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Anchoring a belayer
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donwanadi


Dec 23, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Anchoring a belayer
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If the belayer is 110lbs for a 190lb leader. Assuming that both are tied into opposite ends of the rope on a multi-pitch climb, and the belayer is tied down with a bight of that rope....

How much slack would you leave for a dynamic belay?

On 5.fun slab (minimal if any chance of lead fall/roll, even for a noob)?

Moderate slab?

Vert or overhanging?

Sport vs trad environment?

Single or multi-pitch?

What else do you take into account?

What about when belayer is far heavier?


(This post was edited by donwanadi on Dec 23, 2011, 1:10 PM)


rocknice2


Dec 23, 2011, 1:34 PM
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Re: [donwanadi] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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donwanadi wrote:
If the belayer is 110lbs for a 190lb leader. Assuming that both are tied into opposite ends of the rope on a multi-pitch climb, and the belayer is tied down with a bight of that rope....

How much slack would you leave for a dynamic belay?

On 5.fun slab (minimal if any chance of lead fall/roll, even for a noob)?

Moderate slab?

Vert or overhanging?

Sport vs trad environment?

Single or multi-pitch?

What else do you take into account?

What about when belayer is far heavier?

Enough so the belayer doesn't fall off the belay stance.


gblauer
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Dec 23, 2011, 1:48 PM
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Re: [donwanadi] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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I never anchor. My husband outweighs me by a good 70 pounds and I never have an issue catching him.


rocknice2


Dec 23, 2011, 2:09 PM
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Re: [gblauer] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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gblauer wrote:
I never anchor. My husband outweighs me by a good 70 pounds and I never have an issue catching him.

I think he meant on multi pitch. IIRC

i never anchor on the ground either unless there is a chance of sliding of a ledge or something.


jt512


Dec 23, 2011, 2:17 PM
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Re: [gblauer] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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gblauer wrote:
I never anchor. My husband outweighs me by a good 70 pounds and I never have an issue catching him.

Correction: "haven't had."


socalclimber


Dec 23, 2011, 4:15 PM
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Re: [jt512] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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Yup, that day will come...


lena_chita
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Dec 23, 2011, 6:33 PM
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Re: [donwanadi] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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donwanadi wrote:
If the belayer is 110lbs for a 190lb leader. Assuming that both are tied into opposite ends of the rope on a multi-pitch climb, and the belayer is tied down with a bight of that rope....

How much slack would you leave for a dynamic belay?

On 5.fun slab (minimal if any chance of lead fall/roll, even for a noob)?

Moderate slab?

Vert or overhanging?

Sport vs trad environment?

Single or multi-pitch?

What else do you take into account?

What about when belayer is far heavier?

I won't go trying to answer point-by-point, because this really depends on each individual route. There is no specific belay for a "type" of route.

But you have to understand, most of all, the following: THIS SITUATION IS NOT IDEAL. In some cases there is just no way around it, you will not get an optimal catch from a belayer who weighs half of what you do, and you will be taking extra risk by having a very light belayer. On meandering routes, once the rope is clipped through several points, the rope drag does a lot to mitigate the effect of the weight difference. But on routes with very little friction in the system the consequences of a fall with a very lightweight belayer could be quite dramatic, and if you have never seen or taken that sort of fall you might not even realize how much you would be falling.


Sometimes it means nothing more than a bigger-than-usual fall (and maybe a climber throwing a tantrum when he can't get back on the rock because boinking isn't working).
But when the weight difference is big enough to actually violently pull the belayer all the way to the first bolt/piece of pro, you really have to consider: would the belayer lose control of the rope when he/she slams into that first draw? Would the belayer hit his head on the roof? Would the climber and the belayer collide in the air, and would the belayer be able to maintain control? Would you be on the ground with those extra 10 feet of fall?

An experienced climber might evaluate the situation and decide that the risk is minimal, in the case of a specific route, but no way should you be trying this with an inexperienced belayer. And an experienced belayer will know that there are cases when you just say, sorry, dude, get someone heavier.

I've had a share of close calls when belaying climbers much heavier than me, so I have become much more conservative in my evaluation of the situation. But it is still evolving.



An example for a sport route:

I(105lb) belayed a guy (180 lb) on a specific route: ~90 feet, 10 bolts, clean overhang, crux above the last bolt; for the first ~6 bolts or so the climbing is several letter grades easier than the overall grade of the route, big jugs and a couple of hands-free stances in the first 3 bolts.

This is how we did it on redpoint burns: After the guy clipped the 2nd bolt, he unclipped the first, then after clipping the 3rd bolt he unclipped the 2nd. So, the first clipped bolt was bolt #3, about 25 feet up.

When he took the fall from just below the anchors, I flew up almost to the 3rd bolt (but not hitting it), and he ended up about 25 feet off the ground. You can argue whether this was safe or not, but we both felt that it was safe enough for us, the guy (and I) felt that the risk of falling down low on the route was negligible, he took repeated falls from the high crux until he sent, and nobody got hurt.

However, if the situation was identical, except for the crux being around the 4th bolt, if the guy took a fall from 35-40 feet up with only 1 or two draws clipped, and I flew 25 feet up, he would have been close to brushing the ground. Not to mention that he would be doing the crux while relying on a single bolt 25 feet up. This situation would be much less safe, or just plainly not safe enough for me. There is no way to anchor on that route. Yes, I might try wearing a heavy backpack, or attaching myself to a backpack full of rocks with the end of the rope, but it is uncomfortable, and still not as safe as it would be with a somewhat heavier belayer.


bearbreeder


Dec 23, 2011, 7:29 PM
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Re: [donwanadi] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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a few comments

- on single pitch anchor the belayer down low if you want a shorter catch ... when the climber gets high enough and if there are no addtional ledges, simply get them to unclip the biner anchor from their harness if you want a dynamic belay at that point...

- you can also anchor them in and use biners at different lengths on the cord, so that she can unclip or reclip then depending on the situation ... for example, if the bolt is 15 feet off the ground, and you can anchor directly at the ground ... the cord can be tied off to around 14 feet, and you can put a biner at 1 foot (very static belay), another halfway and tie her in full length ... as you go up you can get her to unclip the biners or reclip them should you encounter ledges ... helps if they are color coated ..

- what you can also do if you want a variable length ground anchor is use part of an old rope and use a prussic or kleimheist so that the belayer can adjust how tight that anchor is ...

- use an assisted locking device ... yeah we all know that even little girl should be able to use an atc to catch a 300+lb guy, blah blah blah ... but should the lighter person get slammed into a bolt, or something else ... its IMO safer to have an assisted locking than not in this case

- a helmet and gloves for the lighter belayer may be a good idea should the possibility exists of them hitting anything when flying up

- position yr belayer properly ... remember she will go flying up to the first bolt ... be sure to recognize anything that she may hit on the way


- for multi, if you want a more dynamic belay and are not worried about the start of a pitch, you can get yr belayer to tie in long with a munter mule to increase the length of the anchor ... the same technique can be used in cases where a fall off the belay may be very possible ... you can also tie em in long and use the above biner method to adjust the "dynamic" belay, should the ledge be big enough and yr anchor be solidly multi directional


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Dec 23, 2011, 7:58 PM)


enkoopa


Dec 29, 2011, 11:52 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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[quote "bearbreeder"- use an assisted locking device ... yeah we all know that even little girl should be able to use an atc to catch a 300+lb guy, blah blah blah ... but should the lighter person get slammed into a bolt, or something else ... its IMO safer to have an assisted locking than not in this case
In the case of a grigri, if jammed against a biner I think it has a good chance of letting loose.


bearbreeder


Dec 29, 2011, 12:18 PM
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Re: [enkoopa] Anchoring a belayer [In reply to]
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as long as the brake hand is still on ... and if you anchor the right length you shouldnt hit the bolt ....

put it this way ... should someone get slammed into something hard ... id rather be on an assisted locker than not ...

with an ATC if you let go yr dead ... with a gri gri theres a chance ...

if you dont let go in either case, hopefully you live

i use a mammut smart anyways Tongue


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