Rappel Extension Methodology


Original Post
Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

In using the method outlined here (which I like):

https://www.mountaineers.org/learn/how-to/extended-rappel-and-updated-belay-techniques

the climber clips a sling/locker combo to a masterpoint connected to both bolts, no problem. However, in a separated two-bolt scenario (say quick-clips), what would be the best way to ensure redundancy between bolts?

I am asking from the point of view of wanting to use this particular method. Obviously I know you could go up with two slings/lockers..

Hope the question makes sense...



Derrick Keene · · Kentucky · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 90

The link you have is for an extended rappel. The question you seem to be posing is about setting up anchors I think. So I'm not sure what your exact question is for anchors. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding you.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290

It's fine to extend your belay device to rappel, but that is just way too far. I'd like to see her go over the lip of an overhang into a freehanging rappel with that setup.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I think, based on the way I'm reading your question. You want to know how to clip your personal anchor system (PAS) to 2 bolts so that you can extend your rappel point before you being the rappel. The general process is that you'll have your anchor setup and while you have it setup you set up your rappel. Once you have the rappel setup you get your device onto the ropes and move your PAS to one point. At this point you can consider that your rappel is your main point and the PAS is the redundant point. Double or triple check your rappel setup to make sure that everything is done correctly, weight the rope, then once you are satisfied that the rappel is holding your weight and everything is secure you unclip your PAS and start the rappel. 

In the real world, with multiple rappels, you'll get to a lower rappel anchor and just clip to one point. It is time consuming and potentially more dangerous, to take the time to set up a redundant anchor to clip while you setup the next rappel. Just clip one of the bolts, thread your rope and repeat the instructions from above. 

Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0
Derrick Keene wrote:

The link you have is for an extended rappel. The question you seem to be posing is about setting up anchors I think. So I'm not sure what your exact question is for anchors. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding you.

The question exists in the context of the methodology shown in the video. In other words, let's say I want to employ this system and I get to the anchor. If there are two draws, great, I clip the masterpoint. Rings on chains, same thing. 

However,  if there is something up there like two quick-clips, the methodology in the video only allows me to go to one bolt. Is it OK to only be one one bolt when setting up a rappel? Or should I throw something over to the other bolt. 

(I know, a PAS would solve all of this, but I like my slings lol)

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Clip the two bolts together with a quickdraw for redundancy. Last person to rappel removes the draw. That way, you only have to clip your rap sling to one bolt.

Peter Brown-Whale · · Randallstown, MD · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 20
FrankPS wrote:

Clip the two bolts together with a quickdraw for redundancy. Last person to rappel removes the draw. That way, you only have to clip your rap sling to one bolt.

This

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265

I rig the rope into the ATC and it's biner while it is on my harness. Then, just unclip the biner and transfer it. The ATC can't get dropped, as it is on the two rope strands. 

Is there some reason it's never shown that way?

OLH

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 45
Ken Graf wrote:

In using the method outlined here (which I like):

https://www.mountaineers.org/learn/how-to/extended-rappel-and-updated-belay-techniques

the climber clips a sling/locker combo to a masterpoint connected to both bolts, no problem. However, in a separated two-bolt scenario (say quick-clips), what would be the best way to ensure redundancy between bolts?

I am asking from the point of view of wanting to use this particular method. Obviously I know you could go up with two slings/lockers..

Hope the question makes sense...

The people I climb with mostly use an alpine draw. The alpine draw occasionally comes in handy in other situations, even when sport climbing.

Ian Machen · · Reno, NV · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 35

I've usually done it with a 120cm nylon runner passed through my belay loop, and an overhand tied in it, Basket hitch style. My rappel device goes beneath the knot, creating a short extension. The two loops created after the overhand allow me to clip into redundant points if I need them, or a single point. 

John C · · Moab · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 175

My preferred method when rappelling through multiple bolted stations and using an extension is to clip bolts together with a quad-style anchor, such the one shown HERE. This allows me to leave my anchor pre-tied (no need to undo knots after each use) and gives a solid, redundant, equalized master-point, with only a small amount of extension for clipping into at each station. I use the clip-in arm of a similar rappel extension to the ones mentioned above to clip directly into the master point of the quad, and have my partner(s) do the same. I find that this system takes equal effort and time to clipping bolts together with a quickdraw, yet adds a lot of additional security. This setup also creates a lot more room for more carabiners if clip-in space on the bolt hangers is limited. 

Jeremy B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0
Old lady H wrote:

I rig the rope into the ATC and it's biner while it is on my harness. Then, just unclip the biner and transfer it. The ATC can't get dropped, as it is on the two rope strands. 

Is there some reason it's never shown that way?

OLH

That might be a bit awkward to do for someone accustomed to racking their belay device on the rear gear loops.  (Unless I'm interpreting this wrong.)

In any case, if you drop your ATC you likely still have its 'biner, or a spare, with which to rappel.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

If you need a bombproof tether for two bolts scenario, make or get something like KONG Piastra Slyde and cut a short piece of dynamic rope. You will get a verstile system to attach yourself to any kind of anchor and to extend rappels.

In real life scenarios you:
1. Plan ahead how to use the anchor for the most convenience of all members of the party.
2. Position yourself near the anchor to the plan.
3. Just clip your tether to the best looking bolt and a back-up sling to the second then position your body so both the tether and the backup sling are not loose.

For parties of two both climbers do the same. For parties of 3 and more it could be faster and safer to build/break-up anchors so only the first need to backup the anchor tether.

Upd. Really it depends on many factors: rock quality, face angle, size and experience of the group, weather conditions, etc.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Imho, if you're going to extend your rappel, it makes alot of sense to use a pas or chain reactor style system to do it, as you only have to deal with one tether doing all the work. If you have a sling for your rap device and another sling for your tether, it's going to get clustered pretty quick. 

The handful of times I've extended my belay device I've always put it on the end of the first link of my pas, and then used the end link to tether. Simple, clean, and no cluster involved. 

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 290
Mountaineers wrote:

Easier to manage group and gear: extension enables more than one individual to setup on the rappel—especially important if the instructor has to rappel first;

Overall I'd first question why one would bother in most instances. The above quote seems like their principal rationale for this practice. 

I personally only extend rappels to rap with a heavy haul bag which I then hang off the belay device as opposed to my harness; this arrangement also uses a Petzl Shunt on the belay loop. The setup makes rapping with really heavy loads a breeze.

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70

Like you said, the inexpensive way is two slings and two locking carabiner to each bolt. But you still need to extend your rappel device with something. You can either girth hitch your belay loop with a 30cm sling, or basket hitch your belay loop with a 60cm sling for the extension. Then the friction hitch backup can also be connected to your belay loop via a locking carabiner. Make sure your prusik cord is short enough so that the friction hitch does not bump into the rappel device or it will be defeated and useless. If the cord if too long, try shortening it with a overhand on a bite and clip the carabiner behind the knot. 

Otherwise you can use a PAS style tether with three locking carabiners. One carabiner goes on the end PAS loop and to one bolt anchor, the second carabiner goes on the third from end PAS loop and to the other bolt anchor. The third carabiner connects between the second from end PAS loop to the first loop that connects to your harness to equalize the bolt anchors. Put your prefered friction hitch on the ropes and attach to your belay loop via a locking carabiner and then pull up a generous amount of slack past the friction hitch. Your rappel device can now be extended on one of the two unused loops of the PAS. Whichever one allows you to have the room to pull in all the slack on the rope past the rappel device and friction hitch and weight the system to test and make sure everything is setup properly. At this point your PAS loops to the bolt anchors should be loose as the rappel device and rope should be holding you. If everything checks out as ok, remove the carabiners from the bolt anchors and rappel down the cliff face. 

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,352

I agree with John's recommendation to use a PAS to extend the rap, and on the extremely rare occasion that I do it I also use the first link of the PAS. However, there seems to be some divine power persuading climbers to extend their rappel when it's really not necessary. It adds more complication, steps and time for little to no benefit. Aside from doing an emergency rap with an injured victim or rappelling with a heavy load, extending the rap is utterly unnecessary and just adds more time and complication. The most fluid and competent way to climb is by keeping things as simple and quick as possible and not by building overly complex systems in situations where they are not required.

Bradulus · · Longmont, CO · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 0
Ken Graf wrote:

Is it OK to only be one one bolt when setting up a rappel? Or should I throw something over to the other bolt.

Personal call of your risk tolerance, but my take:

If you are new to multi-pitch rappels, yes always clip to both points.  As you gain repetitions you will be better prepared to determine if/when you start clipping just one.  No need to save those extra 30 seconds per station at the cost of redundancy at this point.  Of course make sure your system, whatever it is, is well practiced and easily double checked by you or a partner.  A lot of suggestions in this thread fit the bill.

If you have lots of experience multi-pitch rappelling already and are just looking for a new method: my decision in the situation would depend on the station.  If it has a wide ledge where I can comfortably stand, and I'm not loading the anchor, I'm fine with clipping just one.  If it's a marginal ledge and/or I'm loading the anchor, I clip two.  If the former scenario is most common for you, you could use the video's method as your primary system, and in the instances you need a 2nd attachment use one of the thread's suggestions.  Mine would be to simply girth a new sling to your harness and clip.

20kN - I don't think it's a hard requirement to extend your rappel, but there are benefits: If you use a friction hitch as a backup, it removes the possibility of the friction hitch sliding into your belay device and getting stuck (when compared to device on belay loop & friction hitch attached to leg loop).  Another benefit is you are better prepared for a pick off scenario.

 

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
20 kN wrote:

I agree with John's recommendation to use a PAS to extend the rap, and on the extremely rare occasion that I do it I also use the first link of the PAS. However, there seems to be some divine power persuading climbers to extend their rappel when it's really not necessary. It adds more complication, steps and time for little to no benefit. Aside from doing an emergency rap with an injured victim or rappelling with a heavy load, extending the rap is utterly unnecessary and just adds more time and complication. The most fluid and competent way to climb is by keeping things as simple and quick as possible and not by building overly complex systems in situations where they are not required.

The extension doesn't add  complication, time, or extra steps if you are using a PAS.

I think extending the rappel is the only good way to employ and autoblock backup, as the leg loop attachment has potentially serious gotchas.  If you aren't using a backup (a whole other argument), then there is less reason to extend the rappel, but even in that case there are times when extension is a good idea.  Autoblock backup or not, I think a rappel extension is indicated any time there is a concern about getting appropriate friction.  (Yes, I know about doubling up on rap device carabiners.  Even with this the concern could be present.  And maybe you didn't double up the carabiners when you should have.  See Items 1 and 2 below.) 

There are three reasons I can think of. 

1. With the rappel extended, you can get rope angles at the device approaching 180 degrees, and this by itself  provides somewhat more control.

2. With the rappel extended, it is easy to add friction to the system in mid-rappel when you realize that you are struggling to control your descent.  You clip carabiners to your harness belay loop and the rap device carabiner and run the rappel strand through the belay loop carabiner, up to the device-clipped carabiner, and then back down to your brake hand.

3. With the rappel extended  and a guide-plate device employed, you can  transition from rappelling to ascending, converting the plate to a guide-mode progress capture device.

Extended rappels are not without downsides.  It is harder to get started if the anchor is low, the device scrapes against the wall above a ceiling after you go over it, and the height of the device makes it more likely to grab long hair and pony tails and possibly burn your shoulder or cheek.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 290
rgold wrote:

There are three reasons I can think of. 

Those are all good reasons, but basically none of them have ever been compelling enough for me to bother with it.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

Yeah, I get it Joe.

I rarely used an autoblock backup, so never had the original reason to extend.  But as my ropes got thinner and thinner, I did have some low-friction experiences that made me want to be more prepared.  When I started climbing with an installed tether, the extended rappel became as simple and quick to set up as the belay loop position, at which point it seemed silly not to embrace the advantages.

In some sense I've come full circle, because I belay and rappel with an Alpine Up, and it reliably autolocks on double 8.5 mm strands if you let go of the brake strand.  None of the other reasons apply either.  Friction isn't a problem, and the Up functions as a progress capture device without changing anything about its ordinary orientation on the belay loop. So there is no reason to extend that device, and I don't.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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