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Multipitch stuff: What's in your bag (of tricks)? (Read 25129 times)

Paul B

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People will get bored of me saying 'in Madagascar' soon, but until that point, I was wondering what the good people of this parish carry with them on MP (day) routes?

It sounds daft but in Riglos I recently found a knife in a chimney (I'd been meaning to buy one for a while) which made it's way onto the back of my harness. When I was away I found myself needing to replace a LOT of worn cord/slings etc. in fact some of the belays were so congested that with the maillons left from various parties (all worryingly small) and cord (often it looked like the end of someone's rope i.e. fat), there wasn't room to get a biner directly in the bolt.

Likewise (maybe this is all getting a bit UKC), but how are people abbing? I've always considered extending the belay plate away from myself a little bit Euro (mine's usually on the belay loop with my prussik on my leg loop) but I'm acutely aware of the issues with my setup after a few debates with a Frenchman (i.e. lifting the leg accidentally).

Using the rope for the belay also nearly bit us once or twice as when the pitch said 60m they weren't kidding (there's nothing like your partner counting you down to "Off belay" before you've clipped the anchor). I was pretty pleased with my choice of 8mm ropes in the end. One was hard work to pull once (self-inflicted, I should've just replaced the tat rather than threading both bolts/maillons) and I was glad I hadn't risked the 7.5mm. I also took a fairly large fall after breaking a hold and wasn't overly upset by the amount of stretch/distance traveled.

Are people using the Petzl adjust as their tether? etc.

spidermonkey09

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I do not do a lot of multipitching or abbing but when I do:

- standard prussik setup as you've described.
- a small knife lives in the pocket of my chalkbag for situations like the one you describe.
- one mulitpitch in Ailefroide recently was enough to convince me that when I next plan to do some bolted multitpitching a connect adjust will be the first thing I buy!

Paul B

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- one mulitpitch in Ailefroide recently was enough to convince me that when I next plan to do some bolted multitpitching a connect adjust will be the first thing I buy!

Bolters seem to vary the distance above the ledge/mildly-comfortable feature for fun in my experience.

dunnyg

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I usually take a couple of extendy (60cm slings trippled over) quickdraws and then if abbing will use this to extend belay plate for abbing, seems to work pretty well.
Also knife and a couple of prussics that sit on a screwgate. Prefer no bag if possible so the 2nd often has coats/water clipped to harness.
Not got one of those adjust things, I always like to be clipped into both bolts, is the idea you just clove hitch the rope into the other or just be cool and use 1 bolt? Tend to just use the rope and a few biners.

This is a very UKC thread

Paul B

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This is a very UKC thread

Sorry it is but I'm becoming increasingly aware of my own mortality (and TBH with the whole  :sick: :shit: I've had a fair amount of unplanned free time this past week).

No, they're conveniently linked with a chain (as that's always the case):


Duncan campbell

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I personally wouldnít bother with the tether thing as it seems like an additional bit of kit. I would use the rope though have never come across the situation you described... not ideal but surely a single clovehitch to the belay wonít make that much difference!? (I usually do the whole equalise the bolts thing but if it was a rope stretcher Iíd certainly be undoing these leaving just one)

I abb with a 120 sling larksfooted with a knot tied halfway. My belay plate goes in the first section and then I have a screwie on the end. As I get to an anchor I clip the screwie in and ďhey, prestoĒ Iím attached. Then when I leave the belay I clip the screwie into the rope Iím pulling (if on halves). Prussia goes on belay loop so you donít go all wonky Abbing. Worth thinking about halfway knot position as if you are having to deviate your abseil due to steep rock or traversey abseils having the plate too high is a right PITA.

Sure you do this but once Iím down at a stance I start threading the rope that we are pulling into the anchor and as it pulls it gets pulled through here too. Minimising potentially for a) dropping the rope  :sick: and b) forgetting which you are pulling.

Iíd take a knife and tat in future.

In taghia we climbed on a single and tagged a small bag up on a skinny half. Which worked well and meant we had two full strength ropes for abbing (not that we did any). Would buy a minitraxion for this if I was going to do loads. Doubles up as useful for rescuing though be warned it has limitations. Can be easy to fuck yourself over with it and although you can get out of it it takes some rope knowledge and lateral thinking which you might not have in a rescue situation. Some cavers hauled an injured caver on one and they got stuck. They kept hauling and got the rope tight and couldnít work out how to release him. He died. Itís actually quite simple to sort out once you have done it but not obvious.

As has been mentioned a few slingdraws and/or slings.

I quite like the overhand knot way of coiling ropes as itís easy to swap over if swapping leads and is nice and neat. Nice to have a couple of big spare but light leans for this.

In taghia we also led with a guide plate and used that to belay the second then took the gri-gri off the second at the stance and they took the guide plate as they left.

Sure you have a few tricks up your sleeve too!

Paul B

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... not ideal but surely a single clovehitch to the belay wonít make that much difference!? (I usually do the whole equalise the bolts thing but if it was a rope stretcher Iíd certainly be undoing these leaving just one)

It wasn't like we'd been excessive in our use. Imagine a curving pitch with a 60m ab back to the belay. That. We had one ab that was denoted 61m which with brand new 60m ropes we ended up 5m or so (from the ground thankfully).

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Sure you do this but once Iím down at a stance I start threading the rope that we are pulling into the anchor and as it pulls it gets pulled through here too. Minimising potentially for a) dropping the rope  :sick: and b) forgetting which you are pulling.

We're lucky (or I am at least; when I get hungry I can be a bit of an ass so I'm not sure the feeling is mutual) in that we always climb together (i.e. same ropes, same kit) so we've taken to always starting with pulling the 'yellow' rope. It's pretty easy to figure out where you are later on when you inevitably forget (it's amazing how quickly this happens when tired).

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I quite like the overhand knot way of coiling ropes as itís easy to swap over if swapping leads and is nice and neat. Nice to have a couple of big spare but light leans for this.

It's a bit frustrating that usually the stuff we do has stuff Nat is technically competent to climb but as these tend to be the easier pitches, they're often far more run-out. The result is the lion's share of the leading still rests with me which means a lot of changing over.

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Sure you have a few tricks up your sleeve too!

I'm not sure really. Mainly just not f*cking around on belays and not taking too much kit. Carrying sweets seems to have been a bit of a breakthrough in that we actually take the time to eat something instead of not doing (protein bars :sick:) all day and then having a blazing row 1p from the top/floor.

2:1 hauling for in the states (a bit outside the scope of this post) was perfect for me but took some learning (Micro-traxion was brilliant for this).

On one route recently it was necessary for the leader to either continue to the first bolt above the belay or for the second to stop below the belay as the 1st bolt of the next pitch was stupidly high (with non-trivial climbing).

ghisino

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I have a small bag  99% of the time.

Essentially with some tat/slings, a couple of maillons, a pharmacy kit, emergency blanket.

really small trango knife and microtrax always on my harness. the micro is very useful with a struggling second...

if i choose a single rope+hauling line setup, i tend to use a microtrax for belaying the second as well. (petzl doesn't reccomend this as the micro is rated to 4 kN, basically you shouldn't have too much slack in the system in case the second falls)

Duncan campbell

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Re the fact that you do the lions share of the leading stacking the ropes up with knots as Nat seconds you will make change overs piss. (Wasnít clear of you do this yet or not).

Itís kind of hard to explain but Iíll it a go. (Sorry if this is teaching you to suck eggs.)

Take in rope as normal.

When you would normally loopier onto the other side of your belay loop/leg/foot/etc do an overhand with a big loop* and clip it to a krab on the belay (which you cleverly put there ready.)

Continue taking in slack. Repeating with the knots at appropriate intervals (if you know you are swapping you can make the loops bigger as you go or smaller if you are swinging)

Once youíre partner arrives get them happy at the stance.

Then take one of their special rope stacking krabs and clip it through all the loops you have clipped with your krab but with the gate the opposite way.

Now I clip your krab, spin theirs round and clip to the belay and ďhey prestoĒ the ropes will run nicely with you on top  :2thumbsup:

*using a big loop means you can fit more into your krab without the knots all getting in each otherís way. Also if using doubles do one knot in both ropes and clip ONE loop.

Good drills always starting with same coloured rope but would still recommend threading the rope to be pulled as it basically means that once you have pulled the rope it is ready to abb on immediately. (Again sorry if you do this you were unclear if you did or not.) 

Hope that made sense. Iím sure some actual Multipitch ninja will be along with some better tricks or to tell me mine are shit :)



bigironhorse

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screwie

 :sick: definitely a UKC thread now!


Overhand knots to avoid pulling the rope through at each belay a great idea. Can't believe ive never heard of this.

Duncan campbell

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i refuse to be shamed for my shortening of screwgate karabiners.

dunnyg

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Tether just seems like an extra bit of faff to be honest. If they were free I might try one though. Rope coil alternative sounds interesting, not sure when I will next get to try it though.

tomtom

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i refuse to be shamed for my shortening of screwgate karabiners.

Scabs?

Will Hunt

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The overhand rope coiling thing sounds kind of interesting but also kind of like extra faff for relatively little gain. I presume it's most useful on bolted belays when you have a convenient single point of attachment that's in a nice convenient place? And if you're having to stop to tie a knot every few metres then you must be using a guide plate or a GriGri? And then your partner is having to unclip and untie those knots as you progress?


It's fairly obvious but one of those ultra-light wind/shower proof pullovers is worth it's weight in gold. The ones that scrunch up into themselves to about the size of a wallet. Tagged onto the back of your harness, they weigh nothing but create a little cocoon of warmth around you at belays. Temperature has a big influence on psyche and getting scared for me. If I'm boiling my way up a pitch in a jumper then I'm going to get dry mouth and the fear will set in. If I have to freeze in a t-shirt on belays then psyche is going to evaporate.

duncan

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I carry a single edge razor blade duct-taped to the back of my helmet. Iíve used it twice in the last five years for hacking abseil slings and itís perfectly fine for this. The duct tape itself can also be useful. I guess if you expected a lot of knackered tat to deal with youíd take a proper knife.

Extending the attachment point for the abseil device with a long sling as DC suggests is pretty much routine for me now. The only significant downside Iím aware of is the increased risk of long hair catching in the device. Iíve experimented with leashes and they simplify matters a little on multiple abseils or when leading in blocks on fixed anchors but Iím not sure a single-use tool like an Adjust is necessary unless youíre doing a huge amount of this. A Purcell prusik give a little adjustability and can be used as a long sling or chopped-up for abseil tat.

Iíve not heard of using a microtrax to belay. Whatís the advantage over a guide plate?

Some US climbers advocate following the fixed lead line with a microtrax self-belay. This frees the leader to haul or whatever but is a pretty specialist application.   https://www.climbing.com/skills/advanced-techniques-follow-on-toprope-solo/

Johnny Brown

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It's not that UKC as it's not mostly newbs passing on just-learned info like they're the experts.

Stuff I do:

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It's fairly obvious but one of those ultra-light wind/shower proof pullovers is worth it's weight in gold.

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Carrying sweets seems to have been a bit of a breakthrough

YES. Even at Gogarth. In mountains or winter keeping blood sugar up is the key to enjoyment. Also carry a gel or two (on tof of lunch) if the route is long enough to take a bag. Nominally for emergencies but can really cheer up the abs.

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we've taken to always starting with pulling the 'yellow' rope.

Or 'Pull Pink' as we do it. Another benefit of this is it tends to wear one rope more (the not pink one) so you can stagger replacing one half every few years.

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I've always considered extending the belay plate away from myself a little bit Euro (mine's usually on the belay loop with my prussik on my leg loop)

I also stick with the leg loop as it's always worked and I've never had issues with it, and knotting modern slings is not a habit I want to get into it (dyneema is very slippery which means knots create very tight radiuses which massively weaken them (>50%) and are hard to undo). Not sure about a bit euro I always had it down as a bit Plas-y-brenin.

On very long routes or with hanging (usually bolted) belays a tether is a good idea - more for the ab than the climb. A 60cm sling lark's footed into my belay loop has always done the job, but I'd consider a Petzl adjustable one for the Verdon or similar. I do use and rate the industrial versions at work. If you're swinging leads and not abbing multi-pitch a clove hitch in the lead line is just as good and less clutter.

Stacking ropes I either go for a pile on the ledge if there is one, or dangle big loops. All you have to do is ensure is each loop is smaller than the last and they shouldn't tangle. I did try the knot thing at one point then forgot about it. I might resort to it if the ropes were twisted up to eff by some mega ab. You don't have much else to do on the belay so minding the loops ain't a big deal ime.

The main thing about being quick is making changeovers efficient. So as a leader have the rack tidy and accessible when your second arrives. As a second re-rack the gear as you remove it. I also find this helps stop me slipping into sloppy second mentality where you climb like shit. As second you should have boots on, chalked up and half the belay out before your leader shouts safe.

Gear wise the DMM pivot has been the breakthrough of recent years for me. Handles skinnies as well as a fat ab rope, lots of control on either, finally solves the lowering second dilemma of the guideplate. Bit heavy but hey ho. Also has fat clip-in options so you can easily change on/off whilst keeping it attached.
Minitraxion is the emergency add-on, plus tibloc makes for a rope climbing kit and a hauling kit (plus revolver off extenda-draw), but also can rope-solo up ab or lead rope.

danm

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i refuse to be shamed for my shortening of screwgate karabiners.

How do you feel about using quickdraws to build and equalise a belay Duncan?

cheque

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Iíve taken an interest in multipitch for the first time in years recently so this is an interesting thread.

I also stick with the leg loop as it's always worked and I've never had issues with it,

Glad to read of someone else who doesnít extend their belay device- Iíd never heard of such a practice Ďtil I read this thread yesterday and it seems itís just to stop your prusik getting caught in the device? Pretty sure that would have happened to me already if it was going to.

Iíd need to see a video of that overhand knot method to understand it- sounds like madness to me (youíve got to untie knots in the rope as you belay a leader?!) but there must be something Iím missing. A few weeks ago I was really proud of myself for coming up with a method where I looped the ropes through a carabiner attached to the belay but that pride dissipated rapidly as the crab became full of rope and jammed necessitating stopping on lead for five minutes shortly afterwards while my exasperated partner untangled it all- I imagine itís a workable version of what I was trying to do then but I just canít picture it.

Everyoneís talking about guide plates- are they really that good? Iíve always seen them as something that I can do without as I try to avoid situations where I lead multiple climbers up routes- what am I missing?

Johnny Brown

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Main benefit of a guide plate is you don't have to hold the rope, it's self-locking. Also means you can clip it into the belay direct whilst you do other stuff on the ledge. Really helpful with two seconds but useful with one too.

Both makes escaping the system easier, and it can be turned straight into a haul system, though this is largely theoretical for most.

Main drawback is the difficulty of overcoming the lock for lowering the second, which the pivot solves.

Paul B

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Good drills always starting with same coloured rope but would still recommend threading the rope to be pulled as it basically means that once you have pulled the rope it is ready to abb on immediately.

Yeah we're on with this already. You also learn the hard way where the knot should and shouldn't be if you lower off any old ring bolts. I'll give the overhands a go at some point I guess, there's nothing lost.

I carry a single edge razor blade duct-taped to the back of my helmet.

https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/3/2017/10/peaky-blinders-c65205c.jpg?quality=90&resize=620,413

"A flight to Kalymnos was grounded today after a passenger was found with a razor blade taped to a helmet within his hand luggage..."

I once tried the Purcell Prussik and wasn't sold, it slipped when I leaned across the belay (for my sweets no doubt). This resulted in a monetary  :shit:

Cheque - around 7:30


Guide plates are amazing (Reverso 4 for me). You can basically be a bit slacker (it's also less tiring) when on the belay, eat, drink, sort out your mess of ropes etc. I recently climbed something fairly big in a three and obviously it made life a lot easier/quicker.

Duncan campbell

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Yeah worth trying the overhands out. I think they work really well for bolted Multipitch as like was said above you can keep the ropes out of your way.

The belayer has to undo the knots as the leader climbs but if Iím honest as long as you are on it itís never seemed that much more faffy than sorting out the rope looped over you. You just unclip the loop then undo it and drop it.

Might work for you might not. I liked it in taghia and we were swinging leads

bubbles

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When staking ropes: Tie half hitches instead of over hand knots, they fall out when you take them out of the krab, so no faff untieing. Also start with big loops and make them smaller and smaller. This prevents tangles.

The Petzl Knife chops through tat quicker, and is better for making butties, than the little Trango one. A DMM bugette is worth having clipped to the back of you harness too.

When doing multi-pitch raps I don't like tieing knots in the ends of my ropes, as they get stuck in stuff and you have to remember to untie them at each belay. Instead I clove hitch both ends to me and clip them to my harness. Good for absieling at busy UK crags too.

Little elastic shoe leashes are worth adding too... I have dropped two shoes relatively recently. Very annoying!

On a wet day chop an old set off halfs into 4m lengths and you've got several years of free abseil tat.



Muenchener

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I also stick with the leg loop as it's always worked and I've never had issues with it,

Glad to read of someone else who doesnít extend their belay device- Iíd never heard of such a practice Ďtil I read this thread yesterday and it seems itís just to stop your prusik getting caught in the device?

That, plus krab-against-buckle leverage if you have adjustable leg loops.

jwi

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Everything I do has already been mentioned, I think.

Like Johnny B I always carry sweets or, preferably, caffeinated sugar gels.

Not carrying a Petzl Adjust on a bolted multipitch would just seem bisarre to me. Some old-school affection maybe?

A few years ago I changed rapping system and now I extend the belay plate with a shoulder length sling, keeping the prussic on the belay loop. I found this much more comfortable than keeping the prussic on the leg loop, but I doubt that it can ever make a real difference.

I will never climb with a small pack on my back again, unless I'm clearly the strongest climber in a team of three doing an easy route.  The leader climbs with a zip-line (a skinny half works well for a small pack imho). The micro traction is the most convenient way to haul a light pack, and useful for many other things, but I find that a tibloc on a biner work well most of the time. Like this, but with the tibloc oriented the correct way (and without the leg loopĖsurely no one is that weak):
https://www.climbing.com/skills/tech-tip-alpine-hauling-sense/

On most of the long routes I'm doing nowadays I'm leading on a single, in which case using a half rope for hauling ads a lot of safety. When leading on a single I do no longer accept being belayed by something else than a gri-gri*. When tied in to a belay the forces on the belayers hand is much higher for much longer than with single pitch climbing. I had a second almost drop me when they burned their hand from belaying me with an amish device taking a moderately sized fall (no more than 15m) on a skinny single. I climb with a grigri and a belay plate and a lightweight belay device (so three devices for two climbers) when climbing in a team of two.

Belaying the second with a micro traxion is even more convenient than with a guide plate, but I think this should be left for low angle terrain where you never have to lower a second. This is a bad habit that has spread from lazy mountain guides in the alps to the general climbing population. IMHO, of course.

A Spanish mountain guide taught me the method described above stacking the ropes with knots in a large biner, and he claimed it was brilliant because the clients often let go with both hands when taking selfies on the belay and the knots create a back up. Other than that it sounds like a good method in general. Will try it next time maybe.

Since I got caught on the belay in a brutal thunderstorm with my ultra-light wind/shower proof pullover in the haulbag I always keep it on my harness.

I keep 10m of 6mm cord, two mid-size wires, and a tiny knife in the haulbag, hoping that this will get me down if I miss the rap line.

----
* Maybe there are other devices as safe as the GriGri, but there is certainly none other that has stood the test of time. Except the HMS I suppose. (If it didn't tangle the rope so bad, I would be happy to let people belay me with the HMS).

jwi

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I should add that the multi pitch stuff I do is almost exclusively on vertical limestone. On low angle granite I wouldn't be as keen hauling, I'm sure.

 

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