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Another Way To Drop Gear


Original Post
beaujean · · New York City · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 25

I was waiting for my partner to finish his mid-cliff rappel and the rope went loose, I looked down and he was at the next rappel station, so after a few seconds I thought "OK, he's off, it's cool for me to pull the rope up now to set up my rap", so I did. He had detached the rap device from his harness and was holding it in his hand, so when I yanked it up the suddenly straightened rope sent it flying off.

Hmmm, I thought I had already figured out all the ways to drop gear . . guess not.

Gavin Towey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

Communication, as it turns out, is pretty important.

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

When I teach newer climbers how to rappel, I tell them to insert and remove the rope from the device without taking the device off the carabiner.  So they can't be dropped!

In other words, your device and carabiner always stay on the belay loop until all rappels are done.

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

"Off rappel" (and "Belay off") shouldn't be said until the rope or ropes are completely clear of devices, autoblocks etc. to prevent this kind of thing..

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

If he hadn't said, "Off belay" yet, I'd say you owe him a new belay device.

Daniel Joder · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Is your partner still up there? ; )

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

What Frank said^

With an atc I unclip both wire and rope then reclip wire, then pull the rope(s) out. Maybe there's a better way(?)

ebmudder · · Bronx, NY · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 50

I'm the partner...it was the end of a hot humid day, and we were both tired and in a rush to descend. I usually unclip the rope from the ATC without unclipping the ATC from the 'biner, but this time I was fumbling around, off balance and unclipped everything. Considering that I owe my life to beaujean, I'm not going to worry about the cost of well-worn ATC!

Gavin Towey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0
ebmudder wrote:

I'm the partner...it was the end of a hot humid day, and we were both tired and in a rush to descend. I usually ...

Pretty much every accident report starts like this.  IMHO this is actually the hardest part about climbing -- that you have to keep it together even when you're in shitty conditions.  When you make it to the top of a climb it's not the end; you're not "done" until you're back on the ground.  I'm glad that nothing serious happened to you guys beyond the lost piece of gear and I hope the comments here from us armchair climbers will only serve as a reminder for what I'm sure you already know -- be careful out there!

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
r m wrote:

With an atc I unclip both wire and rope then reclip wire, then pull the rope(s) out. Maybe there's a better way(?)

Yes, there is a better way, you don't unclip the keeper wire from the biner at all. Simply open the gate and pull both strands of rope through the open gate. The strand on the other side of the keeper wire needs to be pulled from inside the wire. It's kind of hard to explain in words.

Edited to add a quick photo I took in the garage, hopefully this explains what I mean by "pull the strand from inside the wire". More edit: reverse this to set up the rappel or put someone on belay with minimal risk of dropping the ATC.


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

^^^^^

Exactly. Keeper cable/wire never comes off the carabiner.

Callum Parkinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 95

How did you get the rest of the way down? A munter hitch?

ebmudder · · Bronx, NY · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 50
Callum Parkinson wrote:

How did you get the rest of the way down? A munter hitch?

yes...the Dulfer-sitz is so last-millenium!

Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30
FrankPS wrote:

When I teach newer climbers how to rappel, I tell them to insert and remove the rope from the device without taking the device off the carabiner.  So they can't be dropped!

In other words, your device and carabiner always stay on the belay loop until all rappels are done.

This is a great method. Here's an even better (at least in my mind):

When rapeller reaches the next rap station, he quickly feeds 3ft of rope through his device (assuming you have a great stance and the rope is long enough). This enables the next guy to lift the rope and connect his belay device at the same time as the bottom guy clips in to the anchor and disconnects his (with the method described by FrankPS and others). Also, if the rapeller has the habit of never unweighting the rope until at the next belay station, you get rid of the need for verbal commands. The top guy simply will see or feel the tension in the rope gone and understands that it is his turn. So, faster and less yelling at the cliff. 

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

I never listen for Off-Belay when  rapping.... 

Rather I watch the rope.... when my partner is down and safe, they pull down the "pull" side to check if its going to pull OK.... If OK no problem. If knot OK I can fix the problem before I go down. 

Sometimes one needs to go "TEXAS STYLE" .... anybody know what that is?  

 I bet FrankPS does. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Guy Keesee wrote:

I never listen for Off-Belay when  rapping.... 

Rather I watch the rope.... when my partner is down and safe, they pull down the "pull" side to check if its going to pull OK.... If OK no problem. If knot OK I can fix the problem before I go down. 

Sometimes one needs to go "TEXAS STYLE" .... anybody know what that is?  

 I bet FrankPS does. 

Guy,

I don't know it, at least, by that name!

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70
Gavin Towey wrote:

Pretty much every accident report starts like this.  IMHO this is actually the hardest part about climbing -- that you have to keep it together even when you're in shitty conditions.  When you make it to the top of a climb it's not the end; you're not "done" until you're back on the ground.  I'm glad that nothing serious happened to you guys beyond the lost piece of gear and I hope the comments here from us armchair climbers will only serve as a reminder for what I'm sure you already know -- be careful out there!

I agree with this. I've noticed in my own experience that I'm more likely to make mistakes if I'm tired, dehydrated, or over heated. So when I feel that way it is my cue to take extra caution to make extra checks of what I am doing. Thankfully I'm still here to have learned from it. 

Jeremy Bauman · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 720
hikingdrew wrote:

"Off rappel" (and "Belay off") shouldn't be said until the rope or ropes are completely clear of devices, autoblocks etc. to prevent this kind of thing..

I have to respectfully disagree. If you get in the habit of pre-rigging your rappel devices, then the second only needs a little slack to start their rappel--and you eliminate the possibility of the OP's incident. As a second with a pre-rigged device, I've likely already connected to my auto block and disassembled any anchor we were using by the time my partner is down. I don't have to wait for "off rappel"-as soon as I have slack, I begin my rappel.  This gives the first rappeller the ability to stay connected to the top anchor while messing around with the next station and getting everything ready. If I'm the first rappeller, I rap into the second station, unweight the ropes via a stance or by tethering into a bolt, pull a few feet of slack through the device and yell "off rappel" just in case they didn't get the prior memo about starting their rap asap. 

Typically, as we're doing our rappel transitions, if I'm the one with a spare moment while my partner is coiling rope etc, then I just reach over and snag their rap device, and connect it to the rope for them as I setup my own. 

 

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

""Typically, as we're doing our rappel transitions, if I'm the one with a spare moment while my partner is coiling rope etc, then I just reach over and snag their rap device, and connect it to the rope for them as I setup my own."" 

 Jeremy....  Hard to understand....    one thing I always do is hook up my own rap devise. I would be upset if you put your hands on it and clipped me in.   

maybe i read you wrong.... when I have free time and im down at a stance, I sometimes feed the pull down cord through the anchors so its ready to go.


Frank... TEXAS STYLE (for me and my partners, in California at least) is when your going to rap down a single line and your partner is going to anchor the other end to their body. Sometimes you need to get the knot down and past the lip so you can get a pull, and you then have only one strand to go down on. Communication is key when you do this sort of stuff.... advanced for sure, but good to know. 

 

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 449

My partner and I decided to use a biner block with grigri's when descending a popular multipitch because it shared anchors for the second rap with the third pitch anchors. We both pre rigged our grigris on the rap side and we hung the ropes in saddle bags so we wouldn't throw them on anyone. I carried the rap line, she carried the pull line.

By the time the party before us left the second station I was already there, clip clip and I'm safe. Once there, my partner was already rigged and ready to rap. From the second rap station we pre threaded the anchor and pulled the ropes setting up for another biner block. We decided to simul rap the last two pitches. I wish I had a tether for my grigri like the ATC keeper loop. I usually open the gri gri and put the carabiner right back into the body, with the plate open, before I remove the rope.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
Jeremy Bauman wrote:

I have to respectfully disagree. If you get in the habit of pre-rigging your rappel devices, then the second only needs a little slack to start their rappel--and you eliminate the possibility of the OP's incident. As a second with a pre-rigged device, I've likely already connected to my auto block and disassembled any anchor we were using by the time my partner is down. I don't have to wait for "off rappel"-as soon as I have slack, I begin my rappel.  

 

Except that the first one down has merely stopped at a ledge to clean up a tangle in the ropes.  You begin your descent.  He starts to rap again just as you're about to execute a nice hop off the big overhang, and BAM you're stopped in your tracks, faceplanting into the lip of the overhang.

OR, the rappel traverses quite a bit, and the first one down is on the ledge cleaning the aforementioned tangle.  You get on and the rope goes taut below you (this is a diagonal rap, remember) and you pull your partner off their feet backwards along the ledge.  "DUDE! What the F*CK??!!"  "Oh, sorry, I thought you were off rappel."

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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