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Green Tape

Version 0.5; last reviewed 15-02-2021

Introduction

In order to safely participate in lead climbing/belaying at any UQ Mountain Club (UQMC) climbing event, you must obtain your “Green Tape”.

First and foremost, UQMC promotes a “safety first culture that guides all our activities”. That means that whatever you are doing, you must make sure that your and others safety is the number one priority at any given time.

This document will guide you towards a successful completion of the assessment of your “Green Tape”. In order to get your “Green Tape” approved, there are three main steps:

  1. Read and remember the knowledge displayed in this document;

  2. Put all this knowledge in a correct manner into practise;

  3. Get yourself assessed by at least 2 members of the executive team who will ask you theoretical questions and will assess your practical skills.

After a successful assessment, you will obtain your “Green Tape” on the UQMC website, which will be displayed on your profile together with your “Yellow Tape” and “Blue Tape”.

Please read the following instructions carefully.

NOTE: We do not endorse all the information by the content creators given below. However, we have checked the specific links and believe that they are great learning resources. These links do not replace learning practically from club members, but will be helpful to aid your learning.

Description

Having the “Green Tape” indicates that a member is a competent, but novice, lead climber and belayer. The member is able to clean a route by lowering off and rappelling. During the club events or activities, members with “Green Tape” will be allowed to lead climb with another member with “Red Tape” or higher, or with another member with “Green Tape” while under executive supervision. Members with “Green Tape” will be gathering experience to:

  • Get a ‘feel’ for how much slack to give in all situations;

  • To be able to predict when their climber needs slack to be taken up or given;

  • To “rote learn” the communication and procedures performed when route climbing.

Prerequisites

You must be a member of UQMC to be tested for the “Green Tape” competency.

You must have the “Yellow Tape” competency to be tested for the “Green Tape” competency.

“Blue Tape” is highly recommended if you start learning for your “Green Tape”, as it has a lot of anchor theory you should know.

Testable material

The material testable to obtain the “Green Tape” competency can be broken down into the following categories:

Practical

The member being tested must be able to:

  • Safely catch a climber’s fall;

  • Clip a quickdraw correctly into a bolt;

  • Clip the rope correctly into the quickdraw;

  • Clean a route by lowering off and rappelling; and

  • Understand when and how communication is important on a route.

Theoretical material

  • Lead belaying - Paying attention to the amount of slack given to the climber;

  • Soft and hard catches - Knowing how and when to give a soft catch or a hard catch;

  • Dangers to climbers - Having your foot behind the rope, skipping bolts and going off route;

  • First bolt dangers - Being able to assess the dangers of reaching the first bolt and/or knowing when to stick clip the first bolt;

  • Back and Z-clipping - Knowing when you clip the rope into the quick draws incorrectly and knowing how to fix back- and Z clipping;

  • Cleaning an anchor - Knowing how to clean a climb by rappelling off and being lowered off; and

  • Crag Ethics.

The better you understand all the following material, the safer you will be as a climber and the more likely you are to avoid a climbing accident. Having a “safety first” culture within UQMC is the highest priority when climbing.

Reading for theoretical material

Definition of an anchor system

Getting Ready

  1. Tie a stopper knot in the end of the rope and flake the rope to make sure the rope is untangled.

  2. Discuss the plan for the climb:

    • The length of the climb and whether the ropes long enough;

    • Discuss whether the climb is safe/appropriate

      • consideration:

      • difficulty/grade;

      • number and spacing of bolts;

      • ledges and trees the climber could fall on;

      • whether you should stick climb the first bolt; and

      • if there are any loose rocks (or “death blocks”) to avoid.

    • The plan when the climber reaches the anchor:

      • Lower;

      • Clean; or

      • Rappel.

  3. Attach your belay device and do your buddy checks.

Belaying

  1. Spotting: Before the climber reaches the first bolt, you should spot with the aim of guiding the fall to protect the head and neck of the climber. Your fingers should be closed together (like spoons) to prevent finger injury, when guiding a fall.

  2. Once the climber has clipped the first bolt, you should take up excess slack and call “on belay”, once you are ready to catch a fall using your belay device.

  3. As the climber passes the first bolt, you will need to pay out slack, maintain a cow's belly and be ready to catch a fall (see diagram below).

 

This video covers the steps plus provides more important information about belaying (5 mins). This video explains soft catches, hard catches, weight differences, positioning and the appropriate amount of slack.

The weight difference of the belayer should not exceed 20kg than the climber without using an extra friction device such as Eldridge ohm.

WHY? Without extra friction you may lose control of the catch when the climber falls and be pulled into the wall and up into the first bolt. This is likely to injure the belayer and potentially cause them to let go of the break strand, which will injure the climber if using an ATC, rather than an assisted braking device like a gri-gri.

However, if the climber is much lighter than the belayer then the belayer needs to be more proactive and jump up more when giving soft catches.

Lead climbing

Getting Ready

Discuss the climb. Tie in. Make sure you have enough quick draws, meaning as many as needed for the climb and 2 for the anchors, and other gear you might need. Before you start climbing, do buddy checks.

Clipping

Please watch this great video on clipping (6 mins). We will put this into practice at the crag.

Key points:

  • Be in a secure position

  • Have 3 points of contact to the wall when you clip, meaning two good feet and one good hand hold.

WHY? If the climber falls, while pulling up slack to clip the next bolt, they will fall the distance to the last bolt, plus the length of all the slack in the system. It is often safer for the climber to take the fall to the last bolt than to attempt a clip while insecure.

  • “Pee into the wall” when you clip. Do not back clip.

WHY? Back clipping (‘peeing out of the wall’) can result in the rope opening the gate and becoming unclipped from the quickdraw, if the climber takes a fall in a certain orientation.

 

  • Do not Z-clip. It is unlikely to clip like this when climbing outside, as the bolts are usually more spaced apart. Z-clipping is more common in the gym.

 

Falling

Please watch this great video on falling (3 min). It might just save your ankles.

Key points:

  • The climber should keep the rope in front of their legs. The belayer keeps an eye on the rope. If the rope is behind the climber's legs or feet, make them aware so they can fix their positioning.

WHY? if they fall, their legs could be caught by the rope, flipping them upside down.

  • Communicate to your belayer

  • Don’t jump back too far. This will increase the force when you hit the wall.

Cleaning

Steps for cleaning are hard to explain in words, so therefore attend one of the lead workshops to see it in practice.

Key points:

  • Remaining on two points of safety

  • Doing your ABCDE checks and weighting your system before you remove your Personal Anchor Safety/System (PAS).

In the lead workshop you will be talked through these steps. However, this video gives a great overview of the steps and may help you visualise the process (8 mins).

Please note however, that UQMC does not endorse the use of quick draws as PAS. You should bring a daisy chain, pursell prusik or other rated safety with locking carabiner as a PAS.

Rappelling

A rappel may need to be set up in order to access a climb or climbing area, or used to clean a climb instead of lowering off. Rappelling may also be required to descend from a multi-pitch climb.

Steps for repelling are hard to effectively articulate in writing and should be explained during a lead workshop. The picture below shows what best practice repel setup should look like. The key things include:

  • Extended Rappel Device

  • Third Hand (French prusik)

  • Stopper Knots in the end of the rope

 

Setting Up

When you set up a rappel, it important that you remember to:

  • Remain on two points of safety at all times

  • Keep the rope attached to you. If you let go, it should never fall to the ground. An easy way to do this is a clove hitch around a locking carabiner

  • Take your time. You do not want to drop any of your gear (e.g. ATC and carabiners) when setting up a rappel. Do not rush and think things through.

  • The rope should be passed through the rappel rings until either the middle of the rope is reached or enough has been passed through for both strands to comfortably reach the ground.

  • Stopper knots must be tied in both ends of the rope before the rope is thrown over the edge.

  • A French prusik will be wrapped around both ropes on the free side of the belay device and attached to the belay loop of the harness with a locking carabiner, ensuring that the prusik does not reach the belay device.

  • A belay device should be attached with a locking carabiner to both strands of the rope in the correct orientation.

  • The belay device is attached to the belay loop of the harness by an extending sling or clipped halfway along a PAS if using a dyneema chain.

  • Do your ABCDE checks and weight your system before you remove your PAS.

These two videos (here and here) are a great study tool before you come to a lead workshop and to review your learning to help visualise the process (3 mins).

ABCDE check

Before removing your PAS the following checks should be made:

A - Anchor: Is the rope through the anchor correctly? Is the anchor in a safe condition to use?

B - Belts and Buckles: Is your harness done up tightly and/or looped back (in the case of older style harnesses)?

C - Connectors: Are the carabiners on your extended belay and french prusik locked and in the correct orientation?

D - Devices: Is your belay device in the correct orientation with both strands of rope passing through it? Is there a French prusik backing up the rappel and correctly attached to the belay loop? Is the device extended sufficiently so that the prusik does not touch the device?

E - Ends and Edges: Are there knots in the ends of the rope? Are there no sharp edges that the rope may abrade on? If abrasion may pose a problem, then appropriate edge protection should be used.

 

Knots

You will need to know how to tie a:

  • French Prusik;

  • Stopper knot;

  • Figure eight on a bight; and

  • Clove hitch around a carabiner.

Please watch the following two videos on a French Prusik (3 min) and other useful knots (5 min) to learn these knots and practice them with us or at home.

Finishing a Rappel:

  • Once a climber has reached the bottom of a rappel and is safe (either on the ground or has clipped two PASs into the anchor below), they can take themselves off the rope.

  • If there is another rappel to be done, the end of the rope should be secured to the lower anchor to prevent getting stranded.

  • If others are also planning on rappelling down the same rope the person who has just finished will call “off rope” to communicate that the next person can start rappelling.

  • Once the last person has finished their rappel, the knot can be removed in one end of the rope and that end can be pulled through the anchor.

  • A call of “Rope” should be made when the end of the rope is falling from the anchor.

Crag Ethics

It is UQMC policy (and just common courtesy) to leave no trace whenever you are climbing. Access to crags is something UQMC wants to keep, so we all must be good environmental stewards at all times.

Some crag ethics, therefore, are:

  • Avoid making too much noise (music, load conversations, swearing etcetera);

  • Do not leave tonnes of chalk on the climb or on the ground. Use your brush to brush it off the rocks;

  • Pack out rubbish and food scraps;

  • If you set up hammocks, be careful not to rig bark trees;

  • Try and stick to the existing crag trails;

  • Do not leave toilet paper EVER;

  • Leave your pets at home whenever they are not allowed at the crag (e.g. National Parks). Otherwise keep them on a lead or at least in eye shot, so you can pick up after them. Also, make sure they are not attacking or hunting local wildlife and are not annoying (or scaring) other climbers or members of the public.

 

Test questions

During the practical assessment for this level, your assessor will ask you a minimum of two questions from the following to test your understanding of the theoretical material:

  1. How can you provide a soft catch as a belayer? In what scenario should you give a soft catch?

  2. What is back clipping? Why is it bad?

  3. What are the benefits of rappelling?

  4. What are the main differences between top-rope belaying and lead-belaying?

  5. How can you provide a hard catch as a belayer? In what scenario should you give a hard catch?

  6. What is Z-clipping? Why is it bad?

  7. What is a situation in which you would prefer rappelling over lowering off?

  8. What is a safety? Can it take a fall?

  9. What should you be doing as a belayer when your climber has not reached the first bolt?

  10. What is the quicker way to clean a climb, rappel or lower off?

  11. What are the two most important things to remember when cleaning an anchor?

  12. What is the impact force?

If you do not understand any of the questions or you are unsure of an answer, discuss it with one of the executives before you do your test for the competency!

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Version Table

V0.1    Nicole Carter    04-10-2020    Created Document

V0.2    Meike Go            27-11-2020     Updated the layout, added an introduction and adjusted some wording

                                                                         within the main frame

V0.3    Nicole Carter    23-12-2020     Reviewed document and added comments

V0.4    Jazzi Neville      29-12-2020    Reviewed and suggested edits

V0.5   Meike Go             15-02-2021    Added the questions from the old website

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