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clipping anchor bolt as first piece of gear?
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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
May 1, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

csproul wrote:
Common now...it's the only way to make slab climbing fun!


He said slab is an exception...


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By Jason Kim
From San Diego, CA
May 1, 2013
Descending Cox Col (Bear Creek Spire). Photo by Ryan Slaybaugh. <br />

Timothy.Klein wrote:
Factor 2 falls should be avoided like the plague. They are teeth chattering, dangerous, and damn unpleasant. Sure, your rope won't break, but it is certainly the worse for wear. Whip with a factor 2 often, and you'll have ropes with soft spots, and you'll have issues with your back. You know how all manufacturers say to possibly retire gear if it takes a hard fall? Factor two is as bad as it gets (even if it's a two foot factor two!).


No argument there. I am just pointing out that the rope won't break, which is what someone else suggested. Anyone who takes frequent FF2 whippers has bigger problems than soft spots in their rope.


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By jktinst
May 6, 2013

MPuser10840 wrote:
Why don't you just have your partner continue past the anchor and pre-clip something a little higher, then comes back to the anchor and belays you up so that, should you fall while leading the opening moves of the next pitch, you won't fall on your belayer or the anchor? Of course, if your first placement is 40 feet above the anchor, this poses a problem...


This thread was getting pretty interesting there for a while. This approach whereby the leader of the previous pitch clips the first progression pro of the next pitch before downclimbing to the main belay has become my preferred choice when the conditions are right for it. This thread (www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2386970;s>>> ended up exploring this approach as part of a discussion on ways to eliminate the possibility of a leader falling directly on a mid-route trad belay (my long post on p.3 attempted to summarize the various approaches discussed up to that point).

Its interesting that this approach was brought into this discussion by MPuser10840, from Germany, because, as I discovered later on in that RC.com thread, the DAV appears to recommend it (I understand no German whatsoever), calling it the "plus clipp". When I saw it in a 2009 DAV manual, it was illustrated for a sport route with the first progression bolt reasonably close to the belay. The general principle of this approach is very easy to state and to understand intuitively (as seen in this thread) but when you start working out the practical implications, things get a bit more complicated. Here are some of these implications.

When to use this option :
- The main belay position should not be a wide or jagged ledge or be otherwise too risky to deck on after climbing above it (taking into account the greater stretch in the rope at the end of the previous pitch).
- The next pitch should continue more or less vertically above the belay (not start as a traverse or a roof).
- Of course, you need to have enough rope and gear (and strength and ability) left at the end of the previous pitch to go up to the first pro (also depends on how high it is) and climb back down to the belay.

Backclipping the first pro, belaying on redirect, etc. :
- When swapping leads, the leader of the previous pitch needs to backclip his rope in the first progression pro so it will be right-clipped for the next leader. In this situation, the easier way to belay the second (next leader) is on redirect through that first pro (as shown in the DAV manual). This leaves the rope correctly stacked and he can just keep climbing after swapping the gear. Since that first pro will likely be out of reach of the belayer (previous leader), it needs to be treated a bit like a top-rope anchor; ie, precautions should be taken against unclipping, popping off, etc. (using lockers and/or double opposed biners and, when trad climbing, probably also setting it up as a two-pro anchor, to be safer).
- If the next pitch will have the same leader as the previous one, the first pro can be right-clipped and may also used as part of (or back-up for) the main belay anchor. The second can be brought up on direct, indirect or redirect from the main belay, as preferred and appropriate but the rope will need to be restacked before the next lead.

Here are a few things I really like about this approach:
- It takes advantage of end-of-pitch safety factors to make the beginning of the next pitch way safer.
- Climbing past the main belay position often allows setting up belay pros fairly (but not too) high, which is usually a good thing.
- It uses up rope (and gear) leftover from the previous pitch instead of mortgaging rope that may be needed for the next one.

After that RC.com thread, I pretty much adopted the three preferred no-FF2 options as my standard modus operandi for multipitch, selecting the most appropriate one depending on the conditions at and around the main belay. They all add about equal (and fairly small) amounts of time compared to the traditional standard techniques. As far as I am concerned, that is a small price to pay for the greater safety but there's no denying that over long routes, it does add up.

The second option (in order of my preference) consists of placing and clipping the first couple of progression pros of the next pitch at arm's length while being belayed on (and avoiding, as much as possible, climbing above) the previous pro, starting with the central point of the anchor and clipping the highest pro of the anchor before moving on to the first progression pro proper (see details in my last post on the RC.com thread). The third option is also discussed here (Bill C. post) and seems to be fairly widely used when the next pitch starts run out right off the belay.


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