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I think belaying the leader directly off the anchor is a stupid idea and I am very surprised that the Canadian Guides Association is recommending it. I can't really see any reason why you would choose to do it and yet I can think of plenty of reasons why you shouldn't do it.
If you are using natural protection for your belay set-up it encourages bad practices such as relying heavily on one piece and not having all your anchors share the load. It also adopts different rigging to the set-up you would use to bring your second up. It also means a less dynamic belay for the leader in a fall.
If you want to minimise the distance that the belayer is tugged upwards whilst holding a fall, the simple solution is to put in an upward piece clipped directly to the belayer.
I mention a bunch of reasons in the Arapiles guidebook as to why belaying the leader from your harness is preferable to belaying from the anchor...
- Your body acts as counterweight and provides ease of management of the belay device. It also provides for a more dynamic belay and allows you to move out of the line of fire in case of falling rock.
On 1/08/2012 shortman wrote:
>I tried really hard to watch that thru to the end, but I couldn't do it.
I downloaded it first (as I generally do with technical things in case I want to stop and see something again), I found it unbearable at normal speed but fine at 1.5 speed, slowest speaking speed ever. Even at 1.5 speed I'm fairly sure I talk faster ...
I watched that enthralling vidio through to the end just to see if they could come up with any really good reasons for that stupid set up. I remain unconvinced.
It's a dumb idea.
A horrifyingly dumb idea.
Many years ago I watch a young girl belaying what I assumed to be her father up the second pitch of Diapason. She'd been set up to belay off the anchor with a figure 8. She was having a hell of a time feeding the rope out and kept sticking her fingers through the 8 in an effort to do so. Not to mention the shockload directly on the anchors, which i don't remember being equalised or great for and upwards force. It was one of those I want to walk away before the accident happens moments.
That is a terrifying set up. Only watched a minute and a half of it, but the spot where it would fail is the knot, or the loop that holds the 'primary bolt' and the belay device... and when that breaks?
The belayer will end up catching a 50m factor one, with one bolt left. How is this preferable to taking the original fall, with 2 bolts backing you up?
On 2/08/2012 dane wrote:
>That is a terrifying set up. Only watched a minute and a half of it, but
>the spot where it would fail is the knot, or the loop that holds the 'primary
>bolt' and the belay device... and when that breaks?
>The belayer will end up catching a 50m factor one, with one bolt left.
>How is this preferable to taking the original fall, with 2 bolts backing
Hmm. I may well be slow tonight but I am not sure I follow that particular bit of logic.
In the words of the indomitable Pauline Hanson, 'please explain'?
I do agree with you however after viewing the link, that it is not the best setup.
It would probably work OK for many situations assuming bombproof multidirectional anchors, but for serious fall-belaying I know there are better options available that incorporate more-dynamic elements!
If that loop breaks, then the device will no longer be connected... I didn't consider that it might catch on the piece(s) above. But they were designed for a downwards pull, so it's a fair bet that they rip.Or if the device slips once it does connect with them, then you are falling to the end of the rope. Probably higher than FF1, but depends on how far out they had climbed.
didnt watch, but can guess what theyre saying. belaying a leader off the anchor? musta be crazy!! i think the belayer getting lifted is a good thing, putting all that energy back in the system helps how?
belaying a second however, i think your mad to belay off your harness. increases loads, harder to escape the system, not a safe when having a drink/snack/loosening your shoe. autolock is the go!!
On 2/08/2012 stugang wrote:
>I made it to two minutes 15 secs (I got distracted and opened a bill -
>otherwise it would have been less).
>Surely it is a troll?
>Are canadians that dumb and boring? Maybe the rumors are true?
dumb and boring, is that a euphamism for fuchtards?
Should I ever find myself in the annoyingly common situation of a hanging belay, looking to catch a factor 1.5 fall not very far up the pitch without any drag in the system and a largish person, I'd probably make some considerations for this in how I set myself up. But still, I wouldn't have a belay off a single anchor in a knotted sling. How about having yourself backed up to a lower piece so you don't go flying far? I do some degree of flying on the belay end of a fall on a regular basis. It's really not too bad. Neither myself nor the climber have ended up hurt by it. At the least, you could equalise the belay for the direction of fall (and using the rope not a sling) if you did want to belay off the anchor? And surely that would be horrendous to set up and manage off trad gear? You'd effectively need two belays facing opposite directions - one for you and one for the climber, and a belay that wasn't going to fall out with gravity (or the wiggling of the system), close enough together that it wasn't out of reach, isn't going to be wrenched in a problematic way by the rope suddenly flipping upwards ....
Really, for the 1 in 100000000000000000 times you belay that you might find this is the best solution, the hazards of people fûcking it up or it all going to pieces because it's a silly system with no redundancy just aren't worth bothering with it. If there was an issue, surely more of us would have come across it in the thousands of years of cumulative climbing experience around here?
A response to the comments here, from Association of Canadian Mountain Guides:
Thanks for sending the link to this discussion. The tone and language used reminds me of why I rarely partake in these forums!
First of all it is important to put into context the intended audience. These videos are being produced as part of a series that will eventually become part of our new technical manual. They are created within the context of guiding and all of the techniques included in them will have gone through a rigorous vetting process and are considered to be common practice in the guiding world. That said, most of these techniques also require a high level of understanding of technical systems, climbing physics and a very high level of judgement.
Having the ability to use the right technique, in the right place and at the right time is one of the hallmark skills of guiding. Deciding when it is appropriate to use the fixed -point belay technique is no different.
It seems that many of the people commenting on the video have either not watched the entire video, did not read all of the criteria for use and/ or do not understand the physics around it. It is also clear that they are not trained guides and are not looking at this from a guiding perspective.
The main reason for using this technique is if there is significant concern that the belayer could loose control of the rope in the event of a fall. The situations where this could occur are as stated in the video; wet rock, long run-outs, difficult climbing, inexperienced belayer, small or light belayer.
It is important to understand that in the decision making process for using this technique, you must ask yourself if the greater hazard is from a potential anchor failure or is it from belayer failure. In guiding, I am often more concerned with the potential for the later. In many situations it is not possible to put in a low, upward pull piece to 'hold' the belayer in place. This is particularly true in areas of compact stone where bolted anchors are necessary.
We are clear that this technique should only be used in situations where there are two, high integrity, multi-directional pieces (good bolts or good screws) and it must be built to have a minimum breaking strength at the focal point of ~20kN which is appox. twice the force that a modern dynamic climbing rope can transfer to the anchor.
This technique has received a lot of testing both in Canada and in Europe, and when used on appropriate anchors and within the criteria specified above can minimize the risk of the belayer loosing control of the rope.
We might need to make it more clear on the website that these are guiding techniques that require additional training and a high level of judgement but in this case I don't think it would have helped.
Association of Canadian Mountain Guides