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blueeyedclimber


Jul 16, 2012, 9:21 AM
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Re: [math3780] Top-Belaying questions. [In reply to]
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math3780 wrote:
First off, I know this is in other threads many times over but i've had quite a bit of difficulty finding specific answers that I can understand.

Background: I'm a fairly experienced climbing (few years) and have tried just about every type of climbing or belaying I've ever heard of EXCEPT top belaying. Not sure how it hasn't come up yet, but it just hasn't.

I'm heading up to Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota (amazing place). It is an equivilant environment to a sea cliff (just on lake superior).

How do I go about setting up a top belay and lowering the climber? Where should the anchor beaners be? Over the edge or above the edge? (if above, what do I do to protect the rope from the sharp edges). Where should my body be as a belayer?

I know how to set up an anchor safely, I'm just not sure where my body should be in relation to the anchor? Also, hypothetically if the climber is hanging and sustains an injury, how do I get them up?

Would it be best to use a rap-style belay device or GriGri2?

I just want to be as prepared as possible. Please feel free to include pictures if it makes it easier to understand. I am bringing a lot of novice climbers a long so safety falls on me more then anyone.

I will try to be nice about this, but the nature of your questions don't really show someone who is "fairly experienced." Now, the word "experienced" is fairly loaded and could mean a lot of different things but in the context of your post, you can't really blame people for being worried that YOU are the person in charge of "a lot" of novice climbers. Without going into detail, here are some things that you need to think long and hard about.

1. Safety. Everything from making sure these beginners don't fall over the edge to checking EVERYONE'S systems to getting them up the cliff if something happens.

2. If "something happens." What is more likely than someone sustaining an injury (providing you've done everything else correctly), is that they just can't make it up. What do you do if you are belaying someone and they just can't get back up?

3. Anchors. You say you are "experienced" with this, but where your power point goes depends on a few things, including the actual feature of the rock at the edge (is it sharp, are you able to sit over the edge, is there a foot ledge that you can position yourself over the edge). These little nuances are something that an experienced climber should be able to figure out on site if they are to be responsible for a group of beginners.

4. Location. A sea cliff where people have to climb out is not the best choice for beginners, unless an "experienced" guide who knows how to manage it is in charge.

My recommendation is that you take them somewhere else that is easier to manage.

Just my .02

Josh


TarHeelEMT


Jul 18, 2012, 5:50 PM
Post #27 of 28 (958 views)
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Re: [math3780] Top-Belaying questions. [In reply to]
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math3780 wrote:
First off, I know this is in other threads many times over but i've had quite a bit of difficulty finding specific answers that I can understand.

Background: I'm a fairly experienced climbing (few years) and have tried just about every type of climbing or belaying I've ever heard of EXCEPT top belaying. Not sure how it hasn't come up yet, but it just hasn't.

I'm heading up to Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota (amazing place). It is an equivilant environment to a sea cliff (just on lake superior).

How do I go about setting up a top belay and lowering the climber? Where should the anchor beaners be? Over the edge or above the edge? (if above, what do I do to protect the rope from the sharp edges). Where should my body be as a belayer?

I know how to set up an anchor safely, I'm just not sure where my body should be in relation to the anchor? Also, hypothetically if the climber is hanging and sustains an injury, how do I get them up?

Would it be best to use a rap-style belay device or GriGri2?

I just want to be as prepared as possible. Please feel free to include pictures if it makes it easier to understand. I am bringing a lot of novice climbers a long so safety falls on me more then anyone.

If you have any experience with trad, aid, or alpine, then you already know how to top-belay. Since you don't, you are clearly overstating your qualifications.

If you have to ask this question, you shouldn't be taking novices out climbing. They trust in your skill and know-how, and you are responsible for keeping them safe.


markc


Jul 19, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Re: [math3780] Top-Belaying questions. [In reply to]
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To add to the already spot-on analysis of most posters, consider that this seems like one of the worst ways to introduce a group of novices to climbing. It's clear you've not read about self-rescue techniques, or you're not critically applying what you've read. You're planning to put new climbers in a stressful situation where the only way off is up, and where none of you have practiced the skills necessary to help a climber who is physically or mentally unable to progress. Even in ideal conditions, you have the potential distraction of a bunch of n00bs wandering near the edge of the cliff trying to catch a glimpse of the action.

When I've brought new people climbing, it's generally one or two of them along with my more experienced partners. We rig standard slingshot belays and pick appropriate routes where you can see and communicate with the climber the whole time. New climbers get the benefit of watching each other and more experienced climbers. They can go up gradually, adjusting to the height and learning to trust the system. When you're taking new climbers, you have to know your shit, know how to handle any potential problems, and you should stack the deck in your favor. Be safe, and figure out a more reasonable alternative.

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