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Rappelling off a multi pitch trad route

Original Post
Anonymous · · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 12,235

Me, and my partner were having a discussion on emergancey rappelling off a multi pitch alpine trad route in the event of a storm, or injury ect... we have never had to do it yet(we have done single pitch, and step snow), and we are about to go on a class 4-5 route where we might have to bail for weather.    

We think we have enough gear for the 4 raps needed to get down(webbing and rings) and a rope long enough, to reach new anchor points but.....

My question is......what do you guys use for this, do we have the right gear for it? If you cant wrap the wedding around a rock, or through a crack or a tree ect... how does the follower rappel down with out leaving nuts, hexs, or other pro behind?

  I dont much like the fact I'll have to leave webbing and rap rings but that's the cheapest way to go. I'd like to leave nothing, but you cant always finish and have to bail. How can I leave no trace and get my gear back if possable, or is it a situation of leave as little as I can.    

It's been bothering me for a while so I ask the pros :)

 ****Update****   worst forum I've been apart of.

Had I known I was going to get the asshole comments I've gotten from a few people with the 1st post I've done here I wouldnt have joined this bs forum.....   to those few people....... if you dont know what a forum is or have nothing better to do than flex your climbing nuts go be a key board warrior on youtube.  You do nothing for the climbing community but make it look bad.  Your arrogant and completely dicks. Why are you on a form for asking questions to just put people down and act like a know it all.  If your so good... please let us plebs know your climbing knowledge....  lol go get fitted for clown shoes you douche canoe

To the real climbers out there thanks for the info.

Zachary Bright · · Escondido CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 38

You could check out the 2 ring retrievable anchor arborists use. (I’ve never actually used it, but was trying to think of a way to do something similar with a large and a small carabiner and then saw that arborists used Pre-made ones with two different size rappel rings.) or if you have a really long thin light pull cord there’s lots of options for pulling your anchor material down after you pull the rope through the rings.

Edit: I see you said “ask the pros,” so you can disregard my answer!

Also it’s very likely this anchor material or the knot needed to pull it down would get stuck. Might work if there’s a big tree above a very open overhanging rappel though:)

Also while talking about weird/different anchors that climbers don’t really use. Have you seen canyoneering waterbag anchors? They’re very cool and also terrifying! 

Artem Vasilyev · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 105

If you rap an alpine route and there are no fixed anchors (bolts or tat) - then yes, you will have to build each rap anchor yourself. The gear you use to do so will vary from webbing+biners to pins/nuts/cams/hexes, etc. I've personally left behind webbing and biners on occasion to help maintain ratty/sketchy anchors.

Most multipitch trad routes normally have well maintained rap routes and are unlikely to force you to leave anything.

Generally, if you are traveling a well trodden route, you will not have to leave gear. But if you are in unclimbed or rarely climbed terrain, you will almost certainly need to do this.

Get an experienced partner if you can, so that they can help you with evaluating each anchor you rap off of. General rule of thumb is that if it looks like shit, it's probably shit. Redundancy is important. Never rap on an non redundant anchor. Look for sunbleached nylon.

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

You probably shouldn't be climbing a multipitch alpine route without an experienced partner. Your question indicates you aren't ready. Stay safe and have fun.

Adam Fleming · · Moab · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 315

Just leave the gear. If you have a serious injury or a life-threatening storm approaching the cost of the gear shouldn't be a concern. If you start thinking about ways to save money, you may make crappy anchors that kill you and your partner. You can back up questionable anchors with gear for the first person (really have them wail on it) , then remove it if the feature holds.

If you're younger than 30, Mark Smiley will even help pay for your bail anchors.

ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,989
Glenn johnson wrote:  If you cant wrap the wedding around a rock, or through a crack or a tree ect... how does the follower rappel down with out leaving nuts, hexs, or other pro behind?

Quick answer is... they don't.  If there are no fixed stations on the route you'll have to build your own and leave them.  Do you have experience building your own top-rope anchors?  This is more or less  the basic skill set you're enquiring about.  There's a Beginners forum here for questions like this.  Take a look through and see if there isn't already a thread dedicated to this or similar topics.  There are lots of considerations for a team with your level of experience, one of which is whether it is more expeditious for you to just finish the route rather than to try to retreat without adequate skills.

Anonymous · · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 12,235

Thanks for the replys..... I understand that this is more advance and i may not seem ready but iam..I think. I've been waiting an waiting and practicing for this..  unfortunately where I live there isnt many climbers just people who climb in the gym no one wants to be friends more so partners on a real mountain. theres no classes for advanced stuff like this here.  I cant find a mentor and it's not for lack of trying. I've tried to hire someone also but no one will take me on or they dont do personal stuff. It's hard so I'm tring my best I'm sorry. Trust me if I could find a more competent climber to partner with I would but it's just not an option.    I'm  as safe as i can be and ask dumb questions to make sure I'm doing it correctly. Sorry if I seem uneducated on the matter I really wish I had a mentor.  Thanks again

curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 125
Glenn johnson wrote: Thanks for the replys..... I understand that this is more advance and i may not seem ready but iam..I think. I've been waiting an waiting and practicing for this..  unfortunately where I live there isnt many climbers just people who climb in the gym no one wants to be friends more so partners on a real mountain. theres no classes for advanced stuff like this here.  I cant find a mentor and it's not for lack of trying. I've tried to hire someone also but no one will take me on or they dont do personal stuff. It's hard so I'm tring my best I'm sorry. Trust me if I could find a more competent climber to partner with I would but it's just not an option.    I'm  as safe as i can be and ask dumb questions to make sure I'm doing it correctly. Sorry if I seem uneducated on the matter I really wish I had a mentor.  Thanks again

just an idea. you can easily travel and take a course to prepare you for the climbs you want to pursue. I did this a long time ago when i couldn't find a local mentor...


https://www.cmc.org/ClassesandCourses/CMCClassesSchools.aspx​​​
John Penca · · North Little Rock · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

Make it easy on us: what route are you planning on doing?  That would help.

Ska ggs · · New Haven, CT · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 60

Why not just call for a helicopter rescue and enjoy the Las Vegas night air ... just make sure you call it an alpine adventure and say thank you on your Instagram posts...
it’ll save you the cost of leaving gear behind

Gage Holbert · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

The fact that this is having to be asked means that you aren't ready, especially without an experienced partner. Learn multi pitch techniques with an experienced partner or guide service before getting on a route where you're having to build bail anchors. 

Adam Fleming · · Moab · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 315
Glenn johnson wrote:theres no classes for advanced stuff like this here.  I cant find a mentor and it's not for lack of trying. I've tried to hire someone also but no one will take me on or they dont do personal stuff. It's hard so I'm tring my best I'm sorry. Trust me if I could find a more competent climber to partner with I would but it's just not an option.   

Mark Smiley has online courses that cover this stuff and even more advanced topics. I think the best option would be to hire a guide for whatever objective you have in mind if you want to do it in the near future. If it's something worth waiting for, travel and hire a guide to teach you some skills, then practice at home and on personal trips. When we say "hire a guide," we mean a real guide, with qualifications and certifications, not some guy you know from the gym. 

No need to apologize, we all had to start somewhere. We just don't want you to get in over your head, endangering yourself and your friends.
John Penca · · North Little Rock · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0
Adam Fleming wrote: 

 

No need to apologize, we all had to start somewhere. We just don't want you to get in over your head, endangering yourself and your friends.

Roger that.  There are a lot of smart asses here, but we were all noobs at one time. Have you bought any books.  Not sure what ones are good these days.  I started by reading Robbin's Rockcraft books and Freedom of the Hills.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 883
Adam Fleming wrote: 

If you're younger than 30, Mark Smiley will even help pay for your bail anchors.

Wait!  What???  You are in an emergency situation.  Lightning striking everywhere.  Time is of the essence.  



Tommy:  Hurry up, bro.  The shit is about to hit the fan.  

Salami:  Hold on bro.  I gotta find my iPhone.

Tommy:  What for?  We need to get the fuck off this thing now.

Salami:  I need to take a photo of this $9 nut so I can get reimbursed, if we live, by some guy that wants to save the younger generation.

Tommy:  Dude, he doesn't care about you.  You're too fucking old at 32.  Now let's get out of here!


Don't be cheap.  Leave what you need to be safe.  You shouldn't have to do this on a regular basis if you pay attention to the weather and don't get in over your head on a regular basis.  For me, it's once every 5 years or so.  Only $150 or so in 27 years.
J T · · Colorado · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 300

Use the cheapest gear you have.  Nuts, hexes, webbing, cheap carabiners or rap rings.  Scout for tat on the way up the route.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Glenn johnson wrote:theres no classes for advanced stuff like this here. 
This isn’t an advanced topic - actually it’s kinda basic. A further indication you’re not quite ready for your objective. 
F Loyd · · Kennewick, WA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 532

The only way down is up!

Zacks · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 65

Is there nothing around with bolted multipitch anchors?  That's a way simpler situation to learn multipitch before you head to the alpine.  

Maybe something grade III before IV/V?

Grade V "typically requires an overnight on route" that's a huge step up from single pitch.  You need your systems dialed to move fast and not spend longer on route than intended.  That takes experience plain and simple.  

You also should learn self rescue techniques in case you need to ascend a rope to find a better rap station or you get a rope stuck ect.

I think most people start out on a 5.7 or easier cakewalk 3 pitch multipitch so you can figure out how to multipitch without stressing the climbing

To actually address your question:
A well traveled alpine route will have an established decent either a walk off or a rap, you may need to replace webbing but usually someone else found a way down where you can sling stuff.  If you have to bail partway up you will most likely have to leave gear.  But that's an emergency so the gear costs less than your life.

Dave Olsen · · Channeled Scablands · Joined Dec 2019 · Points: 5

I picked up a large selection of old Eiger Hexes on the way up Mt Whitney, left by a party too large to finish in the time they had.
That's what they brought for bail pro. In camp before our climb I told them (rather generously I thought) I will collect them
on the way up and mail them back to them.

Well, we got spanked by a sudden snow storm and I replaced about half of them down climbing in retreat.
(That traverse at the bottom is even more fun covered with snow, flashlight in teeth.)

Perfect. No cams lost. Mailed back some of the booty. Win, win.

So my advice, bring gear for bailing and a headlamp. Watch the clouds and the clock, and think carefully about committing to a traverse.

SeƱor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

"I'm dead but at least I didn't leave my rack behind!"

Come ON dude. If the situation is bad enough that you need to bail leaving even a thousand dollars in gear behind is a cheap escape. Don't risk your life stupidly just because you're emotionally attached to some gear. Leave that shit left and right if that's what you need to do.

Compare the cost of a full rack to even a single emergency room visit or an ambulance ride. Compare it to the cost of missed work because you got badly injured. Compare it to being dead. Now use some common sense. 

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

Maybe something grade III before IV/V?

Grade V "typically requires an overnight on route" that's a huge step up from single pitch.  You need your systems dialed to move fast and not spend longer on route than intended.  That takes experience plain and simple.  

He said class 4 or 5, not Grade IV or V (provided he [and you] understands the terms)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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