Ground level rappel practice, outdoors -So Cal


Original Post
Ian Wang · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 65

Is there a good place in the LA basin/OC area outdoors that have some ground level anchors for teaching/practicing rappel and cleaning techniques?

I've learned most of my techniques 80-90 ft in the air , but I would prefer not to put my friends through the same thing if at all possible.

steverett · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 105

go to a crag and build an anchor near the ground?

Brandon.Phillips · · Alabama · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

http://www.backcountrygear.com/asearch?q=hanger

Buy a couple of cheap hangers, find some lag bolts that are the right size at a hardware store, drill them into something wooden. This will probably cost under $10.

hikingdrew · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 25

Local park works for me..

Jason Kim · · Encinitas, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 270

I screwed a couple of eye bolts into my garage wall, about head height, and occasionally use them to show friends how to set up and clean a sport anchor. Just make sure you hit the studs, unless you want to teach choss techniques, haha.

Ian Wang · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 65

Thanks for all the advice. I ended up using the end of a metal bed frame to teach (since I didn't have bolts to place at the time). My buddy seems to be much more comfortable with it after running him through the entire process and having him "rappel" down the stairs slowly. Regardless, I told him that when he gets up to clean next week I'll be shouting instructions to him or at least reminding him of what the steps are to clean and set up a safe rappel

I'll probably end up picking up some bolts just to practice on tying anchors in the near future

Fernando Cal · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 5

a fence works great

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Ian Wang wrote:Is there a good place in the LA basin/OC area outdoors that have some ground level anchors for teaching/practicing rappel and cleaning techniques? I've learned most of my techniques 80-90 ft in the air , but I would prefer not to put my friends through the same thing if at all possible.
I taught my daughter from the tree in my front yard. Seems as good a place as any to practice "real" rappelling in a safe environment. Started low and ended up rapping from about 15 feet up.
Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35
Ian Wang wrote: I told him that when he gets up to clean next week I'll be shouting instructions to him or at least reminding him of what the steps are to clean and set up a safe rappel
Dont be that guy at the crag!!!

Get a PAS or sling as a second point of contact so you can clip into both bolts on the wall. Have you buddy climb up to the anchors and you can then walk him through it while standing next to him and you both will be safe. If you have to option to climb the route next to him you could do that too.
Ian Wang · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 65
Daniel T wrote: Dont be that guy at the crag!!! Get a PAS or sling as a second point of contact so you can clip into both bolts on the wall. Have you buddy climb up to the anchors and you can then walk him through it while standing next to him and you both will be safe. If you have to option to climb the route next to him you could do that too.
Unfortunately I have never belayed off the top of a route and wouldn't be comfortable doing it without a lot of practice and instruction with a more senior climber. This is a small group and we only have one rope, otherwise I would carry two ropes up and have him top rope the route off the other rope to do what you suggested.

I've instructed him how to use a PAS, sent him a bunch of videos and even showed him the alternate method of lowering off the rappel rings (though I mentioned that is highly discouraged), worst case is he's not comfortable doing it and I climb up the route again to clean it myself.
Jason Kim · · Encinitas, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 270

Hate to be that guy Ian, but it sounds like you might not be in the best position to be teaching these skills outside on real rock. There isn't another route that would allow you to be up there together??

GTS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 0
Ian Wang wrote: worst case is he's not comfortable doing it and I climb up the route again to clean it myself.
Actually, the worst case would be your friend getting seriously hurt or even killed because he was trying to do something he was not ready for. As others have said, the way you are going about this is not that well thought out.
aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290
Ian Wang wrote:Unfortunately I have never belayed off the top of a route and wouldn't be comfortable doing it without a lot of practice and instruction with a more senior climber. This is a small group and we only have one rope.
Then maybe you should leave the instructing to a more experienced climber.
Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35
Ian Wang wrote: Unfortunately I have never belayed off the top of a route
No need to top belay

Step #1: you climb to the top of the route
#2: clip in to anchor (both bolts)
#3: untie from rope and toss it down so your buddy can climb up. (maybe pull up extra if you will be top-roping before tossing)
#4: your buddy climbs to the top
#5 he starts to rig rappel and clean as you watch
#6 he rappels
#7 you rappel
#8 you pull rope and go about your day.
Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Echoing what a lot of the other ppl on this thread have said, it doesn't feel like you have enough experience just yet to be doing this. You're almost there, but since you're teaching, you have the responsibility of managing any mistakes your friend makes. You definitely need to have a system so that you can be watching your friend and be able to check his system before he weights it for the first time. You also should have a system for making sure that if your friend screws up the system in any way while he's rappelling (shirt gets stuck in the rappel device, looses control of the brake strand, catches his knee in a crack, etc), you have a way of ensuring that his mistake does not turn your outing into an epic or a rescue. This could be one of many things - fireman's belay, institutional rappel, having another rope on hand so you can lead up/rappel down to fix the issue, releasable rappel, etc. This is, of course, also determined by how confident you as an instructor (even a casual instructor) feel in your student's grasp of the techniques, since your student is trusting his life to your guidance. It's not something to take lightly.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83
Ian Wang wrote: alternate method of lowering off the rappel rings (though I mentioned that is highly discouraged)
You mean the method in which you don't have to come off belay ever and is arguably the safest for cleaning a sport route?

In my opinion safety is highly encouraged. If you are worried about hardware then donate $100 a year to a local organization that rebolts and such.
Jason Kim · · Encinitas, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 270
Daniel T wrote: No need to top belay Step #1: you climb to the top of the route #2: clip in to anchor (both bolts) #3: untie from rope and toss it down so your buddy can climb up. (maybe pull up extra if you will be top-roping before tossing) #4: your buddy climbs to the top #5 he starts to rig rappel and clean as you watch #6 he rappels #7 you rappel #8 you pull rope and go about your day.
No, not a good idea. We have a leader of a group of inexperienced climbers, who himself doesn't have any experience belaying from the top. At least he's honest with himself and his abilities and is asking for advice. You're recommending that he climb to the top, anchor in, and then toss the rope down to his friends below? What could go wrong?
Jason Kim · · Encinitas, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 270

Story time, Ian. A few years back, I went climbing with a couple of friends who had some gym experience, but never rappelled or climbed outdoors. One of them was the smart, self-confident type who likes to try new things. She insisted that she clean the anchor and rap by herself, after watching me do it once or twice. Fine, I am not a baby sitter and I felt like I made her aware of the risks. At some point, you have to let people do things for themselves in this game.

After showing her what to do on the ground, she climbed up and proceeded to ignore the "safety protocol" we had agreed upon, which was to talk over each step of the process. She had made up her mind that she was going to do it without my help or assistance. Kind of annoying, but it's her life and what can I do?

She got down safely, and when she landed on the ground I discovered that her locking carabiner wasn't screwed down.

Not saying that any of your friends are like her, but after that experience I am adamant that I show people how to clean anchors, rap, etc. while I am up there with them, at least once or twice, to keep an eye on things.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Daniel T.

Why toss the rope down?

I sometimes do this to take photos of people leading up sport climbs, towards me, at the belay.

but think about it....

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053
Daniel T wrote: No need to top belay Step #1: you climb to the top of the route #2: clip in to anchor (both bolts) #3: untie from rope and toss it down so your buddy can climb up. (maybe pull up extra if you will be top-roping before tossing) #4: your buddy climbs to the top #5 he starts to rig rappel and clean as you watch #6 he rappels #7 you rappel #8 you pull rope and go about your day.
This is just weird....You quote the guy saying he's never belayed from the top, you have him anchor, untie and toss the rope down. Then his buddy climbs up......who is belaying his buddy and from where? Why does he need to untie? JB
Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35
Guy Keesee wrote:Daniel T. Why toss the rope down? I sometimes do this to take photos of people leading up sport climbs, towards me, at the belay. but think about it....
Well I assumed they would want to lead the route but, I also mentioned in parentheses to pull up more rope and toss it down for a top rope climb, so the next person could climb up to you while you wait at the anchors.

The OP wants to be at the top of the climb to watch the next person clean and rappel, they only have one rope and he cant top belay.

Am I not being clear or is there something I'm clearly missing?

I've done this same sequence I mentioned in a previous post many times to take photos of people from the top down while they climb. Its totally safe as long as you clip 2 points and the rope gets back to the top so you can come down. Maybe its because I'm the weak link in my climbing group so I know the rope will always get back to me by some one if its accidentally pulled.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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