Seconding long pendulums

All long pendulums require at least one rope in addition to the climbing and haul ropes. There are a number of ways to second a long pendulum, but the method shown in figure 11-30 will handle all such cases.

Figure 11-30a: All pendulums begin with a leader, of course, who rappels off a bombproof pendulum point using either one rope or two ropes tied together, depending on the width of the pendulum. The rappel rope should be clipped into the anchor so there's no danger of losing it. While on the pendulum, the leader is belayed on the climbing rope, which is not clipped into the pendulum anchor. At the bottom of the rappel, the leader runs back and forth across the rock to gain enough momentum to swing into the new crack system. On a very long pendulum, the leader may haul along an extra belay rope. The belayer keeps one end of this rope as the leader drags the other end.

Figure ll-30b: The leader ascends the new crack system and sets up an anchor. The leader attaches the climbing rope and the extra belay rope to the new anchor, the latter to serve as a belay

Belay PendulumRappelling

Fig. 11-30. Long pendulum sequence: a, leader rappels on two ropes while belayed on two; b, leader begins climbing, clipping in one of the belay ropes; c, with anchor set, leader belays with rope not clipped to aid pieces (the second rappels across the pendulum—note that the end of one rappel rope is attached to the second climber to prevent its loss); d, the second pulls the rappel ropes, ties in short, and "jugs" anchored climbing rope.

rope for the second climber. With the first climber now set to belay, the second climber frees or lowers the haul bag. The follower also unclips the rappel rope tie-in from the pendulum anchor so the rope can be retrieved later. (The follower can clip one end of the rappel rope to an out-of-the-way place on the seat harness to again ensure the rope can't be dropped.)

Figure ll-30c: The follower rappels the pendulum, with the first climber belaying and helping to pull the follower toward the new crack system at the end of the pendulum. (There's an alternative if the leader didn't drag an extra pendulum rope across. The second can pull across the pendulum on the lead climbing rope by hand, or with the help of mechanical ascenders.)

Figure ll-30d: Safely across, the second attaches ascenders to the climbing rope, ties off short, retrieves the rappel rope, and is ready to climb up the new crack system.

Seconding short pendulums

Climbers also have a variety of ways to handle the challenge of seconding a short pendulum. One clever and useful method is shown in figure 11-31. For this method to work, the slack rope from the pendulum anchor to the follower's harness must be at least double the arc of the pendulum. The follower stays tied in to the climbing rope during the sequence.

As shown in figure 11-31, here's how you as the follower could second a short pendulum:

Figure ll-31a: Connect the upper ascender with its attached etrier to the climbing rope beyond the pendulum anchor, facing across the pendulum. Clip a daisy chain from your harness to the ascender. Connect the lower ascender and etrier to the section of rope between the pendulum anchor and yourself. Clip it in with another daisy chain. Place your weight on the upper ascender. Next, attach a rappel device to the rope, below the lower ascender, and grasp the rope where it exits the device. Then, while keeping the safety trigger locked, release the cam of the lower ascender by pulling on the rope below it (this will take some effort). You're now ready to move.

Figure ll-31b: With one hand grasping the climbing rope as it leaves the rappel device and the other hand sliding the lower ascender, lower yourself across the pendulum. To put the brakes on at any time, simply let go of the lower ascender and the cam will again lock. (In fact, if a rappel device is not used, this ascender will often lock onto the rope by itself, requiring you to repeat the previous tactic of pulling hard on the rope below it.)

Figure ll-31c: Once across the pendulum, tie in short and move the lower ascender above that point. Now untie yourself from the end of the rope so you can pull it through the pendulum anchor. Once you've re-tied into the end of the climbing rope, you're set to ascend the climbing rope again.

The rappel device makes it easier to hold the rope while lowering yourself across the pendulum. However, you can also second a short pendulum this way without the device.

Continue reading here: Changing Leads

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