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Chockstone Forum - Gear Lust / Lost & Found

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Topic Date User
No good belay devices yet? 16-Oct-2010 At 9:14:46 PM ET
Every situation is different and it's always up to the individuals (both the belayer and the leader) whether they want the belayer to be leashed to something or not.

Why would someone be belaying on a slopey ground not directly underneath the first piece? One reason I can think of is because the first couple of moves are a traverse and it may be impractical to belay from below.

An example I can remember is the climb "Little Red Riding Hood" (LRRH) at Pt Perp which starts from a pretty big belay ledge (big enough, I reckon, for most people not bothering to build an anchor for climbs that go straight up). However, the first ~10m of LRRH is a traverse over nothing but the sea roughly 60m below you, and the ledge is pretty slopey towards the edge. I remember belaying someone significantly LIGHTER that myself (I'm a 90+ kg fatso for those that don't know me) and decided to tie into the rope we rapped down (with a redirect in the corner crack) to prevent myself being pulled over the edge. That decision turned out to be justified as when he was about to top out, he fell and the last piece that was clipped was the only carrot bolt on the route, ~5 m below him (yes he could have placed one more piece before topping out, but he didn't). Since it starts as a traverse, the pull I felt was quite large (no gravity to help me here...), and was pulled about a meter before the rope became taut. I'm fairly sure that if I didn't tie into the rap rope I would have been hanging ~60 m above the crashing waves below. Being a fatso, I would not have been pulled towards the first piece of gear, I would have been just pulled off the edge of the platform hanging in free space far away from the platform and possibly below it, so tying in prevented the situation from becoming more complicated than it had to be.

You could argue that he could have placed a piece above the ledge but that would be practically the same as tying myself to an anchor with a little extra rope drag.

Now granted not every climb is going to be like that, but if the belayer feels more comfortable being leashed there's nothing wrong with that. The catch maybe slightly harder but, if your using dynamic ropes, I doubt it'll cause any injuries or cause any other complications that may affect your climb.

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