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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 28
Author
Descending off Multipitch?
Grega
18/09/2010
5:35:54 PM
Want some advice, am beginner climber in Melbourne at hardrock (3 weeks). I have read a book to learn the ropes (pun intended).

In 'traditional' climbing, when you do a 'multi-pitch', with a single rope, how does one descend? If the route calls for three sections which are each 50 or 60m long, and the group has one rope, does this mean they can descend only 30m at a time on the rope doubled over?

I do not understand how this can work, if anchors spots are normally at end of section (pitch?), does this mean you have to leave equipment to rappel off every 30m or so? Does this mean you have to leave gear on cliff every time you climb a multi-pitch traditional climb? Or do you hang rope around knob of rock? What if there is no knob of rock?

Or do you always have to carry two ropes on multi-pitch climbing, one to climb and another to rappel? In John Longs book it says two ropes are only for specialists and experienced climbers, so how does a beginner with only one rope descend, without leaving equipment on the cliff?
egosan
18/09/2010
6:11:20 PM
Most multi-pitch climbs have a walk off or other alternate decent. The climbs that require 40 or 50 rappels are few are far between. Those that do are typically noted in the guide book.
hargs
18/09/2010
6:19:30 PM
egosan, why do you taunt them so? Grega, welcome... useful information will eventually be forthcoming, however -- much like descending long routes -- the trick is working out which bits are helping and which bits are leading you astray.
singersmith
18/09/2010
6:23:21 PM

>In 'traditional' climbing, when you do a 'multi-pitch', with a single
>rope, how does one descend? If the route calls for three sections which
>are each 50 or 60m long, and the group has one rope, does this mean they
>can descend only 30m at a time on the rope doubled over?
>

Yes. Rarely do you descend the same way you ascended. Walk off whenever possible, most accidents happen on the descent.

>I do not understand how this can work, if anchors spots are normally at
>end of section (pitch?), does this mean you have to leave equipment to
>rappel off every 30m or so? Does this mean you have to leave gear on cliff
>every time you climb a multi-pitch traditional climb? Or do you hang rope
>around knob of rock? What if there is no knob of rock?
>
Often one or two abseil routes serve an entire cliff. And yes, when you rappel it is off gear that is "fixed" or left in place; sometimes bolts, sometimes rock gear, sometimes a tree.

>Or do you always have to carry two ropes on multi-pitch climbing, one
>to climb and another to rappel? In John Longs book it says two ropes are
>only for specialists and experienced climbers, so how does a beginner with
>only one rope descend, without leaving equipment on the cliff?

Second rope for beginners if you are hauling a pack, on a long route and might need to bail, or will need two ropes for the abseil route as would be noted in the guide book.

nmonteith
18/09/2010
6:24:24 PM
In Australia there is very very little multi-pitch climbing that requires you to descend via abseil down the same face you climbed up. Almost all of our cliffs have an easy walking track descent down the back side. If you have to descend the cliff via abseil there is usually a set of absiel anchors that are shared with many climbs on the same cliff. Its bad form to absield down the same route you went up - as there is a high chance someone else might be climbing it after you - so you would be abseiling over people trying to climb! In Europe and America this does happen - but that's because the cliffs are more crowded and usually more involved because they have actual real mountains.

Climbing with double ropes is very common for multi-pitch climbing and are not an advanced skill in my opinion. Both ropes are usually a smaller diameter (ie 8mm intsead of 11mm) so it isn't as heavy as you might imagine. The double ropes can be used to absiel a full 50m pitch. They also have other advantages. For example if one rope gets cut or damaged then you have a backup rope. Another option is to use one rope to haul up the daypack full of water/food/shoes and one rope to lead on.

I strongly advise getting some in person tuition from a guide or experienced climber before putting any of this in to practice!
egosan
18/09/2010
6:30:08 PM
Upon rereading my response I can see why it might lead to confusion. I cannot however be fcuked to fix it.

I am headed into my turps. Have a good night.


On 18/09/2010 hargs wrote:
>egosan, why do you taunt them so? Grega, welcome... useful information
>will eventually be forthcoming, however -- much like descending long routes
>-- the trick is working out which bits are helping and which bits are leading
>you astray.

Eduardo Slabofvic
Online Now
18/09/2010
6:46:54 PM
Pretend the two ropes are just 1 rope for the sake of belaying. Join the two ropes together at the anchor and descend. Remember which side of the anchor the knot is on, so you know which one to pull.

A handy hint is get two ropes that are clearly distinguishable from each other. For example, don't get a light green rope and a dark green rope, unless you like having conversations like "Slack on green" or "pull the green one"

IdratherbeclimbingM9
19/09/2010
8:26:07 PM
On 18/09/2010 nmonteith wrote:
>In Australia there is very very little multi-pitch climbing that requires
>you to descend via abseil down the same face you climbed up. Almost all
>of our cliffs have an easy walking track descent down the back side. If
>you have to descend the cliff via abseil there is usually a set of absiel
>anchors that are shared with many climbs on the same cliff.

True, but a couple of examples come to my mind in the Warrumbungles, & even though the descents are common to many climbs, you will still need double 50m ropes for Belougery Spire and Crater Bluff, ... however I have been there with other climbers, and to save weight we climbed as two teams of two people (on different routes), but with each pair only using one rope. We then combined on top and all descended on the 'combined' doubled ropes.
rockranga
20/09/2010
2:50:30 PM
>I strongly advise getting some in person tuition from a guide or experienced
>climber before putting any of this in to practice!

We did a personalised course a number of years ago, it took a weekend and was hella fun! The guide new the best spots and had extensive knowledge of the 'do's and don'ts'. I can't remember what it cost us but i think it was about $400 for two people for the full two days. Money well spent really as the knowledge we gained that weekend has been invaluable ever since. Could have paid double and I'd still be happy.

I've since read a number of 'how to' guides and they make sense but it's pretty easy to misunderstand the written word when you have no foundation to work on.

Happy climbing!!

..::- Chris -::..
20/09/2010
3:34:16 PM
On 18/09/2010 hargs wrote:
>egosan, why do you taunt them so? Grega, welcome... useful information
>will eventually be forthcoming, however -- much like descending long routes
>-- the trick is working out which bits are helping and which bits are leading
>you astray.

Options I am yet to explore but would recommend to any new climber wanting to get off a 200+ metre cliff:

- basejump
- Really large crash mats
- Huge netting (think Circus)
- Duck Dive into barrel of water
- Wings or any successful flying machine such as those from any Moomba Birdman rally
- Rollerblades or Skateboard (see eHow Website on how to drop in on 200m vert Ramp)
- Call 000
- Get a sherpa to carry you down
- Ask Scotty to Beam you down
- Enter a BlackHole / Wormhole (although sometimes can be hard to located)
- Jump and hopefully straddle a low flying bird and ride it down to the ground Harry Potter style

OK i'm out....

Chris : )
citationx
20/09/2010
3:37:30 PM
On 20/09/2010 rockranga wrote:
>>I strongly advise getting some in person tuition from a guide or experienced
>>climber before putting any of this in to practice!
>
>We did a personalised course a number of years ago, it took a weekend
>and was hella fun! The guide new the best spots and had extensive knowledge
>of the 'do's and don'ts'. I can't remember what it cost us but i think
>it was about $400 for two people for the full two days. Money well spent
>really as the knowledge we gained that weekend has been invaluable ever
>since. Could have paid double and I'd still be happy.
>
>I've since read a number of 'how to' guides and they make sense but it's
>pretty easy to misunderstand the written word when you have no foundation
>to work on.
>
>Happy climbing!!

University clubs are a good, cheap way to learn the ropes. With the advent of Voluntary Student Unionism it's often the case that non-uni members can join the sports assocs and then a club for a relatively cheap fee. to do that at Usyd costs a total of around $100 (about 80 for the sports union and another 20 or so for the club).
From what I remember of Melbourne, RMIT and Melbourne Uni have relatively active climbing clubs...

ajfclark
20/09/2010
3:39:45 PM
You could try the Homer Simpson method... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZc7O-BoGs8

..::- Chris -::..
20/09/2010
4:10:42 PM
On 20/09/2010 ajfclark wrote:
>You could try the Homer Simpson method... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZc7O-BoGs8

Or my personal Favourite from Rambo I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB4Vc2YjGKo

Billie W
20/09/2010
6:47:13 PM
I would without a doubt get some more exsperiance through training and get out as much possible with people who are prepared to help you. Descending is not just setting up an anchor and off you go, defentley dont take anything for granted. Have fun
another dave
20/09/2010
8:56:10 PM
I smell comments about the EDK knot

climbertron
20/09/2010
8:58:10 PM
On 20/09/2010 another dave wrote:
>I smell comments about the EDK knot

EDK knot??????
gfdonc
20/09/2010
9:04:03 PM
European Death Knot. Refers to rapelling off double ropes that are tied together with a single overhand knot.
Some people I know do this but I don't. Never do it with ropes of unequal diameter. Don't do it with wet or icy ropes either.
There we go, I fulfilled another dave's prediction ..
hargs
20/09/2010
9:21:58 PM
Let's suppose you are coming down the way you went up.

If the pitches are 50-60m long and you only have one 60m rope then, yes, you're only going to get 30m down the pitch before arriving at difficulty -- or, as I'dratherbeclimbingM9 might say: before finding a challenge to solve in front of you.

That challenge may take one of several forms: not sailing off the end of the rope is an obvious one -- but a disturbingly common way for climbers (a) to arrive at the base of the cliff and (b) not get up again. More appealing alternatives are finding an intermediate anchor (either pre-placed or natural), or building an intermediate anchor if you can't find one, or getting back up the rope if you can't find or build an anchor -- all of these options require some practical skills.

Finding an anchor usually means finding a suitable tree (and not so much a knob of rock, which is possible, but less likely.) If there are no handy trees then you'll have to build an anchor. Yes, that means sacrificing some gear, although, when you find yourself in a situation like this, you'll be happy to leave all kinds of gear if it means getting back on the deck in one piece. You'll also be a nong, and climbers who aren't nongs will take great pleasure in retrieving your gear. Much cheaper than buying it in shops.

If you find yourself having to go back up the rope, you're going to wish you practiced before you left the ground. I know a guy who was shown how to prusik in the car park at the gap before his first climb. Actually he was shown a prusik loop in the car park at the gap. He tied his first prusik knot dangling off the second pitch The Fear and while he made it out in one piece, it's probably not an ideal way to learn.

A much better alternative is knowing enough about the route you're on to the right gear so you can get down again. As Neil pointed out, climbing with two ropes probably isn't considered an advanced technique by competent climbers, but -- like everything else we're talking about here -- it does require some practical skills. If you're climbing in a party of three, then you'll have two ropes anyway and you can just climb on single ropes. There are all kinds of variations: Alpine climbers sometimes carry one (skinny) climbing rope and one (even skinnier) tag line just so they can descend a full rope-length at a time. Not common on Australian crags, though. Unless you're talking about rap-in crags where you abseil in -- maybe leaving the abseil rope in place -- and climb out, but that's kind of opposite to the problem you originally described.

You get the idea, though: there are lots of ways you can get down and -- as a bunch of other posters pointed out -- most of the time you can (and should) just walk off. But if you're going to use your rope to get down a cliff, get proper tuition first. Anything you read in a book or on the internet doesn't count. Knowledge is one thing, skill is something else -- up there you need both.

Get a competent person to show you. Then get them to make sure you're capable of performing these practical skills, preferably in a controlled environment. (That doesn't mean inside, by the way. You can have a perfectly well-controlled environment outside.) But you don't want to be figuring this sh*t out on your own, or 50m off the ground. If you make a mistake, you'll only have 1.7 seconds to work out what went wrong and that really won't be long enough.
mikllaw
21/09/2010
9:02:45 AM
PM me your Edress and I'll send you 'copious' notes.
Practice everything a few times before you get out somewhere nasty
Assume you're going to die all the time and you probably won't until after you stop climbing
mikl
davepalethorpe
21/09/2010
9:17:14 AM
On 20/09/2010 gfdonc wrote:
>European Death Knot. Refers to rapelling off double ropes that are tied
>together with a single overhand knot.
>Some people I know do this but I don't. Never do it with ropes of unequal
>diameter. Don't do it with wet or icy ropes either.
>There we go, I fulfilled another dave's prediction ..
>

See linked article from black diamond...ropes of unequal diameter are tested here also (10.2 and 8.1mm combination).

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb/qclab/qc-lab-what-is-the-best-rappel-knot

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There are 28 messages in this topic.

 

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