Going to be doing a lot of top roping in the months to come, mostly belayed from the base of the climbs. In the past i've found the rigging side a faff, especially equalising everything so it hangs over the edge. To speed things up I had an idea of making something so I can build the belay so the centralised point sits just back from the edge then clip in an extension piece to hang over the edge. I was going to make something out of a piece of static rope, a big loop and double or triple it with carabiner at each end. Was just wondering what others thought about this technique and whether it is common etc... ?
I think the main disadvantage would be that the extension wouldn't be stabilised by having points coming into it from multiple angles like a normal top rope master point so it would probably tend to rub back and forth along the edge a bit more. Whether this is a minor concern or a serious hazard is going to depend on the nature of the rock and the edge but it would seem worth adding a rope protector to your setup.
Apart from that, I'm not sure how much this really gains you. If your extension piece is a fixed length then you're still going to have to get the position of your main master point spot on. If the extension is adjustable then you've just added an extra thing to adjust.
I suspect that if you persist with the normal method you'll just get better and quicker at setting up conventionally.
It probably only feels faffy because you've not rigged it often enough yet. As you're going to be doing this repeatedly, I would take the opportunity to become slick at rigging the standard way.
Your extension method would be more suited to places where the top of the climb is a narrow groove, and the rope can't saw side-to-side on the edge ..... but even then, you can achieve the same with a standard v-hang by tying an extra knot well back from your pulley point knot.
I can't see how this is any less faff than just using 10-15m of static rope to arrange the belay point over the edge in the first place.
If you're not in the habit of building top rope anchors this way then it's the first thing you should do.
If you really want to reduce faff then get a dedicated rope protector, faffing around with improvised ones is where most of my time goes.
Having a piece of static rope for rigging can definitely speed things up -- figure of eight on a bight somewhere in the middle with carabiner(s), dangle it where you want it, take rope back to each of your anchors.
I don't think you gain anything by adding a separate extra piece of rope to the system in the way you seem to be considering, though.
You do add faff, and also potentially make the angle between the ropes going to your centralized point much wider, which does non-ideal things to the forces going on to each anchor.
I think the thing to remember about rigging a bottom rope is that forces involved in arresting the outcome of a fall will be much much less than say the forces exerted on a belay by a fall in the middle of a multi pitch climb. So long as the rope is reasonably tight , the downward force is likely to be little more than the climber's weight. The only other factors to be considered are the directions of the pull on the rope to the climber and to the belayer. In other words it's going to be a very similar scenario to the force exerted by an abseil, unless the belayer is standing way out at a different angle (but why should they?) . When abbing, you normally have just one solid anchor point, so isn't the principal the same for constructing a bottom rope anchor so long as the rope to the belayer is in the same plane as the rope to the climber? Wherever possible this should be the objective, thus reducing any forces in another direction.
> I was going to make something out of a piece of static rope, a big loop and double or triple it with carabiner at each end.
To be honest, I can't find anything wrong with this idea - seems pretty safe. I'm surprised that so many seem against it.
Bottom rope forces are double abseil forces and I'd add the follow important differences:
- In bottom rope scenarios that the position of the anchor is less likely to be in the best place when compared with abseiling (because the line of the climb might not be in line with the anchors).
- You definitely want the anchor to permit the belayer to move around (to put this another way the anchor should not fail if the belayer moves)
- The rigger is usually in a different position of responsibility. By and large most people rig abseils for their own descent by contrast top-rope riggers rig top ropes for other people's safety.
- On an abseil, at the point of commitment, the anchor is in sight and has usually be checked immediately before every use. Top-rope anchors are usually out-of-sight and usually used repeatedly without rechecking.
Overall I'd take equal or more care rigging a TR anchor than a lead belay anchor and if I was unhappy about the anchor holding a lead fall there is no way I'd use it for a top rope scenario.
> if I was unhappy about the anchor holding a lead fall there is no way I'd use it for a top rope scenario.
I'm sure we all agree on that! Same rules as a belay really.
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