose such as speed climbing, etc. It also requires total attentiveness and non-stop monitoring of your device / mechanism of choice. If I needed encouragement or help dealing with problems while doing it I wouldn't do it - it's all about the purity of self-reliance.

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This is why I won't get in a car with antilock brakes. Only inattentive drivers use that safety crap as a crutch.

Seatbelts are a reasonable backup system no different from a rope. Antilock brakes is another matter and is definitely designed to compensate for people who don't know how to deal with driving in inclement weather and skidding. I don't know a single soul from back home in Chicago who would buy a car with antilock brakes or one that didn't allow you to turn it off. The car I'm driving now has the antilock system turned off for exactly that reason - they suck and respond badly more often than correctly.

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Yes, but that takes two hands. One to pull up (and maintain upward force) on the biner, and the other to control the rope's descent.
The ropes descent is controlled by my upwrd force, less force and they stop more and they go faster.
Then I guess I'm doing it wrong. I pull up with one hand, and maintain control of the rope with my other hand. I guess I'm just Old Skewl enough to always keep (at least) one hand on the rope. Haven't gotten out of that nasty old habit yet, even after all of these years...

 

Escaping from the belay is fast and easy in a injury situation as well. I dont see the problem of using an auto belay every time you have an appropriate anchor
You will get no argument from me that escaping a belay that is rigged to the anchor and autoblocked is faster than escaping one that is rigged through my harness. Still, I find it easier to lower (or raise) a fallen/pumped out climber from my harness than from an autoblocked device at an anchor. Has a lot to do with what Mark Webster said above, about being able to use your legs to help lift or lower. That's why I agreed above with hafilax that if I was leading on ground where I expect that I might have to lower my second, I'll opt to set up my belay through my harness instead of directly to an anchor. This assumes it's a multi-pitch, of course. YMMV.

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If there's a reasonable chance that the climber will need to be lowered

 

Dont you just stick your biner in the hole and pull up and lower ?

I have mostly only used an old school reverso. Haven't tried releasing an xp-guide or a R^3.

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Marks use of the belay sounds like a good way to shock load the system.

 

 

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A lot of good points made so far. I am one of the unlucky "dropped" climbers thanks to an inattentive belayer using a Gri-Gri. Instead of being lowered after finishing a sport route, I found myself in free fall and was relatively lucky "only" having a broken pelvis and internal bleeding. You have got to have a trustworthy, skilled, attentive belayer...whatever type of device you use. Your anchor needs to be bomber. You should know how to use a Muenter Hitch in case you lose your device. You should also know how to tie off and escape your belay/anchor. The climber also needs to give the belayer cues and commands to help them do a good job...though sometimes a challenge when it's windy or you've run the rope out a ways or around some terrain.

 

OUCH! How long had your belayer been climbing?

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Indeed connivence for the belayer is important. The leader is doing all the work, taking all the risks, anything you can do to make her life more comfortable is a good thing. Let's face it, you were too scared to lead that pitch and are glad to be on top-rope. I'd feel guilty making my leader catch a bunch of falls off their harness after they were kind enough to put up a hard pitch for me. With the auto locker in place, you can fall all over without worrying about taxing your badass leader's groin.

 

Plus, with so many walls getting cell service now, you can thumb your iPhone while still giving your second a SAFE belay. :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'd feel guilty making my leader catch a bunch of falls off their harness after they were kind enough to put up a hard pitch for me.

I doubt that happens too often, but I can believe you end up with a bunch of folks over time who can't follow you. Belaying is also a lot easier if you don't climb with people who dog up everything and maybe that in the end is what we're really talking about in this thread.

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