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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
big, steep, windy abseils 4-Jan-2011 At 9:08:16 AM wombly
On a recent trip down to Rutger Hauer in the Grose we were confronted with a ~50 m abseil pitch in very windy conditions (50+ km/hr).

The wall is initially pretty vertical with a collection of those fantastically sharp ironstone edges for about 10 m, steepens into a free hanging rap for about 30 m, then returns to the wall just in time to make the second rap station.

To avoid having the ropes whip along the wall in the wind and get stuck on a snag somewhere out of reach, I chose to rap with the ropes coiled in a couple of slings hanging off the harness. I'd been concentrating on avoiding rope tangles, and not bouncing around too much when I noticed I was being blown back and forward along the cliff by the gale. Not a particularly friendly realisation when you're 20 m from the rim of a 200 m cliff, can't quite reach back into the wall, and more than a little anxious about the integrity of the 8 mm ropes being sawed by the ironstone edges. The crisis was averted at the time by hustling down to the point where I could again reach the wall and anchor in with a cam, but not before encountering a fairly large rope tangle courtesy of the rope butterflied in slings arrangement.

This near catastraf#ck will make me consider placing re-belays on steep, windy abseils in future to avoid ending up in a hanging belay situation. Anyone else have a better plan?

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