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Belay device questions
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By Chalk Norris
From Brighton, CO
Oct 29, 2012

So I have looked over the other forums and have not found the answer I was looking for. If this is a similar thread, I appologize in advance.

So Yesterday I was climbing with some friends and a co-worker that has been climbing for over 15 years. we arrived at canal zone and I tied into the sharp end to get the 1st lead. My usual climbing partners had not put their harnesses on yet so my co worker asked if it was okay for him to give me a catch. He is the one who has been climbing for 15 years.

My co worker was using the BD guide atc. My belayer attached the carabiner to his belay loop but the way he put the rope through seemed upside down and backwards. When my belayer put the rope through his device, he insisted on having his brake hand coming out of the top of the device even though the picture clearly states on the atc that the brake comes out the bottom(via the pics on the actual device). This made the climber end was coming out the bottom instead of the top. This caused his belay loop to become twisted as well.

My question is...is this okay? I know the atc can be oriented in multiple different ways for slower or faster belays/rappels. But the twisting of the belay loop had me worried. please feel free to comment. I think this was going shock the system and cause belay loop failure?
thanks,
brandon

I will update a picture later of the mess that was his belaying


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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Oct 29, 2012
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stiletto, Sharkstooth, Forbidden Tower, Petit Grepon, The Saber, The Foil, The Moon & The Jackknife.

If the belay device is just twisted 180 degrees like you described it's perfectly safe in my opinion. It's just a PIA to belay that way. And it's most definitely going to lead to some twisting of your rope. Bottom line: it's safe but dumb.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 29, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

The brake strand should be fed into/come out of the bottom of the device. It's fine to put the "grooved for friction" end on the top, but the rope should be fed through it the same- brake strand on the bottom, climber's strand on the top. Would it hurt anything? Probably not, but it sure as hell wouldn't inspire confidence, especially for your first time leading.

If something's wrong and you know it or even think you know it, don't climb on it. That one little detail that you didn't think was important may really fuck you up one day.


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By Phill T
Oct 29, 2012

shock load the system and cause belay loop failure? First lead climb but you throw out bait like that? 80% this is troll, but if not, its fine. you can belay with the brake strand coming out either side of an atc guide, if you use the side with the teeth it will just be a bit easier to brake. from the other side it will function exactly like a regular atc.


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By Kenan
Oct 29, 2012
Shelf Rd

I think there are two components to your question...
1) High vs Low friction modes. The ATC Guide does have two friction modes: high friction mode (with the brake hand rope strand coming out of the toothed side of the device) and regular/low friction mode (with the brake hand rope strand coming out of the smooth non-toothed side of the device). Either way is safe, although I tend to always use high friction mode.
2) Orientation of brake hand side of rope vs climber side of rope in relation to belay loop. The brake hand side should always be 'down' (with rope strand coming down towards thighs) and the climber side should always be 'up'. If you do this properly, the belay loop should not twist. Having said that, I don't know if twisting of the belay loop actually constitutes a safety issue.

www.blackdiamondequipment.com/uploads/black-diamond/files/M1>>>


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 29, 2012

Yeah, its safe. I know alot of people who insist on belaying this way, be it with an ATC or GriGri, and it has always confused me as I always thought that you'd want the rope running from ground to belayer to climber in a fairly straight line, but hey, whatever floats their boat, i suppose.


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By Danger-Russ Gordon
From Tempe, AZ
Oct 29, 2012
Slope on a rope

I manage a small climbing gym, and if I am picturing this correctly (some pictures would be nice for clarification) the system described is convoluted, and not ideal, that being said, it will still work. If you have to be belayed by this guy again, try to find a nice way to bring up your concern, good luck.


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By bearbreeder
Oct 29, 2012

the device will flip and twist if the climber takes a decent fall ... the belayer needs to be aware of that and maintain the braking position of the rope going against the "groves" (or whatever) of the device ...

there have been accidents of where the inverse has happened ... where a top belayer set up a belay off the harness but wasnt aware that the braking orientation now changed ...

it may not be totally "unsafe" per say ... but i would not climb with a climber who was being aggressively ignorant of standard belaying practices and refused to correct it for the climber whose ass is on the line ... there are plenty of climber who "climb" for X number of years who still dont know what the hell they are doing and yet insist they do despite all the evidence to the contrary ... run away from people like that IMO


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By Danger-Russ Gordon
From Tempe, AZ
Oct 29, 2012
Slope on a rope

bearbreeder wrote:
there are plenty of climber who "climb" for X number of years who still dont know what the hell they are doing and yet insist they do despite all the evidence to the contrary ... run away from people like that IMO


+1

I try not to be one of those guys :)


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By Gunkiemike
Oct 29, 2012

bearbreeder wrote:
it may not be totally "unsafe" per say ... but i would not climb with a climber who was being aggressively ignorant of standard belaying practices and refused to correct it for the climber whose ass is on the line


My feelings exactly.


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By Chalk Norris
From Brighton, CO
Oct 29, 2012

Thanks everyone....I will post pics of what was happening when I get off work. I did check the BD paperwork that comes with the atc device and there is a yellow caution symbol and an x on the pic....which leads me to believe that Black Diamond does not condone this.


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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Oct 29, 2012

Post the belayers name and contact info so we can publicly humiliate him.


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Oct 29, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

Next time, force him to use a munter hitch. Add a little spice to your life. After all, you're in the Canal Zone. What could go wrong?


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