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Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system".
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warrenw


May 23, 2011, 10:17 AM
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Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system".
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In another thread Joe Healy wrote:

healyje wrote:
When someone is actually aware they're constructing a whole roped protection system one placement at a time I can tell because they are evaluating the slinging requirement of every placement. And slinging should be considered is an essential aspect of every placement - it isn't about the quality of a placement in isolation, but rather what a particular placement can contribute to the whole system and that is accomplished via slinging whether long or short. One look at the slinging on a pitch and you can immediately tell who gets the 'system' aspect of what they're doing and who doesn't.

That thread (link) is bit old and a bit tangential to my question, so Im asking in this new thread. My question:

When deciding to sling pro short or long on a trad lead, are there any "systematic" considerations other than rope drag?

I ask this sincerely, as I am new to trad climbing (two years in), and still learning a lot. My understanding of slinging is as follows:

Sling long to (a) reduce rope drag when the route or placements wander, (b) reduce rope drag at placements under roofs, (c) prevent cams from walking, and (d) prevent "light touch" passive pro from being lifted out of place.

Sling short to (a) keep from decking with a fall on a low piece, (b) save time, and (c) save bulk/cluster when racking up.

Sometimes sling long/short to direct the rope away from rope-eating cracks or sharp edges.

Only the rope-drag considerations seem particularly "systematic" to me, in that I have to think about previous and upcoming placements when slinging one particular piece. But perhaps I should be thinking about more?

Thoughts?


csproul


May 23, 2011, 11:57 AM
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Re: [warrenw] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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Off the top of my head, another "systematic" consideration of slinging is how falling on one piece will affect the tension/direction of pull on other pieces; e.g. the zipper effect, or having a rope under tension pull on other pieces in an unintended direction and potentially compromising lower placements. Fortunately, slinging to take care of rope drag often goes hand-in-hand with fixing this.


JimTitt


May 23, 2011, 3:02 PM
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Re: [warrenw] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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Notice Joe uses the word evaluate whereas youre wondering about thinking.
I certainly dont `think in a concious way about how Im arranging the gear and I doubt Joe does either, its more just experience of screw-ups, horrific rope drag, feel of the drag on the rope when you going to clip something and always being aware of the pitch as a totality, not sections between bits of gear.
Experience counts a lot.
And the belayer has responsibilities regarding the pitch and route as a whole as well!

Jim


billl7


May 23, 2011, 3:53 PM
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Re: [warrenw] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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It's complicated of course so I'll take the easy way out and pick one thing and pick on it ... Tongue

warrenw wrote:
Sling long to ... (d) prevent "light touch" passive pro from being lifted out of place.

This can be false in the system aspect as you lead the pitch. Imagine leading up a low-angle slab and arriving at a vertical face with a vertical crack. You place pro at the base of the crack. Sling long or short?

In advantage to slinging long is minimizing rope drag later on in the pitch.

An advantage of slinging short is you minimize any outward pull during a fall on the next piece placed higher up.

Which is best? It depends on which is more of a concern which in turn depends on how the overall pitch will be led and perhaps followed.

Bill L


Partner robdotcalm


May 23, 2011, 4:20 PM
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Re: [billl7] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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In reply to:

This can be false in the system aspect as you lead the pitch. Imagine leading up a low-angle slab and arriving at a vertical face with a vertical crack. You place pro at the base of the crack. Sling long or short?

In advantage to slinging long is minimizing rope drag later on in the pitch.

An advantage of slinging short is you minimize any outward pull during a fall on the next piece placed higher up. Bill L

There's a climb I've done several times in which that exact situation occurs. I haven't yet decided which is the best way to go (other than not falling, which hasn't happened yet).

Cheers,
r.c


healyje


May 24, 2011, 3:54 AM
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Re: [robdotcalm] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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As JimTitt says it's something you have to think somewhat more explicitly about in the beginning of your career and after awhile it all happens more or less 'automagically'.

But this is just the sort of scenario / circumstance where the 'system' aspect of a climb tends to jump back to the conscious foreground because you are confronted with a situation that involves some specific trade-offs of consequence to the remainder of the climb.

And as robdotcalm mentions, it can be less than obvious at the moment which is the right way to sling and that's where the experience and understanding of the trade-offs comes in. That doesn't mean there still aren't hard calls where you only learn the right decision in hindsight.

Bill7 is right, you just have to weigh rope drag against quality of, and potential fall-effects on, the pivotal placement and those above and below it and make your call. You may very well have to try and stop for a moment and play the scenarios through in your head to try and visualize both the potential drag and the consequences of slinging both long and short in a fall.

That's part of the challenge of trad climbing:

* route finding

* looking ahead for placements

* being aware of what's left on your rack to make placements with

* evaluating potential placements when you arrive at a likely spot to make one

* deciding if you're better off putting in a piece or just keep climbing until you get to a better stance or a better placement

* balancing your current ability / time to hang out to make a placement against its complexity and resulting quality of it

* actually making a placement (and making it the best placement possible given the available options and pro)

* slinging a placement appropriate to the 'system' you're building

It takes a bit of mileage under your belt for it all to merge into a steady rhythm that just happens and flows, but stick with it all and it will.


(This post was edited by healyje on May 24, 2011, 3:56 AM)


sp115


May 24, 2011, 4:58 AM
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Re: [warrenw] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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warrenw wrote:
...Sometimes sling long/short to direct the rope away from rope-eating cracks or sharp edges.

Thoughts?

The long/short decision comes into play when considering how the 'biner will load if you fall (loading the spine over an edge) as well as what the gate can snag on (and open).


Partner devkrev


May 25, 2011, 4:21 AM
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Re: [healyje] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
As JimTitt says it's something you have to think somewhat more explicitly about in the beginning of your career and after awhile it all happens more or less 'automagically'.

But this is just the sort of scenario / circumstance where the 'system' aspect of a climb tends to jump back to the conscious foreground because you are confronted with a situation that involves some specific trade-offs of consequence to the remainder of the climb.

And as robdotcalm mentions, it can be less than obvious at the moment which is the right way to sling and that's where the experience and understanding of the trade-offs comes in. That doesn't mean there still aren't hard calls where you only learn the right decision in hindsight.

Bill7 is right, you just have to weigh rope drag against quality of, and potential fall-effects on, the pivotal placement and those above and below it and make your call. You may very well have to try and stop for a moment and play the scenarios through in your head to try and visualize both the potential drag and the consequences of slinging both long and short in a fall.

That's part of the challenge of trad climbing:

* route finding

* looking ahead for placements

* being aware of what's left on your rack to make placements with

* evaluating potential placements when you arrive at a likely spot to make one

* deciding if you're better off putting in a piece or just keep climbing until you get to a better stance or a better placement

* balancing your current ability / time to hang out to make a placement against its complexity and resulting quality of it

* actually making a placement (and making it the best placement possible given the available options and pro)

* slinging a placement appropriate to the 'system' you're building

It takes a bit of mileage under your belt for it all to merge into a steady rhythm that just happens and flows, but stick with it all and it will.

One thing that I like about lowering off of bolted anchors on gear protected routes is that you weight the whole system and see how everything reacts under load. I always make it a point in those situations to observe everything under tension, and to think about what I may do differently in the future.

dev


jktinst


May 25, 2011, 11:03 AM
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Re: [billl7] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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First, with all this talk of rope drag, I thought Id make sure that were clear that we want the rope to follow the straightest possible path not just to minimize drag for the leader but also to allow the rope to function optimally (stretch/shock absorbtion) in case of a fall. I suspect that this goes without saying for most people and that they simply lump both effects under the name "drag" for convenience but the term is so closely associated in my mind with the hassle of leading with rope drag that I couldnt help making sure that we're on the same page with the safety aspect.

billl7 wrote:
Imagine leading up a low-angle slab and arriving at a vertical face with a vertical crack. You place pro at the base of the crack. Sling long or short?

In advantage to slinging long is minimizing rope drag later on in the pitch.

An advantage of slinging short is you minimize any outward pull during a fall on the next piece placed higher up.

Bill L

In a slab-to-vertical transition, a key slinging consideration in addition to drag is going to be the risk of hitting the slab in a fall from the vertical. Thats why my preference in this case would be to avoid placing pro right at the base of the crack where both the rope drag and the slab-decking protection are going to be at their worst. I would sling longer as I get towards the top of the slab to minimize both drag and outward pull in case of a fall and then place the next pro as high above the base of the crack as Im comfortable with, aiming for the best possible compromise between "slab-decking" protection and low drag. Im guessing that this will be somewhat shorter than the previous pro (the priority being on protection and too bad if that means a little drag) and Ill aim to place another pro on a short sling not far above that one.

Leaving aside the slab decking considerations and looking only at the drag situation, this slab-to-vertical transition is essentially like a vertical-to-overhang/roof transition except tilted towards the vertical and with a wider angle. So, if you must place pro in the crease between the two parts, slinging long will minimize both drag and outward pull in both cases, whereas slinging short will maximize them.

If this doesnt seem evident, think of it in the same terms as a two-pro equalized anchor and determining the force applied to each strand depending on their angle: the sharper the angle, the more the force on each pro will approximate one-half of that on the whole anchor. Conversely, with wider angles, the force on each pro can rise dramatically past the point where you lose all benefit of equalizing two pros. For anchors, you want to take advantage of the sharp angles to divide the force of a fall between the two pros whereas with slinging considerations, you want exactly the opposite but the physics are the same: with the rope making a very wide angle (ie long sling), it will transmit a proportionally smaller portion of the tension it is under to pulling out the pro at the point than if it made a sharper angle (short sling).

You can extrapolate this to the extreme case where the rope will snap taut in a straight line with all the slings still hanging loose: very long slings = zero pull. Of course youd have to balance that with the pretty essential aim of actually getting some protection out of your slings as you climb just above them (as opposed to what happens to them after youve placed additional pro), which brings us right back to the decking considerations.

Stephane


(This post was edited by jktinst on May 25, 2011, 11:45 AM)


billl7


May 25, 2011, 4:13 PM
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Re: [jktinst] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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jktinst wrote:
First, with all this talk of rope drag, I thought Id make sure that were clear that we want the rope to follow the straightest possible path not just to minimize drag for the leader but also to allow the rope to function optimally (stretch/shock absorbtion) in case of a fall.

I do not always want to allow the rope to follow the straightest possible path - simply because sometimes the only way it can run straight is after its under load from a fall. More on this below.

jktinst wrote:
billl7 wrote:
Imagine leading up a low-angle slab and arriving at a vertical face with a vertical crack. You place pro at the base of the crack. Sling long or short?

I would sling longer as I get towards the top of the slab to minimize both drag and outward pull in case of a fall and then place the next pro as high above the base of the crack as Im comfortable with, aiming for the best possible compromise between "slab-decking" protection and low drag.

Doing so can sometimes create long stretches of unsupported horizontally running rope or unsupported rope that has a significant horizontal component. When not under tension, it'll tend to droop and so add slack to the system which adds to the length of the fall. Sometimes this will matter. Sometimes it won't.

jktinst wrote:
... if you must place pro in the crease between the two parts, slinging long will minimize both drag and outward pull in both cases, whereas slinging short will maximize them.

This is true if you're focusing on just that piece in the crease. But maybe that doesn't matter because its a cam with the stem placed pointing in the right direction after higher pieces are in place. And its a short pitch so rope drag isn't going to matter. If the piece in the crease is slung short, the next piece up (maybe an iffy nut) will see less outward pull.

Again, I just wanted to pick at the idea that it always should be one way. Because my example isn't hypothetical. I've led a number of pitches where the terrain started off very low angle and then went vertical up into terrain at my limit - and I wanted a bomber piece in the crease. A short sling there kept upper pieces from seeing outward pull.

I've also had pitches where I placed pro at the crease only because I wanted to "nail down" the rope so it couldnt' pop up when under fall tension and so introduce slack. And I had a time when I didn't do that and regretted the longer than expected fall.

Bill L


warrenw


May 26, 2011, 11:04 AM
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Re: [billl7] Slinging long and short in a roped protection "system". [In reply to]
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Thanks to everyone for their responses. Especially to Bill for the very specific example.

Thinking more on the slab-to-face transition: I wonder if people tend to go with the short-slinging at these transitions in general, even when heading into unknown territory on the face? Just in case the next available placement is downward-pull-only? And to avoid the rope-droop problem?

Also, it seems to me the principle would apply to big ledges as well. Of course, you wouldn't want to place a piece right in the corner on the ledge, as that would create two near-90-degree bends in the rope. But I could understand preferring to sling the first piece of gear off a ledge shorter in order to prevent zippering of the pieces above. Also to help prevent ledging out on the first piece. Do people prefer this? Clearly it trades off with rope drag...

Just to be clear, I'm not looking for universal trad placement and slinging rules. I'm just looking for some factors to consider that I may not have been weighing into the big trad equation.


gunkiemike


May 30, 2011, 6:06 PM
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A good leader will place gear that provides protection and easy removal for their second as well.


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