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Marylandclimber


Jul 12, 2012, 6:33 PM
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ATC guide Lowering?
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So I finished leading a 50ft pinnacle in rocks state park Maryland and i went to put my Black Diamond ATC guide onto a two bolt anchor. I was fine with the pulling in the slack as my brother climbed up. When he asked to lower a few feet, I put a sling through the smaller hole like it says to. I pulled the sling over a carabiner above the ATC. No matter how hard i tried I couldn't pull the sling down enough for the atc to let slack out. Has anyone else had this problem? he got down eventually by putting slack out, pre setting the atc for lowering and then when he leaned back it would lower him. I know he eventually got lowered but he shouldn't have to hang on for dear life as i try to pre set the atc. I watched the video on youtube of how to use it and i don't see what I did wrong.


dagibbs


Jul 12, 2012, 6:40 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Did you rig a foot loop, and stand on it?


Partner rgold


Jul 12, 2012, 7:08 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Plenty of people have had the problem. I know someone, a very experienced climber, who eventually had to do a short 3:1 hoist and full-on belay escape in order to get the stupid device completely out of the system.

There are a number a variables involved, including rope diameter, rope wear state, device orientation, and possible structural impediments to the full range of motion of the device. These impediments may not be at all obvious, because under load the device can shift to an unanticipated position.

Just pulling on a sling looped through a higher biner may not be enough; you may have to get body-weight into it. A foot loop is not the best way to do this, it is better to have a long enough sling to get it clipped to your harness, so that you can sink down and weight the sling with as much as full body weight.

This is a flat-out dangerous process if you haven't backed up the belay, because the device can release rapidly and completely, dropping the climber, and once the rope is running it may not be able to lock again. This has resulted in at least one bad accident in which the second was dropped to the ground.

So in addition to the long sling clipped to the harness, you have to install a back-up belay on your harness, either with a second device if you carry one or, most likely, with a Munter hitch.

If, as was the case with the person I mentioned earlier, the device pivots into a shallow corner and cannot move to the release position, then you'll need to be able to go through the full technical escape process referenced above.

If all this sounds as idiotic to you as it does to me, then it is worth considering whether this type of belay, which has other problems as well, is really something one wants to use for other than situations in which the follower(s) are unlikely to fall and if they do fall, will not want to be lowered and will be able to get back on the rock and continue climbing.

I dislike these devices for other reasons that I have mentioned at length elsewhere. But it is clear that lowering is an anticipated part of the process, another belaying method is preferable.


Marylandclimber


Jul 12, 2012, 7:47 PM
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Re: [rgold] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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I see, that just sounds to complicated and dangerous for a belay device made to do this. Then again, I believe my rope is somewhere in the 10 diameter range. A foot loop sounds like it would work except like you, said the rope might shoot through to much and the climber would fall. What belay system do you use for top belaying? Would a grigri work if I clipped it to the anchor and just pulled the slack in.


acorneau


Jul 12, 2012, 8:02 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
What belay system do you use for top belaying? Would a grigri work if I clipped it to the anchor and just pulled the slack in.


1. Münter hitch if I can, otherwise off my harness
2. Yes.

(Edit for clarification.)


(This post was edited by acorneau on Jul 13, 2012, 8:41 AM)


billl7


Jul 12, 2012, 9:03 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
What belay system do you use for top belaying?
ATC off the harness. The ATC Guide in guide mode is ... not for me.


patto


Jul 12, 2012, 9:35 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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I've been using these devices since the original Reverso and have never had difficulties lowering. In fact even the Reverso without the lowering hole is still releasable in a similar fashion.

Marylandclimber wrote:
I see, that just sounds to complicated and dangerous for a belay device made to do this.
It isn't complicated or dangerous if you do things appropriately.

I normally agree with most stuff rgold posts but in this case I will have to disagree.


rgold wrote:
There are a number a variables involved, including rope diameter, rope wear state
These shouldn't matter at all. Your aim is to rotate the device 90degrees to completely disengage the guide mode. Once it reaches this position it should behave identically to albeit upside down.

(Only moving it part of the 90degree arc will lead to unpredictable bite-release behaviour which does depend on the attributes mentioned.)

If you have down things right it really only depends on the climbers weight and the position of the redirect for the release.


rgold wrote:
These impediments may not be at all obvious, because under load the device can shift to an unanticipated position.
The load will generally straight down towards your last piece. If you cannot ensure that the device will be obstruction free then you really should change the setup. In practice I find it very simple to rig and I use 'guide mode' 90% of the time. 10% of the time I don't use it due to obstructions or other reasons.


rgold wrote:
Just pulling on a sling looped through a higher biner may not be enough; you may have to get body-weight into it.
Absolutely. If the climber's full body weight is on it then you generally need to get a fair bit of force on it.


rgold wrote:
This is a flat-out dangerous process if you haven't backed up the belay, because the device can release rapidly and completely, dropping the climber, and once the rope is running it may not be able to lock again.
As long as you have the rope in the brake position ABOVE the device then there is no concern. Braking and lowering from above can be made easier and safer with a redirect.


rgold wrote:
So in addition to the long sling clipped to the harness, you have to install a back-up belay on your harness, either with a second device if you carry one or, most likely, with a Munter hitch.
That complicates things unnecessarily. Just position the brake rope appropriately.


rgold wrote:
But it is clear that lowering is an anticipated part of the process, another belaying method is preferable.
I would agree with this. However you have made the process more complicated than it actually is.


(This post was edited by patto on Jul 12, 2012, 9:41 PM)


Partner rgold


Jul 12, 2012, 10:08 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Here's a good video on the process

http://www.youtube.com/...ture=player_embedded

Note the redirection through a higher piece as recommended by Patto (and the AMGA). I don't think it is much different not to redirect and instead use a Munter on the harness, but whatever.

The main point is not to just release the device without doing something that will provide adequate lowering friction.


bearbreeder


Jul 12, 2012, 11:14 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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- use a foot loop for the sling or clip it to your harness and lean back
- use an upper redirect for the rope ... if that isnt possible, munter it to yr harness
- practice it like anything else in climbing ... or youll end up wasting time and effort

there is utterly nothing wrong with using a device in guide mode where lowering is not a common occurrence ... like anything else, it requires using the device properly and practice ...

if lowering will be something you do often, then a redirect belay or a munter would be a better choice ... which can be "dangerous" as well if you dont do it properly, people have been dropped by those as well

dont let the RCers tell you the many ways you are going to die in guide mode, PASes, gri gris, etc ... use yr gear properly and itll work just fine

many highy experienced climbers swear by guide mode ...

Tongue


kennoyce


Jul 13, 2012, 6:52 AM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
So I finished leading a 50ft pinnacle in rocks state park Maryland and i went to put my Black Diamond ATC guide onto a two bolt anchor. I was fine with the pulling in the slack as my brother climbed up. When he asked to lower a few feet, I put a sling through the smaller hole like it says to. I pulled the sling over a carabiner above the ATC. No matter how hard i tried I couldn't pull the sling down enough for the atc to let slack out. Has anyone else had this problem? he got down eventually by putting slack out, pre setting the atc for lowering and then when he leaned back it would lower him. I know he eventually got lowered but he shouldn't have to hang on for dear life as i try to pre set the atc. I watched the video on youtube of how to use it and i don't see what I did wrong.

Personally, the best way I've found to lower a climber when in guide mode is not to use the provided lowering hole at all. I have used it, and with a redirect and body weight it does work, but it is more difficult than I like. What I've found works is to clip a sling to the biner that the rope goes around (not the one attaching the device to the anchor), and pulling on this sling. When the biner is pulled away from the device it allows the rope to feed, but still provides plenty of friction so that you aren't going to get a sudden unexpected release like can happen with the approved method (obviously, make sure you are holding the brake side of the rope still). I've lowered people using this method and found it much, much, much easier than the method described by the manufacturer. Of course, by not following the manufacturer directions you will probably die, but here is at least one data point that is still alive after using this method multiple times.


billl7


Jul 13, 2012, 7:10 AM
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What dismays me about the ATC Guide in guide mode is this ...

There is a tendency out there to think "Well, this is an ATC after all and I've been using one for years. So using this variation in guide mode and lowering when I need to should be no problem. Heck, I watched the video and it looked easy."

The reality is, someone's life is betting on that unexplored and questionable assumption unless the belayer has already practiced lowering more than once in a safe environment.

Bill L


patto


Jul 13, 2012, 7:29 AM
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kennoyce wrote:
What I've found works is to clip a sling to the biner that the rope goes around (not the one attaching the device to the anchor), and pulling on this sling.
That is what I've always done. But that was because until recently I have only been using the original Reverso without any specific lowering attachment.

billl7 wrote:
What dismays me about the ATC Guide in guide mode is this ...

There is a tendency out there to think "Well, this is an ATC after all and I've been using one for years. So using this variation in guide mode and lowering when I need to should be no problem. Heck, I watched the video and it looked easy."

The reality is, someone's life is betting on that unexplored and questionable assumption unless the belayer has already practiced lowering more than once in a safe environment.

Bill L
What dismays me about climbing in general is any sort of attitude that you can get away with doing things without thinking about the consequences of your actions.

If you can't approach situations safely without having watched videos and practiced the specific circumstance then you shouldn't really be leading and taking responsibility for others safety.

Climbing has become more popular and accessible to the masses in the last couple of decades. Unfortunately that means that many people who are now out on the cliff don't have the necessary attributes to THINK out on the cliffs.


billl7


Jul 13, 2012, 7:43 AM
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Re: [patto] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
Climbing has become more popular and accessible to the masses in the last couple of decades. Unfortunately that means that many people who are now out on the cliff don't have the necessary attributes to THINK out on the cliffs.

While the above is true, I personally don't think it mitigates the issues with the ATC Guide. Something that is difficult to operate as advertised while unstable at the precise release point is bad news.

I realize there are mitigating ways to operate it differently than as advertised - some discussed in this thread. I can understand how easy it is to belay a follower. I can't say I'll never use it in guide mode ...

But it is not high on my list to practice (more) and employ on a climb - there are just too many other ways to get the job done that work well.

We may disagree and that is okay of course.

Bill L
Note: I don't find myself very often with a follower who hangs on the rope a lot. If I did, I might have a different view in terms of my own personal use. But I still wouldn't promote it to others.


Partner cracklover


Jul 13, 2012, 8:49 AM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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MDClimber - slightly indelicate question, but how much do you weigh?

I've seen a situation where a climber who outweighed the belayer was hanging on the rope, and the belayer could put their full body weight on the redirect, jump up and down, and still couldn't get it to release.

Just because it works for patto (yes I'm calling you fat Tongue ) doesn't mean it'll work for you.

GO


Marylandclimber


Jul 13, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Re: [cracklover] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Thanks for all the responses guys! I think the video with the guy putting his body onto the ATC seemed like my best bet. To answer your question cracklover i'm about 118 pounds


(This post was edited by Marylandclimber on Jul 13, 2012, 10:27 AM)


Partner cracklover


Jul 13, 2012, 10:56 AM
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Marylandclimber wrote:
To answer your question cracklover i'm about 118 pounds

Then you should consider that there will be times when the standard method simply will not work, especially if the rope is running over a lip that adds friction. Either be prepared to rig up a 3-to-1 pulley, or ditch the notion that this is a good device for you.

GO


Partner rgold


Jul 13, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
dont let the RCers tell you the many ways you are going to die in guide mode, PASes, gri gris, etc ... use yr gear properly and itll work just fine

Bearbreeder speaks as if he isn't himself an "RCer." If "RCer's" knowledge and insights are not to be trusted, what makes BB any more reliable than the rest of the wretched lot?

Frankly, "use your gear properly and it'll work just fine" does nothing more than advance a definition of "properly" that excuses the gear from any of its weak points and simply blames the user for any failures. The search for a real-world working definition of "proper use" is the point of all these discussions.

Many pieces of gear have features that are potentially dangerous, and discussing those things is both appropriate and useful. If you are supposed to plug your ears when RCers discuss "the many ways you can die." then you are committing to using your gear while being steeped in ignorance.

Such discussions bring up points users may have not considered and may not even have known about and so constitute a path to "using your gear properly." It is true that the discussions have chaff mixed in with the wheat, and that many issues are ones whose importance will be viewed differently by different people. Authoritative answers are few and far between in our sport; we all have to make up our minds about the importance of various concerns on our own, and then we may have to change our minds after we hear new perspectives.

In this regard, citing what "experienced climbers" do is interesting but far from decisive. Some of these climbers climb in styles that may be very different from yours, they may have a very different tolerance for risk, and they may have pockets of ignorance themselves in spite of their experience. Once they are sponsored, they also become salespeople for the gear they use, and this can, in principle, limit their abiilty to find the best possible solutions. What they do surely merits serious consideration, but not blind acceptance.


bearbreeder


Jul 13, 2012, 12:01 PM
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Re: [rgold] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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what makes me more reliable ... utterly and totally nothing ... i just go out and climb and dont worry too much about what RCers say these days about the many ways to die ...

what matters MOST is using that most important gear between your head ... its quite simple with a autoblock, if you are going to use it, make sure you educate yourself and practice how to lower with it in a controlled environment ... would you go out and do a climb without knowing or practicing how to lower with a standard ATC or munter? ... nope ... so why would you with an autoblock ???

what i find utterly curious is the aversion of many here to autoblocs or gri gris ... many use them safely and have absolutely no issue ... now its a personal choice what you want to use as long as youre safe and yr partner is comfortable with it ... but just dont go telling others it doesnt work or its always poor choice, every system has its advantages and disadvantages ... the little gray matter will allow you to make that judgment

if you are leading long multi autoblocs have definite advantages, and we wont even talk about rockfall ... in fact ill use it today and who knows i may even live ...

Tongue


herites


Jul 13, 2012, 1:55 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Belay off your harness and redirect through the anchor. Even if the follower doesn't need lowering the ATC or the Reverso can get you more pumped in guide mode than climbing, depending on your rope. Most of the time there's no good reason to use them in guide mode. If you really want to belay off the anchor with a selflocking device, then buy a grigri2.


Marylandclimber


Jul 13, 2012, 3:32 PM
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Re: [herites] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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When I belay of my harness with a standard atc and redirect it though an acnhor, I always get pulled right to the anchor even if the climber almost weighs the same.


billl7


Jul 13, 2012, 4:21 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] ATC guide Lowering? [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
When I belay of my harness with a standard atc and redirect it though an acnhor, I always get pulled right to the anchor even if the climber almost weighs the same.

Yes, this is why I tend to not redirect.


patto


Jul 13, 2012, 6:12 PM
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I never redirect either, in fact I actively dislike it. I think this thread just shows the are plenty of ways to safely belay the second. Just because you don't like the guide doesn't mean it isn't a safe and effective device.


Marylandclimber


Jul 13, 2012, 6:18 PM
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IF you dont redirect it, do you juts put a standard atc through your belay loop with the climbers rope on the bottom? Or top?


patto


Jul 13, 2012, 7:05 PM
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Marylandclimber wrote:
IF you dont redirect it, do you juts put a standard atc through your belay loop with the climbers rope on the bottom? Or top?

I normally use my reverso in autoblock mode. If I don't then I belay off my harness. Naturally the rope going to the climber would be on the bottom.

(I would always ensure that the weight goes onto the anchor and not me.)


(This post was edited by patto on Jul 13, 2012, 7:07 PM)


herites


Jul 14, 2012, 4:28 AM
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Strange. I outweigh my girlfriend by a good 15 (maybe 20 now) kilos, and she never complained about this when belaying me from above. We use an upward pull piece if it's a hanging belay though, and if on a ledge she can get a stable stance.

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