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Go Back   KOTR Forums > Climbing > Accidents & Injuries

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  #1  
Unread 08-12-2008, 11:59 PM
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Beware the botched belay!

They say it's often the most dangerous part of a climb, when all your safety is resting on the rap lines, the anchor and your belay/ rap skills. Now we have elsewhere (gear review thread) discussed the pro's and con's of different belay tools, so herein I'll let that rest. However two things have posed themselves to me recently, so being rather a garrulous chap I thought I'd share them.
1-CHECK ALL BELAY TOOLS FOR WEAR REGULARLY. Sounds like a thing we'd all do everytime we hook in, eh? But do you really? I got a bit of a shock the other day when I looked at my trusty old Reverso belay tool. The top side of the tool (where the rope comes out and goes up to the climber), had slyly been worn away in a nice silver groove...to the point the metal edge was sharp enough to cut a rope under tension! Have a look at the picture below. This is not the edge where the break strand runs, but that too shows significant "grooving".
2-LEARN HOW TO TIE AND USE A MUNTER HITCH. A what?? Oh shame on you! Your bad here if you don't know the life-saving old Munter hitch. Why bother? Well 3 times in the past couple of months I have found myself atop a climb with "others" ready to rap down and discovered that someone has forgotten/ dropped/ lost their belay tool . No belay tool, no way to rap down, right? No! That is where the Munter hitch and a BIG locking crab (biner) saves the day - literally! I dread to think of what might have transpired had yours heroically truly (and with ever so much modesty) not been there. No-one else knew the Munter hitch I did, so I gave away my tool and sallied down the lines "old-school" style. It's a super easy knot to learn, works well with single or double ropes and can also be used to belay, not just to rap. It does twist the ropes something terrible, OK, but it sure beats being stuck up a cliff or ith no way to belay/ rap/ climb. You can tie it like a girth-hitch (but fold the two loops together, don't slip the front behind the back like a girth-hitch) or you can do it this way:
http://www.animatedknots.com/munterm... tedknots.com
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  #2  
Unread 08-13-2008, 01:36 PM
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And the fool who dropped his belay device was . . . ME! Thanks again, Jake!!
btw, i arrived safely back in the U.S. I can still taste the awesome samgyupsal you and KA brought to Ganhyeon. I hope the rest of your stay was enjoyable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shanja
They say it's often the most dangerous part of a climb, when all your safety is resting on the rap lines, the anchor and your belay/ rap skills. Now we have elsewhere (gear review thread) discussed the pro's and con's of different belay tools, so herein I'll let that rest. However two things have posed themselves to me recently, so being rather a garrulous chap I thought I'd share them.
1-CHECK ALL BELAY TOOLS FOR WEAR REGULARLY. Sounds like a thing we'd all do everytime we hook in, eh? But do you really? I got a bit of a shock the other day when I looked at my trusty old Reverso belay tool. The top side of the tool (where the rope comes out and goes up to the climber), had slyly been worn away in a nice silver groove...to the point the metal edge was sharp enough to cut a rope under tension! Have a look at the picture below. This is not the edge where the break strand runs, but that too shows significant "grooving".
2-LEARN HOW TO TIE AND USE A MUNTER HITCH. A what?? Oh shame on you! Your bad here if you don't know the life-saving old Munter hitch. Why bother? Well 3 times in the past couple of months I have found myself atop a climb with "others" ready to rap down and discovered that someone has forgotten/ dropped/ lost their belay tool . No belay tool, no way to rap down, right? No! That is where the Munter hitch and a BIG locking crab (biner) saves the day - literally! I dread to think of what might have transpired had yours heroically truly (and with ever so much modesty) not been there. No-one else knew the Munter hitch I did, so I gave away my tool and sallied down the lines "old-school" style. It's a super easy knot to learn, works well with single or double ropes and can also be used to belay, not just to rap. It does twist the ropes something terrible, OK, but it sure beats being stuck up a cliff or ith no way to belay/ rap/ climb. You can tie it like a girth-hitch (but fold the two loops together, don't slip the front behind the back like a girth-hitch) or you can do it this way:
http://www.animatedknots.com/munterm... tedknots.com
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  #3  
Unread 08-13-2008, 07:55 PM
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interesting...i noticed a few months back that my reverso was getting worn down and in danger of becoming sharp. now i belay out of the other slot mainly to stretch out the life of my device. even if it was sharp, i think you'd have to catch that at a very wierd angle to do damage to the rope...though still not worth the risk.

a note about the munter: the start of the knot is similar to a clove hitch and not a girth hitch.

jake, have you used the munter on a double line?
great site by the way!!
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  #4  
Unread 08-13-2008, 08:40 PM
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Yes, the munter hitch. . . we've had many good times together. Soooo much nicer than a bum-belay! Prussiks (darn those Germans "inventing" all the good knots!) are useful too (for ascending and backing up a rap). . . in a pinch, biners (pref a locker) can be used o make a figure 8. . . minimum 2, 4 works best. . . back it up with a prussik!

Joe, glad to hear/sad to hear you are back safe and sound. . . now when will you be back here ?

I am curous how you'd use a munter with double ropes? two separate knots? I thought (one of) the point(s) of double ropes was to avoid drag on wandering/alpine routes when you'd need to feed separately.

Rick. . . and I so thought a reverso would be my next ATC-like device. . . sigh. As Jake knows, I am steering away from ATCs because the plastic coated metal rubs off and frays and I hate frayed metal near my ropes. . . but sharp metal edges, YIKES!
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  #5  
Unread 08-13-2008, 09:23 PM
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Oops mea culpa, mea culpa. I did mean to say "clove hitch", not "girth hitch" well pointed out Rick! Actually yeah, I have used the Munter with double ropes on many occaisions. I'll post some pics/ video here soon to show how it works. Essentially there are two ways to use a Munter for rapping with double(d) ropes. I do the second as it's less hassle and reccommended by John Long et. al. in my "How to..." climb books.
Method #1:
Tie two individual Munter hitches onto two different big locking biners - both attached to your harness or daisy. You manage and control each Munter with one-hand. Frankly this is tough and leaves you no free hand if you need it.
Method #2:
Grab both strands of the rope (just below the anchor) and treat them as if they were one. Tie a BIG ugly looking Munter and clip into that big locking crab on your harness/ daisy. Then lean back and belay/ rap with one hand on the (twin) brake strands.
WARNING!!!!!!! When using a Munter to rap or belay, the brake hand COMES UP and FORWARD TO BRAKE THE ROPE!!! This is opposite of a regular belay tool situation where you pull the brake hand and strand down and back (thumb in bum). To let slack out and descend, bring your brake hand down and back.
Rick's kinda right. The worn razor edge of the Reverso doesn't usually make acute angle contact with the rope, but it can when using it in self-lock mode or when the leader is above and behind you (an overhang say). So, my next belay tool will be the new Reverso 3! It's an updated model that you can check out here (watch the user video - great idea!):
http://en.petzl.com/petzl/SportProduits?Produit=653
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  #6  
Unread 08-14-2008, 05:13 AM
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Okay, went to the knot site and was on it for about 40 min. It's now in my favorites. thanks for posting it!!!
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  #7  
Unread 08-14-2008, 08:35 PM
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sorry to add any confusion sonia; when i said double ropes i really meant rapping on two strands vs one and not "double ropes" per se.
my reverso is wearing down but only 1/2 way to being close to sharp after 3 years of consistent use. i figure at this rate (now that i've switched slots) my $28 device will get 12 years of very satisfied use before it reaches the sharp threshold and it gets turned into a christmas ornament. then i will buy another one.
sonia, it looks like the Rv3 has the same options you are trying to get away from.
Quote:
...but it can when using it in self-lock mode or when the leader is above and behind you (an overhang say)...
i've never heard of using self lock while belaying a leader, but the position of the device when bringing up a 2nd puts the 'sharp' edge away from the rope. i'm curious about this method jake but perhaps that's too much thread drift.
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Unread 08-14-2008, 10:11 PM
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Don't get me wrong! I'm not dissing the reverso. I stand by my earlier thread diatribes in saying it is one of the best belay/ rap tools ever! Mine reverso is my 3rd (yeah I dropped one down a crevasse in NZ in 2002 )! I love them. The current one shown is 6 years old and has done a fair amount in that time.
No I'd never auto-lock when belaying a leader! Just a top belay for a seconder. The thing about a leader on an overhang is when it's being used in regular mode, with belayer facing in to the cliff, the leader above the belayers position (happens a bit on those overhung artificial walls and steep rock. The belayer should be close to the cliff usually). How the rope wore it away there is kinda irrelevent. The fact that the gouges are there is ipso facto confirmation such can and does (slowly) happen.
Anyway, no tool is perfect, and everything will wear out eventually. My point was that we need to keep checking ALL of our gear for dangerous wear and tear. Climb safe everyone!
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Unread 08-15-2008, 01:24 AM
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OK, the reverso 3 (vista? windows?) is back on my christmas list. . . you who almost de-convinced me have reconvinced me

And if Jake can double rope belay with munter hitches, than I can certainly do it with a reverso. . . Rick, I know you've gotten your $28 worth (including the times you've lent it out). . . I do so love the metal retaining plate and grippy lock-offs. OK. . . so with 4 months until Christmas, if anyone wants to convince me otherwise, just try!
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Unread 08-20-2008, 09:10 PM
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just so you know, the reverso 3 does NOT have the metal retaining plates. it has the classic coated wires.
although, as shown on the video, it has an advantage over the old school reverso in that you can use a biner in the small hole to release a follower (to lower them perhaps??).
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