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mudlab


May 31, 2007, 11:44 PM
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Woman Small Man Big?
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So here is my problem...I out weigh my wife by about 60 pounds. We are getting back into it after several years off do to a little one. But anyway we do mostly sport climbing. I lead every route now cause she not comfortable with it. So my problem is that if and when I fall she gets lifted off the ground. When we can we anchor her to something but we don't have that option all the time. Oh yeah we are still at a beginer level. So you ladies out there is there a way or technique that she can use to help her. I know it won't fix everything but if you got an idea I would love to hear it.


chadnsc


Jun 1, 2007, 6:43 AM
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Well I'm no lady (I'm not proper enough) but I did stay at a Holliday Inn last night with my wife.

I routinely climb with someone who I outweigh by 100 pounds (she’s 120, I'm 220). Whenever possible we set a multi directional anchor for her. When that isn't possible we simply girth hitch a pack (full of gear) to the back of her harness.

The funny thing is my climbing partner doesn’t mind catching me on big falls.


clausti


Jun 1, 2007, 7:48 AM
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unless there is ledging/decking potential, dont anchor her, just take the ride. it is garunteed to be a soft catch. my boyfriend outweighs me by about that, 60 lbs, and i never anchor.

also, if you do anchor her, do not anchor to the back of her harness, ever! it folds the harness in half in a very unpleasant way. also, do not attach both the belay device and anchor to teh same biner on your belay loop, because there is very strong potential for tri-axle loading of that carabiner. always use one biner for the belay and another for the anchor.


erisspirit


Jun 1, 2007, 8:37 AM
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I very often belay people who outweigh me by 60-100 pounds. When I'm outside I just take the ride. As long as she keeps the break on and is prepared for the event of being lifted she should be ok. Once in awhile in the gym If I am TR-ing and the rope is only wrapped once around the bar I will anchor myself in, but that is fairly rare.


tavs


Jun 1, 2007, 10:26 AM
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clausti wrote:
unless there is ledging/decking potential, dont anchor her, just take the ride. it is garunteed to be a soft catch. my boyfriend outweighs me by about that, 60 lbs, and i never anchor.

also, if you do anchor her, do not anchor to the back of her harness, ever! it folds the harness in half in a very unpleasant way. also, do not attach both the belay device and anchor to teh same biner on your belay loop, because there is very strong potential for tri-axle loading of that carabiner. always use one biner for the belay and another for the anchor.

just to add another voice--ditto and ditto. if you're just getting back into things and if she doesn't have a lot of experience catching lead falls, practice with lots of time with her just holding and lowering you, catching smaller falls, and with a more experienced person watching/backing her up. but a competent and experienced belayer should have no problem catching falls of someone heavier, and she'll get used to "taking the ride" (getting pulled up) herself.


lena_chita
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Jun 1, 2007, 1:40 PM
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mudlab wrote:
So here is my problem...I out weigh my wife by about 60 pounds.

It is more helpful to think in terms of percentage of body weight, rather than absolute difference in pounds. If she weighs 160, and you are 220, that's a bit different than if she weighs 100 and you are 160 lbs.


Here is one good solution-- lose some weight, maybe? LOL, had to throw it out there...


I prefer not to lead-belay someone who outweighs me by more than half my body weight (luckily most of my partners don't), but I have done it on some occasions, and caught a good lead fall in this situation at least once that i remember.

There isn't much of a "technique" to it. You do have to be careful and attentive even more than usual when belaying someone that much heavier than you. You have to plan on what happens if the climber falls-- e.i. be aware of whether you will be dragged off your feet b/c you are stanidng on the incline and facing down the slope (bad idea), whether you will be slammed into the rock, tree, etc.-- and be ready to brace yourself. Ideally you should be standing right underneath the first bolt and close to the rock face, not 10 feet away... You need to be very aware of ledges and other things the climber could hit b/c of the few extra feet he is going to fall b/c the belayer gets yanked up. And sometimes you just have to know when to say: Nope, sorry, I'm not comfortable belaying you on this particular climb, find someone closer to your weight, b/c if you fall from the third bolt, and I get yanked up, you are on the ground.

But all in all, I would still rather do it unanchored than anchored... I mean, if I can't get out of the belay duty in this case in the first place...


(This post was edited by lena_chita on Jun 1, 2007, 1:41 PM)


avk


Jun 1, 2007, 3:10 PM
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lena_chita wrote:
You have to plan on what happens if the climber falls-- e.i. be aware of whether you will be dragged off your feet b/c you are stanidng on the incline and facing down the slope (bad idea), whether you will be slammed into the rock, tree, etc.-- Ideally you should be standing right underneath the first bolt and close to the rock face, not 10 feet away... You need to be very aware of ledges and other things the climber could hit b/c of the few extra feet he is going to fall b/c the belayer gets yanked up. And sometimes you just have to know when to say: Nope, sorry, I'm not comfortable belaying you on this particular climb, find someone closer to your weight, b/c if you fall from the third bolt, and I get yanked up, you are on the ground.

Good note!

Don't forget also, if you fall from the first 2 protections and she's not anchored, you guys may colide in the air and posibility of you kicking her face or landing on her head. Place conservative amount of gear (if trad) so your falls won't be too big.

I prefer to be anchored when my partner is in his limit, the crux is low, posibility of taking bigger falls, and/or 60 lbs or larger difference. I also prefer not to belay somebody who run out pros.

Nothing is black and white so be aware of each conditon and adjust accordingly.


(This post was edited by avk on Jun 1, 2007, 3:12 PM)


iamthewallress


Jun 1, 2007, 6:56 PM
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Re: [avk] Woman Small Man Big? [In reply to]
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Only getting on routes where falling is highly unlikely (or staying away if you're not to sure of that) can be a good choice when any part of the protection scheme isn't as bomber as would be ideal.

There are a lot of good suggstions above. A gri-gri or a high friction device like the Jaws might be a good idea.

Make sure that she doesn't use a gri-gri in situations where she could get pulled into something that would open up the cam.

Be sure to subtract her ride from your distance away from the ground.


petsfed


Jun 1, 2007, 8:05 PM
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iamthewallress wrote:
A gri-gri or a high friction device like the Jaws might be a good idea.

This is very useful advice, especially since the belayer is more likely to lose control of the belay when they get pulled off the ground. If you choose to use an autolocking belay device, make sure you know how to use it well enough that its not going to cause the leader to fall. Otherwise, its benefits are effectively moot.


mudlab


Jun 1, 2007, 9:17 PM
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Well thanks for all the great information. We are building a climibing wall now and I'm trying to put some bolts in it to practice with her. The only thing though is on the Gri-gri...I've never used one but I thought those stop alot quicker. Wouldn't that cause more of a sudden stop thus causing her to raise off the ground more/sudden. I do understand why you say a Gri-gri, cause of the safety issue of her letting go.


petsfed


Jun 2, 2007, 6:02 AM
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mudlab wrote:
Well thanks for all the great information. We are building a climibing wall now and I'm trying to put some bolts in it to practice with her. The only thing though is on the Gri-gri...I've never used one but I thought those stop alot quicker. Wouldn't that cause more of a sudden stop thus causing her to raise off the ground more/sudden. I do understand why you say a Gri-gri, cause of the safety issue of her letting go.

Well, its a devil's bargain. If the weight difference is substantial, if the rope starts sliding (if the belayer doesn't lock off fast enough, for instance), you'll have pretty severe rope burn and the leader gets dropped. If you are belaying correctly and attentively, there will be no difference in terms of noticeable catch, so don't worry about that. Make sure the belayer knows how to operate a gri-gri correctly though. They are pretty easy to get confused and screwed up on.


gumbelina


Jun 2, 2007, 10:32 AM
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I would suggest a higher-friction belay device more so than a Gri-gri. I like using the ATC Guide when belaying climbers heavier than me, and belay gloves might be a good bit of extra insurance too, so if the rope slips a bit it won't tear up her hands.

I have climbed with a couple of guys who weigh 2x or more of what I weigh, I anchored when I could but otherwise, if they took a fall, I was going for a ride. My worst one was ironically enough while TR'ing, a toaster-oven sized block came off in the climber's hands and I went about 15' in the air. My brake hand stayed locked off and both of us were fine. It was actually a lucky thing that I got yanked b/c the block bounced and hit where I had been standing.

Obviously make sure that she is 100% confident of her reflexes when she gets yanked. If she has any doubts, practice more and/or avoid climbs where she might go flying if you fall. A Gri-gri still requires that the belayer reacts correctly during a fall, and if it gets sucked against the rock it can release. Make sure that she isn't going to collide with a solid obstacle like a roof or a tree if she gets pulled off her stance.

If possible, setting a piece down low and off to the side (out of the fall line) might enable her to safely belay close to the wall, and prevent her from flying upwards if you fall. In some cases I have sat and put my feet against the rock so that I could use my legs to absorb the force of a potential fall. If a fall down low is possible, it might be better for her to be farther back, being down hill or bracing behind a rock can help when anchoring isn't possible. If you are looking at real decking potential, make sure you tie that woman down!

I would say try it out, file away some of the ideas suggested by others in this thread, and look at each climb to decide what might work best in that situation. Be safe and have fun!


iamthewallress


Jun 2, 2007, 8:28 PM
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Re: [gumbelina] Woman Small Man Big? [In reply to]
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You should both be prepared for her to go the full ride that comes w/ a sudden stop, so I don't see a big diff. w/ the gri-gri or a Jaws in this case. She's not going to be giving you a static catch, so the static issues w/ the gri-gri aren't really at play hear. Seriously, you probably don't want to experiment w/ rope slippage to soften your catch on top of everything else.

Like I mentioned before, getting slammed into something like the first clip is a bigger issue for opening the cam.

Also remember that unless you guys have a stadium in the back yard where you're building your own wall, those are going to be high factor falls and yard her harder (like so her head is in your ass, most likely)than falls taken further up on a real route.


(This post was edited by iamthewallress on Jun 2, 2007, 9:25 PM)


clausti


Jun 4, 2007, 9:28 AM
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oh, yeah, i do use a ATC guide and also always wear belay gloves. the higher friction device just can not be over praised for belaying partners that outweigh you by more than 50% of your body weight. i personally hate using a gri gri to lead belay, because i dont like the way you have to constantly reposition your hands to feed slack quickly, and i find it just overall quicker and smoother using a tube-style device.

the other nice thing about belay gloves is that you can keep your brake hand relatively closer to the actual device, and not worry about getting your skin sucked in, and therefor have a quicker decelerationsm/ less rope slipage when catching a fall.


boo


Jun 5, 2007, 5:40 AM
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ditto to most of what has been said by all.

i use an atc-xp/guide. same reasons noted.

what i DON'T use any longer is the reverso. i found that when i would catch the fall of a proportionally heavier climber, i'd make the catch and then i would have to exert significant effort to keep the rope from slipping while they were sitting-or after the system would fully receive the load. being super conscientious, and typically way off the deck, this was not acceptable.

retired the device, bought a new atc, and have upgraded with that line.


petsfed


Jun 5, 2007, 5:49 AM
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boo wrote:
ditto to most of what has been said by all.

i use an atc-xp/guide. same reasons noted.

what i DON'T use any longer is the reverso. i found that when i would catch the fall of a proportionally heavier climber, i'd make the catch and then i would have to exert significant effort to keep the rope from slipping while they were sitting-or after the system would fully receive the load. being super conscientious, and typically way off the deck, this was not acceptable.

retired the device, bought a new atc, and have upgraded with that line.

I had to do this too. Even with a 10.5, a reverso does not keep the rope locked off as well as the ATC Guide.


justthemaid


Jun 5, 2007, 8:54 AM
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My BF outweighs me by 80 lbs.

The system that works best for me is:

a) Use a thick rope. Skinny little sport ropes (under 10.2) suck when your partner is a lot heavier. We actually use 10.4/10.5. More friction in the system makes it less likely to be dragged around. If he's got enough draws in, I won't even come off the ground. It's also easier to keep control of the rope when lowering him.

b) Use a higher friction device- I use a ATC-XP (I don't like auto-locking belay devices)

c) I wear belay gloves

d) I rarely anchor down unless it's totally necessary preferring the freedom of movement and to just take the ride.

(necessary tie down being that there's some object I can get hauled into and injured, or there's a really bad landing zone for a fall, or the best place to belay is not directly under the climb.)

I have one heavier partner that just flat out prefers that I be tied down whenever possible, so I do so to make him more comfortable.

I agree you should tie off to the front of the harness not the back.


Your wife should be able to learn to cope with it.

One other thing I will sometime have my BF do if the first bolt is very close to the ground and the start is easy enough to downclimb- once he clips the second bolt I'll have him unclip the first bolt so I don't get sucked into it if he takes a fall. (highly unpleasant)


(This post was edited by justthemaid on Jun 5, 2007, 9:03 AM)


shimanilami


Jun 7, 2007, 4:39 PM
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I'm 200lbs and my wife is 105lbs. She doesn't like going for a ride to first piece when I whip, but she doesn't like to be anchored in place either. So when it's suitable, she wears the back pack we used to carry the gear in. With water and food and whatever else I haul in, it's usually 35lbs or so, and this is enough to signficanly reduce how far she flies.

And I insist that she uses a Gri-Gri.

Also, I place more gear so I don't ever whip too far.


cuddlefish


Mar 23, 2008, 7:06 PM
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thanks for this post, my boyfriend is about 40 lbs heavier than i am and he is worried that i won't be able to stop his fall. i was looking for a topic like this one so that we can both feel more comfortable about it!


wiki


Apr 10, 2008, 12:48 AM
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I regurlary belay people lots heavier than me.

If you decide to take the ride, my tip is wear shoes. There is nothing worse than flying into a wall in bare feet and stubbing your toe/cutting your feet on the rock!

Even in the gym this can be painful.


kyote321


Apr 18, 2008, 8:31 AM
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i regularly climb with a partner that is 70 lbs. less than i. she uses a gri-gri and takes the ride. if you aren't 'taking the ride' you are in danger of not giving your climber a soft enough fall and you cuold injure them - i am speaking from personal experience. in trad it has it's uses, but being tied in is generally dangerous in sport climbing.

BE SURE that you do not get proprelled into the first draw with the gri-gri! the draw will override the gri and the climber will fall uncontrolably! i've seen this happen on more than one occasion.


gblauer
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Apr 18, 2008, 9:44 AM
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wiki wrote:
I regurlary belay people lots heavier than me.

If you decide to take the ride, my tip is wear shoes. There is nothing worse than flying into a wall in bare feet and stubbing your toe/cutting your feet on the rock!

Even in the gym this can be painful.

So true! I put on my shoes in the gym and outdoors.


smallclimber


May 15, 2008, 3:09 PM
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I weigh 90pounds, my husband is 190pounds, so over twice my weight. We have a simple solution.....I have to lead!


acacongua


May 19, 2008, 6:49 AM
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smallclimber wrote:
I weigh 90pounds, my husband is 190pounds, so over twice my weight. We have a simple solution.....I have to lead!

Geez! Can he give you a soft catch? Or do you fall?


smallclimber


May 21, 2008, 3:17 PM
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acacongua wrote:
smallclimber wrote:
I weigh 90pounds, my husband is 190pounds, so over twice my weight. We have a simple solution.....I have to lead!

Geez! Can he give you a soft catch? Or do you fall?

Well I don't really fall on lead as I don't push myself hard enough. ...However to answer the original question, we normally use a grigri if he leads, even for trad. I know the arguments against a grigri for trad but we decided there were more in favor than against. If at all possible I make sure I am anchored and stand close to the cliff and in line with the first bolt or gear. He has only fallen a couple of times on lead and both times I was anchored and there was not problem. I am not concerned with catching the fall, but the potential dangers of me getting pulled and hitting the rock face and then letting go. For multipitch where I do not carry a grigri I use an ATC-XP which works pretty well

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