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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out.
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wallhammer


Oct 31, 2001, 6:29 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out.
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please explain 4:1 lower out, thanks








Edited Title to show topic.

[ This Message was edited by: rrradam on 2001-10-31 23:35 ]


ktclimb


Nov 1, 2001, 6:41 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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I am curious on how to do this as well, where did you post this dr. pete?


passthepitonspete


Nov 1, 2001, 7:40 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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Sorry for the delay, y'all - the post whence this 4:1 question comes asks "What is the best way to clean an aid traverse?"

You can click here to read about the Better Way to Clean an Aid Traverse.

If you're not intimately familiar with how to clean an aid traverse, it would be a good idea to read the above post first. By the way, not everyone who attempts a big wall is familiar with how to clean an aid traverse - because if more were familiar, fewer would fail on big walls. Even on "easy" aid walls like Zodiac, the failure rate exceeds 50%!

The 4:1 lower-out is a technique to prevent yourself from taking the Big Swing while you are cleaning a traverse.

Let's start with the easiest scenario: a horizontal bolt ladder. To clean this, you would simply clip and climb, that is, you would simply aid across as the leader did, using your aiders for each move. You wouldn't really weight the rope at all.

But what do you do when there is a gap where your leader hooked, or where your leader did a pendulum? Well, I suppose you could hook too, but who the heck wants to do ten horizontal hook moves in a row like the fifth pitch of Zenyatta Mondatta or the eighteenth pitch of Sea of Dreams? I mean, that's what the leader's for, fer cryin' out loud! And even worse - what if there's a pendulum.....?

OK, imagine that you are cleaning an aid pitch. You are cleaning with one or two jugs, and using your Gri-gri as either a backup to two jugs, or else as a second ascender used with only one jug. Dr. Piton prefers the latter method.

You are also tying a backup knot every thirty feet or so, a simple overhand knot on a bight because a figure 8 is overkill in this situation. You are clipping the bights of your backup knots into a big autolocking crab that hangs from a designated short sewn sling beneath your harness. You don't tie the backup knots because you need a backup, because you don't need a backup. Your Gri-gri is in fact your backup. Why the apparent redundancy? The purpose of the backup knots is to prevent the free end of the rope from swinging horizontally in the wind and hanging up where you can't get it. If this happens, you are, in technical parlance, "buggered".

OK, so you've been merrily cleaning your pitch and worrying about nothing more than the lead rope sawing across an edge you can't see a hundred feet above you, and now all of a sudden you get to the fixed pendulum point your leader swung from. Staring you impassively in the face is a blank sea of granite across which you gaze trepidaciously at your lead rope travelling diagonally for a LONG ways before arriving at the next piece of gear, which you know won't hold your weight anyway. "Trepidaciously" is a word I just made up, but if you don't know how to do a 4:1 lower-out, it is a word which you will surely understand at this very moment, the moment during which you contemplate cutting loose and swinging madly across the face to careen uncerimoniously into a giant corner where you will spill your blood, guts and other unmentionably gruesome bodily fluids into a crumpled heap that your mother once recognized and loved enough to change your diapers.

Surely there has to be a better way?!

Fortunately, there is always a better way.

A 4:1 lower-out is nothing more than a method to belay yourself from behind in order to avoid the big swing, while allowing yourself to recover your own belay rope.

It's extremely easy, and fortunately does not require a degree in engineering or rocket science to construct. (Note: despite having a degree in engineering, Dr. Piton is no rocket scientist. Were you to ask any of his profs from university, they would tell you that he is not much of an engineer, either.)

The first thing you will need to do is take out some of those backup knots that you've tied. If you can see that you need to travel 15' horizontally, then this being a 4:1 lower-out and all, please follow me when I suggest you will need 60' of rope.

You have taken up all the slack in the lead rope you are jugging, and are hanging directly from the fixed lower-out point, connected to it by your aider and daisy. The rope no longer goes through the fixed lower-out point since you have now unclipped it. Crank the lead rope as tight as you can into your Gri-gri. This will pull you a bit diagonally towards the next piece of protection through which the lead rope passes. This is the desired effect. If you do not have a Gri-gri and are simply cleaning with jugs, Dr. Piton highly recommends you attach yourself to the lead rope with a knot rather than the toothed cams of your ascenders. Although you are not planning to shock load your ascenders during this operation, it is still not a bad idea to do. [Aside: Dr. Piton wonders why anyone would ever be cleaning a big wall without a Gri-gri]

Using the spare rope beneath your Gri-gri, grab a middle part of the rope, double it, and stuff this bit through the sling on the fixed lower-out point. Dr. Piton never leaves behind gear, and neither should you - don't put a carabiner into the fixed lower-out point, use a little bit of 1/2" webbing. You should always carry some 1/2" webbing with you for just such an occasion, along with a knife that you can use to clean old ratty webbing from such fixed lower-out points. Grab this middle part of the rope which is doubled and bring the doubled part back to you, connecting it to a carabiner on the "doughnut" (Canadian spelling, eh?) of your harness.

So, follow this: the lead rope comes down from the upper anchor and is cranked tight into your Gri-gri, it goes through your Gri-gri and up through the lower-out point, back to a crab on your doughnut, back again through the fixed lower-out point (it's doubled, right?) and back out to the free end of the rope which hangs in space.

There are now four ropes between you and the fixed lower-out point - going up to the point, back to you, then back to the point, then back to you again. The free end of the rope you now hold in your "brake" hand.

(I hope there are a few of you nodding along and going, "oh yeah, I get it!" as opposed to wondering what the heck I'm talking about!)

Now with your brake hand, crank the free end of the rope tight with a 4:1 mechanical advantage and winch yourself up into the lower-out point so that your weight is now on the four ropes. Disconnect your point of attachment to the lower-out point. Assuming that your doubled rope is passing through fixed slings which create a lot of friction on the four ropes, you will more than easily be able to hold the weight of yourself with nothing more than your brake hand. If the point of connection on the fixed lower-out point is a carabiner (why on earth you would leave a carabiner here Dr. Piton has no idea, but thanks the many climbers ahead of him who have done so!) then you will find with the reduced friction you might consider putting the free end of the rope through a rappel device like a sticht plate, or simply through a munter hitch. Even then, though, you can probably hold your weight OK with just your free hand.

You can now safely and in great control lower yourself out across the blank zone using a 4:1 mechanical advantage. To go 15' horizontally, you will need to run 60' of rope through your system. Sometimes when there is a lot of friction, especially when you first get going and before the rope has "flipped" through the slings into the correct orientation. In these instances you will need to take your two hands and grab either side of the doubled rope coming to the crab on your doughnut, and do a push-pull motion on the appropriate part of this doubled part of the rope to get yourself going. Be careful, especially when you start, because when the rope suddenly flips into the correct orientation, the friction suddenly decreases, and you could take off fast. Be sure to clip the free end of the rope through a carabiner on your harness so you don't lose it! During this part of the operation, I normally keep the free end of the rope in my hand while I'm doing the push-pull maneuver since I could find myself suddenly moving faster at any moment.

Once you are plumb beneath the next piece, you can jug straight up the perpendicular rope. After you've jugged a short distance, the four ropes going back to your fixed lower-out point will become slack, and you can now recover them. Be careful how you do this! First, untwist the ropes if they are twisted. Then carefully unclip the doubled part of the rope from the crab on your doughnut, untwist it, make sure it is as unclusterf*cked as possible, and let it go. Carefully and gently pull it through the sling on the fixed lower-out point to recover it.

Note: It is no picnic should this rope hang up in the fixed slings of the lower-out point. This has indeed happened to Dr. Piton more than once, and he heartily recommends you avoid doing it. It usually happens when there are different length lower-out slings on the fixed lower-out point, and one of the longer slings gets bunched up by the lower sling. It is better that all the slings be the same length. You might want to cut some of the longer ones off. Should your doubled rope get stuck in the slings when you go to retrieve it, you will have to pull yourself back to the fixed lower-out point, hoping that as you apply more and more weight to the rope which is holding you through the bunched slings, that the rope suddenly doesn't rip free and send you catapulting across the face, causing you to perform precisely the maneuver you wished to avoid in the first place!

Cheers,

Dr. Piton

P.S. It would appear Dr. Piton has achieved the dubious designation of Free Climb Freak. Oh, the ignominy of it all!










[ This Message was edited by: passthepitonspete on 2002-04-27 11:47 ]


bshaftoe


Apr 17, 2002, 2:00 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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To help me visualize this technique I have created this: Drawing of 4-to-1 lower out while cleaning an aid traverse.

I hope you find it informative.

More references can be found in following topics: "Best way to clean an aid traverse" and "Ask Dr. Piton ....... about using backup knots while jugging".


-Shaft

[ This Message was edited by: bshaftoe on 2002-04-17 14:01 ]


redox


May 3, 2002, 5:04 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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Just a physics type question: if your lower out point was questionable (ie, barely bodyweight), wouldn't the 4:1 lowerout be a bad idea, as it would put 4 times your bodyweight on the piece?

In this situation, what do you recommend?
--red0x


wallhammer


May 3, 2002, 6:37 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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ahhhhhhhhh.......think horizontal.


rickoldskool


May 5, 2002, 12:05 AM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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Redox, if I hang on a piece and weigh 170lbs, it doesn't matter HOW I lower myself off it. I still only weigh 170lbs. That's it in a nutshell.


passthepitonspete


Jul 16, 2002, 12:37 AM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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Please click here for a photo and explanation of the 4:1 Lower Out.


timpanogos


Dec 30, 2002, 9:16 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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In the previously linked pictures explainations is found the following:

On the right side of the photo, you can just see my regular handled ascender. Note that the ascender is rigged with an orange-coloured designated sling, and that this sling is attached to the ascender with a quick link to reduce the clusterf*ckage.


This is interesting in that I have already noticed that the Petzl Ascention jugs have only two holes at the bottom, one of which is too small for a crab (which is a bummer)- but of which I just ran and checked and sure enough, a quick link fits nicely.

Pete -

I assume that since you are cleaning - that this "dedicated sling" is your foot/feet loop? - I know you said in other places you do not use your aiders to jug.

1. If this is not a foot sling, what is it?
2. If it is a foot sling, do you not worry about the jug being attached to a load bearing doughnut for 2 point jug redundancy?

Thanks

Chad

edit, one more:

3. How far do you dare lower before sawing the sling in two with the rope?

[ This Message was edited by: timpanogos on 2002-12-30 21:28 ]


passthepitonspete


Dec 30, 2002, 11:17 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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Yes, the orange sling is my dedicated foot loop.

No, I do not use my aiders to jug. Too clusterf*cked. I haven't really tried my Russian Aiders for this purpose yet. I should give it a go and see.

But it is hard to improve on the caver-perfected technique!

1. It's a foot sling.

2. The foot sling is made from a piece of 1" tubular webbing about 3m long. Basically, this piece of webbing is shaped like an upside-down Y - one arm of the Y goes to the foot loop. The other arm of the Y is called a Safety Cord and connects the ascender to the harness.

I put my Safety Cord into the same locker as the Croll when I'm jugging. When I'm cleaning, that locker is in place, even though I have a Grigri on a separate locker.

If you want to see how to rig the foot loop and safety cord, you can click here and go to Ask Dr. Piton ... About the Better Way of ascending a fixed rope. You will find the really excellent diagram about a third of the way down, under the photo of Neal with his, uh, rather big Big Bro.

3. The sling through which you pass the doubled rope does indeed heat up and will eventually fail after repeated climbers have used it.

Before you set up your 4:1, you should carefully inspect your lower-out sling to ensure it will last for your ride. If not, you should add your own.

The trick is to lower yourself out SLOWLY so as not to heat up the sling too much.

Cheers,

The Doc



copperhead


Dec 30, 2002, 11:37 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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I was checking out the digital diagrams linked above. Wow! Those are way cool. Nice work!

In reference to the Drawing of 4-to-1 lower out while cleaning an aid traverse linked above, I would like to make a few comments.


This quote is from PTPP on this thread.

Quote:
When you are cleaning aid, you should get a designated short sewn sling of unique colour and girth hitch it to the bottom of your doughnut. You should then get a designated wide gate autolocking crab and attach it to this sewn sling.

This is your backup. Every twenty to thirty feet, tie a backup knot.

A figure of 8 on a bight is definitely overkill - a simple overhand loop is more than ample.

This will keep the free end of your rope under control, and you can stack it in the rope bag when you finish cleaning the pitch.



According to the diagram, all points of attachment are either clipped or girth-hitched to the belay loop/donut. The climber is not tied into the end of the lead line (bad). If the belay loop fails, the climber dies. The back-up system relies on too many links. I place a large locking biner around the primary tie-in point (the same path as the end of the rope) and clip backup knots to it. I use the harness pictured; the webbing/buckle system allows you enough room to clip biners and girth-hitch daisies to the main tie-in point as opposed to using the belay loop (extra link). It is a good idea to use a figure-8 on a bight; an overhand knot on a bight will be a b*tch to untie if you whip onto it hard. I use a Gri-gri as my backup as I clean and rarely tie backup knots below it because I am tied into the end of the lead line; you can back-it-up if you feel necessary. Sometimes I will have a rope bucket clipped to my harness and stack the lead line while I clean. This way, it is done by the time you reach the belay; just make sure that there is a little rope hanging to keep weight on the Gri-gri to be sure that it locks up in the event of a fall. I have seen people take some nasty whippers while cleaning (p. 4 of T.T.). Be sure that you’re backed-up properly!

To rig a lower-out, I will use the end of the lead-line that is tied to me, loop a bight through the tie-off on the lower-out piece (as shown in the diagram) and clip the end of the bight to the main loop of lead-line at my tie-in point (behind the fig-8 knot) with a non-locking biner. This allows the Gri-gri to be free (i.e. brake hand end of rope). If you use a rope bucket to stack rope while cleaning, you may want to rig the lower-out off of the Gri-gri end of the rope (as shown) to prevent pulling stacked rope back out.


If there is a pendulum at the beginning of a pitch and the pitch is long, you may not have much rope to deal with. I have taken a few good rides because of this. It’s not much fun to feel the rope ‘chawwing’ on bumps and edges of the rock as you swing. In this case, it is best to carry an additional lower-out line. This can be 5 or 6 mm accessory cord, between 50 and 100 feet in length. Clip one end to your belay loop/etc. (doesn’t really matter where) with a locking biner. Set up the lower-out as described above. Since the cord is thinner there will be less friction so you can use an ATC (or the like) on the brake-hand end of the lower-out line. Side note: to increase friction when rapping on thin, single lines, you can use two locking biners with the ATC, rather than just one (rope goes around both biners).

Additional side note: When cleaning hook traverses, there is often nothing fixed to lower-out from. In this case, the cleaner needs to follow the section on hooks (keep extras with you or have the leader lower them to you). This is basically the same sequence as ‘clip-cleaning’ traverses by hanging on the actual pieces instead of the rope. Take your jugs off of the rope and use your Gri-gri as backup. It is better to whip onto a Gri-gri than your jugs.


Have fun cleaning!



----

don't know why my first link doesn't work...?

[ This Message was edited by: copperhead on 2002-12-31 00:14 ]


bigwalling


Dec 30, 2002, 11:50 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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I'm going to practice this in my backyard tomorrow. It sounds simple.


apollodorus


Dec 30, 2002, 11:57 PM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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The four-to-one lower out is fine, when you have time to monkey around. When it's getting late, you're cleaning the second to last pitch on a wall and have no headlamp for the last lead (yours), you should use the one-two-three lower out. It works best when the lower out piece is a piton.

Here's how:

You keep the rope clipped to the lower-out pin. Your jug should be above the piece, and your Gri-Gri below it. Tie a back-up knot and clip it to your harness. Take your hammer and hit the pin, one-two-three and it pops. You superman across the void in about three seconds. Go backwards if swinging into a corner, so you can absorb the shock with your legs and not your arms.

This method is not recommended for long traverses, like the King Swing.


passthepitonspete


Dec 31, 2002, 12:29 AM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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Tom knows all about taking wild swings!

I agree with everything Bryan has written about lowering out. However I disagree [or at least must clarify] on some of his comments regarding the cleaning and jugging systems.

In order to minimize the co-efficient of wank, I am going to answer the question in the thread entitled,

Dr. Piton, cleaning an aid pitch with two jugs is a pain. Is there a BETTER WAY?

[HINT]


copperhead


Dec 31, 2002, 3:56 AM
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Dr Piton... please explain 4:1 lower out. [In reply to]
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OK. I stand corrected.

[ This Message was edited by: copperhead on 2003-01-01 22:43 ]

see below, not above.

[ This Message was edited by: copperhead on 2003-01-03 20:48 ]


passthepitonspete


Dec 31, 2002, 7:11 AM
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I think not!

In a 3:1 haul, the hauler is not moving along with the pig.

In the 4:1 lower-out, you're moving out too.

I hope I'm saying this right but it seems intuitive, and it sure as hell works this way:

If you have to lower out ten feet horizontally, you will surely need forty feet of excess lead rope [if you don't have a designated lower-out line, which is a VGT if your pitch is full length and starts out with a big hook traverse! It is RARE, however, with a sixty metre rope, to not have enough left for lowering out. If soloing, just don't pull it up too tight, and leave some slack for lowering out]

Anyway, just thinking out loud.

Early.

In the morning.

It's only 10 a.m.

Need more coffee.

Honest - even this early I can still see quite clearly in my mind four pieces of rope sliding against each other as I lower out from a piece.


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