When climbing with a team of three, protected traverses will require additional time. The equipment used to protect the traverse must be left in place to protect both the second and third climbers.
(1) The first method can be used when the belay positions are not large enough for three men. If using one rope, two climbers tie in at each end and the other at the mid point. When using two ropes, the second will tie in at one end of both ropes, and the other two climbers will each tie in to the other ends. The most experienced individual is the leader, or number 1 climber. The second, or number 2 climber, is the stronger of the remaining two and will be the belayer for both number 1 and number 3. Number 3 will be the last to climb. Although the number 3 climber does no belaying in this method, each climber should be skilled in the belay techniques required. The sequence for this method (in one pitch increments) is as follows (repeated until the climb is complete):
(a) Number 1 ascends belayed by number 2. Number 2 belays the leader up the first pitch while number 3 is simply anchored to the rock for security (unless starting off at ground level) and manages the rope between himself and number 2. When the leader completes the pitch, he sets up the next belay and belays number 2 up.
(b) Number 2 ascends belayed by number 1, and cleans the route (except for traverses). Number 2 returns the hardware to the leader and belays him up the next pitch. When the leader completes this pitch, he again sets up a new belay. When number 2 receives "OFF BELAY" from the leader, he changes ropes and puts number 3 on belay. He should not have to change anchor attachments because the position was already aimed for a downward as well as an upward pull when he belayed the leader.
(c) Number 3 ascends belayed by number 2. When number 3 receives "BELAY ON," he removes his anchor and climbs to number 2's position. When the pitch is completed he secures himself to one of number 2's belay anchors. When number 1's belay is ready, he brings up number 2 while number 3 remains anchored for security. Number 2 again cleans the pitch and the procedure is continued until the climb is completed.
(d) In this method, number 3 performs no belay function. He climbs when told to do so by number 2. When number 3 is not climbing, he remains anchored to the rock for security. The standard rope commands are used; however, the number 2 climber may include the trailing climber's name or number in the commands to avoid confusion as to who should be climbing.
(d) Normally, only one climber would be climbing at a time; however, the number 3 climber could ascend a fixed rope to number 2's belay position using proper ascending technique, with no effect on the other two members of the team. This would save time for a team of three, since number 2 would not have to belay number 3 and could be either belaying number 1 to the next belay or climbing to number 1. If number 3 is to ascend a fixed rope to the next belay position, the rope will be loaded with number 3's weight, and positioned directly off the anchors established for the belay. The rope should be located so it does not contact any sharp edges. The rope to the ascending number 3 could be secured to a separate anchor, but this would require additional time and gear.
(2) The second method uses either two ropes or a doubled rope, and number 2 and number 3 climb simultaneously. This requires either a special belay device that accepts two ropes, such as the tuber type, or with two Munter hitches. The ropes must travel through the belay device(s) without affecting each other.
(a) As the leader climbs the pitch, he will trail a second rope or will be tied in with a figure eight in the middle of a doubled rope. The leader reaches the next belay position and establishes the anchor and then places both remaining climbers on belay. One remaining climber will start the ascent toward the leader and the other will start when a gap of at least 10 feet is created between the two climbers. The belayer will have to remain alert for differences in rope movement and the climbers will have to climb at the same speed. One of the "second" climbers also cleans the pitch.
(b) Having at least two experienced climbers in this team will also save time. The belayer will have additional requirements to meet as opposed to having just one second. The possible force on the anchor will be twice that of one second. The second that is not cleaning the pitch can climb off route, but staying on route will usually prevent a possible swing if stance is not maintained.
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