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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 54
Author
Top Stupid Mistakes to Avoid

Mike
15/08/2003
4:52:53 PM
Had an idea for another Tech Tips article and thought we could all contribute to it, kind of like when we put the double ropes article together. The idea is to list stupid mistakes and their solutions. If we get enough of them, I'll rank them into some kind of order. It can be like a big check list to scare beginners into being careful and to remind us all of what not to do. What do you think, good idea?

I'll get the ball rolling.....


1. Rapping off the end of your rope. Tie stopper knots in each end. Check they make the ground or next anchors if possible.

2. Letting the rope pass through the belay device while lowering someone. A miscalculation of the nature of the route and amount of slack rope. Tie a stopper knot in the end, better yet, get your belayer to tie in to the end.

3. Smacking your head during a fall or getting knocked by falling rock. Wear a helmet. What's more fashionable, a helmet or a coma?

4. Dropping your rap/belay device and not knowing how to rig an alternative. Learn the crab brake rap, and munter hitch.

5. Leading a new climber up a multi-pitch and getting stuck because they can't second your lead. Learn how to rig an assisted and unassisted hoist. Teach your second how to ascend on prussics before you go up. Read self rescue by Fasulo.

6. Watching your leader deck because either they didn't signal to lower, or the belayer didn't signal, and obtain acknowledgement before taking them off belay. Don't rush into things. Always get confirmation when taking someone off belay.

7. Taking a factor two directly onto the belay. Remember to clip the highest piece of the belay anchor when leading out on a multi-pitch.

8. Loosing control of the abseil and taking the swift way down. Get into the habit of giving a fireman's belay to your mates even if they don't ask for it. Use some form of backup (prussic or otherwise), if you are at all unsure.

9. Getting benighted, or exposing yourself to unnecessary risk because you left the head torch in your pack. Solution obvious.

10. Deciding that 50m off the deck is the best time to learn how to pass a knot on abseil. Solution obvious.

11. Flipping upside down during a fall because you led into a traverse with the rope running behind your leg. Watch where that rope sitting.

12. Increasing your fall factor and making hard work for yourself by allowing rope drag to build up. Extend placements with slings and or lead on two ropes if it's really zig zaggy.

13. Shock loading your belay when one anchor fails. Equalise your anchors with a cordlette or other means.
mikl law
18/08/2003
12:11:02 PM
Great stuff, an addition to point 4 is learn to waist belay and classic abseil. I've tossed people (about to die while scrambling) a rope passed around a tree and it has lots of friction (makes your rope filthy though).


Alex
18/08/2003
12:33:07 PM
14. Taking up climbing. ;)
climbingjac
18/08/2003
12:38:10 PM
Failing to incorporate your climbing partner's name into climbing calls (eg "OK John, I'm safe". Resulting in "OK Harry, off belay"). I know of at least one person that was taken off belay, when his belayer responded to the "I'm safe" call of a climbing team nearby (!!!)

nmonteith
18/08/2003
12:44:52 PM
When absieling off an anchor get the first guy down to test if the ropes pull through - before you both are on the ground and have to prussic up to fix a stuck rope!

tmarsh
18/08/2003
1:03:25 PM
Both partners knowing an alternative system of communicating if you can't be heard. eg 2 tugs = I'm safe, 3 tugs = you're on belay, climb when ready.
BJ
18/08/2003
1:08:56 PM
communication can be difficult on windy days and after an annoying experience on watchtower face we have starter using walk talkies to communicate on longer pitches. Works well but you get the occasional strange look.
Nico
18/08/2003
1:53:21 PM
This one comes under the heading 'odd sequence of events having awkward consequence' - like this: My climbing partner was using a figure-8 descendeur (which are supposed to be foolproof), starting an abseil over the pointy edge of an overhang, when the lip of the overhang made contact with the descendeur as he went past. This had the effect of pushing the loop of rope up the shaft of the descendeur, and over the larger metal ring, with the result that the rope formed a neat lark's-foot knot on the descendeur. Because it was on an overhang, the abseiler could not get his weight off the rope (by standing on something), so there he hung, going neither up nor down. Solution? When my partner did hang himself up in this manner, I borrowed a rope from another party, tied it off to the abseil anchor, and lowered it so that he could tie a loop to stand in, while he sorted the figure-8. A small epic.

climbau
18/08/2003
4:05:40 PM
Nico,
A solution to stop larks footing on a figure 8 is to rig the 8 so the bit of rope that goes over the neck of the 8 is on the upperside. In other words "crack your eggs (bite of rope) over the pan (figure 8 held like a frypan) and some of the fat (rope) splashes over the handle(small ring of figure 8)."
Cheers
Andrew
kieranl
18/08/2003
8:07:30 PM
Another rule : Any "fool-proof" system can fail
Glens
19/08/2003
12:50:50 PM
I guess one stupid mistake is to assume the big boulder at the top of the climb is stable and is a suitable object to throw a sling around for an anchor. Check that it is not going to follow you down as you abseil off it.

mrsnuffy
19/08/2003
2:16:09 PM
How about double checking that the rope you are about to abseil with is fixed DIRECTLY to the anchors - without any slack between you and the anchors (eg. coils of rope caught around a feature in the rock - which subsequently give way). I know of a situation where this resulted in a (non-tragic) ground fall.

nmonteith
19/08/2003
2:19:24 PM
Yes - Kent can attest to falling 10m onto his back when the slack decided to un-slack!
Onsight
19/08/2003
10:20:15 PM
Point 6 is a good one too because lead climbers being prematurely taken off belay is a relatively common cause of climbing accidents these days, perhaps because it’s so easy to confuse “take” with “safe”, with obliviously potentially disastrous consequences. So, in addition to that, here’s something for you all to consider… My regular climbing partner and I have altogether eliminated “safe” from our climbing vocabulary – and replaced it with “off belay”. For example, the leader says “off belay Joe” when they are safe and actually want to be taken off belay, and then the belayer confirms it back with “off belay…”. Like Jacqui said, it’s also a good idea to incorporate names into these calls.

We picked this up climbing in the US, where it’s used a lot. At first it took a bit of getting used to but now we wouldn’t go back to using “safe”. Two reasons for this: you won’t end up confusing “take” and “safe”, and secondly, it totally eliminates any confusion as to what the leader might want. This also applies particularly on sport routes where you clip in to the anchors, untie to thread the rope, tie back in and then get lowered. In this situation it is wrong to say “safe” because the last thing you want is to be actually taken off belay at this point. That has been the cause of actual accidents as well as many near misses. In that situation we use the call “in hard”, which, in our case, means “I’m clipped in directly to the anchors, gimmie a few meters of slack so I can thread the anchors, you can meanwhile relax a bit and chill out, pick your nose, get a drink, put on a jumper, and get ready to lower me in minute, but whatever you do don’t take me off belay cause I’m not safe!!!”.
Peter
19/08/2003
11:33:07 PM
Having a hearing problem forces anyone with me to use the rope as a communication device, when the leader starts to take up the slack, he is kept on belay until all is taken up, then he lets a bit back, he comes off belay. The second then waits until the rope is pulled tight, climbs up a few feet and makes sure that the rope goes tight again, then he climbs. As we mainly do easier multi pitch climbs, up to about 16, most times there is rock between the leader and the second, yell all you like, I wont hear.
Estey
20/08/2003
8:30:33 AM
Another one to avoid - toproping directly through a sling or webbing. Most at risk are novice climbers coming from a canyoning background where rigging abseils directly through slings is common practice. Without knowing any different It would be easy to assume that you rig a toprope the same as an abseil.
climbingjac
20/08/2003
11:51:50 AM
Very handy input, Simon - thanks!
V
20/08/2003
12:32:20 PM
On 19/08/2003 onsight wrote:
>it’s so easy to confuse “take” with “safe”

Reminds me of a situation that came up recently where I was belaying from the top using a double rope setup and I kept hearing my second call out "take in slack!". I would yank in the ropes, only to find they were tight already, then the second repeated the call, again and again... I remember thinking "this is weird, I'm sure I expicitly said not to use the word slack when you want me to take in".

Finally it clicked -- one of the ropes is black and they were calling "take in black!". Duh.
I've decided that the rope is to be called "blue" from now on.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
20/08/2003
6:09:59 PM
On 20/08/2003 V wrote:
>On 19/08/2003 onsight wrote:
>>it’s so easy to confuse “take” with “safe”
>
and I kept hearing my second call out
>"take in slack!".
I use the word "Tension" instead of "take" and have not had confusion, provided you can hear the person involved.

shiltz
21/08/2003
12:11:07 AM
System that we use works like this. Leader calls "Safe, Anthony", belayer responds "Off Belay Mick?" (note that this is a question, no action has been taken yet!), leader responds "OK Anthony, Off Belay". At this point the belayer takes the leader off belay.
Much the same as Simon's system I guess. Definitely pays to double check rather than just take the leader off belay then yell.

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There are 54 messages in this topic.

 

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