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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 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

sbm
28/05/2014
12:13:44 PM
I've tried to put a good article on this stuff for the UNSW outdoors club. It was originally sparked by the abseiling death in Katoomba last summer.

Safer abseiling

Safer abseiling instruction

Thought it was about time to stick it up here and get (provoke?) feedback. I've already had constructive criticism like "be harsher towards incompetent canyoners and make fun of them more".
patto
28/05/2014
12:59:14 PM
I didn't really read all of it. But I was glad that you included what I see as one of the biggest issues in the way people use autoblocks. Clipping the autoblock to your leg loops is a terrible idea. Yet everybody seems to do it.
martym
28/05/2014
1:02:33 PM
On 28/05/2014 patto wrote:
>I didn't really read all of it. But I was glad that you included what
>I see as one of the biggest issues in the way people use autoblocks. Clipping
>the autoblock to your leg loops is a terrible idea. Yet everybody seems
>to do it.
Yeah I'm not a big fan - I clip above the device - long prussick - gets annoying, but I would prefer it there than jammed in my device with my leg twisted.

This is an interesting comment:
"A tip from Mike Law for windy abseils, is to weight the ends of the rope by tying something heavy to the end, e.g. some climbing rack."

I couldn't think of a worse way to grapple hook your ropes somewhere inaccessible... Does Mike wanna chime in?
Personally I never tie knots in the bottom - I understand why people do and respect that choice - for me - having had to haul half or the whole rope up from a tangled drop so many times - I just don't want to add to the issues. I use a prussick as mentioned above.
martym
28/05/2014
1:07:26 PM
On 28/05/2014 sbm wrote:
>I've tried to put a good article on this stuff for the UNSW outdoors club.
>It was originally sparked by the abseiling death in Katoomba last summer.
>
>Safer
>abseiling
>
>Safer
>abseiling instruction
>
>Thought it was about time to stick it up here and get (provoke?) feedback.
>I've already had constructive criticism like "be harsher towards incompetent
>canyoners and make fun of them more".

Good stuff Sam - do you mind if I pass this on to the UTS crew?

While they both seem really good (admit I didn't read them all the way) I definitely prefer your style & layout on the shorter "Instructor's" page. The general abseiling one just seems overwhelming to me and less likely to be read...

I always aim for:
  • A picture/graph/diagram for every point

  • Separated headings; textboxes & other Eye Catching techniques.

  • Minimal use of paragraphs - try to keep it punchy


Otherwise a good effort worth reading!
martym
28/05/2014
1:10:09 PM
Oh, and this article was awesome - good find!
patto
28/05/2014
1:18:20 PM
On 28/05/2014 martym wrote:
>Personally I never tie knots in the bottom - I understand why people do
>and respect that choice - for me - having had to haul half or the whole
>rope up from a tangled drop so many times - I just don't want to add to
>the issues. I use a prussick as mentioned above.

I completely agree. I very rarely tie knots in the end of the rope. But given the number of times people manage to kill/injure themselves by abseiling off the end of their rope it is understandable. However the big issue is not watching where you are going, if you aren't doing this then you are doing it wrong.

A month ago I led a few friends down a big canyon. A couple of them had learnt their skills elsewhere and did find it kinda odd that i didn't tie knots and didn't often use a prussik. By the end of the canyon they had adjusted their thinking, especially on tying knots in the end!

Sabu
28/05/2014
1:47:36 PM
On 28/05/2014 martym wrote:
>"A tip from Mike Law for windy abseils, is to weight the ends of the rope
>by tying something heavy to the end, e.g. some climbing rack."
>
>I couldn't think of a worse way to grapple hook your ropes somewhere inaccessible...
>Does Mike wanna chime in?

One alternative is to coil each rope and then (loosely) sling them to your harness (one on each side). As you rap off you feed out rope from the coils. This negates the need to throw the ropes and risking them ending up in a tangled mess. Worked fairly well last time I tried it.
stuart h
28/05/2014
2:24:11 PM
Brief response: unless you can see both ends lying on the 'ground', not tying knots in the end of the rope strands on an abseil is a very big call. In a multi-pitch context this is a far more useful and important safeguard than some kind of autoblock.
peteclimbs
28/05/2014
2:48:15 PM
Agree that knotting the ends is generally a good idea but I don't see it as an alternative to an autoblock. They serve different functions - knots to stop you dropping off the end of the rope, autoblock to provide a third hand to ensure your rap stays under control and in the event that you have difficult territory to negotiate or anything else that might require your attention (like rope snaggles).

I wasn't really sold on the autoblock thing until I did a fair bit of climbing at West Cape Howe in WA. There's something about rapping off tall sea cliffs when it's blowing 30 knots and you're got very little idea of what's below you that makes you grateful for an autoblock. It's probably most psychological but no less valuable for it IMO.

Just on the setup, I'm not sure why people use the leg loop when you can just clip the prusik into your belay loop, belay device extended away from your body of course.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
Online Now
28/05/2014
3:06:15 PM
A good effort sbm (& co).

On 28/05/2014 peteclimbs wrote:
>Just on the setup, I'm not sure why people use the leg loop when you can
>just clip the prusik into your belay loop, belay device extended away from
>your body of course.

I'd say mostly because it is an inefficient way to use the autoblock prusik.

This is because, provided sufficient wraps are used and the tension is sufficient for it to 'grab' when needed, that this also requires that you control the braking effect with it in your hand while abseiling, ... and 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...

In my opinion clipping off a leg-loop is fine, provided your setup is dialled to a fine tune, AND you test it out in a controlled environment beforehand to become aware of any limitations and re-dial if necessary.
I have done this and will now happily hang off the autoblock. It doesn't twist your body that much and have you hanging off your leg, provided it is set up correctly.



The 60' abseil fall (video), was due to not regrabbing the brake side of the rope once he slipped, and further compounded by the fact that his autoblock was not correctly set up, particularly for wet rope conditions.
Dare I say, it was probably applied by having read about it on the internet, or in a book, without real-life testing (dialling it in) beforehand...
TimP
28/05/2014
3:25:48 PM
I've read that the side/behind breaking hand is inclined to twist the rope more than the more direct line with breaking hand between the legs. I use the side method for resistance control and have been too preoccupied (scared) to notice what is happening to the rope. Perhaps it's that all the abseiling I've done is on two ropes.
patto
28/05/2014
3:33:20 PM
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. I normally abseil or belay like this regardless of any autoblock. I can easily brake with one hand on wet 9mm rope with my hands out in front of me.

>In my opinion clipping off a leg-loop is fine, provided your setup is
>dialled to a fine tune, AND you test it out in a controlled environment
>beforehand to become aware of any limitations and re-dial if necessary.
>I have done this and will now happily hang off the autoblock. It doesn't
>twist your body that much and have you hanging off your leg, provided it
>is set up correctly.
I routinely hear this. Yet I've never heard of a person testing out flipping upside down on rope in a controlled environment.

>Dare I say, it was probably applied by having read about it on the internet,
>or in a book, without real-life testing (dialling it in) beforehand...
Dare I ask if you have dialed in your autoblock in circumstances where your leg loop is higher than you belay loop?
patto
28/05/2014
3:41:51 PM
On 28/05/2014 stuart h wrote:
>Brief response: unless you can see both ends lying on the 'ground', not
>tying knots in the end of the rope strands on an abseil is a very big call.

I disagree. They are both backups which in most circumstances should be unnecessary. However sometimes they are both useful. If you are abseiling without looking where you are going then that is a problem. I'm constantly watching where I am going and where the ends of my rope are. If the ends of my rope are not on the ground then I will be stopping LONG before I get anywhere near the ends.
citationx
28/05/2014
3:52:05 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. I normally abseil or belay like this regardless of any autoblock.
> I can easily brake with one hand on wet 9mm rope with my hands out in
>front of me.
>
>>In my opinion clipping off a leg-loop is fine, provided your setup is
>>dialled to a fine tune, AND you test it out in a controlled environment
>>beforehand to become aware of any limitations and re-dial if necessary.
>>I have done this and will now happily hang off the autoblock. It doesn't
>>twist your body that much and have you hanging off your leg, provided
>it
>>is set up correctly.
>I routinely hear this. Yet I've never heard of a person testing out flipping
>upside down on rope in a controlled environment.
>
>>Dare I say, it was probably applied by having read about it on the internet,
>>or in a book, without real-life testing (dialling it in) beforehand...
>Dare I ask if you have dialed in your autoblock in circumstances where
>your leg loop is higher than you belay loop?

Wonderful that you disagree with these things. It's good to see that you're using an n=1 sample size to refute all of M9's claims.
Personally, I agree with all of his thoughts, and not yours. Let's just say that you can stick to your wonderfully adhesive hands and methods, while saying to others "yes, other people use but personally I don't, why don't you try both and see which way works best for you".

We're not really here to discuss that you find your method the best and everyone else's method is therefore somehow redundant/useless/dangerous.
And regarding your knots in the end of the rope, similar thing - I tie knots in the end on really long raps and then when i am attached to the ground or the next anchor, I then untie it if needed. Again, it's not "wrong", (and it's hardly less efficient - how long does it take to tie two knots and untie them? 6 seconds?) it's just a different way of doing it, perhaps with more safety. (feel free to disagree it's more safe)
patto
28/05/2014
4:00:51 PM
On 28/05/2014 citationx wrote:
>(feel free to disagree it's more safe)

Yet the rest of your post suggests otherwise...
martym
28/05/2014
4:18:48 PM
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.
rightarmbad
28/05/2014
4:20:33 PM
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?
martym
28/05/2014
4:30:13 PM
Before Sam's excellent efforts get totally hijacked* - I encourage everyone to take the poll:

How do you knot the end of a rope on abseil?

Thouroughly read the tech tips
&
Read Mikl's et al. comments here



*as a guilty hijacker, I apologise!

davidn
28/05/2014
4:34:17 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 can't imagine you ever rapped to bolt something, but you've never rapped to clean anything? Don't get me wrong, gung ho blah blah ground up everything but it's all good in theory until you can see an unavoidable block/flake.
rightarmbad
28/05/2014
5:10:05 PM
On 28/05/2014 davidn wrote:
>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.
>
>I can't imagine you ever rapped to bolt something, but you've never rapped
>to clean anything? Don't get me wrong, gung ho blah blah ground up everything
>but it's all good in theory until you can see an unavoidable block/flake.


If rapping to bolt there are far better options like my SRT double rope decender that safely lets me stop anywhere and go hands free.

Rapping to clean is usually reaching out and grab pro/draw whatever as you go past.
If it is stuck and needs proper attention, three wraps around a leg will let me go hands free to give it a proper fiddle and retrieval.

Having both hands to control the device allows easy swaps from hand to hand if wriggling through tree branches or similar.

I see no place for the backup methods taught except for in a situation where you are out alone.
In that situation, again probably exploring or some such, the double rope descender a far better option.

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There are 87 messages in this topic.

 

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