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Hokus

Munter Hitch for Trad Climbing

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You know if you are climbing a pitch that goes straight up, when you reach the anchor you just tie off the rope and make your second climb it on a self-belay TR device like an Ushba Basic. Then you never have to belay. Way safer and fast too.

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I've got a B-52, ATC guide and a gigi. I used to use an ATC/gigi combo for many years and never had any problems. A great setup, and you've got some redundancy if you drop something.

I really like my b52 (on all but the skinniest ropes). It's very smooth to belay and rap and works great in autoblock mode. It is however, a real pain to lower a climber who's fallen while I've got then autoblocked and can't unweight the rope. So I got an ATC guide - which is just okay. I does everything it's supposed to do, and does it pretty well, but it's not great. I may go back to carrying my b52 and gigi on long climbs.

The gigi is a great device.

 

Graham

 

 

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If nobody is falling maybe we should be unroped. *laughs*

 

Kidding aside, if I'm on mellow terrain where nobody is going to be falling, I belay the normal way just because I can pull the rope faster. Even this way, I always have the rope going through the some pro. Belaying off your hips with an ATC because you don't trust your anchor is serious business and should only be used in the most dire of situations. Once in a while you see people do this when they are at a bomber anchor, eeek! Reminds me of the new climber that is scared to weight a rap rope so they try to down climb while holding the break hand at the same time. That's redundant right?

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Belaying off your hips with an ATC because you don't trust your anchor is serious business and should only be used in the most dire of situations. Once in a while you see people do this when they are at a bomber anchor, eeek!

My turn to ask if you're serious here...

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If nobody is falling maybe we should be unroped. *laughs*

 

Kidding aside, if I'm on mellow terrain where nobody is going to be falling, I belay the normal way just because I can pull the rope faster. Even this way, I always have the rope going through the some pro. Belaying off your hips with an ATC because you don't trust your anchor is serious business and should only be used in the most dire of situations. Once in a while you see people do this when they are at a bomber anchor, eeek! Reminds me of the new climber that is scared to weight a rap rope so they try to down climb while holding the break hand at the same time. That's redundant right?

On easy ground I use the autoblock. You can pull rope through hand over hand, especially with skinny ropes.

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This thread has amazing longevity for a issue that can be summed up as, "you do it your way, I'll do it mine."

 

 

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I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned that the BD ATC is now MADE BY A COMPANY THAT KILLED MARINES IN IRAQ USING EXPLODING BODYARMOUR! :o

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"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... "

I literally used an autoblock for the first time yesterday, and we practiced lowering, but the way your describing probably is the safest way to do it. I cannot think of how it could be less safe than doing the same procedure without the "extra" break hand.

Edited by summitchaserCJB

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@ SOBO

The only thing about the Guide that I have found less than satisfying is rapelling with it in the "normal" orientation. When used in this fashion there is an unreasonable amount of rope friction to the point where you are having to exert some real force to descend. I feel that this puts an unneeded amount of stress on the rap anchors and I find it not so comforting.

That being said however the above posts have pointed out that it can be used in "reverse" having the tails run out of the non-teethed side, which I am sure would make a world of difference.

I could have probably tried that in the first place, but when looking at the device and its diagram showing the "proper" belay technique, I was hesitant to experiment.

All in all it seems that my problems with the device are simply operator erring on the side of caution.

 

 

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To lower a hanging climber with any of the auto-blocking devices, just ratchet the belay carabiner up and down. Each time it lets out a little slack and doesn't unlock the device. If you have to give out a BUNCH of slack, then read the directions and do the "formal" method.

 

 

I admit I sometimes don't pay attention outside when belaying. But I try to keep that to a minimum.

 

When I'm bringing up a second climber, I almost never pay much attention to the climber.

 

If the goal is to safely belay your second climber up as they follow the pitch, and this can be done A. safely but with very little effort or concern to the follower or B. somewhat less safely, requiring constant singular focus on the follower, then it just doesn't make sense to always choose A.

 

I bring in the slack as it's available, but that's about as much attention as I give to the second climber. I'd rather take photos, put on a jacket, find that missing snickers bar, re-rack for the next pitch, take a piss, pretend I remember the route description, etc. And I'd rather follow a pitch under the same circumstances, belayed in the same method. A belay device hanging from the anchors will "catch" a falling second as long as it was rigged correctly, which is painfully easy to do. Doesn't matter if the belayer falls asleep, passes out, has an allergic reaction, etc. And as much as I like to trust my partners, I trust simple physics a whole lot more.

 

Plus if you belay like this, and take turns leading, you can save time and superfluous gear because the follower never needs to anchor into the belays.

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The exact same thing can be done with less hassle and no device swap whatsoever if you just bring the second up on your waist keeping them on belay as they setup for the next pitch and then launch - doesn't get any simpler. The whole lazy, 'do a bunch of other shit' thing is a really bad mindset to establish and get used to - odds are fair sooner or later it's going to bite you in the ass in some way.

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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.

 

Joe...this is an utter fabrication and you know it.

 

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/brakes/brake-types/anti-lock-brake.htm

 

Is your opinion of belay devices as accurate as your opinion on antilocks?

 

 

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You're serious? We've had three cars with ALB and I disconnected or turned off all three along with the traction control on the 2008 Ford Edge. There is no circumstance under which I'd allow those systems to be active in a car I drive.

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Instead of just repeating that you would never do such and such, why not give a logical argument for or against such things. "they suck and respond badly more often than correctly" is just opinion and not a very intelligent explanation. Logic makes for better reading of the poor souls stuck reading this trainwreck of a thread.

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You're serious? We've had three cars with ALB and I disconnected or turned off all three along with the traction control on the 2008 Ford Edge. There is no circumstance under which I'd allow those systems to be active in a car I drive.

 

While you're at it you might as well cut out the seat belts, replace the safety glass windshield with regular glass, toss the disc brakes and add some 6" drum brakes, go back to manual steering and manual brakes..... toss your rope and get some goldline or manila.....

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Not at all, the seatbelts are backup just like a rope is when climbing. Back when I had a '63 Impala without them I had to rig them with Skyhooks under the seats for anchors and doubled 1" webbing up thru the seat/back. You guys clearly don't know shit about ALBs or driving in inclement conditions or you wouldn't be saying shit like this. These are compensatory systems which have really don't have the smarts to deal with the all the differences between wet, snow/ice, and black ice. The traction control system in the Ford is especially bad in terms of black ice and basically made the car completely undrivable in those conditions before I figured out how to turn it off. Sucks would be too kind in describing it. Toyota's is no better.

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Not at all, the seatbelts are backup just like a rope is when climbing. Back when I had a '63 Impala without them I had to rig them with Skyhooks under the seats for anchors and doubled 1" webbing up thru the seat/back. You guys clearly don't know shit about ALBs or driving in inclement conditions or you wouldn't be saying shit like this. These are compensatory systems which have really don't have the smarts to deal with the all the differences between wet, snow/ice, and black ice. The traction control system in the Ford is especially bad in terms of black ice and basically made the car completely undrivable in those conditions before I figured out how to turn it off. Sucks would be too kind in describing it. Toyota's is no better.

 

Please continue...this is good stuff.

 

BTW...I grew up in MN and my first car was a 72 Duster. Never had a problem. I think I might know a little something about driving in winter conditions. I've driven in just about the worst conditions you can still actually operate a motor vehicle in. You are wrong about the effectiveness of ABS. Good luck with your argument though.

 

 

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I made the mistake of letting a friend of my main climbing partner at the time belay me without ever having climbed with him before. My buddy told me he was very experienced...obviously not with a Gri-Gri. Lesson learned...the hard way.

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Hey Hokus,

 

That was quite the thread you initiated. Although, the title subject seemed to get lost pretty quickly in there. And who would have predicted that it would end with a discussion of stability control systems in cars!

 

Anyway, back to the subject: "Munter Hitch for Trad Climbing" and your wondering if anyone else likes the Munter for multipitch climbing. Well, I'm at least one of those. You say, "the more that I use it, the more that I find that I like it." It sounds like you have rediscovered the Munter in a way similar to me rediscovering Pink Floyd a few years back. But, let's do stay on subject.

 

I ditched all my belay paraphernalia for the Munter hitch in 1992. And I have essentially been using it exclusively since. You mention not seeing it as viable for rappelling, but I use it for that as well. There is a trick to employ for minimizing, if not actually eliminating, the rope coiling issue. The trick is to hold both strands of rope, the strand going in and the strand coming out of the hitch parallel. I can't stress this enough! I'm not exactly sure why this works so well, but I believe it has something to do with the out going strand undoing the twist from the in coming strand. The instant one strays from holding them parallel the rope will tend to coil. This is not in itself a safety issue, of course, just the hassle of twisted rope. The good thing is that it is not difficult to hold the strands parallel and doing this actually becomes very natural and convenient. Do this when belaying and rappelling. When rappelling I generally hold the strand from below (the loose end) in one hand parallel to the strand from above while I feed the loose end with the other hand.

 

Another thing that I like about the Munter hitch is that it has so many names. So, at one belay stance I can use the Munter hitch, at another the friction hitch, the Italian hitch, the half ring bend, the carabiner hitch, the running R, the half-mast belay (or as one climbing friend dubbed the half-assed belay), the UIAA method, or the halbmastwurf sicherung("half clove-hitch belay")-HMS. Hew, that makes for a long sentence!

Edited by gary_hehn

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Hehe, thanks for the feedback Gary! That's more along the lines of posts that I was looking for, but as you can see, most people are into autoblocking these days. HOWEVER...

 

... did you know that you can make a Munter hitch autoblock???!!!!

 

Check this out (it's down about 3 paragraphs under "tricks of the trade")... pretty slick! I've tried it a few times already. It works... the biner can have a tendancy to float around if your stance relative to the munter isn't that ideal and you are pulling it all sorts of directions, but it seems to lock up every time regardless. :D

 

http://www.climbing.com/print/techtips/tech_tips_trad_-_munter_magic/

 

Edited by Hokus

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