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ESCAPING A DIRECT BELAY WITH A PLAQUETTE DEVICE

Safety is your responsibility. This article is not a substitute for qualified in-person training.

If you are online, you can watch the video.

Make an overhand on a bight on the brake strand to be hands-free.

Use a cordelette and make a bight knot at its end that is slightly bigger than your head with a helmet on.

With the bight of the cordelette, make a Klemheist on the load strand. Test it.

On a higher point on the anchor (e.g. to a locking carabiner on the back of the shelf), tie a Munter hitch, flip it to the mooring position, pull out the slack, fix the Munter with a mule knot, and back it up with an overhand on a bight.

Without letting go of the brake hand, undo the overhand on a bight on the brake strand and ratchet the carabiner on the plaquette to lower the load and unweight the plaquette.

Make an overhand on a bight on the brake strand about 4 feet down the plaquette and attach it to the master point of the anchor with a locking carabiner (or two opposite and opposed non-locking carabiners).

Big picture #1:

  1. Temporary bridge: Klemheist and Munter/Mule/Overhand
  2. Plaquette unloaded
  3. Brake strand has overhand on a bight clipped to the master point
  4. You are tethered to the anchor

Remove the plaquette from its locking carabiner, pass the load strand through the carabiner, and attach the plaquette to your belay loop (you may extend it with a basket hitched sling). Make a third hand; test it.

Big Picture #2:

  1. Temporary bridge: Klemheist and Munter/Mule/Overhand
  2. You are in a counterbalance rappel with your partner
  3. Backup overhand on a bight on the brake strand
  4. You are tethered to the anchor

Undo the backup overhand on a bight on the brake strand. Undo your tether. Recover the carabiners that are not in use anymore.

Throw the rope without hitting your partner.

Get in a braced position and slowly release the bridge with the Munter hitch. Your partner’s weight will counterbalance yours. Retrieve the freed carabiner. Clove hitch the long tail of the cordelette to a carabiner on your belay loop, with about 2.5 feet. Shove the tail in your harness to get it out of the way.

Rappel down, one hand managing the third hand, the other managing the Klemheist.

When you arrive at your partner’s level, butt the Klemheist to his figure 8 follow-through knot.

When you arrive at your partner’s level, butt the Klemheist to his figure 8 follow-through knot.

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