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Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers?
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clorda


Nov 28, 2001, 2:46 AM
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Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers?
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Hey Pete, glad to see your back to answering questions!
I was reading in one of your ascent reports (ZM?) that you used screamers on dubious points. I was wondering, with all the marginal placements you get on an A4 or A5 pitch, how many of these do you take along? The ones I've seen seem pretty bulky so it is probably a pain in the ass to have on your rack...
This brings an idea: why not put only ONE screamer, but on the tie in on your harness? OK, this would probably be bulky and always get in the way, so why not put it _on the belaying device_?
Obviously, it would have to release at half the load of a regular one, and extend twice as long for it to have the same absorbing properties, and if ever it did expand, the belay device would be far out. (You could also tie the lead rope in at both ends, with enough slack to let the screamer expand, as redundancy if it blows completely.). I see a few advantages: you only need one (!), the mini-shock loading that probably occurs when a stitch blows is filtered by the rope and not transmitted directly to the piece, and, _maybe_, you could get ones made that are even more shock absorbing, if willing to accept more extension and therefore more of a risk hitting something in your fall (but you'd be going slow at that moment...).
Pushing this further, one could imagine a completely novel "mechanical" "load limiting" belaying device, that would limit the load and/or the extension. Some via-ferrata protection devices from Petzl (the "Zyper" I think) kind of does this, as a fall on a via ferrata can be much more severe that a factor 2.
So, whadda ya think?


passthepitonspete


Feb 19, 2002, 9:39 AM
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Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers? [In reply to]
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Glad you figured out how to post! I was going to cut and paste your emailed question into the forum as you asked me to, but I see you have figured it out.

It is necessary to figure stuff out if you are a solo climber.

Spoken with French accent:

"Ooh-la-la! I see dat you are, 'ow you say, le grimp-euuuur de la belle France. I 'ave, 'ow you say, climbed in dee French Alps an' I solo tree 4000 m peaks. I ride de telepherique to 2000 m because it is de better way, non?

"Dis solo grimpeur-ing is, 'ow you say, a bit fou to cross de glacier wit-out de rope, non?"




Dear Clode (I won't call you "clawed" - you are not a big wall crab) Lorda,

When it comes to Screamers (Yates' brand name for fall arresters), I take as many of the damn things as I can afford to own! These things are absolutely indispensable on hard aid, and can spell the difference between life and death should you blow it, which is always a possibility on hard aid. I use them as quick draws on any pitch from A1 on up. They are one of the few places I have any use for the bent gate crabs I bought for climbing in the gym.

Screamers begin to deploy around 900 lbs and are the workhorse fall arrester. Yates also makes a device called a Scream Aid which begins to deploy around 270 pounds.

You can click here to read about Screamers, and you can click here to read about Scream Aids.

DANGER: Scream Aids will fail under a decent fall. They are made for very marginal aid pieces only!

I sometimes use two Scream Aids in parallel to soften the blow on marginal pieces I think might actually stop me. Scream Aids have a short and a long clip-in point, so when I put two in parallel, I clip one in short and one in long. This way one starts to partially deploy before the second one starts to go.

Do not trust a single Scream Aid!

I have straightened out more of these damn things than you can ever imagine! I would like to have about a dozen of the Screamers when I lead a hard pitch, and almost as many Scream Aids. My supply of the latter is dwindling, and I'm not in much hurry to buy some more. One thing I can say about Scream Aids is that they come in nicer colours.

Everything I climb with is colour coded whenever possible, by the way. Designated carabiners for designated purposes all colour coded for ease of use. Some might call it anal, but it works for me. For instance, my haul bag rope is red, my haul rope is red, and so is the gate on the carabiner that attaches the top of the haul line to the bottom of the tag rack.

As for bulk, this is a non-issue when using the Continuous Loop with Solo Tagging. Everything you don't carry with you can go on your tag rack which hangs on a fifi and which you can pull up when you need it. I will be answering that question shortly. You can put your headlamp, canned lunch, and everything else on your tag rack so you don't need to carry it with you on lead.

Your idea about placing a Screamer at your point of attachment is interesting. There is actually an adjustable daisy made by Yates that has a built-in Screamer to help on daisy chain falls.

You can click here to see the Yates Adjustable Daisy with Built-In Screamer.

I actually have some bungy cord on my harness, which I have talked about in my harness modifications and big wall rack modifications. This I learned the hard way when I took a solo daisy chain fall on a traverse on Iron Hawk and caught my daisy under my rib when the piece popped. Ouch! I'm quite sure I cracked a rib because it really hurt for the next twelve days I was on the wall.

Note: I did not let the pain of a cracked rib become an excuse to bail.

Uh, bounce the bit past me about this Screamer having to release at half the load of a regular one and extend twice as far. I'm thinking out loud - something to do with a regularly used Screamer being used at the apex of the pulley, right?

Hmmmmmmm....... Tell me MOE!

I would NOT tie the lead rope in at both ends. The lead rope is in a rope bag on the tag rack which is on a fifi midway up the pitch.

Whatever you do, make sure that you have a long sewn sling in parallel with your Screamer to back it up. And of course, you have always tied a backup knot should the whole thing fail. Build in the necessary redundancy always.

What I think is that if you clip a regular quickdraw into a via ferrata and fall, you will dislocate every bone in your body and submit yourself to G-forces that make reentering the earth's atmosphere feel like a gentle landing on a ten-foot-thick down duvet. As your harness and skeletal system remain clipped to the steel cable and your muscles and skin fall down towards the outdoor patios in Courmayeur or Zermatt, the locals will look up from their cafe negro and say,

"Merde alors, une autre Americain qui utilisez un Queek Draw! Quel stupide!"

(I studied my French at L'Ecole Pepe Le Pew)

The Petzl Zyper I believe (not ever having used one and not referring at the moment to my Petzl catalogue, which incidentally is one of the best sources of technical information available - get yourself one!) does not work on the same principle as a Screamer, that is the impact time is lengthened and the force reduced by the ripping of stitches. I believe it works on the priciple of a sliding "Y". I best read my catalogue and let you know.

It is quite possible your idea could work. It sounds a bit strange, but then so did built-in Screamers on adjustable daisies.

I like being able to use a lot of Screamers and Scream Aids, but your point has definite merit. Maybe one of us should give it a try, go out on some A4 or A5 horror show, take a whipper, and see if it works.

You go first.


passthepitonspete


Mar 11, 2002, 8:15 PM
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When I made my solo ascent of Zenyatta Mondatta, I took a twenty-five footer onto a sling wrapped round a rock spike.

If I had not used a screamer, then the sling would have been cut for sure.

You can click here to see a photo of the actual screamer and sling that caught my fall. The screamer is fully deployed, and you can see that the sling is almost completely severed!


wolfdog


Sep 7, 2008, 7:26 AM
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Re: [passthepitonspete] Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers? [In reply to]
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Hi Pete
Was this a standard nylon sling or one of the new Spectra slings? I am thinking, hoping that a Spectra sling would not have torn....


darkside


Sep 7, 2008, 8:21 AM
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Re: [wolfdog] Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers? [In reply to]
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Nice digging wolfdog - you managed to find this thread from 6 years ago!!! Cool

Anyway if you only registered last year, the flame wars would have been unknown to you. Suffice to say Pete is no longer registered on RC.com so you shouldn't expect a reply anytime soon from him. I've heard he frequents other BB's but I haven't been in touch with him in a few years since I moved out west.


sungam


Sep 8, 2008, 8:24 AM
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Re: [darkside] Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers? [In reply to]
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Last I heard he was on mountainproject or whatever.


chossmonkey


Sep 8, 2008, 12:29 PM
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Re: [darkside] Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers? [In reply to]
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darkside wrote:
Nice digging wolfdog - you managed to find this thread from 6 years ago!!! Cool

Anyway if you only registered last year, the flame wars would have been unknown to you. Suffice to say Pete is no longer registered on RC.com so you shouldn't expect a reply anytime soon from him. I've heard he frequents other BB's but I haven't been in touch with him in a few years since I moved out west.
Hi Grant!!


skinner


Sep 9, 2008, 9:59 AM
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Re: [darkside] Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers? [In reply to]
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I thought they deleted all of Pete's posts? I know that many of them no longer exist, too bad really, there was a lot of information there.

Even if the original thread is 6-years old, I have say I'm, all over the screamer thing, always having at least a few (if not more) on my rack no matter what kind of climbing I'm doing. I love the Yates screamers and have a good collection of every one they make. Personally I've only ever deployed "1", but I'm pretty certain that there are a few climbers in this forum that are still here thanks to the screamers they placed (and subsequently deployed).

What I don't get is Pete comment on backing up a screamer with a long sling... why? once a screamer deploys, that's exactly what it is.. a long sling. I'm not aware of the stitching degrading the sling enough to effect it's strength, unless it's a comment in response to the proposed tying in with a screamer, or anchoring the mainline with a screamer?
(Neither of which I'd do, although I have anchored my 108lb. son with a screamer while he was belaying me).

All the html tags Pete used to get away with on the old board don't work here now and make some of his old posts a little confusing since you can't tell if he's quoting or not.


sungam


Sep 9, 2008, 10:18 AM
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Re: [skinner] Ask Dr Piton: is there a better way to use screamers? [In reply to]
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Lots of his posts, and photo... things, are still about.


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