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Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems
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zan


Aug 12, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems
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Went to the Gunks with the Partner a few weeks ago. We've been climbing together for awhile (top rope, bouldering, and at the gym) but never climbed trad together until then. That's my first mistake for sure, but there isn't much I can do about it now. At any rate, we ran into a few problems and it'd be nice to get some feedback before the Big Trip to Tuolumne in a few days.

1) Before we set out I had suggested that if we couldn't hear each other at a certain point during the climb that we use the rope-tug system my friend The Guide had told me about. Three sharp tugs from him meaning I'm "Off Belay", three sharp tugs from me meaning "Belay off", etc. He was uncomfortable with this system and said he wouldn't use it and that we should just stick to shouting.

Sure enough at a certain point, despite all our bellowing, he couldn't hear me and I couldn't hear him. He had been clipped into our anchor for around 10 minutes before I heard his "Off Belay" clearly enough that I felt okay taking him off. Oy. We're not going to use radios or anything like that, and though we each have a rescue whistle I vetoed the idea of us using them to communicate with one another. Any thoughts? What works for you when you can't hear your partner?

2) When I got up to the first belay (as second) the rope was on a itty bitty ledge in a tangled mess. I redistributed the cleaned gear while he reflaked the rope. When he handed me the rope for me to belay him up the second pitch I expressed discomfort with the way the rope was flaked. He said, "That's just the way it is on a hanging belay, I can't flake it perfectly, it's fine." So he starts to climb, I'm feeding him rope, when all of a sudden I come upon a huge snarl that I didn't see/couldn't see before. I couldn't see him, (but found out later he was on an overhanging bit) and could only hear his slightly panicked shouts for me to feed him more rope -- which I couldn't do. I was desperately trying to untangle the rope, not knowing if his last good piece was ten feet below him or what was going on at all and having no success I eventually chucked the ropes (we were using two half ropes) over the edge. That worked -- sort of. They untangled themselves enough to give me about ten feet to work up to him. I yelled for him to stop when he got to a good stance so that I could work at untangling the lines. Despite communication problems we eventually got through to each other, he stopped and I spent what felt like forever trying to untangle the freaking things with only one hand. Eventually we were free and he climbed on.

Needless to say I was less than pleased. Not being able to give him slack and hearing only "ZAN! I NEED ROPE NOW!!!" was really stressful. I thought I was going to seriously hurt him. We talked about it once we reached the summit but he maintained that "sometimes that happens" and that there was no way I could have expected him to flake the rope better. I disagreed, saying there has to be a way to do it better. He said, "Well how?" and I admitted that I didn't know. I've consulted my books on it and gleaned some information but I'd like to hear if anyone has some pointers from personal experience.


majid_sabet


Aug 12, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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As a belayer, you are in charge of his rope so it is your job to organize the feed line. Now if that day he fell and somehow your belay rope got jammed in too your belay device, were you able to free him when he was hanging under a roof?.


colatownkid


Aug 12, 2008, 10:36 AM
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Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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my take on it is this:

when unable to communicate with my partner by shouting, lacking radios or another intermediate party to relay commands, i resort to rope tugs. three sharp tugs means climb on (and etc.)

as for flaking ropes, there are a couple points to be made. the first is that while you guys are a partnership, the leader should ensure that the rope is good to go since he/she will be leading on it and has more at stake. if you voice your concerns and the leader still decides to climb, there's not a whole lot you can do. i feel that you did the best you could in the given situation.

if you're having trouble flaking the rope on a small ledge, try flaking it over your tether. just butterfly the rope over whatever it is you're tied in with. it's super convenient on hanging belays and the rope is always stacked right in front of you.


dingus


Aug 12, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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I've used the rope tug system for more than 20 years and use it EVEN WHEN shouting or simple verbal communication is possible.

It works. Even if your partner won't use it there is nothing to prevent you from using them. Tug rope, then holler, perhaps he'll see the light????

In terms of half rope management....

I've used half ropes for about 2 decades as well. As for balay management I don't do any differently with half ropes as I would singles.

If there is a decent ledge the rope gets piled as it comes out of the device - two ropes treated as one. I take care not to kick or otherwise turn over the pile.

Now I'm confused about something - why didn't YOU lead the nexty pitch?

When there is a single leader, the rope pile 'flip' (to get her end back on top) is prone to tangles. One strategy is to simply re-pile the rope to get the leader end back on top - the belayer does this; its not the leader's problem.

If its a hanging belay I loop the rope over my tie-in anchor or use a sling on a piece of convenient pro. I don't like ropes hanging down below me where they can catch in cracks and on knobs, etc. A stuck belay end can be a REAL problem.

Lastly, it is the belayer's responsibility to detect and deal with belay rope snarls real time. Anticipate - don't wait for the snarl to reach your hand. You should be monitoring the 'next 20 feet' or so real time, thus giving yourself some advance warning that a cluster is approaching.

Lastly, 'leader's perogitive' on many optional techniques, such as belay commands and rope piles. When you lead, YOU get to decide.

DMT


(This post was edited by dingus on Aug 12, 2008, 10:39 AM)


Partner j_ung


Aug 12, 2008, 10:50 AM
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Re: [dingus] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
I've used the rope tug system for more than 20 years and use it EVEN WHEN shouting or simple verbal communication is possible.

It works. Even if your partner won't use it there is nothing to prevent you from using them. Tug rope, then holler, perhaps he'll see the light????

In terms of half rope management....

I've used half ropes for about 2 decades as well. As for balay management I don't do any differently with half ropes as I would singles.

If there is a decent ledge the rope gets piled as it comes out of the device - two ropes treated as one. I take care not to kick or otherwise turn over the pile.

Now I'm confused about something - why didn't YOU lead the nexty pitch?

When there is a single leader, the rope pile 'flip' (to get her end back on top) is prone to tangles. One strategy is to simply re-pile the rope to get the leader end back on top - the belayer does this; its not the leader's problem.

If its a hanging belay I loop the rope over my tie-in anchor or use a sling on a piece of convenient pro. I don't like ropes hanging down below me where they can catch in cracks and on knobs, etc. A stuck belay end can be a REAL problem.

Lastly, it is the belayer's responsibility to detect and deal with belay rope snarls real time. Anticipate - don't wait for the snarl to reach your hand. You should be monitoring the 'next 20 feet' or so real time, thus giving yourself some advance warning that a cluster is approaching.

Lastly, 'leader's perogitive' on many optional techniques, such as belay commands and rope piles. When you lead, YOU get to decide.

DMT

Ditto all that. I'll add that if all communication breaks down and even tugs are not possible, I and my partners have an understanding that when the rope runs out, the second climbs on.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Aug 12, 2008, 10:58 AM)


zan


Aug 12, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Re: [dingus] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Now I'm confused about something - why didn't YOU lead the nexty pitch?

I didn't lead the next pitch because this was only my second time trad climbing ever and I wasn't (and am still not) comfortable leading.

In reply to:
re-pile the rope to get the leader end back on top - the belayer does this; its not the leader's problem.
Since I'm still very new to all of this and he is much more experienced he decided to flake the rope while I transferred the cleaned gear (a more straightforward task). The decision for him to flake the rope was his, not mine. However, since in the future I will probably be doing the flaking I was asking for advice so that I don't wind up with the same problem when I do it myself.

In reply to:
Lastly, it is the belayer's responsibility to detect and deal with belay rope snarls real time. Anticipate - don't wait for the snarl to reach your hand. You should be monitoring the 'next 20 feet' or so real time, thus giving yourself some advance warning that a cluster is approaching.

Again, since I'm new to this it wasn't easy for me to see where the snarl was. I looked at the rope before he went up, it was a messy pile which is why I got nervous and mentioned it to him; I couldn't clearly see what was going on. Maybe someone who has more experience would have been able to see the snarl before it reached them but I wasn't able to do so.

In reply to:
Lastly, 'leader's perogitive' on many optional techniques, such as belay commands and rope piles. When you lead, YOU get to decide.

While I'm sure this is true to some extent, we are working as partners. I would hope that leaders would be willing to compromise with their seconds in the interests of good communication. After all, not being able to communicate or feed slack doesn't really help anyone.


zan


Aug 12, 2008, 10:53 AM
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Re: [colatownkid] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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thanks for that flaking on the tether suggestion -- I'll definitely try it next time.


vegastradguy


Aug 12, 2008, 10:54 AM
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Re: [dingus] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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if you havent got a ledge to stack the rope neatly on (dont just pile it anywhere, try to localize it as much as possible), then it gets looped over your tie in.

if you're not swapping, the best thing to do is to reflake it- i've found that, like dingus, flipping the rope has a pretty low success rate. also be sure to start with long loops and end with smaller ones, this prevents the loops from catching on one another.

as for the tugs- i dont really do this if i cant hear. my rule of thumb is, if i cant hear you, i just keep pulling up the rope until it goes completely tight. belayer counts to 10 and they're on belay. on the belayers part- after counting, just move up a bit and if the rope doesnt go up with you, you're not on.


granite_grrl


Aug 12, 2008, 10:57 AM
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Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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Sounds like both you and you partner both need to spend some time with more experianced climbers and really work on refining your pultipitch skills.

Or you two can keep bumbling around till something finally works (sometimes the only option when its really hard to find experianced climbers, it sucks, but it happens).

Personally I never use the rope tug method. Normally we decide if the rop goes tight then the second is either on belay or they have to simul climb. Also, get yourself on the sharp end as soon as possible. You'll be happier in the long run for it.


Partner j_ung


Aug 12, 2008, 11:02 AM
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Re: [vegastradguy] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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vegastradguy wrote:
if you're not swapping, the best thing to do is to reflake it- i've found that, like dingus, flipping the rope has a pretty low success rate. also be sure to start with long loops and end with smaller ones, this prevents the loops from catching on one another.

I've never had a problem with the flip (as long I keep the bights on the small side), but then again, I don't usually climb on doubles. I imagine that's a slightly different ballgame.


zan


Aug 12, 2008, 11:02 AM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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Oh no! Pultipitch skills?! I've only been working on my multipitch skills. Shit. Another thing to add to the list.

:)

On a serious note: I have had a hard time finding really experienced people to mentor me so we're going with the "bumble along" method for now. I think we'll be fine all things considered, I'd just rather have fewer harrowing moments. I'm into us having a good time, not a stress fest.


dingus


Aug 12, 2008, 11:03 AM
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Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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zan wrote:
In reply to:
Lastly, it is the belayer's responsibility to detect and deal with belay rope snarls real time. Anticipate - don't wait for the snarl to reach your hand. You should be monitoring the 'next 20 feet' or so real time, thus giving yourself some advance warning that a cluster is approaching.

Again, since I'm new to this it wasn't easy for me to see where the snarl was.

It will get easier with each subsequent climb. I will 'pull out' 10 or 20 feet of slack at a time, just to keep a handle on things.

In reply to:
I looked at the rope before he went up, it was a messy pile which is why I got nervous and mentioned it to him; I couldn't clearly see what was going on.

That's why you have to do it continuously during the belay - staring at all that rope can make you crazy.

In reply to:
Maybe someone who has more experience would have been able to see the snarl before it reached them but I wasn't able to do so.

Good news! Room for improvement will breed a better climber.

In reply to:
In reply to:
Lastly, 'leader's perogitive' on many optional techniques, such as belay commands and rope piles. When you lead, YOU get to decide.

While I'm sure this is true to some extent, we are working as partners. I would hope that leaders would be willing to compromise with their seconds in the interests of good communication. After all, not being able to communicate or feed slack doesn't really help anyone.

To some extent, sure. My daughter is taking driver's ed, got her learner's permit. How much 'compromising' should I do with her when she proposes something I'm not comfortable doing myself? The stakes are high, afterall.

I guess what I'm trying to convey is a sense of 'self-responsibility.' Despite your noob status, when belaying it is YOUR JOB to keep the rope untangled, not the leaders. Hindsight? Forget about it. That Gunks lesson is chalked up to experience.

You found out you don't like it when the rope tangles and leaves you ill-equipped to insure the leader's safety.

OK. Incorporate that lesson (its what you're doing and good on you mate!). Next time, if you don't like the pile, restack it BEFORE you say 'on belay.'

But in terms of tugs, sorry, I don't agree. The leader gets to choose comm system. When you share in lead duties you get to have a more equal voice in that decision. Till then you gotta sell your ideas to The Man.

Cheers
DMT


GeneralBenson


Aug 12, 2008, 11:05 AM
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Don't ait until you need rope to try and pull it out of the pile. I"m always pulling out the next 10 feet of rope, and laying it back down, to make sure it's available. Trad climbing is all about multi tasking. YOu have to learn how to manage the pile while feed a leader, or bring up a second, whatever it is.


zan


Aug 12, 2008, 11:08 AM
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Re: [dingus] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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Thanks for the nice feedback -- much appreciated.

However,
In reply to:
But in terms of tugs, sorry, I don't agree. The leader gets to choose comm system. When you share in lead duties you get to have a more equal voice in that decision. Till then you gotta sell your ideas to The Man.

I see your point, but my question is, if he doesn't want to use rope tugs, but I can't hear him and he can't hear me what do we do? I suggested rope tugs as a way around that problem, but if he doesn't want to do that we have to do *something else* right? What should that something else be?


dingus


Aug 12, 2008, 11:11 AM
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Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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zan wrote:
On a serious note: I have had a hard time finding really experienced people to mentor me so we're going with the "bumble along" method for now. I think we'll be fine all things considered, I'd just rather have fewer harrowing moments. I'm into us having a good time, not a stress fest.

The Bumble Along Method is time-honored and oft-deployed, so you're in solid company.

But be advised, the Bumble Along Method includes more of the (patent pending) Harrowing Moments than the Mentor/Disciple Program. You osrta have to bumble into each problem to see that it can BE a problem... then figger how to avoid it NEXT TIME.

Just wait till you spend the night hanging in slings! That's a Bumble that breeds a lot of hindsight!

DMT


dingus


Aug 12, 2008, 11:15 AM
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zan wrote:
Thanks for the nice feedback -- much appreciated.

However,
In reply to:
But in terms of tugs, sorry, I don't agree. The leader gets to choose comm system. When you share in lead duties you get to have a more equal voice in that decision. Till then you gotta sell your ideas to The Man.

I see your point, but my question is, if he doesn't want to use rope tugs, but I can't hear him and he can't hear me what do we do? I suggested rope tugs as a way around that problem, but if he doesn't want to do that we have to do *something else* right? What should that something else be?

Well, you gotta discuss it with him, right?

But you suggested 3 of the 4 possible answers posed in this thread yourself

1. Shout louder
2. Tug system
3., Radios (or cell phones, haha... say you could TEXT HIM!)
4. Start climbing when the rope comes taut.

There are two other options:
1. Do nothing at all, just continue to shout at one another. An hour of no movement may convince your friend to take another look at alternative comm systems
2. Ground Relays - The Mark of the Noob: "I say there good fellow? Yes, YOU! No, 'm up here. Can you please tell my belayer I'm ready to climb now? Thanks so much!" Any port in a storm, right?

Cheers
DMT


Gmburns2000


Aug 12, 2008, 11:28 AM
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I think a lot of what has been said here is good advice (looping the ropes over your tether, starting with large loops and ending with small loops, pulling out 10 feet or so at a time in order to catch snags in advance, etc). But I think what I'm hearing from you is that you really want to establish a set of consistent rules / communication that will make your team that much more efficient. I could not agree more with this approach.

I've found that when I climb with people with whom I'm not on a consistent communication standard with, things tend to get a bit confusing. With time and experience, these confusing moments can be reduced, but communication is absolutely the key. If you aren't comfortable, then you've got to convey that in a way that your partner understands, particularly if your partner understands how he/she could possibly be affected by your concerns if they aren't dealt with.

My main partner and I last year found ourselves bumbling along early in the season at belay and when we couldn't hear each other at the opposite ends of pitches. Not being able to be efficient and / communicative really brought us together as a team. After our first few fuck ups, we would go back to our respective homes and think about how to improve our systems. Eventually, after much thought, discussion, and a bit of trial and error, we got to a point where we fully understood each other and what we had to do in order to maintain sanity. It takes time and a willingness to talk things through, but once you get it, you really get it, and things start to take off.

If you're partner is unwilling to discuss or at least teach you certain things that he has decided without your input, and if you're uncomfortable with that, then you may need to find a new partner. If partners are scarce, then deal with it as best as you can, all the while trying to get better. I completely agree with the notion of self-accountability, but it only helps a team if the team is on the same page. If your partner doesn't seem to be willing to be on the same page, then either get him there, or find a new one. I'm always willing to give people a chance, but if we don't click, then in my mind we are putting ourselves potentially at risk. I climb at the Gunks a lot, and it is damn hard to hear sometimes. I can't imagine not having a rope tug system as a backup there. God knows how many times I've heard people without one yelling back and forth for minutes on end. It's not just annoying, but also potentially dangerous.


marc801


Aug 12, 2008, 11:53 AM
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dingus wrote:
But you suggested 3 of the 4 possible answers posed in this thread yourself

1. Shout louder
2. Tug system
3., Radios (or cell phones, haha... say you could TEXT HIM!)
4. Start climbing when the rope comes taut.

There are two other options:
1. Do nothing at all, just continue to shout at one another. An hour of no movement may convince your friend to take another look at alternative comm systems
2. Ground Relays - The Mark of the Noob: "I say there good fellow? Yes, YOU! No, 'm up here. Can you please tell my belayer I'm ready to climb now? Thanks so much!" Any port in a storm, right?

One other option that's kinda unique to the Gunks that I'm surprised that none of the Gunkies posting here suggested: shorter pitches. 'Cause of all the corners and overhangs, it's pretty easy to get out of earshot - running pitches or parts thereof together simply because a 60 m or 70 m enables you to do so can just put that many more corners, overhangs, and distance between you. Sometimes it's just better to stop and belay before going around that next corner; shift the belay on the Grand Traverse ledge 30' to the right for the next pitch after you're both on the GT. Sure, I don't know the route in question in this context, so this advice may or may not apply, but it's something to consider.

Something else that my long time partner and I have done when we can see each other but not hear (due to wind, the racket of the Eldorado Canyon creek, other parties screaming, motorcycles on 44/55, etc): hand signals.


joeforte


Aug 12, 2008, 12:12 PM
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I'll agree with and sum up what many have said:

1. If there is no nice ledge, flake the rope over your tie-in.

2. The first loops are BIG, but take care not to snag things below. Each consecutive loop is smaller than the last, preventing them from picking each other up.

3.If you are not leading the next pitch, reflake the rope, starting at your end, so the leader's end is on top again.

4. If you can't hear, 3 sharp, distinct, well spaced tugs.

5. If tugs can't be felt, keep the leader on belay until the end of the rope. When all the rope is gone, wait a few secs, then begin taking down the belay and climb. Be aware that if he missed the belay, you are now simuclimbing, so do whatever it takes to NOT FALL. In the event that you did fall, you'd most likely have a lot of rope and gear between you, but you're going to rip the leader off and potentially injure him in the fall. Then the REAL bumbling begins.


nthusiastj


Aug 12, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Re: [joeforte] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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Everyones advice here is spot on.

My partner and I use tugs and yells. It's never failed us.

When I tug as the leader I give 3 HUGE tugs. I don't want my tugs to be confused with me flipping the rope over an edge or something. I also take care that if I am flipping the rope while climbing that I never make it a series of 3 flips. This avoids the "off belay" confusion.

After my tugs I make sure to hold up some slack in the line. The belayers tugs can be pretty small since they don't usually have allot of slack to tug on.


troutboy


Aug 12, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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You're the same person that posted asking about what to do with this person on your first road trip to Yosemite, right ?

I now edit my original advice. Cancel the trip immediately or go, but do not, under any circumstances, climb anything more than a 1-pitch TR with this person again. He/she is clearly more clueless than you (you have an excuse, you are new) and may very easily get you hurt. Seriously. He bumbled a 2-pitch climb in the Gunks. How well do you think he will do on a multipitch runout Tuolumne slab ? With bad weather closing in ?

It seems from your posts you are an intelligent newbie, willing to listen and learn; however, you're partner/mentor is a clueless idiot.

TS


dingus


Aug 12, 2008, 1:04 PM
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Re: [troutboy] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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troutboy wrote:
You're the same person that posted asking about what to do with this person on your first road trip to Yosemite, right ?

I now edit my original advice. Cancel the trip immediately or go, but do not, under any circumstances, climb anything more than a 1-pitch TR with this person again. He/she is clearly more clueless than you (you have an excuse, you are new) and may very easily get you hurt. Seriously. He bumbled a 2-pitch climb in the Gunks. How well do you think he will do on a multipitch runout Tuolumne slab ? With bad weather closing in ?

It seems from your posts you are an intelligent newbie, willing to listen and learn; however, you're partner/mentor is a clueless idiot.

TS

Aw come on troutboy we were all Noobs in the Meadows once.

DMT


gothcopter


Aug 12, 2008, 1:09 PM
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Posts: 145

Re: [zan] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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zan wrote:
Three sharp tugs from him meaning I'm "Off Belay", three sharp tugs from me meaning "Belay off", etc. He was uncomfortable with this system and said he wouldn't use it and that we should just stick to shouting.

I am a big proponent of the tug system. In fact, I use it almost exclusively in multipitch rather than shouting. There's way too much yelling going on at the crag. At a crowded place like the Gunks it's not just annoying, but dangerously confusing.

Using rope tugs all the time means that you will quickly become familiar with them, thereby reducing the chances of miscommunication or error. There is far more opportunity for miscommunication with something as complicated as human speech, when compared to a simple rope tug system.

One reason your partner may have a problem with the tug system you proposed is that it involves the belayer giving rope tug signals. Rope tugs coming from below can be very hard to detect, so it probably won't work most of the time. And if for some reason you perceive three "off-belay" tugs when they were not given, the WORST thing you could do is take your leader off belay when he's not expecting it and then TUG HARD ON THE ROPE three times. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

To summarize:

1) Use rope tugs, they rule.

2) All signals are given by leader.
- Leader reaches belay and builds anchor.
- Leader attaches himself to the anchor.
- First three rope tugs.
- Second takes leader off belay and gets ready to climb.
- Leader pulls up excess rope and puts second on belay.
- Three more rope tugs.
- Second breaks down belay anchor and starts climbing.

Finer points of tugging it:

1) Use big tugs, at least 2-3 feet of rope movement.
2) Leave a second or two between tugs. It should be an obvious signal, so it can't be confused with normal rope wiggle.
3) Keep in mind that the belayer will probably give slack after the first tug, since they don't know if it is a signal or if you just need more rope. So your hand will move farther on the subsequent tugs. I've punched a few unsuspecting rocks and trees this way.
4) If you can make eye contact with your belayer, then you can substitute hand signals for tugs as long as you both agree and understand them.
5) If you're the leader and you've given your first three tugs, you MUST put the second on belay before giving three more tugs -- even if you are CERTAIN they didn't feel the first three. This may entail pulling all the excess slack through your belay device, but it's better than the alternative if you're wrong.
6) When setting up to belay the second, be sure you leave enough slack in the rope so you can generate the necessary movement on your second set of tugs. You want to make it very clear that they are on belay. They'll appreciate it!

I'm sure if you and your partner sit down and discuss the rope tug thing, he'll be ok with it. He probably just didn't want to try to sort out a whole new communication routine right before setting off on a climb, which is understandable.


troutboy


Aug 12, 2008, 1:24 PM
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Re: [dingus] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:

Aw come on troutboy we were all Noobs in the Meadows once.

DMT

Well, there are noobs and then there are arrogant, not willing to admit they are noobs, noobsWink

I think her partner is the latter. DMT is correct. We've all done some stupid shit and survived, but I would not climb with this noob fer nuthin'.

TS


sspssp


Aug 12, 2008, 2:04 PM
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Re: [gothcopter] Flaking on a hanging belay and communication problems [In reply to]
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gothcopter wrote:
To summarize:

1) Use rope tugs, they rule.

2) All signals are given by leader.
- Leader reaches belay and builds anchor.
- Leader attaches himself to the anchor.
- First three rope tugs.
- Second takes leader off belay and gets ready to climb.
- Leader pulls up excess rope and puts second on belay.
- Three more rope tugs.
- Second breaks down belay anchor and starts climbing.

This discussion comes up from time to time and it is my humble opionin that this sytem is needlessly dangerous.

There is too much chance that the belayer could accidently take the leader off with a huge amount of slack in the system and the potential of a huge fall.

Say the second thinks there has been the "off belay" signal and takes the leader off when there is still 50 feet of slack. A lead fall would be over 100 feet. A really bad scenerio.

I would instead recommend:

The leader builds his anchor. The leader pulls the rope up (which is still being belayed the second). When the rope pulls tight, he tugs hard on the rope every five seconds or so until the second figures it out, takes the leader off belay, and then starts climbing.

Lets look at this from the seconds perspective. The rope comes tight and it keeps being pulled up. This should mean that the leader has built his anchor, pulled up the rope and the second is on belay. What, worst case scenerio, if the leader is still climbing? Then it would mean the two climbers are unintionally simul-climbing, but there is minimal slack in the system. A lead fall would only be a little longer than average. A fall by the second is worse because, the leader is "pulled off." However, survival chances are good (much bettter than the 100+ fall scenerio above). If there is a miscommunication, the bad things that can happen are much more likely to be survived. The only down side of this system is the wasted time of the leader pulling the rope up while the second is still belaying. I would say this is a very small price for a signficant increase in safety.


(This post was edited by sspssp on Aug 12, 2008, 2:08 PM)

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