Belay/Rappel Loops

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Belay/Rappel Loops

Post by njp158 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:10 pm

This issue has probably been discussed before, but I was wondering if any of you had opinions on this. When possible we always try to have back ups in climbing. Climbers tie double fishermans to back up their figure eights, we build anchors out of more than one piece and equalize them just in case a piece should pull. The list can go on and on. I was taught that a good way of checking your system is to think of a knife cutting at any one place. If that happened would it lead to a failure. Why do we not hold true to this concept in regards to belay/rappel loops. I seem to be thinking about this a lot more lately each time I rappel a route, and often wish I had some kind of back up there. I started rapping/belaying by putting the biner through my tie in points, because I felt like at least I had some kind of back up there. However, I have since read that this is not a good idea because it can lead to shifting of the biner and hence loading it from the side. Any opinions on this?

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Post by Izzy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:26 pm

I've seen people tie a second belay loop into their harness with a short piece of cord or webbing, then put the biner through both. Seems like a good idea, and would eliminate the possibility of cross-loading the biner.
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Post by heacocis » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:28 pm

Belay loops, like the actual climbing rope, isn't redundant because it is considered strong enough not to be. Many people, however, don't like the idea of not having a redundant connection at their harness (although they probably don't worry about the non-redundant rope!), so they tie a loop of cord next to their belay loop. Similar to the climbing rope, in the real world the only things you have to worry about with the belay loop are it degrading (from exposure or time), or getting worn/cut. That is why you are supposed to inspect your loop every time you put your harness on, just like you are supposed to inspect your rope every time you use it.
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Post by njp158 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:35 pm

I guess what throws me off is that the tie in points are redundant, you go through the top and bottom of your harness and even the belay if you please. I guess the Belay loop wouldn't be submitted to as much shock loading, but still you are catching lead falls on it potentially. I guess in my mind if we have redundant tie in points we should also have redundant belay/rappel loops.

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Post by DriskellHR » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:08 pm

what heacocis said.....
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Post by pkananen » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:15 pm

If you should have an extra, the manufacturers would put an extra there. They don't, so you shouldn't either. End of story.

Also, the belay loop already is double strength.

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Post by pkananen » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:18 pm

njp158 wrote:I guess what throws me off is that the tie in points are redundant, you go through the top and bottom of your harness and even the belay if you please. I guess the Belay loop wouldn't be submitted to as much shock loading, but still you are catching lead falls on it potentially. I guess in my mind if we have redundant tie in points we should also have redundant belay/rappel loops.
The belay loop goes through both tie in points just as the rope does. Your logic is lacking. The analogue of the rope (which isn't redundant) is the belay loop (which isn't redundant).

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Post by pigsteak » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:11 pm

and one biner and one gri gri?
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Post by caribe » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:54 pm

pigsteak wrote:and one biner and one gri gri?
and a microphone.

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Post by Saxman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:56 pm

There is no need for a backup on a figure 8 either. The 8 has its own back-up built in.
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Post by michaelarmand » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:59 pm

pigsteak wrote:and one biner and one gri gri?
and one belayer?

There will be single points of failure in any system. Worry about the one that is most likely to fail...

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Post by bcombs » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:03 pm

michaelarmand wrote: Worry about the one that is most likely to fail...
Which is probably the forearm. :lol:

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Post by kdelap » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:02 pm

Awe yes the belay loop.

Let see, so first of all it is redundant. It is a piece of webbing that is wound around itself. It is also sewn around on each side as well as bar tacked. We have tested some of these by just duck-taping them together. The start to disassemble around 3000 lbs. of force. (slow pull)

Belay loops are the strongest part of the climbing system. Even the weakest belay loops we have tested blow at about 8000 lbs. of force.

After the Todd Skinner accident there was much testing on belay loops done. One test in particular was cutting the belay loop 90% of the way through and then pull testing to failure. It was holding around 700 lbs of force.

I see people all the time putting this extra cord to "back up" their belay loop. The problem with this is that it is cluttering up your "work space". I have seen someone accidentally clip into their "backup" cord only. To put this in perspective a 6 millimeter cord can only hold around 1500 lbs of force. This is only twice what a 90% cut through belay loop can hold; so not really nessasary and can cause more problems than it could ever help.

As for backing up the Figure 8. There is no need. This actually has been found to cause more problems than it could prevent as well.

The reason that we only use one carabiner to belay is that it is right in front of us and easy to inspect. You can use 2 with an atc, this just adds friction.
Same for the rope (unless you are using doubles) we should be inspecting this as we belay.

Take every thing off your harness at the end of the day and inspect those belay loops and you should have no worries!
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Post by cliftongifford » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:12 am

yeah, what everyone else said...

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Post by Dman » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:28 am

a cam would pull out or even a bolt before your loop would break
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