Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 12 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#18611 - 03/17/06 11:39 PM Question on Double Rope Technique
yip Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Edinburgh, UK
Hi I'm a trad climber seeking advice for belaying with double rope (multi-pitch).

I was introduced to double rope climbing this year by my current partner and I still have difficulties handling it, specially on belaying the second from top.

With my single rope I usually belay the leader (indirect) with plate on my harness, when leading I will belay the second (direct) with Italian Hitch clipped into the anchor, so it's comfortable to pull him up and easy to set up a pulley.

However when I thread two ropes into an Italian Hitch (same HMS biner) it is very difficult to take in just one rope without losing grip of the other. Sometimes when the route traverse a lot the tension between the two ropes can differ up to few metres. I found it impossible to pull the slacking rope when the other rope is tight like a guitar string.

So I tried a different technique. I thread both ropes through my plate on harness and clip each live rope into a separate biner at the anchor (to change load direction). It's now easier to pull but still it's hard to take one side in without unlocking the other side. It's still clumsy basically.

The device I use is Wild Country Variable Controller which I like a lot. My partner use Petzel Reverso and doesn't have my problem since it can auto lock while you're pulling hard on one side. He said I should get one. However I am not convinced this is the only solution to my problem as climbers have been using double ropes for decades before Reverso (or similar devices) is available.

Any suggestions will be much appreciated!

Top
#18612 - 03/17/06 11:52 PM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: yip]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Two Italian Hitches on separate biners perhaps. The Reverso is so popular because it makes bringing up two ropes easier. But be aware of its shortcomings before you run out to buy one, incl. the limit on small rope diameter.

Top
#18613 - 03/18/06 02:02 AM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: yip]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Climbers have used double ropes since years, yes, but the autoblocking belay device is a relatively new thing. Back in the day, belayers just ... belayed. It seems to have worked well enough.

I use doubles quite frequently. I'm not a big fan of the Reverso, but I did have a Trango B-52 that autoblocked, and currently use a Mammut that does too. Even with that capability, I rarely actually use the autoblock. My preferred belay mode (from above) is to redirect both ropes together through the anchor, then belay off my waist. I don't find it clumsy to lock off one side while taking up on the other ... maybe you just need to play around with how you do it.

You could also set up two hitches from two 'biners, but offset one height-wise with a draw, that would keep them from cinching on each other.

Top
#18614 - 03/18/06 02:03 AM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: yip]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
The device I use is Wild Country Variable Controller which I like a lot.

If you can use a Wild Country Variable Controller then the ropes are pretty thin, so you would probably want to try a Reversino. On the other hand if the ropes are not so thin the the WC VRC might be the whole problem.

You would think that any doubles would be thin enough for the WC VRC even though it like the Revsino were intened for thin ropes.

Top
#18615 - 03/18/06 01:19 PM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: yip]
mgs Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/27/02
Posts: 264
Loc: albany, ny
I know you're asking more about technique and not about gear, but if you're not using this device to belay with doubles, you're doing it the hard way. People used to do alot of things, but if technology has a better way to do it, we should take advantage. And by the was it is the TRE device from PMI. Absolutely the easiest and probably safest way to belay off the anchor with doubles, very easy to manipulate the ropes individually.





Top
#18616 - 03/18/06 07:16 PM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: Julie]
yip Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Edinburgh, UK
Thanks for the advices. I realise some autolock belay devices allow fast and safe separate control, e.g. Reverso, Alpine plate, TRE (as mentioned by mgs) However my questions are about the control technique without one of these devices. To be more specific,

1. When you have to spend some time taking in lots of slack from one rope how can you do it quickly without completely unlocking the other rope? (Otherwise the tight rope will push the plate against the biner, makes it impossible to move the slack rope)

2. How can you pull the slack rope with just one hand, as your control hand is occupied holding the other rope in position?

I know some climbers can belay two seconds at the same time, so there must be a smooth and safe way to control the two ropes separately. Do anyone know a good trick?

Top
#18617 - 03/18/06 11:08 PM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: yip]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
When you have to spend some time taking in lots of slack from one rope how can you do it quickly without completely unlocking the other rope? (Otherwise the tight rope will push the plate against the biner, makes it impossible to move the slack rope)...How can you pull the slack rope with just one hand, as your control hand is occupied holding the other rope in position?

These questions are only critical if one of the ropes is weighted, in which case you can't take in the other one with a typical belay plate. If you like your current plate for belaying the leader and want a locking system that allows you to take in one rope with the other one weighted, consider using a Gi-Gi (NOT Gri-Gri!) plate for belaying the second.

I know some climbers can belay two seconds at the same time, so there must be a smooth and safe way to control the two ropes separately. Do anyone know a good trick?

If you insist on using your regular device, then if one of the seconds falls, the other simply has to wait. But of course the trick you are looking for is to use one of the devices that locks off one rope and allows you to take in the other.

Frankly, I think the discussion is somewhat academic though. You typically have two seconds climbing together in situations in which neither is that likely to fall, and if hard sections have to be climbed, then one of the climbers waits above or below while the other negotiates the hard bit. Having one climber hanging on the rope for more than a moment or two while the other climber is climbing shouldn't happen when two seconds are climbing together. If one of 'em is gonna hangdog, then the other should just wait at the belay stance and only climb when the epic is over. If one of them is, for some reason, incapacitated, then the belayer will have to tie them off so that the other one can be belayed without tending to the tied-off rope at all.

If you aren't belaying two seconds, then you should be keeping both ropes almost even and there shouldn't ever be a lot of slack in one compared to the other. If you are used to using a "palm-down" hand position with your belay plate, it is going to be much harder to do this properly. Time to learn the "palm-up" method if it isn't your usual way.

There is an exception to even rope lengths for some traverses, when keeping one of the ropes relatively tight might pull the second off.

The other time a big slack differential might occur is when the second unties and prepares to climb; in this case the second shouldn't start climbing until the belayer has taken up both ropes.




Edited by rg@ofmc (03/18/06 11:28 PM)

Top
#18618 - 03/19/06 03:04 AM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: rg@ofmc]
yip Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Edinburgh, UK
Thanks your suggestion is very detailed and helpful. Although I usually belay just one second each time it's useful to learn how to belay two climbing together in a 'time become critical' senario.

I guess much of my problem can be resolved with more practices.

>Time to learn the "palm-up" method if it isn't your usual way.

I always wonder why climbers belay with palm up. Suppose it allows you to pull dead rope easily with the non control hand. Good tips!

>If you like your current plate for belaying the leader and want a locking system that allows you to take in one rope with the other one weighted, consider using a Gi-Gi (NOT Gri-Gri!) plate for belaying the second.

I do prefer direct belay second from the anchor so the GiGi seems a good option. I heard the downside is it's not ideal for belaying the leader with thin ropes(some suggest extra biner to increase friction?). It's hard to find one single 'perfect' device to carry which do every job nicely. Maybe when I'm more experienced with two ropes I'll know what suit me most.


Top
#18619 - 03/19/06 04:46 AM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: yip]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
Or you could go back to a single rope. For me, the fear factor - imagining that the belayer is fumbling around with two fingers, allowing slack to build up where it needn't because it can't be easily dealt with, instead of comfortably and perfectly belaying with his whole hand - doesn't outweigh the supposed safety factor. If you have a partner who insists on double ropes, you could look at some of those new twin/double combos and just clip them as twins when you're leading.

Just think - you're having a hard time controlling both ropes belaying him as a second. What's he doing while you're leading? Scary, isn't it?

Top
#18620 - 03/19/06 06:40 AM Re: Question on Double Rope Technique [Re: dalguard]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Dawn is right: double rope technique requires much more skillful belaying than single rope technique, and if the belayer isn't up to the task at least some of the advantages will be lost.

This is one of the reasons I prefer the TRE over other devices: you belay palm up and do NOT have to move your brake hand to a different (locking) position in order to catch a fall.

By the way, one of the belaying tricks is to watch the ropes in front of you. The climber's motions do not provide a good idea what to do with the ropes, whereas if you keep them evenly paid out right in front of you, they'll always be right.

If climbing in a party of three, the two seconds can each handle one rope if the leader is worried about a single belayer handling two ropes.

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


Moderator:  webmaster 
Sponsored