Double Strand Munter Rappel?


Original Post
cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68

After leading a sport route yesterday, I discovered that the anchor was setup with nothing more than those big fat Metolius rappel hangers, and thus a rappel was necessary. I didn't have my ATC on me, because my wife was belaying me with it.

It occurred to me that the simplest way to rappel in this situation would have been to just tie a Munter using both strands of the rope on a big pear shaped biner. However, I've never seen anyone do this.

Does anyone have any idea if it is safe to rappel using a Munter tied on both strands of the rope? If not, then what makes it dangerous?

I ended up just doing a single strand rappel, by tying an overhand on a bight and clipping a biner to the other strand, but I really hate this method because of the risk of getting the rope stuck.

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 115

Yeah, it works and is safe. Hold the strands up to minimize kink. A better option is a biner break if you have enough biners.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136

Yes you can do a double strand munter but it is usually way too much friction and very hard to rappel with. I assume you rapped with a munter single strand? It would be better to just lower off on a draw and grab your ATC, re-climb it and rap. That way you won't get twists or kinks in your rope from rapping with a munter.

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 204

Pull the rope through and lower an end down for your wife to clip the ATC on, then pull it up and rap with the ATC. I just hate the kinks you get after rapping on a munter.

but yes you could

Ryan Hill · · Oakland, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 0

My preferred method of rappelling on a munter is to pull one side up so that it is just touching or just above the ground. Tie a carabiner block (I use a locking carabiner & a clove hitch) on the side of the anchor with the longer strand.

Rappel, using a munter, on the shorter single strand. Once you get to the ground you can easily shake the kinks out of the shorter strand as it is free-hanging.

Doing a double rope rappel on a munter is fine, however it provides too much friction and will kink up your entire rope, which puts it at higher risk of getting caught when you pull it. A carabiner block can get caught, but it will pull much more predictably than a kinked rope and is easier to manage.

Both methods are safe, I find that mine provides a better user experience.

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68
eli poss wrote:Yes you can do a double strand munter but it is usually way too much friction and very hard to rappel with. I assume you rapped with a munter single strand? It would be better to just lower off on a draw and grab your ATC, re-climb it and rap. That way you won't get twists or kinks in your rope from rapping with a munter.
Lol. No way I was re-climbing that particular route on that day... 5.11a slab, with the sun going down, and no food in the belly :(.

Michael P wrote:I was curious too so i googled 'munter rappel' and the top hit was this video:
Good video Michael. I googled and saw that video as well. But I found another article on mojagear.com stating that it is only possible to use a Munter on a single strand. So I decided to post this thread.

Pete Spri wrote:Yeah, it works and is safe. Hold the strands up to minimize kink. A better option I a biner break I have enough biners.
To be honest I've never tried a biner break, and the only biners I had with me was a big pear shaped locker, and the ones on my draws. I was under the impression that a biner break only works well with oval shaped biners.
Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 115

You can do a biner break with a modified D like a Petzl Spirit or a BD Hotwire. They work, just not as well as a symmetric D or Oval. But IMO they are still better than a munter for rappel because the rope runs straight.

The one caveat on a biner break is that you cant reverse direction very well with it. If you need to do a little monkeying on rappel to retrieve gear, a munter does reverse/take slack in better than a biner break.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 90

"Pull the rope through and lower an end down for your wife to clip the ATC on, then pull it up and rap with the ATC"

^^ This sounds best.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 1,865
Nathanael wrote:Pull the rope through and lower an end down for your wife to clip the ATC on, then pull it up and rap with the ATC.
Or simply have her tie into that end and you rap the other side (using her as a counterweight. Don't worry, you won't lift her off the ground).
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

Always cracks me up when spurt climbers don't know what to do with metelious rap hangers..... Got a fair bit of Booty over the years when folks leave biners on em :) Just thread the rope and lower off like you do with any other anchor. they look funny but they are the same rope bearing surface as most biners. some folks cry about them twisting the rope but I have lowered and rapped from them thousands of times without any real problems. if your panties get all bunched up over the tail end of the rope spinning a few times when you pull the rope perhaps you should switch to golf ;) If you have to do one rap with a munter that aint no big deal either. more than one full rap and things can get a bit squirly but a single half rap on a doubled munter ain't nothin.

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68
Nick Goldsmith wrote:Just thread the rope and lower off like you do with any other anchor. they look funny but they are the same rope bearing surface as most biners
I've seen plenty of metolius rap hangers. I know that technically they work for lowering but they certainly weren't designed for it. The rope doesn't run smoothly through them due to the squared off edges. I prefer to just rappel through them. It puts less wear on the rope, and setting up for rappel only takes about 30s longer than lowering.

Lots of good suggestions on this thread. I hadn't considered using my belayer as a counter weight. That probably would have been the easiest solution, without risking getting a knot stuck. I actually don't have much problem with the munter twisting my rope when rappelling, seems like it works fine as long as the strands are parallel.

Good to know the munter works fine on a doubled rope.

Thanks guys.
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

I have placed about a dozen of these set ups. the edges are rounded not square. I have used them thousands of times. they work just fine for lowering. Not as good as many other anchors but 100% safe and serviceable. certainly not worth haveing an ordeal and trying to figuer out how to rapell because you are afraid to lower off them. you should try it sometime its not bad ;)

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

setting up for rapell is simple enough but you made it sound like you did not really know what to do without your belay device? you ended up useing a stopper block system that it seems like you were not super familiar/ stoked with. the easiest and safest thing to do would have been to simply re thread and lower. No one has ever been killed lowering correctly through rap hangers. pleanty of folks have gotten the chop messing up the biner block/ stopper knott tag system......

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68
Nick Goldsmith wrote:setting up for rapell is simple enough but you made it sound like you did not really know what to do without your belay device? you ended up useing a stopper block system that it seems like you were not super familiar/ stoked with. the easiest and safest thing to do would have been to simply re thread and lower. No one has ever been killed lowering correctly through rap hangers. pleanty of folks have gotten the chop messing up the biner block/ stopper knott tag system......
Thanks for posting Nick.

I am actually quite familiar with the stopper/carbiner block system, which is why I ended up using it. I just don't like the stopper block because of the risk of getting the rope stuck when pulling. In this case I actually wasn't worried at all, because there weren't any cracks/features below me to snag the rope on.

But I think you have some good points Nick. In this case I probably would have been better off just lowering through the hangers. Out of curiosity I looked at Metolius web site and while I couldn't find a manual for their rap hangers, they do mention lowering through them here... metoliusclimbing.com/bolt_h...
So I guess I was mistaken in thinking they weren't designed for lowering.

I also could have used my belayer as a counter weight, or lowered one end of the rope to her to retrieve my ATC, or used a biner brake. All of these are good Ideas, and retrieving my ATC did actually occur to me, but in the interest of time i used the a biner block instead (for better or worse).

My original post was really just inquiring about the safety of a doubled Munter. I didn't really want to go into what I should or shouldn't have done. But its all good. It is the way of the internet.
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136
cyclestupor wrote:  My original post was really just inquiring about the safety of a doubled Munter. I didn't really want to go into what I should or shouldn't have done. But its all good. It is the way of the internet.

Yes, it is a lot easier for the OP when people just stick to answering the original question. However, by attempting to restrict discussion not to include an analysis of the whole situation (which I'm not implying you did) one misses out on an opportunity to learn something new. Of course, on the internet you will have to sift through a lot of shit to get to the good information, but IMO it is worth it if one has the time to spare. Never stop learning, because it could save your life some day.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

 From the metelious site. " Designed specifically for belay and rappel stations, the Rap Hangers allow the rope to be threaded directly through the anchor for lowering or rappelling; they are unquestionably the best and lowest visual impact anchor out there."  

 They are not the smoothest lower out there but they are not bad either. a lot depends on how far apart they are placed. If they are installed really far apart it makes them a bit of a PINTA but they still work.

  I am going to have to stick to my guns on this one.  I have seen these rigged with lockers, loose biners and draws from folks who did not know or understand what they their intended use is.  the really funny thing is that if you just add a single locker to each hanger you create a  situation that twists your rope worse than anything you could possibly imagine. 

Gary N · · Durango, CO · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 510

You'd be fine to rappel with a double strand munter. 

Like others have said, it's best to analyze the entire situation and prevent things like this from ever happening.

So why didn't your wife have her own belay device? That's like the second thing you buy when you start climbing. Unless I've done a climb before and know exactly what anchor setup is up top, I don't leave the ground without at least a belay device, prussik, and double length sling. Usually it's more than that.

It's called being prepared. Never know what will happen up there. Climb on. 

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68
Gary N wrote:

You'd be fine to rappel with a double strand munter. 

Like others have said, it's best to analyze the entire situation and prevent things like this from ever happening.

So why didn't your wife have her own belay device? That's like the second thing you buy when you start climbing. Unless I've done a climb before and know exactly what anchor setup is up top, I don't leave the ground without at least a belay device, prussik, and double length sling. Usually it's more than that.

It's called being prepared. Never know what will happen up there. Climb on.

 It seems like I was absolutely prepared.   The situation didn't warrent any further analysis.   

After all,  I could have just lowered,  but because of personal preference I choose to rappel.   Which was an eventuallity I prepared for while still on the ground by taking a fat HMS biner, a prussic, and 2 single length slings with lockers with me.   I have no qualms about rapping on a munter and did so without hesitation.  I didn't even twist my rope.

  My question was regarding a doubled munter. 

As for why the wife had an ATC and I didn't...   That would be because she didn't want to belay me with the grigri.  That's right... I also had a grigri that I intentionally left on the ground.  Why,  because I knew with absolute certainty that I wouldn't need it. 

But yes,  I agree being prepared is good. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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