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Rock climbing gear as safety equipment
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PeteF


Jan 14, 2012, 5:32 AM
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Rock climbing gear as safety equipment
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Hi, this may be a somewhat unusual set of questions, and I really can't find the answers I need by normal searching so have signed up to the board and hope everyone will just take it easy on my obvious ignorance.

My situation is that I sometimes work on my own house roof and since it is on a sloping block, part of it is 2 stories from the ground. While I'm not bound by any legislation requirements to do anything other than "be careful" I felt that really wasn't a solution and so decided to tie myself off with a climbing style harness rather than a construction industry fall-arrest system. There are a number of reasons why I went that route, but they're not important to this discussion. While this is all largely a complete over-kill (pardon the pun), the higher parts of the house definitely deserve respect. I have a Beal Aero Mountain II harness and Beal 10 mm rope and have researched the correct way to tie everything off. So far so good. However, I work alone and this is all used ONLY as a backup fall-arrest.

Given that I do not have anyone to belay, I presume I will also need to use a self-locking locking device (grigri??). I felt this would be a very similar situation to somebody solo climbing. Given that you guys/girls routinely trust your lives to this equipment I thought I'd ask the true experts instead of trying to bumble my way through all this.

Clearly this all begins getting a little expensive for occasional use (though I have been wanting to try indoor climbing for a long time, maybe this is just the catalyst I need!), so my question is whether there is another way that I could secure myself in case of a fall, without requiring a self-locking belay device (the one I looked at was quite expensive), yet still be able to periodically adjust my position on the rope as I move working position? Perhaps it's possible to literally tie myself to a position on the rope? This is why I simply haven't been able to find the answer on the net as I guess I'm not constantly moving up/down the rope as a climber would.

Finally, I am in Australia and haven't been able to determine whether there are any Australian Standards that apply to climbing gear. I travel an enormous amount for my employment (eg I'm in Hong Kong as I type this) and often take that opportunity to do my shopping. However should I indeed decide I'd like to try indoor climbing etc, I don't want to find out that I will not be allowed to use equipment I've bought while overseas because it doesn't have the appropriate AS certification.

Hopefully my questions make sense and I thank the board members for taking the time to read through this and hopefully help me out with direction. As mentioned, I think most people wouldn't go to the trouble/expense I have for the actual work to be done, but I take my safety very seriously and feel a poorly implemented fall arrest system is worse than none at all.

Pete

Edit: sorry one question was possibly not very clear. What I'm considering is whether instead of using a self-locking device (expensive) and a rope with a free end (sorry I'm not sure of the correct jargon), would an alternative be to put a butterfly knot in the rope and use a locking carabiner directly on my harness? I would then shift the knot as I needed to work elsewhere, leaving just enough loose rope that i would fall only around 1 m. That should still allow me to work relatively unhindered.


(This post was edited by PeteF on Jan 14, 2012, 6:06 AM)


sandstone


Jan 14, 2012, 6:27 AM
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Re: [PeteF] Rock climbing gear as safety equipment [In reply to]
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You can just tie a series of clip in points (loops) in the rope, and clip to the one(s) nearest where you need to be. Use a figure eight on a bight knot, or the alpine butterfly, to tie your loops. Use locking carabiners to attach your harness to the loops. Keep at least one loop clipped in all the time, i.e. clip the next loop to your harness before unclipping your current loop. For this application, autolocking biners (single stage, that allow one hand operation, with a simple twist then open) is a good choice. Something like the Omega Pacific Jake Quik-Lok.

There are lots of different devices (each with their own idiosyncracies, and devotees/detractors) that will allow you to move along a rope, but by the sound of your post you should stick to something very simple and reliable, and not bother with those devices.


PeteF


Jan 14, 2012, 6:50 AM
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Sandstone, thank you very much for taking the time to reply. That suggestion sounds like a very elegant solution to my situation. I was looking at those quick-lok carabiners today, but not being familiar with them was going to buy the screw type. Fortunately I decided to not buy anything else until I asked for some expertise, so will go back tomorrow and buy some. Can I please confirm that the most appropriate way to use these as you're suggesting is to use two, and always have one clipped in to a loop at all times, however can they both be attached directly to my harness loop? The other thing I'm not certain about is the size that I would need. Do I understand they are rated for different load capacities? Unfortunately the people in the store selling this equipment don't know the first thing about it (the rope they initially tried to sell me was an 8 mm "walking" rope for example). I weigh 70 kg if that makes any difference when purchasing the appropriate ones.

Thanks once again.

Pete


sandstone


Jan 14, 2012, 7:54 AM
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Correct, clip two biners directly (and separately) to the belay loop of your harness, and always keep at least one of them clipped to a rope loop.

Don't attach anywhere else on your harness. You can use the other loops on the harness for the convenience of carrying your gear, but only attach yourself to your rope via the carabiners on your belay loop (for this application).

Screwgate biners will work, but up on a roof its easy to be distracted and forget to lock the biner, so an autolock is a good choice here.

Any locking belay biner will be plenty strong enough for what you are doing, so you don't necessarily have to worry about the strength ratings of each model. Select biners you can operate easily with one hand.

Be careful of sharp edges with your rope. Pad sharp edges to protect the rope.


agdavis


Jan 14, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Sandstone's method works.

What are you anchoring yourself to? A brick chimney?


JAB


Jan 14, 2012, 1:21 PM
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Sandstone pretty much summed it up, but I have small addition. You said you bought a Beal rope, so it is possible that it is a dynamic rope. A dynamic rope will stretch a bit if you weight it, which is good for your kidneys if you fall (even a short fall on a static rope can be very painful). The downside is that you might fall off the roof if you fall close to the edge. If you need to work close to the edge I recommend you weight the rope at all times so that there is no sudden stretch in it if you lose your balance.


donwanadi


Jan 14, 2012, 2:31 PM
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Clove hitch on a locker to your harness.

IMO You should not buy climbing gear in Hong Kong unless your are 200% sure it is not counterfeit.


PeteF


Jan 14, 2012, 4:48 PM
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Excellent that's all very good information. Thank you all so much for that. I really wasn't sure what to expect when first posting, and based on passed experience with other areas expected to be stoned for asking!

Just to touch on a couple of points, Sandstone, it's largely immaterial, but I was curious as to what the rear loop is normally used for on my harness? The instructions are some of these "no language" picture only ones, and indicate that it can be used for attachment, but I didn't understand the results I was getting when I Googled it. This is the traditional attachment point to commercial fall-arrest harnesses so the front is clear, but the harness designs are quite different to climbing harnesses. My question is no biggie, I was just curious.

'davis, no I don't think I would use a chimney as an anchor even if I had one, i've seen too many that were about to fall by themselves! I was going to anchor to a big tree or similar on the other side of the house and run the rope up and over the roof. Since there's normally no weight on it I should be able to flick it along the ridge capping without it geting snagged. I figured if I kept it as long as possible it would give me a good working arc.

JAB, actually in the interests of not crapping on more than I already did, I in fact haven't picked up the rope yet, as I was already carrying too much yesterday. I will go back today and collect it. I'm not sure what model it is, and it wouldn't be too late to change it, but I think it was either Flyer II or Tiger. They had a Beal catalogue there and I just chose the least expensive that seemed to be suitable. That's a good point about weighting the rope however, and gets back to my first comment about a poor fall-arrest system being worse than none at all; you lean against it only to have it fail! If it wasn't there I wouldn't be taking that chance.

Don' yes a good point but I'm pretty confident the gear I've got so far is the real deal. While Hong Kong (and mainland China for that matter) may have a reputation for being noting but cheap copies, that's not always the case. Unfortunately I'm up here a LOT, and after a while you get to recognise the tell-tale signs of a fake. The store I'm buying from is a reputable outdoor/adventure store also. However I'll definitely be careful. More of a concern to me is not that they're fakes, but that they need to be AS certified for use in Australia if I go to a wall etc. I'm a cyclist and can't race in Australia on a foreign purchased helmet, even though the helmet may be identical, since the foreign ones don't have the AS sticker to say they're approved. Lifting slings etc used to sling loads need approval and so it goes on.

Pete

Edit: I don't want to bump this thread as I'm sure it's of no real interest to most here. However as an end note, Sandstone I couldn't get the brand you mentioned, so bought some Camp carabiners, http://www.camp.it/EN/template01.aspx?codicemenu=1102
Also some Orbit Bet Lock just for hanging tools etc I figured they would simply better than the "pretend" carabiners I see sold at hardware stores etc that I wouldn't even trust to hold a hammer to my belt!
The rope is Beal Tiger.
I even looked into doing some indoor climbing here, but that will have to wait until next time, in the meanwhile thanks again to all who offered help.

Rope+harness+'biners+tall building; what could possibly go wrong Tongue


(This post was edited by PeteF on Jan 14, 2012, 10:50 PM)


sandstone


Jan 15, 2012, 7:10 AM
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PeteF wrote:
... what the rear loop is normally used for on my harness?

In some types of climbing the leader will trail behind him a second rope, to be used for hauling up gear. That loop is for attaching the haul line. Lots of people also use it to attach a small bag of gymnastic chalk, for absorbing sweat from the hands.

In reply to:
..anchor to a big tree or similar on the other side of the house and run the rope up and over the roof...

That'll work, as has already been pointed out, you'll have enough rope out that you will notice the stretch.

In reply to:
..Rope+harness+'biners+tall building; what could possibly go wrong Tongue

Good luck!


PeteF


Jan 15, 2012, 1:28 PM
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sandstone wrote:
In some types of climbing the leader will trail behind him a second rope, to be used for hauling up gear. That loop is for attaching the haul line. Lots of people also use it to attach a small bag of gymnastic chalk, for absorbing sweat from the hands.

Ah yes of course! This harness has a full strength loop and the instruction comic shows some guy tied into it back to a rock face. In my mind he's undoubtably peering over the edge of the ledge saying "Ok how the $%^& do I get down now!"

Thanks for the tip on the length of the rope. I've seen people fall but had forgotten how much the ropes stretch. Apparently I'm off to a wall on Wednesday so I guess all remaining stupid questions will be answered there. Hopefully there's no truth in the rumour there's a kitty circulating to get my wife to "forget" to belay!!

Pete


PeteF


Jan 17, 2012, 9:31 PM
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Sorry for the bump, but as a post script I thought I'd mention that reading this board and the help I received from the people above encouraged me to try indoor climbing for the first time ... and yes my mind did wander back to my "Hong Kong harness" as I was dangling from it! For somebody scared of heights (though don't ask what I do for a job!), letting go to come back down the first time was frankly terrifying. After a while it was all good however. It was a great way to spend a few hours and I managed to progress to getting past some overhangs which I was surprised about (wife daring me to try plus brute force and ignorance apparently does indeed overcome the laws of physics!). I'm sure anyone who knew what they were doing would have been cringing at the incompetent twit dangling like a monkey, but hey I got up there one way or the other Wink I can see what those here can see in the sport and we're looking forward to going back again. I think my forearms may be a bit sore tomorrow however! Thank you for the introduction to the sport.

Pete


(This post was edited by PeteF on Jan 17, 2012, 9:38 PM)


patto


Jan 18, 2012, 1:40 AM
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I work an occasional weekend job at a retail store in Melbourne.

This weekend 3 people came in require climbing equipment for working on their roofs! Though due to liability concerns we can't really do much to advise them in their use of the equipment.

PeteF wrote:
More of a concern to me is not that they're fakes, but that they need to be AS certified for use in Australia if I go to a wall etc. I'm a cyclist and can't race in Australia on a foreign purchased helmet, even though the helmet may be identical, since the foreign ones don't have the AS sticker to say they're approved. Lifting slings etc used to sling loads need approval and so it goes on.

There are no Australian standards when it comes to rockclimbing equipment. So there is no need to worry about this. Many Australian climbers buy equipment overseas.

Thankfully the government hasn't gotten its grubby little hands involved in climbing here.


PeteF


Jan 18, 2012, 2:14 AM
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Thanks Patto, since first posting I continued to search the net and concluded what you just confirmed; no standards (as yet). There are however definitely standards for industrial safety harnesses, fair cop too in a way due to "innocent" employees etc being exposed to risk. All my lifting slings need to be certified etc, but it was refreshing to see this is a little more relaxed. Indeed we were a amazed at just how little instruction was required before we were let loose on the wall. I'd telephoned before arriving and was told it was just 5 mins of instruction and true to their word that's pretty much exactly how long it was. At the end of it my wife and I just looked at each other and laughed. Still, in all fairness that's clearly all it took, and away we went.

The industrial safety harnesses are full harnesses and "impossible" to fall out of, though I'm sure some imbecile has managed to Tongue Obviously I'm no expert in either field, but I can imagine how it would be theoretically possible to fall out of a climbing harness if you were inverted in a fall, highly posible from a construction job. I have no idea how likely slipping out of them is in practice but I think you were wise not to get involved.

Pete


patto


Jan 18, 2012, 2:33 AM
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Properly fitted climbing harness are largely impossible to fall out of for anybody with hips.

Climbing equipment is extremely safe if used correctly. And is more than strong enough. Climbers are generally switched on people (particularly in Australia as it hasn't penetrated the masses here as much) as such climbing is very safe.

Industrial equipment and techniques are normally even stronger and equipment and methods more fool proof. However due the the presence of more fools it is by no means safer.


As a climber I would recommend a climbing harness for use at home. As an retail sales person I can't recommend anything.


PeteF


Jan 18, 2012, 2:55 AM
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patto wrote:
Properly fitted climbing harness are largely impossible to fall out of for anybody with hips.

Interesting, ok thanks, though I'm not sure I qualify in the hips department. In contrast to my wife, where I suggested that belaying for her felt more like hoisting a hippo to the heavens. Rather strangely she didn't find that comment half as amusing as I did!

Pete


donwanadi


Jan 18, 2012, 6:10 AM
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PeteF wrote:
patto wrote:
Properly fitted climbing harness are largely impossible to fall out of for anybody with hips.

Interesting, ok thanks, though I'm not sure I qualify in the hips department. In contrast to my wife, where I suggested that belaying for her felt more like hoisting a hippo to the heavens. Rather strangely she didn't find that comment half as amusing as I did!

Pete

I think you may be too reckless for this sport! Wink


TradEddie


Jan 18, 2012, 9:26 AM
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I frequently use my climbing gear for exactly what you are doing. For an anchor, I use either a tree or my car (BOTH sets of keys in MY pocket). I prefer to use a grigri for simplicity. Anchoring on the ground imposes limits where you can safely work on the roof, you need to be sure that the rope will not simply slip sideways if you fall. Plan your anchor and rope path with this in mind.

TE


shellc0de


Jan 18, 2012, 10:30 AM
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I have a question about roofs with shingles, and its pretty obvious, do shingles tear at the rope significantly and if so how do I prevent it?


patto


Jan 19, 2012, 2:31 AM
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PeteF wrote:
Interesting, ok thanks, though I'm not sure I qualify in the hips department.

Actually it's hippos that can have it worse.

Even skinny males 'without' hips like myself still have enough to ensure that the harness wont slip. Try it. Tighten up a belt or harness and try to push it off you hips. It simply wont happen.

People, particularly males, with alot of fat around their belly run the risk of not having wider hips than their waist. Then a problem does exist.

Female hippos normally have big butts so their fine.


(This post was edited by patto on Jan 19, 2012, 2:32 AM)


PeteF


Jan 19, 2012, 2:47 AM
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patto wrote:
PeteF wrote:
Female hippos normally have big butts so their fine.

I'll pass that advice on to my wife. I'm sure she'll be thrilled Tongue *

Pete

*For the record my wife isn't really a "hippo" at all, but I wouldn't miss an opportunity like that to send a friendly swing her way!


Landcruiser


Jan 19, 2012, 8:10 AM
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I had to do the same thing for a buddies house a week ago. His roofer took $1000 and never showed up for the job. He is in the Chimney repair business and already and had gear for his purpose. His roof was metal, it started to snow...30% efficient for the entire day, sucked.

Used a static rope, ascender, two metal stacks well into the earth on either side of the house for anchors (single story ranch) and foul weather gear.


sandstone


Jan 19, 2012, 8:13 AM
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shellc0de wrote:
I have a question about roofs with shingles, and its pretty obvious, do shingles tear at the rope significantly and if so how do I prevent it?

If the rope is under tension, I'd say that roof shingles are plenty sharp enough to cut some fibers and fuzz the sheath of the rope. I could see this happening at the peak of the roof, assuming the rope is running over the roof and down to a ground anchor. Just pad the roof at the peak with a shipping blanket or something similar where the rope runs over it. You could also cut a length of old garden hose, and run the rope through it where it goes over the peak. Lots of things will work, you get the idea.


TradEddie


Jan 19, 2012, 9:02 AM
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Some abrasion of the rope is possible, hard to imagine how it would be any worse that what normally happens when climbing, since the rope shouldn't ever be weighted. I'd be more concerned with the rope cosmetically damaging the shingles at the eaves.
In any case, I wouldn't use a rope that I intend to climb with again.

TE


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