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By K-Tanz
From Phoenix, AZ
Mar 8, 2013
Leading up pitch 2 of Moby Dick, Cochise Stronghol...
I ran into an issue the other day. I was at a crag where everything is anchored off of trees at the top of a cliff. I wanted to run top rope for some parties below. The tree which is used as the anchor is approx ten feet from the cliff edge. I used tubular webbing to make a nice long (redundant) anchor where the master point would hang over the edge of the cliff. The thought here was that this would prevent the rope from running over the sharp edge of the cliff during TR runs.

The issue I ran into was rapping off. My master point is now hanging over the cliff edge with my rope and I am scratching my head about how to rap down. I ended up tying off the tree with a separate piece of webbing, rapping off of that to my master point, going on direct there, and setting up the TR. This was an enormous PITA. I am looking at suggestions for simplifying this setup. I will happily draw this out if it is unclear.

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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
I usually pull up the master point, attach my rap device to the rope, tie off (lock) my rap device and "Batman" hand over hand down the webbing until the rope and rap device are loaded. Untie the lock and rap down.

Your masterpoint was only a foot or two below the cliff edge, right?

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By clay meier
Mar 8, 2013
Thats Me
put on an autoblock and jump

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By Brian Hudson
From Lenoir, NC
Mar 8, 2013
Valor Over Discretion (5.8), RRG
+1 for Batman

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By Bob M
From Alpharetta, GA
Mar 8, 2013
T Wall
Batman or downclimb, whichever seems safer in the situation.

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By Larry S
Mar 8, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I'll second the batman approach. I pull up the masterpoint/rope, get the rap setup with an autoblock backup and batman down.

If it's real dicy to get down i've employed some other techniques, such as using a separate piece of cord(olette) and rapping down to the masterpoint on that (already set up like above) using a munter on the cord and just rap off the end of it onto your main line (already attached and backed up). I've also down-prussik'd the anchor-cord. Doing either of those is really rare though.

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By jmeizis
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 8, 2013
The Beginning of Mr. Clean (5.8) at the Barkeater ...
Something that is nice with static rope is that when you have enough length you can tie an anchor with the rope and leave enough that you have a strand to rappell down to your top rope. Then you can transfer from one rope to the other. Static rope is also more durable and easier to work with in my opinion. But yeah with the webbing thing I usually pull the rope up and hook in to rappel with an autoblock back-up and then down climb or batman down the rope til my weight is transferred. Which sucks.

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By Ben Sachs
Mar 8, 2013
What about just throwing the rope down and then walking back to the base via whatever trail got you up there? Obviously this wont work if you had to lead climb to get to the top, but this sounds like a TR cliff with a walk-up trail.

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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
Ben Sachs wrote:
What about just throwing the rope down and then walking back to the base via whatever trail got you up there? Obviously this wont work if you had to lead climb to get to the top, but this sounds like a TR cliff with a walk-up trail.


TROLL!!!
How dare you bring logic and common sense into this discussion? Be gone!

j/k ;)

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By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
Mar 8, 2013
Day Lily.
Walking off seems much easier but there are other options besides the ones stated like: setup a munter with the climb rope, self belay to the master point, clip into the master point, put rope through master point then setup and off on rappel.

Friction hitch around webbing (if enough raps it'll hold more than well enough, place it above cliff edge), sling around tree, tie a loop into the webbing above the cliffs edge for the munter carabiner, get down to master point and clip in then move up to undo loop or just leave it, the top rope setup won't be compromised by the loop. There are options to create convienent loop to setup munter.

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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Mar 8, 2013
Me on Supercrack
How about:

Run your rope around the tree, rap down to your master-point & clip in with your preffered tether. thread through the new anchor & pull the the rope from around the tree. It's essentially just a mult-pitch rap. use only enough rope around the tree to get you to your next anchor, then it won't turn in to a clusterfu*k. Pretty much what you did, just get more efficient at it.

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By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Mar 8, 2013
CoR
Only problem is that will eventually kill the tree. You could always bring a friend to give you a courtesy belay to the anchor.

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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Mar 8, 2013
Me on Supercrack
rging wrote:
Only problem is that will eventually kill the tree. You could always bring a friend to give you a courtesy belay to the anchor.


Yes! you are correct. Please amend my suggestion to: add a loop/biner/rapid link to the sling you have looped around the tree, and do a short rap from it to your anchor point.

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By Lee Green
Mar 9, 2013
I'm with Batman. -Robin

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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Mar 9, 2013
Use it as a opportunity to practice lowering out, I do.

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By Matthew Fienup
Administrator
From Ventura, CA
Mar 9, 2013
Photo by Marisa Fienup.
Just seconding what jmeizis said. Here's that setup:


Note that the rappel is pre-rigged on the actual climbing rope and then the climber munters down an extra strand of the anchor cord to get onto the rappel.

If you are using webbing to tie the masterpoint, you can also use a cordelette on one of the trees and then munter down the cordelette to get into position to rappel.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 9, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
I'd suggest not using the system illustrated above. The setup illustrated has much fewer turns in the backup than usually recommended, and has the backup on a carabiner on the leg loop but no extension for the rappel device.

Autoblock backups are not quite as foolproof as some folks like to think, and there have been accidents (and fatalities) to prove the point. Three wraps is the minimum I've ever heard anyone use, and four is not at all uncommon. The wraps can't be too loose either.

If, during the the descent, the climber in the picture raises his right leg, there is a good chance that the autoblock will run into the ATC and not lock at all. This is one of the reasons for extending the device, but of course that makes it even harder to get onto a low anchor.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the autoblock is not going to be tended while the rappeller lowers into position, and so has a better chance of loosening up.

It would probably be safer to either tie off the belay device as is done for belay escapes or, even more simply, wrap the rappel ropes around the thigh four times.

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By Turner
Mar 9, 2013
use one of your rope ends to lower off a piece.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 9, 2013
clay meier wrote:
put on an autoblock and jump


That's an issue/problem that I ran into rock climbing and rapping in the Summer of 2012. A friend set up a top rope to rock climb and after he did I rapped off of it. Problem WAS - he rigged the Locking HMS 'biner so far down the edge that I had one F of a time getting over the edge - tried to carefully, safely and gracefully - but in doing so - I slammed into the wall and ripped the shite and skin off of the back of my hand - badly - and now I sport 2 terrible looking scars! The SOB bleed all day long despite applying direct pressure to the sounds (and I am a RN no-less!). I since have learned from this:

1) If you aren't happy with a rigging - take the time and change it to something BETTER!

2) Tape your frikken hands! Prevents a lot of wounds!

3) Pay attention of how much of a overhang your sling(s) are or your rope over any edge when rapping or setting up a top rope, etc.

We were rushing that day to get set up and get climbing as it was like MAY and still like 45 degrees and with the wind chill everyone was freezing and their fingers numb. I have since learned NOT to rush, that promotes accidents and errors, take your time, and if you DON'T LIKE something - STOP and take the time to correct it before someone gets hurt or killed!

Lesson learned!

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By wivanoff
Mar 9, 2013
High Exposure
rgold wrote:
It would probably be safer to either tie off the belay device as is done for belay escapes or, even more simply, wrap the rappel ropes around the thigh four times.


+1 for the rest of your post, rgold. As mentioned above, I usually tie off the belay device on the carabiner spine (British style) and downclimb or Batman down until I can load the rap device.

I've tried that thigh wrap method and, while I use it to hang out when rap-cleaning a route, it makes me too nervous at the start of a rappel when downclimbing to the masterpoint. I always feel like it's going to unwrap on me. Although, I HAVE used a thigh wrap and then pass the rope over the opposite shoulder. That seems more secure - at least to me.

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By jmeizis
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 9, 2013
The Beginning of Mr. Clean (5.8) at the Barkeater ...
Yeah, if you can walk off that would obviously be the easiest solution. I gather that's not an option, hence the question?

Another option depending on how much rope you have is to use your main rope on a secondary anchor and rap off that onto your toprope. So to put it into steps:

1. Pull up toprope and get set up to rappel with backup.
2. Pull up one end and thread that through a secondary anchor or just a single anchor point (since you'll be backed up by the main anchor). Make sure you have enough length to get your weight onto the main anchor and toprope setup. It's like a mini toprope that ends a bit below your masterpoint if that helps with the visual.
3. Rap down til you've transferred your weight onto your main anchor. You could do this with a munter, a second belay device, or if you wanted to make it complicated you could rap down your transfer setup, tie off and then transfer to the main setup. That's kind of an unnecessary complication though if you've got a nice big biner to munter down on. Once your weight is on the main anchor just pull the other rope.

This might be what the whole tree rap idea above was.

As for the wraps on an autoblock, I agree with the point in general using three but I really think being diligent with knowing your equipment and the limits of your systems will do more. That goes for putting the backup on a leg loop as well.

I have a piece of cord like that and if I wrapped it three times it'd be really difficult to move. Then again when doing self rescue stuff with my newer 6 mil cordallete I have to rap it five times. A fuzzier piece of the same cord I wrap four. I also put my backup in different places depending on the situation. Single pitch rap I'd probably do it unextended with a leg backup. Multipitch raps, I'd probably extend and do it off the belay loop. Alpine climbing with an approaching storm and the hairs standing up on end, forget the backup I'm more worried about getting struck by lightning (although someone might argue that's all the more reason for one).

The point is that each situation calls for a different approach based on the equipment and the situation. I think getting better at knowing the limits, advantages, and disadvantages of multiple setups and different equipment in your kit so you know the right approach for the right situation is better than just applying an A therefore B approach.

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By Buff Johnson
Mar 9, 2013
smiley face
I'd just clip into the master point with a pas, batman down the few feet needed, then rig up the rap.

I like to keep things uncluttered until I make the terrain transition, then I can weight-check the system switch a bit cleaner. If the single tie-in makes you queasy, use a redundant method. That munter makes for a simple solution; though the system is still open ended.

I like the auto-block, but as it's depicted, it might offer more of a problem than a solution when you do a terrain transition.
I'm more a cowtailer and put the third hand hitch on the belay loop.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 9, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
wivanoff wrote:
I've tried that thigh wrap method and, while I use it to hang out when rap-cleaning a route, it makes me too nervous at the start of a rappel when downclimbing to the masterpoint. I always feel like it's going to unwrap on me. Although, I HAVE used a thigh wrap and then pass the rope over the opposite shoulder. That seems more secure - at least to me.


Agreed---the rope weight can start to undo the leg wraps. You can pass the rope over the opposite shoulder, or having gone that far drop it over to the other side of the belay device, or even just clip it through a biner somewhere on the harness, anything to redirect the rope weight so that it pulls up rather than down on the wraps.

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