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Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday
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johnwesely


Mar 26, 2010, 9:51 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
ClimbClimb wrote:
What's wrong with simply redirecting the climber-side rope through the anchor above, clipping the ATC through belayer's harness and lowering the second in the old & boring way[?

For a competent second, it is superior in every respect, and in fact is more respectful to the second. However, it's not cool, it's not the latest gimmick, it doesn't let the belayer be lazy, it doesn't have the word "guide" in it, and it's a lot of work to "bring up" your girlfriend whom you've "put on" a route two number grades above her climbing level.

Jay

If I was belaying someone on something I thought they would be falling all over, I wouldn't use the autoblocking mode. I think you are kind of off base with your ego trip assumption.


jt512


Mar 26, 2010, 9:58 AM
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Re: [altelis] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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altelis wrote:
Of course, there is probably a (good) argument to be made that if there is a possibility that your second will need to be lowered and may not be able to unweight the rope in the process, an autolocking device isn't the best solution for that route's belaying needs.

That's the argument I've been making from the outset. There is almost always a real possibility that you will have to lower your second after he or she has weighted the rope. Hence, "guide mode" is contraindicated unless there is a specific, compelling overriding reason.

Jay


jt512


Mar 26, 2010, 10:09 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
jt512 wrote:
ClimbClimb wrote:
What's wrong with simply redirecting the climber-side rope through the anchor above, clipping the ATC through belayer's harness and lowering the second in the old & boring way[?

For a competent second, it is superior in every respect, and in fact is more respectful to the second. However, it's not cool, it's not the latest gimmick, it doesn't let the belayer be lazy, it doesn't have the word "guide" in it, and it's a lot of work to "bring up" your girlfriend whom you've "put on" a route two number grades above her climbing level.

Jay

If I was belaying someone on something I thought they would be falling all over, I wouldn't use the autoblocking mode.

What if they want to be lowered? What if they inadvertently climbed past a piece. Then you need to go through some technical, risky, complicated procedure just to lower them 2 feet so they can retrieve a piece of gear.

And, besides, when a second finds herself on a pitch that she's "falling all over" it's due to the leader's ego.

"Don't worry, Babe. I've got you on Guide Mode."

Jay


IsayAutumn


Mar 26, 2010, 10:09 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
altelis wrote:
Of course, there is probably a (good) argument to be made that if there is a possibility that your second will need to be lowered and may not be able to unweight the rope in the process, an autolocking device isn't the best solution for that route's belaying needs.

That's the argument I've been making from the outset. There is almost always a real possibility that you will have to lower your second after he or she has weighted the rope. Hence, "guide mode" is contraindicated unless there is a specific, compelling overriding reason.

Jay

Agreed that you should not blindly use an auto-blocking device to bring up a second in all situations. However, merely owning and using one does not mean that you think you are a "guide" or that you are doing it to be cool or lazy. There are perfectly good situations where using a device in this situation is advantageous, primarily for the reasons I've cited repeatedly in this thread: adjusting things safely while you bring up one or two seconds.

I don't want to weigh down the thread by posting more links to prove my point, but here is a link to a book by Craig Luebben:

http://books.google.com/...%20belay&f=false

Again, he mentions consulting the manufacturers guidelines, but he indicates using an auto-blocking device for the reasons I have mentioned.


Partner robdotcalm


Mar 26, 2010, 10:14 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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This is from “RG” on the Gunks thread concerning the accident (I assume this is the same as our RGold). It says exactly what I’ve been thinking and said it so well I’m posting it here.

«Autolocking belay devices have their place for experienced climbers moving fast on multipitch or
clients moving up. For cragging, I think they suck for giving upper belays because of the difficulty of paying rope back out to a second who wants to step down. Guides don't care much about this; let the client end up on tension, but for seconds who would actually like to climb the pitch, an autolocker belay is an annoyance. When it comes to lowering, they also stink. Depending on how much of the climber's weight is transmitted up to the belayer, the belayer might have to exert a lot of force in order to rotate the plate into lowering position. They might be tempted to use both hands to do this. When you release a loaded autolocker, there is a quite sudden loss of friction and the potential for a rapid drop, although the plate should lock back up in that situation once the raising force is released. All in all, what we have is a solution to a problem that never existed. Yes, it is slightly more convenient to use guide mode, easier on your back, for instance, but you are interposing another layer of technology and then practically inviting disaster by enjoying all the hands-free "benefits" conferred by the device.»

A few years ago
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...tring=slack;#1415101
I commented on my first experience climbing with someone using an autolocker. Briefly, he had hung on a hex and it was stuck. I climbed a few feet above the hex and saw that I could only get it out being below it. I called for slack to downclimb a few feet. For reasons, I didn’t understand at the time it took several minutes before I could move down to work on the piece engendering a degree of irritation on my usually calm self. When I arrived at the belay stance, my partner explained the problem was due to the difficulty in providing slack to the second climber when using an autolocker. Then as I was preparing to lead the next pitch he had to take me off belay as the device was rearranged to belay me as I led. At the point, I decided I had no interest in such a stupid device, which complicated something that could be done easily and more safely with any Sticht-plate type device, e.g., Tuber, ATC. What I did not realize then and only became aware of through this thread is given the complexities of the autolocker that it’s a dangerous device for lowering the second. The silliest thing mentioned in this thread was using a Munter hitch to back up the autolocker. If one’s using a Munter there is no need for putting it in line with an autolocker. Silly, and perhaps, dangerous complexity.

A few weeks, I was climbing with a relatively new climber and he said to me how good my belay was as he was coming second. I asked him what he meant. He said there was never slack in the rope, but I wasn’t tugging him. I asked him whom he had been climbing with. He mentioned a man in training to be a guide. I asked if this guy used an autolocker, and my partner said, “Yes.” I told him that explained the difference in the quality of the belay. It is difficult using an autolocker to have good sensitivity as to the rope needs of the second.

To Isayautumn: As I read your first posting, I immediately thought, nice guy but I wouldn’t climb with him. Nothing personal, but I get scared easily. In fact, after reading this thread, maybe I don’t want to climb with anyone using an autolocker other than on easy ground in an alpine environment, since its use raises questions about their judgment and common sense

Cheers,
Rob.calm


johnwesely


Mar 26, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
jt512 wrote:
ClimbClimb wrote:
What's wrong with simply redirecting the climber-side rope through the anchor above, clipping the ATC through belayer's harness and lowering the second in the old & boring way[?

For a competent second, it is superior in every respect, and in fact is more respectful to the second. However, it's not cool, it's not the latest gimmick, it doesn't let the belayer be lazy, it doesn't have the word "guide" in it, and it's a lot of work to "bring up" your girlfriend whom you've "put on" a route two number grades above her climbing level.

Jay

If I was belaying someone on something I thought they would be falling all over, I wouldn't use the autoblocking mode.

What if they want to be lowered? What if they inadvertently climbed past a piece. Then you need to go through some technical, risky, complicated procedure just to lower them 2 feet so they can retrieve a piece of gear.

And, besides, when a second finds herself on a pitch that she's "falling all over" it's due to the leader's ego.

"Don't worry, Babe. I've got you on Guide Mode."

Jay

I don't know why the second is automatically a girlfriend or romantic interest. The lowering procedure is neither technical nor risky, if done appropriately. It does, however, not work how you would it would, like controlling friction with the gri gri lever, so you do need to practice it at least once and have a munter backup. At this point you might as well have used the munter or a redirect in the first place.


Partner cracklover


Mar 26, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
jt512 wrote:
ClimbClimb wrote:
What's wrong with simply redirecting the climber-side rope through the anchor above, clipping the ATC through belayer's harness and lowering the second in the old & boring way[?

For a competent second, it is superior in every respect, and in fact is more respectful to the second. However, it's not cool, it's not the latest gimmick, it doesn't let the belayer be lazy, it doesn't have the word "guide" in it, and it's a lot of work to "bring up" your girlfriend whom you've "put on" a route two number grades above her climbing level.

Jay

If I was belaying someone on something I thought they would be falling all over, I wouldn't use the autoblocking mode.

What if they want to be lowered? What if they inadvertently climbed past a piece. Then you need to go through some technical, risky, complicated procedure just to lower them 2 feet so they can retrieve a piece of gear.

And, besides, when a second finds herself on a pitch that she's "falling all over" it's due to the leader's ego.

"Don't worry, Babe. I've got you on Guide Mode."

Jay

Did you misread his post? He said he would *not* use the guide mode.

Slow down (or get better glasses already!)

GO


jt512


Mar 26, 2010, 10:21 AM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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IsayAutumn wrote:
But they also wouldn't talk about going "hands-free" to adjust things and add layers if they thought it was horrifically unsafe.

I don't think it is "horrifically unsafe." I think it is poor practice. For one thing, no matter what you say, you can't give as good a belay with your hands off the device as with your hands on. One might think that should go without saying, but apparently not. With your hands off the belay device the time needed to react to the climber's movements is increased. Furthermore, you lose one of your most important sources of information about the climber's movements: tactile information from the rope.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Mar 26, 2010, 10:22 AM)


jt512


Mar 26, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
jt512 wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
jt512 wrote:
ClimbClimb wrote:
What's wrong with simply redirecting the climber-side rope through the anchor above, clipping the ATC through belayer's harness and lowering the second in the old & boring way[?

For a competent second, it is superior in every respect, and in fact is more respectful to the second. However, it's not cool, it's not the latest gimmick, it doesn't let the belayer be lazy, it doesn't have the word "guide" in it, and it's a lot of work to "bring up" your girlfriend whom you've "put on" a route two number grades above her climbing level.

Jay

If I was belaying someone on something I thought they would be falling all over, I wouldn't use the autoblocking mode.

What if they want to be lowered? What if they inadvertently climbed past a piece. Then you need to go through some technical, risky, complicated procedure just to lower them 2 feet so they can retrieve a piece of gear.

And, besides, when a second finds herself on a pitch that she's "falling all over" it's due to the leader's ego.

"Don't worry, Babe. I've got you on Guide Mode."

Jay

Did you misread his post? He said he would *not* use the guide mode.

Slow down (or get better glasses already!)

GO

Yeah, I misread the post.

*Never mind*

Jay


IsayAutumn


Mar 26, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Re: [robdotcalm] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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In reply to:
To Isayautumn: As I read your first posting, I immediately thought, nice guy but I wouldn’t climb with him. Nothing personal, but I get scared easily. In fact, after reading this thread, maybe I don’t want to climb with anyone using an autolocker other than on easy ground in an alpine environment, since its use raises questions about their judgment and common sense

That's fine. No offense taken. I do use the autoblocker frequently on easy multi-pitch terrain and in the alpine, especially when belaying two seconds. In my opinion, this is where the device really shines. For instance, I am climbing the gullies on Mt. Washington this weekend with two partners. I will use the autoblock device after my leads if I have a solid anchor. I guess now I will "inform" them that there are people who think it is unsafe.

I have to agree with johnwesley, though. I don't think the lowering procedure is all the complicated to do correctly, although it is much more complicated than using a redirect or a munter. Again, for many situations, this device is not the best choice.


(This post was edited by IsayAutumn on Mar 26, 2010, 10:32 AM)


IsayAutumn


Mar 26, 2010, 10:30 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
IsayAutumn wrote:
But they also wouldn't talk about going "hands-free" to adjust things and add layers if they thought it was horrifically unsafe.

I don't think it is "horrifically unsafe." I think it is poor practice. For one thing, no matter what you say, you can't give as good a belay with your hands off the device as with your hands on. One might think that should go without saying, but apparently not. With your hands off the belay device the time needed to react to the climber's movements is increased. Furthermore, you lose one of your most important sources of information about the climber's movements: tactile information from the rope.

Jay

I could be wrong, but I don't think you get very good tactile information when holding onto the brake strand on an auto-blocking device anyway, because of the way the "climber's strand" is routed through the device to ensure lock off, which interferes with the flow of information through the rope to the brake strand. This perhaps is another argument against using autoblocking devices altogether, but I don't think it is an argument against removing your hand from the brake strand.


(This post was edited by IsayAutumn on Mar 26, 2010, 10:35 AM)


shoo


Mar 26, 2010, 10:35 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
That's the argument I've been making from the outset. There is almost always a real possibility that you will have to lower your second after he or she has weighted the rope. Hence, "guide mode" is contraindicated unless there is a specific, compelling overriding reason.

Jay

I think there are a few separate arguments going on here, and they are getting confused. I am going to attempt to summarize it below, as neutrally as I think is reasonable. Think about it like a flow chart of what you believe. Feel free to criticize this summary of argument. I am not taking sides, just trying to organize the debate a little.

Whether or not one should always have a hand on the brake rope

1) If you believe that having a hand on the brake rope significantly reduces the chance of catastrophic failure or significantly increases the chance that an ATC-Guide-like device will lock in the event of a fall, one should always have a hand on the brake line. If not, proceed to step 2.

2) If you believe that not having a hand on the brake decreases your attentiveness to the belay and therefore is more dangerous for your second, you should always have a hand on the brake rope. If not, having a hand on the brake rope at all times is not necessary.



Whether or not using an ATC-Guide-like device is appropriate, given the possibility that one may have to lower a second.

1) If you believe that there is a reasonable possibility that the belayer would have to lower a free-hanging or otherwise unhelpful second (i.e. couldn't unweight the belay device by themselves) proceed to step 2. Otherwise, the difficulty in lowering a person is irrelevant.

2) If you believe that there is a method of lowering a person using an ATC-Guide-like device which, with adequate practice, allows one to consistently safely lower a second (i.e. either sling/carabiner pulling up on the pull tab/hole, or sling/carabiner pulling up on the brake carabiner), and that one has adequate experience with this method, then the ATC-Guide can be used in a scenario in which there is a possibility of lowering the second. If not, proceed to step 3.

3) If you believe that an ATC-Guide-like device does not require a hand on the brake line at all times, and that the additional convenience of taking your hand off the brake rope at least some of the time outweighs the additional danger and inconvenience of being unable to safely lower a second with the device, the use of this type of device may be appropriate for belaying a second. If not, this device should not be used in this manner.



Whether or not using an ATC-Guide-like device is appropriate, given the possibility that it could hinder the second's ability to freely climb.

1) If you believe that it is appropriate to use this device, given the above safety constraints, proceed to 2. Otherwise, it is irrelevant, since significant safety concerns trump minor comfort concerns.

2) If the second's enjoyment of the climb would be significantly reduced by a belay which is noticeably less sensitive (i.e. could be a little tighter or looser than ideal at various times), proceed to 3. Otherwise, sensitivity is irrelevant.

3) If you believe that the belayer has significantly reduced sensitivity to the motions of the second when using this device vs. other accepted methods, you should not use an ATC-Guide-like device in this manner to belay a second. Otherwise, it is acceptable to do so.



Edit: Note that I never state that any of this is "best practice" or that one should use this belay device in this manner. Rather I state what would be logically reasonable given your beliefs about the device.

Edit #2: Added the third bolded point.


(This post was edited by shoo on Mar 26, 2010, 11:23 AM)


jt512


Mar 26, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Re: [robdotcalm] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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robdotcalm wrote:
This is from “RG” on the Gunks thread concerning the accident (I assume this is the same as our RGold). It says exactly what I’ve been thinking and said it so well I’m posting it here.

«Autolocking belay devices have their place for experienced climbers moving fast on multipitch or
clients moving up. For cragging, I think they suck for giving upper belays because of the difficulty of paying rope back out to a second who wants to step down. Guides don't care much about this; let the client end up on tension, but for seconds who would actually like to climb the pitch, an autolocker belay is an annoyance. When it comes to lowering, they also stink. Depending on how much of the climber's weight is transmitted up to the belayer, the belayer might have to exert a lot of force in order to rotate the plate into lowering position. They might be tempted to use both hands to do this. When you release a loaded autolocker, there is a quite sudden loss of friction and the potential for a rapid drop, although the plate should lock back up in that situation once the raising force is released. All in all, what we have is a solution to a problem that never existed. Yes, it is slightly more convenient to use guide mode, easier on your back, for instance, but you are interposing another layer of technology and then practically inviting disaster by enjoying all the hands-free "benefits" conferred by the device.»

As usual, Rich sums up my thoughts better than I do.

Jay


jt512


Mar 26, 2010, 10:44 AM
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Re: [shoo] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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shoo wrote:
jt512 wrote:
That's the argument I've been making from the outset. There is almost always a real possibility that you will have to lower your second after he or she has weighted the rope. Hence, "guide mode" is contraindicated unless there is a specific, compelling overriding reason.

Jay

I think there are a few separate arguments going on here, and they are getting confused. I am going to attempt to summarize it below, as neutrally as I think is reasonable. Think about it like a flow chart of what you believe. Feel free to criticize this summary of argument. I am not taking sides, just trying to organize the debate a little.

Whether or not one should always have a hand on the brake rope

1) If you believe that having a hand on the brake rope significantly reduces the chance of catastrophic failure or significantly increases the chance that an ATC-Guide-like device will lock in the event of a fall, one should always have a hand on the brake line. If not, proceed to step 2.

2) If you believe that not having a hand on the brake decreases your attentiveness to the belay and therefore is more dangerous for your second, you should always have a hand on the brake rope. If not, having a hand on the brake rope at all times is not necessary.



Whether or not using an ATC-Guide-like device is appropriate, given the possibility that one may have to lower a second.

1) If you believe that there is a reasonable possibility that the belayer would have to lower a free-hanging or otherwise unhelpful second (i.e. couldn't unweight the belay device by themselves) proceed to step 2. Otherwise, the difficulty in lowering a person is irrelevant.

2) If you believe that there is a method of lowering a person using an ATC-Guide-like device which, with adequate practice, allows one to consistently safely lower a second (i.e. either sling/carabiner pulling up on the pull tab/hole, or sling/carabiner pulling up on the brake carabiner), and that one has adequate experience with this method, then the ATC-Guide can be used in a scenario in which there is a possibility of lowering the second. If not, proceed to step 3.

3) If you believe that an ATC-Guide-like device does not require a hand on the brake line at all times, and that the additional convenience of taking your hand off the brake rope at least some of the time outweighs the additional danger and inconvenience of being unable to safely lower a second with the device, the use of this type of device may be appropriate for belaying a second. If not, this device should not be used in this manner.


Edit: Note that I never state that any of this is "best practice" or that one should use this belay device in this manner. Rather I state what would be logically reasonable given your beliefs about the device.

I would add a third bolded point, which, for me, is the #1 reason to avoid autoblocking devices: as I hinted earlier, and Rich Goldstone spelled out, an autoblocking belay hinders the second's ability to free climb the pitch.

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 26, 2010, 11:13 AM
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altelis wrote:
IsayAutumn wrote:

(SNIP)

I understand you have a lot of experience, as do others in this thread that disagree with me. Unfortunately for this thread ME My Partner, that doesn't change my opinion of the safety of the ATC Guide, if you use it how I've suggested.

(SNIP).


notapplicable


Mar 26, 2010, 11:15 AM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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IsayAutumn wrote:
jt512 wrote:
ClimbClimb wrote:
What's wrong with simply redirecting the climber-side rope through the anchor above, clipping the ATC through belayer's harness and lowering the second in the old & boring way[?

For a competent second, it is superior in every respect, and in fact is more respectful to the second. However, it's not cool, it's not the latest gimmick, it doesn't let the belayer be lazy, it doesn't have the word "guide" in it, and it's a lot of work, to "bring up" your girlfriend whom you've "put on" a route two number grades above her climbing level.

Jay

How is it "more respectful to the second"?

They won't hit a tree and go to the hospital?


shoo


Mar 26, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
I would add a third bolded point, which, for me, is the #1 reason to avoid autoblocking devices: as I hinted earlier, and Rich Goldstone spelled out, an autoblocking belay hinders the second's ability to free climb the pitch.

Jay

Agreed and added. Thanks!


milesenoell


Mar 26, 2010, 11:53 AM
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[quote "IsayAutumn"

As you can see, they do state that the manufacturers advise leaving a "light" hand on the brake strand. But they also wouldn't talk about going "hands-free" to adjust things and add layers if they thought it was horrifically unsafe.
"Hands-free" with a tie off and without are very different. The only times I go "hands free" on my climber are after either tieing off or wrapping a leg.


IsayAutumn


Mar 26, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Re: [milesenoell] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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milesenoell wrote:
[quote "IsayAutumn"

As you can see, they do state that the manufacturers advise leaving a "light" hand on the brake strand. But they also wouldn't talk about going "hands-free" to adjust things and add layers if they thought it was horrifically unsafe.

"Hands-free" with a tie off and without are very different. The only times I go "hands free" on my climber are after either tieing off or wrapping a leg.



They aren't talking about a tie-off in any of the sources I've provided. My point is, I believe it is safe to use an autoblocking device in this way. Others have affirmed that they do not. If I had to take my hands away from the belay for any extended period of time (meaning more than a few seconds), I would alert my climber and tie them off as a back up. If I needed to put on a jacket or tinker with something in the name of speed, I would wait for them to stop moving and quickly do it. I would not worry about whether or not I had my hands on the brake strand while I was quickly doing this. That is the luxury of an autoblock device, IMO (and in the opinion of others, which I've shared in the links).


jt512


Mar 26, 2010, 12:06 PM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
robdotcalm wrote:
This is from “RG” on the Gunks thread concerning the accident (I assume this is the same as our RGold). It says exactly what I’ve been thinking and said it so well I’m posting it here.

«Autolocking belay devices have their place for experienced climbers moving fast on multipitch or
clients moving up. For cragging, I think they suck for giving upper belays because of the difficulty of paying rope back out to a second who wants to step down. Guides don't care much about this; let the client end up on tension, but for seconds who would actually like to climb the pitch, an autolocker belay is an annoyance. When it comes to lowering, they also stink. Depending on how much of the climber's weight is transmitted up to the belayer, the belayer might have to exert a lot of force in order to rotate the plate into lowering position. They might be tempted to use both hands to do this. When you release a loaded autolocker, there is a quite sudden loss of friction and the potential for a rapid drop, although the plate should lock back up in that situation once the raising force is released. All in all, what we have is a solution to a problem that never existed. Yes, it is slightly more convenient to use guide mode, easier on your back, for instance, but you are interposing another layer of technology and then practically inviting disaster by enjoying all the hands-free "benefits" conferred by the device.»

As usual, Rich sums up my thoughts better than I do.

Jay

As Rich states, autoblock devices are generally a poor choice for ordinary cragging. They are best reserved for situations in which advanced climbers need speed at the expense of the second's ability to free climb the pitch, and other special situations. I have hypothesized that, despite their being a poor choice for routine climbing, they have become, for no good reason, the default choice among many climbers (especially n00bs, though I can't prove that). And now the data bears this out. Prompted by this thread, someone has started a poll in another thread, asking "How do you belay your second?" Here are the results to date.

Half of all leaders responding to the poll say they belay their seconds (most often, we must presume, since respondents were forced to choose a single response), using an autoblocking device in autoblock configuration. Furthermore, if you want the benefits of a direct belay off the anchor, then the best "device" for this purpose—the munter hitch—is used the least.

Jay
Attachments: belay-poll.jpg (31.4 KB)


IsayAutumn


Mar 26, 2010, 12:33 PM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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And? How did you respond? Munter or redirect?


davidnn5


Mar 26, 2010, 12:35 PM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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I think some of you are missing the point in a misguided effort to get people to agree your way is the best way. You've stated clearly that you wouldn't use/agree to someone using an ATC Guide, some of you regardless of whether the belayer has hands on it or not. Fine. Really. We get it.

This is bleedingly obvious, but it's worth reiterating a simple maxim: climbing is about assessing your level of competence relative to risk and using that assessment to make decisions about what you do. There are people here who rope solo. There are some who lead. There are some who only top-rope, and some for whom climbing stairs is an exercise in fear. There are some who use the texas trad rope trick, slackline on a high line without backup, free solo and do other potentially highly dangerous things.

These people have all made decisions (intelligent or otherwise) based on their level of experience and competence.
I don't think the fact that around 50% of respondents use an autoblock device indicates that they're a default or mostly-noob option. I think it's more of an indication that this thread is suffering from groupthink (everyone get that dangerous belayer!). I know many climbers with 20-30 years experience who use an autoblock for seconds. We all make our own decisions, period.

Think back to the first time you set everything up and led a climb. Did you practise all the skills of setting anchors, placements etc, or did you just tie a few knots in random things, throw an ATC at your pal, say 'she'll be right' and start up the route? Should you practise lowering before using an ATC Guide? Obviously.

Edit to clarify my leading example.


(This post was edited by davidnn5 on Mar 26, 2010, 12:37 PM)


Partner cracklover


Mar 26, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
jt512 wrote:
robdotcalm wrote:
This is from “RG” on the Gunks thread concerning the accident (I assume this is the same as our RGold). It says exactly what I’ve been thinking and said it so well I’m posting it here.

«Autolocking belay devices have their place for experienced climbers moving fast on multipitch or
clients moving up. For cragging, I think they suck for giving upper belays because of the difficulty of paying rope back out to a second who wants to step down. Guides don't care much about this; let the client end up on tension, but for seconds who would actually like to climb the pitch, an autolocker belay is an annoyance. When it comes to lowering, they also stink. Depending on how much of the climber's weight is transmitted up to the belayer, the belayer might have to exert a lot of force in order to rotate the plate into lowering position. They might be tempted to use both hands to do this. When you release a loaded autolocker, there is a quite sudden loss of friction and the potential for a rapid drop, although the plate should lock back up in that situation once the raising force is released. All in all, what we have is a solution to a problem that never existed. Yes, it is slightly more convenient to use guide mode, easier on your back, for instance, but you are interposing another layer of technology and then practically inviting disaster by enjoying all the hands-free "benefits" conferred by the device.»

As usual, Rich sums up my thoughts better than I do.

Jay

As Rich states, autoblock devices are generally a poor choice for ordinary cragging. They are best reserved for situations in which advanced climbers need speed at the expense of the second's ability to free climb the pitch, and other special situations. I have hypothesized that, despite their being a poor choice for routine climbing, they have become, for no good reason, the default choice among many climbers (especially n00bs, though I can't prove that). And now the data bears this out. Prompted by this thread, someone has started a poll in another thread, asking "How do you belay your second?" Here are the results to date.

Half of all leaders responding to the poll say they belay their seconds (most often, we must presume, since respondents were forced to choose a single response), using an autoblocking device in autoblock configuration. Furthermore, if you want the benefits of a direct belay off the anchor, then the best "device" for this purpose—the munter hitch—is used the least.

Jay

I'd be very curious to see years of trad leading experience appended to that data.

GO


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Mar 26, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Re: [davidnn5] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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davidnn5 wrote:

Think back to the first time you set everything up and led a climb. Did you practise all the skills of setting anchors, placements etc, or did you just tie a few knots in random things, throw an ATC at your pal, say 'she'll be right' and start up the route?

Young man, when I first led we didn't use harnesses or belay devices. We tied into the end of the rope and belayed around our waists.

Gratias et valete bene!
RobertusPunctumPacificus


IsayAutumn


Mar 26, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Re: [davidnn5] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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davidnn5 wrote:
I think some of you are missing the point in a misguided effort to get people to agree your way is the best way. You've stated clearly that you wouldn't use/agree to someone using an ATC Guide, some of you regardless of whether the belayer has hands on it or not. Fine. Really. We get it.

This is bleedingly obvious, but it's worth reiterating a simple maxim: climbing is about assessing your level of competence relative to risk and using that assessment to make decisions about what you do. There are people here who rope solo. There are some who lead. There are some who only top-rope, and some for whom climbing stairs is an exercise in fear. There are some who use the texas trad rope trick, slackline on a high line without backup, free solo and do other potentially highly dangerous things.

These people have all made decisions (intelligent or otherwise) based on their level of experience and competence.
I don't think the fact that around 50% of respondents use an autoblock device indicates that they're a default or mostly-noob option. I think it's more of an indication that this thread is suffering from groupthink (everyone get that dangerous belayer!). I know many climbers with 20-30 years experience who use an autoblock for seconds. We all make our own decisions, period.

Think back to the first time you set everything up and led a climb. Did you practise all the skills of setting anchors, placements etc, or did you just tie a few knots in random things, throw an ATC at your pal, say 'she'll be right' and start up the route? Should you practise lowering before using an ATC Guide? Obviously.

Edit to clarify my leading example.

+1

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