Forums: Climbing Information: Gear Heads: Re: [jktinst] Best belay device: Edit Log

Partner cracklover

Dec 18, 2012, 8:18 AM

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Registered: Nov 14, 2002
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Re: [jktinst] Best belay device
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jktinst wrote:
Paying out slack on the clipping rope while sliding your brake hand up the holding rope amounts to doing exactly what we keep drilling into beginners never to do: never let go of your brake hand's hold on the rope and slide it up.

Not sure exactly what you mean here. What you should never do is take your brake hand off the rope (which is precisely what you are doing in your pic). As for sliding your brake hand - how you got the idea that you should never do that, I have no idea. Perhaps from one of these silly 5-part belay techniques that is supposed to be "safer" than the pinch and slide? Anyway, sliding your brake hand on the rope is completely fine.

In reply to:
The approach most people use is probably more like finding a way to wrap your braking hand around both the holding and clipping ropes so that you can tighten your grip around either one in turn while letting the other one slide through and position that hand in some intermediate position that is both a) high/out enough to allow the clipping rope to slide through the braking hand and the device without snapping the latter tight against its biner, and b) low enough that you can quickly bring down the braking end of the holding rope to arrest a fall.

More or less, yes. Although what you're missing is that the ropes on the brake side are split in the hand. You use two fingers for the right rope, and two for the left, and one rope runs between a couple of fingers.

Despite your protestations to the contrary, I can assure you that this technique works perfectly even on mismatched doubles. For a few years I used one single and one half rope, (8.4 and 9.7 IIRC) and never had any difficulty feeding out one while holding the other.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds like you could stand to spend a few minutes getting showed how to belay with doubles. I only say this because describing this method is much harder than showing it.

By the way, I think you may have a much more serious problem on your hands than a slightly unorthodox method of feeding slack, and that is using one 8mm and one 10.3, where the high fall-factor fall right off the belay is always expected to hit the skinny rope. The difference in diameter is so large that I would be really suspicious that you could hold a hard high-fall-factor fall right off the belay on the 8mm rope, like you're planning on doing. No matter how hard you clamp down, the big rope is going to be holding the belay device away from the small rope. It will start 2.3mm away, and only after it compresses 2.3mm will it begin to put friction on the small rope - the one that's doing the catching. 2.3mm is a lot of compression. And since the big rope will not be taking any load in the way you do it, it will not be stretched like the small one will be. So the relative difference between rope sizes will be even more.

Are you sure (as in, have you tried it by dropping a bag of rocks or something) that your setup actually works? It's hard enough to hold a hard fall with an 8mm rope in the first place, but holding one where the device can't fully clamp down on the rope - well, I would absolutely refuse to accept a belay from you using that technique until you'd verified that you could really control that fall.


(edited typo)

(This post was edited by cracklover on Dec 18, 2012, 8:37 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by cracklover () on Dec 18, 2012, 8:37 AM

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