use of climbing harnesses for guest cavers

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use of climbing harnesses for guest cavers

Postby stephen » Sep 14, 2006 10:02 am

Is it possible to use climbing harnesses for frogging for guest cavers so as not to have to buy extra caving harnesses for one time use? If so, what is the best way to keep the tie in point on the harness low to maximize efficiency?
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Postby chh » Sep 14, 2006 10:35 am

Assuming it's a swami style harness, make sure your maillon or carabiner or whatever you are using to attach your chest ascender to is through both the leg and waist loops. The smaller the better. Don't use the belay loop. If it's not a swami style harness and has a single tie in point like some gym models or attachements horizontally oriented like a caving style harness but that sit higher than a frog-specific harness - I guess you just have to deal with a shorter stroke.
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Postby stephen » Sep 14, 2006 11:00 am

Many thanks. By swami style, do you mean tie in passing through or behind stitched material both at the waist and between leg loops? Also, wouldn't a single maillon or carabiner be oriented incorrectly (rotated 90 degrees), and do you have thoughts on whether and how to address this?
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Postby chh » Sep 14, 2006 12:59 pm

Here's an example of a swami style harness. With the waist loops and leg loops labeled. You would tie in through both of these, or put your maillon through both of these, whichever the case may be.


Image

Here is a picture of someone with a croll attached to the belay loop, something I would suggest against. While this will work, and the belay loop is a safe attachment, you can clearly see how high the croll is and how inefficient this would make your movement. By using a smaller half-round (as opposed to a big locker) and putting it arond both the leg and waist loops you can eat up some of the distance between your croll and waist, making your strokes a little longer. There are also a couple of other things wrong with this setup, so I would NOT suggest trying to duplicate it. I found this through a google image search for a croll ascender and it was on an instruction page on how to ascend a rope. Just goes to show you have to take internet advice with a grain of salt... ;)

Image




And while turning your maillon 90 degrees will affect things, they will still work. Actually, a Petzl basic ascender will probably work better than a croll here. It would seem to me the best way to do this would be to have your croll floating above your cowstail so that the long tail going from your maillon to your upper ascender isn't trying to get out from behind your lower ascender when it is tight against your body, thus twisting it a little. However, this puts the knot of your cow's tail right near the cam release knob on your lower ascender so keep an eye on it.

Lastly, using a swami style harness probably changes the orientation of the frog system most cavers are familiar with. If you are looking to use extra harnesses you have lying around for vertically capable guests I'm sure that's all right. If you are using them with novices (especially if you are unfamiliar with the pro/cons of the system) that is foolish. A harness is a harness. A vertically capable caver (or climber) is going to be able to ascend a rope safely with or without a specialized type of harness. And with that, I'll get off my soap box....

Happy Caving :waving:
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Postby NZcaver » Sep 14, 2006 4:42 pm

chh wrote:Here is a picture of someone with a croll attached to the belay loop, something I would suggest against.
<snip>
I found this through a google image search for a croll ascender and it was on an instruction page on how to ascend a rope. Just goes to show you have to take internet advice with a grain of salt... ;)

Really? That shot was posted on the internet as a how-to? :doh: :hairpull:

Great shot - on how NOT to rig a Frog! :roll: Thanks for posting it.

I agree with your advice - I also prefer to put novices in the correct harness for Frogging. I either have them use my own, or one of my spares. One day I will get around to posting about the maillon harness I designed for guest/training use - it's simple, lightweight, cheap, and not too uncomfortable. It's fairly easy to put together, and fits all from small children to big adults.

It's not perfect, but it does the job... :grin:
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Sep 15, 2006 12:11 am

I use a Black Diamond Alpine Bod harness with my frog... the triangle mallion is part of the main tie in to the harness and the croll is attached directly to the mallion and thus the "tie-in" is low enough not to be a problem.
That photo is indeed a nice shot of what NOT to do. Sheesh!
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Postby chh » Sep 15, 2006 1:15 pm

Great shot - on how NOT to rig a Frog! Rolling Eyes Thanks for posting it.


No kidding. That's what I thought when I first saw it.

You can also tie a decent frogging harness out of 1 inch webbing if you are of a mind, with attachment points to sides like a normal caving harness, or swami style, which is a little easier and faster to do. Super comfortable? Not really. Cheap, always available, and fitted right (with a little finaggling)? Yep.

I'd post some pictures of the way I tie a caving harness out of webbing (as opposed to the swami style) but I don't have a digital camera. That, and it's Friday and I'm heading out to play just as soon as they take the leash off of that holds me behind this computer.....

Y'all have a great weekend! :waving:
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Postby Scott McCrea » Sep 15, 2006 2:23 pm

NZcaver wrote:One day I will get around to posting about the maillon harness I designed for guest/training use - it's simple, lightweight, cheap, and not too uncomfortable. It's fairly easy to put together, and fits all from small children to big adults.

Is it one day yet? I wanna see. :banana:
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Postby NZcaver » Sep 18, 2006 12:02 am

Scott McCrea wrote:
NZcaver wrote:One day I will get around to posting about the maillon harness I designed for guest/training use - it's simple, lightweight, cheap, and not too uncomfortable. It's fairly easy to put together, and fits all from small children to big adults.

Is it one day yet? I wanna see. :banana:

Patience, Grasshopper. :wink:

Things are a little busy for me right now. I plan to do a full article on the harness, suitable for publication. Then I will post it here on the DB as well.

Or I could make some cash by selling them myself. What to do, what to do... :grin:
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Postby stephen » Sep 22, 2006 4:16 pm

Ralph indicates that he uses a triangular mallion as opposed to the D shaped mallion. Is there any reason not to use the triangular one? Is it generally sufficient?
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Sep 22, 2006 5:13 pm

stephen wrote:Ralph indicates that he uses a triangular mallion as opposed to the D shaped mallion. Is there any reason not to use the triangular one? Is it generally sufficient?

For me the triangle mallion allows the croll to go to one corner and stay there and it doesn't move around too much. For the harness that I use it's probably the best. Far as a D-shaped that would be good for the Fractio type harnesses created by Petzl.
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Postby GoHighGoDeep » Sep 29, 2006 7:23 pm

when i've take people caving in the past and needed a spare harness, I've used my climbing harness, and given the less experienced person my caving harness. Froging with a climbing harness is a pain, no matter who's doing it, so i tend to let my guest have the luxury of a harness suited to what we're doing, and dealt with the bother of having to make do myself.

(chh... you've got too much time to mess around online at work!)
c'mon, you can fit through that
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Re: use of climbing harnesses for guest cavers

Postby Caver John » Oct 19, 2011 9:28 am

Thought I'd bring this thread back to life with some input.

I have yet to buy a caving harness so I've been using my climbing harness for frogging and I've found a way in which is not too bad.
I have my cows tail clove hitched to a HMS carabiner which is clipped through both tie in points(waist and legloops)  to my left of the belay loop, gate facing out and upside down. Then I have my petzl croll hooked to a HMS biner on my right side of belay loop(through waist and leg loops) gate out and upside down. For descending I clip to the belay loop in the middle of the two carabiners.

I've found descent efficiency with this setup gaining atleast 18" Every sit/stand cycle. Efficiency still depends on the harness though. My SAR harness (Yates mountain warfare) doesn't work as well as my trango cosmic which I originally bought as a cheap spare but now use for srt, until I buy a caving harness.
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Re: use of climbing harnesses for guest cavers

Postby Cody JW » Oct 19, 2011 10:19 am

In addition to the other disadvantages of having the croll high in respect to efficiency ,I have also found that if the croll is too high it makes it hard to self start on a frog. I have 2 Fractios and use the older one as a loaner. I guess I am "old school" and use the half moons to connect to the bottom of the croll. Is it just me, but I get the impression that a low attachment point is an obvious advantage for frog climbing but I seem to think that the low attachment point makes me lean back further on rappel. I say this because being chesty and top heavy that has always been a problem. I sometimes use the bulky but comfortable Petzl Navaho commercial harness for big open air pits where I use a rope walker. This is heavily padded with a wide pad that goes around your lower back compared to the Fractio.It is primarily used for high rise construction or at least I get that impression from the old Petzl catalog and has a high attachment point. I am not sure if I do not lean back as much in this harness because of the higher attachment point or because it seems to have more support across the lower back area ?? This harness allows for quick one handed adjustment on both right and left sides of the front for the waist adjustment. Maybe I am feeling more "upright" because it is easier to get a tight waist adjustment ?? It may be hard for some to relate to this as if they are not top heavy they do not have this problem at all. Maybe Muddock can weigh ( no pun intended) in on this ??
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Re: use of climbing harnesses for guest cavers

Postby Caver John » Oct 20, 2011 6:30 am

I believe it's Probly both the low attachment point and the low waist belt that make you tip back. It makes sense to me.

Btw, I'm not arguing thAt the caving harness wouldn't be more efficient, hell with one I'd Probly increase my stroke at least A few inches if not 3-4. 20-22" would be a very efficient cycle.

What I am saying is that efficient frogging can be done with a climbing harness, however the setup is not as simple (lacking the center mallion) and efficiency will still depend on the shape (height) of the specific harness.
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