Clarity for a new climbers sake


Original Post
Adam Robb · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 5

I started climbing this year and have done a couple dozen sport routes. I have always lowered from the the rap rings/niners/cold shut hooks when cleaning the route or cleaning the top rope setup. My question is regarding rapping down vrs lowering. There have been discussions in rappel vs lower which I have read extensively but I gues what I don't understand is if you rap vrs lower don't you still have to use the same rings? I am missing something in this regard? Also, in a climb with open hooks anchors, no locking mechanism whatsoever, how much should I be shitting myself lowering from them?

Danka

wsperry · · San Jose/Lafayette · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 35

Adam,

Its perfectly safe to rappel as well as lower from anchors, rings whatever. However, when you lower through the anchor your causing unnecessary wear & tear on the hardware itself, decreasing the life span of the anchors for other climbers. So, you should learn how to clean and rappel an anchor, and do it every time you're done on a sport route.

Robert Cort · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 760
Adam Robb wrote:I started climbing this year and have done a couple dozen sport routes. I have always lowered from the the rap rings/niners/cold shut hooks when cleaning the route or cleaning the top rope setup. My question is regarding rapping down vrs lowering. There have been discussions in rappel vs lower which I have read extensively but I gues what I don't understand is if you rap vrs lower don't you still have to use the same rings? I am missing something in this regard? Also, in a climb with open hooks anchors, no locking mechanism whatsoever, how much should I be shitting myself lowering from them? Danka
Lowering off the fixed gear causes accelerated wear on the fixed gear (yes, fast enough to be of significant concern). Rapping does not have the same effect because the loaded rope does not slide through (when you pull the rope, it is not loaded). Use your own biners when lowering!
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
Adam Robb wrote:I started climbing this year and have done a couple dozen sport routes. I have always lowered from the the rap rings/niners/cold shut hooks when cleaning the route or cleaning the top rope setup. My question is regarding rapping down vrs lowering. There have been discussions in rappel vs lower which I have read extensively but I gues what I don't understand is if you rap vrs lower don't you still have to use the same rings? I am missing something in this regard? Also, in a climb with open hooks anchors, no locking mechanism whatsoever, how much should I be shitting myself lowering from them? Danka
If you're sport climbing, just lower when you're done with the climb. If you or anyone in your party is going to TR the route, this should be done through you're own gear, but the last person to climb the route should clean it then lower through whatever is at the top.

As far as lowering from open hooks, don't worry about it. Just make sure you don't unweight the rope or do anything that would allow the rope to come out of the hooks (jumping up and down, swinging around wildly, etc.).
Robert Cort · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 760
kennoyce wrote: If you're sport climbing, just lower when you're done with the climb. If you or anyone in your party is going to TR the route, this should be done through you're own gear, but the last person to climb the route should clean it then lower through whatever is at the top. As far as lowering from open hooks, don't worry about it. Just make sure you don't unweight the rope or do anything that would allow the rope to come out of the hooks (jumping up and down, swinging around wildly, etc.).
Not quite, to save wear on the fixed gear, the last person should rap off of the fixed gear when done with the climb.
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037

One more thing, on this thread you will notice a lot of people who will advocate rapping from everything. What you will also notice is that these people tend to be primarily trad climbers. Since you are talking specifically about sport climbing, pay more attention to those responses that come from people who actually sport climb;)

Jimmy Sledd · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 5
Robert Cort wrote: Not quite, to save wear on the fixed gear, the last person should rap off of the fixed gear when done with the climb.
This is going to devolve quickly... Except on climbs that have fixed draws, rams horns, mussy hooks, and the like, which are obviously intended to be lowered off when done. When you've just got a chain or quick link up top, I'll usually rap. Always TR through your own gear.

If there's one take-home message from this thread, have it be this: BE CERTAIN that you and your belayer are on the same page regarding what you're planning to do before you head up. More than one fatality has happened when the belayer took the climber off belay due to confusion re: lowering or rapping.
Luke Lindeman · · Lancaster, PA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

Rappel to save from wearing down the fixed gear. It's not cheap and many people rely on it to keep them safe.

If the routes you're climbing are super steep, overhung routes - then consider lowering because it will make cleaning your draws much easier.

Cheers!

BigFeet · · Texas · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

Sometimes lowering is the way to go because an overhanging route may be difficult to clean on rappel. Below is an illustrated picture of how to do this in a more safe way.

Usually, you will want to keep the gear as wear free as possible so everyone has a longer time to play on it, but in some situations a lower will be more advantageous.

The key is to have a game plan on what you will be doing before you get up there.

Lower with Prusik.

bus driver · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 575

Hello,

The accepted way on a route is to
1 lead the route with Quickdraws or pro
2 clip Quickdraws or equalizing slings and biners to the anchor and lower through them. This leaves the rope through the pro/bolts to help the follower stay on the line of the route
3 everyone in the group top ropes and lowers using the draws/biners put on the anchors by the leader
4 last person cleans draws / pro on the way up, clips harness directly to anchors, weights tie in slings to test while still on belay, calls "off belay", ties a bite on the rope and clips to harness or anchor so the rope does not fall to the ground, unties rope from harness, threads through anchor, unties bite, and lowers rope until both sides are on the ground or middle marker is at the anchors
5 last person sets up rappel device and weights it to "check the motion" while still tied directly to the anchors. If ok, calls "on rappel" and raps down. There is no weighted rope moving over the anchor and creating friction that wears on the anchor. When they are down, pulling the rope through the anchor unweighted does not cause enough friction to wear down the anchor. Call "rope" before it falls to warn climbers in the area of a falling rope.

Exception: if the last climber leads the pitch instead of toproping and it is overhung or traverses, it will be easier and safer to lower the climber so they can use both hands to tram down the rope and clean the draws/pro without letting their brake hand off the rope.

On sketchy rappels have someone hold the bottom of the rope strands on the ground. If the rapeller's hand comes off the brake, you can stop their fall down the rope by pulling down on the rope (basically the person on the ground is their backup brake hand)

Happy climbing. Hope this helps. Check out the old black and white Sierra Club book "rock climbing" for some good info on rope craft, stopper and hex craft, moving over stone, and awesome old school swamy belt climbing pics. I'm sure there are also more modern instruction books but old school is kind of cool.

Eric D · · Gnarnia · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 165
wsperry wrote:Adam, Its perfectly safe to rappel as well as lower from anchors, rings whatever. However, when you lower through the anchor your causing unnecessary wear & tear on the hardware itself, decreasing the life span of the anchors for other climbers. So, you should learn how to clean and rappel an anchor, and do it every time you're done on a sport route.
Take all advice with a big grain of salt. It is much more common for climbers to be lowered from a sport route than to rap it. There may be some regional differences here but it is generally accepted in the U.S.

That being said, you should avoid setting up a TR directly through the chains.
Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282
James Sledd wrote: If there's one take-home message from this thread, have it be this: BE CERTAIN that you and your belayer are on the same page regarding what you're planning to do before you head up. More than one fatality has happened when the belayer took the climber off belay due to confusion re: lowering or rapping.
This is really, really good advice. WAY more than one fatality.

Note that these accidents have even occurred in situations where the leader TOLD THE BELAYER THAT THEY WERE OFF BELAY. But they were confused and really just meant "I'm at the anchor." One of a number of reasons why most people lower off when they can. Then leading to an even larger number of lowering accidents. So knot your rope ends too!
Collin Holt · · Golden, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 0

If you can safely rap off, then do so to save wear on the rope and the anchors.

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0

The more mainstream, used by current climbers, contains difficult routes, has modern hardware - an area is - the more likely it is that lowering will be the norm (and the less likely it is that anyone will be TR-ing/seconding)

Shep · · Grand Junction, Colorado · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

Some people will say rappelling is safer, and some people will say lowering is safer because you never have to go completely off belay when done correctly. There are probably a lot more people that die from miscommunication going off belay than people just busting through worn out rings or chains.

Eric Chabot · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 20
BigFeet wrote:Sometimes lowering is the way to go because an overhanging route may be difficult to clean on rappel. Below is an illustrated picture of how to do this in a more safe way. Usually, you will want to keep the gear as wear free as possible so everyone has a longer time to play on it, but in some situations a lower will be more advantageous. The key is to have a game plan on what you will be doing before you get up there.
This is only relevant when lowering off a single point. Most sport routes will have a redundant 2-bolt anchor that can safely be lowered from without using a prussik
Rolf Rybak · · Penticton BC · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 270

Save the wear and tear on the anchours and don't top rope through them. Rap or lower is usually based on what is locally accepted and how the anchours are set up.

Use this method to save wear and tear on anchours when top roping.

Top Rope guide

frank minunni · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined May 2011 · Points: 36
Rolf Rybak wrote:Save the wear and tear on the anchours and don't top rope through them. Rap or lower is usually based on what is locally accepted and how the anchours are set up. Use this method to save wear and tear on anchours when top roping.
I love that method. Especially if I'm with someone who doesn't have enough experience to set up the rap...And before anyone flags me about my going against what I normally do: Yes I will deviate from my normal routine if the situation dictates.
M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 4,750
kennoyce wrote:One more thing, on this thread you will notice a lot of people who will advocate rapping from everything. What you will also notice is that these people tend to be primarily trad climbers. Since you are talking specifically about sport climbing, pay more attention to those responses that come from people who actually sport climb;)
Yes, and those who actually place the anchors, like me;) With beefy sport anchors, we mostly intend for people to TR and lower through their own gear, but lower directly through the rings etc. if you are the last in the party. Exceptions are if the anchors have to be situated in a spot that will cause undue wear on your rope if lowered or if the anchors are crappy aluminum rings or other such sub par anchors that shouldn't have been installed to begin with. You would rap then to save your rope from getting trashed or wearing through soft aluminum. If glue-in anchor bolts are missing replaceable wear points (rings, clippies, hooks etc) it is better to rap too until you can replace them. Maybe you would want to rap or self lower if you are not confident with your belayer, but you shouldn't be having them belay you anyway. This has been said so many times, but traditions die hard.
Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282
Rolf Rybak wrote:Save the wear and tear on the anchours and don't top rope through them. Rap or lower is usually based on what is locally accepted and how the anchours are set up. Use this method to save wear and tear on anchours when top roping.
Cool idea!
Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 282
frank minunni wrote: I love that method. Especially if I'm with someone who doesn't have enough experience to set up the rap...And before anyone flags me about my going against what I normally do: Yes I will deviate from my normal routine if the situation dictates.
What's the downside? Just if the rope doesn't run smoothly that way/sharp edges/usual anchor stuff?
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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