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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Poll Option Votes Graph
I tie both ends together in a single knot, always 3
4% 
I tie a separate knot in each, always 22
31% 
I tie both ends together, only on multiple raps 6
8% 
I tie a separate knot, only on multiple raps 28
39% 
I tie myself into the end of the rope 0
 
I don't knot the ropes 12
17% 

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 53
Author
How do you knot the end of a rope on abseil?
patto
26/10/2010
5:27:08 PM
On 26/10/2010 f_ladou wrote:
>Reading between the lines, it seems that some people abseil down multipitch
>routes without prusik? Now, that in my list of preconditions for a Darwin
>Award ranks pretty high. Higher than tying knots.

Wow I don't know where to start on this one. The unjustified use of prusiks has gotten numerous people in trouble, sometimes of the most serious kind.

Also how is multipitch abseiling more risky without a prussik than single pitch? If you have knots but not prussik on a multi pitch without a big ledge it ends up just be a big slow lead fall.

In the past I have read lots of tests and discussion about this on caving forums. This refers to the line of discussion. http://www.camp4.com/rock/index.php?newsid=207

Lots of leg attached prussiks don't work well. Many setups touch the belay device if the person goes limp and thus don't work as intended. Personally I think the best setup is the extended device Petzl method. I've never seen anybody do this and it has a few disadvantages when going over lips.

The longest multpitch abseil I've done is around 450m.
Fish Boy
26/10/2010
5:39:09 PM
On 26/10/2010 J.C. wrote:
>On 26/10/2010 dave h. wrote:
>>Do you rap with your haul bag hanging from your harness?
>>
>>I would've thought a better way would be to extend your belay device,
>>and have your haul-bag hanging from that. My thinking is that it'd allow
>>you to move around a bit more, plus you'd have less of the '50 kgs hanging
>>off you' harness pain.
>
>thats how i do it (extend the belay device etc) and cant imagine doing
>it any other way.. i can see plenty of disadvantages and no advantages
>whatsoever to having a pig hanging from your belay loop!

I don't feel the weight since I am hanging on a rope.
patto
26/10/2010
6:01:35 PM
On 26/10/2010 davidn wrote:
>
>Can you elaborate? Putting an autoblock or similar on the rope to abseil
>has gotten people killed? Sudden release?

Stuck prusiks in wet/cold/alpine environments can lead to problems and hyperthermia.

There was once such incident recently while canyoning involving people I am acquainted with. Inexperience and was largely to blame and resulted in somebody stuck in the spray of a waterfall. I am aware of a rescue at arapiles that involved a hysterical girlfriend stuck on a prusik with the boyfriend up top and unable to help.

When your fingers are wet and cold releasing a prusik without a knife can be impossible.
http://ozultimate.com/canyoning/carra_beanga.htm
Probably wouldn't have happened with a knife. It is unclear if the unconscious abseiler had a prusik backup that resulted in him getting stuck in the first place.


I have nothing against prusiks, they are one of the most essential tools climbers have available. But they aren't a safety panacea. If you are going to be using a leg loop prusik make sure it works when you got limb and flop back with your legs raised.
martym
26/10/2010
6:21:11 PM
On 26/10/2010 kieranl wrote:
>It worries me when people ridicule safety techniques such as tying knots
If this is in reference to my calling buwwsheet - I meant no ridicule, I was just saying I obsessively watch others climbing and safety techniques, and the anecdotal evidence is contrary to the gathered statistics. That said, it's easier to observe in a single pitch environment than multipitch.

>in the end of ropes, using prussiks etc.
- I advocate prussics. They have their limitations - which is why I always carry a Shark nut tool with a rope knife. Serves two functions and here¨s hoping I never have to whip the knife out.

I just find that I have had many experiences untangling ropes due to wind, bushes, cracks etc. without having to worry about yanking a knot past said obstructions.
Wendy
26/10/2010
6:40:16 PM
On 26/10/2010 Snappy wrote:
>On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
>>Someone run me by the advantage of tying knots in the end if it's a single
>>pitch abseil that you know is shorter than your available rap rope?
>>
>
>If you can't see the ground for some reason, one end of the rope doesn't
>land on the ground and is still hanging several metres in the air. Abseil
>down and off one end.
>
>Half way markers or good communication with someone on the ground would
>avoid this scenario.
>

Or feeding the two ends of the rope together as you pull through the anchor. Or double ropes having the knot up by the anchor. Or looking where you are going. Doesn't anybody else check the rope below them as they go? Most incidents or potential incidents here sound like they are easily avoided by other precautions or simple observation. Ropes going through belay devices as different speeds? Have you tried walking a knot over an edge recently? Or purposefully lowering on one and feeding the other? It's not that easy to get the ropes moving separately and I'd hope you'd notice if it was happening. And said photographer - if he was busy doing jiggery pokery and trying to take photos without any other backup, he needed to be doing some more thinking. Pity people often need to learn to think the hard way.

If your rope gets stuck 20 m horizontally from you and it's not possibly to climb over to it, then you'll probably end up having to chop it. There are plenty of places where you'd really rather not be down half your ropes as well. Tie knots all you like if you want. I'm not going to laugh at anyone for it, but I do think it also has it's problems, should be used with caution and there are other ways of being careful as well. Always is a big word and it helps to have a few other tricks up your sleeve as well as good everyday practices that avoid all these scenarios in the first place.
hargs
26/10/2010
7:10:22 PM
On 26/10/2010 patto wrote:
>Personally I think the best setup is the extended device Petzl method.
> I've never seen anybody do this and it has a few disadvantages when going
>over lips.

I pretty much use this method exclusively now, with a Shunt on the harness for backup.
hargs
26/10/2010
7:21:27 PM
On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
> ... Or looking where you
>are going. Doesn't anybody else check the rope below them as they go?

I find I go over the edge first most of the time so that Shunt arrangement ^^^ works really well for stopping, cleaning, untangling, and re-dropping. And it's great when it's very windy and you're feeding rope from a pack suspended from your harness. Unlike the normal run-the-rope-around-your-back technique, the rope runs straight down in front of you, between your legs with your brake hand right in front. Much easier for stopping, adjusting and fixing.
rightarmbad
26/10/2010
7:23:51 PM
If anybody can show a prussic set up that will work every time, then I will adopt it.
Until then, I keep both hands firmly on the brake strand.

As a larger climber, I can tell you that generally used prussics don't work.
I will also say that there is no way that I can rap by letting the rope feed through my hand.
Two hands walking down the rope is the only way.
I use two biners on my belay device and skinny ropes scare the f--- out of me.
I often extend the device on a 30cm sling to give me more braking.

Primary safety is more important than a backup.
It's better not to hit the car coming the other way, than have an airbag.

As for knots in the end.
I agree with Wendy, only when you need them.
There are no always in climbing.
Every situation is assessed on site.
When you rely on an 'always', then the 'once in a while' will catch you out.

If you don't have the situational awareness to do that, and have to rely on silly rules, then don't climb.
patto
26/10/2010
7:27:33 PM
On 26/10/2010 hargs wrote:
>On 26/10/2010 patto wrote:
>>Personally I think the best setup is the extended device Petzl method.
>> I've never seen anybody do this and it has a few disadvantages when
>going
>>over lips.
>
>I pretty much use this method exclusively now, with a Shunt on the harness
>for backup.

Nice. The shunt makes it work VERY well. Personally I don't use it as I'm stuck in my ways and don't have a shunt.

On 26/10/2010 hargs wrote:
>Unlike the normal run-the-rope-around-your-back
>technique, the rope runs straight down in front of you, between your legs
>with your brake hand right in front. Much easier for stopping, adjusting
>and fixing.

Yep. Rope around you back is so last century. I run my rope straight down regardless of the prussik situation.
Wendy
26/10/2010
8:02:25 PM
On 26/10/2010 patto wrote:

>
>Stuck prusiks in wet/cold/alpine environments can lead to problems and
>hyperthermia.
>
>There was once such incident recently while canyoning involving people
>I am acquainted with. Inexperience and was largely to blame and resulted
>in somebody stuck in the spray of a waterfall. I am aware of a rescue
>at arapiles that involved a hysterical girlfriend stuck on a prusik with
>the boyfriend up top and unable to help.
>
>When your fingers are wet and cold releasing a prusik without a knife
>can be impossible.
>http://ozultimate.com/canyoning/carra_beanga.htm
>Probably wouldn't have happened with a knife. It is unclear if the unconscious
>abseiler had a prusik backup that resulted in him getting stuck in the
>first place.
>
>
I don't think these examples are a good reason to write off prussics as dangerous. Much as the problems with abseiling discussed earlier, these are problems of people, practices and lack of skills/experience more than the poor prussic. I have retreated of long routes at 3000m in sleet and still been able to manipulate my prussic. If you can't work out the right length of your prussic, you lack the skills. If no one around you can get to you to help out if you're unconcious on the end of the rope, they lack the skills. If your prussic isn't gripping, you haven't tied the right sort/put enough twists/are using inappropriate rope/prussic diameter ratios and so forth. If you don't discover it doesn't grip until you need it, you aren't checking your system. And as for everyone in that article grabbing the rope - Miguel, stop grabbing the rope! It's a bad habit to get into!

Prussics are actually pretty useful. Far more useful than dangerous. Just don't expect them to take the place of all the other good practices/skills/decision making you should also be using.

Miguel75
26/10/2010
9:57:13 PM
On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:

>And as for everyone in that article grabbing the rope - Miguel, stop grabbing the rope! It's a bad habit to get into!
>

Ahh Wendy, I appreciate your follow up. I've made a conscious decision to try the no rope grab, cat like reflex, non squealing/crying fall... I'm planning to jump back on my arch rival this week and will let you know how I go!

Over the last few weeks I've studied many falls from many sources and must say I find the grab/no grab ratio to be pretty even.

I understand where you're coming from. One experience I had was when I worked on a ranch and played around with a bit of rodeo action, the best way to keep yourself on the horse was to tie your hand down, usually onto very angry animals. While I reckon their gyrating and leaping, and stomping, may generate more force than any fall I've seen I still have both hands and all my fingers.

As mentioned above, I will try the no grab approach. I may even wear my helmet indoors too...

IdratherbeclimbingM9
26/10/2010
10:07:07 PM
On 26/10/2010 patto wrote:
>On 26/10/2010 f_ladou wrote:
>>Reading between the lines, it seems that some people abseil down multipitch
>>routes without prusik? Now, that in my list of preconditions for a Darwin
>>Award ranks pretty high. Higher than tying knots.
>
>Wow I don't know where to start on this one. The unjustified use of prusiks
>has gotten numerous people in trouble, sometimes of the most serious kind.
>
>Also how is multipitch abseiling more risky without a prussik than single
>pitch? If you have knots but not prussik on a multi pitch without a big
>ledge it ends up just be a big slow lead fall.
>
... Maybe f_ladou meant abseiling multipitch without carrying prusiks (at all), rather than using prusiks as backups?



Situational awareness as rightarmbad mentioned helps avoid many issues, and Wendy's posts are on the money imo for knowing your gear limitations and not substituting gear for common sense!

There are no poll options for 'sometimes'.
If can see the rope/s reach the deck I don't tie a knot.
If I can't see and/or suspect they may not reach, then I do tie a knot/s.
Sometimes I tie one in each strand, and sometimes I tie both strands together, particularly if abseiling into unknown territory where there may be a chance I have missed the next belay station (on multipich) due dark etc; as it is great to be able to stand in the end loop while attaching prusiks/ascenders to re-ascend the rope/s if necessary!

I have had figure 8's in my rope ends mysteriously self untie. I now give them plenty of tail to try and avoid that.

Getting ropes stuck is over-rated re how often it happens imo. Generally if common sense precautions (there are many!), are applied the risks are minimised, and I have hardly ever had it happen. Having said that, the few times I have, in many years of climbing and caving, it has been a bugger to have to deal with!
patto
26/10/2010
10:56:43 PM
On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
>I don't think these examples are a good reason to write off prussics as
>dangerous

Hold on a second! I don't think ANYBODY here, least of all me, is going to write off prusiks as dangerous!!

On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
>Much as the problems with abseiling discussed earlier, these
>are problems of people, practices and lack of skills/experience more than
>the poor prussic.

Yes thats what I said as my second sentence in this thread. Prusiks are not ideal for the inexperienced.

On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
>Prussics are actually pretty useful. Far more useful than dangerous.

Yep. Nobody is arguing otherwise.
Richard Delaney
27/10/2010
5:58:12 AM
M9: I have had figure 8's in my rope ends mysteriously self untie.

I was pulling a rope from the base of the second abseil in Claustral Canyon and, as the tail flipped up in the last metre before going through the ring bolt, it mysteriously tied itself into an overhand knot. (and the knot was not there before - I never knot the ends in canyons). The knot only had a few cm of tail - there was no way it would pull though the ring bolt and also no way I was going to prussic up assuming it would hold. Fortunately another group came through 15 minutes later and saved the grief.

I'll back Wendy's calls on taking every situation on its merits and having a large toolbox of skills on which to draw.
Richard
widewetandslippery
27/10/2010
7:49:56 AM
As above, I normally knot the ends of my rope by mistake and it seems to more likely happen with skinny ropes. That said if I'm scared I'll tie both ropes together with a figure 8 using both ropes together. My reasoning its less likely to catch on something unseen.
gfdonc
27/10/2010
7:53:16 AM
Richard, I had the same freaky experience rapping off Tannin once - the tail of the rope self-tied a figure-8 over itself just before pulling through the rings. It wasn't credible but we were watching the rope as we pulled it.

I'm with rightarmbad on the prussic thing though, I prefer to "keep it simple" and concentrate on holding the rope end, with both hands at times. A prussic complicates things and I don't need the distraction. Most of my climbing partners use a prussic below the device and it seems to work fine. I have used it once or twice but not enough so that it comes naturally.

On the other hand I do sometimes tie into the end (especially on steeper multiple raps) or tie off short. Staying tied into the rope is arguably safer than any other method.
Wendy
27/10/2010
8:31:35 AM
On 26/10/2010 patto wrote:
>On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
>>I don't think these examples are a good reason to write off prussics
>as
>>dangerous
>
>Hold on a second! I don't think ANYBODY here, least of all me, is going
>to write off prusiks as dangerous!!
>
>On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
>>Much as the problems with abseiling discussed earlier, these
>>are problems of people, practices and lack of skills/experience more
>than
>>the poor prussic.
>
>Yes thats what I said as my second sentence in this thread. Prusiks are
>not ideal for the inexperienced.
>
>On 26/10/2010 Wendy wrote:
>>Prussics are actually pretty useful. Far more useful than dangerous.
>
>Yep. Nobody is arguing otherwise.
>
I may have used some artistic license, but between that article and "prussiks have gotten people killed", i was balancing out the impression that prussiks were not a good thing to use. Rather like everything, they have their place. Tis true it's usually not necessary or time efficienct for subsequent members of the party abseilling to use one when the first person down can brake them. And most of the point behind them also assumes that you can self rescue, or someone around you can rescue you or you could just end up hanging in space going "what next?". But this is the same with the knots actually. If you abseil past the station and end up dangling on the end of the rope by the knots, if you can't get yourself back up the rope, you too are in trouble. If any of you don't have basic rescue skills, go and get some, you'll need them if you ever find yourself relying on any of your backups.

And beginner abseilers are best off with top ropes anyway - it's far less work to help them out then if you are breaking from below. Thread hijack to wednesday wisdoms - how to set up a quick and easy top rope for your beginner without an extra rope: thread anchor as normal. pull up a loop of both ropes (together) and tie an alpine butterfly. attach belay device to loop. Send beginner down on one rope and belay them on the other. Remove butterfly afterwards and rope is ready for you to abseil as normal.


ajfclark
27/10/2010
8:33:25 AM
Wow. You hang your belay device off a Prince Albert? You're a tougher lady than I thought... Hang on...
Wendy
27/10/2010
8:40:52 AM
I take Mr Lifto climbing to use as an anchor.
patto
27/10/2010
8:46:23 AM
If I'm going to the trouble of putting a descending climber on belay then i'll lower them. What happens if they get hair/clothing caught in their belay device? The rescue will be all the more difficult with you above them. Personally I go first and clear the way for the noob, making sure there are no tangles and I'm more able to give a bottom belay and rescue from below. (I put them on rope before I head down.)

But yeah there are multiple ways to skin a cat.

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 53
There are 53 messages in this topic.

 

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