Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Big Wall and Aid Climbing:
Big Wall Belay
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Big Wall and Aid Climbing

Premier Sponsor:

 


copperhead


Apr 15, 2003, 11:29 PM
Post #1 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 25, 2002
Posts: 668

Big Wall Belay
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

The Belay

I started to answer Robert’s question on the 1:1 Hauling thread but then thought that since what I have written has nothing to do with hauling, I’d start a new thread. Here’s the dry scientist’s point of view:

Robert wrote:
In reply to:
I'm not sure I understand how you construct your belays. You mentioned not using cordelettes (sp?), but using slings to construct multiple pp's with the climbing rope. I use cordelettes (sp?) and then pull the three (for instance) front strands of the cordellete and girth hitch slings to that to make multiple pp's (something I learned from WB). You also stated you use the lead line as part of your belay setup. I guess I'm a little confused, or am I???

Sorry if the question is not clear, I'm not sure what I'm asking, cause I'm not sure I understand what you said.

Pete wrote:
In reply to:
Actually, I was wondering the same thing. I never use my lead rope to construct any of the belay, however if I were to, I would probably use transient crabs so I could easily remove the lead rope later.

I didn't "get" that bit, either.


http://supertopo.com/...elnose_boot_law7.jpg

This is Kaptain Kirk on top of Boot Flake; Tribal Rite leaves the Nose at this point. The belay consists of three fatty bolts that are spread apart. Obviously, you wouldn’t equalize pieces that are so far apart, let alone equalize bomber 3/8” bolts. All three of the bolts are connected with the lead line; either a figure-8 or a clove-hitch can be used though a figure-8 requires more rope to tie and only one strand of rope is clipped into the biner (allows more space for additional biners, etc). The opposite is true for a clove-hitch. When clipping the lead line into a main locker (on a bolt hanger) keep the lead line closest to the gate of the locker if other biners or ropes are also clipped to the main locker. This will enable you to remove the lead line from the belay if needed. The bolt off to the right is used for the King Swing and was not a part of our belay (though one of the haul lines (red) is clipped to it). Notice the use of old (retired) daisies for gear organization between bolts; girth-hitch one end of the daisy ((the non-bar-tacked end) as you would on your harness) to the main locker on one of the bolts and then clip a free-biner to the appropriate loop in the daisy and then clip it to the adjacent bolt. This prevents all of your gear from stacking together, as it does when racked on the lead line that connects the bolts. One or two items may still be clipped to the lead line to further separate gear.

Old 1/4" bolts are usually spaced closer together and should be equalized. As you know, the advantage of a cordelette is that the knot prevents ‘shock-loading’ of the remaining pieces in the event that one of the pieces fails, whereas the sliding X system does not. The sliding X system works better in a situation that requires multiple load directions and is a ‘true’ equalization; a knot in a cordelette will never provide 100% equalization. Additional tie-offs or slings can be used to backup the sliding X system and minimize ‘shock-loading’ if necessary. I like to bounce-test gear (not bolts) at a belay so that I know what I’m dealing with. Slammer A1 cams and nuts don’t really need to be tested unless the rock has surface choss. Funky cams or nuts, pins, heads, etc should be given an energetic bounce-test. Once you know that a piece will hold such a test, you can begin to build your anchor. Beyond the bounce-test, you can only rely on judgment, and intuition. When dealing with a series of pieces in a vertical crack, you can equalize pieces depending on their relative (to each other) strengths. If you have three (or four) pieces and they are all of (estimated (post bounce-test)) equal strength, then equalize them with a 3-loop (or 4-loop) sliding X. If one or more of the pieces is considerably more bomber, then equalize the weaker pieces with a sliding X and then equalize that point and the remaining bomber piece/pieces with a second sliding X. A four-point, 4-loop system is also possible. Keep the slings as short as possible so that the main anchor point isn’t a mile below your actual gear placements. Be creative but don’t spend too much time fiddling. The bags are ready to leave the lower belay and your partner is waiting for you to start hauling! Cordelettes may be a faster set-up if ‘true’ equalization is not required, such as a series of A1 cams in a vertical/sub-vertical crack or a series of closely-spaced 1/4" bolts.

So:
If you are dealing with A1 mega-supro-bomber anchors (bolts/cams/nuts) then a cordelette will work but if you are dealing with thin or funky jive placements, then a sliding X system makes more sense. 3/8” bolts that are spread fat for a plush bivi cannot be equalized and should be connected with the lead line, or if necessary, the fixing line (not so good because it is (or should be) static).


http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=10361

These bolts are new 3/8” fatties. Provided the bolts were properly placed, there should be no reason to equalize them. Forces are exponentially multiplied as the angle between two points approaches 180 degrees (a horizontal line). When equalizing pieces, try to keep angles as small as possible. I can’t be sure, but it appears that there is only one biner clipped to each bolt hanger. The pictured system equalizes a 3-point anchor into two power-points with each bolt used in both power-points; this is interesting. However, biners don’t like to be loaded on more than one axis. These biners appear to be loaded in two or three different directions. Hanging from a power-point on steep terrain is also less stable than hanging directly from a bolt. The lead line seems to be caught behind the twisted red sling.


It would be nice to hear more from Ammon and others who may not even be members of this site yet. How do you climb so fast, Ammon?




(did I put in enough parentheses to make it almost seem like math…)

King’s X rules. Faith, Hope, Love.
(music)


climbingcowboy


Apr 15, 2003, 11:52 PM
Post #2 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1201

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Great job Copperhead thanks, I'm sure I'll find more things to pick out about it but heres one to start with.

In reply to:
All three of the bolts are connected with the lead line; either a figure-8 or a clove-hitch can be used though a figure-8 requires more rope to tie and only one strand of rope is clipped into the biner (allows more space for additional biners, etc). The opposite is true for a clove-hitch.

So unless the amount rope you have is an issue it would be better to use a figure 8 knot to leave more room in the tie in main biner?

Let me see if I'm looking at it right the orange line wich would be the lead line is connected to all three bolts, and then back to you, the blue line your holding onto goes to the haulbags in the middle wich were haul up directtly of that biner, and then gear is spread out on a purple daisy chain for easier re-racking?


copperhead


Apr 16, 2003, 12:01 AM
Post #3 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 25, 2002
Posts: 668

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Yes, and yes. The blue line is a 9mm static zip line.


climbingcowboy


Apr 16, 2003, 12:05 AM
Post #4 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1201

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

cool seems simple enough


danskiz


Apr 16, 2003, 12:19 AM
Post #5 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 62

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I have one question, and I'm not trying to be a smart ass, what would you do with that setup if your next belay is farther away than you anticipate? In other words, if you run out of lead rope 10 feet before the next belay, what would you do?


climbingcowboy


Apr 16, 2003, 12:24 AM
Post #6 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1201

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I think thtats where this would come into play

In reply to:
When clipping the lead line into a main locker (on a bolt hanger) keep the lead line closest to the gate of the locker if other biners or ropes are also clipped to the main locker. This will enable you to remove the lead line from the belay if needed.

I was thinking the same thing but then when i re-read it I realized that nothing is really cliped into the lead line everything is on the bolts so the lead is just a backup safty I think?


glockaroo


Apr 16, 2003, 7:58 AM
Post #7 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 28, 2001
Posts: 149

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Great post, Bryan. Good info and a fresh perspective.


socalclimber


Apr 16, 2003, 8:28 AM
Post #8 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 2437

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Yup, I agree, this definately makes things nice and clear. Thanks Brian! This gives me some alternatives. When I was on Skull Queen, all the belays had bolts spaced fairly close together. So, a cordelette was just fine. Obviously the belays on some El Cap routes have bolts space a good deal apart.

This is cool, clear, concise, and the photo helped allot!
Robert


epic_ed


Apr 16, 2003, 9:54 AM
Post #9 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4724

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Nice job and great info! So you DON'T equalize 3/8 in bolts (ie. those in the first picture)? And this is because 1) they are spaced too far apart to reasonably equalize, and 2) they are new and bomber anyway. Correct?

And instead of equalizing them, you simply link them together with the lead line (either on a fig8 bite or clove hitch)? So in reference to the second picture, you recommend NOT setting it up as pictured (ie equalized)?

I guess my only fear in this type of set up is trusting the single bolt and single point of failure. I realize that the lead line connects all three bolts, but as you've said, it's not always easy to determine the quality of a bolt placement by visual inspection. I mean, is that bomber 3/8 in bolt always bomber? Now on routes in the Valley, I feel confident that most of the belay bolts on any of the routes I'm going to be pulling on in the next couple of years have been replaced by the generous and competent ASCA dudes. But even in this case, isn't it possible that they botched one or two along the way? Or more likely, there might be a bolt or hanger that has a defect?

Hopefully my paranoia will subside with experience, but I find it very difficult to mentally commit to not equalizing all points of my anchor. What would you do in this case if the bolts are 3/8 in, spaced far apart (as in the first picture), but you found they WEREN'T bomber? Maybe one of them was corroded, and the other two looked good. No way to place gear on a blank face to help equalize the one bunk bolt, and let's also assume you don't have a drill. Would you still clip the bolts unequalized, and then just trust the bunk bolt less than the others? Or would you feel safer equalizing even though doing so will put you a good 10 ft below the bolts in order to reduce the angle of load?

Ed


ubotch


Apr 16, 2003, 10:21 AM
Post #10 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 19, 2002
Posts: 191

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Brian, Thanks for all the great info. The pics really help me understand what you are talking about.
Am I correct in assuming that you always stay tied in to one end of the lead rope and just swap leads? Sorry if that was covered somewhere and I missed it.


copperhead


Apr 16, 2003, 1:24 PM
Post #11 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 25, 2002
Posts: 668

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Danskiz wrote:
In reply to:
I have one question, and I'm not trying to be a smart ass, what would you do with that setup if your next belay is farther away than you anticipate? In other words, if you run out of lead rope 10 feet before the next belay, what would you do?

Good question. Most wall routes were first climbed with a 50m rope. When climbing with a 60m rope on older trade routes, extra rope is not a concern. The more modern routes were first climbed with 60m ropes and some of the pitches on these routes are way stretcher. In some cases, the FAist used trickery to extend the pitches to a full 60m or beyond. Pete says that he uses a 65m lead line; this would definitely help if you can find one. Another option (we did this on Strange World) is to bring two 60m lead lines and alternate them on each pitch. The belayer can remain tied into lead line #2, which is connected to the anchor at the lower belay. The leader is tied into lead line #1 and uses lead line #1 to construct the upper belay. All that remains of lead line #1 at the lower belay is one figure-8, clipped to one bolt (once the leader reaches the anchors). This allows for more rope to be used in each belay and also enables you to keep the pitches long. Another advantage to the two rope system is that the cleaner can tie into lead line #2 (in addition to lead line #1) while cleaning, once the last haulbag reaches the upper belay and lead line #2 is tied into the belay (lead line #2 acts as the lower-out line for the last bag and does not reach the upper belay until the last bag does). We refer to this as a “chicken line” for the cleaner. If you don’t have two lead lines and need more rope to reach the belay, then replace the lead line in the lower belay with webbing or a cordelette (to connect the bolts at the anchor) and then remove enough lead line from the belay such that the leader has enough to tie into the upper belay. The belayer may also need to shorten their tie-in point to provide more rope. Be VERY CAREFUL when rebuilding a belay and don’t take short cuts.


Up2top wrote:
In reply to:
So you DON'T equalize 3/8 in bolts (ie. those in the first picture)? And this is because 1) they are spaced too far apart to reasonably equalize, and 2) they are new and bomber anyway. Correct?

Yes.

In reply to:
And instead of equalizing them, you simply link them together with the lead line (either on a fig8 bite or clove hitch)? So in reference to the second picture, you recommend NOT setting it up as pictured (ie equalized)?

Correct.

I wouldn’t worry too much about botched bolts. It would be pretty darn hard to botch the placement of a 3/8” Rawl 5-piece bolt. As for defects, anything is possible but I see it as VERY UNLIKELY. If a brand new (or relatively new) 3/8” bolt fails at a belay, then I guess I’m having a bad day.

In reply to:
Would you still clip the bolts unequalized, and then just trust the bunk bolt less than the others?

Yup, and hope for the best. That’s part of the fun of wall climbing…


Ubotch wrote:
In reply to:
Am I correct in assuming that you always stay tied in to one end of the lead rope and just swap leads?

Yes, that is correct. If the leader is going to lead more than one pitch in a row, then the two climbers must daisy into the belay (use at least two points to clip in and make sure that you are bomber) and then swap ends of the lead line (untie and swap). Anytime that you untie from the lead line, you’d better make DAMN SURE that your daisies are clipped in properly and have backups. Remember that daisies are static so you don’t want to take falls on them!


http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=12907
Chillin’


socalclimber


Apr 16, 2003, 1:39 PM
Post #12 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 2437

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
If a brand new (or relatively new) 3/8” bolt fails at a belay, then I guess I’m having a bad day.

Well, look at it in a positive light, at least it will be the last one you ever have :shock:


timpanogos


Apr 16, 2003, 3:36 PM
Post #13 of 13 (2763 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 17, 2002
Posts: 935

Big Wall Belay [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Wow,

First look, my eye was instantly drawn to the “rack”. I setup my tag rack so it could be stretched out and hung to show it’s goods – but not as sweet as the retired daisy (level and held high)! I’ve considered giving my tag rack an apron of some sort (haul bag type of tough material) that can be rolled, zipper, tied or something for hauling.

Do you just kind of stuff the daisy, loaded into a subhaul bag or top of pig? Any tricks for protecting trigger wires and keeping this untangled during setup/tear down/haul?

The first (and only) big wall anchor I’ve made it to (Prodigal Sun) surprised me when I came to it. First thing I noticed is that it was spread all over the place – being about as wide as the first picture here, only not all of the fixed anchors (1 lone piton and 2 or 3 other fixed pro tied together with a chain) were in a straight horizontal line. The bolts were connected with a chain and my first thought was – these are way wide for what I’ve been taught (trad anchors) and the multiplication factor on the bolts (chain was close to 180). The far upper end of the chain was fixed to a piton who's eye was wallowed pretty bad. Based on what I had learned about anchors (john long etc.), I dropped in a large cam in the crack and built my powerpoint off the cam, end chain pro and a link of chain a foot or two away from the other two points.

Of course the chain and remaining anchors made for nice Tag rack, rope bucket, hauling anchor etc. that keep things spread and avoided cluster problems.

Is it common to find fixed pro anchors setup like the one shown in the picture – and the one found on the first pitch on Prodigal? The anchor shown in the picture is clean – do other climbers here also kind of skip – Climbing Anchors/More Climbing Anchors types of advice when it comes to solid looking “fatties” at stations similar to the one pictured? Obviously a station that is quickly rigged for nice looking bolts.

Bryan a man after my own heart (when it comes to paren use)!


Chad


Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Big Wall and Aid Climbing

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook