The LSD Lower

Climbing - - CLINICS GUIDE'S TIP - BY ROB COP­PO­LILLO AND MARC CHAU­VIN ROB COP­PO­LILLO and MARC CHAU­VIN are both IFMGA- li­censed moun­tain guides. Chau­vin owns Chau­vin Guides in North Con­way, New Hampshire, and Cop­po­lillo co- owns Vetta Moun­tain Guides in Boul­der, Colorado. Their The Moun­tain


When be­lay­ing a fol­lower in guide mode, the be­lay de­vice will be clipped to the an­chor, with a lock­ing cara­biner hold­ing the rope in place. ( For a tu­to­rial, see The LSD lower uses an ad­di­tional biner on the an­chor to al­low for low­er­ing and to de­feat the au­tolock­ing func­tion of guide mode.


First, build a back-up. This is manda­tory for any com­plex tech­nique or when sys­tem fail­ure would be cat­a­strophic. Tie an over­hand-on-a-bight in the brake strand 4 to 5 feet be­hind the de­vice and then clip this “catas­tro­phe knot” to your be­lay loop with a lock­ing cara­biner.

Be­fore low­er­ing, build an au­to­block with a Prusik on the brake strand above the catas­tro­phe knot. Clip it to your be­lay loop with a locker. This func­tions as your “third hand,” free­ing up your mitts for the LSD lower. Cinch the au­to­block up the rope so there’s an inch or two of slack. Now, there is no way to drop the sec­ond.


To be­gin your lower, hang a lock­ing cara­biner off the an­chor, in front of the de­vice. Ask the climber to un­weight the rope. As he does so, clip his rope strand through the locker and lock it, and then he can sit back. At this point you’ve de­feated the de­vice and a bit of rope will slip through—your au­to­block should en­gage and you’re now in the LSD lower. (If the au­to­block does not en­gage, the catas­tro­phe knot will save the day.)

Once the au­to­block is hold­ing, undo the catas­tro­phe knot and lower your climber us­ing the Prusik. When he’s ready to climb again, he can un­weight the rope mo­men­tar­ily, at which point you pop his strand out of the lock­ing cara­biner in front of the de­vice. Bam—he’s back in guide mode. (Con­sider re­build­ing your catas­tro­phe knot dur­ing the tran­si­tion back to be­layed climb­ing.) Once he’s climb­ing again, re­move your third-hand backup and be­lay as be­fore.

Clip third hand to be­lay loop above catas­tro­phe knot (not shown) Cara­biner re­di­rect al­lows you to use de­vice to lower

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