Progression with a taut rope using a TIBLOC
- Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
- Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
- We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.
Progression with a taut rope: danger
Partners climbing together with a taut rope is an especially dangerous technique.
This method is limited to experts having a good understanding of the relationship between risks and advantages, who are capable of evaluating the difficulties and objective risks of the terrain with respect to the technical abilities of the climbers involved.
The partners climb simultaneously, so a fall by either will affect the other.
In particular, a fall by the second will pull back on the leader, probably causing both to fall.
Progression with a taut rope is used in "easy" terrain and/or to save time, but placing reliable intermediate protection is still necessary.
The TIBLOC can limit the consequences of a fall by the second.
The use of a TIBLOC on one of the intermediate points can protect the leader from receiving too hard of a pull on their rope in case of a fall by the second. The fall will be held by the TIBLOC, without direct intervention by the leader.
This usage should not be considered a belay. The TIBLOC only brings a plus to a dangerous situation.
- The rope must pass through the TIBLOC's carabiner so that it also serves as protection for the leader.
- The anchor chosen should be solid enough to hold the second's fall, but also for the extreme case should both fall.
- To jam, the TIBLOC's movement must not be obstructed by external elements (snow, rock, ice, slings, etc.). Follow the Instructions For Use for the TIBLOC and all of your equipment.
Beware of the "pull effect"
- The action of the rope running through the TIBLOC can lift it above the anchor. (Beware of slings on horns and/or nuts that can come out of their placements.)
- When the second falls, the ascender comes under tension again below the anchor. This movement is transmitted to the leader, who can be pulled backward. The use of the TIBLOC is less effective in this case. The more the TIBLOC can move, the more this effect is felt: avoid using long slings.
When using double ropes:
The TIBLOC can only be used on one strand of rope. When using double ropes, only one strand protects the second. The leader can be pulled backward by the other strand, so the protection offered by the TIBLOC is less effective. Beware of twists and tangles between the two strands of rope that could interfere with the TIBLOC, cause pulling, or even block progression.
Appendix: Introduction to the advantages/disadvantages of using a TIBLOC for progression with a taut rope
This method requires making a choice between the benefit of additional protection and certain disadvantages that are in addition to the danger inherent in progression using a taut rope. Do your own risk analysis in the field.
- Allows time saving in sections where the leader is confident of their skills, even if the second is in difficulty.
- Can allow the next belay to be reached on a pitch that is longer than the rope: the second can begin climbing without endangering the leader on the last few moves to the belay.
- Can allow the easier, exit portion of a route to be protected, even when the second is still in a difficult part below.
- Risk of lifting slings or nuts. (Note: this problem is more pronounced with ascenders that have a spring.)
- The second cannot descend: they must progress upward in any case. The leader is at a distance from the TIBLOC placement and cannot manipulate the ascender to assist in a possible descent.
- Impossible to belay the leader when downclimbing: the leader must not reach a point where they are forced to descend. In this case, the rope would make a loop of slack above the TIBLOC, the second would be unable to take up rope to belay the leader's descent.
- Risk of rope damage: in normal usage, the TIBLOC must be manually pressed against the rope to allow the teeth to engage with the rope. In the current example, it is not possible to manipulate the device. Depending on the positioning of the device against the supporting surface, some rope may slide through the TIBLOC before jamming occurs, resulting in sheath damage. In Petzl's tests, there were no cases of failure to jam; however, the rope's sheath was damaged in some cases.
- Can complicate progression using double rope.