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Falling while attempting to Rappel
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morgan_fines


Mar 1, 2002, 2:20 PM
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Falling while attempting to Rappel
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I've read a few stories on here about people falling while rappeling because their hand slipped. As was mentioned, one fix is to tie an overhand knot in the rope a few feet down. Well ... that's only a partial fix as far as I'm concerned. The BEST way to be safe on rappel is to back up with a prusik (or two prusiks if you really want to be safe). Prusiks are easy to use, light to carry and they work well. Anyway, that's my 2 cents...


jt512


Mar 1, 2002, 2:43 PM
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How would you rappel past the knot "a few feet down"?


froggy


Mar 1, 2002, 3:03 PM
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I normally bring my prusik and back up every rappel.. I have only known of a couple other people to do so and it only takes a few extra seconds to tie around the rope...
It is also really nice to know that when you are tired you don't have to worry about falling to your death if your hand does not grip the rope... ++Plus if anything were to happen you are one step closer with one prusik out to being able to ascend your rope.
**** I guess it's the same reason people don't back up their rappel as why they don't use a helmet.. Can you say Dumb!?!


northcascades


Mar 1, 2002, 3:11 PM
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I have to run so I don't have the time to find the supporting links I'd like to beyond this one http://www.dtek.chalmers.se/Climbing/Hardware/prusik-on-rappel.html.

My assumption is that with the prussik mentioned above you are referring to one above the rappel device? If so:

I have read numerous papers/articles that make it quite clear that if you do backup your rappel do it with an autoblock below the rappel device attached to your leg loop and extend your rappel device from your harness with a sling. The gist of the attached link is that the natural tendency when one starts falling is to grab the rope above the rappel decive (useless as it might be) effectivly preventing the prussik from locking (which it will only do at slow fall speeds anyway) and causing you to plummet.

Have to run, hope this helps.

p.s. there is a vocal camp that says that one shouldn't back up a rappel specifically because the backups aren't 100% (there are a lot of things that can go wrong) and by not backing it up you force your head to be in the game.

[ This Message was edited by: northcascades on 2002-03-01 17:30 ]


froggy


Mar 1, 2002, 3:24 PM
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Why would your head not be in the game because you have a back up?
Your head should always be in the game regardless of what kind of 'protection' you have...


dustinap
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Mar 1, 2002, 3:27 PM
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The idea of tying an overhand on a bight is so you CAN'T RAPPEL PAST IT. Once you KNOW you're supporting yourself and everything is working, then you untie the knot by pushing the loop thru the knot, then you rappel down.

I usually don't use a pursik, although maybe if I did lengthy rappels, or rappels where bad stuff could happen more easily I would. I just tie BIG HONKIN' KNOTSin the end of each end. If I went unconsius, or something bad happened, I'd be in for a heck of a ride, but I'd more then likely be alright.

I feel tying a BIG HONKIN' KNOT in the end of your rappel rope on a multi rope length rappel is the most important thing next to a visual inspection before starting the rappel. I always do 3 visual inspections on all systems of my rap anchor before going off the end. Especially making sure I'm holding onto the rope, my 'biner is on my belay loop, my rap device is on the carabiner with the rope goign thru the biner, the biner is locked, and it's setup properly. Then I check my knot, if my ropes are tied together, then I move onto making sure the rope is on the anchor.

[ This Message was edited by: dustinap on 2002-03-01 15:29 ]


jmlangford


Mar 1, 2002, 3:46 PM
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I use a Petzl Shunt on all of my rappels. It works great, especially if I need to stop on the way down and use both hands for something, photography, etc. I attach the rappel device about 18-20" above my harness and the Shunt is on the rope right in front of me. Of course, if I am going to be spending an extended amount of time stationary on the rappel, I also clip off the slack end of the rope with a figure-8 on a bight to my waist loop. I also wear a sturdy pair of leather gloves when rapping.

Read this article. The whole episode started because of a tragic series of errors including rappelling off the wrong cliff AND rappelling off the end of a rope.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/articles/index.php?ID=54



[ This Message was edited by: jmlangford on 2002-03-01 17:33 ]


northcascades


Mar 1, 2002, 5:45 PM
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Jim -- sounds like a mechanical autoblock. I like it and will have to try it!

Dustin, I would agree that the knot in the end of the rope on multi-length rappels is a good idea, but not a rule. In conditions (especially windy ones) where a big knot on the end of a rope might get caught when you toss the rope I would argue against the knot and instead just say be very careful (or don't throw the rope and bring it down with you instead... but I've had bad experiences with this).

Just as a little more info here is another site about prusik safties:

site showing autoblock knot


jmlangford


Mar 1, 2002, 6:24 PM
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northcascades...look at this link, it's a good picture of the Shunt. The silver ring you see is pulled back through the slot and a biner clipped through it, the doubled rope is then fed through the opposite side. You hold the Shunt in your balance hand and squeeze the ring to allow yourself to move down,let go(like when using a GriGri and your weight pulls down on the ring, forcing the crossbar into pinching the rope against the Shunt and creating a lock on the rope.

http://www.mgear.com/pages/product/product.asp?level1_id=0&level2_id=0&level3_id=0&item=615286&level2_title=

[ This Message was edited by: jmlangford on 2002-03-01 21:09 ]


jt512


Mar 1, 2002, 8:10 PM
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Quote:The idea of tying an overhand on a bight is so you CAN'T RAPPEL PAST IT. Once you KNOW you're supporting yourself and everything is working, then you untie the knot by pushing the loop thru the knot, then you rappel down.

Oh, an overhand on a bight; ie, a slip knot. Got it. Does anyone actually do this, or is it just theory?

-Jay


Partner rrrADAM


Mar 1, 2002, 8:50 PM
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Stu wrote a great article with graphics about the Auto Block.


krustyklimber


Mar 1, 2002, 8:53 PM
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I also use the shunt, but mostly on long rapps or if I'm carrying a heavy load.

At close to $40US (what's that $316 Canadian :lol ) the Shunt can be, and is, easily replaced with the cheaper alternative of an autoblock. Which in my opinion is the best "cord" backup.

But when I'm rappin' with a 100lb pig nothing beats the Shunt!

And Dustin, riding no hands and/or asleep-unconsious your likely to hurt yourself, or worse, long before you ever reach your big honkin' knot, which might be laying on the ground. I'll belay while I'm sleeping but I won't rappel unless I'm awake!

Jeff

P.S. It's good to be redundantlty redundant when it comes to safety.

[ This Message was edited by: krustyklimber on 2002-03-01 20:55 ]


addiroids


Mar 1, 2002, 11:48 PM
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Never used one, but if I did, it would be an autoblock on the leg loop. Can tie with a shoulder length piece of webbing (always have that around). No need to buy a $60 shunt when a $0.70 piece of cord or webbing will work fine.

Another great way to have a little more control over your raps if you have to downclimb a bit over an edge, is to extend your rap device with 2 slings in parallel girthed to your harness. You don't have to have your rap hand below your waist and can still have it slightly on the rope while lowering yourself down a bit.

Also, a stopper knot in the ends of the rope is great and I usually do that. Just remember to untie it (and verify with partner that knot is untied) before you pull it.

TRADitionally yours,

Addiroids


newbieclimber


Mar 2, 2002, 12:24 AM
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"I guess it's the same reason people don't back up their rappel as why they don't use a helmet.. Can you say Dumb!?!"(froggy)

john long believes there are enough things that can go wrong with a back up on a rappel that he states:

"If you don't know how to rappel, get a belay. If you are doubtful you can make a certain rappel, don't rappel."

in addition i have never seen an amga certified guide teach clients to use a backup on a rappel. some may do that i just havent seen it. (anyone ever see or experience that?)

in spite of this if you do choose to use a backup a prusik above the belay device is an illusory back up. it wont work because you wont be able to let go of the knot if you start falling. your instinctive reaction is to grab when something goes wrong not let go. so when you clamp down on the prusik knot thats in your hand it cant engage and just continues to slide down the rope.

instead use an autoblock below the belay device and extend the belay device if needed to keep the belay device from engaging the autoblock knot and sliding it down the rope. that way if you get scared and instinctively grab the knot you will be applying braking power below your belay device. if you get knocked unconscious and let go with your brake hand the autoblock will act as your brake hand and hold your fall.

be safe.


[ This Message was edited by: newbieclimber on 2002-03-02 12:10 ]


vbrgclimber


Mar 3, 2002, 7:36 PM
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  uh...a prusik would go below the rappel device...it slips until a large load its put on it, then it locks up...its to easy to make to not use this thing that could save your life...ask someone you know how to do it, and thats it, its kind of hard to explain here, but its real easy


noal


Mar 3, 2002, 7:51 PM
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I never back up my rappells...mainly because I never really climb high enough to have to rappell back off the climb...I just hike around the crag back to my stuff. But I like rappelling for fun...but most of the fun is in the speedy descent. I've always had something in the back of my mind about something going wrong...but as long as my double redundant anchor point don't fail...and I didn't misjudge rappell length vs. rope link and shoot off my rope...the only thing I can think of going wrong is my hand slipping off the brake...but I try to have someone at the bottom to jump on the rope which will stop my fall!!! Maybe I'm not thinking of something, but can you guys see a flaw in this...something I need to be mindfull of...just seeking some advice! thanks


jds100


Mar 9, 2002, 2:30 PM
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There are a lot of things that can go wrong, from the setup of the anchors, whether or not you've properly (safely) set up your rapple device with the ropes, to "zipping" down the line, to shock loading the anchors, etc. etc. etc. It's been said before: more accidents occur on rappel than in any other part of climbing. Newbie's, and most of the other's, advice is excellent. And, I think an autoblock is far superior to a prussik, for a number of reasons, but just take a look at the article that Adam linked. I have actually seen a NON-AMGA certified guide who teaches the autoblock as a back up for rappelling, to be used all the time. It's much safer than the Fireman's Belay technique of depending on someone on the ground to put tension on the rope if you let go. Scary!


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