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Author Topic: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?  (Read 1386 times)

DWT

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How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« on: September 08, 2012, 10:23:32 AM »

On page 113 of ANAM 2012 there is a report.  The leader could have lowered the second in a controlled manner and avoided the accident.  I recently experienced the same problem(no accident in  my case). What is the correct technique for lowering a second off the reverso? munter hitch on the brake strand?
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strandman

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 12:44:27 PM »

I didn't see the report but, always lower through a bomber bit of the belay. I make it a habit to do this NOT direct off me.
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sneoh

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 12:58:27 PM »

... always lower through a bomber bit of the belay.
And not off me.  Same here; much better control especially if the person being lowered weighs quite a bit and/or skinny rope is in use.
 
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wivanoff

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 01:17:33 PM »

On page 113 of ANAM 2012 there is a report.  The leader could have lowered the second in a controlled manner and avoided the accident.  I recently experienced the same problem(no accident in  my case). What is the correct technique for lowering a second off the reverso? munter hitch on the brake strand?

Not having read the report, I assume you mean in "guide mode". I use an ATC-guide (basically the same as a Reverso, right?) and either add a Munter in the brake strand or redirect the brake strand behind the device. I also "unlock" the device with a nut tool as a prybar - seems to give a bit more control. Usually, the Munter really doesn't do anything but I (and the person I'm lowering) kind of like having that backup.

Suggest practicing in a safe environment.
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strandman

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 01:23:05 PM »

I tend to "thumb up" the device to keep it from locking, also bring the brake hand over my hip. Of course i also learned the hip belay so.... it's habit
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DWT

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 04:59:13 PM »

Yup, I meant "guide mode".  Bomber bit of belay?  I was thinking one of the pieces. No? 

Preface: I've never tried it.  How do you thumb up with your bro hanging in space cryin'  "slack?"  :'(
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nuts

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 06:02:44 PM »


If my second is hanging out in space, I follow a two step process.

I redirect the brake strand of the rope through a biner on the anchor to a munter hitch on another biner on my belay loop.  I then clip a sling to the brake biner on the reverso, redirect that through the anchor and back to my harness.

The sling will allow me to sit down and pop the break biner free, in doing so release the auto block of the reverso.  Because I've redirected the break strand to a munter on my harness, I don't have to worry about dropping my second and can use the munter to lower.

Practice this in a controlled setting!  Sounds complicated, but really isn't.
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Chris Magness

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2012, 08:03:34 PM »

There is a sweet method of switching a Guide/Reverso in auto-lock mode into a redirected plate off the anchor mode with a prussik backup that makes lowering a snap... After I get a chance to read that report Iíll try to explain it if it is relevant.

Usually, if you need to lower for more than a foot or two, it is much better to do a load transfer to a munter or grigri... it makes the lower much smoother and easier...

load transfers take practice to do well... and are worth practicing
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Jeff

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 11:04:11 AM »

Caveat: "nuts" mentioned practicing in a controlled setting; I couldn't agree more! if you are going to "unlock" an ATC or Reverso in guide mode and under tension, you MUST have a backup on the brake strand as suggested above (either by redirecting it through the anchor and back to a Munter off a carabiner on your belay loop or just a Munter on the anchor)--if not you WILL in all likelihood lose control of the lower when you rock the belay device open--the first time I was lowered this way, back when the first Reversos came out, I had a scary 4-5 meter freefall before my partner let go of the releasing sling and  the reverso relocked! :-\  We were lucky-- I wasn't hurt and his hands weren't burned badly, but we learned a good lesson-- a 200+ pound climber and gear hanging in space is tough to hold when the rope is effectively just over a pulley! >:(
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JBrochu

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 07:47:49 PM »

That kind of stuff is why I just stick with using my standard ATC.
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DMan

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 08:00:02 PM »

OK, I've had a chance to read the incident and there was a lot of issues to take up regarding it but I will stick to the OP/title question.

How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?

Option 1) Don't. Conduct a load transfer to a Munter-hitch, backed up with a prussik on the brake strand. Lower smoothly and happily for hundreds and hundreds of feet. Learning load transfers from the internet/books is quite hard IMO, and is best done hands on with someone who is efficient with it.

Option 2) Convert your Reverso in auto-locking mode to a non-auto-locking re-directed plate. With some trepidation I'll describe the basic process here, starting with a loaded Reverso. Learning Load Transfers might actually be easier. I'll also agree with what Jeff said, practice in a CONTROLLED setting, and I'll add botching this will get someone killed. That being said;

1) Add a prussik backup to your brake strand attached to your belay loop.

2) Using a cordelette tie a prussik on the loaded rope, and create a quick "block & tackle tied of with a Mariner's" to relieve some of tension on the locking Reverso.

3) Unlock, and open, the rope biner of the Reverso, and clip it into the master point, without letting the climbing rope come out of it*

3a) Relock the "rope" carabiner that is now also attached to the master point.

4) Unclip the "anchor" carabiner from the reverso, so it is not longer in auto-locking mode, remove that locker if desired.

5) Run the brake strand up through a locking carabiner anywhere higher in the anchor, preferable "the bench" or a bomber piece.

6) Remove the Mariner block and tackle, and lower, with a prussik back-up still in place on the brake strand.

*While this might seem like a potential catastropic error the climber is still held by 2 prussiks at this point, so it is considered redundant.

While this works incredibly smooth when well practiced you can run into issues. Transfering weight from one device to another, i.e. ATC to Gri-Gri, or ATC to Munter, is a very valuable skill for any climber who spends time on multi-pitch trad. If the lead climber can not be lowered to the ground right after a lead fall that resulted in injury, the 2nd must either have the skills to get them down, or wait for help from other parties/rescue.

Self-sufficiency is the best option, as rescue may be hours away. If you multi-picth a lot, sport or trad, you should find someone to teach you these concepts:

1) Belay Escapes
2) Ascending a Loaded Rope
3) Counter-Balance Rappelling
4) Load transfers
5) Belayed lowering

These should not be considered "guide" techniques, or just techniques that rescue personnel should use, but techniques that ANY multi-pitch climber, even someone who doesn't lead, should have a firm understanding of. Climbing is damn fun, so it's hard to dedicate effort/time to this worse case scenarios. We hope to never use them. But should you be locking off a rope as your partner whips high above, and doesn't respond to your calls, "Are you ok?", wouldn't it be nice to know what to do?

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DMan

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2012, 08:08:33 PM »

That kind of stuff is why I just stick with using my standard ATC.

While it is totally doable to escape a belay it involves a lot more work. What if your partner just needs a little help over a crux? Creating a 3:1 is a snap if belaying off the anchor on a plate style device?

All that aside... it's just more comfortable to belay off the anchor IMO...
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apbt1976

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2012, 08:20:12 PM »

OK, I've had a chance to read the incident and there was a lot of issues to take up regarding it but I will stick to the OP/title question.

How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?

Option 1) Don't. Conduct a load transfer to a Munter-hitch, backed up with a prussik on the brake strand. Lower smoothly and happily for hundreds and hundreds of feet. Learning load transfers from the internet/books is quite hard IMO, and is best done hands on with someone who is efficient with it.

Option 2) Convert your Reverso in auto-locking mode to a non-auto-locking re-directed plate. With some trepidation I'll describe the basic process here, starting with a loaded Reverso. Learning Load Transfers might actually be easier. I'll also agree with what Jeff said, practice in a CONTROLLED setting, and I'll add botching this will get someone killed. That being said;

1) Add a prussik backup to your brake strand attached to your belay loop.

2) Using a cordelette tie a prussik on the loaded rope, and create a quick "block & tackle tied of with a Mariner's" to relieve some of tension on the locking Reverso.

3) Unlock, and open, the rope biner of the Reverso, and clip it into the master point, without letting the climbing rope come out of it*

3a) Relock the "rope" carabiner that is now also attached to the master point.

4) Unclip the "anchor" carabiner from the reverso, so it is not longer in auto-locking mode, remove that locker if desired.

5) Run the brake strand up through a locking carabiner anywhere higher in the anchor, preferable "the bench" or a bomber piece.

6) Remove the Mariner block and tackle, and lower, with a prussik back-up still in place on the brake strand.

*While this might seem like a potential catastropic error the climber is still held by 2 prussiks at this point, so it is considered redundant.

While this works incredibly smooth when well practiced you can run into issues. Transfering weight from one device to another, i.e. ATC to Gri-Gri, or ATC to Munter, is a very valuable skill for any climber who spends time on multi-pitch trad. If the lead climber can not be lowered to the ground right after a lead fall that resulted in injury, the 2nd must either have the skills to get them down, or wait for help from other parties/rescue.

Self-sufficiency is the best option, as rescue may be hours away. If you multi-picth a lot, sport or trad, you should find someone to teach you these concepts:

1) Belay Escapes
2) Ascending a Loaded Rope
3) Counter-Balance Rappelling
4) Load transfers
5) Belayed lowering

These should not be considered "guide" techniques, or just techniques that rescue personnel should use, but techniques that ANY multi-pitch climber, even someone who doesn't lead, should have a firm understanding of. Climbing is damn fun, so it's hard to dedicate effort/time to this worse case scenarios. We hope to never use them. But should you be locking off a rope as your partner whips high above, and doesn't respond to your calls, "Are you ok?", wouldn't it be nice to know what to do?

I think about this all the time. And yes it would be very very nice to know anything can happen and i will be ok. I think about this all the time. Honestly every time i go out and climb i find myself giving this some thought at some point in the day.

One thing i have come to understand about climbing trad is that i am only able to get myself to climb as hard as i feel safe. So if i know 99.9 that i am safe i am more than willing to push myself way outside my comport zone. As soon as i do not fee i am 99.9% safe pushing the limits of my abilities takes a quick back seat to going home without injury.

You are right though it does seem like a chore to take the time to learn these techniques. And often those whom you would just assume could share with you such info do not posses it them self. I suppose maybe i have one more guided climb coming my way or a long drive to spend a day with a very generous and kind man.
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JBrochu

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 08:23:52 PM »

That kind of stuff is why I just stick with using my standard ATC.

While it is totally doable to escape a belay it involves a lot more work. What if your partner just needs a little help over a crux? Creating a 3:1 is a snap if belaying off the anchor on a plate style device?

All that aside... it's just more comfortable to belay off the anchor IMO...


Every single person I climb with these days climbs harder than me so nobody ever needs help if I led the pitch.  :'(  Plenty of people have helped me over a tough crux, they just yard on the rope and it's usually enough.

I've never had to escape the belay in real life but I do practice it occasionally, and I take a self rescue course every couple of years just in case.
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Have a quiche, now, or maybe a tort.  You deserve it!
-bristolpipe

I like to keep things simple, even if it's faaaken painful and miserable.
-Stoney Middleton

This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption.
-Friar Tuck

DWT

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Re: How do you lower a second from a reverso in a controlled manner?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2012, 08:38:02 PM »

That kind of stuff is why I just stick with using my standard ATC.

While it is totally doable to escape a belay it involves a lot more work. What if your partner just needs a little help over a crux? Creating a 3:1 is a snap if belaying off the anchor on a plate style device?

All that aside... it's just more comfortable to belay off the anchor IMO...


Every single person I climb with these days climbs harder than me so nobody ever needs help if I led the pitch.  :'(  Plenty of people have helped me over a tough crux, they just yard on the rope and it's usually enough.

I've never had to escape the belay in real life but I do practice it occasionally, and I take a self rescue course every couple of years just in case.

Generally,  I practice self rescue scenarios and load tranfers once a month or so(in my garage).  A load transfer seems like quite a bit of work just to pay out five or ten feet of slack.
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