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tj2870


Apr 6, 2013, 6:11 PM
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Black Diamond Guide ATC Issue
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A very knowledgeable guide brought up an issue with this device, and I'd like other opinions. Consider having a rope 9.5mm or less. Set up an autoblock to belay your follower on a trad climb. Now consider a great load (fall) from the climber's strand while the belayer has the brake strand pushed forward a bit inside the ATC (pulling the excess). The ropes cross each other and get lodged on opposite ends of the ATC interior (follower strand on the teeth). In order to fix it under load, you'll need to leverage the ATC upward to pop the strands back into place. This is a very dangerous situation, and while it may not happen 999/1000 times, it's worth keeping in the back of your mind.

It's not difficult to create this scenario on your own, if you'd like to test it out. Obviously you can tie a safety knot of your choosing to prevent this from happening, but only if you are a thoughtful climber. What do you guys think?

I can really imagine this happening when climbing in 3s on thin double ropes.


(This post was edited by tj2870 on Apr 6, 2013, 7:35 PM)


jt512


Apr 6, 2013, 6:40 PM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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tj2870 wrote:
A very knowledgeable guide brought up an issue with this device, and I'd like other opinions. Consider having a rope 9.5mm or less. Set up an autoblock to belay your follower on a trad climb. Now consider a great load (fall) from the climber's strand while the belayer has the brake strand pushed forward a bit inside the ATC (pulling the excess). The ropes cross each other and get lodged on opposite ends of the ATC interior (follower strand on the teeth). In order to fix it under load, you'll need to leverage the ATC upward to pop the strands back into place. This is a very dangerous situation, and while it may not happen 999/1000 times, it's worth keeping in the back of your mind.

It's not difficult to create this scenario on your own, if you'd like to test it out. Obviously you can tie a safety knot of your choosing to prevent this from happening, but only if you are a thoughtful climber. What do you guys think?

I can really imagine this happening when climbing in 3s on thin double ropes.

There's pretty much no good reason to belay in autoblock mode, and some good reasons not to, including the one you mention. This subject has been debated more than once. Did you try doing a forum search before posting your question?


acorneau


Apr 6, 2013, 6:41 PM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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[Edit to remove quote by Jay]

Umm... Are you talking about an ATC Guide in guide mode, perhaps?


(This post was edited by acorneau on Apr 6, 2013, 6:42 PM)


tj2870


Apr 6, 2013, 6:46 PM
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Re: [acorneau] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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I meant autolock, sorry. Yes, in guide mode.

Yes I did a search here after extensive google searching. Did I dig into every thread involving an ATC discussion? No. I'll look a bit harder now, though, since you mention that it's been discussed before.

Edit: Still looking. I see discussion about not relying on the brake hand to be a 100% effective autolock (or autoblock as many people -have- said), but not this exact issue. I'll keep looking.


(This post was edited by tj2870 on Apr 6, 2013, 6:55 PM)


tj2870


Apr 6, 2013, 7:03 PM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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Alright. I've looked in many threads at this point and haven't seen anything. Either it's late and I suck, or it's in a thread that isn't readily obvious for this type of discussion.

Also, I've noticed many other climbers in threads calling it autoblock mode when referring to the BD ATC guide. I don't see where I went wrong originally, Acorneau, especially considering the context of the original post.

Further edit: Saying there's no good reason to belay a follower in this mode makes it scary, because isn't the piece designed to do so? It's scary.


(This post was edited by tj2870 on Apr 6, 2013, 7:08 PM)


jt512


Apr 6, 2013, 7:26 PM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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tj2870 wrote:
Alright. I've looked in many threads at this point and haven't seen anything. Either it's late and I suck, or it's in a thread that isn't readily obvious for this type of discussion.

Here's one thread: http://www.rockclimbing.com/..._reply;so=ASC;mh=25;

In reply to:
Also, I've noticed many other climbers in threads calling it autoblock mode when referring to the BD ATC guide. I don't see where I went wrong originally, Acorneau, especially considering the context of the original post.

You called it a "Black Diamond ATC," which is this device:



In reply to:
Further edit: Saying there's no good reason to belay a follower in this mode makes it scary, because isn't the piece designed to do so? It's scary.

I'm not sure I understand that question, but, yes, the device is designed to optionally be used in an autoblocking mode. That doesn't mean that there is any good reason to use it in that mode. It's difficult to let out slack if your partner needs, it can jam in a fall, and unjamming it is difficult and potentially dangerous. And what's the benefit? That you can take your hands off the rope? You shouldn't be doing that anyway.


tj2870


Apr 6, 2013, 7:45 PM
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Re: [jt512] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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Ah, I understand the confusion I caused then (sorry Acorn). I forgot that silly ATC existed, to be honest. Thanks for pointing it out.

I checked the thread. It doesn't consider the strands crossing each other with thin ropes, but the leverage issue is what matters most I suppose. With the strands of rope crossed, there's simply no way you can react in time to stop your second from decking or coming very close to it. I know plenty of people that belay their second using the guide ATC in autoblock mode. I have to discuss this with them because they've been belaying me this way for 2 years now...

I only used the autoblock mode because I, mistakenly, thought it was as close to fool-proof as you could get. Friends of mine (long-time climbers) have been doing so for many years. Clearly I have to be more skeptical.


redlude97


Apr 6, 2013, 7:49 PM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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Its called guide mode for a reason. If you don't know what you are doing you have no business using it.


tj2870


Apr 6, 2013, 8:01 PM
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Re: [redlude97] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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redlude97 wrote:
Its called guide mode for a reason. If you don't know what you are doing you have no business using it.

I hope you feel better for a useless contribution. I know how to use the device just fine, but anticipating all of the problems that can arise doesn't come as easy to some people as it may come to you.


bearbreeder


Apr 6, 2013, 9:09 PM
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Re: [redlude97] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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redlude97 wrote:
Its called guide mode for a reason. If you don't know what you are doing you have no business using it.

exactly ...

tie it off with a safety knot before releasing, and your climber wont die

unless its on RC Wink


redlude97


Apr 6, 2013, 9:48 PM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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tj2870 wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
Its called guide mode for a reason. If you don't know what you are doing you have no business using it.

I hope you feel better for a useless contribution. I know how to use the device just fine, but anticipating all of the problems that can arise doesn't come as easy to some people as it may come to you.
If you have to ask on the internet then you clearly don't know how to use it.


billl7


Apr 6, 2013, 10:49 PM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond Guide ATC Issue [In reply to]
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Never thought of it. But it does make sense this can happen.

At the same time, if one is using it in guide mode then it should already be understood how to safely release it.

Bill L


notapplicable


Apr 7, 2013, 12:33 AM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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tj2870 wrote:
I only used the autoblock mode because I, mistakenly, thought it was as close to fool-proof as you could get. Friends of mine (long-time climbers) have been doing so for many years. Clearly I have to be more skeptical.

I'd never thought of the rope strands crossing in that way. That is sketchy. Thanks for posting and I think you're right to be skeptical of the device. Of both it's supposed benefits and it's reputation for being foolproof.

IMO, If you look up the word 'superfluous' in the dictionary, you should see a picture of a belay device being used in "guide mode". The prevalence of the notion that they are "as close to foolproof as you [can] get" probably calls for a mention under 'dangerous' as well.

As I'm sure you noticed though, you will find several threads on here with people arguing for and against using devices in guide mode. It sounds like you're doing the right thing. Educate yourself and decide what makes sense for you.


bearbreeder


Apr 7, 2013, 1:45 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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nothing is "foolproof" ... not belaying off the harness, not with a redirect, etc ...

but a properly used autoblock in a seconding scenario is pretty damn unlikely to fail ... thousands use em every day, every climbing season ... and you dont hear off too many people getting dropped off em, generally someone brings up the accident of the misrigged ATC guide of someone lowering ... user error

i use my alpine smart, atc guide and till a partner dropped it the reverso for thousands of pitches, bringing up one or two followers on ropes from 8-10.5mm

there are tons of better climbers and guides who use it much more than me for much longer on everything from humid jungles to the frozen arctic ... on screaming newbies they need to drag up

this has all been discussed before and argued to death

http://www.mountainproject.com/...c-guide/106838345__1

http://willgadd.com/...her-winter-thoughts/

http://kellycordes.wordpress.com/...locking-belay-plate/

the simple fact of the matter is that barring idiot who doesnt know how to use it properly ... you wont die from the autoblock

you MAY however die from people who pretend to know how to use it, especially if they learn off the intrawebs ... i was almost killed by one ...

is it the autoblocks fault? ... nope .. no more than someone being dropped on a munter is the munters fault ...

i did a run up an easy 6 pitcher monday using the deadly autobloc ... its a wonder im still alive ...


as to "superflous" ... i have one simple word on multi ... ROCKFALL

Wink


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Apr 7, 2013, 1:48 AM)


notapplicable


Apr 7, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
as to "superflous" ... i have one simple word on multi ... ROCKFALL

Wink

So you also carry a grigri to belay when your partner is leading? You know, just in case of rockfall.


bearbreeder


Apr 7, 2013, 12:04 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:

So you also carry a grigri to belay when your partner is leading? You know, just in case of rockfall.

in the canadian rockies ... HELL YES ...

or the alpine smart i currently use

we almost got killed at a popular crag last year when a 50 lb rock broke off and landed a few feet away from us

heres the most popular easy long multiroute in the canadian rockies ... notice the gray scree field at the bottom ... all those rocks from from somewhere ... and it aint heaven Wink

the party you see under us almost got hit by several rocks we inadvertently knocked off ... there are rocks lying everywhere on the route, and the limestone breaks off all the time ... i broke off a foothold on that particular run



there is a "religious" hatred of autoblock, gri gris and many other such things by certain RCers ...

get hit in the hand by a loose rock ... which i was 2 weeks ago (which was thankfully small) ... or even worse the head ... and if you dont sing a different tune, yr just a RCer zealot Tongue

between some RCer on the intrawebs sprouting about the "superfluousness" of autoblock, which you wont die from if everyone knows what they are doing ... and the REAL possibility of rockfall (or dropped gear by newbs on those moderate multis) which i see often enough ...

i know which one id pick ...


moose_droppings


Apr 7, 2013, 7:12 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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Looks like fun route, by why are there so many loose rocks getting knocked off by experienced climbers on the most popular mutipitch route (heavily travelled) in the Canadian Rockies?


bearbreeder


Apr 7, 2013, 7:57 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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moose_droppings wrote:
Looks like fun route, by why are there so many loose rocks getting knocked off by experienced climbers on the most popular mutipitch route (heavily travelled) in the Canadian Rockies?

if youve climbed it youll find out Wink

the 1 hour hike up the scree field burns into your mind about how serious rockfall is an issue ... if it doesnt you need to have yr head checked

every ledge is littered with smaller broken off rocks ... if you look at the bottom left of the photo i posted, youll see rocks just lying on a small ledge ... every ledge had those rocks, bigger ones had more ...



theres loose rocks everywhere out there ... even at the most popular g-bang crag (grassi) youll usually see fists sized rocks come down all the time

we were almost killed at a place called heart creek ... on a popular wall the climber stepped on a hold and the entire thing broke away ... if we werent under an overhang we be killed and the climber i was belaying would be dead as well if they werent on a smart in that case

theres only so much you can control as the party on top .. you dont throw rocks down and do your best to avoid loose rock, but footholds break and the rope dislodges rocks as well

if there is a party on a multi route above you, its often a wise idea to just walk away and do a different route ... the guidebook indicates NOT to rap certain routes as it greatly increases the risk for other parties

in the canadian rockies, if you know theres a party above you and you decide to climb under em ... you take your chances

Crazy


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Apr 7, 2013, 8:25 PM)


shockabuku


Apr 7, 2013, 8:02 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
notapplicable wrote:

So you also carry a grigri to belay when your partner is leading? You know, just in case of rockfall.

in the canadian rockies ... HELL YES ...

or the alpine smart i currently use

we almost got killed at a popular crag last year when a 50 lb rock broke off and landed a few feet away from us

heres the most popular easy long multiroute in the canadian rockies ... notice the gray scree field at the bottom ... all those rocks from from somewhere ... and it aint heaven Wink

the party you see under us almost got hit by several rocks we inadvertently knocked off ... there are rocks lying everywhere on the route, and the limestone breaks off all the time ... i broke off a foothold on that particular run

[image]http://i47.tinypic.com/2n80j82.jpg
[/image]

there is a "religious" hatred of autoblock, gri gris and many other such things by certain RCers ...

get hit in the hand by a loose rock ... which i was 2 weeks ago (which was thankfully small) ... or even worse the head ... and if you dont sing a different tune, yr just a RCer zealot Tongue

between some RCer on the intrawebs sprouting about the "superfluousness" of autoblock, which you wont die from if everyone knows what they are doing ... and the REAL possibility of rockfall (or dropped gear by newbs on those moderate multis) which i see often enough ...

i know which one id pick ...

You is a poster child RCer.


bearbreeder


Apr 7, 2013, 8:03 PM
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Re: [shockabuku] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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shockabuku wrote:
You is a poster child RCer.

OMG yr gonnna diiiiieeee from the deadly autoblock ...

there NOW im a true RCer Tongue


Partner rgold


Apr 7, 2013, 8:14 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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moose_droppings wrote:
...why are there so many loose rocks getting knocked off by experienced climbers on the most popular mutipitch route (heavily travelled) in the Canadian Rockies?
Well, rock like that keeps adding to the supply of rubble on ledges and holds, and it isn't just or even primarily experienced climbers who are on it.

I've pretty much gone over to the dark side and use the Alpine Up, which is an assisted locker like the Smart that is better for half ropes. But I have other reasons, that don't involve rockfall, 'cause here's the thing: if you are the leader and you are falling and the belayer is unconscious, then autolocking is a very good thing. But if you are the leader and you aren't falling and the belayer is unsconscious, then autolocking could be a nightmare.

At the other end of the rope, an autolocker as an upper belay seems like a good idea for rockfall situations (much as I hate the upper belays I get from most of the users of autolocking devices). The only potential issue is that there seem to be a lot of users who just plain don't know how to release the device and lower safely, so I'd be especially wary about climbing with someone unless I had some good knowledge about their skills in this area.

The situation mentioned by the OP, in which the strands exchange places under a high load and so at least partially disable braking, has been produced in test conditions with thin ropes and dropped weights. I haven't heard of it happening to anyone in the field.


(This post was edited by rgold on Apr 7, 2013, 8:23 PM)


moose_droppings


Apr 8, 2013, 3:39 AM
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Re: [rgold] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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I understand that and we have some awfully crumbly limestone here too. Just seems like several pieces coming off from just one team on one ascent is a little excessive and would warrant a good cleaning once in a while, being it's such a popular route with so many teams on it on a daily basis.

Tough old birds those Canadians.


verticon


Apr 8, 2013, 4:20 AM
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Re: [tj2870] Black Diamond Guide ATC Issue [In reply to]
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This is what Jim Titt wrote about this issue in a similar thread on Mountain Project:
"As it happens there was a thread on another forum about using guide plates for roped soloing and I went off and pull tested a few to see what happened under load:-

First Fail Mode:
The trapped rope escapes sideways from under the tensioned rope and gets trapped between the tensioned rope and the side of the slot.This is very difficult to free off and you have to dismantle everything and twist the locking krab brutally to release the rope. Take your Prusiks.

Second fail mode:
Apply yet more load and the trapped rope where it crosses the tensioned rope goes down through the slot with a bang. At this point the holding power drops off considerably but not catastrophically, though pretty near!
Easy to release, just unclip the krab when unweighted. Still need to take your Prusiks!

ATC Guide. 10.2 Mammut, used, non-treated. First fail mode 4.8kN. No second fail mode, rope sheath cut at ca 9kN.
ATC Guide. 9mm Edelrid, used, non treated. First fail mode 2.96kN. Max fail load 5.58kN. Residual load 1.6kN
ATC Guide. 8.2mm Edelrid, new,treated. First fail mode 2.05kN. Max fail load 4.06kN. Residual load 1.2kN

Reversoł. 10.2 Mammut, used, non treated. First fail mode 3.68kN. No second fail mode. Rope sheath cut ca 9kN
Reversoł. 9mm Edelrid, used, non treated. First fail mode 2.25kN. Max fail load 3.60kN. Residual load 0.9kN
Reversoł. 8.2mm Edelrid, new,treated. First fail mode 1.6kN. Max fail load 2.38kN. Residual load 0.7kN
All with Petzl Attache 12mm round profile karabiner.

Not my idea of a reliable roped-solo device!

--------------------------------

The first failure is both strands are crossing inside the device and it jams up solid, you hear a sharp bang as this happens (we though something had broken). Then the crossing point of the ropes is forced out of the bottom of the plate and the original rope positions is reversed with a twist at the karabiner.
With thicker ropes as the crossing point starts to come out below the plate the rope is forced onto the underneath of the sides of the plate and core-shots so it doesn´t really ever reverse completely but shreds itself instead.
You can get a good idea of what happens by using a thinnish (6mm or so)cord and bouncing on it.

-----------------------------------

The numbers are low. With the 8.2mm rope a bit of flailing trying to get my foot in a foot loop was enough to dump me on the ground. However to be fair Petzl warn against using the Reversoł in guide mode on a single strand of this diameter. I have no info on what BD recommend.
The speed, rope length and energy have no bearing on the force required to cause failure.
The lock up is virtually instantaneous and slip negligable until failure."

I guess it answers your questions.


sandstone


Apr 8, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Re: [jt512] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
...There's pretty much no good reason to belay in autoblock mode...

That statement is dead on the mark, in the right context.

In the context of long climbs on short winter days (think long ice/alpine climbs), autoblock mode is extremely useful. The leader can belay up a second, or two seconds simultaneously, while at the same time snacking and hydrating, getting ready to lead the next pitch.


curt


Apr 8, 2013, 3:25 PM
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sandstone wrote:
...In the context of long climbs on short winter days (think long ice/alpine climbs), autoblock mode is extremely useful. The leader can belay up a second, or two seconds simultaneously, while at the same time snacking and hydrating, getting ready to lead the next pitch.

Remind me to never let you belay me.

Curt


sandstone


Apr 8, 2013, 7:26 PM
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Curt remind me to never let you cause an epic that could have been avoided. On some climbs speed = safety.


rsmillbern


Apr 9, 2013, 12:38 AM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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moose_droppings wrote:
Looks like fun route, by why are there so many loose rocks getting knocked off by experienced climbers on the most popular mutipitch route (heavily travelled) in the Canadian Rockies?

Try out some moderate routes in the German/Austrian Alps. I have climbed a couple pitches that seemed to be made entirely of loose rocks.

I use an autoblock (Alpine Up and the ATC Guide) however, I do think it is good to use these as if they were not autoblocking and to know how to use them correctly (setup, lower under tension, etc). As with any tool, use it correctly and it is fine, if not...


moose_droppings


Apr 9, 2013, 9:41 AM
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rsmillbern wrote:
moose_droppings wrote:
the most popular mutipitch route in the Canadian Rockies?

Try out some moderate routes in the German/Austrian Alps. I have climbed a couple pitches that seemed to be made entirely of loose rocks.

I use an autoblock (Alpine Up and the ATC Guide) however, I do think it is good to use these as if they were not autoblocking and to know how to use them correctly (setup, lower under tension, etc). As with any tool, use it correctly and it is fine, if not...

Yes, most of us can find a route with a lot of loose rock on it.


(This post was edited by moose_droppings on Apr 9, 2013, 9:43 AM)


bearbreeder


Apr 9, 2013, 9:53 AM
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like i said ... go do it ... the climbing is easy

the NE face of haling is likely the most popular long route since its right outside canmore

Nowadays the route has a lot of fixed gear but it remains a serious undertaking with
loose rock at stances, dubious pitons and a propensity for attracting afternoon thunderstorms.
There have been numerous epics and even fatalities on this climb and it deserves respect from
inexperienced parties.


http://www.banffrock.ca/...namans/Ha%20Ling.pdf

Rock fall is still the
appropriate hazard
on the route and must be respected whether below or above
other parties, which is common.


http://dowclimbing.com/HaLing.html


moose_droppings


Apr 9, 2013, 10:40 AM
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I agree, I haven't been there, but your statement now makes it seem more reasonable since your now calling it
In reply to:
the NE face of haling is likely the most popular long route since its right outside canmore
as compared to
In reply to:
the most popular multipitch in the Canadian Rockies

Thanks for clearing that up.


bearbreeder


Apr 9, 2013, 11:11 AM
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im pretty sure i said initially


heres the most popular easy long multiroute in the canadian rockies .

i personally dont consider anything where you dont do 10+ full pitches "long" ... basically run up the side of a mountain or other such ... for easy/moderates anyways


edge


Apr 9, 2013, 7:28 PM
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bearbreeder wrote:
like i said ... go do it ... the climbing is easy

the NE face of haling is likely the most popular long route since its right outside canmore

Nowadays the route has a lot of fixed gear but it remains a serious undertaking with
loose rock at stances, dubious pitons and a propensity for attracting afternoon thunderstorms.
There have been numerous epics and even fatalities on this climb and it deserves respect from
inexperienced parties.


http://www.banffrock.ca/...namans/Ha%20Ling.pdf

Rock fall is still the
appropriate hazard
on the route and must be respected whether below or above
other parties, which is common.


http://dowclimbing.com/HaLing.html




Partner rgold


Apr 10, 2013, 9:01 AM
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An interesting addendum to the discussion about auto or assisted locking devices for belaying the leader when there is rockfall potential is in the latest ANAM http://www.rockandice.com/...p-books/aac-report-1 page 11.

In this accident, the leader dislodged a block that shattered and a piece hit the belayer, causing them to lose control of the belay. The accident report notes that an autolocking device could have prevented the accident.

This was not a high rockfall area, and the block was one that other climbers had yarded on in the past.


bearbreeder


Apr 10, 2013, 9:31 AM
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there was an accident posted here not to long ago where a belayer got seriously hurt by rockfall on a "classic" route ... without an assisted locking device, IMO its questionable if he could have held the climber with an ATC with a broken arm, ruptured spleen, and a "destroyed" knee.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...rum.cgi?post=2567562

even in squamish which is known for bomber rock ... rockfall can easily become an issue even if yr just cragging at the base of the grand ... climbers above you knock stuff off all the time from up high ... where a warning of "ROCK" doesnt reach you ...

and we wont even talk about early season freeze/thaw cycles ... even at sport crags rocks come off at the start of every season

rockfall is one of the thing thats very hard to control ...


curt


Apr 10, 2013, 9:47 AM
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sandstone wrote:
Curt remind me to never let you cause an epic that could have been avoided. On some climbs speed = safety.

Thanks. This is what RC.n00b is famous for--coming up with a remote and unlikely scenario where the best practice seems wrong. Eating/drinking/texting or any other form of multi-tasking while belaying will lead to far more epics than just taking a little more time to finish a route.

Curt


sandstone


Apr 10, 2013, 12:52 PM
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Curt, given the rather large amount of literature that documents the long and rich heritage of alpine climbing, surely you don't actually believe that people doing such routes is a "remote and unlikely scenario", do you?

Jay made a blanket statement that there's no good reason to use autoblock mode. Within the context of short sunny rock climbs he is right on the mark. My point was that is not the only context within which people climb. On long alpine routes, especially with a team of three, autoblock belaying is the right technique. It allows the leader to belay up two seconds simultaneously, which saves a TON of time. While he is doing that he can go hands free to hydrate and snack, to be ready to blast up the next pitch the moment his partners arrive at the belay. He is not putting them at risk by doing that, he is reducing risk.

The time saved at the end of the day can very well mean the difference in having enough light to locate the correct descent gully or ridge (not always easy in high alpine terrain). It can also mean the difference between making it down or having to be exposed to frostbite risk during an icy bivouac. Add to that the reduced time the team is exposed to rock and ice fall, and it's an absolute no brainer conclusion that speed = safety on long alpine routes.

Curt you piped in with.......well nothing, just some smart ass blather that could only serve the purpose of putting someone else down to puff up your own sense of self importance. Now that truly is what RC.com is famous for.


redlude97


Apr 10, 2013, 3:07 PM
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sandstone wrote:
Curt, given the rather large amount of literature that documents the long and rich heritage of alpine climbing, surely you don't actually believe that people doing such routes is a "remote and unlikely scenario", do you?

Jay made a blanket statement that there's no good reason to use autoblock mode. Within the context of short sunny rock climbs he is right on the mark. My point was that is not the only context within which people climb. On long alpine routes, especially with a team of three, autoblock belaying is the right technique. It allows the leader to belay up two seconds simultaneously, which saves a TON of time. While he is doing that he can go hands free to hydrate and snack, to be ready to blast up the next pitch the moment his partners arrive at the belay. He is not putting them at risk by doing that, he is reducing risk.

The time saved at the end of the day can very well mean the difference in having enough light to locate the correct descent gully or ridge (not always easy in high alpine terrain). It can also mean the difference between making it down or having to be exposed to frostbite risk during an icy bivouac. Add to that the reduced time the team is exposed to rock and ice fall, and it's an absolute no brainer conclusion that speed = safety on long alpine routes.

Curt you piped in with.......well nothing, just some smart ass blather that could only serve the purpose of putting someone else down to puff up your own sense of self importance. Now that truly is what RC.com is famous for.
Actually he is. At least according to BD. Guide mode can't lock both strands simultaneously in all situations. There is still a risk there. I put this in the same basket as hands free gri-gri belaying. Relying on the device locking is rolling the dice, however small the chance of this occurring is.


curt


Apr 10, 2013, 3:11 PM
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sandstone wrote:
Curt, given the rather large amount of literature that documents the long and rich heritage of alpine climbing, surely you don't actually believe that people doing such routes is a "remote and unlikely scenario", do you?

That's not what I said, but reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your forte. I have belayed two people at once before--many times. The problem I have is with your original assertion it is safe to do this (belay) while eating, drinking, etc. I thought I was absolutely clear about my point.

sandstone wrote:
Curt you piped in with.......well nothing, just some smart ass blather that could only serve the purpose of putting someone else down to puff up your own sense of self importance. Now that truly is what RC.com is famous for.

Again, your fundamental lack of comprehension does not make me a smart ass. And (again) I would never let anyone belay me who feels that belaying doesn't demand their full attention.

Curt


moose_droppings


Apr 10, 2013, 3:49 PM
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In reply to:
And (again) I would never let anyone belay me who feels that belaying doesn't demand their full attention.

Curt knocks it out of the park folks.

Go ahead and pitch him another one sandstone, he's fun to watch at bat.


sandstone


Apr 10, 2013, 3:53 PM
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redlude97 wrote:
...Guide mode can't lock both strands simultaneously in all situations. There is still a risk there....

It is just one of the many risks (including weather, fatigue, rock fall, ice fall, nightfall, gear/food weight, avalanche, crevasse, etc.) that you may have to factor into just one alpine climb.

If I can save a significant amount of time by using autoblock (which is certainly true for a team of three), and by doing so reduce risk in several of the other categories mentioned above, am I at a higher or lower overall risk?


sandstone


Apr 10, 2013, 3:58 PM
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moose_droppings wrote:
...Go ahead and pitch him another one sandstone, he's fun to watch at bat.

You think so Moose? I wasn't impressed when he went so quickly to the tired old "...reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your forte..." thing. It's good fun just the same.


redlude97


Apr 10, 2013, 4:06 PM
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sandstone wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
...Guide mode can't lock both strands simultaneously in all situations. There is still a risk there....

It is just one of the many risks (including weather, fatigue, rock fall, ice fall, nightfall, gear/food weight, avalanche, crevasse, etc.) that you may have to factor into just one alpine climb.

If I can save a significant amount of time by using autoblock (which is certainly true for a team of three), and by doing so reduce risk in several of the other categories mentioned above, am I at a higher or lower overall risk?
Again, you seem to be getting lost in the argument. We aren't arguing against autoblock use. I use it fairly regularly as well. But I always keep my hands on the brake strands. Going hands free is the only unnecessary risk IMO, and I can usually manage to refuel with a single hand or a combination of hands with the rope


bearbreeder


Apr 10, 2013, 4:17 PM
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http://www.mountainproject.com/...c-guide/106838345__3

from eli helmuth ... a well respected and very experienced guide ...


The engineers at BD told me that they'd call it 'auto-lock' not 'auto-block' except for 'the lawyers' as it's possible to screw any of these things up and blame it on the manufacturer.

It's pretty much impossible to belay two people simultaneously (which is what these devices are designed to do) without taking a brake hand off one strand, at least if the seconds are moving at any speed. I know there's no rush to climb fast back east but we have bigger rocks and mountain weather out here and don't give me that Mt. Wash bs about bad weather:)

Certainly back-up knots in the brake hand are never a bad idea but impractical in the typical 2 follower situation. If I've got just one follower, of course I'll keep my brake hand on mostly but certainly it's not an issue if I let go to eat a chip, drink h2o, etc.

After dozens and dozens of AMGA programs that I've been involved wtih where we belay with this method on 5-25 pitch routes with two followers - everyone seems happy with the results and no close calls yet that I'm aware of other than the wrong loop being clipped into the belay anchor - yikes!


again the RCers are out going off about things professionals and other people who climb ALOT do every day

from last week ... its a wonder they both didnt die off the deadly autoblock Wink





(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Apr 10, 2013, 4:26 PM)


curt


Apr 10, 2013, 4:34 PM
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bearbreeder wrote:
...again the RCers are out going off about things professionals and other people who climb ALOT do every day...

Of course, as "rgold" has pointed out numerous times, you can do something potentially unsafe for a very long period of time time and get away with it--so long as that practice is never severely tested.

Curt


bearbreeder


Apr 10, 2013, 4:37 PM
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curt wrote:

Of course, as "rgold" has pointed out numerous times, you can do something potentially unsafe for a very long period of time time and get away with it--so long as that practice is never severely tested.

Curt

so is mr helmuth "unsafe" and never tests his systems?

how about the hundreds of not more of other guides who use the autoblock to bring up 2 followers?

you should write to the AMGA/ACMG/IFMGA/etc, rather than rant on RC ... since this is the lives of innocent clients were talking about here

hmmmmm


sandstone


Apr 10, 2013, 4:54 PM
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redlude97 wrote:
...We aren't arguing against autoblock use....

My original post was in response to a blanket statement that did just that. I didn't disagree with what Jay said, I just added that context is important because there is a context where autoblock is very valuable and very effective.

In reply to:
...you seem to be getting lost in the argument...

The point of participating in a discussion forum would be what then? :-)

In reply to:
..But I always keep my hands on the brake strands.

Of course I do the same every moment I can. But if I'm on a big (for me) route, pushing a time/weather window, not carrying bivvy gear, in winter conditions, then I am going to be cutting out as much time as I can out of every pitch. Sometimes that means going hands free on an autoblock to get something else done. That's one of the reasons I'm using autoblock after all, so I have that option. When my seconds get to the belay (and they know I am using autoblock, and going hands free), I am ready to grab the pro and go.

It's a judgement call, balanced against the very real risks of taking too much time in terrain/weather that can easily kill you.


redlude97


Apr 10, 2013, 5:00 PM
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sandstone wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
...We aren't arguing against autoblock use....

My original post was in response to a blanket statement that did just that. I didn't disagree with what Jay said, I just added that context is important because there is a context where autoblock is very valuable and very effective.
Curt's response clearly wasn't addressing that portion of your statement, go back and look at what he bolded


curt


Apr 10, 2013, 5:03 PM
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bearbreeder wrote:
you should write to the AMGA/ACMG/IFMGA/etc, rather than rant on RC ... since this is the lives of innocent clients were talking about here

1) And do you really believe that any of those organizations would openly advocate belaying with an ATC auto-block without paying full attention to the belaying? I seriously doubt it.

2) Other than identifying eating, drinking, or otherwise multi-tasking while belaying as potentially unsafe, I really don't care that much. All I know is I won't do it--and neither will anyone I climb with.

Curt


bearbreeder


Apr 10, 2013, 5:05 PM
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curt wrote:

1) And do you really believe that any of those organizations would openly advocate belaying with an ATC auto-block without paying full attention to the belaying? I seriously doubt it.

2) Other than identifying eating, drinking, or otherwise multi-tasking while belaying as potentially unsafe, I really don't care that much. All I know is I won't do it--and neither will anyone I climb with.

Curt

if a guide is unsafe or following unsafe practices with clients, they can take action ... if its a REAL safety issue i suggest contacting them, again as its real lives at risk

as to belaying .. how often do you bring up 2 seconds simultaneously off the autoblock ... perhaps you can share your technique


curt


Apr 10, 2013, 5:06 PM
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redlude97 wrote:
sandstone wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
...We aren't arguing against autoblock use....

My original post was in response to a blanket statement that did just that. I didn't disagree with what Jay said, I just added that context is important because there is a context where autoblock is very valuable and very effective.
Curt's response clearly wasn't addressing that portion of your statement, go back and look at what he bolded

He ought to know that by know, since I've said it twice. He's now simply being willfully obtuse.

Curt


sandstone


Apr 10, 2013, 7:15 PM
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redlude97 wrote:
...Curt's response clearly wasn't addressing that portion of your statement, go back and look at what he bolded

Oh I know exactly what he bolded. He stopped bolding right before the part where I pointed out the possible effects of taking too much time on an alpine route. Read the next paragraph past what Curt bolded. I understand his problem comprehending what I said -- when you have put yourself up on a pedestal that tall, the clouds make it hard to read fine details.

Curt is just being myopic, he's all caught up in the fact that there is a risk to multitasking, and ignoring the larger picture. An alpine climbing team (try to keep up here Curt, alpine climbing is the context of everything I've said in this thread) is simultaneously being exposed to several risks that are far greater in magnitude than the risk of momentarily taking your hands off an autoblock. Reducing your exposure time to those larger risks has to be among your prime concerns.

If autoblock failures were common, Curt would have more of an argument, but it just ain't so. Accidents/deaths related to rockfall, icefall, nightfall, hypothermia, etc., are not rare at all -- the literature is full of them. The literature is not full of autoblock failures, despite a great volume of use all over the world.

Am I willing to inflict the small risk of hands-off autoblocking on myself, and my two best friends, in exchange for even a few minutes less exposure to rock fall, icefall, frostbite, etc?

Hell yes I am. I will make that choice every time. Anyone who wouldn't do the same for me doesn't truly understand the context.


notapplicable


Apr 10, 2013, 8:28 PM
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You keep bringing up the example of a three person team but if time really is a big safety consideration, you probably shouldn't be climbing in a team of three anyway. You want real time savings, dump a person.

As to the question of acceptable levels of risks, I agree with you. As long as every member of the team agrees to the game that is being played, there is nothing wrong with taking calculated risks. For example, I would rather solo than simulclimb but other folks play that game all the time. That is their call. Same with going hands free with an autoblock. I don't do it and I don't want my belayers doing it but its fine if every member if the team consents.

And thats all Curt said. HE does not want HIS belayers playing that game. Thats HIS call. Just like it is YOUR call to do the opposite.

Thats the beauty of climbing. We get to make up and play by our own rules and we are entirely responsible for the consequences.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Apr 10, 2013, 8:31 PM)


redlude97


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sandstone wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
...Curt's response clearly wasn't addressing that portion of your statement, go back and look at what he bolded

Oh I know exactly what he bolded. He stopped bolding right before the part where I pointed out the possible effects of taking too much time on an alpine route. Read the next paragraph past what Curt bolded. I understand his problem comprehending what I said -- when you have put yourself up on a pedestal that tall, the clouds make it hard to read fine details.

Curt is just being myopic, he's all caught up in the fact that there is a risk to multitasking, and ignoring the larger picture. An alpine climbing team (try to keep up here Curt, alpine climbing is the context of everything I've said in this thread) is simultaneously being exposed to several risks that are far greater in magnitude than the risk of momentarily taking your hands off an autoblock. Reducing your exposure time to those larger risks has to be among your prime concerns.

If autoblock failures were common, Curt would have more of an argument, but it just ain't so. Accidents/deaths related to rockfall, icefall, nightfall, hypothermia, etc., are not rare at all -- the literature is full of them. The literature is not full of autoblock failures, despite a great volume of use all over the world.

Am I willing to inflict the small risk of hands-off autoblocking on myself, and my two best friends, in exchange for even a few minutes less exposure to rock fall, icefall, frostbite, etc?

Hell yes I am. I will make that choice every time. Anyone who wouldn't do the same for me doesn't truly understand the context.
explain again how rock fall, icefall or frostbite are related to hands free belaying again?


Partner rgold


Apr 10, 2013, 10:00 PM
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I think you can make a case, as Bearbreeder has, for the autoblock upper belay in situations where rockfall is a palpable risk. Outside those situations, the only "advantage" of the autoblock is the perceived ability to take your hands off the brake strands and multitask. (Well, that, the possibility of lounging more comfortably next to the anchor, and a slightly less involved belay escape procedure in the exceptionally rare case when one is needed.)

In particular, there is absolutely no speed advantage to autoblock belaying of two seconds over the same system off the harness or redirected through the anchor, and the latter two versions allow better control of the situation if one of the climbers needs to step down while the other is moving up.

You only get time savings if the belayer does things that aren't belaying, things that would otherwise have to wait until the seconds are up at the stance and off belay. Such opportunities do present themselves on longer climbs, and as is clear from the preceding discussion, the participants have to come to an understanding of which risks to prioritize and which to ignore.

One of the risks of multitask belaying is that it is more likely that slack will accumulate, and so more likely that seconds could be taking "leader" falls, with all that implies in terms of loads to the device and anchor. If you somehow manage to get loads up to 5 kN or so, which seems pretty unlikely, you can expect failures in the functioning of the devices.

With two seconds, it is important to have the same rope paths for both climbers, i.e. don't treat the two ropes as a half-rope system and clip them alternately to horizontally separated protection points, at least not for the last protection points of the pitch for each rope. Doing this can result in diverging loads at the belay plate, which will typically disable "automatic" braking for one of the strands.

Possible disabling or weakening of autolocking may also occur if the pitch ends with a protected horizontal traverse to the belay ledge, so that the load on the device is horizontal rather than vertical.


sandstone


Apr 11, 2013, 9:50 AM
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redlude97 wrote:
explain again how rock fall, icefall or frostbite are related to hands free belaying again?

Sure.

In some contexts, like rock climbing on relatively short routes on long summer days, time/speed is not one of your paramount concerns. Efficiency is great, but inefficiency is unlikely to cause you great bodily harm.

In the context of a long alpine climb, especially on short winter days, time/speed is one of your paramount concerns. The longer you are on a pitch, the longer you are exposed to the rockfall, icefall, and avalanche dangers that pitch may hold.

If you run out of daylight, and can't find your descent route, or go down the wrong way in the dark, you may find yourself on avalanche prone slopes, or be forced into a bivvy in winter conditions. That can cause you to lose toes, or kill you.

So a big part of the alpine game is speed. Anything you can do to save time reduces your exposure to your greatest risks. Accepting a risk that has proven to be very small, in exchange for reducing multiple larger risks, is a very good call.

Let's say that by multitasking (going hands free to hydrate, snack, adjust layers, etc.) while belaying up my seconds I can shave off 30 minutes of time during the day. Can that 30 minutes make the difference in whether or not we have enough light left to find our "safe" descent route? Absolutely it can.

On one climb I topped out in failing light, with heavy snow falling from an intensifying storm (despite a forecast and earlier observations that said otherwise). Going back down the way we came up was not an option due to the snow loading on the slopes above that funneled into our route. I yelled down to just leave the pro and get up the pitch as fast as possible. The few extra minutes of light was far more valuable than a few hundred bucks worth of gear. It was the right call, we found our "safe" descent route just as the light failed, and made it down through the storm without injury.

My original post was in response to Jay's statement that there was no good reason to belay in autoblock mode. I agree with him 100% for some contexts, but added that there exists a context where his statement does not hold true.

Curt piped in with his usual snarky snippets, and tried to slam me by pulling part of what I wrote out of its context. But he was wrong in doing so, I clearly stated my context in my original post. Or maybe Curt just didn't grasp what winter alpine climbing means, and the complex nature of risk management in that context -- despite his quickness to judge those who do.


sandstone


Apr 11, 2013, 10:27 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
You keep bringing up the example of a three person team but if time really is a big safety consideration, you probably shouldn't be climbing in a team of three anyway. You want real time savings, dump a person.

The validity of that depends entirely on the nature of the third man you are "dumping".

In reply to:
...And thats all Curt said. HE does not want HIS belayers playing that game. Thats HIS call. Just like it is YOUR call to do the opposite.

Thats the beauty of climbing. We get to make up and play by our own rules and we are entirely responsible for the consequences.

Absolutely. Curt gets to play his game his way, and I get to play mine my way -- on climbs, and on the written page.

Curt is free to snip parts of what I write, and criticise them out of their stated context -- just as I am free to point out the fallacy of him doing so.


petsfed


Apr 11, 2013, 10:49 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
You keep bringing up the example of a three person team but if time really is a big safety consideration, you probably shouldn't be climbing in a team of three anyway. You want real time savings, dump a person.

This statement here invalidates anything else you have to say on the subject.

3-person "block" leading has been a staple of hard alpine climbing for so long that I have a decade-old book that supports this very practice, written by the foremost practitioner of the art during the 90s. Try again.


curt


Apr 11, 2013, 1:09 PM
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sandstone wrote:
Curt is free to snip parts of what I write, and criticise them out of their stated context -- just as I am free to point out the fallacy of him doing so.

You're a real crack-up...or insane. I have never taken you out of context even once, while "redlude97," "notapplicable" and I have all pointed out where you have taken my comments in this thread out of context. Talk about psychological projection...

Of course, since you're attempting to defend a basically indefensible practice, that really is about all you've got.

Curt


sandstone


Apr 12, 2013, 9:13 AM
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curt wrote:
You're a real crack-up...or insane.

Well thank you, and you are correct, respectively. I enjoy the sound of laughter, so I try to crack up the people who surround me at every opportunity. As for the sanity comment, no climber can truthfully defend his activities as being sane.

In reply to:
I have never taken you out of context even once, while "redlude97," "notapplicable" and I have all pointed out where you have taken my comments in this thread out of context. Talk about psychological projection...

I very carefully stated the context of my comments, because in other contexts they don't apply.

You projected the dogma from what you are familiar with into the context of my comments, but you don't/won't grasp that the change in context necessitates re-examining the dogma.

But that's OK, not everyone has experience in other disciplines, and it can be hard to grasp how something so familiar can be different in another context.

In reply to:
Of course, since you're attempting to defend a basically indefensible practice, that really is about all you've got.

Carefully read through my last response to redlune97. If you can be honest with yourself, and get past your prideful need to defend the position you have taken, you can clearly see that I have defended the practice of hands off autoblocking (within the stated context). I even clearly show how that seemingly risky practice can be put to good use to reduce the overall risk for the team. But you're not able to see that are you? Your pride and self inflated sense of worth won't let you.

Curt, you have a propensity, apparently even a need, to assume superiority (look back at your "rc.noob" comment directed at me). This time you were wrong. You injected yourself into a sub-discussion about alpine climbing, and ever since you've been talking out of your ass about something you either don't have experience with, or a clear comprehension of, to someone who has both.

I'm going to change my recommendation. Don't read back through the previous posts. Instead spend the time talking to a friend or counselor to explore why it is you spend so much time online sniping at others, putting them down to make yourself feel superior. That is not healthy.


curt


Apr 12, 2013, 9:59 AM
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sandstone wrote:
Carefully read through my last response to redlune97. If you can be honest with yourself, and get past your prideful need to defend the position you have taken, you can clearly see that I have defended the practice of hands off autoblocking (within the stated context). I even clearly show how that seemingly risky practice can be put to good use to reduce the overall risk for the team...

You have done nothing of the kind. You have merely stated your opinion and represented it as "clearly showing" something. I fully understand that you are talking about the context of alpine climbing, but that is irrelevant to the objection I have to the way you belay. I simply don't buy your arguments. There is no time (unless perhaps you become unconscious) that it is acceptable to not be paying attention 100% of the time when you're belaying. In any event (and contrary to what you have assumed) I didn't really intend to turn this into a pissing contest.

The intent of my initial comment in this thread was merely to convey that I would not belay anyone in the manner you describe--nor would I ever let anyone belay me that way. I should have probably just left it at that.

Curt


Shroom


Apr 12, 2013, 11:10 AM
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As usual for RC, you have both taken stances so far opposite each other it's like watching Congress. The answer lies in the middle.

Sandstone, there is no reason to take your hands fully off the rope. You can easily dig in a pack with your index finger and thumb while holding the brake side across your palm with the other fingers engaged, particularly if you pack correctly and have essentials in an outside pocket or on top.

Curt, what alpine routes/experience do you have specifically?


bearbreeder


Apr 12, 2013, 12:14 PM
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Shroom wrote:
As usual for RC, you have both taken stances so far opposite each other it's like watching Congress. The answer lies in the middle.

Sandstone, there is no reason to take your hands fully off the rope. You can easily dig in a pack with your index finger and thumb while holding the brake side across your palm with the other fingers engaged, particularly if you pack correctly and have essentials in an outside pocket or on top.

Curt, what alpine routes/experience do you have specifically?


actually id like to know how you specifically manage the ropes in autoblocks with 2 seconds at speed without taking the hands off with an ATC guide or reverso

i can just do it holding it lightly with an alpine smart or a gigi because they pull through so easily ...

with a guide or reverso, you generally need a bit of OOOMPH to pull the rope through on easier ground at speed ... ive yet to see anyone do it without taking their hand off the line for a split second when managing 2 followers


csproul


Apr 12, 2013, 12:58 PM
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With a pair of skinny ropes, they pull VERY easily through my Reverso.I can pull one through while sliding my hand along the other rope. My hand need not leave both ropes, at least with the set-up I have used. With fatter ropes or a non-round biner they are much harder to pull through and much harder to manage both ropes while maintaining a hand on both ropes. I think the ease with which this is done is dependent on the ropes/biner/device being used.

But I'm sure you'll tell me I'm wrong since I'm just another RC'er, right?


bearbreeder


Apr 12, 2013, 1:08 PM
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you are just another RCer Tongue

so how do you do it with fatter, stiffer ropes then Wink


csproul


Apr 12, 2013, 1:14 PM
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In general...I don't. If I am in a party of 3, I make sure to take the right pair of ropes.

Having tried it with fatter ropes and it was a big PITA, I try to make sure I don't have to do it with two fat ropes. It's been so long since I have used two fat ropes that I honestly don't remember how difficult it was to keep a hand on both ropes. It was probably pretty difficult since I remember it being hard enough to just pull the ropes through at all.


bearbreeder


Apr 12, 2013, 1:19 PM
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the guides i see usually use thicker ropes .. and they take their hands off ... as i said earlier if its a real safety issue we should all start reporting em ...

there are plenty of times where i run up an easy climb with 2 others at the end of a day/on a rest day ... and i left my "ideal" doubles back at home ... we just go do it anyways

of course thats one of the reasons i have the smart .... the autoblock is buttah smoooth Wink


sandstone


Apr 12, 2013, 3:10 PM
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Shroom wrote:
...Sandstone, there is no reason to take your hands fully off the rope. You can easily dig in a pack with your index finger and thumb while holding the brake side across your palm with the other fingers engaged, particularly if you pack correctly and have essentials in an outside pocket or on top.

Shroom, if you can do all of that with winter gloves on, and don & doff a belay parka, without ever taking your hands off the rope, then you are far more coordinated than me.


sandstone


Apr 12, 2013, 3:32 PM
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curt wrote:
... I simply don't buy your arguments...

Yet you offer nothing in response other than insults, bad assumptions, and worn out cliches.

I had hopes of a spirited and substantial debate, Moose had high hopes for you too. I don't know what he's feeling, but my disappointment has to be something like what my dog feels when he gets done with one of those plush toy squirrels I buy for him.

The thing puts up a pretty good bluff on the outside, but once you get past that there's only fluff.


redlude97


Apr 12, 2013, 3:42 PM
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sandstone wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
explain again how rock fall, icefall or frostbite are related to hands free belaying again?

Sure.

In some contexts, like rock climbing on relatively short routes on long summer days, time/speed is not one of your paramount concerns. Efficiency is great, but inefficiency is unlikely to cause you great bodily harm.

In the context of a long alpine climb, especially on short winter days, time/speed is one of your paramount concerns. The longer you are on a pitch, the longer you are exposed to the rockfall, icefall, and avalanche dangers that pitch may hold.

If you run out of daylight, and can't find your descent route, or go down the wrong way in the dark, you may find yourself on avalanche prone slopes, or be forced into a bivvy in winter conditions. That can cause you to lose toes, or kill you.

So a big part of the alpine game is speed. Anything you can do to save time reduces your exposure to your greatest risks. Accepting a risk that has proven to be very small, in exchange for reducing multiple larger risks, is a very good call.

Let's say that by multitasking (going hands free to hydrate, snack, adjust layers, etc.) while belaying up my seconds I can shave off 30 minutes of time during the day. Can that 30 minutes make the difference in whether or not we have enough light left to find our "safe" descent route? Absolutely it can.

On one climb I topped out in failing light, with heavy snow falling from an intensifying storm (despite a forecast and earlier observations that said otherwise). Going back down the way we came up was not an option due to the snow loading on the slopes above that funneled into our route. I yelled down to just leave the pro and get up the pitch as fast as possible. The few extra minutes of light was far more valuable than a few hundred bucks worth of gear. It was the right call, we found our "safe" descent route just as the light failed, and made it down through the storm without injury.

My original post was in response to Jay's statement that there was no good reason to belay in autoblock mode. I agree with him 100% for some contexts, but added that there exists a context where his statement does not hold true.

Curt piped in with his usual snarky snippets, and tried to slam me by pulling part of what I wrote out of its context. But he was wrong in doing so, I clearly stated my context in my original post. Or maybe Curt just didn't grasp what winter alpine climbing means, and the complex nature of risk management in that context -- despite his quickness to judge those who do.
Its one thing to say that that in certain situations you do the best you can to choose which risks to take and weigh and balance those decisions, it is another to say that taking your hands of the brake strands is not putting your seconds in danger, which you stated. Like I said previously, it may be a small risk, but it is one that is known to potentially occur, and shouldn't be swept under the rug.


(This post was edited by redlude97 on Apr 12, 2013, 3:42 PM)


bearbreeder


Apr 12, 2013, 5:10 PM
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well lets quantify this ...

how many known and documented accidents have been the result of a properly setup autoblock device slipping disastrously ...

not the lowering cases where the some newb tries to lower, or the one case where the climber didnt know what they were doing and clipped the wire/biner and released it because they didnt know how to use it ...

im talking about properly setup autoblock slipping in a real life documented serious accidents ...

not just RC heresay


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Apr 12, 2013, 5:10 PM)


notapplicable


Apr 12, 2013, 5:43 PM
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petsfed wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
You keep bringing up the example of a three person team but if time really is a big safety consideration, you probably shouldn't be climbing in a team of three anyway. You want real time savings, dump a person.

This statement here invalidates anything else you have to say on the subject.

3-person "block" leading has been a staple of hard alpine climbing for so long that I have a decade-old book that supports this very practice, written by the foremost practitioner of the art during the 90s. Try again.

I will take your word on that one. I have no alpine experience. While I've never seen a team of three move faster than a team of two on the rock, there are probably other considerations in the alpine environment that make it advantageous.

I was mostly responding to address question of acceptable levels of risk and informed consent within the team. I should have confined my comments to that.

Out of curiosity though, is one of the advantages of that style an overall increase speed?


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Apr 12, 2013, 5:50 PM)


petsfed


Apr 13, 2013, 3:57 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
petsfed wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
You keep bringing up the example of a three person team but if time really is a big safety consideration, you probably shouldn't be climbing in a team of three anyway. You want real time savings, dump a person.

This statement here invalidates anything else you have to say on the subject.

3-person "block" leading has been a staple of hard alpine climbing for so long that I have a decade-old book that supports this very practice, written by the foremost practitioner of the art during the 90s. Try again.

I will take your word on that one. I have no alpine experience. While I've never seen a team of three move faster than a team of two on the rock, there are probably other considerations in the alpine environment that make it advantageous.

I was mostly responding to address question of acceptable levels of risk and informed consent within the team. I should have confined my comments to that.

Out of curiosity though, is one of the advantages of that style an overall increase speed?

Given that the two seconds move simultaneously, during the actual climbing the speed is the same. There's also a spare person to manage rope while the leader climbs, and somebody can always be doing the things that the belayer can't while the leader climbs (e.g. prepping lunch, redistributing food/bivy gear, taking pictures, etc), plus all there's the added safety of an extra person (and pack full of gear) if things go bad. The only place you don't move as fast is on the rappels, since you have to send three down instead of two.

Its absolutely a balancing act of risk vs. reward, and I've never been on a route, or in a situation, where a team of three wouldn't slow the entire team down, but that doesn't invalidate the utility of the technique in certain situations.

I've used the auto-block method before, and it is handy to get one hand free when you're belaying up a second, since there's no special body position needed to belay off the anchor with one. However, you can't go entirely hands free for long, and you need a certain belay scenario/rope diameter to make it work, plus the added complexity of lowering, so for the most part, I don't use the autoblock option that often.


curt


Apr 15, 2013, 11:09 AM
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sandstone wrote:
curt wrote:
... I simply don't buy your arguments...

Yet you offer nothing in response other than insults, bad assumptions, and worn out cliches.

I haven't insulted you yet, but since that seems to be your preferred method of debate, I may need to modify my position on that.

sandstone wrote:
I had hopes of a spirited and substantial debate, Moose had high hopes for you too. I don't know what he's feeling, but my disappointment has to be something like what my dog feels when he gets done with one of those plush toy squirrels I buy for him.

You're not interested in a debate at all. You simply want people to agree that your multi-tasking and distracted method of belaying is just fine. I happen to believe it is not.

sandstone wrote:
The thing puts up a pretty good bluff on the outside, but once you get past that there's only fluff.

The only argument you have put forth thus far for inattentive belaying is greater speed. And, you make it sound as though it's a regular occurrence for you to need the additional few minutes that you may save by inattentive belaying in order to save yourself from frostbite, rockfall, unplanned bivvying, potential death in the mountains, etc. Perhaps you just get in over your head a little too often? That would be consistent with your arrogant attitude.

In reality, if you are setting out to do a route where time may be that critical, others have pointed out to you that there are probably better ways to save time than to multi-task while belaying--such as climbing as a two man party. So, the time argument is pretty much moot as far as I'm concerned.

You've stubbornly insisted on defending inattentive/distracted/multi-tasking (i.e. poor) belaying, and this has not been a debate since that point. It's not as though I'm going to change your mind--at this point I'm merely pointing out to others that your arguments for cutting corners while belaying are BS.

Curt


(This post was edited by curt on Apr 15, 2013, 5:09 PM)


sandstone


Apr 19, 2013, 8:20 AM
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redlude97 wrote:
Its one thing to say that that in certain situations you do the best you can to choose which risks to take and weigh and balance those decisions, it is another to say that taking your hands of the brake strands is not putting your seconds in danger, which you stated.

You seem to be taking sentences of what I have written and criticising them in isolation, ignoring their carefully stated context. You are free to do so, but I am free to keep pointing you back to the context of those sentences.

What I'm saying doesn't make sense in other contexts. I don't think autoblocking should be used at all in most types of climbing.

The context of my comments is a very narrow slice within the wide array of types of climbing that exist. If you don't understand that context, and have a desire to, I recommend that you at least read some of the classic books on the subject (including the one petsfed alluded to).

In reply to:
Like I said previously, it may be a small risk, but it is one that is known to potentially occur, and shouldn't be swept under the rug.

Nothing is being swept under the rug. My original point was that on long alpine climbs, especially on short winter days, speed=safety. Literally. Assumptions you have made in other contexts may need to be re-evaluated.

If my team accepts the minimal risk of hands free autoblocking to reduce the time exposed to multiple dangers which are far greater in scale, then we have made a very good trade. The overall risk to the team goes down.


redlude97


Apr 19, 2013, 9:15 AM
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sandstone wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
Its one thing to say that that in certain situations you do the best you can to choose which risks to take and weigh and balance those decisions, it is another to say that taking your hands of the brake strands is not putting your seconds in danger, which you stated.

You seem to be taking sentences of what I have written and criticising them in isolation, ignoring their carefully stated context. You are free to do so, but I am free to keep pointing you back to the context of those sentences.

What I'm saying doesn't make sense in other contexts. I don't think autoblocking should be used at all in most types of climbing.

The context of my comments is a very narrow slice within the wide array of types of climbing that exist. If you don't understand that context, and have a desire to, I recommend that you at least read some of the classic books on the subject (including the one petsfed alluded to).

In reply to:
Like I said previously, it may be a small risk, but it is one that is known to potentially occur, and shouldn't be swept under the rug.

Nothing is being swept under the rug. My original point was that on long alpine climbs, especially on short winter days, speed=safety. Literally. Assumptions you have made in other contexts may need to be re-evaluated.

If my team accepts the minimal risk of hands free autoblocking to reduce the time exposed to multiple dangers which are far greater in scale, then we have made a very good trade. The overall risk to the team goes down.
I never took your statements out of context. Your original statement said you weren't putting your partners at risk by going hands free. Had you stated from the beginning that you were trading one risk for another that you deemed higher, then I would have never commented. I think we are on the same page here, just that you mispoke your true intent in your first post.


bearbreeder


Apr 19, 2013, 9:19 AM
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Re: [redlude97] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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again ... lets quantify it ...

how many documented accidents are there of a properly set up autoblock slipping to the point of a serious failure ... not a lower accident or a missetup one ...

we need numbers to gauge the "risk"

Wink


redlude97


Apr 19, 2013, 9:26 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
again ... lets quantify it ...

how many documented accidents are there of a properly set up autoblock slipping to the point of a serious failure ... not a lower accident or a missetup one ...

we need numbers to gauge the "risk"

Wink
There are plenty of risks in climbing that don't have a lot of documented evidence. We all agree here the risk is small. But it is easily reproduced. Take 2 ropes of varying diameter, set up a guide/reverso in autoblock mode, weight one rope and then weight the other rope, it doesn't always catch the second rope. I've verified this mode of failure. Does that mean I expect this to happen on a regular basis and won't bring up 2 climbers on an autoblock? No. It just means I realize that there is a potential there of it not locking to keep in mind of.


bearbreeder


Apr 19, 2013, 9:34 AM
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Re: [redlude97] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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redlude97 wrote:
There are plenty of risks in climbing that don't have a lot of documented evidence. We all agree here the risk is small. But it is easily reproduced. Take 2 ropes of varying diameter, set up a guide/reverso in autoblock mode, weight one rope and then weight the other rope, it doesn't always catch the second rope. I've verified this mode of failure. Does that mean I expect this to happen on a regular basis and won't bring up 2 climbers on an autoblock? No. It just means I realize that there is a potential there of it not locking to keep in mind of.

theres literally millions of pitches climbed since the gigi/reverso/guide came out ... guides use em all the time on screaming hanging clients

im looking for actual accidents where the serious failure is from the autoblock slipping ...

theoretically 2 opposed draws are not as "safe" as lockers, an old school locker isnt as "safe" as a fancy gridlock megatron, and tons of other things that arent as "safe"

theres many things in climbing that ACTUALLY kill you, and with some FREQUENCY

id like to know how often this particular situation does since we have a massive RC thread on it now ...and since RC experts know best, i expect actual real accidents with some frequency

Wink


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Apr 19, 2013, 9:35 AM)


redlude97


Apr 19, 2013, 9:45 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
There are plenty of risks in climbing that don't have a lot of documented evidence. We all agree here the risk is small. But it is easily reproduced. Take 2 ropes of varying diameter, set up a guide/reverso in autoblock mode, weight one rope and then weight the other rope, it doesn't always catch the second rope. I've verified this mode of failure. Does that mean I expect this to happen on a regular basis and won't bring up 2 climbers on an autoblock? No. It just means I realize that there is a potential there of it not locking to keep in mind of.

theres literally millions of pitches climbed since the gigi/reverso/guide came out ... guides use em all the time on screaming hanging clients

im looking for actual accidents where the serious failure is from the autoblock slipping ...

theoretically 2 opposed draws are not as "safe" as lockers, an old school locker isnt as "safe" as a fancy gridlock megatron, and tons of other things that arent as "safe"

theres many things in climbing that ACTUALLY kill you, and with some FREQUENCY

id like to know how often this particular situation does since we have a massive RC thread on it now ...and since RC experts know best, i expect actual real accidents with some frequency

Wink
Now you are just being fucking obtuse. There is a difference between safe and and unsafe, and recognizing a risk when there is one. Just because there are other things in climbing that can kill you doesn't mean that you should ignore things with lower amounts of risk. But keep puffing up that chest of yours, being the savior of internet rock climging forums and all.


bearbreeder


Apr 19, 2013, 10:12 AM
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redlude97 wrote:
Now you are just being fucking obtuse. There is a difference between safe and and unsafe, and recognizing a risk when there is one. Just because there are other things in climbing that can kill you doesn't mean that you should ignore things with lower amounts of risk. But keep puffing up that chest of yours, being the savior of internet rock climging forums and all.

im simply asking for actual accidents ... im SURE there are some if its a serious issue ...

there ALOT of talk about the risk ... well to quantify the risk requires numbers ...

people here are after all going off about the deadly autoblock ... and the deadly hands free ... despite guides doing it al the time

so give me some actual incidents ... and well go through those

Wink


sandstone


Apr 19, 2013, 10:46 AM
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Re: [curt] Black Diamond ATC issue [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
...This is what RC.n00b is famous for...
...reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your forte...
...your fundamental lack of comprehension...
...You're a real crack-up...or insane..."

curt wrote:
I haven't insulted you yet....

That took me a few minutes to cut and paste together, but the chuckle was well worth the effort.

In reply to:
You're not interested in a debate at all....

Quite the opposite, I love a good debate. I haven't responded in a while because I was away enjoying rock and whitewater. My hope was that in that time you would formulate a cogent response.

In reply to:
The only argument you have put forth thus far for inattentive belaying is greater speed. And, you make it sound as though it's a regular occurrence for you to need the additional few minutes that you may save by inattentive belaying in order to save yourself from frostbite, rockfall, unplanned bivvying, potential death in the mountains, etc. Perhaps you just get in over your head a little too often? That would be consistent with your arrogant attitude.

I have been spanked soundly in the mountains for sure. Sometimes I walk away proud to have completed a route, sometimes I retreat in fear, and sometimes changes in weather, ice/snow conditions, etc, make the margin of safety at the end of the day be far smaller than I had planned. That is all just a normal part of the game.

In reply to:
In reality, if you are setting out to do a route where time may be that critical, others have pointed out to you that there are probably better ways to save time than to multi-task while belaying--such as climbing as a two man party. So, the time argument is pretty much moot as far as I'm concerned.

You say there are better ways to save time, but the baseline is that you are already doing everything you can to increase speed and efficiency. You are already using the lightest ropes you can, carrying a minimal rack, wearing the lightest boots you can, starting the approach in the middle of the night, etc.

In reply to:
You've stubbornly insisted on defending inattentive/distracted/multi-tasking (i.e. poor) belaying, and this has not been a debate since that point. It's not as though I'm going to change your mind--at this point I'm merely pointing out to others that your arguments for cutting corners while belaying are BS.

Curt I agree with you within most every climbing context, but not from within the one I've stated.

Mountains are constantly shedding their skin of rock and ice, it is not a matter of if those things are going to happen, only a matter of when. You time your passage through the most dangerous sections as best you can, but in the end the only way to completely avoid the risk is to stay off the mountain.

Mountains also make their own local weather, so even when you have done everything "right", planning to end the day with a comfortable margin of safety, forces way beyond your control can change the situation while you are on the route.

The risk that scares me the most is avalanche. The list of great climbers (which I am not) who have died that way is long. Their prodigious amounts of talent and experience were no match for a mass of sliding snow. I choose and plan my climbs accordingly, doing everything I can to avoid avalanche prone slopes. That is especially true for the descents, which have to be found at the end of the day when fatigue and failing light are additional risks.

From the perspective of few pitches of rock on a sunny summer day, taking your hands off an autoblock to save time (or even using an autoblock at all) makes no sense. But from the perspective of a long alpine climb, where you are not fully in control of your largest risks, saving time is one of the single best things you can do to increase your margin of safety.

When you start the climb you don't know for sure whether or not you will need that extra time, but once it has passed you can't reach back to retrieve it, so your best plan is to stack the odds in your favor and save it while you can. That is not BS.


moose_droppings


Apr 19, 2013, 3:14 PM
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sandstone wrote:

I wasn't impressed when he went so quickly to the tired old "...reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your forte..." thing.

After reading the rest of this thread I disagree with your above impression and am convinced of Curt's assertion.


Had you of simply let Curt's statement I quoted have time to soak in you might have avoided the rest of your convoluted posts.
All I quoted was him saying that he didn't trust someone belaying him that wasn't giving their full attention to that task. You alone opened all the other avenues.


sandstone


Apr 19, 2013, 5:12 PM
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moose_droppings wrote:
... you might have avoided the rest of your convoluted posts.

And what would be the fun in that?

In reply to:
All I quoted was him saying that he didn't trust someone belaying him that wasn't giving their full attention to that task. You alone opened all the other avenues.

I've encouraged folks to think about some aspects of climbing that are probably well outside of their familiar experiences and assumptions. It's an awful thing I've done here.


moose_droppings


Apr 19, 2013, 5:33 PM
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sandstone wrote:
moose_droppings wrote:
... you might have avoided the rest of your convoluted posts.

And what would be the fun in that?

In reply to:
All I quoted was him saying that he didn't trust someone belaying him that wasn't giving their full attention to that task. You alone opened all the other avenues.

I've encouraged folks to think about some aspects of climbing that are probably well outside of their familiar experiences and assumptions. It's an awful thing I've done here.




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