John Long decks at gym?


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Gym climber
Pumpkin Rock
Dec 17, 2012 - 09:48am PT
What I'm reading here is if JL had a partner that day willing to stop him and check his harness and tie in he would be just fine given his partner knew what a bowline looks like finished or he asks JL to make sure his rope and harness were right?

Safety check your partner ever time no matter who they are or aren't.
Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Dec 17, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
The figure 8, just gets tighter and tighter when weighted, making it impossible to untie after a big load.

there's a secret to loosening up a weighted figure-8. slip one of the outer loops. it's easy to do, no matter how tight the knot has gotten--just bend the loop, slip it by pivoting it, and then you'll be able to force the tail back out quite easily--and the knot is untied.

the best reason for tying a figure 8, i think, is that it has a built-in mental insurance you don't get with the bowline. the knot is easy to master, and there's a pleasing, familiar "balance" to it when it's done properly. this becomes a real safety habit over time, especially when you're tying in hundreds of times a year.

i knew this thread would devolve into a technical discussion like this.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 17, 2012 - 12:28pm PT
A numer of knots will work if properly tied. The figure 8 is my choice....elegant, easy to tie and hard to get wrong.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 17, 2012 - 01:50pm PT
Both times the my bowline came untied was on the North Overhang on Intersection. Go figure.

Must the the weird vibes there. The scene of countless, sun-going-down, can't hear your partner screaming (but the campground can) epics


Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Dec 17, 2012 - 02:16pm PT
I have become a big believer in having my partner check my harness and knots every single time. It takes only a moment and shows that we are paying attention to each other. Before I lower off, I glance at my knot to double check it.

Generally I prefer the figure 8 for tying in because it is easier to quickly see whether it is tied correctly or not. A bowline requires closer inspection to see whether it is correct and it is much easier to tie incorrectly. A bowline tied incorrectly can fail completely, while a figure 8 tied incorrectly just tends to be somewhat less secure.

That said, I use bowlines a lot and really like them. If I really need a secure knot, I use a bowline follow through. It cannot come undone and is still easy to untie after many falls. There are probably a number of variations of bowlines that are very secure, but they require a bit more experience to tie and people have enough trouble tying figure 8s.

Coz states that bowlines have failed on him a few times in his long career. I wonder if the knot itself was to blame, then the failure rate would be higher, but...from a practical view, I don't think it matters. If Coz with his experience, miss tied the knot a few times in 40 years, then that is just as big a problem as if the knot failed when correctly tied.

To be fair, we should try to compare real world failure rates across different tie in methods.

As climbers we usually have another person nearby who can double check our knots. We should appreciate that and take advantage of it.

edit: bowlines rubbing, catching against the rock?... yeah, I can see how that might create more problems for a normal bowline than for a figure 8.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 17, 2012 - 02:21pm PT
I have used bowlines for thirty eight years of climbing and never once had one 'come loose', ever.
Bad Climber

Dec 17, 2012 - 02:39pm PT
@Coz: So,just to be clear, you had a fisherman's finish/backup AND the bowline itself come untied? You have huge experience, and I have no reason to doubt you, but is that the combo you're talking about? When I used to use a (double) bowline, I always finished with the fisherman's. I can't imagine any scenario in which everything comes untied.

Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Dec 17, 2012 - 03:08pm PT
professional riggers always have something extra to say about this stuff.

when i was on the SCMA board, a fellow board member, jim matthews, whom you might know, coz, since he worked for years rigging in hollywood and teaching stage management, got on our case about the clove hitch. the dear clove hitch, the quick, handy, fail-safe tie-in knot, no? not for jim's money. he'd seen it fail, he said, and we argued endlessly whether to be teaching this in our safety course.

ironically, i cornered largo about the matter one day at rockreation. he tied a couple of quick clove hitches to demonstrate how handy and fail-safe it was for a belay tie-in. "what's wrong with that?" he asked. i couldn't have agreed more.

but in guide training they fussed about dressing it properly. i also heard pro guides differ over whether the bowline ought to be backed up. i also discovered that my midwestern sailor way of tying a bowline--two opposing loops for a non-slip bow line for a boat--wasn't acceptable for a climber's loaded bowline. you live and learn.

Social climber
Los Angeles currently St. Antonin, France
Dec 17, 2012 - 03:18pm PT
I love the clove hitch ( can you tie it one handed? ), but in my guides training I was taught always load bearing strand against the spine and back it up wth an overhand on a bight.

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Dec 17, 2012 - 06:19pm PT
Enough lnot talk.


Make sure you get a pair of MobiLeg crutches.. they are really good, no nerve damage, spring loaded etc..

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Dec 17, 2012 - 07:43pm PT

"Indulge in the kindness of others for a while and be good to yourself while you heal. :-)"

Thanks for that line. I'm learning that such indulging is the highest form of humanity - so long as it runs both ways. Life makes little sense without compassion to sustain it. When one of us goes down - it matters little who - we somehow revert to being divine supports for each other. That's been my experience in this hospital bed, and it has transformed my spirit.

As mentioned, all the orthopedic stuff is done. Now (tomorrow) they transplant a thin slice of muscle over the hole in my shin from where the bone came through. A tricky operation, but with a high success rate here at UCLA.

Hope to have good news soon about this whole fandango.

Love each other. There isn't anything else worthwhile.


Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Dec 17, 2012 - 08:01pm PT
"Love each other. There isn't anything else worthwhile."

Truth...heal well, John.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Dec 17, 2012 - 08:08pm PT
"Love each other. There isn't anything else worthwhile."

Ill second that....

John.... good to know your doing better, keep it up, the PT gets fun quickly.

Is this the first time you have been injured? Badly?

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Dec 17, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
Hey buddy,

Glad to hear you're in good hands and better spirits. I guess it was just your turn this time, eh? Most of us have a turn at it, sooner or later.

From one "frankenankle" to another, enjoy your off time, do what the docs say, and eventually you'll be back on the rock.

Don't worry or fret - just heal, and then - one day - shut up and climb.

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Dec 17, 2012 - 11:23pm PT
Believe me, I know how lonely those Hospital rooms can get.
Here's an ole' timer get well card:

Credit: PhilG
Get Well soon, man.

Consider coming up to my place in Washington ("the Green State") for some rest, relaxation, and rehabilitation.


Trad climber
Dec 17, 2012 - 11:39pm PT
glad yr at ucla largo.

a top teaching & research hospital is a good place to be at times like this.


Dec 17, 2012 - 11:53pm PT
Yes, they could learn something from JL.

Social climber
Dec 18, 2012 - 12:11am PT

Dammit , man, I was laid up in horsepistol with a myocardial infarction for three WHOLE days in '08 & it made me CRACKERDOG.

GTFO of that bed and back into service!!!!


Social climber
State of decay
Dec 18, 2012 - 01:59am PT
Credit: TYeary
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 18, 2012 - 02:44am PT
Love each other. There isn't anything else worthwhile.

Don't mind being the one to "Third" that.

May the healing journey bring new insight and evolution

Because we gotta make the best of everything. My two injuries definitely contained blessings in disguise


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