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I got in trouble today
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jumpingrock


Dec 31, 2006, 2:18 PM
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I got in trouble today
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So I was climbing at Vertical Reality in Ottawa today. My fiance was lead climbing a route at her limit and I was belaying her. Before attempting to tackle the roof crux she had me take. As I usually do when taking, I pulled a armload of slack out of the system and then stepped back (a little to the left of the bolt) and took the rest of the slack out. While my fiance was resting, the owner of the gym came up to me and yelled (was very forceful): "You have to be below the bolt. Standing to the side of the bolt loosens the hanger. This is why there are so many loose bolt outside."
I said "Huh".
He said "You have to stand below the bolt"
I was like, "My fiance has taken I can't move"
He said "You didn't take, to take you just pull your hand down you don't step back." Then he added "the strength of the bolt is also weakened substaintially if the bolt is pulled out instead of down (because there is an arrow pointing down) (%100 strong pulling down and %25 any other direction) At this point I questioned the bolts on the roof(s) and he said they were "special hangers".

The conversation didn't last much longer but I did go below the bolt to make the fellow happy, my fiance was distracted and unable to pull the crux of the climb.

At this point I was pretty pissed because I don't like being distracted (or having my climber distracted) in the middle of climbing a difficult route. In addition I couldn't and still can't believe that I did anything wrong. (So I got a bit angry and yelled back at him)

So my questions are
a) Is he correct that taking/belaying from the side of the bolt loosens it?
b) To date I have been under the impression that bolts are multidirectional. Do bolt hangers only work to %25 of their strength if pulled any direction but down?
c) Are there special hangers that people use on overhangs/roofs that are better for outward pulls (and I don't mean glue in. I'm talking standard gym bolts (25kn))
c) Are the benifits of standing back 2/3 feet from the wall (quicker slack giving/receiving, better view, easier dynamic belay etc) outweighed by the dangers that dude outlined? (or any other dangers?)

I believe that dude is wrong and an asswipe. But I could be wrong and I wanted to throw this to the general public and see what the opinions are.


tradrenn


Dec 31, 2006, 2:29 PM
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Re: [jumpingrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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jumpingrock wrote:
I believe that dude is wrong and an asswipe. But I could be wrong and I wanted to throw this to the general public and see what the opinions are.

He did similar thing to me when I was there back in 2004.

When I was signing the waiver he told me about the first bolt, where to stand and how to take. To this day I have been to 6 gyms and this was the only gym that had a problem with stepping back the way you have described.

That guy is nuts if you ask me.


mdude


Dec 31, 2006, 2:30 PM
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Re: [tradrenn] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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Opinions are like assholes.

MD


summerprophet


Dec 31, 2006, 2:52 PM
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Re: [jumpingrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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As far as 'taking', the amount of force applied to the hanger is rather minimal. The last bolt you fiance has clipped would be holding the majority of her weight. While not getting two deep into the physics of vectors, friction and rope stretch, I think it is pretty safe to say that the hangers are VASTLY below their breaking strength.

To answer your other questions, Yes there were other hangers made specifically made for roofs in the early nineties. As the demand for these were reare, they were not made for long. Essentailly, the only difference in design was that the hanger was not tear shaped to the bottom and it was centered closer to the bolt. I havent seen these for sale in ten years at least.

As far as loosening the bolts, I suppose that is a possibility, but that would depend on the surfacing of the wall, the length of draws, the angle and the distance between bolts. I can see the bolts loosening under repeated falls (not takes) where the belayer is standing to the RIGHT of the bolt.

I would suggest to the owner that he invest in two dollars worth of locktight, and tighten the bolts to specifications.

With all that being said, the mathematically perfect place to be standing is directly under the first bolt.


zeke_sf


Dec 31, 2006, 3:35 PM
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Re: [jumpingrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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sounds like the bar for Gym Nazis has been raised. bravo, sir. bravo.


dan2see


Dec 31, 2006, 3:36 PM
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Re: [summerprophet] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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summerprophet wrote:
...
With all that being said, the mathematically perfect place to be standing is directly under the first bolt.

I would question this owner's ability to assess risk.
So, the mathematically perfect place is at another climbing gym.


(This post was edited by dan2see on Dec 31, 2006, 3:38 PM)


bigfatrock


Dec 31, 2006, 3:55 PM
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Re: [jumpingrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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Sounds like an idiot, next thing you know he will yell at you when you step back to pull up slack after your partner dropped the rope while clipping and falls.


kr0g3r


Dec 31, 2006, 4:14 PM
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Re: [bigfatrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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i dont think moving would have that much of an effect on that first bolt. and if that guy is worried about safety why the hell is he bitching at you while you're in the middle of belaying someone.

my words would have been "Eat a dick and die dude." then i'd have left and taken my money elsewhere.

but eh. i have a short temper.


majid_sabet


Dec 31, 2006, 5:13 PM
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Re: [kr0g3r] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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Next time you will be out there belaying 20 feet away from wall, your partner will fall while you are trying to clean up your act, you will get pulled toward the wall like a ball causing your partner to fall farther, your partner will deck and you got to do the report.

You need to be close to wall while belaying at all the time.


overlord


Jan 1, 2007, 10:35 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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there are so many 'loose' hangers outside because some ppl actually tighten the expansion bolt to the correct torque. then an idiot like that gym owner comes along, tries to tighten it and breaks the bolt.

im glad expansion bolts are becoming replaced with glueins fast here. i wonder how many of the noobs at the crags know that it is ok for an expansion bolt hanger to be loose a bit.


coastal_climber


Jan 1, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Re: [overlord] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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I think he over reacted (a lot). If he doesn't want this happening he should have some beefy re-directional draws lower down. Plus that was only the first draw, and Im guessing your Fiancée was at least 3-4 QD's up. I have never encountered a loose first hanger at the crags. I guess thats why he owns a gym.


themadmilkman


Jan 2, 2007, 12:39 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
Next time you will be out there belaying 20 feet away from wall, your partner will fall while you are trying to clean up your act, you will get pulled toward the wall like a ball causing your partner to fall farther, your partner will deck and you got to do the report.

You need to be close to wall while belaying at all the time.

He WAS close to the wall, he just wasn't directly underneath the bolt. And I, for one, see no problem with how he was belaying. Sometimes moving to the side is necessary to see the climber, etc., and bolts can definitely hold from any angle, especially given the circumstances described.

More than anything, though, I'm curious to know what makes the roof bolts 'special', other than the owner not willing to admit that he may have been wrong.


tallnik


Jan 2, 2007, 2:23 AM
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Re: [jumpingrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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this is why I boulder there...

Coyote's not bad, but a pain to get to without a car.

Cheers,
Nik


metrogroaz


Jan 2, 2007, 11:05 PM
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Re: [themadmilkman] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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themadmilkman wrote:
And I, for one, see no problem with how he was belaying. Sometimes moving to the side is necessary to see the climber, etc., and bolts can definitely hold from any angle, especially given the circumstances described.

I was taught to stand to the side in these certain situations. What if there is a possible fall with the climber right above you, on the bolt line. Who wants thier partner to fall directly on you? Standing to the side is what I was taught in this situation.

I don;t think im missing anything, am I?


aarong


Jan 22, 2007, 7:54 AM
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Re: [metrogroaz] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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The way I see it, standing to the side CAN BE a good thing in several situations because it:
a) creates more friction due to the angle of the rope, thereby reducing the amount of "grip" required by the belayer to hold the brake-end of the rope
b) gets you out of the way of someone's fall zone - in the event that someone is climbing one direction or the other and could either swing or fall into you
c) allows you to better see what the climber is doing and when they need slack or tension

Of course, the above options are contingent upon the nature of the climb and the situation. Certainly, there are many cases where you would want to be directly under the first bolt and not several feet from the wall - but it's all based upon good judgement and what works in that situation.

In any case, the fact that the hangers turn should not be the major consideration when it comes to proper belaying.

There are hangers specifically designed for roof climbs which allow the attached biner/draw to be more directly in-line with the bolt. However, standard hangers are still sufficient and are used in most cases.

I think I would question what those hangers were attached TO - steel frame? wood frame? How were they installed and why is the guy worried enough about it that he has to draw arrows on the wall and be hyper-sensitive about where people are standing?

Still - the fact remains that it is his gym and his rules so you have to follow them if you want to climb there. Doesn't really matter if it makes sense or not. Sucks doesn't it?


Partner srwings


Jan 22, 2007, 9:08 AM
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All very interesting. I had to take a lead belay test last year and the gym encouraged me to step forward or backward in order to make minor adjustments to the amount of slack I had out.


granite_grrl


Jan 22, 2007, 9:24 AM
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Re: [srwings] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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I laugh that JR got yelled at, esp bcause I know what a big boy he is! Now, I'm not a small girl (145-155lbs fighting weight) but David is the only person that I have ever anchored in for while belaying.

Now, I don't know the size of his fiance, but I'll wager that she won't be pulling you around much even if she is on lead.

See, I know this, and David knows this and his finance knows this, but the gym emplyee only knows the rules and doesn't care to think too much about them before enforcing them.


redpoint73


Jan 22, 2007, 10:10 AM
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Re: [jumpingrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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jumpingrock wrote:

a) Is he correct that taking/belaying from the side of the bolt loosens it?
b) To date I have been under the impression that bolts are multidirectional. Do bolt hangers only work to %25 of their strength if pulled any direction but down?
c) Are there special hangers that people use on overhangs/roofs that are better for outward pulls (and I don't mean glue in. I'm talking standard gym bolts (25kn))
c) Are the benifits of standing back 2/3 feet from the wall (quicker slack giving/receiving, better view, easier dynamic belay etc) outweighed by the dangers that dude outlined? (or any other dangers?)

a) I suppose its possible to some minuscule extent, but they are going to loosen no matter what, from people falling on them. The effect would be minor and not a concern. Otherwise, this would be a concern for any route where the bolts were not in a completely straight line.

b) This is somewhat true for bolts in rock, although I don't know about that 25% number (it sounds suspect to me, and completely depends on rock quality). The pullout strength for the thread for indoor bolts is quite high. I wouldn't worry about it.

c) No.

d) 2-3 feet is totally normal. But I have seen belayers standing 15 feet or more away from the wall, which is almost always a poor idea.

That said, the fact of the matter is that he works there and you don't. If you have a legitimate disagreement, and just want to inform him politely, thats one thing. But giving him a hard time won't get you anywhere. And it can make your time at the gym uncomfortable. Sure, he is probably some college kid getting paid 8 bucks an hour. But its still not worth it to start a war.


petsfed


Jan 22, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Re: [jumpingrock] I got in trouble today [In reply to]
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Now, everything else he said, he was totally talking out of his ass. Bolt hangers spin because they are designed not to bind on the bolt itself, like a washer. So falling to the side won't loosen the bolt anyway. Bolts are weaker if the pull is parallel to the bolt, but no so much anymore that its a major problem (and and if he's using bolts that are significantly weakened like that, he's violating his insurance agreement and he knows it). Also, taking is taking up the slack. By any means necessary. What he describes is the process of breaking a fall.

jumpingrock wrote:
At this point I was pretty pissed because I don't like being distracted (or having my climber distracted) in the middle of climbing a difficult route. In addition I couldn't and still can't believe that I did anything wrong. (So I got a bit angry and yelled back at him)

But this is something else. Were I you, I would've come up to him after the fact and explained in very polite terms that your number one concern is the climber, and if he wants to keep distracting you while you're belaying, then it his fault, and not yours, if somebody gets hurt. Your (questionably) un-safe practices are neatly trumped by the fact that this guy decided his theories were more important than your climber's safety.

Even if he is the owner, he doesn't know jack about the subject matter, and he's increasing the chances of an accident by doing so. I mean arrows indicating how to fall? Who has the presence of mind to follow those while in freefall?


(This post was edited by petsfed on Jan 22, 2007, 10:37 AM)


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