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Chockstone Forum - Gear Lust / Lost & Found

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 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 50
Author
Belaying the leader directly off the anchor.
Wendy
5/08/2012
8:38:30 AM
On 5/08/2012 TonyB wrote:
>A response to the comments here, from Association of Canadian Mountain
>Guides:

>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.


Hey Simey, It's good to be told we are obviously untrained and inexperienced guides, with poor judgement, isn't it? I'd never realised that myself, so it's great that someone with no idea of who we are and what we do can clarify that for us.

>
>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.

If I was worried that the belayer could loose control of the rope, I'd use a backup belay or an autolocking belay. And I think it's problematic teaching inexperienced belayers such non standard techniques. Surely one should ingrain the standard, tried and true, well utilised and preferred for a reason belay systems in a beginner? Not confuse them with something that you only use in "specific circumstances"? All the other circumstances, well, non of them have lead to accidents from my not using this technique so far.

>
>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.

If you are on the ground, you can create one (chuck some stones in your rucksack if necessary), if you are on a multipitch, use the last piece of the pitch before if desperate. If you are on something particularly committing or hard, well, I should hope you have a climbing partner who skills were up for the route and if that doesn't include being able to hold the rope, well they are missing something basic. If they are inexperienced, i'd be on something they could increase their skills on without facing holding a hazardous fall on anyway.
>
>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.

Maybe it's an Australian scepticism, as I've noticed that europeans at least seem to have an unfailing trust in bolts, but I still think it's problematic to rely on one bolt, and inevitably shockloading the other in case of failure. Maybe I've heard too many stories of bolt failure and seen too many bolts after they have been removed where what you couldn't see in the rock looked scary. Considering that some of the consistently worst bolting I've seen anywhere was in the States, I'd definately not be trusting just one of them. And I still see potential for some torquing of the biners as the orientation changes in a fall.
>
>This technique has received a lot of testing both in Canada and in Europe,


I must be generally blind then. 15 years of guiding in Australia, never seen it used. 5 seasons in the Alps, never seen it used. 1 in Squamish, 1 in the valley, still never seen it used.
>
>
>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.
>
>Marc Piché
>Technical Director
>Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
>(403)678-7350
>www.acmg.ca
simey
5/08/2012
9:01:35 AM
Thanks for your response Marc. A few of the folk who contributed to this discussion are guides but mostly on rock and usually at naturally protected crags (ie Mt Arapiles).

Certainly knowing that the intended video is aimed purely at guides to be used in very particular situations makes a bit more sense (although I can't imagine too many guides in your part of the world find themselves whipping off routes on a regular basis).

As one contributor to the forum put it - a solution in search of a problem - summed up my thoughts of the techniques shown. I would still argue that making the belay less dynamic has a number of downsides.

I can understand some very exceptional cases where it might be preferable to belay the leader directly off the anchor (ie. no opportunity for an upward piece directly to the belayer and the chance of the belayer being smashed into an overhang). But overall it won't be a technique I will be rushing to adopt.

Wendy
5/08/2012
2:19:55 PM
Alors, si l'on connaisse Chockstone, les réponses soient assez douces.

For those not able to understand French, Cliff D has just apologised for us being childish and I've pointed out this thread has been extremely mild in the greater scheme of Chockstone.

And I think it's rude and pompous to conclude that everyone on here has no idea what they are talking about just because they critique your video.
simey
5/08/2012
3:29:21 PM
On 5/08/2012 Wendy wrote:
>And I think it's rude and pompous to conclude that everyone on here has no idea what they are talking about just because they critique your video.

I don't think Marc's comments were referring to everyone...

Overall I reckon Marc was pretty reasonable in his reply to the forum given the vibe and occasional misinformation being thrown into the mix. It wasn't as though he posted the video on Chockstone to be critiqued.
One Day Hero
5/08/2012
8:32:40 PM
I'm struggling to understand why there is still a discussion going on about this kooked video after it has become apparent that french canadians were involved in its production? The mystery of all the weirdness, stoopid rigging, and shit-boring presentation are fully explained.
widewetandslippery
5/08/2012
9:36:33 PM
Speak english on an aussie site or don't speak

Macciza
5/08/2012
11:42:47 PM
I find it hard to believe that people can't see the reasoning and use's of this system.
I have certainly used a variation on this theme to avoid massive uplift and pinning with Zac taking huge falls.
And the 'we Aussie guides know our stuff' thing suggests a bit of xenophobia . . .
What would the Guides in Europe and Canada know better than us . . .

Look past the presentation problems etc and look at the core idea instead.
There are certainly cases where a 'Fixed Point Belay' (whatever configuration) is good.

I'm also amazed at how many people seemed to have missed the point of the exercise.
Or who seem to have misunderstood the system in talking of shock-loading etc.
Or their analysis of potential failure modes compared to a 'proper? system'?

Anyway I appreciate the system and the reasoning and will certainly try it out . . .
pecheur
6/08/2012
7:35:20 AM
On 5/08/2012 Macciza wrote:
>I find it hard to believe that people can't see the reasoning and use's
>of this system.
>I have certainly used a variation on this theme to avoid massive uplift
>and pinning with Zac taking huge falls.
>And the 'we Aussie guides know our stuff' thing suggests a bit of xenophobia
>. . .
>What would the Guides in Europe and Canada know better than us . . .
>
>Look past the presentation problems etc and look at the core idea instead.
>There are certainly cases where a 'Fixed Point Belay' (whatever configuration)
>is good.
>
>I'm also amazed at how many people seemed to have missed the point of
>the exercise.
>Or who seem to have misunderstood the system in talking of shock-loading
>etc.
>Or their analysis of potential failure modes compared to a 'proper? system'?
>
>Anyway I appreciate the system and the reasoning and will certainly try
>it out . . .

Whilst I find it ironic that Macca is the one preaching progressive thought in climbing, he's right. I also can't see on a theoretical level why there's so much agro about this. Pretty much the first thing the video does is list out the specific situation and reasoning behind using this technique. Sure you won't find yourself in this situation often, but how does knowledge of a different technique hurt? Even if just to provoke thought and discussion.

It's quite narrow minded to think, well it's been good enough for generations why should we make any changes or consider anything different? It's making Wendy sound like Macca about u-bolts / rings ...
Wendy
6/08/2012
9:32:21 AM
Meh, I just found the reply sounded like an arrogant twat, didn't explain anything new from the video (which I did watch all of), presumed all contributors had no idea, we the know it alls in euro and canada land do this all the time blah blah and made me want to chuck an ODH on him. He could have just said, Hey Guys, I know it looks a bit weird, but we don't equalise the system because of this .... or yeah, it might seem a bit out of left field to teach a beginner like this, but .... and so on so forth ...

Simey, he put it on the internet. What more is there to say?

Macca belaying Zac is a pair of experienced climbers doing out there stuff, making a decision based on an unusual situtation and heaps of experience. Although with you guys, it's probably be off two manky pitons hammer directly into the rock on Dog Face. It's different to suggesting you teach bumbly belayers to belay like that. If it's so useful, maybe we should go around putting double bolt belays at the base of all routes so we can belay this?

I'm not saying it's not got it's place, Just that that place is not very common. Wet rock doesn't automatically make a hard to hold fall. Or even big falls. Nor do weight discrepancies. Take 6'5'' Sol falling of the very last holds of Wasp, belayed by 5'0'' me. He went about 10m onto a single 7.8mm. I started moving down hill to put more rope in the system to reduce the fall factor as he started wobbling. I went back up to the base of the route, but holding the rope was fine.

It's provoking thought and discussion. The thought and discussion is that it's not that great. We're entitled to that thought.
paul
6/08/2012
9:44:25 AM
It seems to me that it is a solution to the problem of a guide taking a massive whipper while being belayed by a single novice belayer in experienced at catching big falls. A situation that no responcible guide should be in.
One Day Hero
6/08/2012
9:46:49 AM
Look, we're talking about people whose 'national dish' (don't even have their own country, yet have a national dish) is chips with gravy!

You know what that says to me? It says 'simple folk with simple solutions to simple problems'.

tnd
6/08/2012
9:57:01 AM
Compadres...vamos a hablar solamente en otras idiomas para que molestemos a WWS. :-)

Sorry, my French is too shaky these day, but I'm sure my Spanish will have the desired effect.
paul
6/08/2012
10:04:50 AM
On 4/08/2012 Cliff D wrote:
>FWIW, I belay leaders from my harness; but belay climbers seconding a pitch
>from an equalised multi-point anchor when I think its useful.
>
>I understand that the ACMG recommendations are not unique and are based
>on research; and that European guiding associations also endorse these
>recommendations; and its a fairly common general practice in the European
>Alps to see climbers using this technique on climbs with bolted anchors.
>
>
>The recommendations likely reflect the findings of engineering studies
>that evaluated the effectiveness of various belay approaches/techniques
>during high factor falls. The studies' conclusions included the prediction
>that long high-factor falls will often result in the belayer being unable
>to arrest a long high FF load (i.e., drop the leader).
>
>Simon's guide has a sensational pic with the leader and belayer dangling
>after a fall with the back of the belayer's head tucked under a prominent
>bulge (on Common Knowledge).
>

In this situation the belayer could be suspended further down from their belay anchor, maybe a few meters in a hanging belay.

>IMHO, belaying leaders from one's harness is more suited to trad climbing
>and the Australian context.
>
>That notwithstanding, I have concerns about the recommendations in the
>context of ice climbing, as falls (although relatively rare) are often
>long and ice screws are typically less than bombproof.
>
>
uwhp510
6/08/2012
10:05:06 AM
On 6/08/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>Look, we're talking about people whose 'national dish' (don't even have
>their own country, yet have a national dish) is chips with gravy!

And cheese curd! Don't knock the poutine bro...
kieranl
6/08/2012
10:15:29 AM
On 6/08/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>Look, we're talking about people whose 'national dish' (don't even have
>their own country, yet have a national dish) is chips with gravy!
>
>You know what that says to me? It says 'simple folk with simple solutions
>to simple problems'.
Those of us who come from a country that can't even get it together to get our own flag should be wary of criticising a nation that can.

SteveC
6/08/2012
10:20:25 AM
Just watched this video- This is what I saw. A belay anchor a little bit like an aid solo anchor except not equalised. Equalising it would make it longer and floppier so that's presumably why they don't equalise the anchor. Nothing wrong with parallel anchor setups, but the Vertical anchor looked 50 percent safer when I turned my computer upside down. Apart from that it looks like a reasonable solution for someone dragging up a numpty who is going to complain about getting shaken around a little bit when you take a lead fall.
One of the factors I would consider before using this is whether I (the leader) would prefer a grumpy numpty with a bruised shoulder or to suffer broken ankles myself if I took a fall.

Je pense que c'est bonne argument, Non?
Wendy
6/08/2012
11:50:00 AM
Well, to put it simply, I don't take clients up anything that might necessitate these situations.

Consider the rucksack as a specially made bollard. Would you use a bollard as an anchor? You wrap the rope around it and clip in as you might any another ground anchor in situations where you might need one. I have argued elsewhere on this site that I think ground anchors are often not necessary and have their own problems, but if you are addressing pulling the belayer up, they are a possible answer. Don't position them where they might fall off. Tether them to the person's waist at an appropriate length that they are an equalised weight. Make them heavy - that is after all the point. How is that going to fly up and crash into the person?

Using your noggin - the last piece of the pitch before is only an option if it's within reach or otherwise retrievable - and with a competant climber, they could get themselves down to it and up again if necessary. But it's an option. As is any other multi directional piece in the vicinity. Again, I just wouldn't be doing something where this is going to be an issue with a client. I don't leave the ground until i'm happy my clients can belay. I use a back up belay or an autolock. I make judgement calls as to what is too hazardous to do with them. For that matter, 99.99% of the time, I don't do stuff I'm going to fall off and I put in enough gear that should something totally out of order happen and I do fall off, I'm not going to factor 1.5 on them.

Am I the only one who thinks that feeding a munter through a floppy anchor in front of you looks awkward as anyway? And what is the point of having all these principles about anchors such as equalised and redundant and not shockloading if we just throw them all out of the window anyway? When i was last in Europe, it was all in vogue to get to a double bolt anchor, clip into one with a daisy chain, then belas with a plaquette or reverso off the other bolt. Strangely enough, I didn't take up that system either.

One Day Hero
6/08/2012
12:32:30 PM
Hahaha, Cliff D called guiding "a profession"!

Sliamese
6/08/2012
12:48:37 PM
As a guide you'd know studies show 80% of beginner belayers will let go of the belay rope if they sustain a significant upward force(pulled of the ground/ledge). Hence back-ups by holding the rope or ground anchors.

I can see why the techniques developed, but would think if your that worried, bail. If not stick on a gri gri?? They say that its been tested, i have no doubt that its solid and safe, but have they tried rank beginners on it? As them letting go would be a reason to use this, will it increase the likelyhood they dont let go? Hmmm

That set-up is what i would reccomend for rope soloing tho, obviously a knot where they belay off.

And yeh im a guide, whoopty do. I know qualified guides that id say have a poor understanding of rope stuff! The ticket means nothing compared to experience!

muki
6/08/2012
12:50:06 PM
On 6/08/2012 paul wrote:

>>Simon's guide has a sensational pic with the leader and belayer dangling
>>after a fall with the back of the belayer's head tucked under a prominent
>>bulge (on Common Knowledge).
>>
>
>In this situation the belayer could be suspended further down from their
>belay anchor, maybe a few meters in a hanging belay.

I do this climb in one pitch, I think most other climbers I know do it in the same way.

As to the set up shown, I read the commentary that came with it and except the unusual circumstances that are outlined,
the shock loading, and subsequent ability to hold a large 1.5 factor fall being the guts of the system.
The short anchor linkage that involves the belayer to be more stable in the advent of a huge loading,
due sometimes to the distance between ice screws,wet rock between ice sections giving sudden unexpected falls (even as a guide),
and thus being able to hold such a fall (by the inexperienced client) I think is the topic under discussion.
That a snow and Ice anchors have factors that are so different to a bolted anchor that we as Australian guides should take that into account,
as we do not have those types of situations (huge falls 1.5 ff) in our day to day guiding.
Also no need to get irate and stand on our high horses and call names because others opinion differs from your own, I thought Simons response was calm and well said.

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