How can I graduate from single to multiple pitch climbs?

I have been sport climbing for many years, both indoors and out, but have only ever tried single pitch climbs. I would like to learn multiple pitch climbing, but have no idea how you manage the transition.

2 Answers

So, as no-one has answered, I thought I’d pop up some of the info I found in my research.

It doesn’t seem to matter much whether the leader continues or whether you swap leads, however leading for a couple of pitches and then swapping may get your hand in with placing anchors on that climb. Weigh this up against fatigue.

The key piece for all multi-pitch climbs is rope handling at each belay point – this is where some additional techniques and practices come into play:

From Petzl’s guidance:

Everyone should be directly or indirectly clipped to 2 separate
anchors (using locking carabiners). Attaching the climbing rope with a
clove-hitch to the anchor allows for simple adjustments so there’s no
slack in the system. Never rely on a single carabiner at the belay

A sling between the two belay points with a central carabiner allows for equal weight distribution and safety.

two equalised belay points and sling

Two aspects I had not considered at all – where to prepare the rope for the next climb (if you let it hang it will catch, so you need to coil somehow, but on a narrow ledge your options are limited – go for hooking through a carabiner or over your fixed rope) and where to place your first clip on the next climb (this is important, as your 2 belay point anchors will not be set to withstand a fall from above)

Another quick comment from advises thinking about where you stand at belay points depending on whether you are left or right handed to make rope handling as easy as possible on the climb.

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