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climbing single pitches
by Carlo Gabasio, UIAGM Mountain Guide Tike Saab.
Crags, bolts, safety – a successful triad thanks to which more and more people have become attracted to sports climbing. But does safety necessarily mean complete absence of danger? Unfortunately not. Testament to this are the numerous accidents that still occur at crags due to climbers simply being distracted or because they make basic mistakes when carrying out rope manoeuvres. For although the crag environment requires relatively few rope manoeuvres, these must be carried out perfectly.

If we analyse a pitch we can distinguish between two different types of technique: the first refers to the actual movements of the climber, how he or she proceeds up the climb, the second refers to the rope manoeuvres. This second technique can be analysed further and broken down into various chronological stages: how to put on a harness, how to tie-in, how to belay, how to clip the quickdraws and then how to prepare the lower-off.

This article analyses the final stage, the lower-off, and what you must do should you find yourself at the top of the single-pitch with a lower-off carabiner that does not open, a ring, maillon rapide etc.

climbing single pitches       climbing single pitches
1- Reach the chain and make safe by clipping a quickdraw from the harness belay loop to the ring, located in the V of the lower-off. (Fig. 1).
2- Take about 1m of rope and thread this through the ring before tying a figure-of-eight. (Fig. 2).
Click images to enlarge
climbing single pitches climbing single pitches
3- Clip the loop from the figure-of-eight to the harness belay loop with a screwgate carabiner. (Fig. 3)
4- Check that all stages have been carried out properly, untie the end of the rope from the harness and unthread it through the ring. (Fig. 4)
climbing single pitches
5- Check everything once more, signal to the second to take in all the slack rope, and then unclip the quickdraw from the ring, ready to be lowered off.
 1 quickdraw
 1 screwgate carabiner
Useful advice:
 Before starting the pitch make sure that you have a screwgate carabiner and an extra quickdraw to carry out the manoeuvre.
 The belayer must always tie a figure-of-eight in the end of the rope to make the lower-off safe.
climbing single pitches
 During the entire rope manoeuvre the leader never unties from the end of the rope and is belayed by the second.

 The leader is therefore never clipped in to only one quickdraw and does not risk dropping the end of the rope by mistake.

 The technical details on which this article is based are not complete. For further information please have a look at the Technical Manual by the Italian UIAGM Mountain Guides.
This article was published in Alp Wall 204.
By Carlo Gabasio, UIAGM Mountain Guide
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