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climber49er


Dec 26, 2011, 3:20 PM
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Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do?
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Hi peoples...

I don't climb trad, but I figured you all know systems better than the Sporties, so I figured I would ask here...

Scenario -

Traveling back country solo and I anticipate a number of nice drops along the way. I would prefer to rappel rather than hike around, in most cases. I'm intentionally wanting to travel as straight a line as possible.

I will have trees to anchor from but I can't decide how I want to approach the rap setup.

My thoughts:

1) Double the rope around a tree and drop. I don't like the idea of extra rope wear, getting it dirtier than I need to and the possibility of it getting stuck.

2) Leave a length of webbing and a biner. Presumably much easier to pull the rope but spendy with multiple drops. Also, I'm not crazy about leaving gear to rot and maybe tempting someone in the future to rap on badly deteriorated gear.

3) Have one of you share some creative way to rig so it pulls easy and leaves no gear. Maybe doesn't exist, but like it should.
I was thinking of attaching a sling with a hitch to the "left" strand of rope, running the sling around the tree from left to right, then clipping the sling to the "right" strand of rope. Knot the right rope end for safety (so it can't pass through my rap device). When I'm down, I should be able to untie the knot and pull the "left" strand. I would expect it to pull without the friction on the tree. I would do controlled tests before hand, as I know the chance of it not working as expected is fairly high - such as the right strand getting sucked up around the tree by the sling and biner as it's pulled down, rather than slipping through below the tree. I hope this almost makes sense. I wish I had a picture to help you.

Surely there is a better way to do this, yes?


moose_droppings


Dec 26, 2011, 5:11 PM
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Re: [climber49er] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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Rap 'B' and 'C'.
Pull 'B' first to take 'C' part of rope down.
Now pull 'A' to retrieve everything.
Only works for a third of the length of your rope.
A tree with rough bark can make the pull tough to get started sometimes. A big slung chockstone or boulder will pull easier.



Your best bet is to enjoy the day with a nice walk around to the bottom.


climber49er


Dec 26, 2011, 6:15 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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Ah yes, in some ways similar to what I was describing. I think if I replace "A" with a length of parachute cord to yank on that setup will work very nicely for me, as some of the drops may be longer than 1/3 rope.

Something slick-like around the sling should make it pull super easy, no matter the bark. Maybe I'll run it through a short length of hose or something.

I like it.

Any alternatives to consider, besides walking around?


dan2see


Dec 26, 2011, 6:29 PM
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Re: [climber49er] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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climber49er wrote:
... Scenario -
Traveling back country solo and I anticipate a number of nice drops along the way. I would prefer to rappel rather than hike around, in most cases. I'm intentionally wanting to travel as straight a line as possible.

Sure you can do this.

My own experience with solo scrambling, remote, in the Rockies, has taught me a lot about this kind of travel. It's a lot of fun, and very rewarding. But...

"Back country solo" means that if you get stuck anywhere, you're on your own. Then if you don't get un-stuck, they'll find your bones next summer.

"Travel straight" is a poor motive for traveling straight. It's not the right reason. If you're navigating a complex route, or a lot of elevation, you should always look for the easiest and safest route you can find. You'll get there sooner! Save the risk for when you really need it.

"Nice drops"? ?? ??? I never believe anybody who talks like this. What the hell does "nice" mean? Lots of ledges? Slip and die? Snowy traps? Maybe sandstone slab with cracks but no ledges?

climber49er wrote:
I will have trees to anchor from but I can't decide how I want to approach the rap setup.
...

I don't know what your "trees" look like. Passing your rope around the tree-trunk is a bad idea. It might not be safe. You can easily damage the tree's bark. Worse, there's a high probability that the rope will get stuck when you try to pull it down. Then you'll have to climb up, unstick the rope, and probably climb back down. But if you wanted to rappel this hill, it's probably too dangerous to down-climb.

So you should take along enough slings and biners to leave behind at every rap. No "Texas Rope Tricks". Use them, and lose them. Then when you are safely back in the city, go to your climbing store and buy the gear you donated to the next guys.

I don't know if you plan to body-rappel (dulfersitz). This might be OK, but if your "nice drops" really are drops, then you really should wear a climbing harness.


(This post was edited by dan2see on Dec 26, 2011, 6:31 PM)


dontjinxme


Dec 27, 2011, 5:23 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPnd5xeymS8


pspnevo3


Dec 27, 2011, 7:06 AM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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this is may give a better visual. btw, I would tie the thin line you use to pull the anchor sling directly to the anchor sling instead of to the quicklink (so that you don't run your rope on the thin line when you are pulling it from the anchor, it just runs across the quicklinks that way.

http://www.backpacker.com/make-a-retrievable-rappel-anchor/slideshows/169


(This post was edited by pspnevo3 on Dec 27, 2011, 7:07 AM)


climber49er


Dec 27, 2011, 7:18 AM
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Re: [dan2see] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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dan2see - I truly appreciate your input. It seems that I may be coming across like an irresponsible fool to you, but I can assure you that I'm asking questions like this because I want to be safe. I'm not real keen to put myself in danger intentionally. Just want to clarify on a couple of your points...

dan2see wrote:
"Back country solo" means that if you get stuck anywhere, you're on your own. Then if you don't get un-stuck, they'll find your bones next summer.

I will have 2 responsible people that know my exact plotted course and expected timeline for travel.

dan2see wrote:
"Travel straight" is a poor motive for traveling straight. It's not the right reason. If you're navigating a complex route, or a lot of elevation, you should always look for the easiest and safest route you can find. You'll get there sooner! Save the risk for when you really need it.

I totally get that, but this is a personal challenge. I want to travel the line and force myself to overcome whatever impediment I may face. I WILL NOT be so stubborn as to force an unsafe line of travel for the sake of adventure.

dan2see wrote:
"Nice drops"? ?? ??? I never believe anybody who talks like this. What the hell does "nice" mean? Lots of ledges? Slip and die? Snowy traps? Maybe sandstone slab with cracks but no ledges?

Nice, because I enjoy rappelling. I've just never done it with a retrievable setup (and may not yet). Based on my knowledge of the area, these should be relatively safe and easy drops.

dan2see wrote:
I don't know what your "trees" look like. Passing your rope around the tree-trunk is a bad idea. It might not be safe. You can easily damage the tree's bark. Worse, there's a high probability that the rope will get stuck when you try to pull it down. Then you'll have to climb up, unstick the rope, and probably climb back down. But if you wanted to rappel this hill, it's probably too dangerous to down-climb.

Big, mature, well rooted trees are all over this area, and are all I will consider rapping from (besides boulders, which are very few). I mentioned a length of hose on the sling to aid pulling.. I was also thinking of the bark.

Rope gets stuck, I hike around to the top, retrieve my rope, hike back down and continue on my merry way.

dan2see wrote:
So you should take along enough slings and biners to leave behind at every rap. No "Texas Rope Tricks". Use them, and lose them. Then when you are safely back in the city, go to your climbing store and buy the gear you donated to the next guys.

I hate the idea of leaving behind gear, because the chances are quite good that either a) it will never be found before completely rotting (which would be fine) or b) It gets found in an unsafe condition and someone is tempted to use it.

dan2see wrote:
I don't know if you plan to body-rappel (dulfersitz). This might be OK, but if your "nice drops" really are drops, then you really should wear a climbing harness.

Harness it is.

I really am considering all the points made, and I'm not settled on any particular course of action. It's something I want to do, yes, but not something I wish to die over. I have no problem backing off when things are at all questionable.

Thanks again.

For those that may say, "If you don't have to rap it, don't", you're probably missing the point. one could just as easily say - "If you don't have to climb it, don't".


njrox


Dec 27, 2011, 7:32 AM
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Re: [climber49er] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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For tree raps, as long as it's a bomber tree (alive, thick, soild in the ground) I'll just throw my rope around it. I've done this quite a bit and have never encountered my rope getting stuck when I go to pull it down. And as far as rope wear...not unless it's a really cheap rope.

The webbing option is great, especially at forty cents a foot! But a biner is usually more expensive than a rap ring or quick-link.


climber49er


Dec 27, 2011, 7:34 AM
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Re: [dontjinxme] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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dontjinxme wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPnd5xeymS8

Nice trick, but I'm missing how the last man gets down. Presumably without the benefit of the safety biner. No thanks. Maybe if the knot has been loaded heavily by a previous body, but solo, no way.


Partner rgold


Dec 27, 2011, 8:47 AM
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Re: [climber49er] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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I agree with dan2see. Any time you cleverly manage to circumvent the need to rappel you are not simply safer but also more in tune with your surroundings, making use of available avenues and weaknesses rather than using equipment and technology to just blast through whatever terrain presents itself.

Granted, there are times when a 20 meter rappel is a lot better than a 20 mile detour, but artificially introducing rappels when there are reasonable walking or scrambling alternatives isn't good back-country procedure, most especially for a solo traveler.

Rappelling is the most dangerous thing climbers do and experience does not seem to be a very effective hedge against serious accidents. Having people know where you are and what you route is may be useful in getting your body recovered, but won't help with many of the problems that rappelling can add to your trip. At the very least, it involves counting on search and rescue operations to get you out of a mess caused by the decision to rappel when it wasn't necessary.

If you insist, then make sure you are fully capable of getting out of any jam rappelling can provide. You have to be competent at safely locking off the rappel and going hands-free, at completely unweighting your device in mid-rappel, and at efficiently ascending ropes that won't pull, and you'll need to be able to do these things in bad conditions when you are already tired.

Remember that everything gets harder if you are carrying a pack. You need more friction from your system, you may want a chest harness, and should know alternative strategies such as suspending the pack directly from the rap device.

One of the dangers of rappelling in the backcountry is getting yourself trapped in the middle of cliffed-out terrain. You've pulled the ropes but can't get down the next section. Don't count on maps to give you the full story on this.

I vote for not leaving gear, for a reason you didn't mention: it is unsightly litter, left in places it isn't needed just because you want to follow a straight line drawn on a map. Spare the rest of the back country users the eyesores left to satisfy your manufactured challenge.

The backpacker link given above describes a standard method for retrieving your sling and leaving nothing behind. There are also methods that avoid pulling anything around a tree. These methods involve chains of slipknots (crocheting, literally) that might be hard to pull out from below. You can find descriptions on canyoneering websites.

If you are going to be rappelling broken and brushy terrain, there is a decent chance that your ropes could hang after being pulled and become irretrievable. If you get your ropes back, the sling you pull off the tree can get hung up and then you lose it and your pull cord. Talk about litter! Beyond that, you will need to have carefully thought out an alternate plan for the route that does not involve rappelling and which will not leave you stranded on a ledge if you can't retrieve your ropes.

Rappelling is an essential tool in the climber's and canyoneer's tool kit for navigating vertical terrain. Many of us have done thousands of rappels in all kinds of terrain and conditions. I don't believe you will find an experienced climber who thinks there is anything fun, exciting, or adventurous about rappelling. It is a necessary evil, and I wouldn't lose sight of the evil part.


(This post was edited by rgold on Dec 27, 2011, 9:46 AM)


moose_droppings


Dec 27, 2011, 9:07 AM
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Re: [pspnevo3] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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Yes, if you want to carry two ropes or a 100ft piece of webbing, that works. I don't quite understand what the knot on the rap rope at the top was for. Shouldn't need it if your rapping the 2 strands of the main rope.

As I, then Dan, and now RGold have said, take the walk whenever possible.

Edit. I looked again and see know that they wanted to rap the entire (single strand) length of the rope and the knot is to keep it from pulling through.
Good luck pulling that setup from around a tree most of the time.



(This post was edited by moose_droppings on Dec 27, 2011, 9:17 AM)


Partner j_ung


Dec 27, 2011, 11:45 AM
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God forbid you should do anything dangerous. I mean, nobody risks anything when they're out alone, right? Riiiiight. I say rappel if you want to. Go with option 1. You're not going to kill your rope with a little dirt. Fuck all that other noise.


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Dec 27, 2011, 11:53 AM
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Re: [dontjinxme] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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dontjinxme wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPnd5xeymS8

The embodiment of why climbers view military mountaineering with disdain.


Partner rgold


Dec 27, 2011, 12:12 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
God forbid you should do anything dangerous. I mean, nobody risks anything when they're out alone, right? Riiiiight. I say rappel if you want to. Go with option 1. You're not going to kill your rope with a little dirt. Fuck all that other noise.

You think it is "noise" to try to caution someone who has no anchor-building experience (not a trad climber) and who "enjoys rappelling" about the pitfalls of artificially introducing rappels into a solo back-country trip? And your argument for fucking all that other noise is that people take risks when they go out alone, so why listen to any advice suggesting how to manage risks the OP may not be fully aware of (for example, the extra issues introduced by rappelling with a pack)?

Well, my advice to the OP is the noise is coming from folks who are the kinds of experts you wanted to hear from, even if they are answering questions you didn't ask. By all means do whatever you want, but after considering the "noise" and evaluating whether it makes sense to you and to your circumstances, rather than fucking the noise now and getting fucked by circumstances later.


(This post was edited by rgold on Dec 27, 2011, 9:38 PM)


Juzzme


Dec 27, 2011, 3:28 PM
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Re: [rgold] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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1st watch 127 hours then think about what you want to do.


marc801


Dec 27, 2011, 4:41 PM
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rgold wrote:
I vote for not leaving gear, for a reason you didn't mention: it is unsightly litter, left in places it isn't needed just because you want to follow a straight line drawn on a map. Spare the rest of the back country users the eyesores left to satisfy your manufactured challenge.
Additional, unnecessary anchors are a huge problem in Utah canyon country and are rather harshly viewed, *especially* if a slightly different route is able to eliminate the need to rappel entirely. Then the perpetrator is viewed not only as an asshole but a dickhead as well.


marc801


Dec 27, 2011, 4:45 PM
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Re: [climber49er] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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climber49er wrote:
I hate the idea of leaving behind gear, because the chances are quite good that either a) it will never be found before completely rotting (which would be fine) or b) It gets found in an unsafe condition and someone is tempted to use it.
Don't litter. If you can get around your obstacle without rappelling, it's asinine to leave an anchor. Your joy of rappelling doesn't trump leave no trace ethics.

As far as your second concern about someone tempted to use your trash - that's their problem.


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rgold wrote:
j_ung wrote:
God forbid you should do anything dangerous. I mean, nobody risks anything when they're out alone, right? Riiiiight. I say rappel if you want to. Go with option 1. You're not going to kill your rope with a little dirt. Fuck all that other noise.

You think it is "noise" to try to caution someone who has no anchor-building experience (not a trad climber) and who "enjoys rappelling" about the pitfalls of artificially introducing rappels into a solo back-country trip? And your argument for fucking all that other noise is that people take risks when they go out alone, so why listen to any advice suggesting how to manage risks the OP may not be fully aware of (for example, the extra issues introduced by rappelling with a pack)?

Well, my advice to the OP is the noise is coming from folks who are the kinds of experts you wanted to hear from, even if they are answering questions you didn't ask. By all means do whatever you want, but after considering the "noise" and evaluating whether it makes sense to you and to your circumstances, rather than fucking the noise now and getting fucked by circumstances later.

Actually, by "noise," I only meant numbers 2 and 3. Unimpressed


Partner rgold


Dec 27, 2011, 5:41 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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Oops, sorry about that then.


moose_droppings


Dec 27, 2011, 6:05 PM
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j_ung wrote:
God forbid you should do anything dangerous. I mean, nobody risks anything when they're out alone, right? Riiiiight. I say rappel if you want to. Go with option 1. You're not going to kill your rope with a little dirt. Fuck all that other noise.

Your right by gosh. Why take the walk when possible as suggested.

So climber49er, go ahead and take unnecessary risks when possible.


Hey wait, if climber49er is so highly skilled and knows all the hazards, why did he bother asking any questions.
Shit!!! We've been trolled.
Unimpressed


dan2see


Dec 27, 2011, 8:45 PM
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Tsk tsk! Now you guys are getting catty!

Oxford wrote:
catty adj. sly, spiteful; deliberately hurtful in speech.

The reason I joined this thread (post #4) is because I do a lot of solo scrambles, summer and winter, for the last few years. It's very rewarding and satisfying. So I thought I'd contribute my opinion, not so much to correct the OP's poor judgement, but to share my wisdom point-of-view.

The first couple of years I did this, friends would ask such questions as "Aren't you afraid something will go wrong?", to which I answer, "Yes!" Which was true: I'd traverse a ridge crest, and tell myself "Don't look down!". Of course I got over that. But as I gained experience, I gained skills, and confidence. It always got better.

Last year, the Parks guys knew how I was progressing higher and more remote. As winter was coming in, they started telling me, "Dan! Don't go out alone!". So did my wife, and my doctor. It's important to understand that "remote" means, if I get stuck, they will find my bones next summer. (Actually I doubt that the animals will leave enough left-overs to find.)

So I started inviting folks from the Alpine Club, for day scrambles. This worked really well.

I have often wanted to rap off some rocks that too scary to down-climb, and I have often thought about buying a rope (20 meters will do, no gear required) but analysis always tells me that the rap will be risky, it can drop me unto even riskier terrain -- but if I can't down-climb, I can find a way around!

I get stupid ideas all the time. But I don't do the stupid stunts -- I plan the outing, first. Then when stuff happens (stuff always happens), then maybe I'll have an even chance of surviving.

Anyway for me, the real attraction of these remote scrambles is "exploration and discovery". That's just as challenging as climber49er's "travel as straight a line as possible" -- only more fun!

I'm serious. I love being up there. I love walking on slabs and ridges, and high-level route-finding. In summer, I love the birds and flowers. In winter, I love the snow. So it's really easy for me to take it like it is, instead of making an artificial route, just because I know how.

So! climber49er don't start off by announcing it as a thrice-risky goal. But do get out there and have fun. Enjoy the mountain for what it is. Play safe, then when you're home again, you can smile.


coastal_climber


Dec 28, 2011, 7:27 PM
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I'm sure rapping is "fun" to some people. But I personally would waaaay rather walk off than rap any day.


vinnie83


Dec 28, 2011, 8:24 PM
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This depends on several factors, but you would probably save time and energy by leaving the rope at home. Not only is it a lot of extra weight, but you waste a lot of time getting your harness on, setting up the rappel and then repacking everything over and over again. Then again I try to minimize time spent hiking compared to climbing as much as possible.

If you seriously enjoy rappelling then you obviously need to spend more time climbing.


dan2see


Dec 29, 2011, 8:16 AM
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vinnie83 wrote:
This depends on several factors, but you would probably save time and energy by leaving the rope at home. Not only is it a lot of extra weight, but you waste a lot of time getting your harness on, setting up the rappel and then repacking everything over and over again. Then again I try to minimize time spent hiking compared to climbing as much as possible.

If you seriously enjoy rappelling then you obviously need to spend more time climbing.

But not "backcountry". Climb with friends, in an accessible location.


jeepnphreak


Dec 29, 2011, 2:03 PM
Post #25 of 36 (6395 views)
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Registered: Jul 28, 2008
Posts: 1259

Re: [moose_droppings] Solo Rappeling - Backcountry Travel - What would you do? [In reply to]
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moose_droppings wrote:
Rap 'B' and 'C'.
Pull 'B' first to take 'C' part of rope down.
Now pull 'A' to retrieve everything.
Only works for a third of the length of your rope.
A tree with rough bark can make the pull tough to get started sometimes. A big slung chockstone or boulder will pull easier.



Your best bet is to enjoy the day with a nice walk around to the bottom.

I have use a very similar set up as this except I replaced A with a length of tech cord. so now I have a full half rop to rap on, or use twin lines for a full length rappel.

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