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turtlewomyn


Mar 10, 2003, 5:17 AM
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I am a 140lb woman who ends up belaying for 180-220 lb men sometimes. Are there special belay devices for this? I have thought that I had seen a woman using one at the gym, and in another one of my posts someone mentioned a Gri-gri. The only belay devices I have used are those simple in-expensive ones that use a beaner. Are there many others out there? How do they work? What brands do you suggest?
Thanks.


markf


Mar 10, 2003, 6:48 AM
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The whole point of any belay device is that it will let you belay someone bigger than you, or let you hold a long leader fall where large forces are involved. If you are using the belay device properly you will have no problem catching your portly partners. When I was teaching top rope classes at the local climbing wall I would demonstrate this by having the smallest person in the class (usually a <110 lb female) belay me (170 lbs), and I would jump off half way up the climb. My other demo was to have the entire class try to pull the rope through the belay device while I held the rope with one hand.

If you're concerned about getting pulled off the ground when your partner falls, anchor yourself into the ground by your belay loop. Keep in mind that if you're belaying a leader on a severely overhanging route, getting pulled into the air will reduce the leader's tendency to pendulum into the wall.

If you're top roping in the gym, many gyms wrap the top rope around a pipe at the top of the climb an extra turn to provide extra friction, reducing the chance of getting pulled into the air.

Gri-Gris are nice, they require a little less effort and attention than conventional belay devices, but they are not a substitute for an attentive, competent belayer. Stick to conventional belay devices.


ecocliffchick


Mar 10, 2003, 7:08 AM
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I definitely suggest using a Gri Gri. When I belay my partner (50 lbs heavier) I find that during lead falls I will always get yanked around a bit. Should you trip or get bashed into the rock for some reason, it's nice to know the gri gri will lock up. It takes about a day to get used to belaying a leader properly with a gri gri as it does not want to feed out slack, but once you've mastered it you will never go back.


josephine


Mar 10, 2003, 7:32 AM
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Me too i will definetely suggest you the gri-gri[[never].I belay men that weight more than me,once i belayed a huge guy[i was 56kg,he was 100kg].It's about the technique you use when you belay.Such as the position you have to take if that guy weight more than you.

For example,when he wants to lower him down,you'll have to find the center of the gravity,sometimes it's better to go close to the wall.


Partner cracklover


Mar 10, 2003, 9:39 AM
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I weigh ~145, and have belayed some big boys. Kind of hard to help you out, though. Can you be any more specific than "The only belay devices I have used are those simple in-expensive ones that use a beaner"? Do you mean you're simply belaying with a biner using a munter hitch? Or are you using a belay plate, an ATC, or a Gri-gri?

Thanks,

GO


turtlewomyn


Mar 10, 2003, 10:56 AM
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That's right, an ATC. I was trying to think of the word for it (I haven't learned all of the lingo to the sub culture of rock climbing) :oops: . I use an ATC and a biner. I was belaying for this 220 pound guy a couple of weeks ago (by the way, I only do top rope so far, almost always on an outdoor wall at my university). He was trying to fix some of the spinning holds on the wall and wanted to "sit down" so that he could do this. He climbed up above the holds in question, and then fell down to get into position. I flew up into the air a couple of feet, luckily another woman grabbed on to the back of my harness. The two of us managed to outweigh him. My brake hand got tired holding him up there though. I don't know if I need to modify my belay technique, get new equipment, or climb with people who think about safety more.


Partner wideguy


Mar 10, 2003, 1:03 PM
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I myself fall into the portly category, aw hell, just plain big, I use the Trango Jaws. basic tuber type device used but has two little V notches cut in one side. Great for catching 220+ guys like myself or if you're using thin ropes. For less friction and easier lowering, just run the ropes through the non-"V" side. Works awesome. Another manufacturer has a similar model, forget the name now


mwbtle


Mar 10, 2003, 1:20 PM
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Using an ATC type device is fine. You mentioned that the main problem was flying into the air... You either need to anchor in (which many gyms require anyway) or learn to catch with your legs, which I actually don't know how to do, so I can't tell you how to do it. Belaying with a gri-gri is nice for things where you need to hold someone in the air, like you mentioned, but you can't take your brake hand off no matter what you use, so really, the hand strain is just something to get used to. It may help to get something like the Trango Jaws, as wideguy mentioned, because you won't need as much force to hold the fall. But otherwise, there really isn't anything else you can do about it.


Partner cracklover


Mar 10, 2003, 1:58 PM
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turtlewomyn - thanks, that helps! I know all the terminology is overwhelming. I just learned the difference between a runner and a sling - after 5 years of climbing!

To the best of my knowledge, none of the belay devices will make you much heavier, so the only way to keep from getting jerked around is to follow the advice of markf and others - anchor yourself down. When I'm in the gym, I pretty much always do this. Not everyone outweighs me, but it's just a matter of habit.

If you're going to be in this situation where you're holding folks for a long time pretty often - there's several ways to make things easier on yourself. One is simple - buy a gri-gri. Yes, you have to keep your brake hand on the brake end rope, but since the gri-gri is cammed shut, you don't need to do any work to keep the rope from sliding. The other solutions work with your current belay device. Technique 1 - Take the brake end of the rope, pass it around your hip and under your butt, and hold it with your other hand. The friction the rope gains by running around your body means that you need almost no force to hold it. I know it sounds awkward, but it's actually quite comfortable. Technique 2 - If the climber is really going to be sitting there for a while, take the rope from your brake hand, and form a bight (that's a loop of rope). Then tie an overhand knot in it, and clip that to your leg loop. Even if somehow the rope came unclipped from the biner, the knot would jam in the belay device.

Hope some of that is useful. Best of luck!

GO


cerikpete


Mar 10, 2003, 1:58 PM
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Using two biners instead of one (w/ an ATC) can also increase friction, so it's easier to hold someone up.


josephine


Mar 10, 2003, 10:50 PM
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I don't know if I need to modify my belay technique, get new equipment, or climb with people who think about safety more.

I will say just what i've learned from my instructor.I think it's your technique,how to belay the big guys.There are some positions that you have to take when a person weight more than you.What i do when i belay ppl that weight more than me is to go close to the wall,as close as it's possible,that helps to control your weight from your partners weight.[I know that only to the gym and it's always accordingly to the route]


gekko


Mar 12, 2003, 11:06 AM
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I am abt 118lbs, my partner is abt 180. I usually anchor in when he climbs to keep me from flying up, when don't I try to stay underneath his first protection point. The fall is easier on your climber if you do not anchor though (as markf said, decreases pendulum potential, better distributes the load). If you do anchor,always anchor from a girth hitch or the belay loop. Anchoring from the back or side of your harness will squeeze the breath out of you in a long fall, among other things.

I use a Trango Jaws because there is just enough extra friction provided by the v-notches to hold the break line easier. If your partner is going to be on the wall for a longer time give the break line a wrap around your leg or back. When my partner is weighting the rope, even if it's only a few seconds, I found the easiest way to hold him is just to take whichever hand is not holding the breakline and cup it over my belay device, holding the rope and the device together. No problem.


gekko


Mar 12, 2003, 11:08 AM
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I would like to add that nothing beats an attentive belayer. Even if you do use a gri-gri (I do sometimes) belay devices are not full proof and your climber should always get your full attention.


wlderdude


May 2, 2003, 9:51 PM
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I have almost always weighed less than those who I belay.

I have some bad news for you. If you want to stay on the ground you don't want a device that grabs. A Grigri will hoist you up in the air faster than your ATC. If you want more friction to hold someone (like if they will be hangdogging), using the pointier side of a pear shaped biner will help.

If you want to not get jerked into the air, you have to belay DYNAMICALY. I don't suggest intentionally letting rope slip through your ATC, but jump slightly when a fall occurs. If you lock off a little further back towards your hip, you actually can let the rope slide in a bit when a fall occurs and the belay will be far more dynamic. Be CERTAIN you can hold the fall, though. It takes a little more forearm strength to belay dynamically than staiclly.

The type of rope used will of course make a difference. A staic rope will really pull you up hard. A dynamic rope will be much nicer to you and the climber. Some gyms use a semi-static line.

The advice to get right under the climb is good. It is really easy to pull somone up from a stance furtehr away than straight up under a climb.

It is not pleasant being lifted off the ground and having your abdomen pinched off from being anchored in. But sometimes it is the safest way to go.


katydid


May 3, 2003, 5:44 AM
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I had an interesting situation a couple of weeks ago where I was catching my partner, who weighs about 50 pounds more than I do, repeatedly, using an ATC, on the crux of a sport climb he ended up bailing off of.

To sidetrack for a moment: Oddly enough, I "go up" catching him if he falls on toprope, but I've never left the ground catching him on sport or trad -- I just sit back in my harness, brace my legs (mind you, my legs take a size XL harness and my waist takes a M -- YMMV), and take one big step forward right as he hits the bottom of the fall. I've never come close to hitting the wall, he gets a fairly soft catch, and the only time I will agree to use an anchor on the ground is if there's a hill behind me that I could fall down.

However, making about half a dozen catches (about a 10' fall) and holding a rather lengthy hang or two (locking off with both hands during the hangs) left me with a badly pulled muscle in my right hand. Even setting up Ye Olde ATC for a bit of extra friction. So I switched to a GriGri that weekend, simply because my hand hurt too much to catch on an ATC. There's a bit of a learning curve if you haven't lead belayed on one before, but it's not too bad.

The thing was, I could still lock off with the GriGri (which I do out of habit), but I didn't have to hang on like hell, because the GriGri could take up some of the shock of the fall before it got to my hand. As much as I don't like/trust GriGris, I plan to use one for lead belaying heavier partners from here on out.

FWIW,

k.
Hater of Belay Anchors


enigma


May 3, 2003, 1:03 PM
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In reply to:
I had an interesting situation a couple of weeks ago where I was catching my partner, who weighs about 50 pounds more than I do, repeatedly, using an ATC, on the crux of a sport climb he ended up bailing off of.

To sidetrack for a moment: Oddly enough, I "go up" catching him if he falls on toprope, but I've never left the ground catching him on sport or trad -- I just sit back in my harness, brace my legs (mind you, my legs take a size XL harness and my waist takes a M -- YMMV), and take one big step forward right as he hits the bottom of the fall. I've never come close to hitting the wall, he gets a fairly soft catch, and the only time I will agree to use an anchor on the ground is if there's a hill behind me that I could fall down.

However, making about half a dozen catches (about a 10' fall) and holding a rather lengthy hang or two (locking off with both hands during the hangs) left me with a badly pulled muscle in my right hand. Even setting up Ye Olde ATC for a bit of extra friction. So I switched to a GriGri that weekend, simply because my hand hurt too much to catch on an ATC. There's a bit of a learning curve if you haven't lead belayed on one before, but it's not too bad.

The thing was, I could still lock off with the GriGri (which I do out of habit), but I didn't have to hang on like hell, because the GriGri could take up some of the shock of the fall before it got to my hand. As much as I don't like/trust GriGris, I plan to use one for lead belaying heavier partners from here on out.

FWIW,

k.
Hater of Belay Anchors

I have been using the ATC for outside for about 18months(since I started climbing) But when I started recently going to an indoor gym in the last month for extra night climbing,( they have us all use an gri-gri. )
I am strong and using an ATC- has never been a problem, but the gri-gri is useful especially when someone hangs alot or falls. :wink:
Now belaying someone on lead, is more complicated with a gri-gri, someone tried to belay me the other night on lead, and I was almost pulled off the wall.I am sure it was due to his lack of experience with the device of the gri-gri(not anything that couldn't be learned) :P
You might also try to assume a stance when belaying someone who is heavy ,pushing you feet against a rock or something. :idea:
Do try an anchor as well,it might save you getting pulled in or up, especially if aren't feeling secure in any way. It is always better to be on the safer side, and if you tire easily or pull muscles than an necessity.
Most importantly lower slowly with the gri-gri(don't open up the device all the way) your partner will hit the ground.
:evil:

Like all things it will come in time in climbing, just admitting you have questions and need explanations is a great asset. :!: :!: good luck


climbingbetty22


May 4, 2003, 12:41 AM
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For those of you who aren't so keen on belay anchors... :?:
I NEVER belay without being anchored in. A falling climber generates a ton of force.(Obviously falling leaders generate more force than top-roped climbers just by physics.) That stuff has got to go somewhere. It gets absorbed by the pieces that are placed, by the rope and even the climber's body. But some of that also gets transmitted to the belayer's body..ie you get yanked up. If you're anchor is the proper length and you are standing in the direction of pull, being anchored in should be no more uncomfortable than the tightening of your harness when you catch the fall. That goes whether you are climbing sport or trad.
If you ditch belay anchors because they are "uncomfortable," think through some of the repercussions of not being anchored in when things go wrong. How comfortable will that be?
You can improve belay anchors by doing several things.
1.) Anchor in with the rope. Set up your anchor, tie in to the opposite end of the rope as the climber. Pick a stance that is comfortable and then tie the rope in to the anchors so that there is not 'slack' in the system between you and the anchor. If the anchor is already tight, then it is already loaded, at least partially. If you leave slack in the system, then yes, when the leader falls and that system tightens up it will be very uncomfortable. The fact that people use static elements like, cordelette and webbing to set of anchors does not help make it more comfortable. By anchoring in with the rope, you can take advantage of dynamic quality of the rope to prevent an uncomfortbale jerk on your harness in the event of a fall.
2.) Aim the belay. Determine what direction you will be pulled when a fall occurs. Stand in line between the anchor and the direction of force. If you are standing 3 feet to the left of the direction of pull belaying and the leader falls, you are going to experience a very uncomfortable jerk back to the right and basically, the climber's weight tightening the system will force you to go inline with the direction of pull. But if you are already in line with it, well then you don't experience that uncomfortable jerk.
Really, if you do it correctly, anchoring in should be no more uncomfortable than making several 'catches' of a leader. And considering the safety risk involved in not anchoring in, it's so worth it. These are standard practices that should be practiced by all climbers regardless. They are explained in any introductory rock climbing text, but it is a great idea to have a competent individual at your gym or a certified guide show you this.

And in regards to belaying a leader with a Gri-Gri... It is not the greatest idea ever. You have to be able to feed the rope to your leader smoothly and effectively. Otherwise, you as the belayer are more of a liability than anything else as you are very likely to pull them off. The optimal situation is that a second belays off their harness with a belay device. Their weight is counter to the force of the falling climber. If the belayer is not heavy enough to resist that force alone, they should add an upward-resistant piece to the anchor. Gri-gris are more effectively use for bringing up seconds.

have fun, but more importantly, BE SAFE...better to live to climb another day than be next year's winner of the Darwin Award. :)


rockzen


May 4, 2003, 7:08 PM
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In reply to:
Me too i will definetely suggest you the gri-gri[[never].I belay men that weight more than me,once i belayed a huge guy[i was 56kg,he was 100kg].It's about the technique you use when you belay.Such as the position you have to take if that guy weight more than you.

For example,when he wants to lower him down,you'll have to find the center of the gravity,sometimes it's better to go close to the wall.

i agree... it is better to be closer to the wall. A lot of people belay further from the wall, and while it might be a little more comfortable, it isn't as safe for a couple of reasons...

when the climber falls, the belayer will be pulled towards the wall. The closer the belayer is to the wall, the more perpendicular the rope is going to the climber, and so the horizontal component of the force felt by the belayer is smaller.

when the belayer is pulled into the wall, there is a risk that they may let go with their break hand, and this could be especially bad if not using an autolocking belay device.

as well, in crowded gyms, it is possible that the belayer is pulled into the wall, and they hit another person on the way.

being pulled into the wall also means that the climber will fall that much further, and if close to the ground, he/she might hit the groud - easy enough to break an ankle if not worse... :shock:

i haven't had too many troubles with this, but it is certainly something to keep in mind, particularly when the climber is much heavier than the belayer.

RockZen


rockzen


May 4, 2003, 7:24 PM
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In reply to:
I definitely suggest using a Gri Gri. When I belay my partner (50 lbs heavier) I find that during lead falls I will always get yanked around a bit. Should you trip or get bashed into the rock for some reason, it's nice to know the gri gri will lock up. It takes about a day to get used to belaying a leader properly with a gri gri as it does not want to feed out slack, but once you've mastered it you will never go back.

I've never done this before. Do you slowly pull the rope through the GriGri with the lock closed, or do you open the lock slightly?

As for practice, I suppose having the climber down-climb at a gym (TR) and using a GriGri would be the same?!? Yes??

As an aside, I recall reading somewhere that using a GriGri stops the rope more abruptly, thereby putting more stress on the system. They were saying that this is not recommended for Sport and Trad climbing. Thoughts?

RockZen


ecocliffchick


May 5, 2003, 9:08 AM
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When the climber is ascending, you keep the cam closed and slowly feed out slack like you would if someone was downclimbing. When the climber need some rope quickly (i.e. to make a clip) you can feed out a couple of arm loads of slack quite quickly by holding the camming device of the gri-gri together (disengaging it momentarily) with your break hand while pulling out slack with the guide hand. Be sure that your break hand is still maintaining contact with the break end of the rope as it feeds through. Once the slack is out, immediately return your break hand entirely to the break end of the rope.

Be sure to practice this technique before someone is out on the rock. You don't want to short someone while clipping, and you want to be sure you can catch them.

You never disengage the camming device by opening the lever!


sinorock


Jun 6, 2003, 5:09 PM
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I weigh 120 lb.
I wear leather gloves and use a reverso for belaying.
Gloves help a lot because I don't have to worry about the rope burn.

Ususally I tie myself to a tree or a rock.
But you will notice that once you get better, you can catch a lead fall of 10 feet without even moving your feet! This happened to me yesterday, after 14 months of climbing.


grigriese


Jun 9, 2003, 1:43 PM
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I am 130 and frequently climb with someone that weighs 210, my boyfriend is 180. I use a Trango Jaws or a Grigri and always wear gloves. The gloves help so much. I found that the rope would slip through an ATC and I would get nervous when I didn't wear gloves. Gloves make it a lot easier for my skinny fingers to grip the rope. I never ever anchor myself down anymore, I did in the very beginning. Instead I stand below the climber, off to the side until they get the second piece or draw in. And prepare myself for a ride if they fall. Seems to me that anchoring down the way I've seen most people do it places a lot of unnecessary force on the belay system.


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