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how to swtich belayer on a multi pitch route.
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Jan 5, 2011
baldy
iv done multi pitch sport routes. and single pitch trad routes. but i was woundering. how do you switch belayers on a multi pitch trad route if your second doesnt want to lead? everything iv looked for online just talks about leap froging and im curios what steps you all take to switch. it seams like it would be a pain in the ass from what i could imagine. i wouldnt think you would want to clip into one piece of pro to switch like you do with bolts, but i dont know.


sorry for the dumb question. i dont really know many climbers so i dont have anyone to ask how that all works
habla
Joined Oct 24, 2010
40 points
Jan 5, 2011
OTL
I've never led trad (only climbing since July), but have followed a little bit.
Don't use the rope for the anchor (use cordellete/etc) and simply restack the rope, get all the gear and start climbing. And make sure the second is properly anchored for belaying.
Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Joined Oct 20, 2010
501 points
Jan 5, 2011
Bastille Crack Final Pitch
In short:

Once both people are at the belay station and secured to the anchor, you need to do 2 things.

1) Re-flake the rope so that the leaders end is on top. Its easiest if the follower starts at his figure 8 knot and simply coils the rope on top of itself until he gets to the leaders end of the rope. From there he can put the leader on belay. This will essentially flip the rope upside down and will make it so the belayer can easily give slack to the leader as he climbs.

2) The follower needs to give all of the leading gear back to the leader which he cleaned on the previous pitch.

Its a pretty easy transition, but make sure both climbers are ON ANCHOR before you start any of it.
John Maguire
From Boulder, CO
Joined Nov 23, 2008
212 points
Jan 5, 2011
OMG, I winz!!!
keep the rope neat while belaying. flip it. done

i almost never reflake the rope
Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2007
560 points
Jan 5, 2011
baldy
so its basically the same thing. i realy want to do a easy 2 pitch trad climb. but i probably should take some kinda class first. ever though im confident i could do it just fine. habla
Joined Oct 24, 2010
40 points
Jan 5, 2011
OMG, I winz!!!
Yes it's not that difficult assuming you don't build your anchor with the rope. Yes you should probably take a class, find a mentor or hire a guide so you don't die. At the very least get some books and do some serious reading. If you're the leader in this party then your second is likely depending on you for everything which is fine so long as you don't hurt or kill either of you. Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2007
560 points
Jan 5, 2011
Bocan
This is general and simple, but everthing you do should have the next pitch in mind. Your second should be cleaning in a manner that makes changing over easy. I "try" to build my belays without using alot of gear the the leader might not need. I set myself up on the belay so it's comfy and we have room to switch.

Some folks might even recommend a gear loop, but that depends on if you like climbing that way or not.

And like Chris said, keep the rope clean and it will help out immensely. Remember if flaking over your tie in point to start the flakes small and progressively get bigger.

It's all about practice too...
Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
947 points
Jan 5, 2011
Clear Creek
I think it's fastest to avoid reflaking the rope by just swapping ends. Clip into the anchor with runners, daisychains, or whatever, then both partners can untie and trade ends. Voile, leader's end is now on top. cathy proenza
From eldorado springs, co
Joined Oct 31, 2008
6 points
Jan 5, 2011
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Ko...
cathy proenza wrote:
I think it's fastest to avoid reflaking the rope by just swapping ends. Clip into the anchor with runners, daisychains, or whatever, then both partners can untie and trade ends.


To each their own, I guess. But, I would strongly recommend against this - additional steps to mess up on (read: chances to die), and it takes more time. Scott and Chris pretty much have it covered above..... however, paying a certified guide for a day to show you it first-hand is worth gold (plus they'll likely show you a bunch of other things that will make you a safer and smarter climber going forward). That or a qualified mentor - but understand that just because someone's been climbing for 30 yrs doesn't make them a qualified mentor. I never went through the top-roping/seconding learning phase specifically because I was not comfortable with the critical thinking abilities of the people that offered to take me out climbing. So instead I hired a certified guide to teach me the ropes - best money I ever spent in climbing.
Erik W
From Boulder, CO
Joined Mar 8, 2007
303 points
Jan 5, 2011
Rrrrrrrrrrrr
Good advice, all. Remember that the anchor you build is the single most important thing you will do on a multi-pitch trad route (unless the particular route you have in mind has bolted belay stations). But most trad lines don't, so be sure you REALLY understand anchors before you allow yourself to be the one in the team responsible for both lives.

If you don't know anchors, take a class or climb with someone who has a lot of experience in building anchors. Also good to read up on systems.

In a nutshell (but LEARN this, don't just do what I say here): Place 3 solid pieces; run a cordalette between the three; pull the cordalette between pieces, you should end up with 3 loops; EQUALIZE the loops, this is your master point. I prefer to tie an overhand figure 8 at the master point, some do not as the system is now no longer self equalizing (different techniques to accomplish that). Lock your PAS into the master point and load the system (no slack). Make sure your partner locks his PAS to the master point when he gets there.
Bill Olszewski
From Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Mar 10, 2007
11,407 points
Jan 5, 2011
baldy
Chris Plesko wrote:
Yes you should probably take a class, find a mentor or hire a guide so you don't die. At the very least get some books and do some serious reading.


iv read just about everything online i could find. looked at every youtube video on the subject. googled every picture. read every book on amazon i could "look inside" read. and spent alot of time building anchors and that crap on the ground. im very confident in my abilitys, but i think a class would still be a good thing to take.
i want to climb royal arches in Yosemite soon, and i want to be fully ready.

thank you all for your help
habla
Joined Oct 24, 2010
40 points
Jan 5, 2011
Starting up the steep 7b crux of Süpervitamin.
+1 for switching knots. I all most allways use the rope to equalize my anchor, so switching knots is really one of the only options.

step by step;
1. have both climbers clip into anchor with 2 points
2. switch knots, being careful about not getting tangled up within the anchor.
3. If it's a hanging belay, and the rope was stacked on you, simply lift it up and place it on your partner.
4. Re-rack, get on belay and blast off into the next pitch!

edit: for getting started, a cordellete makes equalizing the anchor quick and easy. Once your comfortable with that play around the house using the rope to make an anchor, get creative ie: double eared figure eights and clove hitches.

cheers!
Monty
From Golden, CO
Joined Mar 13, 2006
3,255 points
Jan 5, 2011
Imaginate
I switch knots alot, or just reflake the rope since it takes about the same amount of time.

-1 for classes. Buy any book on anchors or search the internet. Then find a two pitch climb with several clean cracks at the belay and a partner with a sense of adventure or who is also figuring things out, and go play. Make the anchor out of 3 or 4 pieces, take all your gear the first time, who cares about fast and light. Have fun!
David Appelhans
From Medford, MA
Joined Nov 11, 2007
350 points
Jan 5, 2011
baldy
David Appelhans wrote:
I switch knots alot, or just reflake the rope since it takes about the same amount of time. -1 for classes. Buy any book on anchors or search the internet. Then find a two pitch climb with several clean cracks at the belay and a partner with a sense of adventure or who is also figuring things out, and go play. Make the anchor out of 3 or 4 pieces, take all your gear the first time, who cares about fast and light. Have fun!


i like it.
iv got plenty of time to practice anchors. i cant climb for four months cuz i broke my ankle bouldering. but i talked my partner and brother to go climbing this saturday so i can video tape them. ill bring my pro and practice placing anchors on the ground as well. Then in four months of that all be ready for sure
habla
Joined Oct 24, 2010
40 points
Jan 5, 2011
Bryan there are some easy 2 pitch gulley climbs at Suicide..if you can wait until the season starts that's a great place to learn. Also, I don't think anyone mentioned the need for one of your anchors to be a directional...to keep your second from being pulled upward in the event you fall. If so, that would keep your other pro from failing.

  • Guides cost $$ but they are excellent way to learn.
Roots
From Tustin, CA
Joined Dec 15, 2010
26 points
Jan 5, 2011
baldy
Roots wrote:
Bryan there are some easy 2 pitch gulley climbs at Suicide..if you can wait until the season starts that's a great place to learn. Also, I don't think anyone mentioned the need for one of your anchors to be a directional...to keep your second from being pulled upward in the event you fall. If so, that would keep your other pro from failing. *Guides cost $$ but they are excellent way to learn.


thank you very much for that. i have read on most site talking about that, so i did already know about it. but thank you for not leaving anything out for me

+1
habla
Joined Oct 24, 2010
40 points
Jan 5, 2011
Rewritten
Bryan Jeffrey wrote:
i wouldnt think you would want to clip into one piece of pro to switch like you do with bolts


What are you doing on sport routes? Maybe something was lost in your description, but if you are only clipping to one bolt at an anchor, then I would say you are taking unnecessary risks.
Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jun 27, 2008
210 points
Jan 5, 2011
baldy
Julius Beres wrote:
What are you doing on sport routes? Maybe something was lost in your description, but if you are only clipping to one bolt at an anchor, then I would say you are taking unnecessary risks.


i have seen a diagram of the belayer atached to one bolt and the atc on the anchor points. then the other climber ataches to the other bolt. iv never seen anyone do it that way before but iv seen the diagram of it online somewhere

edit: ok i found it. i was looking at it wrong. it was just a crappy drawing. my mistake. i wasnt looking for sportclimbing stuff when i found it so i didnt look closly at it
habla
Joined Oct 24, 2010
40 points
Jan 5, 2011
Rrrrr
yep, hook up with a guide or an experienced mentor. Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
1,499 points
Jan 5, 2011
Hippos kill people
are you guys nuts? giving advice to this guy is like letting a 13 year old borrow your car.
I think trying to meter out advice on a forum like this to someone with no experience (no offense to bryan) is irresponsible. Bryan, BUY the book, better yet hook up with some experienced friends at the gym. don't die, it makes us all look bad.
germsauce
Joined Jun 14, 2010
66 points
Jan 5, 2011
germsauce wrote:
are you guys nuts? giving advice to this guy is like letting a 13 year old borrow your car.

So it's better to let the guy start leading multipitch on a foundation of diagrams, images and amazon.com book excerpts?

I get what you're saying: he should seek qualified, hands on, instruction but the point you're failing to realize - and I'm not trying to be a jerk here - is that someone who posts up and gets their info from forums, like a 13 year old who asks for your car, is probably going to just go out and do it anyways regardless of what you say. So - it's probably in his benefit for everyone to give him as much advice as possible on here.

germsauce wrote:
don't die, it makes us all look bad.


+2 on this, though. Bryan: don't die; good luck.
mass
Joined Jan 3, 2011
0 points
Jan 5, 2011
on top of the RNWF June 2012
just flip the rope over at the belay. untying is just another chance of fucking something up and reflaking the rope takes too long. I don't use my rope in the anchor, I just carry a 4 foot sling doubled across my shoulder as a gear sling/anchor and my 2nd does too. stack the rope as you belay up your second butterfly style across your tie in point. then when your second gets clipped in flip the stack over their tie in sling and lead on. Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Feb 8, 2010
217 points
Jan 6, 2011
1) Rope management - bump to all of the respondents above who recommend organizing the rope while belaying and just flipping the rope to reverse its direction. This is the safest and most efficient way that I have come across. I wound NOT recommend untying and retying for safety and efficiency reasons.

2) Gear swap - have your follower clean gear onto a sling. Have him/her clean in an organized fashion, preferably cleaning onto the sling in the exact same order that you rack your gear on your harness.

3) Flow - build your anchor with the direction of the next pitch in mind. This should dictate where you direct your follower to park him or herself. When your second arrives at the belay, s/he clips into the anchor and hands you the gear. While you re-rack, your second is flipping the rope and putting you on belay.

Finer point, I often belay off the anchor (vs belay loop) so that it's comfy and safe to belay while you look over the topo to figure out the beta for the next pitch. Also, refuel on food and water so that you can start climbing ASAP.

Good luck and climb safe.
daniel c
From San Francisco, CA
Joined Sep 30, 2008
59 points
Jan 6, 2011
Crux Move
germsauce wrote:
are you guys nuts? giving advice to this guy is like letting a 13 year old borrow your car. I think trying to meter out advice on a forum like this to someone with no experience (no offense to bryan) is irresponsible. Bryan, BUY the book, better yet hook up with some experienced friends at the gym. don't die, it makes us all look bad.


Wow, really?

All he wants to know how to do is switch leads. He could ask one mentor for his opinion, or ask a whole group of moderately experienced climbers online and determine which answer is the best.

He's taking personal responsibility for himself here. This is why America needs to harden the f*** up. No one wants anyone else to be personally responsible.
Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Joined Jun 20, 2008
2,193 points
Jan 6, 2011
Scott McMahon wrote:
Remember if flaking over your tie in point to start the flakes small and progressively get bigger.


Sure about that one Scott?

Bryan - please, just go to the crag and ask someone to teach you. And yes, diagrams in a book are generally thought out and easy to understand. Noise from 50 somewhat experienced climbers will only serve to confuse.
Price
From SLC, UT
Joined Apr 29, 2007
324 points
Jan 6, 2011
rope management. beau leo costillo
Joined Oct 21, 2010
0 points


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