Monster5 wrote:Oh god. Before this turns into yet another unguided vs guided debate:
The article discusses feature-less snow/ice slopes, which, as I said above, I think is a bad place to short rope. It's harder to get a quick, solid stance or terrain belay and you don't want to be that close to your partner in the event of a fall requiring an axe arrest, else you both will likely end up in a crevasse.
Yes, I understand quite well what the limitations of the tests are. I agree, that it's a bad place to short rope, but as far as the dynamics of the system are concerned, this is often the best case scenario for short roping because the client is likely to slip (and not suffer a 5th class fall) and the guide is in the best place to counter the force of the slip (directly above the client). And yet even in this case, unless it's very low angle, the guide cannot counter the force enough to keep the client from slipping.
On Pyramid for example, while the rock will provide significantly more friction than the glacier, the overall angle of the rock is significantly greater. Worse, the guide will almost certainly NOT be in an ideal position for belaying. There's no way that short roping is remotely safe in this scenario.
Rock, however, has far more opportunities to plug a piece in, sling a horn, terrain belay, waist belay from a solid stance, and so forth. From personal experience, short-roping (which I always felt goes hand-in-hand with the "short-pitching" mentioned above) with proper care is capable of stopping slips. If a significant fall is possible, plug a piece in or wrap the rope around a horn, etc, taking all slack out of the rope. Or just pitch it out or switch to simul (difficulty/skill dependent). A competent party/lead/guide should be able to switch between all three techniques (short-roping/short-pitching, simul, pitched climbing) easily and efficiently and as the route/experience demands.
I'm not disagreeing. Short-pitching is fine. But by definition short roping typically does not include placing protection.
I'm not arguing for or against guiding. I can see the advantages of having a guide in some cases, but just because a guide does something does not make it inherently safe.