Spring Climbing Safety Sessions

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Spring Climbing Safety Sessions

Postby UNB Rock & Ice Club » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:15 pm

The UNB Rock & Ice club will be holding a spring safety session for climbers interested in learning the skills and concepts necessary fore safe roped climbing. This two-day course will be instructed by several of the club's experienced climbers. The objective of the session is to produce a climber that can be a safe and functioning member of a climbing party. Students will learn safe practices and will be able to identify unsafe situations they may encounter while out climbing at the crags. A detailed course summary is below. This course is a very good idea if you plan to take up roped climbing this summer or if you are interested in a safety refresher. No prior experience is necessary!

The course will be held on Saturday, April 10th and Sunday April 11th in the UNB rock wall. It will begin at 10:00 each morning and run until the subject matter is completed (afternoon). Registration is $40 for UNB Rock & Ice members and $50 for the general public. Registration will be open to club members only until April 1st after which it will be open members of the general public. To register, or to ask any questions, please contact Chris (christopher dot norfolk at g mail dot com). Enrolment is limited to 20 people so register a.s.a.p!

The club will also likely offer a follow-up advanced safety session later on in the spring for those interested in building on this session. This will consist of two days instruction at the Cochrane lane cliffs in Welsford, N.B. and will be feature a very low student to instructor ratio. This advanced session will only be open to those who have completed the first safety session or those who can demonstrate that they are competent with the materials. More details will become available in the near future. Please contact Chris if you are interested in receiving more information on this advanced session.



UNB Rock & Ice – Spring Safety Sessions

This itinerary roughly covers the topics that will be taught at this year’s spring safety session. The objective of the session is to give students the skills to allow them to:

• Be a safe, functioning member of a climbing party
• Introduce safe belaying and rappelling
• Introduce the concepts used in building climbing anchors
• Recognize unsafe situations they may encounter while climbing

Rock climbing is an inherently dangerous activity. Because of its complexity, it is impossible to produce a safe climber as a result of a two day indoor session. That is not the intent. These skills are best taught in the field through one-on-one instruction of an experienced and competent climber. The intent of these sessions is to provide students with an introduction to the skills and concepts that they will see being used by other climbers, and to be able to recognise unsafe practices.

Although there are no pre-requisites or experience necessary to enrol, some advanced study will help students get the most of the sessions. The web is full of useful material, and also full of misinformation. Some quality references are listed at the end of this package. At minimum, it is highly recommended that students study the following knots, and come prepared to use them at the sessions: (http://www.animatedknots.com/)

• Figure-8
• Retraced Figure-8
• Figure-8 on-a-bight
• Munter hitch
• Clove hitch
• Prussic hitch
• Double-fisherman’s knot
• Water knot

Itinerary – Saturday

1. Introduction to climbing safety equipment
a. General comments on ratings, markings, and standards
b. Harnesses
i. Buckles
ii. Tie in points
iii. Belay loop
c. Helmets
d. Carabineers
i. Locking
ii. Non-locking (wires, strait, bent)
e. Belay devices
i. Standard (ATC)
ii. Guide style (ATC-Guide, Reverso)
iii. Active style (Gri-Gri, Cinch)
f. Climbing Rope
i. Static v.s dynamic
ii. Single v.s. doubles v.s. twins
iii. Thick v.s. skinny
iv. Dry v.s. non-dry
g. Slings
i. Tied v.s. Sewn
ii. Nylon v.s. Spectra/Dyneema
iii. Thick v.s. thin
h. Cordelettes
i. Perlon v.s. Tech Cord
i. Bolts
i. Standard v.s. Mallions v.s. Rap rings

(To be covered in advanced course: leave-no-trace, traditional ethic, guidebooks, trad gear)

2. Belay System
a. Tying in to the rope
b. Threading the belay device
c. Tying knots in the ends of the rope
d. Standard communication and commands
e. Checking over your partner
f. The 5 point belay and the concept of the brake hand
g. Proper stance for the belayer
h. Automatically redundant items in belay system
i. Variation – Belaying from the top
i. Redirected through anchor
ii. Directly from anchor
j. Tying off the belay

(To be covered in advanced course: escaping the belay, lead belaying, tying into middle of the rope, belaying with Gri-Gri, belaying with ATC Guide, belaying two climbers, rope management at station)


3. Rappel System
a. Finding the middle of the rope
b. Tying knots in the ends of the rope
c. Threading the rap anchor
i. Bolts vs. Trees vs. Tat
d. Standard commands and communication
e. Throwing v.s. lowering v.s. bringing the rope
f. Threading the rappel device
i. Extending the rappel device
ii. Adding friction with carabiners
g. The brake hand
h. Backing up the rappel
i. Fireman’s belay
ii. Friction knots

(To be covered in advanced course: joining ropes, prussic back up a rope, simul-rap)

Itinerary – Sunday

4. Introduction to Climbing Anchors
a. General comment on no perfect anchors
b. SRENE master-point
c. Recognizing opportunity for solid anchor points
i. Bolts
ii. Trees
iii. Boulders
iv. Natural features
d. Sharing of the load
e. Angles of anchor legs
f. Soft-on-soft connections
g. Cordelette anchor
h. Sliding X anchor (limiting knots)
i. Anchor placement
i. Rope vs. slings over edge
ii. Directional placements
j. Improvising with less than ideal gear
i. Slings too short
ii. Non-locking carabineers (opposite and opposed)
k. Tying in to the anchor (rope, PAS, daisy, slings)

(To be covered in advanced course: placing natural gear, 3 point anchors, extending the master-point to cliff edge, multi-directional master point)


5. Analysis and Critique of Several Anchors
a. Anchor with poor bolt placement obstructing biners (need to shorten or lengthen)
b. ‘American Death Triangle’
c. ‘Sport Anchor’
d. Clipping directly into in-situ rap tat

6. Final Exercise (climbing up to an anchor, cleaning it, and rapping down)

7. Items to be Covered if Time Permits:
a. Rope Management
i. Flaking a rope
ii. Coiling a rope


Reputable and High-Quality Reference Materials:
Mountaineering: The Freedom Of the Hills - 7th Edition by The Mountaineers Books

Climbing Anchors - 2nd Edition by John Long

Knots for Climbers by Craig Luebben
Built By Climbers... For Climbers
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