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tying in leg/waist loops vs. belay loop
Hi All, I have always tied into the rope through the leg/waist loops of the climbing harness. Recently I discovered that certain people in the new gym where I climb actually tie into the belay loop. Some manufacturers advise against tying into the belay loop, others do not specifically mention it but do recommend using the leg/waist loops. Is it dangerous to tie into the belay loop? Are there studies that show the pros/cons? They argue that the belay loop is the strongest part of the harness capable of dealing with 25-30KN forces. The technique was supposedly recommended by Pit Schubert at a symposium and has been adopted by various countries. It's supposed to reduce wear on the harness as it creates less fiction between rope and tie-in points. any views? Thanks, Pascal
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Very good question :-) It is always the lower point, the leg loop, that force me to buy a new harness. I guess, if we were to tie in, in the belay loop, you might feel uncomfortable having the knot further out from the body, possibly getting caught into something. As of today, I use the new Edelrid harness without a belay loop, but with their new construction i can make the not super tight to the body. It should also be underlined that you should put the screw carabiner in the belay loop, using the GriGri as otherwise it points into a scary situation. I have told maybe 500 guys this, the last time this Sunday, and it is actually a fact that I have personally made 6 of the most famous climbers change their position of their screw carabiner. (I mention this as an example, as this might explain my personality that I care about safety and other quality aspects of quality, even if it in the short run always are best to not say anything, as there is a great risk of starting an argument. One of the celebs was not so happy with my opinion but one year later he had fully changed the screw carabiner position :-) Ver good question...it will be interesting to have other opinions :-)
First response from the DAV sicherheitsforschung / German Alpine assocation Safety commission: Yes, you can tie in the belay-loop. The force is 15 kN in the EN 12275 for harnesses, not 25 or 30 kN. Same test for tie in situation leg/waist-loop. So both is possible and correct. All manufacturers advice the leg/waist-loop, only Edelrid advices both methods. But in practice it doesn't matter. The difference is, that the tie-in-knot is a bit lower using the leg/waist method, if hang dogging and bouldering. The wear is not a strong argument, because you see it by both methods. The wear comes from lowering down and abseiling when you move your legs. Then you have a abrasion between the leg-loop and the rope (leg-waist-method) or the leg-loop and the belay loop (belay-loop-method). Maybe the rope is a bit more rough, but it's not a big difference. I have contacted Petzl, Black Diamond, The Austrian Alpine association and posted the same question on UKclimbing. I also wonder if the above holds true for the latest trend in smaller and lighter belay-loops though:
Good job! However, as we are talking wear, it should be obvious that in such case the belay loop is more uncertain as once it starts to show signs for heavy usage, it will be very uncomfortable. I have vitnesses a friend of mine, snapping the leg loop thing without any problems...but in a case of the belay loop snapping, you will fall. Even Edelrid has two loops!
spanish trick to reduce wear (not tested since i currently have an harness with single tie-in point) suppose you pass the rope starting from the leg loop. the method is : you pass the rope in the leg and waist loop as usual, then down, back into the leg loop in the same direction as before then again into the waist loop, then finish your knot as usual. You basically make an additional ring of rope surrounding the two loops, which is said to stabilize the position of the knot and reduce wear.