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Knot pass: Munter Overhand Feed-Through. Has anyone tried this?


BGardner · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

jktinst
I agree that person will drop a bit.  I'm just saying most of the time the person barley notices.  In real life the rope is almost always running over the rock in multiple places which adds enough friction to slow the drop and rope stretch prevents there being a harsh catch.  
If they do notice, so what?   In the context you'd use this, it's because you want to get someone down now.  Who cares if they drop a few inches.  They won't, they're far more worried about the thunderstorm.  Or the fact that they need to use a WAG bag.
I'm saying this having actually done it multiple times, in real life, with real people, on real rock (and ice).  I've also taught this method to a lot of people and been on the receiving end of the "pop" plenty of times.
I understand that the "pop" is rather dramatic looking when you first see it but it just doesn't matter in real life.  Making things more complicated is just giving yourself more things to screw up in what might already be a stressful situation.

By "static cord" do you mean static rope?  Like a tag-line?  Sure doing this with a 5mm tag could be sketchy but if we are talking a 8-9mm static rope then I see no issue.  Plenty of stretch in the system.  Dropping a single human body 6 inches (or a foot) just doesn't produce that much force.  

Fran M · · Germany · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0
BGardner wrote: The method shown in the video is great.  Karsten is a great resource to follow.
Do you have a source for this method?

I've practiced this method a bunch and used it over a dozen times in real life.  Never had a problem. 
After the first rope length (say 60m) does the twisting make feeding the bend more difficult?
Did you ever had problems feeding or popping the bend?
Did you use half ropes and/or single ropes?

I disagree with the OP about tying the end of the rope to the masterpoint.  It will just be in the way with no gain.  The end of the rope isn't being loaded in any way and is just being secured to prevent dropping it.  I find that I'm usually still tied into the end of the rope so I usually don't need to worry but if I'm off the rope I'd tie the end to one of the anchor pieces just like Karsten did.
Fair enough
BGardner · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0
Fran M wrote: Do you have a source for this method?
Not off the top of my head.  That said, it's been around a long time.  Neither Karsten or I invented it.  This is commonly known in the guiding world and sometimes taught on the courses.


After the first rope length (say 60m) does the twisting make feeding the bend more difficult?
The Munter gets a bad rap for twisting the rope but much of that is user error.  Keep the strands as parallel to each other as possible and the twisting is very minor.  If you hold the break strand up, or even worse out to the side and the twisting can be pretty bad.

Did you ever had problems feeding or popping the bend?
Only if I used to small of a carabiner.  The overhand knot has to be able to pass through.  I've never had it fully jam but I have had to help push it through.  Just use a big pearabiner and you'll be fine.


Did you use half ropes and/or single ropes?
I've always used single ropes.  Half ropes would be easier to fit through the carabiner.


Fair enough


Fran M · · Germany · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0

Thanks a lot BGardner. If you remember a source for it, I will be grateful. I'll give it a try.

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

Just because I talked about all sorts or related points in my posts and added a detailed diagram doesn't mean the EDK munter pass-through is complicated. The principle is simply to keep one of the tails a bit longer, use it to thread a secondary munter next to the primary one, and use that to hold the load while unhooking the now-loose loop immediately after it catches the knot and before it starts stretching out.

Although I'm no guide, I too have done this in real life and taught it, enough to know that it's fast, easy and safe. It takes at most 10 seconds longer than the MOFT knot-pass, there is no sliding of the loop hard against the first rope and the knot, and the only tiny jostle is when the tail pulls out of the primary munter (a "drop" equivalent to the thickness of the tail, ie 8-10mm). Lowering or rappelling on two ropes tied end-to-end is really more of a self-rescue technique and the situation you (and the video) describe of able-bodied partners wanting to get the hell out of Dodge asap is pretty much one of the best-case scenarios in which one might want to use this technique for self-rescue. The much smoother ride with the pass-through would be a plus in other kinds of situations, eg when you don't want to jostle or trip up an injured partner being lowered; when tandem rappelling on multiple ropes and cords tied end-to-end; etc.

If I hadn’t come up with the pass-through method, in preference to the MOFT, I would have continued with the Munter pop method as described in the Tyson and Loomis self-rescue manual (also fast and straightforward but works only once). I would have used this for the first knot pass and switched to the standard load-releasable hitch approach for any eventual additional knot passes.

For the sake of clarity for others reading this: the MOFT video talks of "popping" the knot and the alpinesavvy website calls that technique the "Munter pop" but the Munter pop described by Tyson and Loomis is a very different technique. Briefly, in the Tyson and Loomis Munter pop, you have the initial munter on an extension so you can stop it just before the knot and set up a new braking system on the other side of the knot (closer to the anchor or to your harness depending on whether you're lowering or rappelling) after which, you partially undo the munter and its biner pops (literally flies) off the rope. I won't describe this further. Details and precautions can be looked up in the manual.

Finally, BGardner, out of curiosity, do you always climb with two single ropes ? I'm trying to wrap my head around doing the MOFT knot-pass plenty of times on rock and ice routes, each time using two single ropes.

BGardner · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0
jktinst wrote: 
Finally, BGardner, out of curiosity, do you always climb with two single ropes ? I'm trying to wrap my head around doing the MOFT knot-pass plenty of times on rock and ice routes, each time using two single ropes.

I climb as a party of 3 a lot.  Sometimes they are triple-rated ropes but I'm still using them as singles.


I agree that your method works and isn't overly complicated.  I'm just not convinced it's worth the extra steps.  
Your correct that I'm talking about an able (or mostly able) body person being lowered.  If someone was really so banged up that a 1-foot drop is going to be a problem then lowering in any way might not be the best idea.  Certainly going to avoid doing a double rope lower if I can.
I'd never thought of doing this on rappel as a knot pass.  I'm not sure I ever would as rapping on a Munter for 400' and/or as a tandem sounds pretty crappy.  I'd rather have a device and transfer the load normaly. 
Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,540
BGardner wrote: The method shown in the video is great.  Karsten is a great resource to follow.
I've practiced this method a bunch and used it over a dozen times in real life.  Never had a problem.  
Why have you had to use this so much?
Eli W · · New England · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

Andy Kirkpatrick mentions this in his book in the context of lowering very heavy loads on joined ropes with a monster munter (aka super munter). When the load is heavy, he advises keeping ones fingers out of the knot for obvious reasons; use a biner or something.

I've only tried this in my basement with a weight.

Fran M · · Germany · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0
Eli W wrote: Andy Kirkpatrick mentions this in his book in the context of lowering very heavy loads on joined ropes with a monster munter (aka super munter). When the load is heavy, he advises keeping ones fingers out of the knot for obvious reasons; use a biner or something.

I've only tried this in my basement with a weight.

which book is that?

You mean popping the bend through the Monster Munter?
mbk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote: Why have you had to use this so much?

I’m guessing he has clients who leave stuff in their packs or leave their camelbacks or need to poop or escape some sudden rain or freak out from the exposure or ...

curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 74
Eli W wrote: Andy Kirkpatrick mentions this in his book in the context of lowering very heavy loads on joined ropes with a monster munter (aka super munter). When the load is heavy, he advises keeping ones fingers out of the knot for obvious reasons; use a biner or something.

I've only tried this in my basement with a weight.

does this knot pass method work with a super munter?  i would assume the knot would get caught in the hitch as it tries to roll through... to be fair, i've never tried it...

Matt Castelli · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 240

It works w/ a super munter - and the super munter doesn't have any of the rope twisting issues folks compliant about. just a loooot of friction, which is why it's mostly used for v heavy loads. Not sure how it would work for lowering one person. 

Eli W · · New England · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5
Fran M wrote:

which book is that?

You mean popping the bend through the Monster Munter?

Higher Education: https://andy-kirkpatrick.com/shop/product/higher-education


Yeah, he has a section on getting down a wall with haul bags, and this is one of the techniques covered. You can apparently pass the bend through a Monster Munter the same way you can with a regular Munter.

I've never tried it with the Monster Munter - only the regular Munter.
curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 74
Eli W wrote:


I've never tried it with the Monster Munter - only the regular Munter.

yea, i'm still having a hard time visualizing how the knot can pass with a super munter. it seems like the 2nd wrap around the backside of the load strand would cause the knot to hang up... Here's a crappy image of what i'm talking about...


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

From what I remember, you have to slacken the brake hand quite a bit to allow the knot to pass in between the strands (whereas with the regular munter, you can keep braking, just less tightly, and the knot goes around just fine). I haven't tried it with a really heavy load but I would be worried that you would not be able to regain fine braking control until the knot had pulled out a longer loop than with the regular munter, which would let the loop "saw" the rope more and also result in a longer drop. Probably not a big deal when lowering only gear but more of a problem if lowering a heavy load that includes a person.

Nick Orticelle · · Denver, Co · Joined May 2009 · Points: 25

So... question on this one as this is the first time I've seen something like this. I've read this thread, and searched the web for basic information on this, but coming up short. I'm interested in the applications with this method, as well as how the belayer gets down.

If lowering someone/something down up to 2 rope lengths, would there have to be a 2nd set of anchors to do a 2 stage rappel? Is this mainly used as a quicker way to get multiple people and/or gear down rather than doing single full rope length rappels for everyone in the party? I'm obviously missing something, but it's also outside of what I would likely need to use anytime soon. Thanks!

Dan Gozdz · · Louisville, CO · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Not a guide but I can mainly see this being used to
a) get an injured party to the ground quickly, especially if it'll make it faster for SAR
b) get a less experienced rapeller down in case of bad weather coming in
c) scout a rap line on an alpine climb. If they can't find a suitable midstation they can climb up on belay or potentially ascend the rope
d) get down to render assistance to another party. This lets you lower ~4-6 pitches that would are bolted for rapping with a single line (up to 2x70m vs 4x25m for a 50m single)

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,540
Dan Gozdz wrote: Not a guide but I can mainly see this being used to
a) get an injured party to the ground quickly, especially if it'll make it faster for SAR
b) get a less experienced rapeller down in case of bad weather coming in
c) scout a rap line on an alpine climb. If they can't find a suitable midstation they can climb up on belay or potentially ascend the rope
d) get down to render assistance to another party. This lets you lower ~4-6 pitches that would are bolted for rapping with a single line (up to 2x70m vs 4x25m for a 50m single)

Ya. It's really just a rescue technique, so I'm wondering why that guy has used it so much. 

BGardner · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote: Why have you had to use this so much?

Tradiban.

I don't feel that I've used it a ton but 1or2 times a year starts to add up.
Your probably correct that for most climbers this is a self-rescue technique.

I'm a full-time guide so for me this is another tool that lets me move the team through terrain as efficiently as possible.
Knock on wood, but I've never had to do this because someone got hurt.  I have definitely used it to bail off the top of pitch two in crappy weather.
I've also used it to get most of the team down and off the technical terrain quickly, then I'm free to downclimb or rappel to the small middle-stance without having to try and crowd everyone in.
I can think of a few times that I've done this to get female climbers down first so they could take care of personal business more comfortably.  There's just somethings that are easier to do when your not hanging in a harness on a small ledge next to a couple of dudes.
Someone else already mentioned speed.  Often times you can lower multiple people faster than they can all rappel.  Especially if you can skip an anchor or two.
Most recently I was on a route that traversed a fair bit.  I had two people.  My first climber made it up but my 2nd climber ended up deciding to bail halfway up.  He had climbed and traversed just enough that when I lowered I could no longer get him to the high point in the ground and instead the rope was about 10' short.  I'd belayed him up on the ATC guide but when he decided to lower I'd switched it to a Munter so I'd have options.  When we got to the end of his rope I just tied in the other end and finished the lower.  Pretty easy really.

Another scenario that I can't recall doing (but I would) is if you had a damaged rope.  Then only one person has to pass a knot on rappel.

Obviously, I'm a fan of the technique but "context" is king.  If a climber is truly injured or you can't see where your sending people, or your not confident the ropes are long enough, then lowering someone 400' could definitely make things worse.

I see that the conversation has expended to "high load" scenarios.  I would be very hesitant to ever do this with a 2-person load.  The pop would definitely feel much more dramatic.  
Another concern is the flat-overhand.  I think the flat-overhand is a great knot for rappelling and is fine for lowering a single person but it is definitely a weaker knot.  If you had 400 pounds of humans and gear bouncing around on the end of the rope you could produce 500 or 600 pounds of force.  I've seen flat-overhands in pull machine start to flip as low as a 1000 pounds.  That seems a little too close to bet 2 peoples lives on.  There are multiple other flat-knots that could be used but they'd all be harder to get through the munter.  
My main concern though, is the act of lowering 2 people on a single strand.  It's not uncommon for people to move out of the fall line while being lowered.   The longer the lower the more likely this is.  At some point they usually swing back in. If two people come out of the fall-line then swing back in there is a much higher likelihood of damaging the rope on a edge.
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

For most of us non-guides, lowering someone past a knot is an unlikely emergency scenario.  I've climbed actively for 62+ years and never had to do it.  I have had to rappel past a knot once in order to escape a terrible lightning storm---we left the tied-together ropes hanging and came back the next day.  

As an emergency procedure, it is likely to be carried out in bad conditions, perhaps with sodden ropes, in my opinion a bad situation to be messing with friction knots and load transfers.  Passing the joining knot around the Munter is better than those methods, but the biggest problem with feeding the knot through the Munter carabiner is not having a big enough carabiner.  Perhaps the very worst is thinking you have a big enough carabiner and getting the knot jammed.  

I think the Loomis-Tyson Munter pop method (page 78) is the simplest and best thing to know for ordinary climbers who may have to do this in an emergency situation, especially since it works more or less the same way for rappelling past a knot.  The one (I think very minor) drawback is that you can only pass one knot this way.  My guess is very few parties are going to have three ropes to tie together anyway.

For the Munter pop method, you install a muled-off Munter hitch on a carabiner on the power point, just above the knot joining the two ropes.  (Advantage: you can use any knot.)  Then clip a shoulder-length runner with a second HMS carabiner to the anchor, and install a second Munter on this lower carabiner.  The second Munter is situated just above the person to be lowered, so there is a full rope length between the upper muled-off Munter and the lower Munter.

Use the second  Munter to lower the climber a full rope length until the rope comes tight on the upper muled-off Munter.  Now comes the Munter pop---you have to try this to believe it!  Even though the rope is under tension, you can open the lower carabiner and "pop" the Munter free. The rope is now supported by the upper Munter with the joining knot below it, so undo the mule knot and continue lowering.

Popping the Munter carabiner off might let out an inch or two of slack,  less than passing the knot around a Munter which looks as if about a foot gets released.  There are no friction hitches to manipulate,  no worries about a knot jamming in the carabiner, and no concerns about exactly where to thread the joining knot free ends, and any kind of joining knot will work equally well.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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