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hellclimber


Oct 6, 2003, 1:52 PM
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An epic?
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I don't no what constitutes an epic but my trip today just might. I am still not calm as I got back just a couple of hours ago.

I and a friend was going to climb StÝren outside Trondheim in Norway.
We decided to start at 1500 but ended up being late as usual. Got to
bottom of the climb and racked up. It was his first multipitch climb.
I am by no means an experienced trad leader but figured I had enough
experience to get us through it and be home before dard. Just in case,
we had both brought along our Tikka's.

I started leading the first pitch, a 5.8. Half way up I manage to drop 6
nuts. After I was done swearing and my belayer was done laughing I
finished the climb. All the nuts where retrieved and my belayer joined me
at the ledge. I racked up again. It was getting a little bit chilly but we were still going strong. Got to the ledge and ran into another climbing
party. Had to wait for five or ten minutes before setting up anchor and
bringing up my second. He grinned at me, held up a nut and asked "did you loose something"? Couldn't quite believe it. I had managed to drop another nut during the climb. This was getting ridiculous. I have never lost
anything on a climb until today.

At this ledge we changed lead. Ahead of us was an easy 5.4 (not quite
certain about the grade conversion at lower grades so it might be off by
a grade) and I suggested that he try the lead. He is a capable sport
climber so he could send it easily and focus on placing pro. He sent it
like a champ as I anticipated. The problem now was that I couldn't hear
him as the wind had picked up considerably and I hadn't shown him any
way of communicating without yelling commands. I waited for quite some
time before I thought he yelled something which I hoped to God was "
off belay". I took him off belay but kept him on body belay until I was
certain that he was in fact pulling in rope to put me on belay. I waited a
little longer. Still didn't hear anything but still picked apart my anchor
and started climbing. The first half of the pitch no slack was taken in. I
still climbed on as I find that part really easy and have free soloed it
once before. Finished the climb without making an ass of myself. Gave my
partner feedback on his pro placements which where excellent, and racked up.

At this point I decided to link the last to pitches of the climb as it was
getting dark and really cold. I started of motivated to blitz it and get
down. Ended up getting stuck about 7 m into the pitch. down climbed a
couple of meters to another way. At this point it was pitch dark. Threw on
my headlight and kept going. Climbing in the dark proved more difficult
than I had anticipated. I felt less secure in my placements and it was
difficult planning ahead as the beam of the Tikka doesn't reach more than
a few meters. I finished the climb shivering, mostly due to the cold weather.

Brought up my second and wandered to out rappel station. Tied
two 60m ropes together. Put a knot on each end and threw the rope-ends over the edge. I decided to go down first in case something had gone wrong. Rapped down about 40 meters before I discovered that one of the ropes was stuck way out to my left about 10 meters above me. At this point I started swearing again. Worked on trying to get the rope unstuck for a while but couldn't. Ended up having to climb it. A big block of stone was above me to my left.I couldn't get my rope over it. At this point there was a lot more swearing. Then I gave out a lot of slack in the rope and started climbing towards the stuck rope-end. Gave out rope, climbed a little bit and gave out more rope again until I reached the stuck rope-end. Having the rope pull me downwards to the right made an otherwise easy climb difficult. After getting the rope unstuck, I started down
climbing. A lot more swearing at this point. Free soloing in the dark going
backwards is exactly as bad as it sounds. Got below the big block of stone which had obstructed my rope, took in slack and swung back on track. Rapped down another ten meters or so. Had to traverse to my left as the rope was stuck again but this time I managed to get to it without exposing myself to a fall. I just walked in a pendulum along the wall to the stuck rope and fixed the problem. Safely on the ground I started shivering a little bit again, and this time I wasn't cold at all. My partner rappelled down without any difficulty, we got in the car and at that point this story ends as
nothing else worth mentioning happened on our trip back.

In retrospect I learned an important lesson which should be obvious: Don't tie knots on the end of the rope when you have to throw it out into
darkness in high winds and have no idea where it is going to end up. Well,
DUH! If you have bothered reading this far: Was this an epic? :roll:

hellclimber


alpnclmbr1


Oct 6, 2003, 2:20 PM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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That was a nice mini epic story.

Glad to see that you made it through your stuck end of rope rappel knot syndrome. Just one more perfect example of why you do not "always" tie knots in the end of your rope.


Partner philbox
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Oct 6, 2003, 3:02 PM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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I don`t agree, you should always tie knots in the end of your rope, especially if it is dark. The true moral to this story is that one should be very attentive and not rap below where a rope is stuck.


hellclimber


Oct 6, 2003, 3:16 PM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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I strongly disagree with you there philbox. Getting to the stuck rope even if I was above it would have been difficult due to the rock formations. I have rapped this particular stretch before many times and know that the ropes are exactly long enough. The knots here did me nothing good at all. The wind was strong when we threw the rope and carried it a considerable distance which is a recipe for a cluster f u c k. No knot on the rope-end would have saved me a lot of trouble on this particular rappel. Discovering that you have gotten your rope stuck is difficult when its pitch black. When descending it looked like the rope was going reasonably straight down. As soon as I suspected that it was stuck it was way to late. I would have had to discover it at least 30 meters earlier if I was to go above and to the left of the rock formation preventing me from traversing to the stuck rope. If I have learnt anything climbing it's that common sense prevails over "you should always blablabla".

hellclimber


vegastradguy


Oct 6, 2003, 6:01 PM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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nice mini epic. i'd say the moral is this: start earlier and get stronger headlamps. :?


thinksinpictures


Oct 6, 2003, 7:08 PM
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I wouldn't call myself experienced enough to say whether you should always or shouldn't always knot the rope (I haven't encountered a situation where it would have been a bad idea), but it occurs to me that in the case of rapping in the dark and in the wind that your best course would have been to knot the ends, then flake the rope into a pack, ropebag, or just gather the flaked rope in a sling, clip that to your belay loop, and feed it out as you rappel.

It takes a little longer to prepare, and I understand that it was cold and late, but I'm pretty sure that this would be the safest way to get down.


hellclimber


Oct 7, 2003, 1:18 AM
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Good point thinksinpictures. I have never practised this technique before. Going back out today so I will try it. We didn't bring a pack but I will try flaking the rope on a sling and se if I can get down without a big ball of spaghetti. We are using two ropes for this rappel so this is going to be interesting.

I still believe that when you know for sure the rope is long enough, a knot at the end is pointless and will do you more harm than good. Factors that will make me consider a knot at the end are:

1. if I don't know the rappel
2. I or my partner are tired and unfocussed
3. darkness

My little mini epic could have been avoided if I had taken a little more time at the top and thought things properly through before acting. The fact that I was cold and just wanted to get off the mountain was the biggest problem, and this, in my opinion, is where I went wrong. After encountering the problem, I should have set up an anchor, waited for my partner and have had him belay me up to the problem spot. This would have been a safer course of action but taken a lot more time. Again, being tired and cold prevailed over common sense and I went for the rope end on my own. The conclusion: I messed up big time. Hopefully I have learnt and won't do the same mistakes again. At least not all of them at once.

hellclimber


thinksinpictures


Oct 7, 2003, 7:07 AM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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I've never tried this on a two rope rappel, so I'm curious to hear how it works. I would imagine that the basic setup should be pretty much the same, but that you would have to take more care in flaking the rope well so that the large mess of rope doesn't become ungainly. All in all I think that flaking it over a sling is probably the best (most organized) way to keep the rope with you, rather than flaking it and stuffing it in a pack or bag where it can get tangled. Yet I've only tried it with a pack before.


marcel


Oct 7, 2003, 7:42 AM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
My little mini epic could have been avoided if I had taken a little more time at the top and thought things properly through before acting. The fact that I was cold and just wanted to get off the mountain was the biggest problem, and this, in my opinion, is where I went wrong. hellclimber

This is so true. Getting into a hurry is always a bad thing to do. I was recently 4 pitches up when a sudden storm came in. The weather went from sunny to a full blown blizzard in 15 minutes with 60 mile per hour wind. By the time we set up 2 long raps there was 4 to 6 inches of snow on the ledges. We were wearing warm weather clothing and did not have proper cold weather clothes to put on, even if we could have. Not to mention there is little warmth in rock shoes. Fortunatly we all kept our heads, took our time to make sure we were safe and all got off the rock safely. We had to leave two ropes, which we went back to get when the storm abated. (Since we didn't know if the ropes were long enough we did tie knots in the end. Of couse one did get stuck, but the first person down was able to untangle it and then held the end so it wouldn't blow away and get stuck again.)


hellclimber


Oct 7, 2003, 10:50 AM
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Results from trying different ways of rappelling:

1. Double ropes in a pack. This worked like a charm. Just stuff both ropes in parallel into the pack and off you go. No tangles. At least thats the way it went today.

2. Double ropes flaked on slings. The ropes were flaked on different slings. This ended up a major cluster f u c k. I believe this is due to poor rope management on this try and will have another go at it. Next time I will be very careful to flake the rope starting with big flakes and the go smaller and smaller. The rope should then be fed from the top of the heap.

If anyone has any success trying the second method or have any other ideas, please let me know.

hellclimber


dalguard


Oct 7, 2003, 1:38 PM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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One option in a windy situation is to lower the first person with both ends. Not with the ropes running through a sling though obviously.


elvislegs


Oct 7, 2003, 2:03 PM
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Re: An epic? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
but it occurs to me that in the case of rapping in the dark and in the wind that your best course would have been to know the ends, then flake the rope into a pack, ropebag, or just gather the flaked rope in a sling, clip that to your belay loop, and feed it out as you repel.


http://www.rockclimbing.com/...mp.cgi?Detailed=7836

Yeah, it works like a charm in the right situation.


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