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ROCK SECONDING SCHOOL

Student Manual

July 2008

Read this online, or you can download/print this as a PDF here: RSS 2008 Student Manual.pdf
Last Revised: August 1, 2008

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Note: Below content is being updated, August 2008
Thx, Larry DeSaules, Todd Felix

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SCHEDULE
TYING IN AND ATTACHING THE BELAY DEVICE
PREPARING TO CLIMB
BELAYING IN GENERAL
BELAYING A TOPROPED CLIMBER FROM BELOW
TOPROPE ANCHORS
Bolt Anchors
RAPPELLING
UNJAMMING A PRUSIK BACKUP WHILE RAPPELLING
ASCENDING A ROPE VIA PRUSIK SLINGS
CLEANING BOLT ANCHORS AND DESCENDING
MULTIPITCH CLIMBING
BELAYING FROM ABOVE
BELAYING A LEADER
THE OFF BELAY SIGNAL
REMOVING PRO
Passive Devices
Active Devices or Spring Loaded Camming Devices (SLCDs)
ESCAPING THE BELAY
EQUIPMENT
KNOTS
1. Overhand Rappel Knot and Overhand on a Bight
2. Water Knot
3. Figure 8 on a Bight
4. Figure 8 Retrace and Figure 8 Bend
5. Double Fisherman
6. Girth Hitch
7. Prusik
8. Klemheist
9. Autoblock
10. Clove Hitch
11. Munter Hitch
12. Square Knot
ALPINE CLIMBING CONSIDERATIONS
Weather
Lightning
Hypothermia
HEAT EXPOSURE
Safety
Efficiency
Comfort
Minimum Impact
STANDARDS FOR ROCK SECONDING SCHOOL
Tying In and Preparing to Climb
Belaying
Anchors
Top-Rope Anchors
Rappelling
Prusiking
Escaping the Belay
Miscellaneous
CLIMBING SIGNALS
Required Signals
Optional signals

 

Schedule for 2008

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Evening Classroom Sessions: July 22, 24, 29, and 31
Outdoor Field Days: July 26 or 27
Grad Climbs: Aug 2 & 3, 9 & 10

Note: The following sequence of topics is tentative and subject to adjustment.
However, it will serve as a general outline of the flow of the class


1st Evening
Introduction conf. Room
Cleaning Bolt Anchors Video conf. Room
Hands-on Training
Group 1 & 2 Cleaning bolt anchors conf. room/climbing wall
Prusik and remove slack lab/climbing wall
Group 3 Other skills near stairs
Group 4 Other skills far stairs

2nd Evening
Technique demonstration climbing wall
Hands-on Training
Group 1 Other skills near stairs
Group 2 Other skills far stairs
Group 3 & 4 Cleaning bolt anchors conf. room/climbing wall
Prusik and remove slack lab/climbing wall

First Field Day
Cleaning bolt anchors and rappelling, Setting up toprope anchors
Belaying a Leader, Climbing Technique

3rd Evening
How multipitch works conf. Room
Removing pro demo climbing wall
Hands-on Training
Group 1&2 Rappel and unjam prusik climbing wall
Belay a leader climbing wall
Group 3 Other skills near stairs
Group 4 Other skills far stairs

4th Evening
Selecting Equipment conf. Room
Alpine climbing considerations conf. room
Hands-on Training
Group 1 Other skills near stairs
Group 2 Other skills far stairs
Group 3 & 4 Rappel and unjam prusik climbing wall
Belay a leader climbing wall

Second Field Day
Graduation Climb

Tying in and Attaching the Belay Device

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The preferred method of attaching the belay device to the harness is by clipping it to the belay loop. In addition, the belay carabiner should be clipped through the loop of climbing rope formed by the belayer's tie-in.

Preparing to Climb

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After tying in and setting up the belay device, the climbers inspect each others: 1) harness fit, 2) buckles doubled back, 3) tie-in knot, 4) belay device and locking carabiner, 5) helmets on. Also check that you have all the needed gear. Either climber may initiate the sequence of climbing signals. Always use your partner's name to avoid confusion with a nearby party.

Climber (optional): "On Belay (partner's name)?"
Belayer: "Belay On (partner's name)"
Climber: "Climbing (partner's name)"
Belayer: "Climb (partner's name) " (or "Climb On (partner's name)")

Belaying in General

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Utilize a proper brake handgrip 100% of the time--fingers curled around the rope and thumb across the rope and over the index finger.
Keep your brake hand in the lock-off position unless feeding out or taking in rope
Always be tight against your anchor or in proper position if not anchored. The brake hand should be on the same side as the anchor.
Each time we take in rope, the feeling hand is brought to the braking side of the rope to grasp it beyond the brake hand. Then the brake hand is slid toward the belay device. This is sometimes known as the "slip-slap-slide" method. The process is repeated. There are other approved methods of taking in rope.
As you get more experience you should practice and become proficient at belaying with either hand.

Belaying a Top-roped Climber From Below

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The brake hand should be below the belay device
If the climber greatly outweighs the belayer, the belayer should be anchored
Use of a rope tarp is recommended
When lowering a climber, place both hands on the brake side of the belay device. Kinks have a tendency to form in the rope which can pry your fingers open and cause you to lose control of the rope. Having both hands on the rope will prevent this.

Top-rope Anchors

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Find a good route, the top of which is, accessible by a gully or trail. Try to minimize erosion and damage to vegetation.
Make sure no one is climbing the route from below
Safety: be careful of loose rocks, slipping on rope etc.
Have a person or a marker (your pack) at the base of the climb to guide you
Before throwing the rope, be sure to yell "rope" to warn other climbers below.

Bolt Anchors

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When setting up a top rope on bolt anchors at the top of a cliff, be sure that you can access the bolts safely. Anchor yourself to the bolts while setting up the rope.

1. Prepare two quickdraws with locking biners for the rope end.
2. Clip the non locking biners to the bolts
3. Clip the rope at it's center point through the two locking carabiners
4. It is optimal to have the locking carabiners free hanging
5. The angle between the bottom of the quickdraws to the bolts should be 60 degrees or less. In other words, the two quickdraws should be hanging "down" and not "stretched" between the bolts. In the latter case you have created a dangerous setup.
6. Loudly - yell "rope" before tossing the rope. A person below can tell you if both ends of the rope are down. Knot both ends of the rope if you are not absolutely certain they reach the ground.
7. Inspect the system and make adjustments if necessary.
8. Rappel or walk back to the base of the climb and when on the ground, remove any twists in the ropes.


Rappelling

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It will often be necessary to rappel to get back to the base of the climb. There are various types of rappel anchors including bolts, slung trees, slung boulders and chockstones, and placed gear (that will have to be left behind).

1. Find and test an anchor, preferably independent of the rappel anchor. Attach yourself to this anchor with slings long enough to allow you to test the rappel anchor and get on rappel.
2. Thread the rappel rope(s) through anchor.
3. Note: If you are not sure that the ropes will reach the ground tie a stopper knot in each end.
4. Put the rappel rope through your rappel device and inspect and weight the entire system. Note that the brake hand is below the rappel device.
5. Attach an Autoblock backup to the rope and your harness using another locking carabiner.
6. Weight and test the Autoblock knot.
7. Remove your anchor slings, keeping a braking hand in braking position at all times. Note: If you need to use two hands, use a legwrap.
8. Shout "on rappel" and rappel.
9. If the rappel leaves you at another rappel station, connect yourself to a tested anchor before releasing your brake hand (use a leg wrap, if needed), then remove your device and signal "off rappel".
10. Once you reach the ground, remove your rappel device immediately (to avoid burning the rope). Then remove your autoblock and signal "off rappel".

Note: For multiple rappels, the first person to rappel should have the gear and knowledge to set up a rappel anchor
Note: A Munter Hitch can replace a lost belay/rappel device

Unjamming a Prusik Backup while Rappelling

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1. It is possible to use a Prusik knot as a backup for rappelling. This knot can become jammed and if your weight is on it and you cannot continue to descend.
2. If your feet are on the rock, you may be able to raise yourself up with the guiding hand, pull rope through the rappel device with the braking hand, get your weight back on the rappel device and resume rappelling.
3. If not, perform a foot wrap (twice around foot with leg not fully extended) with one hand while keeping the other in braking position.
4. Raise the ends of the rope up and grab the ropes above your rappel device (you will have four rope strands in that hand).
5. With your non braking hand, loosen the prusik knot and get your weight back on the rappel device.
6. Engage the braking hand and remove the foot wraps.
7. Continue rappelling.

Ascending a Rope via Prusik Slings

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In some instances a following climber may find himself unable to climb a section of the route. In this situation the climber may be able to pull on pro or the rope to get by the difficulty. If not, the rope may be ascended using the following procedure:

1. Attach one prusik sling to the rope above your tie-in and then connect the other end to the belay loop of your harness with a locking carabiner. Slide this prusik up as far as possible. This is your harness prusik.
2. Attach a second prusik sling, below the first, to the rope and then Girth Hitch a single-length runner (24") to the prusik sling. This is your foot sling. Connect another single-length runner to the prusik sling with a girth hitch and clip it to your harness with another locking carabiner. This sling is your backup connection to the rope.
3. Step up into the foot sling, slide the harness prusik up, and then sit back into your harness.
4. While sitting in your harness, slide the foot prusik up.
5. Continue steps 3 and 4 until you have ascended past the difficult section of the climb.

Prusiking up a rope will cause a loop of rope to be formed below you. It is advantageous to remove this loop so it will not drag along and get caught in the cracks below you. To remove the slack, stop on a ledge and anchor yourself to a piece of pro. Get a little slack in the rope and loosen your prusiks one at a time and slide them down the rope until all the slack is removed. The belayer will take in the slack as you do this. Call "up rope (partner's name)" as needed. Once the loop is eliminated you can continue to prusik or remove your prusiks and resume climbing.

Cleaning Bolt Anchors and Descending

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The last person to climb a bolted route on toprope must remove the quickdraws from the anchor bolts. Note: Descent of the last climber from bolt anchors can be made by lowering but we recommend rappelling because it causes less wear on the anchors. Equipment needed: Rappel device and locking carabiner, two anchoring slings (one may be a PAS - Personal Anchor System) and two locking carabiners, prusik or autoblock sling and locking carabiner.

1. You are at the top of the climb and your rope is through the toprope quickdraws.
2. Clip yourself into both anchors with two slings or one sling and a PAS. Test your anchor by weighting it. Signal "off belay (partner's name)".
3. Remove the rope from the quickdraws.
4. Remove the quickdraws from the bolts and rack them.
5. Pull up about 10 feet of rope, make an Overhand on a Bight and clip it to your harness. (To prevent losing the rope if accidentally dropped)
6. Untie from the rope, thread the rope through the anchors and tie a Stopper knot in the end of the rope.
7. Untie the Overhand on a Bight and pull rope through the anchors until the knotted end is on the ground or you are at the half rope marker (You may ask a partner if the rope is down.)
8. Put the doubled rope through your rappel device, inspect and test the system.
9. Place an Autoblock backup sling on the rope and clip it to your harness with a locking carabiner.
10. Engage and test the Autoblock knot.
11. With one hand on the rappel rope in braking position, remove your anchor slings (or, if you need two hands, use a legwrap).
12. Rappel. Remove the rope from your rappel device and then remove your auto block.
13. Remove the knot from the end of the rope and pull it down.

Multipitch Climbing

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Equipment needed for the second: Harness, helmet, belay/rappel device, nut tool, two large and two small locking carabiners, slings and/or PAS, prusik slings, rock shoes, descent shoes (optional), food, water, rain gear.
Note: The following procedure assumes there are only two climbers. If there are three or more climbers, the second belays both the leader and can also belay the third climber. The third and any successive climbers can belay the climber below them.

First Pitch: Leader Climbs
1. Set a bottom anchor, if used.
2. Flake the rope.
3. Both climbers tie in, second rigs belay device, climbers inspect each other.
4. Second attaches to anchor, if used.
5. Climbing signals. Note: If the belayer is not anchored, he should be close to the wall but not directly below the leader.
6. Leader climbs, second belays.
7. Leader arrives at belay station, sets anchor, signals "off belay (partner's name)".
8. Second signals "belay off (partner's name)" waits 5 seconds and takes the leader off belay. Note: There are additional rules and procedures if the leader is out of sight.

First Pitch: Second Climbs
1. Second cleans the bottom anchor.
2. Leader pulls up rope, hears "that's me (partner's name)" and puts second on belay.
3. Leader signals to second "belay on (partner's name)".
4. Second signals "climbing (partner's name)".
5. Leader signals "climb on (partner's name)".
6. Leader belays second up.
7. On the way up the second cleans pitch, racking the pro in an orderly fashion.
8. At the belay, the second attaches to anchor with PAS or sling, then the rope.
9. Re-rack, re-stack rope (rope management).

Second Pitch
1. Climbing signals are given and leader climbs, second belays. Note - Until the leader has placed her first piece of pro, a fall can be very serious resulting in a "factor 2" fall (to be explained in class) or potentially landing on and injuring the second.
2. Signals are given and second climbs, leader belays.

Note: After leaving the ground, the second does not remove the anchor until he is on belay. If there are more then two climbers, it is the last climber to leave the belay that cleans the anchor.

Top can be a walk-off, downclimb or rappel.
If you can walk-off or down climb, re-rack, butterfly coil the rope, and descend.
If you rappel, rig and execute a rappel as described above.

Note: Downclimbing on class 3 or 4 rock can be dangerous. Ask for a spot or belay if you think you need it.

Belaying From Above

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This technique is used to bring up the second and any additional climbers on a multipitch climb.

The belayer will always be anchored
The brake hand will be above the belay device
The technique is similar to belaying a toproped climber, except that the climber is below you
Each time we take in rope, the feeling hand will be brought to the braking side of the rope to pinch it beyond the brake hand. Then the brake hand is slid toward the belay device. Slip-slap-slide. The process is repeated.
Rope management: stacking rope, flipping stack, lap coils to be demonstrated.

Belaying a Leader

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Belaying a leader is similar to belaying a toproped climber except that the rope is paid out rather than pulled in and the force of the fall can be violent and enough to pull the belayer off the ground or off of the ledge.

The brake hand should be below the belay device. The default position should be in the braked off position.
When the belayer is on the ground he may be anchored or not, depending on several factors. If not anchored, the belayer should be close to the wall and the leader, but not directly below the leader.
Keep a small amount of slack between your belay device and the leader
Be attentive and ready to feed rope rapidly whenever the leader moves up or pulls up rope to make a clip. Turning the feeling hand palm down may make it easier to feed rope quickly.
If the leader falls pull the rope into braking position. The feeling hand may also be placed on the brake side of the belay device. The forces involved in a leader fall can be very great and this will be explained, demonstrated and you will have a chance to experience catching this type of fall.
After leaving the ground, always belay the leader through a carabiner in your anchor, or have the leader place a piece immediately (we will explain why)
Never pull on the leader with the rope. This can pull them off the climb. (Ex. Bending down to adjust the rope pile can pull on the lead rope)

The Off Belay Signal

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The most critical signal in climbing is the "off belay (partner's name)" signal given by the leader when she finishes a pitch. The second must not terminate the belay prematurely. We will terminate the belay upon hearing the "off belay (partner's name)" signal only when we can both HEAR and SEE the leader giving the signal.

If there is no audio contact we will belay the entire rope out. We do not use rope tugs to signal "off belay" as normal movement of the rope by the leader could be misinterpreted as rope tugs.

If there is audio contact but not visual, we still will belay the entire rope out. In crowded climbing areas it is possible for two climbers from different teams to have the same name. After the leader has set up the belay and hauled in the slack she may use three rope tugs to signal the second to climb.

IF IN DOUBT, BELAY IT OUT!

Removing Pro

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Note: You are not being trained to place pro. Do not attempt to lead-climb or construct toprope anchors with pro without further training.

Passive Devices (stoppers, tri-cams and hexes):
A. Stoppers
Each piece may be placed in a variety of ways
Nuts are removed by using a nut tool and/or jiggling and pulling up on the nut
Never jerk a wired nut hard enough to damage the wire.

B. Tri-cams
Can be placed with or without camming action
Can be placed like a stopper
You can remove the cam by using a nut tool and/or your hand

C. Hexes
Can be placed with and without camming action
You can remove the hex by using a nut tool and/or your hand

Active Devices or Spring Loaded Camming Devices (SLCDs):

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The lobes of the cam retract as the trigger is pulled so they can be placed in a crack. Releasing the trigger expands the lobes into a camming position.
Cams can 'walk' and change position
If a cam is retracted 100% and then shoved further into the crack it may be impossible to remove
A nut tool can be used to retract a lobe past 100%
By understanding how cams are operated and placed, we can learn how to remove them

Escaping the Belay

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If the leader becomes incapacitated, and you are not able to lower her to your belay ledge, you may need to tie the climber off and go for help. The following procedure will demonstrate how to do this. This is the first step in a rescue. All seconds should consider taking a rock rescue course ASAP.

1. Verify that the leader is in fact incapacitated. If she is conscious, try to keep her calm. Determine whether you will need to reach her and give first aid, or descend and get help. Use the universal help signal: three shouts (help…help…help), repeated.
2. Perform a leg wrap while maintaining a proper brake handgrip on the rope
3. Attach a prusik sling to the rope above your belay device and then connect it to the belay station anchor using a locking carabiner.
Note: You may need to extend the prusik with a sling or section of the climbing rope
4. Lock the prusik on the rope by lowering the leader or hauling in rope if the leader is on a ledge. Notify the leader that you are going to do this so she does not panic.
5. Backup the prusik by connecting the rope to the anchor using another locking carabiner and a Figure 8 on a Bight while maintaining your brake hand.
6. Once the load is held entirely by the prusik and the backup in place, you can remove the belay device
7. Remove extra slack with a clove hitch if needed.
8. Now you can go for help or assist the leader by climbing to her with a prusik self-belay

It is important to discuss with your climbing partner various things before you start the climb, such as, the location of the car keys, location of cell phone or radio, known medical conditions, etc.

Equipment

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Helmet: Two types of helmets will be explained. We will show how to adjust the helmet and explain why a well fitting helmet is important.
Clothing: Different clothing will be briefly talked about including weather protection
Climbing Gear: Gear for different disciplines will be briefly discussed, but the emphasis will be placed on gear for multi-pitch climbs to include:
Gear sling
Active and passive protection
Nut tool
Carabiners
Prusik slings
Belay/Rappel devices
Harness (the "rise," hang to test)
Climbing shoes (types and fit)
Slings (runners), Metoleus PAS, cordalettes/web-o-lettes
Packs
Approach/descent shoes
Rope tarps
Knife: Why you need one and what size
Headlamp: Same as knife
Rope: Different types, sizes, purposes and care, marking center, chemicals.
First Aid Kit: How to minimize and what is necessary
Retiring Equipment: When to retire the gear. Keep a log of purchase dates.
Buying Equipment: Most gear is not returnable
Water Bottle/Hydration pack

Knots

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The knots are presented in the order in which they are most easily learned.
See http://tlcs.cmcschools.org/skills.htm#Knots for demo animations.

1. Overhand Rappel Knot and Overhand on a Bight. These knots are tied the same way. The overhand on a bight is used to make a quick loop that does not need to bear much weight. The overhand rappel knot is the simplest and fastest knot you can tie to join two ropes together for a rappel. It is also the least likely knot to get stuck when the ropes are pulled. Leave a 12" tail or backup with a second overhand and a 6" tail. After dressing and tightening the knot, pull hard on all four ends of the ropes.

2. Water Knot The water knot is the strongest knot you can tie in webbing. It is essentially an overhand retrace. A 3" tail is recommended as the webbing may slip if the knot is not cinched tight. Hang the sling and stand in it to cinch the knot.

3. Figure 8 on a Bight Used for tying in to a belay anchor or tying in to a midpoint of a rope. The knot must be dressed and nested so there are no crosses in it, and cinched tight.

4. Figure 8 Retrace and Figure 8 Bend Tie a climbing rope to your harness using a figure 8 retrace. Use the figure 8 bend to join two ropes for rappelling. The knot must be dressed and nested so there are no crosses in it, and cinched tight. The figure 8 retrace or bend must have a 6" tail or a safety knot.

5. Double Fisherman The double fisherman is a knot for joining two ropes or accessory cord. Tie the first knot, turn the ropes end for end in your hands and tie the second knot the same way. If one knot is reversed, they will not nest properly. Both 'crosses' must be on the same side of the knot, this allows the two halves of the knot to nest properly. A double fisherman can also be used as a stopper knot when tied in the end or a rope.

6. Girth Hitch The girth hitch is the simplest knot you can form with a sling. It has many applications such as joining two slings together (in this case it becomes a square knot) or slinging a tree or similar object. Keep the sewn or knotted joints in the runners out of the girth hitch.

7. Prusik With prusik knots you can ascend a rope or backup a rappel. Tie this knot with three wraps around the rope or ropes and dress it. Arrange the prusik sling so that the double fisherman knot forming the sling is in the air. Never trust a life to a single friction knot.

8. Klemheist Although this knot is shown with accessory cord, it is actually an alternative to the prusik knot when all you have is webbing. A prusik knot is superior, so always carry prusik slings.

9. Autoblock This knot is used as a backup while rappelling. Most people prefer it to the prusik for this use. We tie it with a loop made of accessory cord, not webbing.

10. Clove Hitch This knot is useful in belay setups, i.e., attaching a climbing rope to a carabiner. Important: clove hitches must be cinched as tight as possible or they will not hold, so grab both rope strands and pull as tight as you can. Always use a locking carabiner; large pear-shaped biners are best.

11. Munter Hitch This hitch provides a way to belay or rappel if you should you drop your belay/rappel device. It is advisable to use a pear-shaped locking carabiner, and try to avoid cross-loading it. The knot will "flip" as opposite strands of the rope are pulled when switching from taking in to feeding out rope. When using a munter hitch the carabiner must be clipped through both tie-in points on the harness, and the screwgate must be against the body. Otherwise the movement of the rope could open the gate.

12. Square Knot This is the knot we use to tie shoelaces and packages, only without the bow. In climbing we use it to secure a backpacker's coil of rope around our waists.

Alpine Climbing Considerations

 

Weather


Alpine climbing is riskier
Mountain weather patterns
Using an altimeter to predict weather
Sometimes, especially on east faces, you cannot see the weather coming

Lightning


Lightning can extend up to 15 miles from the clouds
Stay off mountaintops and ridges
Stay away from water and snow
Shed all metal
You are safer in trees, but do not stand under the tall ones
Your last resort
Why cars are safe

Hypothermia


What hypothermia is
How it is caused: respiration, evaporation, conduction and convection
Symptoms and stages
Victim may not realize he is in danger
Treatment
Note: Bare skin may be warmer than wet clothing

Heat Exposure


Symptoms
Treatment
Dehydration
Exhaustion
Stroke

Safety


Rock climbing is risky, but, to some extent, you can choose your level of risk
Have the right gear, both for the climb, and to back off, if necessary
Additional gear for alpine climbs: too little can be dangerous; too much can be a hindrance
Helmets are a must
Be aware of other parties above and below
Darkness is a factor; carry a watch and a headlamp
Descents can be dangerous; know your descent route
Fatigue can impair judgment

Efficiency


Efficiency is a safety factor; lost minutes add up
Efficiency hints: teamwork

Comfort


Clothing for comfort and safety: synthetics that shed water and are warm when wet; not cotton
Protective clothing: long pants and sleeves, kneepads, tape for hands
Sunscreen and lip balm
Lighten your load on long approaches; carry a water filter or purification tablets

Minimum Impact

Leave No Trace
Avoid trampling vegetation


Standards for Rock Seconding School

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The following standards are intended to specify what will be taught and how it will be taught, where two or more options are in current use.

Tying In and Preparing to Climb

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The Figure 8 Retrace knot will be tied through the harness-belt and leg-loop tie-in points. It will have a tail of at least 6 inches. The safety knot is primarily to keep the tail out of the way.
The climber and belayer will check each other's harness-fit, buckles, tie-in, belay device, locking carabiner and helmets at the start of each climb.

Belaying

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Belaying will be taught with a tube style device and with the Munter Hitch. The hip belay will not be taught. The Gri Gri is not approved for this course.
The preferred method of attaching the belay device to the harness is by clipping it to the belay loop. In addition, the belay carabiner should be clipped to the loop in the climbing rope formed by the belayer's tie-in. When belaying with a device, the brake hand will be on the same side as the anchor.
The fingers of the brake hand will be closed around the rope and the thumb will be across the rope at all times. When the brake hand is stationary, it should be held in the braking position.
When lowering a climber, the belayer will put both hands on the brake-side of the rope. Twists in the rope could cause loss of control during a fast lower.
When belaying a leader on a multipitch climb, the belayer will always be tied in to the end of the rope. For sport climbs, a Stopper Knot in the end of the rope may be substituted.

Anchors

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The student will be taught to assess the adequacy of anchors using the acronym: SRENE (secure, redundant, equalized and no extension).
An adequate anchor is a tested tree, boulder or chockstone, two or more inspected and tested bolts, or at least three pieces of equalized pro.
For belaying a leader, there should be an additional piece for the upward pull.
Climbers are encouraged to back-up bolt anchors.
Anchors for belaying a leader will be multi-directional wherever possible.
Whether to have the belayer anchored at the start of a climb is left to the discretion of the climbers.
An unanchored belayer must stand close to the wall and close to, but not directly below, the leader.

Top-Rope Anchors

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Extreme caution will be used while setting top-rope anchors, both to avoid a fall and to avoid causing rockfall.
Top-rope anchors from bolts will be constructed with two slings or quickdraws and at least two locking carabiners. The angle between the two slings must be 60 or less.
After cleaning a top-rope anchor from bolts, the climber will descend by rappelling to avoid wear on the hardware.
RSS graduates may construct anchors using bolts, but should obtain further instruction before constructing anchors with pro.

Rappelling

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The rappel device will be clipped to the belay/rappel loop with a locking carabiner. The braking hand will be below the device.
All rappels will be backed up with a Prusik knot tied above the rappel device or an Autoblock tied below the device.
Climbers will be anchored, if possible, independent of the rappel anchor while testing the anchor and getting on rappel.
The Overhand Rappel knot will be taught for joining two ropes

Prusiking

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Both prusik slings will be attached to the harness.

Escaping the Belay

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A leg wrap will be used while the rope is secured.
The rope will be secured with a Prusik knot and the prusik sling will be attached to the belay anchor with a locking carabiner.
The rope will then be anchored with a Figure 8 on a Bight.

Miscellaneous

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A Prusik knot will have three wraps.
A legwrap will have three wraps and a wrap across the lap or opposite shoulder.
The rope will be coiled with a backpacker's (butterfly) coil.


Climbing Signals

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Note: There is often confusion regarding the "on belay?"…"belay on" and the "off belay" and "belay off" signals. We can avoid confusion with the following rule: The belayer always says the word "belay" first, as in "belay on" and "belay off."
Say your partner's name before the signal. It gets their attention and tends to be spoken louder when said first.
After giving the "belay off" signal, the belayer will pause five seconds (giving the leader time to object) and then terminate the belay.
If there is any doubt in the belayer's mind that he has heard the "off belay" signal, and whenever the leader is out of sight, he should belay the rope all the way out. ("If in doubt, belay it out!")
If the leader gets no response to her "belay on" signal, she will give three sharp tugs on the rope to signal "belay on."

Required Signals

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Climber: (optional) On Belay?
Belayer: Belay On
Climber: Climbing
Belayer: Climb or Climb On
Climber: Slack
Up Rope
Take or Tension
Falling
Climber: Off Belay
Belayer: Belay Off (leader pulls up the rope)
Follower: That's Me
Leader: Belay On

Anyone: R-o-c-k! (drawn out)
Rope! (said sharply)
All Rappelers: Off Rappel

Optional signals

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Leader: Clipped In, Clipping
Watch Me
How Much Rope?
Belayer: (number of feet) Feet (e.g. Four-Oh Feet, not Forty Feet).
Halfway or Half Rope
No--More--Rope!
Anyone: Thank You (to acknowledge a signal if not ready to respond)

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclaimer: Climbing is inherently dangerous and should be performed only with the proper instruction and supervision of an experienced climber.
The author and publisher of this web page assume no responsibility for any injuries incurred by the reader.