Rapping (rappelling not the music dufus)

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Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
Topic Author's Original Post - May 10, 2010 - 07:30am PT
Just to distance a bit from the tragic accident and create if needed a thread to address rap issues I'm starting this one, and no I don't think this is a RC.com thread (I never look at that anyway, so maybe it is...butt...).

A couple of things came up previously one being DR's reference to the EDK or European Death Knot and coining another term...you got one DR?

A question...If the two rope ends are tied together (assuming a skinny and fatty) would this not eliminate a failure and a big ride down(as described by the knot sliding through the ring)? Several mention having done this over the years (including me).
If the rap was less than a rope length than maybe not, but in one greater?

I would assume at a solid stance (tied in and then the skinny rope could then be untied and pulled)...or would it just be a wicked shredding ride?



Here is that picture again from Petzl and how it should be done (excluding the ends tied)

Here are several links that were shared and maybe worth looking at;
http://www.canyonwiki.com/wiki/index.php/'biner_block

Rapping 101
http://www.innergycoaching.com/goclimb511/gc-101.php

more...?

Cheers,
DD


Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 10, 2010 - 08:45am PT
Overhand Knot is good.

Instantly like it for being so ordinary, understandable.

Double Overhand is accurate, but with a slight confusion. Like we don't say double figure eight.

Rap Knot possibly?

I like the way it slides over the rock pulling down, the way it resists snagging. I just never converted to using it. Mostly because of the name. Just didn't want that in my head as I checked my prussic and started down.

It's bad enough doing the second most dangerous thing in climbing (the sharp end in #1) without a morbid name hovering around every time you set one up.

And by the way, use a prussic. Every time. Yes, YOU.

Half of rap accidents are the anchor. The other half are something happening to you while rapping. Like getting hit on the head by a rock.

Use a prussic, above your friction device. Not the idiotic autobloc below it, where the rope can run through your safety a moment before you slide off the end.
Edge

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
May 10, 2010 - 08:50am PT
A couple of things came up previously one being DR's reference to the EDK or European Death Knot and coining another term...you got one DR?

I have long advocated that the term for an overhand knot used to join two ropes for the purpose of rappelling should be Americanized to make it more popular.

How about the American Happy, Fun Useful Climbing Knot, It's Terrific.

Or simply by the acronym "Ah, f*#k it"

Whatever you call it, you just need to make sure that the tails are long enough so if the knot rolls, as it often will, there is still plenty of backup tail. I shoot for 12" minimum.

tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2010 - 09:06am PT
DR, I know you have been arround a long time and all but the autoblock below the rap device is 100% more efective, usefull and safer than the idiotic prusic above the rap device ;)
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2010 - 09:29am PT
Edge, If the EKD rolled often I certainly would NOT use it. I have used the EDK exclusivly for about 6 years and it has never rolled once or even given the hint of rolling. I do use the long tails. I have rolled the EDK with my F150 but that is an entierly different situation than rappeling. If you plan on rapping with an F150 or anything larger than a mini cooper I suggest useing an inline 8

For most other normal climbing Rappels the EDK with long tails is good.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 10, 2010 - 09:46am PT
I use 5 mm Spectra cord (not kevlar), about 5.5 feet long, tied with a triple fisherman knot (= proven to work in slipperier cord). That makes a standard length runner to wear over my shoulder with all the rest of my runners.

Prussic tied above rap device. Snug it onto the rap line so it'll be sure to bite if needed. Cradle it in my uphill hand to slide it along.

It's tempting to tie a prussic loop out of accessory cord. Much cheaper. But also way weaker. Like having a "not for climbing" toy carabiner on your chalk bag, it risks drifting into the belay chain.

I use my spectra runners a lot for tieing off small knobs where nothing else will grip. Usually carry 2-3 of them as runners.

When I teach a newbie to rap, I always give him/her a prussic cord. Might be their first piece of gear. No excuse after that for overlooking the prussic backup.

How can an autobloc be "100% effective" when it is so easy for the rope ends to slide right through, rendering it useless?

Besides it kinks the rope mercilessly, which is not just annoying but dangerous, starting with being distracting.
MisterE

Social climber
Across Town From Easy Street
May 10, 2010 - 10:31am PT
I have used the EDK exclusively for 20+ years on similar diameter ropes. Never had any slipping problems, except on very different sized ropes (10 mm & 8mm), where I use the double fishermans.

I agree that it snags way less than either the in-line 8 or the double fisherman's.

The only other issue I have heard about with the "overhand knot" is slippage in cold and/or wet conditions (which I have never experienced, but have had friends report).

If I am really worried (for whatever reason) and there are no snag issues, I will tie back-up knots in the tails.

My $0.02
MisterE

Social climber
Across Town From Easy Street
May 10, 2010 - 10:37am PT
Euro Death Knot
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2010 - 10:45am PT
DR, I am also an old fart and I fought the new style backup tooth and nail. Finally I saw the light and it really does work better.

The prusic above the knott is a bitch to unstick when it locks up. If its loose enough for smooth rapelling its too loose to actually catch you if you mess up. Doubtfull that either method is going to save you if you rap off the ends of the rope unless its so tight that you can only rap by force feeding the rope through the prusic.

The autoblock below the device requires verry little friction to lock up and is super easy to get moveing again. The prusic above the device requires lots of force to lock up and then is under full body weight keeping it welded shut untill you figuer out how to unweight that section of the rope.

I can zip allong free as a bird, lock up whenever I wish, have both hands free to work,trundel,clean etc and then get going again effortlessly.

With the prusic above the Rap device it might possibly save you if you rapped off the ends of your rope but only if it was pretty tight to start with. If you start with it tight enough to lock in an emergency with only 2ft of tails to work with then it will get tighter with every move untill you will be stuck and have to loosen it up and restart.

In theory I would agree that the prusic has a better chance than the auto block of saveing you if you rap off the ends of the rope but in real life yer still gonna die.. those rope ends are not going to both slide through at the same time and that sneaky short one is still gonna slip through before you have a chance to lock up that PAINITA prusic that you just loosened up ..
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 10, 2010 - 11:16am PT
Tradman, I know you too are old as dirt and I value your opinion, but I respectfully disagree.

I snug my prussic, not tighten. Like stirred, not shaken maybe. It's easy to demonstrate that when, as you say, a loose one doesn't grab. Snug it just right, and it will tighten within an inch when needed.

I think the image of sailing down a rap easy as you please is a little too carefree. Like the "be all you can be" launching out of a chopper. Maybe I would too if someone was shooting at me, but it tells you something that the Army manual requires retiring a rope after just 10 hours of that abuse. Since the taxpayers aren't buying me new cord, I can't afford that.

But the point is more like carefree is not respectful enough of the true danger of rapping.

So a bit of drag on the prussic knot is a good thing. Helps remind you to keep moving it with you instead of letting it bind up which, yes, is a hassle. I would rather teach folks ways to loosen their stuck knot, though, than clean them up all splattered below.
luquitos

Trad climber
santa cruz, ca
May 10, 2010 - 11:26am PT
so what's the best knot to use when tying two ropes of very different diameters together, say 10mm and 6mm?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2010 - 11:27am PT
I don't take it that care free. The auto bloc has saved my butt a few times. It even works on iced up ropes. I used the prusic set up for many years and after much resistance/dragging my feet found that the autoblock is INMOP a better system for most aplications.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 10, 2010 - 11:31am PT
Personally, I like the EDK name and knot. Use them all the time.
Perhaps the ironic name helps remind us to tie the knot well, when we do.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
May 10, 2010 - 11:38am PT
But the point is more like carefree is not respectful enough of the true danger of rapping.

That's more my mentality.

I can understand "light and fast" for some people on routes where every ounce counts. But even on long enduro-days, we generally weren't too weak to carry two fat ropes.

Maybe I'm TOO old school, but we're talking life and death here. I am still a rookie, only been climbing walls and long trad routes for 35 years, but in all those years, I have had VERY FEW snagging incidents. Many of those stuck ropes had nothing to do with the knot anyway. I have never liked half-a-knot.

For the average guy, on most outings, I just don't understand why two fat ropes, BOTH going through the device is too much trouble. The majority of everything I've climbed has been done that way. I'm still here.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 10, 2010 - 11:39am PT
Enjoying the exchange between DR and tradman!

FWIW, I've tried both, and like it above the knot, provided one is *very* careful not to tie it out of reach (this is easier to do that most people realize). I've had people tell me that above was wrong, and after lots of careful consideration and futzing with ropes, decided that, no, it is okay. Glad to hear somebody agrees with me (DR)!

Good advice to always use a prussik. Or... have somebody give you a fireman's belay.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2010 - 11:46am PT
When I started in the early eightys in the east we only used one fat rope. never even thought of backing off of stuff and we always topped out and hiked off. First climbing trip out west,86 we brought 2 11mm ropes. that is a heck of a load to carry but we were young and strong so it did not bother us. These days I mostly do multi pitch with doubble 8.6mm ropes and that is pleanty light enogh for most situations.. The EDK is pleanty strong and safe when proplerly used. you can't blame this last accident on the knott. Seems like the whole tagline system is a bit sketch.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 10, 2010 - 11:47am PT
Lots of discussion about slippage w/ figure 8s and friction biners and skinny ropes in the other threadv...

I'm a little confused about what, exactly, it being discussed, but can add this: with an ATC and a single line, it is possible to use *both* ATC holes to add lots of friction with that single line. And that made all the difference.

Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
May 10, 2010 - 11:51am PT
I have been using the autobloc for 15 years, and it works beautifully. I am short, and have fussed with the prussic above. It has jammed, and it can get out of reach. For the tall folks, that isn't a big deal.

I am most concerned about losing control of the rope - negotiating a bad lip, falling objects that disable you. I like a back-up that passes the whistle test. The autobloc below does that.

I am not worried about rapping off the ends - too cautious to not be looking at that. I have ended up short of the next ledge or anchor on a few occasions. This is another curse for being smaller and lighter. My partners seem to be able to stretch that rope a little farther. THere is always a way to deal with that with a foot of rope still below the device.

Edit: I will tie the ends together generally. Hate hitching to that next anchor with slings/cordeltte, untying that knot, and sliding off the end. Always make the heavy guy go first. It amazes me how many routes and rap lines are so far apart. Remember when 50 meters was a long rope, then 60 meters was long, but wait 70 is the new standard...and 80's aren't far behind!!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 10, 2010 - 11:52am PT
An interesting discussion. Rappelling is one situation where simplicity and speed aren't necessarily synonymous with safety.

Spelt Prusik, though - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Prusik
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2010 - 11:59am PT
One thing that strikes me is that as climbers we get into certain routines that work.

Whether it's a prusik or the autoblock for example, that routine works for us. When we deviate from that routine that is when the sh*t can (potentially) hit the fan...(to paraphrase Calos Castaneda via Don Juan)'certain things matter to us in our lives because they are important' and 'we learn to think about everything, and then we train our eyes to look as we think about the things we look at...'

He was referring to moving beyond this, but somehow it seems to me that in cases of (potential once again) life and death outcomes we always need to be very deliberate, very methodical. Train ourselves to see the ordinary as if for the first time-every time.
Self evident, maybe, in practice...?

Good discussion all.

DD

edit:
seamstress...why knott:-) tie the ends together whenever possible? You have everything to gain and a lot to lose...
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