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Why we back up a rappel
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By doligo
Apr 29, 2014
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

J Q wrote:
not only is it dangerous, but a pain in the ass for everyone who is waiting for the route.


bingo


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By redlude97
Apr 29, 2014

D.Buffum wrote:
I dislike the fact that to lower you need to retie your figure eight and you have to communicate with your belayer to put you back on belay. At sport crags there is often a lot of yelling and commotion. Belayers often become distracted after taking you off belay by talking to neighbors, or grabbing a drink of water, or whatever. Rather than rely on them to put me back on belay, I'd rather just handle the process myself. Other people often prefer a different practice, and if they have good communication with their belayer it is probably safer for them to lower rather than rappel. For me that is not the case.

If I'm cleaning and planning to lower and my belayer takes me off belay, after getting down they'd probably get a good chewing out. If it happened twice, I'd stop climbing with them. The fact you think that is normal makes you a noob. The person that taught you that is a gumby.


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By i.reynaud
From Long Beach, Ca
Apr 30, 2014
Claim Jumper

@csproul . That tequnique is brilliant! I am going to add this to my bag of tricks and use it when I come to steel rap rings.


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Apr 30, 2014

I think it is important that you establish your plan before you leave the ground. Make sure you and the belayer know what is going to happen so there is no confusion the anchor.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Apr 30, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

wankel7 wrote:
I think it is important that you establish your plan before you leave the ground. Make sure you and the belayer know what is going to happen so there is no confusion the anchor.

This is absolutely the truth...but....I have encountered the rare occasion where, as a leader, the plan changed. It is important to know how you will handle that and verify that the "new plan" is going to result in you safely back on the ground. Of course, this can also be discussed on the ground, and good communication and a trusted belayer certainly helps.


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By patto
May 1, 2014

I almost never back up a rappel. Even in canyons down waterfalls and into deep pools. I have two hands on my rope and hope it like my life depends on it (which it does).

If a bee stung my hand then I'd still be holding, pain shouldn't distract you from critical tasks.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
May 1, 2014
Stoked...

patto wrote:
I almost never back up a rappel. Even in canyons down waterfalls and into deep pools. I have two hands on my rope and hope it like my life depends on it (which it does). If a bee stung my hand then I'd still be holding, pain shouldn't distract you from critical tasks.


Until a piece of falling rock drops on your dome and knocks you out... then ur toast.


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By patto
May 1, 2014

Morgan Patterson wrote:
Until a piece of falling rock drops on your dome and knocks you out... then ur toast.


Yep. Falling rocks do that. So I do my best to avoid them.

Seriously the biggest issue in abseiling for experienced climbers is complacency. The falling rock hitting a climber knocking them out on abseil (but not killing them) is up there in likelihood with being struck by lightning.

There are numerous loss of control scenarios to consider. Especially in wet and slippery environments of wet canyons. I am confident in almost all. In those I am not I extend my belay device and use a prussik properly.


Leg loop attachment for prussiks is down right dangerous as it is an ineffective backup.


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By ViperScale
May 1, 2014

J Q wrote:
Actually it's because you yell off belay while single pitch sport climbing and insist on lowering yourself. Getting off belay and lowering yourself on a single pitch climb is a sure sign that you don't have a clue what you are doing. Not only is it dangerous, but a pain in the ass for everyone who is waiting for the route.



It is slower to retie into the rope after putting it through the rings than it is to just rap down in most cases. It is also just as safe because the person at the bottom can give you a fireman belay if you feel that bad about your repelling. Also lowering someone on fixed rings will damage them over time and require replacing the rings. I have seen countless rings half cut through from people top roping / lower on them.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
May 1, 2014

patto wrote:
Leg loop attachment for prussiks is down right dangerous as it is an ineffective backup.


Why do you think using your backup from the leg loop is dangerous and ineffective?


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
May 1, 2014

ViperScale wrote:
It is slower to retie into the rope after putting it through the rings than it is to just rap down in most cases. It is also just as safe because the person at the bottom can give you a fireman belay if you feel that bad about your repelling. Also lowering someone on fixed rings will damage them over time and require replacing the rings. I have seen countless rings half cut through from people top roping / lower on them.


bullshit... times 4.

please posts photos of the countless rings.

rings are stupid in any case. biners are far cheaper, even new. no time to clip and lower, safer because no room for error, and easily replaceable.

the problem is that there is an inherent Trad gene in some Luddites that make them see these lowering biners as 'booty', not donated community property.


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By patto
May 1, 2014

FrankPS wrote:
Why do you think using your backup from the leg loop is dangerous and ineffective?


Because the prussik can very easily rise up, touch the belay device and then cease to grip the rope as it is pushed by the device.

Oh, you say your prussik is short and doesn't reach that far? Well what happens when you flip upside down. Oops, there we go!

If you are going to have a backup in case you get knocked unconscious, then at least that works in such a circumstance!


This is what can happen when you rely on a prussik and it fails.


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By JeffL
From Salt Lake City
May 1, 2014

For those of you who lower instead of rap when you are not cleaning.... you are lazy. Do you carry chains, rap rings, or quick links to replace worn out anchors directly caused from this practice? If you don't, you should.

I was pretty frustrated to see how much wear gas happened on the past year alone on Indian Creek rap rings and chains from lazy lower offs of top ropes directly through the fixed gear.

I'm my opinion. If you see someone lowering when they should be, and easily could be rapping, you should call them out. Maybe educated them. People who do this (when it'snot necessary ie steep it difficult to clean) most likely never had a mentor to teach them why you rap. You would say something to someone who was TRing directly through chains right? I hope so at least.

You don't have to be a jerk, just offer a better solution if you see one and explain why you think it is better.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
May 1, 2014

JeffL wrote:
For those of you who lower instead of rap when you are not cleaning.... you are lazy. Do you carry chains, rap rings, or quick links to replace worn out anchors directly caused from this practice?


I'm not, and I do regularly replace worn rings with carabiners.

But rapping does make some sense in IC. It is mostly vertical and Trad has a Tradition of rapping cuz that is what you have to do on multi-pitch.


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By Max Supertramp
May 1, 2014

Patto, I too rarely use any kind of backup for rapping, but when I do, I usually position the blocking knot above the ATC/rap device. Thoughts?


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By Greg D
From Here
May 1, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

In the creek and other sandstone areas:

Even worse than the worn rap rings are huge rope cuts in the soft sandstone from all the lowering.

I would strongly encourage people to NOT get lowered if the rope is rubbing the rock anywhere when you are on soft rock. These gouges are ugly and permanently destroy the rock.


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By Max Supertramp
May 1, 2014

dude those gouges at the top of the Penguin in Arches are pretty key for turning the OW finish into a pinch-pullthru. it's the future of climbing, Greg!


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By patto
May 1, 2014

Max Supertramp wrote:
Patto, I too rarely use any kind of backup for rapping, but when I do, I usually position the blocking knot above the ATC/rap device. Thoughts?


A good blocking knot will reliably catch when it is above the device. In my opinion this can have its place, I've used this before on occasion.

The big danger of this configuration is releasing it once this occurs with you full weight on the knot. In fine conditions at a popular crag that is not a problem. In wet or cold conditions a caught prussik has in the past lead to deaths.

In my opinion blocking knots are fantastic. But that must be used appropriately and their risks known. I've recently been doing more and more canyoning which has significantly higher difficulties on when on rope.


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By michellebourget
May 1, 2014
NH

Disclaimer ahead of time: he was fine.

My ex-boyfriend was trying to teach me how to repel in December (25 foot drop behind him) and he didn't back himself up at all. He was testing to see if his weight would hold and then I watched him fall backwards off the ledge. Needless to say, I was mildly scarred at that sight. As stated, he was fine, but he easily could have hit his head on a rock. Lesson learned: always, always back yourself up.


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By Greg D
From Here
May 1, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

Max Supertramp wrote:
dude those gouges at the top of the Penguin in Arches are pretty key for turning the OW finish into a pinch-pullthru. it's the future of climbing, Greg!


I'll give you that one and that one only. I even placed a cam there.

But those gouges are from pulling rap ropes, not being lowered which does damage nonetheless but not as quickly since there is no body weight.


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By J Q
May 1, 2014
Me again!

ViperScale wrote:
It is slower to retie into the rope after putting it through the rings than it is to just rap down in most cases. It is also just as safe because the person at the bottom can give you a fireman belay if you feel that bad about your repelling. Also lowering someone on fixed rings will damage them over time and require replacing the rings. I have seen countless rings half cut through from people top roping / lower on them.



Nope, flat out wrong, and fireman belays are fucking dangerous for the fireman.

I will never understand the idea that it is better to risk your life and never wear your gear, than it is to be safe and constantly replace gear.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
May 1, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

J Q wrote:
Nope, flat out wrong, and fireman belays are fucking dangerous for the fireman. I will never understand the idea that it is better to risk your life and never wear your gear, than it is to be safe and constantly replace gear.

^^This..I've never once seen someone who can pull up the rope and rap as fast as someone who is competent at threading/lowering. In the vast majority of places I've climbed, the wear on gear is minimal. The exceptions tend to be places with lots of soft sand/sandstone that gets into the rope and grinds on the rings. So in those paces, if the climbing is not too steep, it might make more sense to rap. Same with places where ropes are wearing grooves in the rock. Modern rings just do not wear as quickly as older rings, and it makes sense to use gear that can be replaced.I will lower in almost all single pitch situations and I MIGHT rap if the line is straight and I am concerned about wear or rope pull. I there is ANY question whether I can safely/conveniently rap, I will lower every time.

A fireman's doesn't help much if you just led a steep line and you are trying to clean draws. One side of the rope is through the draws and the other is not. A fireman's might help you from plummeting, but cleaning the draws is still not going to be easy.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
May 1, 2014
Stoked...

patto wrote:
Because the prussik can very easily rise up, touch the belay device and then cease to grip the rope as it is pushed by the device. Oh, you say your prussik is short and doesn't reach that far? Well what happens when you flip upside down. Oops, there we go! If you are going to have a backup in case you get knocked unconscious, then at least that works in such a circumstance! This is what can happen when you rely on a prussik and it fails.



Yet another case of, should have used a gri gri...


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
May 1, 2014
Stoked...

patto wrote:
is up there in likelihood with being struck by lightning...


I'm from CT but I'm pretty sure Lightening is one of the number one killers in the the BC in Colorado so you're really not saying much... Falling rock is a very real danger.


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By patto
May 1, 2014

Morgan Patterson wrote:
Yet another case of, should have used a gri gri...


That one possibility. I'd be interested to see how well it works on wet, sandy 9mm static ropes... The wear would be horrendous.


Morgan Patterson wrote:
I'm from CT but I'm pretty sure Lightening is one of the number one killers in the the BC in Colorado so you're really not saying much... Falling rock is a very real danger.


No doubt about falling rocks being a danger is SOME circumstance. I had a block the size of a microwave go through my legs and cut my rope on a ledge below me.

But in MOST circumstances it is not an issue. Seriously, address the dangers if and when they are present.


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