Aid & Big wall
10 February 2011
Note: Many of these articles are very old, and although the technical information is still relevant the equipment mentioned may not be (for example a Stormy cooker was state of that art in 1995, but not in 2021).
I was reading through your article on basic big wall gear. You said that you should larks head your daisy chains around your belay loop and not through your waist and leg loops. I was curious as to why? I’ve always gone through the waist and leg loops because I figured that you tie in through there, and the belay loop runs through both, so you have a redundant system.
I’m not trying to be argumentative (and I sure hope I don’t sound that way!)
I’m just trying to learn more!
I know many people attach their daisy chains as you describe, and that’s how I started doing it, probably because like everyone else I copied it from the diagram in Middendorf’s Big Wall climbing book (for those who don’t know - before the internet this was the number one big wall technique guide out there).
The difference though between a rope and a sling is that a sling under load tends to stay loaded, and doesn’t allow the harness to un-bunched itself like a rope or belay loop. What I find is that your harness and leg loops are always cinched together, which is very uncomfortable (you feel as if the harness is under load all the time).
I larks foot both daisy chains/or adjustable, and the cord for my fifi into one knot (basically do one larks foot with one daisy, then before tightening, tie the other daisy in the same way, but pass it through the firsts daisy’s lark’s foot), so the whole deal is attached at one point, which reduces tangles (one chain wrapping around and around the belay loop). I also have a second belay loop that I save for belaying (big orange Yates one I threaded on my harness).
Maybe it’s just a personal thing, but I prefer it this way.
Oh yes and one other top tip is when jumaring, always adjust your daises at the belay loop end, not by shortening the daisy via the krab that connects it to the jumar. This way you can adjust on the fly, without having to disconnect yourself from your jumars.