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ladyscarlett


Feb 25, 2009, 1:38 AM
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question about catching high FF lead falls
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So I was poking around for information on the pros and cons of lead belaying off the anchor (with the belay device on the anchor, not the belayer's harness, if I'm using the wrong terminology, please let me know.) In practice, I have asked my leaders what they want me to do, and every time, they tell me to have the belay device from my harness, and me into the anchor so that my body will help absorb the force (?) in the event they fall. This makes sense, and it's what they want, so no problems.

However, upon trawling the interweb, I found this in regards to falling before the first "jesus nut" (just finished The Book!) is placed...

In reply to:
TradIsGood: The alternative of belaying directly off the belayer's harness carries its own risk that perhaps is not well understood by those who most commonly set up the pulley. If the factor 2 onto the belayer occurs, the belayer must immediately (before the load) alter the position of his brake hand from below the waist to above the waist at which point he will then be absorbing a downward load.
- from supertopo I think...

I had not heard of this before, and it's hard for me to visualize. The trad lead falls I have caught have been pretty small, and never before the 'jesus nut' has been placed, so I have never experienced it.

Please educate, I can't see in my head what is happening or why and how to react correctly

thanks!

ls

ps - sorry about the "in reply to:" couldn't figure out how to get rid of it...


critterdude542


Feb 25, 2009, 1:48 AM
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Re: [ladyscarlett] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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your question seems unclear but to respond to the TradIsGood comment you would need to alter your brake hand because the pull of the fall will be coming from below you.

You bring your brake hand down in an upward-pulling fall (top rope, and regular lead) and vice versa in a downward pulling fall. if the pull of the fall is coming from below and you put the rope downwards your climber will fall farther. this is why it is usually best to set the first piece of pro while at the anchor already


hope that makes sense


d0nk3yk0n9


Feb 25, 2009, 1:49 AM
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Re: [ladyscarlett] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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I think the point is that in an extremely high fall factor fall in which the climber falls past you while you're belaying, the climber ends up below you, pulling down on the belay device and possibly flipping it downward. They want you to be ready to bring your hand above the device to lock it off if it flips downward.

I think.

Edit: Obviously, this only applies if no protection has been placed above you. I.e, the climber is taking the fall directly onto your harness (ouch!).


(This post was edited by d0nk3yk0n9 on Feb 25, 2009, 1:50 AM)


altelis


Feb 25, 2009, 1:54 AM
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Re: [critterdude542] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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this is why it is generally good practice to catch falls by bringing your brake hand to your waist/hips.

in a "normal" fall this provides plenty of friction, and if the leader takes a ff2 your hands are going to be in the right position already.

to be clear, the case that LS is most concerned about isn't just any high FF fall. it is specifically and only FF2 falls. that is a high fall factor is necessary to describe the situation but not sufficient. the necessary and sufficient description is FF2.


clintcummins


Feb 25, 2009, 1:57 AM
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Re: [ladyscarlett] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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If there is a high risk of a fall before getting the first gear in the next pitch, or if the gear is not good, the belayer can hang say 20' below the belay anchor, tethered by their rope. Then the leader clips the belay anchor as their first protection (they can use a "screamer" type load-absorbing runner when they clip the anchor also). This avoids the problems of a factor 2 fall.


Kelly Rich leading Exodus p2 (Middle Cathedral Rock, Yosemite), with his belayer hanging on a tether well below the anchor

[edit to add:]
1. This method does not change the forces on the anchor significantly if the leader falls with no pro holding above the anchor (and does not hit the belayer directly). So it does not solve that particular problem of a factor 2 fall (F2F).
2. It increases your chances of holding a F2F with an ATC, because the ATC is loaded in the expected direction and your brake hand can work effectively.
3. The tether give you freedom to swing left or right, to avoid the falling leader (or other objects) hitting you (Tahquitz 2008 example). This has many advantages.
4. The tether decreases the chances of your being pulled up into the rock/anchor by a hard fall - people have been injured this way (Red Rocks example). You might get lifted a longer distance with a tether, and could still be injured, though.
5. The tether decreases the amount of rope available for the next lead. However, you can move back up to the anchor and free up this rope. In some situations (steep/overhanging rock), it might be hard to climb back up the tether to the anchor (batman the rope; 2 strands of rope makes batmanning easier; prusiks also work but are slower)
6. If your anchor is not strong enough to take a F2F and such a fall is "reasonably likely", you should be retreating, or at least moving the belay down to a better anchor. I suppose in theory, there might be situations where retreat is even more risky, but usually partial or full retreat is possible.

(This post was edited by clintcummins on Feb 26, 2009, 10:23 PM)


rocknice2


Feb 25, 2009, 1:58 AM
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Re: [ladyscarlett] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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I think the question of below and above waist is the wrong way to belay.
If you lock off behind your waist every time, then when the leader fall above, the belay device will pull up and over your hand. If they fall below you , it will pull it below your waist. In either case the hand will be in the correct position.

Just lock off at & behind your waist


ladyscarlett


Feb 25, 2009, 2:00 AM
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Re: [d0nk3yk0n9] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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ok, so the whole direction of the falling leader, and changing hand positions to counter the leader's fall makes sense. This applies to a multipitch climb where the leader will fall BELOW the belayer...if the belayer is not belaying from the anchor, but from his/her harness... for specifically a FF2 fall? I want to get this right...

I will have to play with a rope and device to make sure my body understands, not just my mind...

ls

ps - statements like the one above taken completely out of context is one reason why I LOVE climbing - heh!


(This post was edited by ladyscarlett on Feb 25, 2009, 2:04 AM)


coastal_climber


Feb 25, 2009, 2:03 AM
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Re: [ladyscarlett] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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Having to switch the brake hands is the result of not clipping the anchor as a first piece.


Sin


Feb 25, 2009, 2:17 AM
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Re: [ladyscarlett] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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ladyscarlett wrote:
So I was poking around for information on the pros and cons of lead belaying off the anchor (with the belay device on the anchor, not the belayer's harness, if I'm using the wrong terminology, please let me know.) In practice, I have asked my leaders what they want me to do, and every time, they tell me to have the belay device from my harness, and me into the anchor so that my body will help absorb the force (?) in the event they fall. This makes sense, and it's what they want, so no problems.

However, upon trawling the interweb, I found this in regards to falling before the first "jesus nut" (just finished The Book!) is placed...

In reply to:
TradIsGood: The alternative of belaying directly off the belayer's harness carries its own risk that perhaps is not well understood by those who most commonly set up the pulley. If the factor 2 onto the belayer occurs, the belayer must immediately (before the load) alter the position of his brake hand from below the waist to above the waist at which point he will then be absorbing a downward load.
- from supertopo I think...

I had not heard of this before, and it's hard for me to visualize. The trad lead falls I have caught have been pretty small, and never before the 'jesus nut' has been placed, so I have never experienced it.

Please educate, I can't see in my head what is happening or why and how to react correctly

thanks!

ls

ps - sorry about the "in reply to:" couldn't figure out how to get rid of it...

If it's worth anything to you, I prefer belaying a leader off of my harness instead of the anchor. The added cushion your body supplies to the fall could be the difference between a save and a failed belay anchor. The only time I belay off of the anchor, is when I'm bringing up a second and I have a three piece anchor that is extremely truck, or bomber, or money, or whatever people in your neck of the woods say. I just feel comfortable with doing things this way. Also if you use a gri gri it's a bit easier to manage a partner that loves to hang dog too much.By the way it's called a direct belay. As in directly belaying off of the anchor.

P.S. belaying off of your harness is an indirect belay, and belaying out of your harness, but passing it through a biner at the anchor is called a redirected belay.

P.S.S. If the climber does fall past you, the belay device will flip so you will need to bring your break hand above the device.


Sin


Feb 25, 2009, 2:22 AM
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Re: [coastal_climber] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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coastal_climber wrote:
Having to switch the brake hands is the result of not clipping the anchor as a first piece.

I've never clipped into the anchor as my first piece, I always set something within the first few feet of the belay anchor.....That would put all of the falls force on the anchor wouldn't it?Unsure


altelis


Feb 25, 2009, 2:22 AM
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Re: [coastal_climber] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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coastal_climber wrote:
Having to switch the brake hands is the result of not clipping the anchor as a first piece.

As far as I understand it this is a relatively controversial point, and far from being automatically a good plan.


N_Oo_B


Feb 25, 2009, 2:41 AM
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Re: [rocknice2] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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rocknice2 wrote:
I think the question of below and above waist is the wrong way to belay.
If you lock off behind your waist every time, then when the leader fall above, the belay device will pull up and over your hand. If they fall below you , it will pull it below your waist. In either case the hand will be in the correct position.

Just lock off at & behind your waist


I believe this fits the needs of all types of falls unless you're trying to dynamic belay.

Next, don't FF2. end of story.


coastal_climber


Feb 25, 2009, 2:51 AM
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Re: [Sin] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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Sin wrote:
coastal_climber wrote:
Having to switch the brake hands is the result of not clipping the anchor as a first piece.

I've never clipped into the anchor as my first piece, I always set something within the first few feet of the belay anchor.....That would put all of the falls force on the anchor wouldn't it?Unsure

If you clip just above the master point, you are equalizing the fall between two bolts/3 pieces of gear. I was talking about sport where there is no pro, or the first bolt is a few meters from the belay.


USnavy


Feb 25, 2009, 4:01 AM
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May god be with you if your climber takes a factor two fall right onto the belay device because no one else will be. Extreme rope slippage is absolutely without a doubt guaranteed if your leader takes a factor two fall right onto the belay device. The only chance he will have is if you are wearing gloves.


N_Oo_B


Feb 25, 2009, 4:05 AM
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belaying suprasses superficial pains such as rope burns, etc.


Sin


Feb 25, 2009, 4:23 AM
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USnavy wrote:
May god be with you if your climber takes a factor two fall right onto the belay device because no one else will be. Extreme rope slippage is absolutely without a doubt guaranteed if your leader takes a factor two fall right onto the belay device. The only chance he will have is if you are wearing gloves.

If I'm correct aren't you barely getting in to multi pitch? Even if the belay device is on the anchor, the device is still catching the fall, rope slipage there too? We are talking about trad, right??


USnavy


Feb 25, 2009, 4:35 AM
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Re: [Sin] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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Sin wrote:
USnavy wrote:
May god be with you if your climber takes a factor two fall right onto the belay device because no one else will be. Extreme rope slippage is absolutely without a doubt guaranteed if your leader takes a factor two fall right onto the belay device. The only chance he will have is if you are wearing gloves.

If I'm correct aren't you barely getting in to multi pitch? Even if the belay device is on the anchor, the device is still catching the fall, rope slipage there too? We are talking about trad, right??

I donít have to have taken a factor two fall to understand them. Furthermore, experience climbing multi-pitch does not automatically translate into automatic knowledge of the workings of a factor two fall solely from the act of climbing multi-pitch. Only experience catching or taking factor two falls is valid for that class.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Feb 25, 2009, 4:41 AM)


USnavy


Feb 25, 2009, 4:59 AM
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Re: [N_Oo_B] question about catching high FF lead falls [In reply to]
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N_Oo_B wrote:
belaying suprasses superficial pains such as rope burns, etc.
Thats very dangerous thinking. Tell that to every new belayer that has dropped a climber using an auto-locking belay device. Most commonly, when a climber is dropped from an auto-locking belay device the belayer follows this process:

1. Climber gets to the top of the climb and is ready to be lowered.
2. Belayer opens the brake and the rope starts to slide through the belay device.
3. The rope starts slideing through the belay device too fast.
4. The belayer gets minor rope burn and starts to panic.
5. The belayer pulls on open the handle as hard as she / he can forgetting that the harder he / she pull on it, the less friction the device produces.
6. The feed speed of the rope becomes dangerously excessive and the friction produced by the belay device becomes increasingly smaller.
7. The belayer tries to control the feed speed by squeezing the rope harder.
8. The belayer instantly sustains rope burn and lightens up their grip on the rope to eliminate the pain.
9. The climber hits the ground.

Itís always the same. I have seen it many times and had it happen to myself once. The only thing that saved me was yelling ďLET GO OF THE HANDLE!!!!!!!!!!!Ē. Fortunately my belayer was not a complete moron and did what I said which stopped my 35 foot free fall instantly pulling the belayer 10 feet into the air. When I got to the ground I asked her what happened. She said "the rope burned my hand and I couldent hold on".

The problem comes in when a belayer grips a rope that is moving at high speed. Squeezing any rope that is moving at high speed will cause instantaneously severe pain and to think your belayer will ďjust ignore itĒ is very dangerous thinking.

Dont believe me? The next time you get to the top of a long top rope climb ask your belayer to drop you as fast as he / she can for 30 feet. Once you get upto speed grab the other side of the rope and try to stop yourself. Pirate


(This post was edited by USnavy on Feb 25, 2009, 5:09 AM)


N_Oo_B


Feb 25, 2009, 5:06 AM
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first of all Ive never the pleasure of a ignorant belayer with a gri gri. second I've (as a noob) taken some stupid whippers on the belay end. body slamming pain while my climber fell from above his bolt and outwieghed me significantly.

Last, a real world understanding of the gravity of the situation must be held by a belayer. holding your brake hand supercedes all other things.


You're being exists to hold that rope.

For me I relate it to being way out on lead on a hard route...My being exists for one purpose! Clipping the next pro, and moving on. Nothing else on the planet matters at that exact moment.


USnavy


Feb 25, 2009, 5:24 AM
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N_Oo_B wrote:
You're being exists to hold that rope.

For me I relate it to being way out on lead on a hard route...

I agree with you. However itís not a matter of "want". Itís a matter of "being physically able to". Everything in a belayers head can be shouting "hold the rope" but when confronted with extreme pain from rope burn they still more often than not let go. This is not a function of experience, knowledge or strength. Itís a function of how the human body works. When belayers are confronted with extreme instantaneous pain they do stupid things and even the most experienced in the world are no exempt to this rule. That the entire reason why itís imperative to wear gloves if you think any rope slippage is going to be present in your belay. The only thing that separates one belayer from another in this circumstance is how much pain they can take. Some may be able to hold on for six feet, some four, some less. However everyone has a limit and that limit can easily be reached if you take a factor two fall right onto a belay device and youíre not wearing gloves. When you are gripping the rope as hard as you can it only takes a few feet of rope slippage to cause serious pain from rope burn.


Partner rgold


Feb 25, 2009, 6:09 AM
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USNavy is right on the glove issue. When you are burned, there is an avoidance reflex. Some people might be able to hang on, but certainly not all, and I don't think anyone knows which group they belong to unless and until they are tested---not something to be recommended, since severe burns are possible.

Factor-2 falls are extremely rare but not completely unknown.

As for the hand position, consider first of all what happens during the catch (based on thousands of trials, filmed in high-speed video, by the CAI). First, the braking hand, resisting muscularly, is pulled to the belay device---they call this the inertial stage, and a significant amount of braking work can take place during this phase. Once the hand arrives at the device and cannot travel any further, there may be (and usually is) rope slippage through the hand, unless the work done pulling the hand to the device already absorbed enough fall energy.

From this it stands to reason that one would want to have the braking hand as far from the device as possible, in order to have a long inertial stage with no rope slipping through the hand (although it is slipping through the device), and so ideally no but at least the minimum possible amount of rope slippage through the hand.

If the belayer locks off at hip level catching a factor-2 fall on the harness, the hand will be very close to the device and will be drawn to it almost immediately. The inertial phase will be miniscule, and there appears to be a considerable danger that the hand will be drawn towards the device in a way that does not allow the device to supply much if any friction. Those who claim that the device will always end up lower than the hand and that the hand will not be pulled into a low-friction position relative to the device need to supply high-speed video of tests---otherwise we don't really know and have to consider the bad outcomes as at least plausible.

On the other hand, if the belayer belays palm up until the rope is clipped through a bombproof anchor point and brakes by bringing the palm up to the chest, then they get the benefit of the longest possible inertial stage under the circumstances and, with the hand arriving at the device from above rather than from the side or below, benefit from all the friction the device is designed to provide.

I do want to make it clear that the CAI did not test factor-2 falls and all of this is supposition. In the absence of actual tests, which will probably never be done with human belayers, wearing gloves, belaying palm up, and braking at chest level until the first piece is clipped seems to me to be the most rational approach


theclaw


Feb 25, 2009, 6:41 AM
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To respond to your first question of belay from you harness or directly from the anchor in a lead belay situation belaying directly from the anchor can be very dangerous. If the leader successfully prevented a FF2 by placing one single piece capable of holding falls above the anchor the direction the rope will pull your belay device is up. If you anchor is not designed for an upward direction of pull in addition to a downward one the force of just about any lead fall will rip your anchor straight out of the wall and both of you will plummet to the ground. Of course, it is fairly easy to build an anchor to withstand upward pulls but if you are new I'd say better be safe than sorry and always lead belay of your harness.

In terms of this whole changing brake position for FF2, I don't have any experience catching them, but it sounds reasonable. However, some things about FF2:
1. don't take them
2. they are easy to prevent; fall factor is reduced by climbing high and placing protection (FF=distance fallen/amount of rope between climber and belayer). even clipping a piece of your anchor before leaving it will reduce you fall factor and prevent any need to change your brake position. clipping this anchor piece does not mean you should then run out the climb for the first 30 feet, place another piece ASAP. the difference between FF1.9 and FF2 barely exists.
3. just because a leader falls below the belay it is not necessarily a FF2. the leader must fall directly onto the belayer, no protection what-so-ever
4. just don't take them. the force generated has the ability to rip some of the most bomb-proof anchors straight out of the wall. once again sending both of you plummeting towards the ground


(This post was edited by theclaw on Feb 25, 2009, 6:45 AM)


stamplis


Feb 25, 2009, 6:45 AM
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I had the "pleasure" of catching a pretty big fall factor this past summer (on an alpine route, on a small stance gear anchor, no less). Leader was 10 feet above the belay, hadn't put a piece in, sketched out and took a fall. I was anticipating it so I was able to brace myself and get my brake hand back on my hip.

Perhaps it was the adrenalin, but the impact was not as severe as I was expecting. The anchor held (3 solid nuts and an old pin). I was belaying with an ATC off my harness, no glove, palm in the downward position. No burns or noticeable slippage. The fall factor may have been reduced as the leader glanced off a small ledge on his way past me. I think the key for me was being able to anticipate it and adjust my body position. If he had just popped off with no warning, the fall would likely be harder to catch. We continued the climb but he was done leading for the day!


(This post was edited by stamplis on Feb 25, 2009, 6:46 AM)


desertwanderer81


Feb 25, 2009, 3:13 PM
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stamplis wrote:
I had the "pleasure" of catching a pretty big fall factor this past summer (on an alpine route, on a small stance gear anchor, no less). Leader was 10 feet above the belay, hadn't put a piece in, sketched out and took a fall. I was anticipating it so I was able to brace myself and get my brake hand back on my hip.

Perhaps it was the adrenalin, but the impact was not as severe as I was expecting. The anchor held (3 solid nuts and an old pin). I was belaying with an ATC off my harness, no glove, palm in the downward position. No burns or noticeable slippage. The fall factor may have been reduced as the leader glanced off a small ledge on his way past me. I think the key for me was being able to anticipate it and adjust my body position. If he had just popped off with no warning, the fall would likely be harder to catch. We continued the climb but he was done leading for the day!

I find that falls are never as hard on the belayer as you'd expect them to be.


jaablink


Feb 25, 2009, 3:50 PM
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There is a lot on rc.com on this subject
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...s;page=unread#unread

This is a table from YATES and its pretty good.
http://www.yatesgear.com/...ing/screamer/use.htm

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