How To Climb a Big Wall – Hauling (Part 1)

This 'big wall hauling' article is part of the book - Big Wall and Aid Climbing.

VDiff big wall aid climbing book

There are different hauling systems you can use to get your equipment up the wall.

1:1 hauling is the simplest and most suitable for light loads. A 2:1 or 3:1 setup may be needed for heavy loads or hauling up slabby terrain. Space hauling can be used with any system to speed up the haul too.

It is easy to switch between systems once they are set up (e.g: You might start with a 3:1, and then switch to 1:1 space hauling once your partner has finished cleaning the pitch). All of these systems are described in detail in this chapter.

Big wall haulbag

Backing Up the Haul
Auto-locking hauling devices are very unlikely to break. The most likely cause of failure is the toothed catch becoming wedged open, causing the haulbag to plummet. This usually happens because something got stuck in it or there was a weighted rope pinching it into the rock.

Prevent this disaster by keeping the hauling device clear of anything else at the belay and add a back-up during the haul. With a 1:1 or a 3:1, this back-up will be your GriGri. With a 2:1, the back-up will be the cord. Neither of these are textbook ways to back something up – for added security, tie the haul line to the belay occasionally. If you need to remove a back-up, make sure to add another first (e.g: If switching from a 1:1 to a 2:1, attach yourself to the 2:1 before removing your GriGri).

Pulley Orientation
Hauling devices and pulleys should be used with compatible carabiners (ovals work best). This spreads the load evenly across the bearings.

Using an ill-fitting carabiner causes a sideways strain on the pulley and makes hauling even harder.

carabiner pulley orientation

Friction
On slabby terrain, the haulbag will drag up the wall, creating friction which makes the hauling more difficult. The same is true for blocky terrain where the tensioned haul rope rubs over rock features. The more the haulbag and rope contact the rock, the more friction is created and therefore the harder the hauling will be. The same weight hauled 1:1 on overhanging terrain may need a 2:1 on slabby terrain.

Some belays are conveniently situated above a nice ledge. This provides a great stance, but often creates unwanted friction when the haul rope rubs over the lip of the ledge. It is worth setting up the haul at the side of the ledge so this doesn’t happen, if the opportunity exists to do so.


Mechanical Advantage
The hauling systems in this section are described using their mechanical advantage. Adding mechanical advantage makes the hauling slower, but easier. Imagine you had to carry 75kg of equipment in a backpack along a trail (like when you are walking to the base of the route). Would you carry all 75kg in a single monster load (1:1)? Or would you split the load into 3 and carry a more manageable 25kg each time (3:1)?

With a 3:1 setup, three meters of rope must be hauled to move the load up one meter. This means you must haul three times the distance of the pitch. In theory, a 3:1 is three times easier than a 1:1. In reality, it’s more like 2.5 times easier. This difference between theoretical and actual mechanical advantage is primarily due to friction around pulleys and stretch in the rope.

Taking this lack of efficiency into consideration, it is still definitely worth adding mechanical advantage to a 1:1 if you’re finding it extremely difficult to haul. Which setup you use depends on the weight of the haulbag and the friction involved. Try a 1:1 first and go from there. It’s easy to switch between systems mid-haul if needed.

Hauling Systems – 1:1

A 1:1 is the foundation upon which all other hauling systems are built. Regardless of your chosen system, you will need to set this up first anyway.

Advantages
- Simple
- Requires little equipment
- Often the quickest way of hauling

Disadvantages
- Very difficult to haul more than your own bodyweight

Most suitable for:
- Light loads (less than your bodyweight) when the hauling is steep

You will need:
- a hauling device (e.g: Petzl Pro Traxion)
- an auto-locking belay device (e.g: Petzl GriGri)

Note
The leader’s tie-in knot has been removed from the following diagrams for clarity.


Step 1
After leading a pitch, attach yourself to the anchor, fix the lead rope and set up the hauling system.

Step 2
At this point, your belayer will release the haulbag.

hauling on big wall

Step 3
Now the hard work begins. Lean your weight back onto your GriGri so it locks, and push out and down from the wall. The lighter your bags, the easier this will be. Pulling on the ‘up’ rope with one hand will give you a little extra help. If your bags are super heavy, you could try bracing your feet against the wall at head-height and pushing out using your legs.

Step 4
Once you have pulled some rope through the hauling device, step into your aiders and 'reset' by pulling the slack rope through your GriGri, as if you are taking in a top rope. With practise, you will develop a smooth hauling action, keeping your feet in the same position throughout the haul.

how to haul a haulbag

Step 5
Stack the rope away neatly as you haul so that it won’t tangle into the hauling device. Stop hauling when you still have around 30cm of rope left – be careful not to jam the knot into the device.

Step 6
To complete the haul, you will need to dock the bag.

Top Tip
Pace yourself. Have a rest every 20 or so pulls and stack the rope or have a sip of water. Treat it like a marathon, not a sprint.



Hauling Systems – 2:1

Advantages
- It’s much easier to haul the same weight on a 2:1 than a 1:1
- Enables you to haul more than your own bodyweight
- You can add or remove the 2:1 setup from a slack or tensioned haul rope, meaning it’s easy to switch between systems mid-haul

Disadvantages
- Requires more pulleys than a 1:1
- Must haul twice as much rope as a 1:1

Most suitable for
- Heavy loads (a little more than your bodyweight)
- Hauling light loads up high-friction terrain

You will need:
- a hauling device (e.g: Petzl Pro Traxion)
- an auto-locking belay device (e.g: Petzl GriGri)
- two non-locking pulleys
- a jumar (or similar)
- a 2 meter length of 8mm nylon cord (don’t use dyneema cord – this material weakens with repeated flexing and will suddenly snap mid-haul)

Step 1
Set up the cord, pulleys and jumar as shown. If you don’t need the pulleys for anything else, it is worth leaving this set up for the duration of the climb.

- 8mm cord permanently tied through pulley. This allows the pulley to twist itself into position when hauling.

- Clovehitch tied on two carabiners. This knot is easy to unfasten after being loaded – just wiggle the carabiners to loosen it.

how to haul on a big wall

Step 2
Attach the 2:1 to the 1:1 as shown, either to the bottom hole of your hauling device (if there is one) or to the main anchor point. Whichever you choose, it’s important to orientate it so the haul rope and cord can move freely without rubbing against each other or anything else.

Step 3
Clip the double carabiners to your belay loop and adjust the clovehitch to a comfortable length.

Step 4
Lean back in your harness to haul with the cord while simultaneously pulling slack haul rope through the hauling device.

Step 5
To reset the system, stand up and slide the jumar down the rope.

Fine-Tune
The 2:1 can be fairly clumsy at first. Adjust the clovehitch and try standing in different steps of your aiders until you fine-tune the position which allows you to haul with a smooth rhythmic action. This system is very efficient once you get used to it.

how to set up 2:1 hauling
2:1 hauling

Hauling Systems – 3:1

Advantages
- Even easier to haul than a 2:1
- You can add or remove the 3:1 setup from a slack or tensioned haul rope, meaning it’s easy to switch between systems mid-haul

Disadvantages
- Requires more pulleys than a 1:1
- Must haul three times as much rope as a 1:1
- Resetting the system can be awkward depending on the terrain

Most suitable for
- Monster loads (twice your bodyweight)

You will need:
- a hauling device (e.g: Petzl Pro Traxion)
- an auto-locking belay device (e.g: Petzl GriGri)
- a small locking pulley
- a non-locking pulley
- a jumar (or similar)


Step 1
Set up the pulleys and jumar as shown. You can set the lower jumar and pulley as far down as you have rope available. Wiggle the rope to move the jumar and pulley further down beyond your reach, making sure they remain orientated correctly.

3:1 hauling

Top Tip
A carabiner clipped to the jumar as shown helps it glide down the rope more smoothly – useful when setting it out of reach.


Step 2
Haul in the same way as a 1:1. Depending on how far down you set the jumar, it may take a couple of pulls to get the stretch out of the rope before the haulbag actually moves up.

big wall haul bags
big wall hauling

Step 3
When the lower pulley gets close to the small locking pulley, flip the catch on it to release the locking mechanism. The main hauling pulley will now take the weight – check that the catch on the main hauling pulley is correctly engaged before moving onto the next step.

Step 4
Pull slack through your GriGri and push the jumar down the tensioned rope.

Step 5
Once you have pushed it as far as you can reach, flip the catch back down on the small locking pulley and continuing hauling.

how to haul on big walls


Space Hauling

Space hauling means using your partner as a counterweight to assist with the haul. It can be used with any mechanical advantage system, and doubles the efficiency (e.g: Two people hauling with a 3:1 setup gives a 6:1 advantage).

Advantages
- Because the hard work is shared, the hauling is easier and faster than the other methods
- For most of the haul, the lower climber will be within reach of the haulbag. This means they can guide it around features and prevent it from getting stuck

Disadvantages
- Must wait until your partner has cleaned some, or all, of the pitch
- Can be difficult on overhanging terrain – the lower climber will have to jumar a free-hanging rope

Most suitable for
- Loads which are too difficult to move on your own
- Hauling up fixed ropes on less than vertical terrain

How To Space Haul

The lower climber weights the haul rope while the top climber hauls. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the lower climber stays backed-up on the lead rope while they do this. This back-up will need to be adjusted as the haul progresses. The lower climber will move down while the upper climber hauls. The lower climber will, at some point, need to jumar back up the rope. To streamline this process, they can ascend the rope at the same time as the upper climber hauls.

space hauling

Space Hauling Tips
- There will often be a part of the pitch which is easier for the lower climber to jumar up (e.g: a lower-angle section). Once at this point, they can ‘jumar on the spot’ while the other climber hauls. This also means there is no need for the lower climber to keep adjusting their lead rope back-up.

- Space hauling while wearing all the rack you just cleaned from the pitch is difficult. It is often better to finish cleaning the pitch and deposit the rack at the belay before you help with the haul.

How To Climb a Big Wall – Hauling (Part 2)

This 'big wall hauling' article is part of the book - Big Wall and Aid Climbing.

VDiff big wall aid climbing book

Docking the Haulbag

Once the haulbag is at the belay, you'll need to 'dock' it. This means attaching the haulbag to the belay in such a way that it is secure and can also be released easily.

Step 1
Attach a screwgate to the main anchor point and fasten your docking tether to it with a munter hitch. Tie the knot so that it won’t flip when weighted.

Step 2
Wrap the loose strands neatly around the docking tether beneath the munter hitch and finish off with a reef knot. The friction of these wraps stops the rope sliding through the munter hitch.

munter hitch tie off

Single Strand Docking Tether
If you are using a single strand docking tether, you can dock the bag with a releasable knot such as the munter-mule-overhand.

munter mule overhand

Step 3
Attach your back-up cord to a bolt, making sure there's the right amount of slack in the cord. It will need to be slack enough that the haulbag's weight is fully on the docking tether, but not so slack as to cause shock-loading if the docking tether were to unfasten itself. It can be a little tricky to judge exactly how much the docking tether will stretch when loaded. If you prefer, you can attach the back-up cord after step 5. Just don’t forget to do it.

Step 4
Haul a few centimetres of rope through the hauling device whilst flipping up the catch. This releases the auto-lock on the pulley.

how to haul bags on a big wall

Step 5
Lower the haulbag using your GriGri until it is weighted on its docking tether. If your haulbag is super heavy, brace yourself so you don't get sucked in to the pulley. Check that:
- The docking tether is fastened tight (push the wraps of cord together neatly)
- The haulbag’s weight is completely on the docking tether
- The back-up cord has the correct amount of slack – adjust it now if not

how to attach haulbag to anchor

Step 6
The hauling pulley and GriGri can now be removed. The haul rope can be removed too if you:
- need to sort out a rope tangle.
- prefer to swap ends of the haul rope.
- need to tie the haulbag into a different part of the rope to haul the next pitch.

Otherwise, you can simply leave it attached where it is. If you remove the haul rope, make sure to attach the end of it securely to the belay so it cannot fall irretrievably out of reach.

how to attach haul bag to belay

Classic Mistake
Docking the haulbag over a tie-in knot. Manipulating this knot out of the carabiner will be a herculean task. Haul the bag up again and dock it somewhere better.

attach hauling bag to belay

Classic Mistake
Docking the haulbag on the back-up cord. You dock the haulbag, but the back-up cord takes some or all of the weight. This isn’t an immediate problem, but when it comes to hauling the next pitch you will have a great deal of difficulty releasing the haulbag.

To solve the problem:
1) Flip the catch back down on the hauling device
2) Mini-haul a short distance to unweight the back-up cord
3) Adjust the back-up cord appropriately
4) Lower the haulbag onto the docking tether

how to put the haulbag on the belay


Releasing the Haulbag

When the leader has set up the hauling system at the upper belay, the belayer will need to release the haulbag from the lower belay. If communication is difficult, wait for the bags to be hauled up a bit to confirm that the leader has actually got the hauling device setup and ready. Visualize where the haulbag will go when you release it.

The haulbag will need to be lowered out slowly to avoid damaging its contents. Having a gallon of gatorade explode into your sleeping bag is not fun. On straight-up pitches, you can simply unfasten the docking tether. To lower the haulbag on a traversing pitch (most pitches traverse a little), you’ll need to use the remaining haul rope as a lower-out. Both methods are described on the following pages.

Releasing Haulbags on a Straight-Up Pitch

Step 1
Once the leader confirms that the hauling system is set up, you can make your final checks and then remove the back-up sling.

Step 2
Tell your partner you are ‘releasing the haulbag’, so they know to begin hauling. Begin unfastening the docking tether so you are just left with the munter hitch. Keep a firm grip on the docking tether as you do this.

hauling how to use docking tether on haulbags

Single Strand Docking Tether
If using a single strand docking tether with a munter-mule-overhand, release the knot as shown so you are left with a munter hitch.

munter mule overhand knot

Step 3
Release the munter hitch slowly until the haulbag’s weight is transferred to the haul rope (the haulbag may already be weighting the rope if your partner has begun hauling). The haulbag is now free from the lower belay and ready to haul.


Top Tip
If you can reach, tuck the docking tether and back-up sling away into the top part of the haulbag to help prevent them being abraded during the haul.

lower out haulbag

Releasing Haulbags on a Traversing Pitch

If your docking tether isn’t long enough to lower out the haulbag, you can utilize the haul rope too.

Step 1
Allow the leader to pull up a few meters of haul rope (so they have enough to begin hauling) and then tie the haulbag in with an alpine butterfly. Remember to slide the knot protector above this.

Step 2
Use the loose end of the haul rope to tie a munter hitch to the belay. Tie this to the side of the belay so the taught haul line does not rub across you and the belay as you lower it out.

how to lower out a haul bag

Step 3
Stack the haul rope so it will feed out smoothly and remove any knots (including the figure-8 from the end). Knots will get stuck in the munter hitch and probably also get stuck in cracks when you haul.

Step 4
Keep a firm grip on the haul rope and release the docking tether as described on the previous pages. The haulbag will then be weighted on the haul rope's munter hitch.

hauling a bag

Step 5
Lower the haulbag out slowly on this munter hitch. When you reach the end of the rope, just let it drop.

how do climbers use haulbags


Hauling Low-Angled Terrain

Hauling up slabby ground (e.g: the final pitch) is much more difficult due to the added friction. To make it easier:

Space Haul
Follow these steps and make sure to be backed up with the lead rope. The lower climber should stay with the bags to guide them around obstacles and loose rock.

Split the Load
Divide your stuff into two or three more manageable loads and haul them separately. For example, haul the portaledge, rack bag and poop tube as the first load. Then abseil down and attach the main haulbag as the second load.

how to haul a haulbag

Shuttle Gear
On low-angled loose ground, you can reduce the chances of dislodging rocks by fixing the pitch and jumaring up with a bag on your back, or with stuff clipped to your harness. You’ll probably have to make several trips but it may be the easiest way, depending on the terrain.

Tag LInes

A tag line can be used to help reduce weight on the back of your harness while leading (essential for free climbing). Tag lines are full length static ropes which are typically 5.5-8mm in diameter. Trailing a 5.5mm tag line (~ 1kg) is much easier than trailing a fat single rope (~ 5.5kg) – you’ll notice the difference towards the top of the pitch. While being very light, tag lines are fairly redundant – they cannot be used for jumaring, leading or heavy hauling.

Step 1
Trail the tag line instead of a haul rope while leading.

Step 2
Once you have finished leading the pitch, the belayer attaches the haul rope and anchor kit to the tag line. For long heavy hauls it’s nice to pass up water and snacks at this point too.

Step 3
The leader pulls up the tag line to retrieve the haul rope and gear. This can be pulled up hand-over-hand if you’re confident that you won’t drop it, or by using a locking pulley such as the Petzl Micro Traxion (only works with thicker tag lines). If using a rack bag, you could pass this up now too to reduce cluster and weight when hauling the main load.

how to haul when climbing a big wall

Stuck Haulbags

If your haulbags get stuck (which they probably will), stop hauling and see what the problem is (if you can see them). Don’t force it – this might make the situation worse as your haulbag wedges itself farther up into a chimney or loose flake. If you can’t see what the problem is, first try wiggling and pushing out on the tensioned haul rope. The slight change in rope angle might be all that’s needed to release it. If that doesn’t work, lower them a short amount and try again.


Step 1
Open the catch.

hauling bags on a big wall

Step 2
Lower the haulbag.

how to haul on a big wall

Step 3
Close the catch.


If that doesn’t work, someone will need to go down and manhandle them. In most cases, your partner will be close by and able to swing over. If not (e.g: because it’s a traverse), you’re better off waiting until they’ve finished cleaning the pitch. They can then descend on the lead rope to sort it out.

how to haul


Hauling Past a Knot

Times when you may need to haul past a knot include:
- If you fix a few pitches with two or more ropes tied together.
- If you fasten a knot (alpine butterfly works best) to isolate a damaged section of the haul rope.

The following method works for 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1 haul setups.


Step 1
Haul the load until the knot is just below the hauling device.

how to haul past a knot in the rope

Step 2
Attach an inverted jumar approximately 60cm below the knot and add a back-up as shown.

hauling past knots

Step 3
Release the hauling device so the weight is transferred to the jumar.

hauling past a knot in the rope

Step 4
Extend the hauling setup with a sling and reassemble it so the knot is past the device.

haul past a knot

Step 5
Check the system. Then remove the back-up and jumar, and continue hauling.

how to haul past a knot

Flagging the Portaledge

For harder routes with time-consuming pitches, it is much more pleasant to belay from the comfort of a portaledge than to be crunched up on a belay seat. When it is time to haul, you can leave the portaledge fully set up and ‘flag’ it as shown.

Simply clip the corners and middle of your portaledge around the haul rope, making sure to clip the portaledge’s main point around the rope too. By clipping around the haul rope (not to the haulbag) the portaledge is free to spin around independently of the haulbag, and is therefore less likely to cause problems during the haul, especially if it’s windy. Tie pieces of 6mm cord to the corners of your portaledge to create clip-in points, if it doesn’t already have them.

Flagging works best on vertical or overhanging terrain. On slabby ground, your portaledge will likely get stuck, damaged and could dislodge loose rock.

flagging a portaledge

Un-flagging the Portaledge at the Top Anchor
In high winds, a flagged ledge will behave perfectly… until the moment you remove it from the haul line. Attach a back-up sling so you can’t drop your portaledge and have a plan of where you will put it while you complete the final part of the haul. If it’s super windy, slide it behind the tensioned haul rope to tame it until the haulbags are docked.

Big Wall Hauling- Summary

Hauling is hard work, but it gets much easier with practise. Practise at your local crag, climbing wall or large tree. Line your haulbag with cardboard or foam mats and fill it with rocks and water bottles. Start with a light weight first (20-30kg) to get used to the different systems and then add more weight to simulate what you will take on your chosen climb. Figure out exactly where to position yourself for each system and focus on developing a smooth rhythm that you can sustain for quite a while. Haul with your bodyweight, not by pulling with your arms. Practise makes perfect.

Self Rescue > Hauling Your Partner

This hauling your partner article is part of the book - The Trad Climber's Guide To Problem Solving.

VDiff trad climbing self rescue book

This section describes methods of hauling your partner up part of a climb.

Times when you may need to set up a hauling system include:
- Assisting your partner through a short crux.
- If your partner falls while following a steep pitch and is left dangling in space.
- During a multi-pitch rescue for an injured climber, where descending would be more difficult or dangerous.

In most cases, it is easier for the follower to prusik up the rope than it is for the leader to haul them. However, hauling may be the best option if they are injured or cannot use prusiks.

Warning – Unconscious Climber
Dragging a climber up a cliff may cause additional injuries. If the climber is unconscious, they should not be hauled unless directly attended. If a long or complicated haul is required, utilizing search and rescue professionals is usually the best course of action.

Mechanical Advantage

The hauling systems in this section are described using their mechanical advantage. A 3:1 means that for every three meters of rope that you haul, your partner moves up one meter. With a 6:1, six meters of rope must be hauled to move your partner one meter.

In theory, a 3:1 is three times easier than just pulling on the rope (1:1). In reality, improvised hauling systems are fraught with inefficiencies, creating a significant difference between theoretical and actual mechanical advantage. This is primarily due to friction around carabiners and stretch in the rope (explained here). Taking this into consideration, a 3:1 setup is still a simple and effective solution for many situations.



Hauling Your Partner – Drop Line 1:1

Best Use
- Assisting your partner through a short crux near the top of a pitch

Advantages
- Simple

Disadvantages
- Only possible when the climber is less than 1/3 of the rope length from the belayer
- Must be able to drop a rope to the climber easily. Getting your rope stuck will add more problems

Step 1
Tie off your belay device so you can go hands-free.

mule overhand belay device

Step 2
Attach the standing end of the rope to the master point. Often it already is depending on your belay setup.

Step 3
Lower the rope stack to the climber.

rock climbing belay setup

Step 4
Release your tied off belay device. They can now pull on the standing end of the rope while you belay them up – they do all the hard work! Make sure the climber pulls on the correct side of the rope. You could also pre-tie some loops in the rope so it is easier for them to pull.

rock climbing trad belay

Hauling Your Partner – Drop Line 2:1 / 3:1

Best Use
- Assisting your partner through a short crux near the top of a pitch when belaying in guide mode

Advantages
- Simple

Disadvantages
- Only possible when the climber is less than 1/3 of the rope length from the belayer
- Must be able to drop a rope to the climber easily. Getting your rope stuck will add more problems

Step 1
Attach a screwgate to the rope stack and lower it down to the climber.

Step 2
The climber clips this to their belay loop.

Step 3
Tie a back up knot (such as a figure-8) to the anchor. This back up knot should be adjusted every few meters.

Step 4
The climber pulls down (with a 2:1 advantage) while the belayer pulls up (with a 3:1 advantage).

self rescue how to haul your partner guide mode

Hauling Your Partner – Simple 3:1

Best Use
- Hauling your partner through a crux when passing the rope to them is not possible

Advantages
- Only requires a few meters of rope to set up

Disadvantages
- The climber cannot assist


Step 1
If belaying from your harness, you’ll need to escape the belay.

Step 2
Tie a prusik on the weighted rope and clip it to the master point with a screwgate (depending on how you escaped the system, you may already have this).

self rescue hauling your partner

Step 3
Tie another prusik to the weighted rope as far down as you can reach. Clip this to the loose brake strand with a screwgate (Use a pulley here if you have one).


Step 4
Connect the rope to the master point with a screwgate as shown.


Step 5
Tie a back up knot (such as a figure-8) in the slack rope and attach this to the anchor.

self rescue how to haul your partner

Step 6
Transfer the load onto the upper prusik by slowly unfastening the munter-mule. Make sure you keep hold of the brake rope from now on.


Step 7
Remove the carabiner which the munter-mule was tied to. Pull in all slack.


Step 8
You are now ready to haul. Keep one hand over the upper prusik to maintain its position while pulling upwards on the rope. (Make sure the prusik does not get sucked through the carabiner)

self rescue hauling your partner

Step 9
The lower prusik will eventually join the upper prusik. At this point you will need to reset it. With the weight on the upper prusik, push the lower prusik down the rope as far as you can.

This would be a good time to re-tie your back-up knot (Tie a new one before untying the old one). Repeat as necessary.


Step 10
When your partner is able to continue climbing, re-attach your belay device and remove the prusiks.

self rescue how to haul your partner

Hauling Your Partner – 3:1 Tips

Self-Sliding Prusik
If an ATC is available, you can add it to the master point during Step 4.

The ATC will not add friction, but it can help to prevent the upper prusik from getting sucked through the carabiner.

self rescue hauling your partner

Downwards Hauling
If pulling upwards is difficult, you can re-direct the rope through the anchor to change the hauling direction. This will allow you to more easily put your weight into the haul.

The disadvantage is that it adds more friction to the system without adding any mechanical advantage.

self rescue hauling your partner

Hauling Your Partner – 3:1 with Guide Mode

You can easily set up a 3:1 system if you are belaying directly from the anchor in guide mode.

Advantages
- Quick to set up. There is no need to escape the belay or attach the upper prusik

Disadvantages
- Adds more friction to the system


Step 1
Attach a prusik to the rope as previously described.

Step 2
You are now ready to haul.

self rescue hauling guide mode belay

Hauling Your Partner – 3:1 with a Garda Hitch

A garda hitch is an improvised ratchet pulley.

Advantages
- Eliminates the need for the upper prusik

Disadvantages
- Adds more friction to the system
- The garda hitch is almost impossible to release when loaded. It is essentially a one-way hitch


Step 1
Instead of tying a munter-mule when escaping the system, tie a garda hitch with a back-up as shown.

Step 2
Attach a prusik to the rope as previously described, and you are ready to haul.

garda hitch alpine clutch

Hauling Your Partner – 3:1 from Your Harness

The same system can be set up from your harness.

Advantages
- Can be used with non-cordelette belay setups
- No need to escape the belay

Disadvantages
- The weight of the climber hanging from your harness can be uncomfortable
- Your range of motion is restricted. Pulling the rope and adjusting prusiks is much more difficult


Step 1
Tie-off your belay device to get hands-free.

Step 2
Follow steps 2-10 of 'Simple 3:1'.

self rescue hauling your partner 3:1

Hauling Your Partner – Adding More Advantage

Endless variations are possible by adding more prusiks, slings and carabiners. Two of the most common systems are shown below.

5:1 System

A 3:1 can be converted into a 5:1 by adding a sling and 2 carabiners.

5:1 hauling

9:1 System

A 3:1 can be converted into a 9:1 by adding 2 carabiners and a prusik.

9:1 hauling

Hauling Your Partner – Forces, Friction and Efficiency

Forces on the Anchor
Mechanical advantage hauling systems place increased forces on your anchor. If you continue hauling with something stuck (e.g: a prusik or carabiner gets caught in a crack), the forces on the anchor increase exponentially.

Don’t force the haul if it feels like something is stuck. It may be wise to beef up your anchor with more gear prior to hauling.

Friction
More friction means harder hauling. Friction is increased by:
- More weight on the rope
- More carabiners in the system
- Rope running over more surfaces

In a simple 3:1 setup, the weighted rope runs around 2 carabiners. This is the minimum number for a 3:1 haul, and therefore this system has the least friction.

Creating a 5:1 or a 9:1 may not necessarily make the haul easier, especially if your anchor is built on the ground and the rope is zigzagging over rough rock. Not only does this generate a lot of friction, it also means that you will have to haul five (or nine) meters of rope to get your partner one meter up.

Depending on how far you can reach to reset the prusiks, you may only get your partner up a few inches between each reset. If set up on an awkward stance, it could literally take hours to haul a person half a rope length.

Carabiner and Pulley Efficiency
Pulleys significantly reduce friction in hauling systems, but are rarely taken on climbs because they are unlikely to ever get used.

A good compromise is the DMM Revolver Carabiner which features a tiny pulley. It reduces friction and can be used as a normal carabiner too.

dmm revolver carabiner

Hauling Your Partner – Summary

Keeping your system simple, straight and away from unnecessary friction will help more than adding mechanical advantage to an inefficient system.

If you can throw some rope to your partner, the drop line techniques will be quickest. If not, a 3:1 will be the next best option. It is often more efficient to pull harder on a 3:1 than it is to add carabiners (and friction) to set up a 9:1. Only add more mechanical advantage if you need it.

Complicated belays and loose rock on belay ledges can add more problems than a hauling setup may solve. Consider alternative solutions (such as lowering your partner, or getting them to prusik up) before you set up a hauling system.