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Best device 4 belaying off the anchor?
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vegastradguy


Jul 14, 2005, 7:31 PM
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Re: Best device 4 belaying off the anchor? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I consider it a very bad and lazy habit employed by people who want to devote less than 100% of their attention to the belay and has been either totally unnecessary or completely ill-advised in most instances I've seen it used in.

like anything else in climbing, there is a time and a place for everything. most often, i use the autoblock on the reverso when belaying two seconds in a party of three. there are other times when using it is a good option- but all of those times must be chosen after evaluating the current situation- sometimes it is just as viable as a regular belay, other times it is cumbersome and possibly dangerous.

is it ever necessary? probably not. however, calling it a bad and lazy habit is rather arrogant- just because you do not like it doesnt mean it is not a good choice for other climbers (although probably not a good one for beginners- as you mentioned).

finally, its too bad you wont climb with someone who uses the autoblock method occasionally- i suspect you're robbing yourself of more than one great partner by doing this.


socalclimber


Jul 14, 2005, 8:39 PM
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Experience.

Robert


qwert


Jul 15, 2005, 3:51 AM
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TRE or munter hitch.

as i see, the OP is talking about multipitch sport, and not some trad or alpine stuff.
This leads me to asume two things: The belay is solid
and multidirectional (bolts)
So no need to be a counterweight, to help your nuts staying in place.

So for belying the second, a direct belay is fine. I even think belaying your second of the anchor is nearly always better. Ever thought of a possible rescue situation, where you have to escape the belay?

For belaying the leader it depends. Since we are talking sport, the risk of the protection failing is rather minor, so a hard catch wouldnt pose that much problems as in trad, but a "static" belayx device as the grigri shouldnt be used, for the comfort of the leader.
I dont really see the issue with "feeling" your leader. I always have the lead rope a bit loose, and if i see i getting thighter, i feed rope. If speed is your goal, this might get hard, but in "normal" situations it should be fine.
If you dont clip you belay device directely into a bolt, and the leader falls, you will possibly get liftet up. on the ground or a really huge ledge, this shouldnt be a problem, but if you are hanging on an anchor you will get pulled up, until you connection to the bolts stops your upwards movement, translating it into an orb, eventually smashing you on the wall. depending on how hard you hit, you might get injured and/or let go of the lead rope.
This problems can get avoided, but in my opinion its rather stuff for the experienced belayer.

If done right, none of the two methods (direct of the anchor/bodybelay) is neither dangerous nor superiour compared with the other, but IMO the direct of the anchor is easyer.
There are of course exceptions to this, and this is no stuff you can learn from the internet alone, so take a class and read some books.

qwert


vegastradguy


Jul 15, 2005, 6:32 AM
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Re: Best device 4 belaying off the anchor? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
For belaying the leader it depends.

no, it doesnt. do not belay your leader directly off of the anchor. put the belay device back on your harness.

belaying off of the anchor is strictly for belaying seconds.


glowering


Jul 15, 2005, 7:35 AM
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IMO the best thing for a new climber on sport multi-pitch is going to be belaying off your harness with a redirect through the anchor.

Belaying a second directly off your harness can suck for a number of reasons:
1. If/when the second falls the catch and holding their weight is very uncomfortable or difficult
2. If/when the climber falls there is a greater chance of losing control of the rope since there is going to be more force on the belayer (without the redirect's pulley effect) and that force pulling the belayer down is going to try to knock you off your stance (rather than just pulling you up toward the anchor)
3. More complex and time consuming to escape the belay in an emergency
4. More of a pain to take in rope than with a redirect
5. More difficult to butterfly coil the rope over your connection to the anchor (as opposed to a redirect where your tie in to the anchor is right in front of you)
6. You need to be tied into the anchor with no slack, so you often can't move around to change positions to keep the blood flowing or get the weight off your feet, lean out over the edge to talk to your second, etc.

Once the leader starts the next pitch from a bolt anchor they should also be belayed with a redirect (and clip into the first piece of lead pro asap). Think about a factor 2 fall directly on your waist, not pretty. The redirect does cause a theoretical 2:1 pulley increasing force on the anchor but with bolts or any solid anchor that is much less off a worry than having a leader fall directly onto your waist IMO.

I have a reverso and use it most of the time belaying the second directly off the anchor. But you need to understand the device and know how to lower. While belaying I can safely flake the rope, organize the rack and get the first piece ready for the next lead, drink, eat, etc. It's a great way to help you move faster (which can help with safety as well). Plus it is very easy to take in rope; one hand pulls rope up while the other pulls down (with a long stroke) so you can use both hands to take in rope (on really easy terrain with the second moving fast it's the only method I've used where I can keep up with the climber, besides a body belay). It's also very easy to switch into autolocking 3:1 hauling mode if you need to help your second get past a tough spot. You should only use it in autlocking mode when the anchor powerpoint is at chest to head height or you could end up not being able to lower.

I don't trust the gri-gri like the reverso though. I've taken a fall self belaying with a gri-gri and the rope slipped through for 10+ feet before the gri-gri locked up, so I wouldn't take my brake hand off the rope with a gri-gri belaying off the anchor (which eliminates a lot of the benefits). The gi-gi is good but it's an extra piece of gear, I'd rather just use the reverso.

Keep an open mind, keep learning, and use what you think is best.

Edit: I don't like the Munter (unless as a last resort) because it has more friction, frizzes up and put's twists in the rope.


blueeyedclimber


Jul 15, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Re: Best device 4 belaying off the anchor? [In reply to]
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In reply to:

I don't trust the gri-gri like the reverso though. I've taken a fall self belaying with a gri-gri and the rope slipped through for 10+ feet before the gri-gri locked up, so I wouldn't take my brake hand off the rope with a gri-gri belaying off the anchor (which eliminates a lot of the benefits).

The gri-gri is NOT a hands off device like many believe. The rope can slip through,especially smaller, newer ropes. Keeping your brake hand on the brake side helps to engage the locking mechanism. I love the benefits of the gri-gri and use it a lot for trad. If you need to take your brake hand off the brake, just tie a knot in the rope and you are all set.

Josh


oafy


Jul 15, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Munter Hitch


healyje


Jul 15, 2005, 1:54 PM
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Let's see, where to begin...

In reply to:
Are you serious that you find belay stances that allow you to hold falls with your body %90 of the time? What are you climbing, like 40 degree slabs with huge ledges?

I have found that I cannot belay directly of my harness safely at 90% of anchors, and that it is much safer and easier to belay off the anchor (with a munter, by the way. Its free and works great).

I'm dead serious, and I'm not climbing slabs. I'm in PDX also in the NW and if you can't belay off your harness on most climbs you need to work on your skills.

In reply to:
You don't find that less comfortable?...

Especially when the second is hanging...

I guess I don't think about comfort all that much when belaying - I go for the best possible stance and just deal. Your comment about hanging probably has more to do with all this belaying off the anchor business. My partners and I are all old school in that respect - no dogging, blow a move and it's back down to the last anchor for another shot. Again, now that you mention it, dogging is probably what's really at the heart of all this belaying off the anchor business. Trad climbers that dog suck from a belayer's (and my) perspective, but that's another conversation.

In reply to:
In my experience, I have found that the only secure 'stance' for belaying the second directly off my waist is when I can postion my body facing towards the lip of the ledge I am on while sitting with my legs extended in front of me and my feet bracing against some sort of feature such as a tree or large boulder. I'm not sure where you climb, but where I do (Gunks, New Hampshire), I rarely find belay stations that allow this.

I basically try to never ever sit while belaying as it limits my options for both controlling the belay and escaping. Belaying is a craft like placing pro and in the pre-cam days of building your own anchors with what stoppers and hexs you had left when you got to the next belay, the concept of a "solid stance" had some real meaning. I can establish a secure stance on most non-hanging belays and may encompass body position, foot/knee/leg/body locks, but most of the time it is a matter of really studying/understanding where a weighted rope is going to run and how you need to establish your body and body part positioning relative to holding a fall (lead or second). For belaying seconds the rope often runs over my foot or ankle (yep, high tops) as part of securing it in the stance. I've held endless 30'-60' lead falls on pre-cam, hip belays secured primarily by stance with built anchors of varying quality as backup.

P.S. I lived in NH for several years in the 80's so all my comments include Cannon, Cathedral, White Horse, and the Gunks ( I only free-soloed at Joe English which was by my house).

In reply to:
A lot of belay stations do not allow an effective belay stance. And what happens if you are pulled out of that stance? Then the anchor MUST hold that fall. If you are building solid anchors to hold factor 2 falls then using the anchor to belay is, I believe, a better alternative. There are plenty of situations when it is safer to use stance as you state, but I feel you should be using both; stance and the anchor.

Some, mostly hanging, belay stations do not allow an effective belay stance - my experience has been, however, that most do, but you have to be "thinking" that way, put the effort into always developing stances, and really make belaying a craft/art. As I said earlier, I treat most anchors as a backup in case I get pulled out of a stance which happens about once a decade.

In reply to:
Like anything else in climbing, there is a time and a place for everything. most often, i use the autoblock on the reverso when belaying two seconds in a party of three. there are other times when using it is a good option- but all of those times must be chosen after evaluating the current situation- sometimes it is just as viable as a regular belay, other times it is cumbersome and possibly dangerous.

As I said, I find the legitimate need for belaying off the anchor to be far and few inbetween and typically only in commercial, alpine, and big wall [aid] settings. With regard to your scenario above, I simply don't allow multiple seconds to climb at the same time. You might, but it's not a practice I care for or would ever do.

In reply to:
Is it ever necessary? probably not. however, calling it a bad and lazy habit is rather arrogant- just because you do not like it doesnt mean it is not a good choice for other climbers (although probably not a good one for beginners- as you mentioned).

Well, John, we'll have to disagree here - I don't like it and I think it is a very bad choice for most climbers, especially beginners. I don't believe it fosters any good habits at all and many bad ones.

In reply to:
Finally, its too bad you wont climb with someone who uses the autoblock method occasionally- i suspect you're robbing yourself of more than one great partner by doing this.

I'd probably make an exception in your case as you're so entertaining and I know you're under the tutelage of an old master. Hell, John, I thought you were going to post that Larry was only giving you stance-based, hip belays up Epinephrine.

In reply to:
As i see, the OP is talking about multipitch sport, and not some trad or alpine stuff.

...

So for belying the second, a direct belay is fine. I even think belaying your second of the anchor is nearly always better. Ever thought of a possible rescue situation, where you have to escape the belay?

I make no distinction in my comments between trad and sport. And I can escape a direct belay of a second.


In reply to:
For belaying the leader it depends. Since we are talking sport, the risk of the protection failing is rather minor, so a hard catch wouldnt pose that much problems as in trad, but a "static" belayx device as the grigri shouldnt be used, for the comfort of the leader.

I would go as far as saying I despise even the idea of belay off the anchor for a lead belay in all non-alpine situations except maybe a multi-hour aid pitchs on a wall.

In reply to:
I dont really see the issue with "feeling" your leader. I always have the lead rope a bit loose, and if i see i getting thighter, i feed rope. If speed is your goal, this might get hard, but in "normal" situations it should be fine.

I basically belay like I'm fishing - I keep next to no tension except the tiniest shred I need to always know what my leader is doing - and this is a real craft/art; for known partners out of my sight I more or less know exactly what they are doing at any given time: climbing, resting, placing gear, backing off, etc...

In reply to:
If you dont clip you belay device directely into a bolt, and the leader falls, you will possibly get liftet up. on the ground or a really huge ledge, this shouldnt be a problem, but if you are hanging on an anchor you will get pulled up, until you connection to the bolts stops your upwards movement, translating it into an orb, eventually smashing you on the wall. depending on how hard you hit, you might get injured and/or let go of the lead rope. This problems can get avoided, but in my opinion its rather stuff for the experienced belayer.

Any lead stance, particularly hanging ones, need to take into account the weight differences in between climber and belayer, bracing against the wall/upward pull, and hold down anchors when available or appropriate. Again, I distain the idea of lead belays off anchors on normal multi-pitch rock routes; you lose almost all control over the belay going that approach - all the worse doing it with a grigri. This sounds like an EU/Sport perspective and I simply don't agree with it.

In reply to:
If done right, none of the two methods (direct of the anchor/bodybelay) is neither dangerous nor superiour compared with the other, but IMO the direct of the anchor is easyer.

Again, I disagree and have a bunch of behavioral and mechanical issues with belaying off anchors 90% of the time, but I believe your perception of "easier" is another driver of this practice.

=====================

Again, I'm old school and from my perspective now that it's been mentioned I believe seconds dogging their way up routes is really what this is all about. Given this isn't something I or my friends do my comments have to be tempered by the "new" reality of dogging as a normal, accepted tactic in climbing today. First, I wouldn't climb with anyone that was going to hang all over my belay, lead or second, but if you are going to belay someone that is going to dog their way up a route then you may have to resort to belaying off an anchor. I just personally consider both to be bad habits.


Partner coldclimb


Jul 15, 2005, 2:46 PM
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Reverso is excellent. Never tried any others, but the only single problem with the reverso is a slight difficulty in changing things to lower someone.


Partner climbinginchico


Jul 15, 2005, 3:36 PM
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I love my reverso, but pulling thicker cords through it can be a hassle sometimes. I need to get a skinnier rope...


Partner sharpendguy


Jul 15, 2005, 3:50 PM
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Reverso!!


tweek


Jul 15, 2005, 4:13 PM
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Reverso.


dirtme


Jul 15, 2005, 4:13 PM
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Re: Best device 4 belaying off the anchor? [In reply to]
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healyje -

How would you escape your belay if your second gets injured? If you're belaying directly off your harness, your second manages to get himself/herself injured, what will you do? Imagining your situation, with a 150-200 lb body hanging off your waist, I have a hard time imagining you can escape. It reminds of me of Touching the Void.

For me, I almost always belay off the anchor, whether using a munter or reverso. Both ways allows for easy escape. I can tie them off and then rap down if necessary. I can even rig a 3:1 and pull them up depending on the situation.

I've never heard of anyone so oppose to belaying off the anchor and it surprises me that someone that isn't a beginner, is. I'd definitely not recommend anchor belays like this for a beginner off of trad anchors but if it's a bolted anchor or when someone gets more experienced later on, belaying off the anchor is one of the sanest things to do.


vegastradguy


Jul 15, 2005, 4:47 PM
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In reply to:
I'd probably make an exception in your case as you're so entertaining and I know you're under the tutelage of an old master. Hell, John, I thought you were going to post that Larry was only giving you stance-based, hip belays up Epinephrine.

yeah, well, Larry and I have alot of fun when we climb- especially at belay. I always stare in wonder at his idea of a solid anchor, and he's always asking me why i use a webolette (actually, i've started to use my webolette less when i climb with Larry...)

Larry's belays are almost exclusively stance based due to his hip (or shoulder) belay- although there is the occasional exception to this.

You should have seen him at the base of the 5.9 roof pitch, snickering about his anchor (all while i was climbing the pitch below)- talking about how all the rc.com people would freak out if they saw his anchor (which was fine, although it was an interesting way to equalize).

anyway, thanks for the exception...although i'll still agree to disagree on this one!

ps- i'm taking larry sport climbing tomorrow- going to teach him how to use an ATC and a grigri! :lol:


healyje


Jul 15, 2005, 6:29 PM
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I think Larry would relate to my position on the issue - it's an old school deal I think, from back in the days when people didn't dog and anchors were as good as you could make them which wasn't always good...


healyje


Jul 15, 2005, 6:34 PM
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In reply to:
healyje -

How would you escape your belay if your second gets injured? If you're belaying directly off your harness, your second manages to get himself/herself injured, what will you do? Imagining your situation, with a 150-200 lb body hanging off your waist, I have a hard time imagining you can escape. It reminds of me of Touching the Void.

As I've said several times now I can and have escaped belays using various contrived methods depending on what I have on me at the time and each in under two minutes from when I didn't like the situation at hand.

As for "Touching the Void" that was a deteriorating stance and after as long as he held a dead rope I'd have likely done exactly what he did. It isn't always a safely bolted sport world out there...


dirtineye


Jul 15, 2005, 6:41 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
healyje -

How would you escape your belay if your second gets injured? If you're belaying directly off your harness, your second manages to get himself/herself injured, what will you do? Imagining your situation, with a 150-200 lb body hanging off your waist, I have a hard time imagining you can escape. It reminds of me of Touching the Void.

As I've said several times now I can and have escaped belays using various contrived methods depending on what I have on me at the time and each in under two minutes from when I didn't like the situation at hand.

As for "Touching the Void" that was a deteriorating stance and after as long as he held a dead rope I'd have likely done exactly what he did. It isn't always a safely bolted sport world out there...

Just for the poor soul who doesn't get it, roughly, a couple of kleimheists or prussiks on the rope below the belay device on the weighted line, connect to anchor by method of your choice, Release load on to the kleimheists, escape belay, secure line to anchor with backup knot, proceed from there.


dirtme


Jul 15, 2005, 6:52 PM
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He could have used a prussic to his harness and freed his hands and rigged an anchor. I figure he didn't try that because of the altitude and was a little spooked.

And not all of us are sport climbers. I've done my share but it's just "practice" for real climbing. :wink:


healyje


Jul 15, 2005, 7:01 PM
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In reply to:
He could have used a prussic to his harness and freed his hands and rigged an anchor. I figure he didn't try that because of the altitude and was a little spooked.

And not all of us are sport climbers. I've done my share but it's just "practice" for real climbing. :wink:

I've never seen an inventory of what he had with him but I've always assumed he's a bright boy and would have done that if it were at all possible - I know I would have. I might have done a leg wrap and given it a go as well, but it's hard to tell without having been there...

Glad to hear you're getting out on gear...


healyje


Jul 15, 2005, 7:03 PM
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Oh, and I belay with a Reverso - I just never think of using it in that nasty way...


landgolier


Jul 15, 2005, 8:00 PM
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Ok, I've been lurking on this one, and while I do often belay off anchors, I agree with his ethos that you damn well ought to know how to belay right off your harness on anything less than two bolts on a 10 degree overhang with crap for feet, this last statement is a bit odd. The reverso is kind of a second-rate device in regular old plate/ATC mode, and it's kinda heavy to boot, other than idiosynchratic personal preference, why bother with carrying the thing if you aren't going to use half its capabilities?

In reply to:
Oh, and I belay with a Reverso - I just never think of using it in that nasty way...


healyje


Jul 16, 2005, 12:18 AM
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In reply to:
...this last statement is a bit odd. The reverso is kind of a second-rate device in regular old plate/ATC mode, and it's kinda heavy to boot, other than idiosynchratic personal preference, why bother with carrying the thing if you aren't going to use half its capabilities?
I never claimed I wasn't odd, but I use a Reverso because, while it's average as an ATC, I do happen to like the way it raps compared to most ATCs. And I don't find it heavy so much as rather large and awkward when not in use.


larryd


Jul 18, 2005, 8:13 AM
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In reply to:
I think Larry would relate to my position on the issue - it's an old school deal I think, from back in the days when people didn't dog and anchors were as good as you could make them which wasn't always good...

Well, that's true-- the best belays are the ones where you never get to find out how solid the anchors are. But I'm reasonably open-minded on the issue, particularly with a guy like John (vegastradguy) who is smart and really has his systems and gear worked out...


healyje


Jul 18, 2005, 11:16 PM
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Re: Best device 4 belaying off the anchor? [In reply to]
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I think Larry would relate to my position on the issue - it's an old school deal I think, from back in the days when people didn't dog and anchors were as good as you could make them which wasn't always good...

Well, that's true-- the best belays are the ones where you never get to find out how solid the anchors are. But I'm reasonably open-minded on the issue, particularly with a guy like John (vegastradguy) who is smart and really has his systems and gear worked out...

Ah, there you are; glad to hear you're still pulling down as ever. Well, on the topic at hand I have no problem owning being less open-minded on it than you; again, it's not a habit I like to see, particularly when I'm climbing.

You guys will have to keep your eyes open for Karsten (Texplorer) he just moved your way for Pharmacy school - he's a real quiet, point and shoot, no fuss, no muss sort of climber. Would love to get out to climb with you both myself some time this fall/winter and get the local perpective on things...

P.S. 115 degrees? Hope you guys are staying cool somewhere....


johnhenry


Jul 19, 2005, 12:48 AM
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Re: Best device 4 belaying off the anchor? [In reply to]
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I respectfully disagree with Mr. Healyje (plugged any hybrids?)... this is not a controversial technique.

I almost always belay off the anchors. i am pretty old school too but when a better technique comes along (from Europe), I am more than willing to switch.

Even John Long in "Climbing Anchors" and that book called "Self-Rescue" both recommend it.

I guess one question would be, "Are you using a cordolette or webolette on your trad anchors?"

If the answer is yes, then belaying a second off the anchor should be A-OK (provided you know how to place gear....).

I would use:
1. A grigri (if it is with me)
2. A reverso (but it does kinda suck with fat ropes)
or last
3. Munter Hitch(it will kink your rope all up).

Climb safe!

john

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