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Go Back   KOTR Forums > Climbing > Accidents & Injuries

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Unread 04-18-2009, 02:49 PM
panicked_bear's Avatar
panicked_bear panicked_bear is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Daejeon
Posts: 109
Belaying with a Super Figure 8

Thankfully this did not result in an injury -

We were at the outdoor wall a week or so ago and there was a Korean gentleman belaying his partner. He was using a Super Figure 8 (or similar) belaying tool. She called down for him to take up slack as she needed a bit of a rest (I think it was her first day rock climbing). As he sped through all the extra slack he had running out, he fumbled it and the rope slipped out of both of his hands and the entire belay system fell out of his hands- dangling limply from his harness.

Right about here was when my heart stopped.

Thankfully, the oblivious climber did not trust the ropes yet, so she was still clinging to the wall 20' above, with no knowledge of what had just happened. The belayer regained the rope tension and it was all good after that .

I have heard some conflicting things about belaying with figure 8's - how they are technically only rapping tools, but companies still market them as belay tools. Can someone set this straight?

Also, if she had of fallen at that critical moment, would the figure 8 have conceivably been able to slow or stop the fall on its own, or would the rope have just sped through it? (I have never used one of these devices).
Put the bibim back in the bap.

Last edited by panicked_bear : 04-18-2009 at 05:13 PM.
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Unread 04-23-2009, 09:28 AM
Les's Avatar
Les Les is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seoul
Posts: 165
Similar in friction concept to an ATC, its the brake hand bending the rope around the device that will hold the climber. If she were to have fallen, I'm sure the rope would have no problem sliding right thru without a hand holding it down. Sketchy. I'm not certain how, but certainly lucky, not to have seen anyone seriously hurt themselves or others climbing in korea.
Oh, the delicate peregrinations of those ten sensitive fingers, scuttling across the rocks in desperate Braille. - Sid Marty
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Unread 04-23-2009, 01:28 PM
supertopoz supertopoz is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Gyoung Ju
Posts: 97

Eight is designed for rapping, yet it continues to be the most popular belay device in Korea.

Fumbling with whilst belaying it lack or experience, and will kill.
So is placing is remotely and top belaying a climbing coming up a multi-pitch climb.
But all of these things are common in Korea. As is holding the Gri-Gri open with the left hand whilst pulling the live rope through with the right hand.
As is standing 20ft from the base of a sports climb in order to see the climber better.

All of which can lead to serious injury and death, but are very common in Korea.

Best advice of all, check you belayer is doing their job, all the time, then climb like you are soloing. Or get me to belay you. hehehehe

Seriously I am not sure if it just Korea but most quality Belay devices come with UIAA attached documentation for proper use. Shame some peoples heads don't come with said attached documentation.

Stay safe out there, you know that guy on the end other rope has you life in his hands. Make sure he/she knows what they are doing.
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Unread 05-13-2009, 03:12 AM
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Tonypetro Tonypetro is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: PoHang
Posts: 47
Figure eights are fine, and designed for both. Some people just have flimsy training and do not have sound belay basics. <<<NEVER TAKE YOUR BREAK HAND OFF>>>>>

The issue in Korea relating to belaying accidents seems to occur with beginners and poor belay technique, which should be corrected by someone who has the know how. Taking the responsibility to get the proper know how, practice, and making sure both climber and belayer know what one another is doing is Key...

Must Communicate

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Unread 05-13-2009, 11:58 AM
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shanja shanja is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Daejeon
Posts: 1,386
I agree that poor belaying is a result of poor education in techniue and safety...but also because "experienced climbers" often get lax and lazy. Beyaing 20 odd feet from the wall is a typical example and to be fair not unique to Korea at all. We see it here mostly because we are here now. It's very hard/ awkward/ risky to try and correct a locals bad habits anywhere in the world...so try the teaching without words technique...by example and by obviously instructing your partner in what not to do (so that anyone watching will see, understand and 'get the message' without being directly addressed).
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