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Knot at the end of a rope for rappel

Original Post
Shawn C · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

I like to tie knots in the end of the ropes when I rap, but I worry about forgetting to untie the knots before I start pulling the rope(s) down. Are there any safety concerns in tying both ends of the rope(s) into one knot when using an ATC device?

Check out my incredible artwork. PM me for all your MP forum post artwork needs.

Rap rope knots
redlude97 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

Generally this will cause twists in the rope.

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 95

I've never had a problem with the rope twisting while using an ATC. If I use an 8, twists become an issue but I typically tie my ends together and it works for me.

Shawn C wrote:PM me for all your MP forum post artwork needs.
Could I get a sloth telling me "YER GONNA DIE"?
Shawn C · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

Please tell your friends.

Yer gonna die
bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065

more chance of getting yr rope stuck

worried about forgetting to untie the knots ? ... when yr at the next rap anchor ... tie the end of the rope to the station with a quick overhand ... this also prevents you from losing the ends on diagonal raps

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 95
Shawn C wrote:Please tell your friends.
I'm taking this and heading to my local tattoo parlor RIGHT NOW
BGardner · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

After years of climbing at places like Red Rock, I've decided that the best way for me to handle this is to tie an overhand-on-a-bight on each strand and clip them to my gear loops. One on each side.
This way I've got knots in the end of my rope to safegaurd my rappel, and the wind can not blow my ends around the corner and snag them on whatever crack/chickenhead/bush that may be waiting. Throwing the rope is fairly easy since your only throwing half the distance. As you rappel the rest of the rope usual settles itself out. Plus since it is clipped to you, if you (or your partner) forget to untie the knot, there is no way you can pull it out of reach.
I've been rigging like this for several years now and at this point I do this on almost every multi-pitch rappel, after a bit of practice I've found it to be overall a much smoother process then attempting to throw the whole rope and dealing with the inherent tangles. Using a tube style belay device (atc, reverso ...)I've never had an issue with the ropes twisting.

Locker · · Yucca Valley, CA · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 2,265
Kyle Stapp · · Pennsylvania · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 3,690

You can also (instead of changing your usual way) take some time daily while driving, laying in bed, at work, walking, whenever to visualize your rappel technique. Just like muscle memory you can alter your thoughts and go from effort to effortless. Visualize yourself always remembering to untie the ends and it'll be embedded by your next rapp experience, IF you put effort into it.

Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 250

Regardless of whether or not you tie a knot in the ends, you should force yourself to watch the far end of your rope as it passes by you while you're pulling. It's a super easy habit that will save you some serious hassle one day.

camhead · · Vandalia, Appalachia · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,240
Shawn C wrote:Please tell your friends. [image of cliff sloth]
Brian Hudson · · Hickory, NC · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 95
Shawn C wrote:Please tell your friends.
Shawn C · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

First, you calmly identified the problem at hand.

First you calmly identified the problem at hand

Then Jimmy McMillan showed up and was a pessimistic dickwad.

Jimmy McMillan

But Slash blasted a killer 80's hair ballad that made you think of unicorns.

Slash and unicorns

Stallone arrived and belayed himself to retrieve the rope.

Stallone belaying himself.

...and Chuck Norris kicked the shit out of your forgetful friend.

Chuck Norris
Ben Brotelho · · Albany, NY · Joined May 2011 · Points: 520

hahah awesome diagrams...very informative

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,767

AHAHAHAHAHAHAH AWSOMENESS! shawn u made my morning... thnx man!

stanley 250 · · scottsdale, az · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 5

if you're gonna tie, quit being a baby and tie each end separate like everyone else. That sloth pic is awesome!!! I love it! for multipitch, i often prefer not tying because I worry the rope is more likely to get caught and that will cause more problems.

Crag Dweller · · New York, NY · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125
stanley 250 wrote:...for multipitch, i often prefer not tying because I worry the rope is more likely to get caught and that will cause more problems.
So, in the scenario with the highest potential risk of rappelling off the ends, you prefer not to tie the ends?
John Ryan · · Poncha Springs, CO · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 165

I used to always tie both ends of the rope together for multiple rappels. The only bad thing about this method is having to manage both rope ends for the knot - you could flake the rope at the rap anchor while you thread it so you have both ends to tie together. I would always rig the rope for a rappel with the rope ends hanging, then pull them up, tie them together, and drop again - it was a bunch of wasted time and energy.

Baumer · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 193

Nice work on the drawings, Shawn C. That is seriously the best thing I have ever seen on Mtn Proj. Also, I look forward to THE SHAMING, as I think I might know who it was.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,475
John Marsella wrote:Awesome Shawn, thanks! Let the shaming being. Also, in some cases, my partner uses a "saddle-bagging" technique for the rope for raps: one end of the rope is lap-coiled and hung from the harness by a sling on each side. During the rap, the rope feeds out from these coils and you can monitor the amount of rope left. This is also nice if you are worried about wind blowing the rope into a snag or if there are people below you (so you don't throw rope onto them from above).
I tried this once just for the hell of it on a slab rappel. I got tired of tossing the rope and of course the friction of the slab just leaving most of it in a pile 40 or so feet below me. Not really a big deal, you just have to stop and pick up the pile and toss it again.

I took both ropes, lap coiled them then fed them both into the same 24" sling. Worked great, and the rope fed out of the sling no problem. It takes a little more time to do it that way, but if you do it right, it definitely alleviates most of the problem of snagging, ropes blowing diagonally and getting hung, etc. So if you do end up with a tangle, at least it's on your person and not in the rock where you have to pull some shenanigans out of your ass to get it unhung. Eeeexcellent point John.

Oh, and Shawn's work made a little bit of pee come out involuntarily. Fine work.
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,750

Lower the first climber if the rap is slabby or windy. All the others rap as usual. If the first one gets stuck in the rap rings when you pull the rope, it means you forgot to untie them.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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