Threeman Climbing Team

Often times a movement on steep terrain will require a team of more than two climbers, which involves more difficulties. A four-man team (or more) more than doubles the difficulty found in three men climbing together. A four-man team should be broken down into two groups of two unless prevented by a severe lack of gear.

a. Given one rope, a three-man team is at a disadvantage on a steep, belayed climb. It takes at least twice as long to climb an average length pitch because of the third climber and the extra belaying required. The distance between belay positions will be halved if only one rope is used because one climber must tie in at the middle of the rope. Two ropes are recommended for a team of three climbers.

Note: Time and complications will increase when a three-man team uses only one rope. For example: a 100-foot climb with a 150-foot rope would normally require two belays for two climbers; a 100-foot climb with a 150-foot rope would require six belays for three climbers.

b. At times a three-man climb may be unavoidable and personnel should be familiar with the procedure. Although a team of three may choose from many different methods, only two are described below. If the climb is only one pitch, the methods will vary.

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