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jeskandarian


Nov 27, 2012, 4:19 PM
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I'm new, but this setup seems unsafe
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I've only been climbing a very short time, but I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to learning and doing new things the correct way.

A new climbing gym opened near me. From what I know, this setup is just wrong and really promoting bad practices/habits. They are OK with me belaying my kid the way I was taught (not using their gear) so I generally keep my mouth shut.

Here's their top rope setup:
- Top rope wall but using two chains up top as opposed to a couple of carabiners or a pipe
- Climbers don't tie up. Just use a locking carabiner that is already tied up.
- For the belay they have a Cinch attached to a floor anchor at approximately waist height
- They teach people to just 'take up the slack' on the brake side and then lower their partner by just using the lever. Zero talk of holding the brake side rope or anything crazy like that.

A Cinch/GriGri just isn't supposed to be used in that way, is it? I'd NEVER let someone belay me on just the locking mechanism of the GriGri. Also, I've always taught my kid that the release lever is just that, a release, and she should control the belay with the brake side rope tension. Controlling descent speed with the lever only is just too touchy.

I cringe when I see kids leaving all kinds of slack for their friends and do say something to those people to at least minimize the slack and maybe at least give some thought to holding the brake line.

Am I just a paranoid pain in the ass?


camhead


Nov 27, 2012, 4:26 PM
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The only thing I see clearly wrong with any of this would be the gym's lack of instruction on lowering and belaying.


guangzhou


Nov 27, 2012, 6:20 PM
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jeskandarian wrote:
I've only been climbing a very short time, but I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to learning and doing new things the correct way.

A new climbing gym opened near me. From what I know, this setup is just wrong and really promoting bad practices/habits. They are OK with me belaying my kid the way I was taught (not using their gear) so I generally keep my mouth shut.

Here's their top rope setup:
- Top rope wall but using two chains up top as opposed to a couple of carabiners or a pipe
- Climbers don't tie up. Just use a locking carabiner that is already tied up.
- For the belay they have a Cinch attached to a floor anchor at approximately waist height
- They teach people to just 'take up the slack' on the brake side and then lower their partner by just using the lever. Zero talk of holding the brake side rope or anything crazy like that.

A Cinch/GriGri just isn't supposed to be used in that way, is it? I'd NEVER let someone belay me on just the locking mechanism of the GriGri. Also, I've always taught my kid that the release lever is just that, a release, and she should control the belay with the brake side rope tension. Controlling descent speed with the lever only is just too touchy.

I cringe when I see kids leaving all kinds of slack for their friends and do say something to those people to at least minimize the slack and maybe at least give some thought to holding the brake line.

Am I just a paranoid pain in the ass?

I have to wonder if this is actually what they teach or if there is something you didn't notice.

The rest up seems fine to me.


jeskandarian


Nov 27, 2012, 6:52 PM
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Thanks for the responses. What I found most odd was the Clinch attached to the floor and the 100% dependence on its auto-brake.

I guess I am just paranoid :)


bearbreeder


Nov 27, 2012, 6:59 PM
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Belaying with the GRIGRI anchored to the ground: WARNING, Danger!


This technique is strongly discouraged because it has been the root cause of many ground falls. In fact, if the GRIGRI is positioned at the wrong height for the belayer, he risks involuntarily blocking the cam and preventing it from braking the rope.

In addition, with a GRIGRI anchored to the ground, controlling the descent is more difficult than with the GRIGRI on the belayer because the weight of the climber cannot be felt. Finally, this technique does not allow for dynamic belaying.



a SINGLE locker ... is it a 3 stage autolock or a screwgate ????


potreroed


Nov 27, 2012, 7:58 PM
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What they're doing is OK, barely, in a gym setting but they should really be teaching people how to tie in and belay properly.


tomcecil


Nov 28, 2012, 5:55 AM
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jeskandarian,
"Paranoia is an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others"
You are NOT paranoid. You should never use a locking carabiner in this fashion. Ask the manufacturer of any locking carabiner if you should use it to connect a rope to your harness where you could potentially fall and crossload the biner, they will tell you NOT to use it this way (if you were in a situation where you had to do this for some reason at least use two or three locking biners opp/app, this cuts way down on the potential to crossload the biners)
Using a belay system like you have described is the worst possible combination of techniques--anchoring a sling to a ground anchor and then connecting a Cinch or GRi-Gri to that will effectively create a static belay which would put the most potential force on a potentially crossloaded carabiner--
don't walk--run from that gym


kennoyce


Nov 28, 2012, 7:00 AM
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tomcecil wrote:
jeskandarian,
"Paranoia is an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others"
You are NOT paranoid. You should never use a locking carabiner in this fashion. Ask the manufacturer of any locking carabiner if you should use it to connect a rope to your harness where you could potentially fall and crossload the biner, they will tell you NOT to use it this way (if you were in a situation where you had to do this for some reason at least use two or three locking biners opp/app, this cuts way down on the potential to crossload the biners)
Using a belay system like you have described is the worst possible combination of techniques--anchoring a sling to a ground anchor and then connecting a Cinch or GRi-Gri to that will effectively create a static belay which would put the most potential force on a potentially crossloaded carabiner--
don't walk--run from that gym

wow, now you're what I call paranoid, 3 lockers opposite and apposed to tie in on a TR?

While the single biner to tie in is not ideal it is a common setup at many gyms due to the fact that there is less of a chance for errors while tieing in, and there is absolutely no way posible to break a cross-losded biner on a TR gym fall. Minimum biner cross load strength is 7 kN, now if you factor 2'd onto a cross-loaded biner for your tie-in it might break, but you'd be hard pressed to get above 3 kN of force on that tie-in biner no matter what you did in a gym.

The only thing that is really a problem is the lowering technique which could easily result in someone decking. The other things mentioned, while not ideal, won't cause someone to get hurt.


bearbreeder


Nov 28, 2012, 7:07 AM
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kennoyce wrote:
The other things mentioned, while not ideal, won't cause someone to get hurt.


Sophie McCauley had been scaling a wall at the Mount Maunganui facility with friends to celebrate her birthday earlier this month.

She was harnessed in but cannot recall if she checked the carabiner as instructed while climbing the wall.

It is believed a piece of webbing became caught in Sophie's carabiner as she climbed a ladder on the wall and she fell 4m on to the concrete floor, breaking her hip and fracturing her foot.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/...mp;objectid=10843660


kennoyce


Nov 28, 2012, 7:52 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
kennoyce wrote:
The other things mentioned, while not ideal, won't cause someone to get hurt.


Sophie McCauley had been scaling a wall at the Mount Maunganui facility with friends to celebrate her birthday earlier this month.

She was harnessed in but cannot recall if she checked the carabiner as instructed while climbing the wall.

It is believed a piece of webbing became caught in Sophie's carabiner as she climbed a ladder on the wall and she fell 4m on to the concrete floor, breaking her hip and fracturing her foot.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/...mp;objectid=10843660


I really have no idea what you're trying to say here. From that article there is really no way to know what happened, but it sounds like maybe she forgot to lock a biner, some webbing somehow opened it and it unclipped itself?

If that's the case, then this is completely irrelevent to the thread since it is obviously a belayer/climber error for not double checking that the biner was locked.


tomcecil


Nov 28, 2012, 7:59 AM
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maybe pictures are better for you...

Petzl website-
http://www.petzl.com/files/all/all/carabiners/carabinersExperience.pdf
Attachments: Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 10.50.42 AM.png (94.3 KB)


bearbreeder


Nov 28, 2012, 8:05 AM
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http://theuiaa.org/...ope_by_karabiner.pdf

mistakes happen especially with kids running all over the place ... the gyms i know who use biners instead of tying in use 2 opposed lockers to minimize the risk ...

unless its specifically a 3 stage locker the UIAA recommends 2 opposed lockers in these situations as well

im pretty surprise at the PASS given by RCers over the OPs description

1. the cinches are attached directly to the floor ... perhaps this is acceptable for trango cinches? ... but for gri gris petzl recommends against it specifically, now individuals can do what they want, but id like to see a gym explain why they would specifically contravene the manufacturer recommendations

2. the OP stated a single locker was used ... was it a 3 stage autolock? ... this is the minimum recommended ... and even then mistakes can happen, an additional biner for kids to clip in can reduce that possibility ...

3. the OP stated that there were kids without proper brake hands on the cinches ... which i believe are not recommended as hands free devices ... what is thr training procedure for new climbers and the supervision of them, especially kids ...

if i saw any of these 3 they would raise red flags ...


kennoyce


Nov 28, 2012, 8:22 AM
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tomcecil wrote:
maybe pictures are better for you...

Petzl website-
http://www.petzl.com/files/all/all/carabiners/carabinersExperience.pdf

Anyone who has climbed for more than a week knows that your not supposed to tie in with a biner. My point was that even though you're not supposed to, this is pretty standard procedure in gyms all throughout the US and a biner is not going to fail from being cross-loaded in a TR fall.


kennoyce


Nov 28, 2012, 8:35 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
http://theuiaa.org/...ope_by_karabiner.pdf

mistakes happen especially with kids running all over the place ... the gyms i know who use biners instead of tying in use 2 opposed lockers to minimize the risk ...

unless its specifically a 3 stage locker the UIAA recommends 2 opposed lockers in these situations as well
Obviously (like I said) the way they're doing it is not ideal, but it's not a death sentence either.

Who knows, but every gym I've seen that uses the single locker set-up uses a 3-stage locker, so I'm assuming that is whats being used, if not, then yes this is of concern.

In reply to:
im pretty surprise at the PASS given by RCers over the OPs description

I certainly didn't give it a PASS, if you'll read my post I specifically stated: "The only thing that is really a problem is the lowering technique which could easily result in someone decking". now maybe that wasn't strong enough wording or something, but easily result in soeone decking isn't a PASS in my book.

In reply to:
1. the cinches are attached directly to the floor ... perhaps this is acceptable for trango cinches? ... but for gri gris petzl recommends against it specifically, now individuals can do what they want, but id like to see a gym explain why they would specifically contravene the manufacturer recommendations

Since the Cinch isn't a grigri and isn't made by petzl I don't see how petzl's recommendation is relevant to this discussion.

In reply to:
2. the OP stated a single locker was used ... was it a 3 stage autolock? ... this is the minimum recommended ... and even then mistakes can happen, an additional biner for kids to clip in can reduce that possibility ...


I think I already covered this, but like I said, not ideal, but it wouldn't stop me from climbing there.

In reply to:
3. the OP stated that there were kids without proper brake hands on the cinches ... which i believe are not recommended as hands free devices ... what is thr training procedure for new climbers and the supervision of them, especially kids ...


Yes, this is the big issue, I would certainly bring this up with the staff because like I said someone is going to deck because of this sooner or later.


bearbreeder


Nov 28, 2012, 8:42 AM
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well

perhaps someone can find out about trango recommending or accepting cinches being attached to the ground directly before giving a pass ...

and about whether it is a 3 stage autolock ...

and their training and supervision methods according to the OPs description ...

this isnt directly at you directly ...

i am VERY surprised at RCers who often go on about the dangers of PASes, autoblock mode, dyneema, 7kn biners, crossloading belay biners, equalette top rope anchors, etc ... not being too concerned with the OPs description

i strongly believe that a commercial gym with all sort of little rug rats running around should have a very high standard of care when it comes to safety


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Nov 28, 2012, 8:46 AM)


lena_chita
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Nov 28, 2012, 9:06 AM
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Nothing "unsafe" with belaying with the Cinch or gri-gri attached to a floor anchor, but it is really inconvenient, because the belayer can't move around (to get the toprope off the climber's back near the top, for example), and also because the fixed height of belay device attachment doesn't fit all.

No hands on the rope-- obviously a problem. But I really find it hard to believe that the gym is actually teaching that. Maybe what they have said is something along the lines of "you control the rate of descent by how far you open the lever"-- which is correct, btw, and not at all the same thing as telling someone "don't need to hold the rope with your brake hand as you are lowering someone"


bearbreeder


Nov 28, 2012, 9:12 AM
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to save 50 pages of back and forth ...

Hi Trango,

I was wondering if it is recommended or acceptable to belay with a Cinch attached directly to a ground anchor without a belayer being attached to it at all for Top Roping. Petzl does not recommend this for the Gri Gri, but is it OK with a cinch?

Thanks,


.....

reply from trango ...

Hi,

No unfortunately we don't recommend this either.

Best Regards,



what people use and do is up to them ... but i would think about a gym that goes against the manufacturers recommended usage ...

Wink


camhead


Nov 28, 2012, 9:21 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
to save 50 pages of back and forth ...

Hi Trango,

I was wondering if it is recommended or acceptable to belay with a Cinch attached directly to a ground anchor without a belayer being attached to it at all for Top Roping. Petzl does not recommend this for the Gri Gri, but is it OK with a cinch?

Thanks,


.....

reply from trango ...

Hi,

No unfortunately we don't recommend this either.

Best Regards,



what people use and do is up to them ... but i would think about a gym that goes against the manufacturers recommended usage ...

Wink

Just a question: did the original poster anywhere say that the gym had people belaying with these cinches WITHOUT BEING ATTACHED to them? I thought he only said that the cinches were attached to the floor.

A gym I frequented several years ago kept grigris attached to the floor via daisy chains, simply as a way of not losing the devices and keeping everything organized. The gym still required belayers to anchor the grigris to their belay loops, though there was a minor annoyance in that the grigris were permanently attached to the floor daisies as well.

What I'm saying is that, while this is silly, and is for reasons more of convenience and organization than purely safety, there is nothing inherently wrong or against Trango and Petzl's recommendations in anchoring devices to the floor.


jeskandarian


Nov 28, 2012, 9:26 AM
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Yes, people are belaying with the Cinch attached to the floor only. It is not attached to the belayer's harness.

This was what I found most troubling about the setup.


bearbreeder


Nov 28, 2012, 9:36 AM
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camhead wrote:

What I'm saying is that, while this is silly, and is for reasons more of convenience and organization than purely safety, there is nothing inherently wrong or against Trango and Petzl's recommendations in anchoring devices to the floor.

from PETZL ...

Belaying with the GRIGRI anchored to the ground: WARNING, Danger!


This technique is strongly discouraged because it has been the root cause of many ground falls. In fact, if the GRIGRI is positioned at the wrong height for the belayer, he risks involuntarily blocking the cam and preventing it from braking the rope.

In addition, with a GRIGRI anchored to the ground, controlling the descent is more difficult than with the GRIGRI on the belayer because the weight of the climber cannot be felt.


if an accident should happen, id hate to be the gym that went against the manufacturers recommendation ...


Wink





(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Nov 28, 2012, 9:39 AM)


TradEddie


Nov 28, 2012, 9:48 AM
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While blindly following manufacturer's prohibitions is not likely to get you hurt, understanding the reasons why may serve you better. Petzl's picture shows a gri gri mounted high above the belayer and not attached to the belayer. In the event of a fall, the gri gri will be pulled upwards, and the belayers hand on the climbers side is much more likely to affect the cam than if the device was at waist height.

As to other points:

I can't see how any random chain is any less or more safe than any random pipe and biner.

If I had to blindly trust a single locking biner or a knot tied by a person on their first day climbing, I'd take the biner every time. The odds of a problem with the biner are acceptably small, and admittedly could be reduced by using a second, but the odds of a newcomer tying a knot incorrectly are much higher. Petzl warns against, but does not prohibit using a single biner in the picture above.

TE


csproul


Nov 28, 2012, 9:51 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
camhead wrote:

What I'm saying is that, while this is silly, and is for reasons more of convenience and organization than purely safety, there is nothing inherently wrong or against Trango and Petzl's recommendations in anchoring devices to the floor.

from PETZL ...

Belaying with the GRIGRI anchored to the ground: WARNING, Danger!


This technique is strongly discouraged because it has been the root cause of many ground falls. In fact, if the GRIGRI is positioned at the wrong height for the belayer, he risks involuntarily blocking the cam and preventing it from braking the rope.

In addition, with a GRIGRI anchored to the ground, controlling the descent is more difficult than with the GRIGRI on the belayer because the weight of the climber cannot be felt.


if an accident should happen, id hate to be the gym that went against the manufacturers recommendation ...


Wink


[image]http://www.petzl.com/files/fckfiles/image/product-experience/GRIGRI2/assure-au-sol.gif[/image]
That scenario cannot happen if the Grigri is attached to the floor AND the harness, which is what camhead is saying.

I'd definitely not like the Cinch or Grgri ONLY attached to the floor, but I'm fine with attaching it to both the harness and the floor (in fact, our local gym does just this).

I also don't like the idea of clipping in with a single biner of any kind. Too easy to not get it fully clipped or have the gate partially blocked. The local campus gym has been closed for more than 6 months due to an accident in which this was the likely cause (on an auto-belay). In a gym setting, it is too easy for this to happen and I would not rely on the average gym client to ensure that the gate is locked and correct. Two O&O biners go a long way towards alleviating this concern.


(This post was edited by csproul on Nov 28, 2012, 9:56 AM)


bearbreeder


Nov 28, 2012, 9:59 AM
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csproul wrote:
That scenario cannot happen if the Grigri is attached to the floor AND the harness, which is what camhead is saying.

I'd definitely not like the Cinch or Grgri ONLY attached to the floor, but I'm fine with attaching it to both the harness and the floor (in fact, our local gym does just this).

ahhh ... but the OP indicated that its attached solely to the floor ... and that was what he meant on the first post ...

obviously there isnt a problem anchoring yourself .... if there was no one would use these devices on multi Wink


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Nov 28, 2012, 10:00 AM)


bearbreeder


Nov 28, 2012, 10:03 AM
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jeskandarian wrote:
Yes, people are belaying with the Cinch attached to the floor only. It is not attached to the belayer's harness.

This was what I found most troubling about the setup.

do they use a 3 stage locker? ... that is it takes 3 actions to unlock ... for example, push up, twist then push the gate in?


jeskandarian


Nov 28, 2012, 10:23 AM
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No, just a thread lock carabiner for both the belay-device-to-anchor and the climber-to-rope connections. And I do see the point that this is probably more dependable than a first-time user's knot yet still questionable.

I imagine it is a difficult balancing act for any gym owner to balance 100% safety and the need to provide a welcoming environment for beginners and kids.

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