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Author Topic: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd  (Read 1023 times)

Admin Al

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Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« on: September 03, 2013, 08:19:33 PM »

Check out Will Gadd's latest blog posting. As always, he comes up with great stuff to think about. I have very often clipped a draw into the top bolt on an anchor as a first gpiece, but I'm going to really think about it from now on!

http://willgadd.com/anchor-clipping/

Also, here is the link to the video he mentions in the blog. It is well worth watching, especially for the very illustrative demonstrations at the end!

http://vimeo.com/44869774

What do you think?

Al
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DMan

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 08:43:52 PM »

I agree that "always do this" type of mentality is bad for a sport like climbing that has so many variables, however I think Will missed one important point about why many of us clip the anchor before leaving, and that is direction of the following pitch.

Let's use a low angle slab route as an example, like Standard Route on Whitehorse. In a situation like this a factor 2 is impossible even if you do not clip the anchor, but if the belayer is breaking with the right hand, and you leave the anchor and climb up and right then slip, you will slide past the station on the right side. "Real-world" as Will mentions will show that no matter how well your belayer attempts to break the brake strand and the loaded strand will be parallel after the leader falls (slides) past you. We all know how much friction is on an ATC when both stands are parallel. In this situation there are only two smart moves;

1) Clip a bomber part of the anchor to re-direct the load strand should this fall occur or

2) Have the belay brake on the left side of their body, preferable re-positioning the rope so it is on the opposite side of the belayer than the direction of the following pitch. If a fall occurs with out the anchor clipped it is "easy" to apply friction with an ATC in this scenario...

All belayers should be competent belaying with their "brake hand" and "guide hand" reversed to handle this situation, but I meet many intermediate climbers who "can only brake with their dominate hand".

My example is a slab route, so the "violent sucking up into the anchor" issue is a bit moot, but I use it to illustrate (or re-iterate) what Will is saying about don't "always do something". Adapt to the situation.

The photo used in the article is a bit over dramatic, as most people should know that could be 100% better if that quickdraw was clipped directly to the rap ring, or better yet right to the bolt. The obvious tri-axel loading potential of the pictured set-up is meant to give us pause, yet he never mentions it...

<photo removed as it is too big for the thread>

I think direct belaying off the anchor would make sense if the pitch was so difficult that the leader was always moving slowly, and there was potential for FF+1 falls on vertical or more than vertical terrain. In many situations direct belaying off the anchor would not be worth it. I definitely wouldn’t think it a good idea for an ice climb or any climb where the gear isn’t super bomber as it is way more force on that top-piece than a belay off the harness.

EDIT: One last option not mentioned that is worth considering if the route doesn’t have gear close to the anchor, is to purposefully extend the belayer’s anchor attachment and then clip the anchor. On some routes it might even make sense to extend the belayer 10-15 feet below the anchor. This eliminates all of Will’s concerns IF the anchor is bomber...

Skip to 7:45 in the video to see some cool examples of the difference on a steep climb... totally makes sense if you are expecting 1.5 FF falls on terrain like that....

« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 09:00:27 PM by DMan »
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Admin Al

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 08:51:33 PM »

watch the video
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DMan

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 08:58:10 PM »

I just did... editing my post to reflect that...

"I think direct belaying off the anchor would make sense if the pitch was so difficult that the leader was always moving slowly, and there was potential for FF+1 falls on vertical or more than vertical terrain. In many situations direct belaying off the anchor would not be worth it. I definitely wouldn’t think it a good idea for an ice climb or any climb where the gear isn’t super bomber as it is way more force on that top-piece than a belay off the harness.”

Also, in that video example at 7:45, I would like to see a 3rd take where the belayer is extended 10 feet below the anchor... bet it would not be so dramatic.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 09:01:26 PM by DMan »
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lucky luke

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 10:57:29 PM »

however I think Will missed one important point about why many of us clip the anchor before leaving, and that is direction of the following pitch.

As much I agree with Dman that reading anam is important for safety, as much I think that confrontation to improve our knowledge. Some one can think that it is a fight, but I think that it is more a friendly discussion to be better climber. if you remember the theory behind the discussion, if we agree each other on some point honestly, what will stay is some think that can save your life.

Should I disagree with Dman on the direction of the following pitch... :)..... :D..... ;D.....yes!

If my leader fall on the right, I will hang on my left foot and turn to the right so, my device will be in the good direction. If he fall on the left, I will hang on my right foot and turn to the left. I will always have the same breaking hand, my right, which is stronger. If the slope is close to 90 degree, I will let some rope to go true the device to have a soft belay (see the term) if the slope is 70 degree, I will try to avoid any slippage of the rope to the belay.

the reason of that is not as a belayer, but as a leader. When you lead, you arrive at the top of the pitch and you will built your anchor. Did you clip just one bolt? No, at least two... and often more.  You are not going to place just two pro, but also a back up to prevent the belayer to pop out the anchor in the case of a leader fall with one pro. When you have two bolt, you equalize them with a sling. You like that two bolt hold your weight and a fall when your partner lead the next pitch. As your second climb, the forces on the belay in a fall is very close to his body weight (one or two kilo newton). You want a strong belay only when you lead... that is the important point.

As a climber, what do you want? You want that an anchor will hold the most important fall in any situation. Imagine hanging at the end of the rope with no anchor, even in a "standard" slab, and you know: it will hurt when you will touch the ground. The anchor is the most important think in your life when you climb (exception of running belay, why not running anchor? there is a reason).

Let put that in number. Fall factor two generate a maximal force of 12 Kn (I don't remember: uiaa standard or some think). if you fall on one bolt who hold 24 Kn there is no danger. If the bolt is weaker and hold 10 Kn the bolt will pup out and the second one, place in the same rock, will do the same, your death. If you have two bolt, equalize with a sling of 16 Kn, less the weakness of the knot, you can hold a fall factor 2 (12 Kn) with two stopper of 6 Kn each. that means two stopper number five.

Dman, I will be honest. I didn't understand any thing of your explication. Could you say the same for mine?   
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 11:02:28 PM by lucky luke »
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DMan

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 11:08:24 PM »

Whew... OK, I think I understand.

If the climber falls on your right without clipping the anchor you would just drag your brake hand over to the left side of your body to give yourself the necessary friction right?

Sure, that works, I just don’t think it is very intuitive for most, and kind of makes the tube style belay device orientate in a weird way, but it would work... so fine...

The rest of your KN theory/discussion is not on topic... we are not debating if the anchor can hold the fall, we are talking about what it does to the belayer.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 11:25:18 PM by DMan »
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danf

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2013, 11:28:39 PM »

I *think* what luke is saying is depending on which side the leader falls, he rotates his body to that side to keep the belay device oriented in the correct direction.  "Hang on left foot" means he pivots on the left foot and rotates the rest of his body to the right.  At least that's how I read it.

I don't have enough experience to even try to discuss pro's/con's of any of this.  I understand what's being discussed, but to date it hasn't been an issue for me...
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sneoh

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2013, 11:48:14 PM »

Definitely watch the video.  Quite a bit of good stuff in it.
I think the poorest performing part in the FP Belay system is the brake/belay device.  Nothing we have now is ideal.  A Munter is slow to feed slack and will kink the shit out of the rope.  ATC/plate is problematic as DMan pointed out and is just not designed to work well in the orientation shown in the video.

And then there is always the question how bomber the FP is.
There are few absolutes in climbing as already mentioned several times and to use FP Belay or not is yet another example. 
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DMan

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2013, 11:50:15 PM »

There are few absolutes in climbing as already mentioned several times and to use FP Belay or not is yet another example.

Well said
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2013, 06:53:28 AM »

Munter has very poor breaking power INMOP. always find i have  death grip on it when lowering . never caught a lead fall with a munter but would much prefer to use a  hip belay run through a biner on the swami than trust a munter for a serious fall.
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DMan

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2013, 08:14:16 AM »

Munter has very poor breaking power INMOP. always find i have  death grip on it when lowering . never caught a lead fall with a munter but would much prefer to use a  hip belay run through a biner on the swami than trust a munter for a serious fall.

Are you keeping the brake strand parallel to the load strand while lowering? This configuration puts quite a bit of friction on the system, and keeps the rope from twisting. I've used the munter to lower people for over a decade and never had a twisted rope as a result. As far as catching a leader fall, the weird thing is you want your brake hand to go UP, to keep the brake strand parallel to the loaded strand... this is so counter-intuitive I never use it to belay a leader...

You should always use a prussik back-up on the brake hand when lowering with a munter. That alone adds some friction. There are also two great ways to add friction when lowering with a munter.

1) Super Munter



2) Add a re-directed plate below the munter

I couldn't find a good photo of this method, so in the below photo switch the brake strand with the load strand, and put the munter in the re-direct carabiner... that make sense?

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darwined

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2013, 08:30:59 AM »

Munter has very poor breaking power INMOP. always find i have  death grip on it when lowering .

+1
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The other tomcat

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2013, 12:59:59 PM »

I never munter, maybe because 98% of my climbing is on doubles. I didn't see where Will mentioned that clipping the anchor as a first piece also doubles the load on that piece IF your system works as intended. The fall past /turn around is a real issue.

In real life I have rarely set up a belay later to be totally surprised there is no jesus piece to protect the belayer. Most of the time you should be able to see the problem coming. Using some rope to get lower off the anchor is OK, assuming a fool proof anchor and enough rope.

On the dike I have belayed off screws down and off to the side of the tat anchor by the rock traverse, and use that gear as protection.

On any unknown ice climb, the leader of the prior pitch can make a belay anchor, clip through it, move up and place a good screw, clip that, lower or climb back to stance and bring 2nd up, using that high screw as a re-direct, problem solved unless your partner is miffed you protected his pitch a bit.

I still do Sleeping Beauty the old school way, in two pitches, 'cause I like the semi hanging belay at the base of tha great white face and crack. Nowadays though, I lead the first pitch, clip through the anchor, move up, place good gear, clip one rope through that and step down. Same idea as ice screw above.

Barring any other solutions and faced with an FF2, I pull up about 25 feet of rope and either tie a loose figure eight on a bight, or a clove, and clip it to myself, at least that way if things go haywire, it keeps the fall to 25 feet. I have never had any problem removing the knot when the time came, but your results may differ.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 01:01:34 PM by The other tomcat »
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Tom Stryker

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2013, 01:12:37 PM »

You’re right he didn’t mention the x2 force on that piece, which I don’t think is a big deal on a modern bolt... ice screws however make me a little shy of the method you describe where you place a high screw on the next pitch and belay the second off it as a re-direct... in theory that single screw “should” hold a seconds fall, but in the event it doesn’t it’s gonna suck... it HAS to be a BOMBER screw...
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The other tomcat

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Re: Anchor Clipping, Direct Anchor Belays: Will Gadd
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2013, 01:36:52 PM »

Yeah I always assume people understand things like that Dave, a shitty screw would be a bad idea. Of course and again, that is climbing ice on a single rope, and it would require quite a seconds fall wouldn't it? With two ropes one is still configured right from the belayer so nothing lost nothing gained. The screw is in fact intended to be able to hold a leader fall on P2, that's the whole point.

Likewise I always assume people realize the doubling of force is not an issue on modern bolts, or any bomber gear.

What I look at is the remote likelyhood of having both a bad screw you did not recognize as such, accompanied by some bizarre second fall of great force, plus the need for the tactic in the first place.( Grim right off belay)

And I don't worry about that confluence of events.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 01:44:03 PM by The other tomcat »
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