Hybrid belaying with a guide mode device.

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Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:53 am
Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Location: Cape Town

Hybrid belaying with a guide mode device.

Post by SNORT » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:03 pm

The best way to demonstrate this is with a video which I don't have the time to do now.

I have never heard of or seen anyone else doing it this way

The system works best if you can find a seated belay facing outward. Ideally you are seated on a block with your feet on a firm and level surface below a bit like a low chair. This is not essential but makes your life easier if you need to escape the system.

Put the climber following on belay as normal with the gate of the locking biner facing to the opposite side to the rope rigged as in the next step. This is to allow for easy escape from the system

From an anchor behind or above you to which you have a rope clovehitched, use the part of the rope that is not attached to your harness and level or just above your waist attach a biner with a clove hitch and attach the guide ring at the back to this biner. Some practice and experimentation is necessary to ensure that when pulling in the rope it feeds nice and easy as with non-guide belaying and also then, that it locks if it is weighted.

Escaping the system is easy by opening the gate and disengaging your belay loop from it and then wiggling away.

Feeding out slack is no problem if the system is not locked as it feeds out the same as if you are belaying in non-guide mode

Releasing a locked system depends on how much weight is on it and how strong you are.

If someone wants some slack and the rope is not weighted or heavily weighted it is very easy to release a locked system merely by pulling on the biner attached to your harness belay loop and feeding the rope out. This will work in most cases.

The worst case scenario is a heavy climber dangling in the air that you have to lower. Again if you are strong enough which is the case for most people, pulling on the biner will tilt the system sufficiently to unlock it. Because the system is not above you like in standard guide mode and rather below you, most people will have sufficient leverage and power to release a locked system and I speak from my experience where I am getting weaker as I age and climb with people mostly heavier than me.

If you are not strong enough then use the leverage of a biner or a nut pick that fits into the small hole in the front of the belay device to tilt the belay device. If you do not have something to lever with, then this is where you need to stand up. But don't let go of the rope and even put a back up knot first! You will have more than enough strength in your legs to unlock the system by merely standing up and this is where it will be easier to have a seat where your feet are on a stable system lower than your butt. However, I find there is enough play in the system for me to stand up even if seated with no differential between my butt and my feet. This may require two hands which means a knot on the belay end of the rope is imperative and a prussic (not a T-Bloc which is difficult to release) on the rope going to the climber below is also wise because if the knot ends up against the belay device you are in a dwang to undo it.

If you are really concerned about someone falling off and dangling off the rock and you do not have an ideal seat then set up the system with you standing. In this case the level of the biner attached to the guide loop must be a bit lower than when you are seated to allow for more play in the system, Belaying will be as normal with no locking unless you want to escape the system in which case you just bend your knees a little so that the system locks. There must obviously be some play in your personal connection to the anchors. To unlock the system just straighten your knees and it will release the tension on the ring. It would be very unusual for anyone climbing not having enough power in their legs to und the locking. This can also be assisted by using a biner or nut pick in the small hole as a lever.

There is of course something also called the Edelrid Joule which I have already described on the forum somewhere. Unfortunately these are not available in South Africa as far as I know. This basically negates all the problems of locking systems as it can be released a bit like a Grigri. There are lots of You-Tube videos that show its remarkable advantages and I strongly advocate learning to use this device but it is not intuitive and takes quite a bit of getting used to. It can be used in a similar way as described above but in guide mode the rope is fed through the joule bottom up and has to be changed over when someone carries on and leads off. Because it autolocks anyway it can be used for normal belaying provided you do not envisage having to escape the system although this is not very difficult to do. In this case make sure that there is some play in the rope that attaches you to the belay anchor. Attach the loose rope or a sling connected to the belay anchor directly to your belay biner attached to your harness with a clove hitch if you anticipate the need to escape. Otherwise just make sure that you have a sling or rope attached to the anchor at hand. You can then connect it by using a spare biner and connecting it in tandem to your belay biner and escape the system that way. Use the play in the system to release your belay loop from the biner making sure there is a knot in the rope in case it slips or hold the rope. Lowering the person is then easy using the lever on the device. Although the Joule does lock when used in this way it is not bomb proof like guide mode and slippage does occur so hold the rope!

I shall post pics once I have done my day job

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