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trees4me

3-person alpine technique

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I've just gotten into more technical climbing in the last couple years, so I'm pretty noob. Can't seem to find a good description/reference that talks about 3 man in a multi-pitch rock setting. I've got two main ideas:

 

1 single rope: leader climbs, 2nd climbs and self belays with prusiks, 3rd is belayed and cleans (to leave traverses protected, as needed)

 

Or

 

2 single ropes: leader climbs, 2nd is belayed on first rope and pulls 2nd rope, 3rd is belayed up on 2nd rope.

 

 

Any problems with either of these techniques? Is there a much better way? And can I get away with a lighter half or twin rope for the 2nd rope since it'll only be used for belaying up (less force, already in tension)?

 

Thanks!

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LEader is belayed on two double ropes normally. Each of the other climbers is tied to one of the double ropes. Leader belays up both followers with a auto locking belay device so that the climbers can climb at their own pace.

Gotta clip both ropes into traverses for preventing swings of followers.

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Self-belay with prusiks would be impractical and time consuming. Climbing with two ropes and the second following the third works OK. Typically the second does no leading, the first and third swing leads to avoid restacking the ropes. Climbing on doubles as Genepires recommends is usually the best and most efficient way.

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If the climb is difficult for the followers:

I drag two Single ropes up while leading, clipping both into each piece. only belay the leader on one rope. Belay both followers up with an auto-blocking device.

 

If the climbing is relatively easy for the second and third climbers, I do this:

Take one rope. Leader ties into one end.

Second climber clips into a bight (2 lockers) about 20' from the other end of the rope, third climber ties into the end. belay the rope up, having the middle climber clip past each piece if on traversing terrain (otherwise they can clean the gear since there is no pendulum potential).

 

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Kurthicks, the second technique you describe sounds good (since I'm mostly on 5.6 or less).

 

For the double rope technique, where you belay each follower on one rope: is it better to use single or double rated ropes? I understand for leading a double or twin(if clipping the same pro for traverses) would be the ideal rope. For the followers is it safe to be belayed on one strand of a double rope?

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kurt's advice is spot on and it's worth following his blog (http://kurthicks.com/author/kurthicks/) he's posts a lot of great adventures and tips.

 

one thing to add when using the second technique, make sure the last one climbing doesn't get too far ahead of themselves but keep the rope with as little slack in between everybody as possible...if they ride the second person up with 20ft of slack...well you can just imagine what happens if they slip...

 

there is a great article I recall about the "Alpine Menage a Trois" which gave some great attributes about the efficiency a 3 man rope team can have. One being the tandem rappel. If I can find it I'll pass it along.

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