The Masters


Jeff Ward - IFMGA/AMGA Guide

Jeff Ward is an IFMGA-licensed and AMGA-certified Alpine, Ski and Rock Guide. He grew up in the Northwest and is co-owner of North Cascades Mountain Guides (www.ncmountainguides.com) based in Mazama. Ward is a lead instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association and serves on their technical committee.



Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide

Martin Volken is the founder and owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA. He is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides over 120 days per year in North America and Europe as a ski, rock and alpine guide. Volken has pioneered several steep ski descents, ski traverses, alpine and rock routes in the Washington Cascades. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000 and has authored and co-authored three books on ski touring and ski mountaineering.

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and either Jeff Ward or Martin Volken will supply the answer.

AMGA GUIDES' TIPS
Anchors: Cleaning Top Rope Anchors
Anchors: Cleaning Top Rope Anchors
 

Ask the Master: Climbing Efficiently As a Team of Three

28-Sep-2016
By Martin Volken (IFMGA Guide)

I have some partners that refuse to climb in a group of three because they say it slows them to a crawl, and I have other partners that swear that three people can climb just as fast as a pair. I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle and was wondering if you had any tricks or techniques that allowed a group of three to climb quickly and efficiently.

—Michael Parker, via Ask the Master forum

Martin Volken, owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA, is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides in North America and Europe. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000.Hi there and thank you for the question,

As a guide, you climb with two clients (as a team of three) quite often. If your anchor management is dialed, it can be almost as fast as climbing as a pair. Anchor management (creating good anchor stances for the followers, good rope management and clear communication) can save a lot of precious time.

In a team of three, if the climbing is mostly steep fifth-class climbing, I generally climb with a two half ropes and belay from above with an auto-block style belay device while the two followers climb about five meters apart, on separate ropes. If the climbing is pretty easy and has a lot of short roping terrain, I often just use one single rope. Then the clients are tied into the rope as follows:

One person ties into the end and the other is tied into the rope about four meters or so above with long figure-eight on-a-bite with a little overhand on-a-bite at very end. This person clips in with two lockers. We call this configuration "climbing on a V," because the shape of the rope is an upside down "V." The two clients climb together, but it can be a bit annoying for the person on the figure-eight on-a-bite. It works fine for a good team, however.

—Martin Volken

 

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and Martin Volken will supply the answer.

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