Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Alpine & Ice: Auto Locking Munter: Edit Log


Feb 10, 2012, 12:26 PM

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Registered: Jan 27, 2010
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Auto Locking Munter
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Simple, light and fast. These are aspects of alpine climbing that we must constantly strive for if we are to be efficient and reduce our exposure to objective hazards in the mountains. And sometimes this means reducing the security of yourself and your partner. The ALM stands out as an exception. It provides a secure, light and simple belay system. It’s fast to load, it can be made to be as secure as a plaquette (Reverso, ATC Guide, etc) and you can go from a standard munter to the ALM mid pitch.

The auto-locking munter hitch can come in handy in a variety of situations. The munter is a belay technique that is often used by mountaineers and guides due to its ease of use and efficiency. Essentially, the ALM is just a munter hitch tied on to a locker and then a second locker (the blocker-locker) is clipped to the munter and the follower’s strand allowing the munter to ‘auto-lock.’ As simple as it is, there are a couple nuances that you should know before you use it in the field.

*The ALM will create more friction than a standard munter. The friction is best reduced by using the biggest pearabiners you have. Feeding the rope through the ALM, instead of pulling it through, will help reduce both friction and the tendency for twists to occur in the brake strand.
*Generally speaking, the ALM should only be used in top belay situations.
*It is extremely difficult or impossible to lower your follower once the ALM is loaded. It should only be used in terrain where this is not a concern.
*It’s best to use a locker for the ‘blocker-locker’, especially if you are going to be going hands free while belaying. Also, try to clip the two strands so that the second’s strand doesn’t brush past the gate in a direction that might open it (see the example in the attached jpeg).

In the photo: The ALM with the gold ‘biner acting as the blocker-locker. The shorter strand of rope (with the yellow tag) represents the strand that goes to the follower. When the follower’s strand is loaded, the weight will try to rotate the munter into the back of the ‘biner and out the front. Because the munter is clipped to the loaded strand and acts as a post, it won’t let the rotation occur; this is what creates the locking effect.

As with any new technical skill, you should practice this technique with someone that can coach you on the proper application of the given skill. Be safe out there!

For more Tech Tips, check out:

(This post was edited by mtnsplitters on Feb 10, 2012, 12:35 PM)
Attachments: Auto Locking Munter.jpg (114 KB)

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Post edited by mtnsplitters () on Feb 10, 2012, 12:35 PM: new photo

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