One of the most important parts of a steady, efficient, and fast climbing system is to keep your rope system organized and untangled. That process should occur in 3 main components:
- The Ropes: try and flake the rope (or ropes) into loops of roughly equal size, going back and forth across your tie-in point, your leg, your foot, or even back and forth across a small rock horn or tree branch. If the area beneath the belay is smooth and free of snags, make longer loops (and fewer of them). The most difficult scenario is when dealing with 2 ropes from 2 following climbers who climb at different rates, and when the belay is cramped or hanging. Expect to have to take a little more time and patiently sort these ropes as you bring in slack. This process is easier if the pitch being followed is more difficult (so that the climbing is slower). Flake the two ropes out separately across 2 points. This process is easiest if there’s a large ledge (photo above) and there is just a single climber, or a single climber and a haul line. In that case, pile those ropes up separately as well, keeping the tag line (and its top end) available and clear of the belay rope.
- Climber Connection: Make your connection to the anchor be easy to inspect visually, and fast to set up and take down. The best option in 99% of cases is a single small keynose locker on the powerpoint, which you will clove hitch yourself into with the rope you are tied in with. Don’t use the same model and color of locker that your partner is using. Try and keep your connection on the bottom or back side of the entire anchor.
- Anchor/Belay: Build a simple and efficient anchor at a spot higher up on the wall than you might first consider. It’s usually better to have the anchor (and resulting powerpoint) at or above head level. Hang your belay device from the anchor, using a different color/model of carabiner than you’ll use to clip yourself in with. Consider hanging the belay device from “top deck” or the “shelf” of the knot that isolates your powerpoint. This makes the belay device higher, which means more rope gets brought in with less work, and keeps it visibly/physically separate from where you are clipped in to the anchor, preventing pinching or trapping. For hauling a light bag, it often works best to redirect the haul line (usually with a pulley) through the single highest bomber piece in the anchor, and then back down. In the picture above, an ideal spot to have attached a hauling pulley would be into the thumb loop of the top (red) cam.