I also noticed that the fall factor is extreme in this picture if the lead should happen to slip. Not only would he knock out the belayer--and possibly the photographer--but he would probably strain the system to the point of failure. Double jeopardy! Am I missing something obvious? This climb is definitely above my grade, but I someday hope to be ready for it. Is it not possible to protect this section any better than this?
There's no way he's ripping that belay in any fall situation. Unless the leader has a large truck in his front pocket. He's got four cams EQed in a bullet hard granite crack. That belay is safer than being clipped into two new 3/8ths bolts!
He could knock the belayer and photog sensless perhaps but the belay gears not going anywhere.
Hey Ted- there is a piece of gear between the climber and the belay. Fall factor is about 1. Assuming the piece holds (and it probably will, I measured <4kN in actual falls similar this one), the anchor won't be affected.
Plus, it was probably so cold that the climber could just stick his tongue to the rock.
Thanks guys. Indeed, it was cold, the granite is bullet proof, the crack is perfect, the finger-locks are as good as they get, and although the leader never actually stuck his tongue to the rock, he still didn't slip. Placed another piece, kept climbing and hanged up high because I couldn't feel my fingers due to the cold.
I must have miscalculated a bit. I figured 25 ft. of rope out from the belay with 15 ft. above the last piece of pro. That calculates to a fall factor of 1.6 according to www.myoan.net/climbart/climbforcecal.html. That's about 8.2 kN, which would definitely concern me, because even bomber placements can have little imperfections like a skewed--side-stressed or gate-opened Karabiner. Is my calculation really that far wrong? I know pictures can be deceptive. Thanks, btw, for the discussion, regardless. I find it all very interesting.
Another consideration is dynamic versus static testing of Karabiners. At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090119105447.htm, research is cited that indicates 25 to 50 percent reductions in Karabiner strength when they are dynamically tested rather than statically, as is currently done to determine kN strength. I think a fall factor of 1.6 is excessive, because failure can happen unexpectedly due to less-than-perfect gear, rock, or combined system issues. Am I being too conservative?
Yeah, I think the photo makes it look worse. Having recently done this route, it looks like the climber is about 10 feet above his piece. That probably accounts for the difference.
Whether or not you are too conservative or liberal is really up to you. At the end of the day most people want to come home uninjured. It sounds to me like you're thinking critically about this and that is totally ok.
thats baller for sure. I'd like to know if when the lowest(and assuming 3rd) was brought up and clove hitched in with the rope, if that was done on the rope between the belay device and the third climber, and therefore when there was slack in the system and the climber was holding his own weight on the rock. And how does the transition go once he's ready to follow the next pitch, does he have to go second, hold his own weight and let the higher up guy (2nd climber) untie his clove, then go?