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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 2 of 5. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 87
Author
Abseiling tips, tricks, habits and advice
patto
28/05/2014
5:22:26 PM
I have regularly gone hands free mid rap without a prusik. Wrap the rope around your thigh a few times and it is solid and you are good to go hands free. If you are going to be there for a while or be bouncing around, I tie a knot after the leg wraps to ensure that no matter what happens I am not going anywhere.


I think it is clear from this discussion that there are multiple methods and multiple approaches. Most of us are more than capable with our chosen techniques. However one thing I do notice is than many people who use the leg loop prusik technique are still unaware of its flaws.

rodw
28/05/2014
5:23:28 PM
I tie knots always even if I know it'll hit the boottom...the reason being if it becomes second nature, hopefully I'll just do it naturally at a time when I'm not thinking right...mind you I was showing a mate the other day about setting up abseil for bolting and forgot (he pointed it out) so obviously I'm a slow learner
citationx
28/05/2014
5:51:00 PM
On 28/05/2014 patto wrote:
>On 28/05/2014 citationx wrote:
>>(feel free to disagree it's more safe)
>
>Yet the rest of your post suggests otherwise...

You've clearly missed the sarcasm. But then when someone can't see merit in another's opinion it's usually because they're too uneducated to reason, "my way or the highway" is the usual response, as yours appears to be.
patto
28/05/2014
6:02:12 PM
Citationx, that is a long way from the case. But I'm not going to debate that with you.
Ron McD
28/05/2014
6:16:40 PM
Didn't see the knott block in there?
One Day Hero
28/05/2014
6:20:08 PM
I'm deeply suspicious of people who don't knot the ends of their abseil ropes. This thread is just a little more confirmation that I should never go climbing with patto!

IdratherbeclimbingM9
28/05/2014
7:16:33 PM
On 28/05/2014 patto wrote:
>On 28/05/2014 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>>having the brake hand in front of your stomach is no-where near as efficient
>>as having the rope wrap over your thigh, with your braking hand low and/or
>>behind your body...

>I disagree. Your thigh is a pretty poor friction device. In contrast
>using your belay device how it was intended and ensuring the full 180degree
>position provides the best friction from the device. Try it sometime you'll
>be surprised.

Not.
I agree the majority of friction comes from the acute bend in the abseil device. 11mm ropes in sticht plates are different to 8.6 mm skinnies in atc devices, but the truth remains, that extra bends (including thighs), increase friction.
I have tried the different combinations and know what works for me (inclusive of often abseiling with overloaded haulbags), & I am not about to go against what approximately 50 years of experience has worked for me so far.
~> Stick with your experience & what works for you patto, as I will not negate that.




>>In my opinion clipping off a leg-loop is fine,
>I routinely hear this. Yet I've never heard of a person testing out flipping
>upside down on rope in a controlled environment.

I agree that most don't.
I have.
... And as a consequence, I know what works for me.



>Dare I ask if you have dialed in your autoblock in circumstances where
>your leg loop is higher than you belay loop?

Yes. It happens by default.
For your information, that is likely how you end up with an autoblock locked off when it is attached to a leg loop.
It is not unmanageable, though in truth I have not yet gone unconscious to thoroughly test the theory!

IdratherbeclimbingM9
28/05/2014
7:21:59 PM
On 28/05/2014 martym wrote:
>On 28/05/2014 citationx wrote:
>>(and it's hardly less efficient - how long does it take to tie two knots
>>and untie them? 6 seconds?)
>
>Guess how long does it take to pull knots through:
>- Trees (Tom Thumb)
>- Cracks in the face (Eskimo Nell)
>- Unseen obstrucions (never figured out what it was)
>From personal experience.

I untie the knots before I pull my ropes.
;-)

IdratherbeclimbingM9
28/05/2014
7:25:07 PM
On 28/05/2014 rightarmbad wrote:
>Agree with Patto.
>I rarely use backups of any sort and I think I may have tied knots in
>the ends once.
>Being aware of you surrounds pretty much negates the requirement of backups
>and leaves two hands for primary control of the device.
>
>If the terrain is truly dangerous enough to require backups, then a belay
>from above for the first one down and a belay from below for the last one
>down is quicker, simpler and far superior than any other method.
>
>I truly do look in wonder at the many backup systems promoted and simply
>ask, why?

I used to think that way.
Yes it works.
These days I ask myself, why not? ... though I admit, it is probably old fart mortality being a bit close, that is influencing my thinking!
Heh, heh, heh.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
28/05/2014
7:34:47 PM
On 28/05/2014 patto wrote:
>I have regularly gone hands free mid rap without a prusik. Wrap the rope
>around your thigh a few times and it is solid and you are good to go hands
>free. If you are going to be there for a while or be bouncing around,
>I tie a knot after the leg wraps to ensure that no matter what happens
>I am not going anywhere.
>
I agree (& do the same), but we are talking deliberate stopping mid-abseil here, rather than backing up an 'unintentional' need to stop.
>
>I think it is clear from this discussion that there are multiple methods
>and multiple approaches. Most of us are more than capable with our chosen
>techniques. However one thing I do notice is than many people who use
>the leg loop prusik technique are still unaware of its flaws.

Probably, but not neccessarily more than other-methods flaws!
martym
28/05/2014
8:37:48 PM
On 28/05/2014 One Day Hero wrote:
>I'm deeply suspicious of people who don't knot the ends of their abseil
>ropes.

So let's get back to the original topic: tips for abseiling.
Can we agree there's no such thing as a "typical abseil"?
Are you using one 50m 11mm or 2x60m doubles? An ATC? Stitchy? Rap rack? Two munters? Rope over your shoulder?
Can you see the bottom?
Have you read the guidebook? Do you trust the FA?
Are you using a prussick? Above or below?

We haven't even gotten to how long the bloody abseil is.
lost tazmaniac
29/05/2014
9:11:30 AM
OK.
I have two 9.1mm Ropes (60ms) obviously I don't use both of them (all the time) But on an 50m abseil thats what I'll be using. I use an ATC with a prussik (triple sliding hitch) above the ATC. I typically tie knots in the end, unless- a) I can see the deck, b)more concerned about the rope snagging.
I have seen both methods of prussik arrangements fail.
One lady, coming off Pharoahs with her prussik above the ATC, where the ATC bit the rope and she resorted to cutting the prussik.. to our horror..
Another with prussik below ran it into to the ATC and 'fed' it into the ATC.. and had to be semi rescued..

Typically I'm the first down the rope.. send the more experienced 'abseiler' down the rope to untangle, check, clear ect the line.. especially when it's pitch black and raining.. curious what others think of this ..

Of late I have experienced increased number of climbers who have a fear of abseiling to my surprise... and now have to specifically query new comers to their feelings and skills in relation to abseiling.. The last thing you want is, is to be half way down the abseil, and have one of the party 'bail' and go off to find an alternative way off the cliff.. I was always taught that the party should stay together..

I have tried the munters abseil.. on single and double ropes.. and feel comfortable using it.. and in someways prefer it..

So my top tip.. would be not to judge the person on the tools they use but HOW they approach and manage the risks involved..

kieranl
29/05/2014
10:12:42 AM
On 29/05/2014 lost tazmaniac wrote:
>Typically I'm the first down the rope.. send the more experienced 'abseiler'
>down the rope to untangle, check, clear ect the line.. especially when
>it's pitch black and raining.. curious what others think of this ..
That's also my approach unless I can clearly see that there are no issues. That does however leave the less experienced party to deal with any unexpected issues at the top. I once in NZ had my less experienced partner, after removing the backup (which was taking no weight) to our snowstake anchor and weighting the rope, see the snowstake move dramatically and almost pull out. Instead of getting their weight off the rope, which was possible, and replacing the backup, they continued down the abseil and arrived gibbering.

Macciza
29/05/2014
2:02:23 PM
Yep, If safe and practical experienced people first, with second person pre rigged . . .
If not sometimes it is better to lower, or top belay the less experienced person

Generally don't bother with prusik backup most of the time, when I do, usually above the device and at a fair distance . ..

My top tip - if you correctly clip a Figure of Eight wrongly it becomes an auto-lock device . .
Also if you prefer ATCs but only have a GriGri you can just clip in backwards - just don't forget, or else add a prusik backup . . .

Also do you think some sort of similar system to apply the handbrake if you foot slips on the pedal would be a good safety addition to cars - maybe a prusik on the handle, redirected through a stainless ring and pulley on the roof and attached to the knee??
Ron McD
29/05/2014
9:11:58 PM
tie an knott in the 1 inch webbing and jam it.
stuart h
29/05/2014
9:58:45 PM
I post pretty rarely and generally just to answer questions about alpine climbing. Further, I think rock climbing is really a pretty safe activity (I think alpine climbing is safe enough although probably not the healthiest hobby you could take up) but some of the comments in this discussion and the linked thread are disturbing enough to make me type.

In simple terms, people who die abseiling are commonly killed 1 of 3 ways:

1) not connecting to the abseil
2) rappelling off the end of the rope(s)
3) anchor failure

The next source of death is probably:
4) getting stuck on the abseil (exposure)

The various options for autoblock backups are convenient for organising rope management issues and would usually probably hold you in place if you let go of the rope for some reason. My understanding is that research has indicated that they are not effective at avoiding rappelling off the ends of the rope.

About a dozen deaths are reported each year in "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" from causes 1 & 2. Interestingly they are overwhelmingly cragging accidents rather than occurring in serious alpine contexts (where a range of complicating factors can be in play & where you are often doing multiple long rappels). No doubt similar accident rates occur in Europe.

I am unaware of deaths (no doubt some have occurred) from people losing control on an abseil and experiencing an uncontrolled (but otherwise properly connected) slide to the end of the rope/ground (it would be nicer to be on two strands rather than one the day you test this out).

The overwhelming majority of abseiling deaths would be prevented if people 1) load their abseil system before detaching from the anchor &2) have knots in the end of the ropes, (I don't bother if I can see them both on the ground) & most importantly, 3) do 1&2 every time.

An autoblock can be a very useful part of an abseil system; however, in the discussion of what is likely to keep you alive / save your life while abseiling in a steep multi-pitch environment, they are well down my list.

Everyone says that they will exercise care and not abseil off the ends of their ropes. Several people have posted it here. There are times when the complications of terrain and conditions mean that I choose not to knot rope ends, but this is very, very rare (and would probably be better addressed by lowering). It remains a fact, however, that a significant number of climbers die each year abseiling off the ends of their ropes.

As a child I had to mow the lawn. One day I went to do it in bare feet. My father stopped me and told me I had to put my boots on. I said I didn't need to because I wasn't going to mow over my own feet. He said, "Well, that's alright then, because that ward full of blokes in PANCH hospital, they all planned to do it."

This is the most valuable lesson I ever received.

Take Care (but don't waste time doing it)

s


Macciza
29/05/2014
11:12:55 PM
Well said . . .
When I learnt to abseil it was with diaper seatbelt harness and crossed-biners on 3 strand rope - and we learnt 3 things, its fun, it dangerous, gravity really sucks and the earth is hard . . . Usually in that order come to think of it . . .

Don't get me wrong here - I don't do it for fun these days, and it can be done safely but it is still inherently dangerous, kinda like crossing streets in the Sydney CBD . . But safety comes from knowing its dangerous and be vigilant against it - not by thinking that you have somehow made it safe and end up being complacent . .

and over the years I guess there have been situations where I have actually abseiled of the end of my rope for various reasons, mainly due to the fact that it was a bit short . . .

Anyway, another tip: Aiders,slings, daisies, even draws can all be handy to extend a rope in various circumstances and for various reasons, when necessary . . .
mikllaw
30/05/2014
9:09:56 AM
I like a hint I saw in SuperTopo: The first person down does a rope pul once they are safe and off abseil. Seeing the rope move tells you they are safe and off abseil, no yelling required. if the rope doesn't move after some time and you can feel pulling, you know to fix it before you bail.
Will_P
30/05/2014
11:50:08 AM
Stuart H, your (rare) posts are always appreciated - sound, solid advice given in a direct but comprehensive way.
martym
30/05/2014
12:31:40 PM
On 30/05/2014 mikllaw wrote:
>I like a hint I saw in SuperTopo: The first person down does a rope pul
>once they are safe and off abseil. Seeing the rope move tells you they
>are safe and off abseil, no yelling required. if the rope doesn't move
>after some time and you can feel pulling, you know to fix it before you
>bail.

If it looks like the rope could snag - eg. Mirror Ball Rap - I go down last & have the first person hold the ropes, then I slide some of the "unknoted" rope side through the belay while holding firm on the "pull" rope. Sounds dodgy - but under weight the ropes don't move quick at all; and it allows me to guide the rope past obstructions till I'm confident the knot is past any major snags. This has definitely reduced difficulty retrieving the ropes.

Obviously won't work if the rope ends are just off the ground - needs to be at least 5-10m on the ground. Hence needing the fireman's belay at the bottom.

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