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Correcting belay errors - Part 1
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Aug 3, 2004, 11:00 AM
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thank you SO much for #6, i dont' know how many times i see people i know putting the 'biner through the tie in points, they say 'it'll be stronger, there's more of it there, blah blah blah' they built a belay loop for a reason, and i'm sure they named it the BELAY LOOP for a reason too!!


I think JT mentioned that due to rope twist, but really it is another of many personal choices. I don't think there are any major differences in strength that are at issue, and triaxial load problem with the tie in points is not a real issue because pretty low forces will yank everything to where it is properly loaded.

There are other reasons than rope twist to use the belay loop, but it is nothing that one needs to be dogmatic about.


fracture


Aug 4, 2004, 2:01 PM
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Another vote for sticky.


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Aug 4, 2004, 2:35 PM
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I think these are great suggestions for beginners. However, there are circumstances in which it may be prudient to disregard some of these suggestions. However, unless you know of the reasons why you should purdiently ignore these suggestions, it makes sense to follow them.

coylec


grayrock


Aug 5, 2004, 11:24 AM
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I have enjoyed this discussion quit a bit. I was hoping to see some comments about putting a figure 8 knot at the dead end of the rope. Having read several posts about folks getting injured this summer because the rope completely fed through the belay device, I have started putting a figure 8 at the dead end of the rope as a matter of habit so as not to be caught by surprise. I would like to see you add that as #7.


jt512


Aug 5, 2004, 11:33 AM
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I have enjoyed this discussion quit a bit. I was hoping to see some comments about putting a figure 8 knot at the dead end of the rope. Having read several posts about folks getting injured this summer because the rope completely fed through the belay device, I have started putting a figure 8 at the dead end of the rope as a matter of habit so as not to be caught by surprise. I would like to see you add that as #7.

I always put a knot in the belayer's end of the rope when the route is long, and have never - yet - tried to pull the rope down without untying the knot first. If you want to eliminate that potential problem, tie the end of the rope into your rope bag.

-Jay


curt


Aug 5, 2004, 11:41 AM
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I have enjoyed this discussion quit a bit. I was hoping to see some comments about putting a figure 8 knot at the dead end of the rope. Having read several posts about folks getting injured this summer because the rope completely fed through the belay device, I have started putting a figure 8 at the dead end of the rope as a matter of habit so as not to be caught by surprise. I would like to see you add that as #7.

An even better solution is to have the other end of the rope tied to the belayer.

Curt


overlord


Aug 5, 2004, 11:44 AM
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yes, make a loop, put a biner through it and clip it somewhere. something worth considering.


slcliffdiver


Aug 5, 2004, 12:11 PM
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In reply to:
I have enjoyed this discussion quit a bit. I was hoping to see some comments about putting a figure 8 knot at the dead end of the rope. Having read several posts about folks getting injured this summer because the rope completely fed through the belay device, I have started putting a figure 8 at the dead end of the rope as a matter of habit so as not to be caught by surprise. I would like to see you add that as #7.

Figure 8 knots can be pushed down the rope and go through the device (I think this happened with amberchick and her resulting giant whipper Edit: Sounds like Amber used an overhand but supposedly 8's can do the same thing). Barrel knots are more reliable though I think curts advice is when broadly applied is generally the most reliable way of keeping out of trouble and getting your rope back.

I'm really glad Jay brought up the point about lowering with two hands. A small wild rose branch caught on the rope while lowering somebody convinced me to start doing this years ago though tangles also have the potential for trouble. I really wish this would become standard for gyms and everywhere else. With very rare exceptions I think it's safer this way and there is virtually no cost in time complexity or anything else I can think of. People lowering with one hand doesn't really scare me inordinatly I just can't think of a good reason not to use two most of the time (gri gri's excepted).


Partner coylec


Aug 7, 2004, 1:22 PM
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Figure 8 knots can be pushed down the rope and go through the device

WTF. How can a figure 8 knot pass through a belay device? I call shenanigans.

coylec


slcliffdiver


Aug 7, 2004, 3:18 PM
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Figure 8 knots can be pushed down the rope and go through the device

WTF. How can a figure 8 knot pass through a belay device? I call shenanigans.

coylec

The knott can potentially get pushed off the end of the rope, like when you push it up or down the rope to adjust the amount of tail before you tie in. I could have worded it better. At least thats what I was taught and it makes sense to me. To make it clear I'm talking about the 8 you tie before you pass the end through your harness not a full figure eight on a bight.


brutusofwyde


Aug 7, 2004, 4:11 PM
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Figure 8 knots can be pushed down the rope and go through the device

WTF. How can a figure 8 knot pass through a belay device? I call shenanigans.

coylec

Coylec -- Not everyone uses a belay device to rappel. Some of us use an "eight" of whatever the f$ it's called. Others of us still use a carabiner brake or a Munter or a carabiner wrap, depending on the situation and our own systems.

I was talking to the "Mad Bolter" once in Yosemite (fwiw he established the rap route on the Nose) and he was teling me about watching a figure eight on a bight getting slowly sucked through his brake setup while penji'ing over to the next station. Thereafter he switched to tying an eight on a bight with a 4" bong clipped with a locking carabiner through it...

my point is that each system and situation is unique and there are no pat answers. except stay focused and double check everything. And if you change any system you routinely use, be extra careful and discuss such changes with your partner before ever committing your life to them.


jt512


Aug 9, 2004, 10:45 AM
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Figure 8 knots can be pushed down the rope and go through the device

WTF. How can a figure 8 knot pass through a belay device? I call shenanigans.

coylec

A figure-8 knot can roll off the end of the rope when loaded. The better stopper knot is the barrel knot, ie, half of a double fishermans knot, which tightens when loaded.

-Jay


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Aug 9, 2004, 11:26 AM
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I believe that they can get pushed down the rope if not properly tied and never disputed that. I'm still not convinced that they'll "go through the device." And, working with it here, I can't make a properly tied figure eight go down the rope.

It's not important though.

coylec


andy_reagan


Aug 9, 2004, 11:34 AM
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You could clean up your original post by making the semantics a little less confusing. For instance, you say, the following is a list of common belay errors(etc)...then go on to create a list of good belay techniques. This is contradictory and confusing. Why not cut out the preamble mumbling and "cut to the chase"?


slcliffdiver


Aug 9, 2004, 3:00 PM
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I believe that they can get pushed down the rope if not properly tied and never disputed that. I'm still not convinced that they'll "go through the device." And, working with it here, I can't make a properly tied figure eight go down the rope.

It's not important though.

coylec
I decied to do some highly scientific tests since it's been a while since I played around with failure modes and my memory sucks. I used an 8 and a barrel knot both only slightly tightened (I thing this is fair for a knot that may end up partially snagged on something) tail length around 8" for all off the knotts.

Ropes: 8.5 dynamic, 10.5 dynamic and BW II static (know I don't lead on it curious for other reasons) 10.? 11 mm all moderately used.

Tests:
Slap test (I repeatedly try and slap the knot down the rope and off the end. One test only.)

Figure 8's one test only;
8.5 dynamic-- knot stayed put.
10.5 dynamic-- knot worked it's way off the rope.
Static-- knot stayed put.

Barrel knots all stayed put.

Crack test (Put the rope between my fingers (make shift crack) and repeatedly jerked on the rope so the knot would hit my fingers agian and again:

Figure 8's;
10.5 dynamic-- Sometimes it would come off fast, sometimes slow, sometimes not at all. If it tightened up and stayed tight it wouldn't come off.
Others wouldn't come off though I only tried the skinny one and the static one once.
Barrel knots tightened up and wouldn't come off.

Stick test (I insert my thumb into the hole formed by the loop closest to the end of the rope and pulled on it and losened repeatedly, the the side of the rope going through the loop mattered but don't know how to describe easily which is which):

Figure 8's;
10.5 dynamic-- the knot came out relatively fast.
Other ropes-- took more jerks but generally the knot came off.
Barrel knot same as above but came off a bit slower and in a different way.

Belay device test Jaws, BRD, Gri Gri, Tuber II (tried to pull knot through with hand):
Figure 8's; Generally the 8 would half invert eat a little tail then stop and I was starting to get generally bored but on the second test with the 8.5 (on a jaws) I turned the rope a bit after the first pull and ended up pulling around 6" of tail through the knot the knot was stopped with about 1/2 inch of tail sticking out! I tried to repeat this around 8 times but couldn't get it to happen again. My theory the 8 can end up with different parts of the knot hooked on different parts of the belay device depending on it's orientaition entering the device and maybe some other factors and there is at least one combination that is pretty damn bad.
Barrel knot; Jammed in the device and tightend each time I tested it.

In the test above; generally I was trying to vary the angle, pressure, timing and position of the knot to get it to come off. I don't think I did anything that is out of the relm of possibilty for real life scenios (though I'll admit alot of the above might apply more often to rappelling).

Conclusions:
I just waisted an hour.
A 8 at the end of the rope for rappelling for a stopper knot is probably a really bad idea compared to a barrel knot.
A barrel knot is probably more reliable as a stopper knot for lowering than an 8 but feel free to argue amongst yourselves, I'll use the barrel knot.

PS:
When hanging the closer the knot was to the end generally the faster the tail would slide through I'm guessing that the weight of the tail helps pull the knot closed.


Edited 2: Some things just don't seem funny anymore after getting some sleep.
Edit 3: changed "semi loosely tied" to only slightly tightened which is what I should have said semi-loose means mostly tight, not what I meant.


Partner coylec


Aug 10, 2004, 5:41 PM
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nice job.

:cry: tried again wtih 9.6mm and a 10.3mm. can't get it to move.

coylec

edit: i got it to move! i just made the fig8 shape and didn't tighten or dress it.


slcliffdiver


Aug 10, 2004, 6:37 PM
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nice job.

:cry: tried again wtih 9.6mm and a 10.3mm. can't get it to move.

coylec

edit: i got it to move! i just made the fig8 shape and didn't tighten or dress it.

Thanks, "slightly tightened" would have been more clear and more accurate than "semi-loose" I'll edit it, I got it confused kind of like a double negative. I'm bad with those most of the time, sorry for the confusion.


dirtineye


Sep 1, 2004, 7:58 PM
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I spent about 10 years using a figure 8 in braided dacron rope as a stopper knot for sheets on sail boats. Not once did one ever pull out. The figure 8 is THE stopper knot since forever. Of course you have to tie it correctly, and that means not loosely.

I don't have a thing against the half fisherman's though. Ashely gives it as the double overhand or blood knot. It was called the blood knot because it was used at the ends of a cat o nine tails.

But others already pointed out that you can tie off the end of the rope, either to a rope bag, a belayer, and I'll add even a tree or other anchor.

There's another knot called the barrel or blood knot (stupid knot names, too many knots, not enough names) that not many people tie. It's a bend. It's nothing like the half fisherman's that gets called a barrel knot these days.


slcliffdiver


Sep 1, 2004, 9:18 PM
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I started out using the 8 (single line no loop) for stopper knots rapps and made them tight. I hadn't been doing this long before I found a knot that had started out tight really loose after reaching it on a ledge. I don't know what happened (I assumed it happend hitting the rock on the way down or the ledge) but it was enough to change my mind about my choice of stopper knots. Since then I have absolutely no confidence in the ability of an 8 to stay tight after being tossed on rappel. My concern (which may be misplaced) for 8's on the ground while belaying is that sticks etc. could be a problem snagging and loosening it. I have no idea about dacron but I'm guessing cord that is significantly more supple and or less slick than climbing rope would cinch up better and hold the knot tighter under more circumstances. The above experiments are what I can remember of a guide trying to demonstrate potential problems with the 8 for rappeling to someone. I don't know how many times on average you'll have to throw a climbing rope for you to find an 8 that's loosened up from a throw. I only know it happens. Experience can be a biasing thing that may not reflect statitistical averages well. But now 8's for stopper knotts on rappel personally scare me a lot (hence my crusade:). Maybe some of my misgivings for use as a belay stopper knott are out of proportion because of this but I think I've put out my reasoning and people can make up thier own minds.

Edited: Grammar and clarity.


jt512


Sep 1, 2004, 9:47 PM
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I started out using the 8 (single line no loop) for stopper knots rapps and made them tight. I hadn't been doing this long before I found a knot that had started out tight really loose after reaching it on a ledge. I don't know what happened (I assumed it happend hitting the rock on the way down or the ledge) but it was enough to change my mind about my choice of stopper knots.

To my way of thinking, the choice of the barrel/blood/half-double fisherman's knot for use as a stopper knot is a no-brainer. The barrel knot doesn't loosen up on its own, the way an overhand or a figure 8 can. Moreover, if all hell breaks loose and the belayer (or rappeller) loses complete control, and the rope runs through the belay device at high speed and the knot gets pulled hard onto the belay device, the barrel knot will tighten, where as the other knots can roll. There is absolutely no disadvantage to using the barrel knot, so even if its advantage over the other knots is small, it is the only logical choice.

-Jay


curt


Sep 1, 2004, 9:56 PM
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I find it interesting that the best suggestion in this entire thread has received no responses at all. Perhaps this is merely indicative of the overall quality of dialog around here, where actual climbing knowledge is concerned.

Please continue arguing about what particular knot to tie in the end of your rope though--as if it matters.

Curt


jt512


Sep 1, 2004, 10:00 PM
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Please continue arguing about what particular knot to tie in the end of your rope though--as if it matters.

Curt

Curt, the choice of knot for the end of the rope might not be the most important point in the thread, but it does matter. A guy I was climbing with today tied a loose overhand knot 6 inches from the end of a 60m rope while belaying a full 30m route. Had that knot actually been needed, I'd have given it a 75% chance of failure.

-Jay


curt


Sep 1, 2004, 10:03 PM
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Please continue arguing about what particular knot to tie in the end of your rope though--as if it matters.

Curt

Curt, the choice of knot for the end of the rope might not be the most important point in the thread, but it does matter. A guy I was climbing with today tied a loose overhand knot 6 inches from the end of a 60m rope while belaying a full 30m route. Had that knot actually been needed, I'd have given it a 75% chance of failure.

-Jay

The other end of that rope should be tied to the belayer--period, if safety is really the topic at hand.

Curt


jt512


Sep 1, 2004, 10:05 PM
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Please continue arguing about what particular knot to tie in the end of your rope though--as if it matters.

Curt

Curt, the choice of knot for the end of the rope might not be the most important point in the thread, but it does matter. A guy I was climbing with today tied a loose overhand knot 6 inches from the end of a 60m rope while belaying a full 30m route. Had that knot actually been needed, I'd have given it a 75% chance of failure.

-Jay

The other end of that rope should be tied to the belayer--period, if safety is really the topic at hand.

Curt

Why? The belayer isn't going to be following the route. This wasn't a trad climb.

-Jay


curt


Sep 1, 2004, 10:11 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Please continue arguing about what particular knot to tie in the end of your rope though--as if it matters.

Curt

Curt, the choice of knot for the end of the rope might not be the most important point in the thread, but it does matter. A guy I was climbing with today tied a loose overhand knot 6 inches from the end of a 60m rope while belaying a full 30m route. Had that knot actually been needed, I'd have given it a 75% chance of failure.

-Jay

The other end of that rope should be tied to the belayer--period, if safety is really the topic at hand.

Curt

Why? The belayer isn't going to be following the route. This wasn't a trad climb.

-Jay

Why? Because you can argue all day long about which knot may or may not be forced through, or become untied by a belay device--but I have yet to see a belayer get pulled through one. Also, the first poster in this thread to mention the "knot in the end of the rope" topic (grayrock on page two) did not specify if this related directly to trad climbs, sport climbs, or otherwise. My comment applies universally, in any event.

Curt

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