Due to the weather predictions, Glenn (Glenn Gordon Mountaineering) and I headed to Edinburgh International Climbing Arena for what felt like the first time in years! Today’s plan:

  • Test different slings to consider stretch when under load
  • Test different belay devices with different rope thicknesses
  • Practice climbing and falling with the various devices (the falling bit I am really good at)
  • Oh…….. and maybe, just maybe, get some climbing in!

We attached a karabiner to a bolt and then attached various slings to the krab and then to ourselves. First just leaning back and then moving back with some force to test the stretch of each sling. Some interesting results.

Whilst doing this we also took the opportunity to see what the forces on the krab would be of the gate was left open. We videoed to show why it is so important. This was with me at 93kg (lockdown has been too kind) jerking back with some force but nothing like what would happen if taking a lead fall. Have a look at the video here. It is so important to make sure that screwgate karabiners are done up properly!!

The belay plates we used today were:

  • Petzl Grigri 2
  • Black Diamond ATC Alpine Guide
  • Petzl Reverso 4

Ropes thickness used for the lead and top rope falls were:

  • EICA own top rope 9.1mm
  • Beal 8.5mm (single rope)
  • Petzl Rumba 8mm (2 half ropes)

Glenn also brought along an Edelrid Ohm

Interesting to try the different devices with the different ropes, where possible, to see how they acted. Manufacturers will recommend what ropes to be used with their devices and it is important to follow those guidelines. It is also important to understand why the manufacturers recommend these things. This is why we get together to try these things.

One of the most interesting observations for me was how much less the belayer is affected by a lead fall when using the Edelrid Ohm. I was lfted off my feet and close to the first clip when Glenn fell not using it. With the Edlerid Ohm in place I was only just off the ground and could still get my tiptoes on the floor

Another part of my learning today came when I noticed Glenn tying into his harness with what I thought started out as a bowline but I had never seen it tied that way. Turns out it is a Yosemite Bowline. To see how to tie one please click here. Glenn was practicing some lead falls and then came down from the wall and untied this with ease. I was really impressed at how easy it was to both tie (once I got the hang of it) and untie after loading.