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Rapping of one bolt


Original Post
Anna Lou · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Hi, i'm looking at climbing a 4 pitch sport route. The final rap is 70 meters and all I have is a 60 m rope. It seems like a lot to carry a backpack just to carry a second rope for the one rap and i don't own a tag line. What are people's feelings on rapping off one of the protection bolts on the 1st pitch? To be honest my biggest concern is two people being anchored to one bolt, then a third carabiner to run the rope through, seems cluttered and no redundancy? Any ideas?

Also, just to get this out of the way:

YOU'RE GUNNA DIE.

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
Anna Lou wrote:Hi, i'm looking at climbing a 4 pitch sport route. The final rap is 70 meters and all I have is a 60 m rope. It seems like a lot to carry a backpack just to carry a second rope for the one rap and i don't own a tag line. What are people's feelings on rapping off one of the protection bolts on the 1st pitch? To be honest my biggest concern is two people being anchored to one bolt, then a third carabiner to run the rope through, seems cluttered and no redundancy? Any ideas? Also, just to get this out of the way: YOU'RE GUNNA DIE.
Well, it's your decision. Convenience or safety, only you can make that choice. The chances of a bolt pulling from bodyweight alone are low. However, there have been incidents of climbers dying from relying on a single bolt that subsequently failed so it has happened on more than one occasion. If I chose to do a single-bolt rap, I would have my partner go down first and clip the bolts on the first half of the pitch to the rope. Then on the way down, once I got to my sub-rap anchor and committed to a single bolt, I would have my partner lower me with my GriGri on the rope threaded backwards so the GriGri climber hand points down to the belayer. That way, if the single-bolt anchor were to pull at any time, I would essentially take a lead fall on my GriGri onto the bolt below me. This is a somewhat-little-known trick for lowering off a single bolt if you cant finish a sport climb. It prevents you from decking should the bolt pull. You can also substitute the GriGri with a prusik. Petzl has a pictorial showing how to set this up somewhere on their website.

Also, another measure of safety is to do a hard bounce test on the bolt before committing to it. While still on rap, clip in with a sling and vigorously attempt to pull the bolt straight outward (and then straight downward) using your bodyweight. This ensures the bolt would likely at least hold bodweight. These measures can drastically decrease the chance of you dying, but in the end you're still on a single bolt which still carries obvious risks. Regardless of how you do it, there is no reason to risk the lives of two people, so at least one person should conduct a single rope rap to the ground.
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

Is the rap 70m (that would require TWO 70m ropes), or is it 35 m (i.e. requiring a 70m rope vs your 60)? If it's the former, you're going to need THREE raps with your single 60m rope to get down. That's a bit more commitment and risk exposure vis-a-vis single bolt anchoring.

It strikes me as odd that the upper raps would be <30m then there's a 70m drop.

Something to consider - have a second rope on the ground. Everyone but the last person down does the full rap on one strand. Then tie the second rope to the rap line, last one up at the anchor pulls it up and raps normally on both strands. (This doesn't work if the rap is truly 70m unless you have TWO 70m ropes)

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 160
20 kN wrote: Also, another measure of safety is to do a hard bounce test on the bolt before committing to it. While still on rap, clip in with a sling and vigorously attempt to pull the bolt straight outward (and then straight downward) using your bodyweight. This ensures the bolt would likely at least hold bodweight. These measures can drastically decrease the chance of you dying, but in the end you're still on a single bolt which still carries obvious risks. Regardless of how you do it, there is no reason to risk the lives of two people, so at least one person should conduct a single rope rap to the ground.
Uhhhhh, no. Please don't "vigorously" bounce test bolts that you suspect might be bad. If it obviously appears to be a new stainless expansion bolt, glue-in, or something like that, you don't need to bounce test it. If it's a rusty old quarter incher, don't go trying to bounce test it before committing the whole weight of two people onto it.

Rapping off one bolt (especially in a multipitch, team situation as opposed to,say, bailing off a sport route) should be reserved for emergencies. Like, a couple times in a lifetime emergencies.
Jay Eggleston · · Denver · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 17,795

Just trail the second rope on the climb...

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 130

Take two 20 ft cordalettes and do a biner block rappel. Safest, lightest and easiest option.

Robert Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 156
Jay Eggleston wrote:Just trail the second rope on the climb...
But that would be too obvious. No one ever does that.
Drederek · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2004 · Points: 315

Well it sounds like you only need to drag the second rope to the first anchor. Or you could lower one person all the way and have the second downclimb or downlead.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Ana, this is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea. Sure, bolts are strong and the likelihood that the bolt will fail is low...but if it does, you are dead. This is an example of where you really do want redundancy, and rappeling off of one bolt is an emergency, shit has hit the fan, type of scenario. Why plan for it when you have a particularly viable, safe alternative? Also, your plan hinges on you leaving a (hopefully locking) carabiner; is it really worth it to leave gear just because you don't feel like bringing a second rope? As others mentioned, the second can trail the second rope (tie it to your haul loop), so it isn't really that much of an inconvenience compared to funeral costs.

Alternatively, there is a method for rappelling on a single strand for overly long rappels, but again...best option: suck it up and lug the second rope.
climbing.com/skills/long-ra…

jktinst · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 55

Def. not a great idea rappelling off a single bolt. However, I think that the explanations given by 20 kN for the single-bolt rap, while relevant, are a bit sparse for the situation described by the OP.

It's quite doable to rappel safely in the conditions described (60m rope, no tagline or extra rope, and 70 m rappel down a bolted route), using the Gri-gri/prusik back-up method described by 20 kN but the overall procedure is definitely more complex than that and I don't have time to go into details right now. Will post a more complete reply later if it hasn't already been done.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Dave Schultz wrote:...joined MP today to troll ... 5/10.
Didn't have anything useful to contribute, so decided to throw in the lame, tired, boring, troll comment, when a valid question was asked. :-)

Elanor
Chuck Parks · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 2,091

Since you only need an extra rope on the bottom pitch, why not bring along a second rope and leave it at the base of the climb? When descending, fix one end of the rope to the P1 anchors. First person raps down on a single line, gets the second rope, and ties it onto the end of the rap line. Then the climber still on the wall can pull up the second rope and rap on 2 lines safely.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
20 kN wrote: Well, it's your decision. Convenience or safety, only you can make that choice. The chances of a bolt pulling from bodyweight alone are low. However, there have been incidents of climbers dying from relying on a single bolt that subsequently failed so it has happened on more than one occasion. If I chose to do a single-bolt rap, I would have my partner go down first and clip the bolts on the first half of the pitch to the rope. Then on the way down, once I got to my sub-rap anchor and committed to a single bolt, I would have my partner lower me with my GriGri on the rope threaded backwards so the GriGri climber hand points down to the belayer. That way, if the single-bolt anchor were to pull at any time, I would essentially take a lead fall on my GriGri onto the bolt below me. This is a somewhat-little-known trick for lowering off a single bolt if you cant finish a sport climb. It prevents you from decking should the bolt pull. You can also substitute the GriGri with a prusik. Petzl has a pictorial showing how to set this up somewhere on their website. Also, another measure of safety is to do a hard bounce test on the bolt before committing to it. While still on rap, clip in with a sling and vigorously attempt to pull the bolt straight outward (and then straight downward) using your bodyweight. This ensures the bolt would likely at least hold bodweight. These measures can drastically decrease the chance of you dying, but in the end you're still on a single bolt which still carries obvious risks. Regardless of how you do it, there is no reason to risk the lives of two people, so at least one person should conduct a single rope rap to the ground.
I'm interested in this, in terms of lowering off a single pitch, if I can't complete a climb (I'm going to start leading next year). I do carry and use a prussik, but I'm not quite sure if I get your directions. Any videos out there of this? I do much better with visuals.

Thanks! Helen
Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,480
Old lady H wrote: I'm interested in this, in terms of lowering off a single pitch, if I can't complete a climb (I'm going to start leading next year). I do carry and use a prussik, but I'm not quite sure if I get your directions. Any videos out there of this? I do much better with visuals. Thanks! Helen
Prusik backup while lowering
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Rapping off one bolt is fine....until it's not, then you die.

You must know someone else with a another rope ?

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

Making the assumption that the first pitch is ~35m thus requires a ~70m rope for the rappel.

Given the above I agree with the following:

Alexander K wrote:Take two 20 ft cordalettes and do a biner block rappel. Safest, lightest and easiest option.
Though one can also use draws, or really anything for the tag line. Most of all make sure you rap on the right line. More that one person has died be cause of that mistake.
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Benjamin Chapman wrote:Jay...didn't you see that Anna doesn't want to carry a 2nd rope? If you read her post she indicated that carrying a backpack just for a 2nd rope seemed like a lot to carry for just one rappel.
And some of us think that's foolish. And you certainly don't need a backpack just for a second rope.
Patrick Vernon · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 935

Is it too late to ask for a tagline for Christmas?

Travis Bieber · · Spearfish, SD · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

I'd say do what you want/feel safe doing within your own ability. If you want to lower mid way pull your rope and lower off one bolt, go for it, just test the bolt with a few good tugs similar to setting a nut. You're only lowering just don't shock load the bolt.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

20kn has it pretty much spot on, i wouldn't say it's a horrendous risk especially considering the standard of rappel anchors in the alpine especially if the bolt is shiny.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,812

Only last person at risk...I'd let everyone rappel from the last anchor single strand except the last person.

Like Allen mentioned, it has to be a 35m rappel? And you have a single 60m rope?

So, you have 5m of distance to account for?

Could thread the rope for your double rope rappel. Tie a knot at the very end of one strand.

Rappel. When you're close to the end of the rope, twirl around in a circle to put twists in both ropes. Maybe 6 or 7 of them. Then, hang onto the knotted end of the rope and let the other side go. As the rope untwists while its pulling through the anchor, you'll be gently lowered to the ground.

Just kidding. That'd never work.

Leave a second rope on the ground and the last person can tie it to the end of your rope. Pull it up and rig a two rope rappel. Debate for several hours on which knot is appropriate for tying the ropes together though (!).

Happy Holidaze!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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