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Belaying the leader with a Munter off of the anchors
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By Richard Radcliffe
From Louisville, CO
Sep 13, 2011
Line 8

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By Leroy
From Cottonwood Heights
Dec 10, 2014
Old thread but here's a few links on the issue for anybody looking up this topic down the road.

Nearly every party I saw on technical terrain in the Alps this past summer was belaying the leader directly off the anchor (a bolted anchor since nearly every anchor is bolted) with a Munter.

One video and one paper so you can pick your learning style of choice!

vimeo.com/channels/acmgtechnic...

www.outdoorlink.org/research-papers/part-5-belaying-lowres.pdf

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By BoulderCharles
Dec 10, 2014
Good link, Leroy.

IMO, this is a worthwhile technique to have in your toolbox. It may not be right for everything but it can make a big difference in many situations. For example, I've found the fixed point belay to be especially useful when the pitch starts with a traverse (where a fall would pull the belayer sideways) or when the belay is situated under a roof (where a fall would pull the belayer into the roof).

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By Alexis
From Joshua Tree, CA
Dec 10, 2014
Summit of San Gorgornio - Southern CA
Thanks for posting this Leroy. Really good video, that clarifies a lot of the issues raised with alternative belay methods mentioned in the thread. Several things interesting to note, esp. at the end of the video with the f.f. 1.5 simulated lead fall - when the fall was caught with a belay device, the belayer was pulled up several feet, and surprisingly violently, whereas when caught on a munter, the catch was far less severe, which would seem to put far less force on the fixed point, and anchor in general. It seems that the catch with the munter was much more dynamic - something I'd never really considered. I've always used the munter for convenience, or when I'd forgot, or accidentally dropped my device.

The second thing is that it seems this would be a much safer system on a bomber bolted anchor, or a trad anchor where the fixed point's main piece was a tree or some other bomber piece. Lastly, it raises questions about equalized anchors where you have an equalized master point ie using a cordalette or equalette etc., versus belaying off a fixed point of an anchor, either in the vertical or horizontal orientation as per the video, which seems to go against some of the SERENE requirements, as it isn't a fully equalized anchor. I guess, it makes me wonder the best method of belaying off an anchor this way with a munter (or an atc), if it's an all gear trad anchor with decent, but not perfect placements. Or for that matter, the best way to set the anchor up for belaying off of it - fixed point, or master point. Also, what about if using the rope for the anchor, instead of a cordalette etc. Thoughts?

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By David Coley
From UK
Dec 10, 2014
I'm a bit of a late convert to using a Munter directly of a BOLTED anchor, but it is very, very good.

I use it when the belayer if much lighter, the fall unlikely (i.e. I'm not working a pitch), but the fall might be bad news, i.e. you slip on a 5.7 in the mountains. The only thing that comes close is a grigri.

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By bearbreeder
Dec 10, 2014
The fixed point belay actually has Higher forces on the top piece than a regular belay

bergundsteigen
bergundsteigen


;)

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By Moritz B.
Dec 10, 2014
Profile Pic
Belaying with a munter from (bolted) anchors has two distinct advantages compared to an ATC in guide mode.
The switchover is much faster. Once the follower arrives at the belay he can just keep going. No need to change anything.
Also if the follower falls before the first piece of protection, the knot "flips" and the fall can be safely caught.

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By Greg D
From Here
Dec 10, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Moritz B. wrote:
Belaying with a munter from (bolted) anchors has two distinct advantages compared to an ATC in guide mode. The switchover is much faster. Once the follower arrives at the belay he can just keep going. No need to change anything. Also if the follower falls before the first piece of protection, the knot "flips" and the fall can be safely caught.


Whoa! You mean to tell me that the Munter can safely catch a follower? Holy cow. I thought it was only good enough to catch a leader. Learn something everyday.

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By Moritz B.
Dec 10, 2014
Profile Pic
My bad, I meant to say "(...)if the leader falls before the first piece of protection (...)

Thanks for pointing this out in such an incredibly witty way ;-)

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 11, 2014
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
I think the Munter on the anchor is primarily for bolted multipitch sport climbs. The fact that it can as much as double the load on the top piece compared to an ATC on the harness suggests it is not a great idea for trad protection.

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By Greg D
From Here
Dec 11, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
I'm with you rgold. Unfortunately videos seem to have such authority whether right or wrong. This is supported by the above poster stating that belaying off thr anchor reduced loads.

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By bearbreeder
Dec 11, 2014
the video made by the ACMG on fixed point belaying is sound and based on their testing and usage .. more than what we can say about many intrawebers

they make no mention of reduction of forces on the top piece

and the research i posted from the journal of mountain risk management (in german) is fairly recent, they would likely not have been aware of it at the time of the video

to put it simply, the steeper the climb is, the more likely a big whipper is (on easier lower angle climbs youre more likely to smack ledges) ... in the canadian rockies anyways there are a fair number of steep multi sport climbs where a normal belay might mean youll get pulled in and smacked into the rock if your partner takes a big whipper (unless you can lower your belay) ...

i suspect those euro bums face similar climbs (verdon, etc ...)

as to the "suitability' for trad ... i assume beat kammerlander knows what hes doing on 5.14 microgear runnout FAs and the belays he wants on em ... more than most MPers anyways



;)

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By Moritz B.
Dec 11, 2014
Profile Pic
Since the majority of belays in Germany are bolted, people donīt build equalized anchors as often as they do here. Yet there are also trad areas (e.g. Rofan in the Karwendel, Austria) and building trad anchors isnīt completely unheard of. Itīs just not a staple of climbing as it is here.

Generally the DAV recommends to use one fixed point (=bolt) and to back it up by clove hitching the second solid point (=bolt).
I have to echo the other posters that you shouldnīt belay directly from an equalized trad anchor. The German alpine club always has bolts in the illustrations.
On page eight of this document it is recommended NOT to directly belay of the tie-in point of an equalized anchor. As always - Awesome drawings!
alpenverein.de/chameleon/publi...

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By Paul Hutton
From Catania, Italy
Dec 11, 2014
Stokolm, Messina, Sicily.
David Appelhans wrote:
I've been taking a friend from Austria out climbing lately. He recently told me that the recommended method of belay in the teaching classes and books where he learned in the alps is the munter. Now, I've climbed with swiss climbers in the alps and I'm familiar with the leader using a munter to bring up the followers and think it actually works quite well. What surprised me was that he said the recommended method for belaying the leader on multipitch was to use a munter directly off the anchor and not your harness. I asked him if he was sure if this was not some outdated relic technique from the days of hemp ropes, but he checked with a modern book he has from something like the CMC equivalent and said they recommend belaying the leader with a munter direct from the anchor. Has anyone ever seen this?

I prefer having/providing a soft catch on a counterweight, not anchoring a rope to a tank that might break or break my rope if the tank remains a tank. Never have seen or heard of this. I consider it useful if you've run out of carabiners and you have a permanent carabiner on the anchor/belay station.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 11, 2014
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
bearbreeder wrote:
...as to the "suitability' for trad ... i assume beat kammerlander knows what hes doing on 5.14 microgear runnout FAs and the belays he wants on em ... more than most MPers anyways ;)


I can't imagine why anyone who had actually seen the test results posted by bearbreeder would deliberately choose to double the loads on their 5.14 microgear runout FA's.

But I also wouldn't assume that a high-level climber necessarily knows the latest information about anchor loads. And to the extent that Kammerlander does know something, his belayer is using a Reverso on the anchor, not a Munter, although that is almost certainly because they are (I think) using half-rope technique.

The idea that some technique has got to be ok because this or that highly accomplished climber uses it isn't a whole lot better than believing everything you read on the internet.

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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Dec 11, 2014
Well Beat Kammerlander is an 55yr old Austrian Mountain Guide (UIGM certified) and runs a lot of courses and a school so Iīd expect he knows what heīs at most of the time. That his belayer is using the Reversoģ in low-friction mode with half-ropes tells me he does know what heīs doing somehow.
Traditionally one is expected to use a dynamic style of belaying with an Italian hitch off the anchor anyway but most people donīt bother, on typical mountain routes the intermediate gear is usually another bolt or a bomber nut/sling since no-one hangs around putting in micro-gear.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 11, 2014
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
Yes, I noticed the Reverso and figured that was their solution to the loading problem with small gear---in addition to the inappropriateness of the Munter for half rope technique.

It seems to be a single pitch climb so the belay bolt is not a multipitch stance anchor. As far as I can tell, the belayer is on the ground and doesn't need an anchor to keep from falling off a ledge, so the the bolt appears to be there only for belaying. If so, it is interesting that an ascent made specifically in a trad style nonetheless required a bolt at the bottom to hold the belay plate.

This seems to indicate how little faith they have in harness belays, which perhaps would reduce the anchor loads even more?

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By Moritz B.
Dec 11, 2014
Profile Pic
There is one more factor with Beatīs ascent that gets neglected. Beat in fact had two belayers as he stated in an interview. The gear at the crux is very thin. If Beat fell at the crux, one of the two belayers (the one with the direct bolt-belay?) has to start running backwards to keep him off the deck in case the small gear rips.
We donīt know if the second, main belayer was actually using a harness belay or not.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 11, 2014
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
Ok, I didn't know any of that. You would think the belayer who is going to do the running would have the rope through a low directional carabiner and not through a belay plate---you can't begin to run away from the cliff effectively if you are trying to drag the rope through a belay plate. So it seems highly unlikely that the plate on the bolt wasn't the "main" belay.

Here's the story: beatkammerlander.com/news/prin....
He fell 10--15 meters "several times" so the system clearly worked!

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By bearbreeder
Dec 11, 2014
It reminds me of the "unsuitability" of the grigri for trad

How shocked folks must have been to see beth rodden belayed by a grigri on meltdown (hardest trad climb by a woman and still unrepeated) and taking falls on small marginal gear .... Not to mention all those aid climbers who use a grigri

If one is worried about the forces on the top piece then you had better be using a beal or some other stretchy rope, especially on a lot of trad where theres real life rope drag and friction

Now things like using a tube, using a "regular" belay and using a low impact force rope can reduce the force on gear ... But its a judgement call

And those aren't done on da intrawebs

;)

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By Greg D
From Here
Dec 11, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Beth weighs what a buck 10 maybe a buck 20 soaking wet with gear.

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By bearbreeder
Dec 11, 2014
Greg D wrote:
Beth weighs what a buck 10 maybe a buck 20 soaking wet with gear.


This guy doesn't ... He even uses it in the alpine (gasp)

cascadeclimbers.com/alpine-bel...

There's been intraweb crusades against everything from grigris to dyneema to autoblocks

In reality theres little relevance to the real world

No one cares what someone on the intrawebz forums thinks when they lead a pitch, and they shouldn't either

But it is oh so much fun !!!

;)

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