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Multipitch stuff: What's in your bag (of tricks)? (Read 24994 times)

andy popp

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This thread makes me feel completely incompetent.

IanP

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This thread makes me feel completely incompetent.

I was thinking exactly the same, most of my multipitch experience is in UK (and a fair time ago) so possibly a lot of this is only moderately applicable but plenty is new to me  :-[

tomtom

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Me too! Quite happy just wondering where to put my bouldering pad.

And wondering if my fan has enough battery left 😱 😂

Paul B

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... and carrying a lightweight ATC, or similar device, separately for abseiling.

Just ab on the gri-gri and do a pull-down?

jwi

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Speaking of that, has anyone here used the Petzl RAD Line or the Edelrid RAP Line II doing pull downs?

kelvin

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I always use a sling to extend my belay device after twice getting my hair caught in it last year - after asking around, it seemed sensible. No issues when abseiling this year.

reeve

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I always use a sling to extend my belay device after twice getting my hair caught in it last year - after asking around, it seemed sensible. No issues when abseiling this year.

Can you explain how this works please? I would have thought that extending the belay plate away from your harness would put it closer to your head and so increase the risk of getting your hair caught.

TobyD

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I always use a sling to extend my belay device after twice getting my hair caught in it last year - after asking around, it seemed sensible. No issues when abseiling this year.

Can you explain how this works please? I would have thought that extending the belay plate away from your harness would put it closer to your head and so increase the risk of getting your hair caught.

Unless he means  extending it a very long way so its above head height? Either way it sounds  somewhat dubious to me,  unless I'm being unimaginative.  Five minutes with a set of hair clippers on grade 3 would deal with the problem!

Fultonius

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Speaking of that, has anyone here used the Petzl RAD Line or the Edelrid RAP Line II doing pull downs?

Not specifically those, but we have used a 6mm pull cord. We did 4 or 5 raps down steep ice and it worked "ok" (faffy, slow and annoying), but mates tried to rap back to the Stollenloch from the waterfall pitch on the Eiger and it got so consistently tangled, and was so hard to pull if there was any friction, that they gave up and did 30m raps on their single.

I think they most suited to alpine abseils mainly on snow/ice and when you basically expect not to be abseiling, but need to in a bind. Also shit in a storm, but you're all talcking summer multipitch. If it were me I'd probably go with a skinny single & 7.5mm tag/abseil line as it could still get you out a pickle if your main line gets cut.


Other points:

As per most other comments, I think you're best using a skinny sling with a knot in the middle for abseiling. I've almost always used a guide plate for belaying seconds, but don't often climb on a single. If I was, the gri-gri sounds sensible. (did that a bit in the states). While abseiling I clip by "clip in" crab on the long bit of the sling to the strand of rope I want threaded through the next ab station (otherwise I often forget red or blue?).

I often keep a 500-750mm ish water bottle (gatorade are ideal!) with duct tape/cord attachment on the back of my harness in hotter climes so that I can get a drink in while belaying the seconds up. I think if I was using a tag/haul I'd maybe forgo that as you'll have the pack up in no time.


« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 09:23:27 am by Fultonius »

jwi

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Thanks for confirming my suspicions

If it were me I'd probably go with a skinny single & 7.5mm tag/abseil line as it could still get you out a pickle if your main line gets cut.

This is the system I've used for ten years, and for pitches up to around 30-40m it works very well ó but on the very longest or hardest pitches I'd be keen to have a lighter tag line. I've seen that the pros usually forgo climbing with a haul line and just force a mate to follow with a pack with the extra rope in it... that's not an option for me.

cheque

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I fiddled about and extending the belay device with a 30cm sling larkís-footed onto the belay loop seems ideal for me- extends it enough to be able to put the prusik on the belay loop without having to tie knots in big nylon slings or have the device miles away- (hair getting caught up is not a problem for me) I have a 30cm sling already for some reason so Iíll try it out.

reeve

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I always use a sling to extend my belay device after twice getting my hair caught in it last year - after asking around, it seemed sensible. No issues when abseiling this year.

Can you explain how this works please? I would have thought that extending the belay plate away from your harness would put it closer to your head and so increase the risk of getting your hair caught.


Sorry my post wasn't clear, I meant how does extending your belay plate away from your harness help to keep your hair from getting caught. Surely if it is extended then it is closer to your hair, but if it is direct into your harness then there's no chance I could get my hair caught unless I had some ribs surgically removed to improve my flexibility. I'm not contesting any of the other benefits (although the few times I've found the extra faff to outweigh any benefits personally).
« Last Edit: September 21, 2022, 01:01:19 pm by shark »

kelvin

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I fiddled about and extending the belay device with a 30cm sling larkís-footed onto the belay loop seems ideal for me- extends it enough to be able to put the prusik on the belay loop without having to tie knots in big nylon slings or have the device miles away- (hair getting caught up is not a problem for me) I have a 30cm sling already for some reason so Iíll try it out.

Big hair = 60cm sling for me.

And yeah, put the prussic where you want after, although this summer it was still in my leg loop.

kelvin

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Sorry my post wasn't clear, I meant how does extending your belay plate away from your harness help to keep your hair from getting caught. Surely if it is extended then it is closer to your hair, but if it is direct into your harness then there's no chance I could get my hair caught unless I had some ribs surgically removed to improve my flexibility. I'm not contesting any of the other benefits (although the few times I've found the extra faff to outweigh any benefits personally).

A 60cm sling takes the belay device well away from my head when I lean back - not sure how long your hair is but sitting here now, mine reaches my belly button easily with just a tilt of the head. It's also locked, so when it gets stuck in the device, it's stuck.

Daftly last summer, on an easy 40m abseil into a single pitch crag in the alps, I didn't use a prussic and but the device in my belay loop. One dread got caught in it but I was lucky enough to be near the ground and a friend could just reach the soles of my feet . There was enough pressure for me to be able to pull my hair out.
That's the last time I rappel without a prussic. Lesson learnt. Extending the device takes no time at all, just a larksfoot and I'm drama free.

Hoseyb

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And there's me reading the title,  and considering my offering of gaffa tape. To stick down slings and protect sharp edges. Stuck in strips on my helmet to keep it sticky.

Often forget prussiks..  Oops.

Paul B

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One dread got caught in it but I was lucky enough to be near the ground and a friend could just reach the soles of my feet . There was enough pressure for me to be able to pull my hair out.
That's the last time I rappel without a prussic. Lesson learnt. Extending the device takes no time at all, just a larksfoot and I'm drama free.

A fair while ago now myself and a friend went out to climb Offspring on a bitterly cold day. At the end of the day he abbed off to get the gear back whilst I packed up at the top. I heard screaming so ran down to below the cioch where I found him with his head right next to the tuba, his hair entirely through the device. A few seconds later, it tore and he landed in a heap on the floor, leaving blood all over the device  :sick:.

kelvin

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Literally "bloody hell"!

Hopefully no long term damage to your mate's head. After it happened to me, I asked around my mates in Swizzy and it seems everyone had a tale to tell.

jwi

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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.

I revisit this thread as I was spoking to someone who was doing his rock climbing exams for guiding the other day. My interlocutor was claiming that this practice was now officially sanctioned as Petzl has made tests that shows it is safe.

I must say that I am still a bit sceptical so I went and looked on Petzls website where it doesn't get the most enthusiastic of endorsements
https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/Belaying-the-second-with-a-MICRO-TRAXION--beware-of-any-fall?ActivityName=Multi-pitch-climbing
 

jwi

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Also, I have a question: when you rap several pitches in a row with a single rope + tag line (pull chord) setup down fixed rap-stations with narrow maillons, do you restack the single rope + retread the rap ring or do you untie and retie? What's your preference?

Paul B

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I'd probably pull a bite of the single through if that was feasible?

Fultonius

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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.

I revisit this thread as I was spoking to someone who was doing his rock climbing exams for guiding the other day. My interlocutor was claiming that this practice was now officially sanctioned as Petzl has made tests that shows it is safe.

I must say that I am still a bit sceptical so I went and looked on Petzls website where it doesn't get the most enthusiastic of endorsements
https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/Belaying-the-second-with-a-MICRO-TRAXION--beware-of-any-fall?ActivityName=Multi-pitch-climbing

Interesting. However, I thought most people who use Microtrax in multipitch scenarios were doing "fix and follow", where the second was climbing with the microtrax on their belay loop?

i_a_coops

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I'd probably pull a bite of the single through if that was feasible?

I don't understand this but am intrigued?

Best set up I have found is:

  • One person threads the tag line through the anchor as you're pulling the rope down as if you're using double ropes.
  • Tie a bowline-on-a-bight (or fig 8 ) on the lead line and attach it to the anchor
  • Someone abs down the lead line while the other person unties and reties the ends of the ropes
If your tag line is thin enough to pull a knot through the anchor, and if you join your ropes together with a small locker, you only have to untie and retie one knot.

Disadvantages, you're pulling down a carabiner each time which increases the risk of stuck ropes. I assume you're doing that anyway with the tag line set up though unless you're just relying on the knot being too big to go through the maillon, which I personally find a bit too scary.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2023, 10:54:19 am by i_a_coops »

petejh

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To avoid any tying/untying of the cord or the faff and friction of the captive biner, you could do it another way by using the pull-cord fixed from below on the next ab station, instead of using it fixed at the anchor you're abbing from.

This would rely on good comms and/or line of sight, and total trust in your partner to do it right though! I haven't tried this, have only done it the usual way using captive biner and re-tying.

You'd do the first ab with the pull-through cord rigged the usual way - cord on a closed loop to pull down the lead rope to next anchor.
As you're pulling down the rope, thread the next anchor with the pull-cord. Tie-off lead rope to anchor as iaCoops says (could use clove hitch if not confident with bowline on a bight - a fig8 on bight risks becoming hard to undo esp if twisted and on wet ropes).
First person abs down, once down they fix pull-cord to the next anchor using a biner and clove hitch a.n.other knot.
Second person removes the lead line clove-hitch/bowline and abbs down, with the lead line anchored from below on the ab station, a bit like on a top-rope.
This way there's no untying/re-tying of the cord and there's no captive loop with a biner. So there's no biner to get caught and you have much less friction, because there's two free-hanging lines.
Repeat process at each anchor, alternating from pulling/threading the lead line to pulling/threading the cord.

But do you really want to trust your mate to remember to anchor the cord on the anchor below you..?

Paul B

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I don't understand this but am intrigued?

Pull your tag line and at the join you'll get a biner in your hand, unclip that, push a bite of the single through the maillon, re-clip and then resume pulling, via the single, through the maillon?

My main memory of tag lines is some poor bloke absolutely dripping wet through somewhere on the Grand Wall trying to untangle a tiny tag line/micro-traxion setup that was very glad of our half ropes and a quicker solution to reach the floor!

Fultonius

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Also, I have a question: when you rap several pitches in a row with a single rope + tag line (pull chord) setup down fixed rap-stations with narrow maillons, do you restack the single rope + retread the rap ring or do you untie and retie? What's your preference?

It depends....

In the Bugs, where there were many chunky rap rings, we could often pull the knot through (hence you could pre-thread the lead rope and save time.

Otherwise we've just ended up stacking and re-threading. The slight loss in time was made up with simplicity.

I think I can picture's Paul's method, seems pretty logical.

I'm still not actually convinced of the benefits of single+tag vs half ropes. The only place I'd consider it is on routes where:

1. The chances of rapping are low, (or the number of raps in minimal)
2. The weight difference is actually going to be critical to success
3. The raps are uncomplicated (not alpine ground).

We ended up having to prussic back up a stuck rope on the approach to the Malardiere last year as the tag & knot got snagged on some turf / grass/undergrowth. PITA.

 

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