Climbing Death in Yosemite above the Awahanee

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 280 of total 280 in this topic
fairweather

Mountain climber
Roseville, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 8, 2010 - 01:00am PT
I understand a climber fell 300' to his death late today - somewhere near the Awahanee. I don't have any other details.
Has anyone heard more details about this?
sarabina

Social climber
the other Disney in...CA
May 8, 2010 - 02:43am PT
I called in a fall but I can't confirm anything. Keep the climbers on Serenity Crack today in your thoughts tonight. I am.
Paul_in_Van

Trad climber
Near Squampton
May 8, 2010 - 02:48am PT
Hope everything turns out as best it can for all involved.

Stay safe out there.

P
WBraun

climber
May 8, 2010 - 02:58am PT
True .... Serenity Crack
sarabina

Social climber
the other Disney in...CA
May 8, 2010 - 03:15am PT
Sh#t,

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
May 8, 2010 - 03:21am PT
This is terrible news.
gumbyclimber

climber
May 8, 2010 - 04:20am PT
Was this a team or a soloist?
MisterE

Social climber
Across Town From Easy Street
May 8, 2010 - 04:24am PT
Damn sad news. Condolences to friends and family.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
May 8, 2010 - 05:41am PT
Yes sadness indeed...:(
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
May 8, 2010 - 05:55am PT
So sorry to read this... condolences to all family and friends.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 8, 2010 - 07:06am PT
Very sad news. My prayers for the family.

John
couchmaster

climber
pdx
May 8, 2010 - 10:31am PT
..as do mine, I have a lot of friends in the valley climbing right now, it's a bad feeling not knowing.

Any links to a news story or details yet?
Anastasia

Mountain climber
hanging from a crimp and crying for my mama.
May 8, 2010 - 11:41am PT
I don't like this at all. I am selfishly hoping it is not someone I know even though any loss known or unknown is a huge tragedy. My condolences...
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 8, 2010 - 11:43am PT

My condolences. A sad day.
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Tampa, FL
May 8, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
Man this is terrible news.

Word is it was a rapping accident. Rapping a single line with a pull cord. Knot pulled through the anchor.

Condolences to the family and friends.
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
May 8, 2010 - 01:54pm PT
so sorry to hear about a death. i'm sad.
so sorry for the loss as a climber. so sorry for the family.
RM
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
May 8, 2010 - 03:48pm PT
Oh no!

My prayers are going out tonight, deepest condolences.

Very sorry to hear about this.

Best Regards,

Mucci
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
May 8, 2010 - 03:56pm PT
Was someone soloing? That's a pretty big whipper.



*edit* Oh missed the post about the rappelling. What a bummer.
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
May 8, 2010 - 04:10pm PT
Very sorry to hear of this.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
May 8, 2010 - 05:23pm PT
How sad. Condolences to all.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
May 8, 2010 - 05:33pm PT
We work at such a wonderful sport.

Most of the time it is a source of health and happiness.

But it sure is unforgiving when things go wrong.

My condolences to the climber's friends and family.
Double D

climber
May 8, 2010 - 07:21pm PT
Wow what a bummer. My condolances to all family and friends.

Knott pulled through the anchor? Was it an unusually large ring? Usually I'm so freaked out about knotts with pull lines that they are about the size of my fist.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 8, 2010 - 08:14pm PT
very sad. May he (she) rest in peace.

maybe not the place or the time, but if you're going to do the pull line trick, you got to have a locking biner at the knot.
zeta

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 8, 2010 - 08:57pm PT
oh no, I'm so sorry to hear this!

condolences to family and friends...

zeth0101

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
May 8, 2010 - 09:29pm PT
I was the first responder on the scene. I was climbing just left of the party. we had bailed before the last pitch of our climb and at the point of finishing our last rap and making it to the ground the accident happened. I do not want to talk about this on the forum but want to be available to anyone that knew the climber or has any questions in private. I can be contacted at zeth.kinnett@gmail.com
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
May 8, 2010 - 09:31pm PT
Sorry to hear this.

At worst case bring a smaller diameter rope with you for double rope raps. Just make sure you know which is the "downhill" side.
Argonaut

Gym climber
Sacramento California
May 8, 2010 - 10:32pm PT
Hey every one, Thank you all for your well wishing. The fallen climber was a friend of mine his name is Brian Ellis, He was from the L.A. Santa Monica area and he was on his way up Sacramento this weekend. And as was mentioned it did happen on the rappel down. From the information I got from my mom they had started climbing around 7am that morning and he fell around 5pm. I'll pass your condolences on to his family and friends.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
May 8, 2010 - 10:37pm PT
Thanks Argonaut, very, very sorry for the loss of your friend. For whatever tiny consolation it is to the friends and family, please send deepest condolences.
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
May 8, 2010 - 10:44pm PT
So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.
Fletcher

Trad climber
not very much, recently.
May 8, 2010 - 10:50pm PT
My prayers and condolences... it's hard to know what to offer but our hearts are a good place to begin.

Eirc
flakyfoont

Trad climber
carsoncity nv
May 8, 2010 - 10:58pm PT
my condolences to his family and friends.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
May 8, 2010 - 11:03pm PT
maybe not the place or the time, but if you're going to do the pull line trick, you got to have a locking biner at the knot.

There is never a wrong time or place for sound advice.

So sorry to hear about this... We do not need any more deaths in this little game we play.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
May 8, 2010 - 11:05pm PT
After a glorious day out with new friends.

A serious reminder.

Gravity always prevails.

If given the slightest chance.

Strength to the survivors!
the museum

Trad climber
Rapid City
May 8, 2010 - 11:48pm PT
Sincere condolences to all family and friends.

the museum
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
May 9, 2010 - 01:11am PT
So sad. You can't be too careful rappelling.
zeth0101

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
May 9, 2010 - 01:15am PT
to those whom replied to my posting.... I will be responding to all of you tomorrow afternoon...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 9, 2010 - 01:27am PT
So sorry that this happened.
Condolences to the friends and family....
hossjulia

Social climber
Eastside
May 9, 2010 - 01:28am PT
What a bummer, condolances.
Rapping is not my favorite thing to do, be careful out there.
willie!!!!!

Trad climber
99827
May 9, 2010 - 02:24am PT
Having just lost my best friend last weekend to a stupid fluke, I know exactly what friends and family are going through.

The what ifs? are horrible.

My sincerest condolences to all involved.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
May 9, 2010 - 03:59am PT
hey there say, argonaut... my condolences and well wishes for you, and the family, for them to get through this very hard sad time...


god bless...
my prayers for all....
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 9, 2010 - 09:25am PT
My sympathy to all Brian's family and friends.
I'm very sorry this has happened.
yosguns

climber
Durham, NC
May 9, 2010 - 10:03am PT
Oh no. This is awful, sobering news. I can't imagine the grief. I'm so sorry for anyone involved.
Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
May 9, 2010 - 10:03am PT
I'm so sorry to hear about this. My condolences.
squishy

Mountain climber
sacramento
May 9, 2010 - 10:33am PT
very sobering...
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
May 9, 2010 - 10:42am PT
Bummer and unfortunately as previously noted preventable by using a biner block in the knot to prevent the rope from slipping through. I know some folks rap both lines but there can be problems when the lines have different diameters so using a biner block is your best option.

For those who do not know how to use a biner block:

http://www.canyonwiki.com/wiki/index.php/'biner_block



Condolences to all involved.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
May 9, 2010 - 11:05am PT
Two ropes of large diameter is safer.
Dakman

Trad climber
Denver, CO
May 9, 2010 - 11:41am PT
With all due respect to all involved and in the interest of safety for the rest of us, please explain the mechanics of the "pull line trick". I am not clear how it works and would like to avoid this scenario.

Thanks for understanding and condolences to the affected parties.
msiddens

Trad climber
Mountain View
May 9, 2010 - 11:52am PT
Oh noo!! So sad and my thoughts to the family.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 9, 2010 - 12:14pm PT
Rest in peace, bro...

Can we all try to be safe, please!!!! My heart sank when I read this thread. I have a bunch of friends out there this weekend.

Be safe, and climb on!
noshoesnoshirt

climber
Arkansas, I suppose
May 9, 2010 - 12:23pm PT
RIP.
I's tragic, but hopefully we can learn something from this.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 9, 2010 - 12:36pm PT
Can somebody explain this rapping technique? I ain't getting it.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 9, 2010 - 12:38pm PT
I don't actually know what happened in this case - but someone said the knot pulled through the rings. If this is true my guess is that they were rapping on a single line with a second thin cord to pull the rap line.

For your second rope - in order to save weight - you take a 60 meter by 6 mm (or even 5 mm) cord. You thread the main rope through the rap rings, then tie the ropes together. You rap essentially on one rope, but the knot is jammed into the ring. When you get down, you pull on the 6 mm cord to retrieve the rope. Its a good trick, especially in an alpine setting where weight is critical and you don't want to carry two ropes. But obviously, if the jammed knot pulls through the ring it can be disastrous. Solution to this is to attach the rope to the pull cord with a locking biner (or even another rap ring). Then you are guaranteed that the knot won't pull through.

Condolences again to the family and friends. Be safe.
yosguns

climber
Durham, NC
May 9, 2010 - 12:44pm PT
Put rope through rap rings. Tie rope to locking biner and lock the biner around the rope you're rapping. Attach pull cord either to the rope or the locking biner. When you pull the pull cord, the biner locked around the rope will slide down the rope so the end frees itself when it goes through halfway.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 9, 2010 - 12:44pm PT
Rockermike, this technique is very very old and is called the Reepschnur method of rappelling.
10b4me

Boulder climber
Hell A
May 9, 2010 - 01:03pm PT
terrible news for a mother on mothers' day.
my condolences to his family, and friends.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 9, 2010 - 01:10pm PT
Very sad news. I did not know Brian, but whenever another climber is lost we all feel that bond, and the sense of loss. For me, with almost 40 years committed to climbing and my fair share of close calls there is also a ďThere but for the graceÖĒ feeling I get every time something like this happens. I have come close to being killed climbing several times for reasons others would have looked at after the fact and wondered how I could let such a thing happen. But I have been lucky. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and those at the scene.

On the technical side, I do not see the advantage of using a single lead line and a thin pull cord over the older school method of leading and descending on double ropes, say two 8.5's. Of course in the extreme grades a thin single lead rope can make a difference (been there done that myself,) but on relatively moderate multi pitch routes I think more climbers should consider the many safety advantages of double rope technique.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
May 9, 2010 - 01:11pm PT
Agreed.
drljefe

climber
Old Pueblo, AZ
May 9, 2010 - 01:16pm PT
Sad.
So sorry for all involved.
brat

climber
El Portal
May 9, 2010 - 01:19pm PT
Brian was in fact using the previously described method of rappel with a 6 mm tag line and a Cinch.

For whatever reason, this one time, he had not tied the 8 on a byte with the locker to the other line that he normally uses as a backup for this system. Climbing is not forgiving of such errors. This time, his two EDKs pulled through the anchor rings, and the backup was not in place.

Brian's climbing partner on Serenity Crack that day will post a full account of what happened here when he feels ready.


Brian Ellis was a sweet, funny, wildly intelligent and passionate man. He will be sorely missed in the climbing community, and by all of the people in his life.
WBraun

climber
May 9, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
" ... two EDKs ...

?????

How was this tied?

Start a new thread if needed ....
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 9, 2010 - 01:26pm PT
what can you say, there is nothing.

only positive aspect i can think of is we learn something to help us.

where is that 101 Ways To Die Why Rapping article?

no search engine luck.
brat

climber
El Portal
May 9, 2010 - 01:28pm PT
One "above" the other on the tails? I've seen it many times from many climbers. Does that description make sense?

Werner, you were there, weren't you?
WBraun

climber
May 9, 2010 - 01:30pm PT
Yeah, I was there.

It was pretty dramatic ....
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 9, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
Love and well wishes to Brian's friends and family, and to the climbers and rescuers who dealt with this accident. This is very sad.
Dirka

Trad climber
SF
May 9, 2010 - 01:52pm PT
My blessings to his friends and family.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 9, 2010 - 02:53pm PT
ok here is some stuff>

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

Trad climber
Josh, CA
May 9, 2010 - 03:04pm PT
I agree with Werner if we need to start a new thread for this, then do it.

I understand the system that was supposed to be in use.

What I DO NOT understand is the system that was in use that caused the accident.

I'm not seeing the EDK setup here.

Would someone please explain it?

bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 9, 2010 - 03:10pm PT
Werner, I don't know how you do this sh#t. I got a lot respect for you guys.

God bless ya, and may you not be burdened with this stuff.

You always get the bad side of the situation. Mucho respect, bro, to you and your team.

I don't think people realize what you see and have to deal with. I can't imagine.

Rock on, Werner Braun!
10b4me

Boulder climber
Hell A
May 9, 2010 - 03:15pm PT
Werner, I don't know how you do this sh#t. I got a lot respect for you guys.

God bless ya, and may you not be burdened with this stuff.

You always get the bad side of the situation. Mucho respect, bro, to you and your team.

I don't think people realize what you see and have to deal with. I can't imagine.

Rock on, Werner Braun!

agreed
Matt M

Trad climber
May 9, 2010 - 03:18pm PT
YosGuns description of "the right way" is correct regarding rapping a single large line with a retrieval cord.

Without a eye witness description you're left with: Two EDKs? Knot Pulling Though?

If the knot did pull through it must have been a LARGE rap ring or something else. A 10mm + 6mm cord in an EDK is large enough to get stuck in a FIXE ring and/or a quick link.

Note that EDKs should really only be used with equal size ropes. Even with the double EDK I'm not sure it's a good idea.

Now, if the climber rapped BOTH lines there are other issues at play. The biggest being that cords of un-equal diameter pass though a rap device at different rates. If the knot on top isn't on the correct side you can have your tails end up being off in length enough to be a huge issue.

Pure speculation until we get an authoritative account...
brat

climber
El Portal
May 9, 2010 - 03:21pm PT
The climber was doing a single line rappel on a Cinch on the lead rope, with a 6 mm cord joined to it with an EDK (and another EDK for backup) to retrieve the line.

Please be patient. His partner on the climb, who is here with me now, will post a full account when he is ready.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 9, 2010 - 03:52pm PT
brat - Please tell your friend to take his time. I think we can all hold our collective breath until he feels well and ready to relive this terrible event.

We can only imagine what it is like for him right now.
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
May 9, 2010 - 04:13pm PT
Condolences to the family. Sorry to read this! I just started reading with great interest in how this happened. Lame question....What is a "EDK" ??
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
May 9, 2010 - 04:22pm PT
European Death Knot
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
May 9, 2010 - 04:29pm PT
Agreed. Tell to take his time.

Again, I'm very sorry this happened.
tiki-jer

Trad climber
fresno/clovis
May 9, 2010 - 04:41pm PT
The community has lost another Brother.....So sorry to hear this.
Condolences to Friends and Family!!!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 9, 2010 - 04:49pm PT
I'm very sorry to hear of this. My condolences, too, to the family and all friends gathered.

EDK is a very unfortunate name for a useful and safe knot. We as a community need to come up with a new name. I'm normally resist sanitizing names, but it's distracting, especially here.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
May 9, 2010 - 04:57pm PT
Tragic. My condolences to family and friends and much appreciation to those who were on the scene.
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
May 9, 2010 - 05:07pm PT
We used tie a 7mm to the old fat 11's and rap both lines. For tough pulls, put 7 thru anchor for easy pull. What's wrong with that system? We did it for years, were we just dumb lucky?

BH
martygarrison

Trad climber
The Great North these days......
May 9, 2010 - 05:10pm PT
bee, I also used a 7mm and rapped both ropes for years. Always put the fat rope through the anchor. Always felt safe. Very sorry to hear about this accident. I have no idea how many times I rapped from the same spot.
divad

Trad climber
wmass
May 9, 2010 - 05:24pm PT
Sorry to hear this. Best of thoughts to family, friends, and those who witnessed it.
slobmonster

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
May 9, 2010 - 05:26pm PT
From the Petzl catalog.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 9, 2010 - 05:30pm PT
thanks Slob, I was curious about how the backup worked.

Thanks.
Paulina

Trad climber
May 9, 2010 - 05:32pm PT
Condolences to family and friends. Really sorry for your loss.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
May 9, 2010 - 05:40pm PT
Thanks, Slobmaster.

That looks sketchy not because it might fail, but it looks like it might get stuck on retrieval.
JesseM

Social climber
Yosemite
May 9, 2010 - 06:02pm PT
This is truly tragic news. My condolences to the partner, friends, and family. From what I hear about Brian, he will be sorely missed.

I was off the day of the accident, and was not a part of the body recovery or investigation. However, I talked at length yesterday to the investigating ranger, and have a good understanding of what happened.

At today's climber coffee at Camp 4 we had a long discussion about the accident. With an accident like this we must take the time to learn what we can from the incident even though it is hard to talk about the loss of someone from our community. Everyone I talked to today at Camp 4 really feels for the friends and family of Brian.

As has been mentioned in this thread, Brian was using the "biner block" or, as Peter Haan called it, the "Reepschnur" method of single line rappelling. The link that Scared Silly provided has a good image of the basic idea of the system accept for the knot used to connect the lead line and tag line.

Here it is again:

http://www.canyonwiki.com/wiki/index.php/'biner_block

Edit: Slobmaster posted the petzl image, which is even better. Do they have a name for it?

Since the partner seems willing to give his on account of the accident, I won't go into the details. You guys already understand the basic nature of the accident. Like Brat said, Brian apparently always tied the backup 8 on a bite and clipped it to the single rappel line with a locking-biner, and this time he did not. Then, while Brian was rappelling, the knot pulled through the anchors. They were rappelling from the anchors on the ledge after the 3rd pitch of Serenity Crack.

FYI: The webbing and rap-rings were shock-loaded during the fall. They have been replaced.

I am also available for further questions. Call or email if you like.

Jesse McGahey
Climbing Ranger
Yosemite NP
jesse_mcgahey@nps.gov
209.372.0360

brat

climber
El Portal
May 9, 2010 - 06:04pm PT
Jesse and whoever else was involved, thank you for replacing that anchor.
JesseM

Social climber
Yosemite
May 9, 2010 - 06:16pm PT
Brat,
It wasn't me, but I'll pass it on. Thank you Brat for being there for the partner. Send him my best wishes, and let him know that we are here to help in any way we can. If he wants me to post a report here for him, I can do that as well.

The rap rings were the larger-opening-diameter aluminum ones, this explains how the knot was able to pull through the rings. It is now a solid welded steel ring with an extra biner as a backup.

Edge

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
May 9, 2010 - 07:14pm PT
So sad to log on today and found that the climbing community has lost another brother. Condolences to his family, loved ones, and all those he touched.

Tattooed 1

Trad climber
Sebastopol, Ca
May 9, 2010 - 07:29pm PT
I am so very sorry for Brian's family and friends. It is really tragic and although I never rap on a single line I will be that much more careful from now on. Thanks again Werner for the work that you guys do. Rest in peace Brian.
Tim
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
May 9, 2010 - 07:29pm PT
Thanks much Jesse for the explanation. I now understand what happened.

Also, sorry to the partners who were there.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 9, 2010 - 07:30pm PT
Condolences to family and friends.
WBraun

climber
May 9, 2010 - 08:25pm PT
weschrist --- "You pass the end of the 7mm before you reach the end of the 11mm............."

I rapped with 7mm for 20 years with the 7mm thru the anchor and always pulled the lead line. There's no slippage if you use a figure 8 correctly with an added friction biner. Those new fangled rappel gadgets might be a problem though and that's why I still use a figure 8 today.

Always be alert to potential problems and have for-thought before you do anything is the motto.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 9, 2010 - 08:59pm PT
Running a 10.6 and 8.6 with trango jaws = significant slippage. same thing with BD XTP.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 9, 2010 - 10:07pm PT
There's no slippage if you use a figure 8 correctly with an added friction biner

Hi Werner. Can you explain this for someone who does not use a figure 8? I thought when rapping with this device the rope gets stuffed through the big end and wrapped around the post, the carabiner in the small end to the harness has no effect on the friction. Where do you add the biner?

Just curious, sorry if it's a dumb question, I use an atc myself and I'm good and safe with it but I don't love it.

Regarding the rapping on a lead line and thin pull line, depending on the ropes the unequal rate at which they go through some devices can cause all kinds of twisting. I've never worried much about the slippage which can occur because I am not rapping to the very end of the ropes where a foot or two would matter and if I am they are knotted.

And thank you for all you do and have done over many years for The Park and the climbing community.
reddirt

climber
May 9, 2010 - 10:09pm PT
Someone on Summitpost posted a pix that made it even more clear to me than the Petzl pix...


Deepest sympathies to family & friends of Brian Ellis.

Caveman

climber
Cumberland Plateau
May 9, 2010 - 10:11pm PT
http://www.canyoneeringusa.com/utah/tech/blocks.php
This link shows the knot block and biner block. The knot block has been the cause of one fatality and at least one near miss that I know of (victim received broken pelvis).
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
May 9, 2010 - 11:12pm PT
Wishing the family and friends of the fallen one peace.
tokyo bill

Social climber
tokyo
May 9, 2010 - 11:27pm PT
So sorry to read this. Condolences to all involved.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 10, 2010 - 12:15am PT
Condolences
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
May 10, 2010 - 12:23am PT
Came up on friday with my sister and mom for the weekend, saw the choppers go past us. Got a sinking feeling in my gut. no one should die climbing, please be safe everyone, even if it is kind of a hassle.

Yosemite is such a beautiful place, we should all climb there as often as we can, with our good friends, until we are so old we can't remember to tie in anymore, and spend the rest of our days hiking past its soaring falls and proud faces. A lifetime is so short, lets not make it any shorter than it is.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 10, 2010 - 01:02am PT
Hours of choppers on Friday, we had our own problems, but knew something was up.
altieboo

Boulder climber
Livermore, Ca
May 10, 2010 - 03:37am PT
My thought and prayers go out to the friends and family.

Very saddened to hear about this.
Anastasia

Mountain climber
hanging from a crimp and crying for my mama.
May 10, 2010 - 04:09am PT
My deepest condolences.

It is never easy to lose a loved, and it shouldn't be easy. It is part of how a person's existence "matters." Please take care of yourselves. Especially those of you who are deeply effected by this loss. Just work through one step at time and "don't ever forget how much others need you too."

AFS
Fishy

climber
Zurich, Switzerland
May 10, 2010 - 04:46am PT
A long-held question of mine has been raised - what testing has been done to compare knots for rapping on ropes of different diameters?

I once found something by Tom Moyer, but if I remember correctly, the testing wasn't really designed to completely address this question. I have alway been suspicious of an EDK with a big difference in rope dia.

Thanks,

Fishy.
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
May 10, 2010 - 08:04am PT
^^^
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1165306/Rapping-rappelling-not-the-music-dufus

Double overhand...?
mpandy

Trad climber
May 10, 2010 - 11:01am PT
Rappel knots from BD's gear buster:

http://web3.bdel.com/scene/beta/qc_kp_archive.php#123008
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2010 - 11:12am PT
Chief, Overhand Fig 8 is super weak and rolls super easy.. In fact I am quite certain that one of the few accidents with this style knott was actually a fig 8 and not an overhand .. The overhand (EDK) got is bad rep in part from that accident with an overhand fig 8.
GOclimb

Trad climber
Boston, MA
May 10, 2010 - 12:42pm PT
My sincerest condolences for all involved, and to family and friends.

Personally, I still cannot fathom how a knot could have pulled through even the one inch aluminum rap rings. Not unless the knot was on the wrong side of the ring to start with (in which case it didn't pull through).

I also don't understand how the anchor could have been "shock loaded" as the rescuers state. If the knot pulled through (or was just on the wrong side in the first place) the rappeller would have just free-fallen and the pull line would simply pass freely through the rings. I cannot think of anything that would have "shock loaded" the anchor.

Lastly, if anyone feels that this is an inappropriate time/place to ask these question, I'd be happy to delete my post or move it to another thread.

Again, my deepest sympathy to all.

GO
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 10, 2010 - 12:50pm PT
Oh, no! I know and have climbed with a Brian Ellis from UCLA. Brian is just a terrific kid, smart and very personable. He started climbing a few years ago and really took to it. He climbed well and safe.

This is just terrible news.
j-tree

Trad climber
bay area, ca
May 10, 2010 - 01:06pm PT
I would assume that "shock loading" would be the reason for the knot pulling through the anchor as opposed the pulling through being the cause of the shock loading. That "shock" could come from a overzealous bounce while rapping or slipping and catching one's self on the rope. No user error is required to place stress on the anchor point.

Not sure how the physics works, but would a single rope on one side increase or decrease the force on that anchor ring?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 10, 2010 - 01:12pm PT
Gary, It doesn't come out right for me to say I'm sorry you knew Brian, but you know what I mean. This is just such a sad situation. I've spent quite a bit of time yesterday and today pondering this one even though I don't know those involved. Again, my sympathies to Brian's family, friends, his partner on the climb and those at the scene.

A couple observations. The Trango cinch, like a GriGri, forces you into rapelling the single line and using the stop knot type of rig. Also, like the GriGri, you can descend very rapidly and stop instantly.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 10, 2010 - 01:18pm PT
ksolem:
The Trango cinch, like a GriGri, forces you into rapelling the single line and using the stop knot type of rig. Also, like the GriGri, you can descend very rapidly and stop instantly.

Whether they are germaine to this particular accident I don't know, but ksolem makes two important general points.
nita

Social climber
chica from chico, I don't claim to be a daisy
May 10, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
"My sympathies to Brian's family, friends, his partner on the climb and those at the scene. "

My heart is saddened thinking about his Moms.. Mother's day... I am so sorry for your loss..

nita
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
May 10, 2010 - 01:34pm PT
From day zero I have hated rappelling.

100% reliance on equipment.

I could be having my best day on the cracks and climbing stuff like a hardboy but then I have to rap and all my "skills" go out the window and I need to trust my gear and anchor 100%.

Nope, never liked that.

you can descend very rapidly and stop instantly.

Now, I don't feel old, but I know many will mock me here... the carabiner brake rappel rig uses gear you already have on your rack* and does not shock load the system since even the quickest stop is not "instant" like the Cinch, etc. In our rush to go light and get down quick we seem to be increasing the odds against us.



*Well, I guess many of us no longer have krabs on our rack suitable for this.

BBWolf

climber
May 10, 2010 - 02:10pm PT
http://www.30bananasaday.com/profiles/blogs/rip-brian-ellis-05072010

An entry into the blog of a first responder. Repectful. Honest. I will delete if anyone considers it otherwise.
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
May 10, 2010 - 02:31pm PT
my condolences go out to brian's friends and family. what we climbers do is dangerous and we have got to be careful. i have made a pledge to myself and have been encouraging my friends to

NEVER DIE RAPPELING

this, after losing several friends rappelling, and having others get hurt real bad.

personally, i changed the way i rappel a few years ago after taking AMGA courses. now, i use the single overhand knot without a backup, but i use a sling or metolius PAS to extend the device upward, and then use an autoblock and test the system before i unclip and rappel. my point being is that i am rappelling both ropes, and that the extra autoblock system keeps the ropes from slipping thru the anchor while rappeling. the autoblock has a huge safety margin, but of course, must be used corectly. before i would just rap two lines on atc, brd, reverso, etc with no backup, and if i needed a hands free option, to clean gear or something, i'd wrap the rope around my legs a few times.


whatever system you are using, i encourage a ritualistic approach to setting up rappels, where one is in the zone, not talking to anybody, and making the system from start to finish without interuption.

again, i am so sorry this happened, brian sounded like a great guy.
steve schneider
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
May 10, 2010 - 02:32pm PT
My deepest condolences to family and friends. I heard choppers both Friday and Saturday over the weekend - I hate that sound.

kev
David Wilson

climber
CA
May 10, 2010 - 02:36pm PT
I'm really sorry to hear about this accident. All my condolences to Brian's friends and family through this difficult time.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2010 - 02:57pm PT
GO,

> Personally, I still cannot fathom how a knot could have pulled through even the one inch aluminum rap rings. Not unless the knot was on the wrong side of the ring to start with (in which case it didn't pull through).

Jesse posted above that it was oversize rings there, apparently not the standard 1.5 inch (inside diameter):
"The rap rings were the larger-opening-diameter aluminum ones, this explains how the knot was able to pull through the rings. It is now a solid welded steel ring with an extra biner as a backup."

> I also don't understand how the anchor could have been "shock loaded" as the rescuers state. If the knot pulled through (or was just on the wrong side in the first place) the rappeller would have just free-fallen and the pull line would simply pass freely through the rings. I cannot think of anything that would have "shock loaded" the anchor.

It could happen if there was a tangle/clump in the pull line. If the clump was, say, 60' down below the rings, then once the main knot went through the rings, he would go 60' until the clump shock loaded the rings/slings, and either pulls through or the pull cord breaks at that time.

Zeth,

Thanks for your blog post. Very traumatic to be there when somebody is dying and there is not much you can do to save them.
Gene

Social climber
May 10, 2010 - 03:04pm PT
Many systems work, but I think Steve nails an important point here. Same with tieing in.

whatever system you are using, i encourage a ritualistic approach to setting up rappels, where one is in the zone, not talking to anybody, and making the system from start to finish without interuption.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 10, 2010 - 03:17pm PT
As for how to rap a single skinny line with ATC -- it works well to add a second biner alongside the locker, and also clip that into your harness and the rope coming through your ATC. With an extra-skinny line you could use 3 biners.

Depends also on how much weight you're carrying and how steep the rappel is, too. Sometimes I've found out in mid-rappel that I have less friction than I'd like. An uncomfortable but not life-threatening solution is to wrap it part way around your leg.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
May 10, 2010 - 03:18pm PT
Coz-
extending the belay device is no more likely to melt the sling than a non-extended device is likely to melt your belay loop. Extension prevents the autoblock from riding up into the belay device, which can prevent the autoblock from grabbing effectively.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 10, 2010 - 03:27pm PT
My heart goes out to Brian's family. And to his partner and the other climbers who were there.
I wish Zeth Kinnett all the best for being there for Brian and trying so hard to help.
I'm also thinking of the Rangers on the scene and YOSAR who have to deal with these tragedies.

DelhiDog started a new thread for the whole topic of rappelling, perhaps we can take the technical discussions there.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1165306/Rapping-rappelling-not-the-music-dufus

shipoopi's comments here are both intelligent and concise. Thanks Steve.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
May 10, 2010 - 04:18pm PT
Awash in sorrow reading this news. Wishing strength and condolences to everyone left in this awful wake.

Rest in peace, Brian.

le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
May 10, 2010 - 04:40pm PT
I have come close to being killed climbing several times for reasons others would have looked at after the fact and wondered how I could let such a thing happen. But I have been lucky.

Ksolem is right on. This goes for so many of us. Be safe out there one and all.
Japhy

Mountain climber
Kathmandu, Nepal
May 10, 2010 - 04:47pm PT
Dear friends and members of the climbing community,

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, for your support, and for sharing your compassion for the tragic accident that unfolded.

Brian Ellis is one of my closest friends, and my main climbing partner for five years. We were descending from Sunset Ledge after completing the Serenity-Sons link up when the accident happened.

It has been incredibly difficult trying to process what happened, but I feel that it is important to learn from this tragedy, and to ensure that it never happens again.

Here is my analysis on the cause of the accident:



The system:

The rappel system we used is also known as the "Reepschnur" method, where the 6 mil tag line is used as a pull cord. The lead line was a 10.2 mil. At each rap station, the two ropes were joined together with an overhand knot ("EDK"). This was backed up by an additional overhand knot, nested and dressed cleanly right next to the primary knot, with long tails (always at least 12").

The knot was tied so that the load was on the 10.2 mm lead line (i.e, the knot was on the side of the pull cord). A backup knot - figure 8 on a bight - is just below the two overhands on the 6mm, and clipped with a locking carabiner to the lead line. This photo illustrates it perfectly.


Brian insisted on using his Cinch to rappel on. It was his favorite device. As others have noted, using the Cinch (or Gri-gri), you HAVE to do a single-rope rappel. He rappelled first with his Cinch, and after he clipped in to the next anchor, I remove the backup knot and carabiner (so that there's no carabiner whizzing in space towards us, and so that it doesn't get snagged while pulling). I rappel next with an ATC. This is basically our system. I have a few more words below regarding this system.


What caused the system to fail?

The primary cause of failure was that the knot passed through the rappel rings as Brian was mid-rappel on the single 10.2 lead line. This is something that is unthinkable to a lot of us. Anyone who has ever tied two ropes together to rappel knows this.

Still, the unthinkable happened this time, and it was critical that the backup knot with a locking carabiner was present to jam up against the rappel rings. Unfortunately, this is where the BIGGEST MISTAKE was made. When Brian set up this system and tied the knots (I was coiling the ropes in the meantime preparing for tossing), he forgot to tie the backup knot. When I checked the system for him, I too, committed the same mistake and only observed the main knot. He checked it a THIRD time, and made the same oversight.

The only explanation I have for this oversight is distraction and complacency. Brian MAY not have been 100% focused on the task (there were several things going on... party coming behind us and he was excited to take photos of the leader below... a few moments earlier on the last pitch, we were rudely and inconsiderately passed up by a speeding simul-climbing party; this bothered both of us considerably). I am equally guilty of the same distraction and complacency for not having noticed the absence of the backup.

 The accident was NOT equipment failure (the rope, Cinch, tag line, all performed the way they were supposed to).
 The accident was NOT knot failure (the knot was tied properly, with long tails).
 The accident was NOT anchor failure (the bolts, webbing, and rings - albeit a little larger than chains - were not faulty).

During every single rappel that Brian and I have done together with this system, we have tied the backup knot. The principle overhand knot had NEVER passed through the rings before. However, the one time it was forgotten, sadly, was when it was most critical.

You don't lose often when climbing, but when you do lose... you lose big. I'm just absolutely devastated by this harsh lesson.


Other thoughts:

Brian introduced this system to me several years ago after learning about it on the internet. We were both partly inspired by this video. When doing the research on this system, there are several issues that I didn't discover.

The first is that, although Brian was using the system properly for a single-rope rappel (yes, I know the backup knot was not tied when the accident happened), when I hopped on rappel with an ATC, I was using the system improperly. Although I'm rappelling on both the 10.2 line, and the 6mm cord, only the 10.2 line is properly rated to withstand the force temperatures that a friction device can create. Pull cords of that diameter have a much lower melting point.

The second is that there are variations in rappel ring sizes. The smallest ones (like rappel chains) are just about impossible to pass the knot through. However, the larger models, like the ones atop Sunset Ledge (or even things like Cold Shuts or Mussy Hooks), warrant that the knot is ABSOLUTELY never going to pass through. Additionally, the 10.2 line tied with an EDK to a 6mm cord makes a smaller knot than two 10mm lines tied together.

All of these factors make the rappel system more complicated, which means that more steps need to be taken to ensure that it is bomb-proof. If a system requires Steps 1,2,3, and 4, it is critical that ALL the steps are performed even though Steps 3 and 4 may only be back-ups. Simpler setups that require fewer steps, as a result, should be the ones that people should be using. There is less room for error in simpler setups.

Brian and I tested the knot atop Sunset Ledge and made sure that it wouldn't pass through the rings. When he started rappelling on the single line, he descended about 15 ft, locked off his Cinch and started taking photos of the leader on the P3 crux of Serenity for about 10 minutes. While he was taking photos, he moved a bit to the left, and then to the right to check out the climber. Then, after having spent about 10 minutes taking photos, he went back to descending the single line. This is when I heard a pop and the sound of the rope whizzing. I tried to grab it with my bare hands and held on tightly as long as I could. My instinct even tried to wrap it around my waist for an emergency brake, but the rope just burned through my hand.

The shock load that Jesse talks about is the result of the tag-line getting tangled up and getting jammed up on the rings. The heat generated on the rings then burned the 6mm line, and a clump of the tag line fell on the ledge where I was.

It is so ironic that the day we were climbing was the first time that I convinced Brian to bring along an ATC to do the rappels on. I never do single-rope rappels, and am scared of rappels in general, so I have tried for a long while to get Brian to rappel with a traditional friction-device. The ATC was in his backpack.

I have asked myself "what would I do differently?" so many times. It hurts so bad to think that this was preventable. I hope that we can take this lesson to heart and learn from it. When reading whats out there on the forums (RC, Mountainproject, Summitpost, etc.) the subtle factors that led to this system failure (knot passing through, variations in rap ring sizes, knot size for 10mm/6mm combo) are not discussed very thoroughly.




I have many thoughts about the accident, and am available if anyone wants to learn more. Please email me directly: japhyd[at]gmail[dot]com.

I want to extend a deep and sincere thanks to everyone involved in the rescue. My condolences go out to Brian's family, his girlfriend, his pet bunnies, and all of his friends.

Brian made the world a better place with his presence, and I miss him dearly.


 Japhy Dhungana
JohnnyG

climber
May 10, 2010 - 04:58pm PT
Thank you, Japhy. I'm sorry for your loss.
WBraun

climber
May 10, 2010 - 05:02pm PT
Japhy

Excellent write up. Thanks.

And all I can say otherwise is WOW !!!, was that something ......
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
May 10, 2010 - 05:03pm PT
Thanks for posting this, during a very difficult time.

I'm sure that we all will take the extra steps to make certain this doesn't happen to those of us that are here reading.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 10, 2010 - 05:05pm PT
Japhy, thanks for writing this detailed analysis.

I suppose the design of an EDK could have been a contributing factor -- they are meant to roll and slide over obstacles, where a rounder knot like a fisherman's or trace-8 conceivably might have caught against the ring even if it was small enough to pass through.
Gene

Social climber
May 10, 2010 - 05:10pm PT
Japhy,

Please understand how much your post is appreciated. Thanks for the honesty and detail. I hope you soon find peace.

Best,
Gene
dustonian

climber
RRG
May 10, 2010 - 05:11pm PT
Sorry for your loss Japhy, and for Brian's family.

I often have the first climber rap on a grigri (especially of the next anchor is uncertain) as it is easier to go hands-free and pendulum around AND easier to reascend if necessary. However, I ALWAYS fix the line with a standard (or rabbit-eared) figure-8 clipped to the equalized anchor with a locker or two. The second climber can then untie the fixed knot and rap on both lines once the first climber locates the anchor and goes off-rappel. Works great on el cap/alpine routes/in the dark/bad weather etc., if you have a grig. There is no need to take the risk of jamming the knot into the anchor like that if you have a second climber to untie your knot and rap afterwards.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 10, 2010 - 05:12pm PT
Japhy,

You do everyone a service with your honest and detailed account.

Thank you, you are a very brave young man. Obviously Brian new how to pick his friends wisely. Good luck to you, and honor your lost friend by living well.
Bill Sherman

Mountain climber
Culver City, CA
May 10, 2010 - 05:26pm PT
Japhy,

I greatly appreciate this thoughtful post and extend my condolences to family, friends, and all personnel involved.

Before this accident I had no clue what this system was and have always tried to keep it simple with double rope rappels on an ATC type device.

It was a learning experience for me and may add a tool that one day I will need. I only wish it was Brian teaching it to me in person rather than this way.

We are a very supportive group so if there is anything you or his family needs then please ask us for it.

Bill S.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 10, 2010 - 05:29pm PT
Japhy,
I'm thinking about you and am wishing you all the best,
Zander
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 10, 2010 - 05:38pm PT
Thanks, and condolences, Japhy.
F10

Trad climber
e350 / Bishop
May 10, 2010 - 05:38pm PT
Japhy,

Thanks for taking the time to share what happened,

Sorry for your lost, wishing you all the best,

By taking the time to share this accident maybe you will have prevented another.

James
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
May 10, 2010 - 05:47pm PT
Japhy ~ I am so sorry to hear of this unfortunate incident & the demise of your friend Brian.

Thanks for taking the time to explain what really happened to those of us who were not there. This is a lesson for all climbers to learn from. In this regard his death will not have been in vain.

Once again, my deepest & most sincere condolences.

William Leventhal
JesseM

Social climber
Yosemite
May 10, 2010 - 05:47pm PT
Thank you Japhy. It takes a lot of courage to write about something like this. Everyone here can learn from this accident, and your detailed account is clear and well written. I look forward to having you back in El Portal, and having the opportunity to meet you.

I am so sorry that this happened to you, and that you lost a close friend. Be well. Namaste.

Jesse
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
May 10, 2010 - 05:47pm PT
Thanks Japhy.

Excellent account of what happened. Very well presented considering what you have been through and how soon you posted this.

Again, my condolences.

Robert
Buju

Big Wall climber
the range of light
May 10, 2010 - 05:50pm PT
Japhy-

Anything you need, ANYTHING, come find me...

-Roger
209-379-2691
rogerotter@hotmail.com
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
May 10, 2010 - 06:15pm PT
Excellent! (if not devastating to read...)

You have told all of us everything we need to know to be even more careful in the future.

Thank you so very much.

Simon
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
May 10, 2010 - 06:29pm PT
Thank you Japhy for having the strength to write that up so soon. You do the community a great favor.

I too agree with Kris- it could happen to any of us at one time or another. We've all had close calls and gotten lucky.
micronut

Trad climber
fresno, ca
May 10, 2010 - 06:38pm PT
Thank you Japhy, your concise and thoughtful write up may save lives in the future. I cannot imagine your loss or what you went through that day. May he live on in your memories. Thank you for sharing. Be strong.
Scott
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 10, 2010 - 06:55pm PT

Japhy
I wish you only the best, and that there
were some way for you not to suffer as you are.
My sincere condolences.
OhYeah!!!

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
May 10, 2010 - 06:59pm PT
To Japhy and all those who were close to Brian I give my sincerest condolences. To lose a climbing partner, friend or significant other in such an unnecessary way is truly tragic.

Strangely enough, rappelling is one of the more dangerous aspects of climbing and I hope that through such tragedy we all become more cautious and take just a little more time to double check our own rappel setups. The supplemental information in this thread should be utilized to hopefully avoid other similar tragedies in the future.

Play and climb safe,

-M-
froodish

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
May 10, 2010 - 07:01pm PT
Thanks for the report - might keep someone else safe.

Sincere condolences to friends and family.
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 10, 2010 - 07:01pm PT
Japhy (Jeff?),

I hope you're doing OK. This is very shocking. Brian was a great guy and an excellent climber. He will be missed by many.

Thanks for posting this account. It's tough. Perhaps this will help prevent another such accident.

All the best to you,
Gary Schenk

HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 10, 2010 - 07:22pm PT
Japhy
I cannot even imagine your strength in writing your post. Even with the horror so fresh your writing is clear, logical and honest.
Thank you for sharing your experience so that we all can learn. In that way you honor Brian and he will not soon be forgotten.

Fred
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 10, 2010 - 08:14pm PT
Japhy, thanks for the detailed (and courageous) explanation.

Two technical things I'd like to highlight - if only because so many people are reading this, and we all want to be safe. 1st (although not part of the problem in this case), EDKs have been tested extensively (perhaps by BD?)- and "rolling of the knot off the end" is a real risk. The takeaway from the extended article I read included a. don't use figure eight (flat figure eight where both rope ends come out of knot is same direction,they roll even more easily than simple overhands), b. leave long tails (18"s recommended), c. carefully dress and tighten knot, and d. never use ropes of significantly differing diameters (ie. a 6 and a 10). That's what the testers said.

Secondly, I use a pull line regularly but I'm always a bit nervous about it. In addition to a locking biner in the knot system (at least in the case of a 6 mill), the procedure I've come to use is to set up rappel, but then completely and firmly tie off both ropes for first person down (as someone above mentioned), then have the lower person tie off both ropes again at lower station. Second rappeler then unties upper fixed tie-off and raps one line, but he is protected from any kind of sudden pull-through because bottom of pull line is anchored. This extra step annoys my partners at times because of the extra step and time involved, but it's worth it in my book. Be safe. 45 years in the mountains so far, and - with thanks to God - no accidents yet. Yes, as someone said, keep learning and don't get complacent.

Condolences again to all involved.

(edit for bluering: maybe my wording above was unclear, but first step is to tie off (as with 8 on a bight and another locker) the single rap rope for the first one down - then go back to regular pullable rap set up for second, but with lower ends tied off.)
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 10, 2010 - 08:22pm PT
Nice idea, Mike, but it wouldn't have helped Brian. He was the first one down.

Tragic accident. Sorry this happened, Japhy. So sad...

Thanks for posting the account. It IS helpful.
Leggs

Sport climber
California originally, Old Pueblo presently..
May 10, 2010 - 08:58pm PT
Thank you for finding the courage and strength to educate, share, and reflect on this accident. Your words and thoughtfulness are greatly appreciated.

~LM
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 10, 2010 - 09:16pm PT
My sincere condolences to Brian's friends, family, and all who were present at his accident.

Thanks for sharing your accounts of the accident, and hope that everyone involved is comforted by the learning that we are respectfully trying to gain from the tragedy.

Another reason to not use the retrieval cord trick as anything other than a contingency plan is that it leaves you fairly hosed if the rope hangs up (ex: knot jams in a crack) before you've pulled enough to reach the lead line. You will need to lead up to the snag on the static cordalette.

If you're worried about slippage w/ a skinny 2nd line (I use an 8.1 half rope...and have never actually seen it slip w/ careful feeding on a Jaws), set up a standard 2 rope rap, but fix one side for the first person down. The second person down unfixes the rope for the pull, but doesn't need to worry about slippage b/c their buddy is hanging onto the ends below. Given the choice, I always want to pull the fat line so that I always have some fat line to use.
labrat

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
May 10, 2010 - 09:52pm PT
Good thoughts to you both. Thanks for the detailed account.
Erik
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
May 10, 2010 - 10:36pm PT
I'm so sorry for your loss. Prayers for everyone.

Thank you for sharing what happened.
Eubanks

Big Wall climber
May 10, 2010 - 11:16pm PT
Japhy, Sorry about the loss of your good friend. My thoughts are with you, Brian's family, and all of Brian's friends. My sincere condolences, Dana
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 10, 2010 - 11:18pm PT
Thank you Japhy for an incredibly lucid account of the accident.

I am sure it will help prevent similar accidents in the future, which is a lasting legacy of your's and Brian's, something good coming out of something so terrible.

We can only hope to learn from such tragedy.
DrMaino

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 11, 2010 - 12:30am PT
Japhy,

Thanks so much for your details. I can't imagine the courage it takes to do what you did. You may have saved several lives. One of them might have been mine. My thanks and thoughts are with you and everybody involved.

Tom
Misha

Trad climber
Woodside, CA
May 11, 2010 - 03:21am PT
We were topping out on Selaginella when this happened, not even a mile away. We didn't know until I checked my email in Mountain Room later that evening. Devastating. RIP, Brian. Hang in there, Japhy! Thank you for your courage and willingness to share at this awful time.

A lot to be learned from here but unfortunately none of it will bring this wonderful person back :(
ajc

climber
oakland,ca
May 11, 2010 - 03:23am PT
One thing,
calling the blocking biner a "backup" on the rap setup is not correct.
When doing a single rope rap the blocking biner should be what is supporting your weight.
Same deal if you were rapping a single doubled over rope.

I understand that this was a mistake to set it up this way. But I think its a big mistake to use the word "backup" when with this technique it is your primary connection to the anchor.

Even with a smaller rap ring the joining knot can get jammed if doing a single rope rappel.
Burt

Big Wall climber
Las Vegas, Nv
May 11, 2010 - 11:16am PT
I am sorry for everyone's loss but in 10 years with the gri gri I have never had a rappeling accident. Brian sounds like he forgot to clip in the back up (like in the petzl catalog) I have never gotten the rope stuck while pulling (and out here in red rock with all the knobs ropes get stuck all the time) and I feel it is a safer way to rappel. You can stop when needed and have instant hands off to fix problems or aid in a rescue, and then get going again without having slings and knots cinched up against your harness or leg raps to keep no auto locking devices to stay put.

The EDK or overhand is a great knot, someone needs to dig up the specs of that knot cause it was crazy when I saw that for the first time. I use to use the 8 and that is suicide at this point in the game and the overhand takes different diameter of ropes as well.

In the end it sounds like climber error. That is what gets most of us. I have gotten it (very lucky to live just walk with a hitch in my get along) and many more will fall victim to complacency and error. Get informed, try your systems, make them fail close to the ground and see how you deal with it. Never stop learning and remember you don't know everything is a great way to remain humble and have the respect for climbing that it deserves.

MY thoughts are with the family and friends
Kurt "Burt" Arend
wbw

climber
'cross the great divide
May 11, 2010 - 11:44am PT
There needs to be a distinction on this thread between the flat figure 8, and the figure 8 follow thru knot. They are not the same. The figure 8 follow thru is an extremely safe knot for tying two rappel ropes together. I keep reading posts about the figure 8 being dangerous. This simply is not true, in the case of the figure 8 follow thru.

So sorry for this tragic accident.

Edit: thanks Rockermike. Too many types of (k)nots in my post.
Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
May 11, 2010 - 03:35pm PT
Everyone keeps pointing to this knot/that knot. These guys didn't use their regular setup.

I'd say a major contributor to this accident was the "pumped up, flying high, top of the world" rush you get from a climb. There's a calm down phase that didn't seem to kick in before setting that rap - hence the overlooked knot. The endorphin rush going through people's blood is very real - a very natural phenomenon. It's probably a mistake someone would make after doing a small quantity of a drug (NOT at all implying that happened here). Sitting at a boring computer, at work, it's easy to spot the missing knot. Top of Serenity Crack, just fired an awesome route, let's fire something next, possible to miss that backup.

I really feel terrible for this fellow, his partner, family and friends. This young man will be missed dearly.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
May 11, 2010 - 03:42pm PT
Sincere condolences to Brian's family, loved ones and friends.

The detailed posting of what happened is much appreciated and a valuable tool for the rest of us. Thank you.

As others have stated, we all have made mistakes, but have been fortunate enough to skate by without paying the consequences.
susu

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
May 11, 2010 - 03:50pm PT
Sincerest condolences to family and friends. Very much appreciate the writeup, and hope that all involved find much support now.
franky

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
May 11, 2010 - 03:52pm PT
one should probably just call the figure 8 follow through the "Flemish Bend" to avoid confusion, and yeah, that is a bomber knot, unlike the "Figure 8 Death Knot".
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 11, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
{sigh} I'm always so sad to read of tragedies like this. Thank you for your excellent analysis, Japhy. I'm so very sorry for your loss, and my condolences to you and to Brian's friends and family.

I have used this system to rappel hundreds of pitches, including El Cap top to bottom quite a few times, and most often accompanied by substantial amounts of piggage that outweigh me considerably. The system is safe and works well with a Grigri.



Please let me share a few thoughts:

 The primary cause of this accident was not understanding the system

 Do not try to "reinvent the wheel". This causes me the same sort of heartbreak as I felt when the guy died in Zion by tying a Euro Death Knot to join his rappel ropes using a figure 8 instead of an overhand. Figure 8's do not work in an EDK

 Everyone climbing rocks should own a Petzl Catalogue and treat it like the Gospel it is. Pick one up at your Petzl retailer or write the company if you cannot go to your bookshelf and produce your own copy within the next three minutes

 The Euro Death Knot [EDK] is an extremely safe and useful knot that you should have in your rappel repertoire, however read the Petzl Catalogue to know the correct way to tie it. There is only one correct way, and it does not have a backup. It is called a "death knot" because it LOOKS scary to the uninitiated Merrican or Hoser, however it is fully bomber

 The so-called "backup knot" is NOT a backup knot - it is your primary point of attachment!

 Accordingly, DO NOT UNTIE THE BACKUP KNOT!

 The "backup knot" [SIC] must ALWAYS be tied, and must ALWAYS stay in the system

 This shouldn't even be called a backup knot for crying out loud. Someone come up with the right name for it, please. Tie it using a butterfly knot, and not a figure eight on a bight - the butterfly is easier to tie and untie, and far less prone to clusterfukkage

 During pulldown, there is nothing wrong with the carabiner travelling down towards you on the top of your pulldown rope. It will necessarily reach you before the free end of the rappel line passes through the rap anchors and will not hit you, and at any rate is small potatoes compared to the end of the rap line whipping past you

 Knots can and do pull through anchors, even after they have first been tested using a [sic] "backup knot"

 The photo above showing the standard non-locking carabiner around the rappel rope is WRONG - you must use a LOCKING carabiner. This carabiner gets jammed tight all to hell in the rap anchor when you weight the rappel line, and a non-locker can easily open!



Question for the pros:

 Can the EDK be used to join two ropes of dissimilar diameter? My understanding is that it cannot.

Once again, very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing it here, as you are certain to save lives.

Peter Zabrok
aka "Dr. Piton"
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 11, 2010 - 05:02pm PT
download the Petzl catalog here:

http://www.petzl.com/catalogue/Petzl-Sport-catalog-2010-GB.pdf

Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
May 11, 2010 - 05:13pm PT
I'd really like to know the answer to the EDK on ropes of dissimlar size question. I always use a fisherman's and just curse the thing at the bottom trying to untie.
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
May 11, 2010 - 05:41pm PT
PTPP: Yes, you can tie two ropes of dissimlar diameters together, although I'm not sure if that applies to the full spectrum. I know that there is no problem when I tie a 9.7 and an 8mm tagline but I'd be wary to do a 10.5 and a 5/6mm tag/pull line.

Josh
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 11, 2010 - 05:46pm PT
Black Diamond tested an EDK joining an 8.1mm with a 10.2mm, average strength for that combo 3100 lbf.

Tester's remarks:
For what it's worth, when I started climbing I always used the Double Fisherman's, but now I've fully converted to the Euro Death Knotóit's fast to tie, plenty strong, less likely to get hung up when pulling and easy to untie. And finally, no matter what rap knot I tie, I always leave long tails (like at least 12 inches).

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb/qclab/qc-lab-what-is-the-best-rappel-knot
vicki.ucla

Social climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 11, 2010 - 05:50pm PT
Hi everyone,

I'm actually not a climber, but I found this forum after searching for Brian Ellis' name on the internet.

Brian Ellis was the TA for my class on "Introduction to Sustainability" at UCLA. I, along with his other students, found out about his death this morning when he didn't show up for class. At first we thought he had just missed the bus again (LA public transportation has its kinks), but we were finally informed by our head professor about Brian's accident a little later.

I don't know anything about climbing, or really the logistics about how the accident occurred, but I just want everyone to know that his students at UCLA will miss him greatly. He was a great teacher: he loved talking to us about different ways we could be more sustainable...the environment...organic food, etc. Every time he would talk about hiking and climbing,he would get so excited-- he showed us all of these great shots he took hiking through Yosemite and kept encouraging us to go and see nature. Just last week, our class went with him to McGrath's Family Farms to look at how organic food is grown, etc. We had a great time, and the trip wouldn't have been possible if Brian hadn't gone out of his way to arrange it for us.

I just want to share with all of you, the blog that he created for his students (He had this awesome idea for all of us (his students) to blog about our goals, the changes we were making in our lives, etc. and share them with each other online). It is obviously unfinished due to his sudden passing, but I think it contains a lot of great info and insight into his ideas about sustainability.

The url is http://globalenvironmentcluster.blogspot.com/

Again,

All of our hearts go out to Japhy Dhungana, Brian's family and loved ones-- we all will really really REALLY will miss this awesome and engaging teacher that took such a deep interest in each one of us.

Meanwhile, we'll continue to live by the statement Brian put on his blog, "[We're] not sustainable enough yet"...and make sure we strive to reach our goals to make this world just a little better, just a little more sustainable.

Thank you Brian...R.I.P.



Vicki & the the class of "Introduction to Sustainability"

-Japhy: Please let me know if you have any way of reaching Brian's family. The class would like to send some messages to them, but we don't know how to do so or if the family would be receptive to getting letters at this time. If you know anything about where we could possible mail, or email something to them, please contact me at victoria.nee@gmail.com . We'd really appreciate it.

altieboo

Boulder climber
Livermore, Ca
May 11, 2010 - 05:54pm PT
My deepest condolences to you and your fellow students loss Vicki.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 11, 2010 - 05:56pm PT
Thanks, Vicki, for your very nice note.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 11, 2010 - 06:00pm PT
Tests of Double Fisherman's, Ring Bend and EDK in differing rope sizes here
http://web3.bdel.com/scene/beta/qc_kp_archive.php#123008

No worries at 10.2mm and 8.1mm.
YMMV

There's a new rappelling safety thread by DelhiDog here:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1165306/Rapping-rappelling-not-the-music-dufus

We're all learning from this unfortunate accident. It will be a long time before I rappel without thinking of Brian, his family and friends.
sjellison

Mountain climber
santa clara, ca
May 11, 2010 - 11:40pm PT
I was at the base of superslide with Zeth Kinnet when the accident took place. It has been bothering me a lot ever since (specifically what went wrong), but after reading your explanation, Japhy I have felt much better about getting back on the stone this weekend. Your post answered many of the questions that have been running through my head. I wish you the best during this difficult time.
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 12, 2010 - 12:35am PT
Vicki, thanks for posting.
ClimbingOn

Trad climber
NY
May 12, 2010 - 01:40am PT
Thank you for taking the time to post Vicki. Best wishes to the friends and family of Brian.
vicki.ucla

Social climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 12, 2010 - 01:46am PT
Thank you to those that sent me Brian's family's addresses...I'll make sure they get our letters and messages as soon as possible.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 12, 2010 - 01:49am PT
this was tragic but i am thinking it could have been worse.

if the first guy does not pull the knot, and the second guy does, then we could have lost both climbers.
Ryan Tetz

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
May 12, 2010 - 04:34am PT
Pete I agree,

It also makes me shiver just hearing the pull cord setup described as "a backup knot."

I've rapped El Cap with a 5 mil cord with this setup. I still dislike it and consider this an emergency system. I got so anal with it we used climbing tape over the gate of a locking carabiner to make sure there was no way it could unscrew. It is the primary system holding the rope to the anchor. The thought of only tying it as a backup here sounds terrifyingly scary to think if I was on the rope.

Also rapping on a 6 mil tyed to a 10 mil like it is a regular double rope rap setup has got to make you step back and think you have a 6 mil cord going though a belay device cringe? It is a matter of time till an accident.

There are 2 rappel techniques that require very cautious and attentive execution: The pull cord rappel retrieval method and 2. Simul rappelling. Both require high attention with minimal margin for error. I encourage friends to not use these during regular day to day climbing. Best saved to escape a storm or get down off an aborted alpine push.
EvanM

Trad climber
Harpers Ferry, WV
May 12, 2010 - 11:12am PT
My sincerest condolences go out to Brian's friends and family. Losing a friend, son, and teacher is devastating to say the least, and these loses take a lot of time to recover from, if we ever truly do recover. From his friends he sounds like a great guy, someone I would have liked to meet. We are fortunate though when someone we love has so many good qualities, it makes it all the more enjoyable to hold their memory close to our hearts for the many years that follow in their absence.

Also my sincerest thanks to those that have been providing a lot of detailed reliable information about the accident, and also providing the links to the sites with the valuable information. I have learned a lot from this tragedy, and imagine there are many others that have as well.

This community is like none I've ever seen before, I'm proud to be apart of it. That being said, I feel connected with those in this sport and feel saddened by one of our own passing away.

Rest in peace.

--
Evan
suzachu

Trad climber
sacramento, ca
May 12, 2010 - 11:31am PT
Hello Everyone, I am encouraging everyone that is interested to please leave a message for Brians family and friends at the following web site. Thanks.http://www.legacy.com/gb2/default.aspx?bookid=455409221916&cid=full
Rockin' Gal

Trad climber
Boulder
May 12, 2010 - 02:43pm PT
I have read this thread numerous times, downloaded the Petzl catalog and finally understand what happened. Last weekend a climber hit the deck next to me in Boulder Canyon. Luckily, she will be fine. It's a serious game we play.
Thank all of you for your posts.
Vaya con Dios, Brian.
Sally
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 12, 2010 - 02:55pm PT
"I have read this thread numerous times, downloaded the Petzl catalog and finally understand what happened."

Good on you. Everyone else who does not have the Petzl catalogue please do the same, as it will help you stay alive.

Cheers,
Pete
Just like Petzl - Firstly a caver, secondly a climber
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
May 12, 2010 - 04:50pm PT
In reading this entire thread and Japhy's account of what transpired this looks to me like an accident waiting to happen. The fact that the two climbers rappelled using two different techniques(removing the backup knot and carabiner during each rappel) appears to me to be the single greatest contributing factor to the accident.

What I take from this incident is that it is best to try and keep things as simple as possible. Introducing unnecessary complexity greatly increases the chance for an accident.

Bruce
Old5Ten

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
May 17, 2010 - 12:12pm PT
Just found out about this accident. My sincere condolences to Brian's family, friends, and students. Sounds like Brian was a gifted teacher, who inspired others. Carry on his torch!

A couple technical thoughts. I've actually been in a single rap/double rap situation a few times and a simple way to avoid the fatal accident scenario is to fix the single line (larger diameter) for the first person rappelling. All it takes is a couple of reversed and opposed biners on a bight into the equalized ring or sling. Then the second person removes the fixing biners and raps double strand. A second thought is that of bringing a 6mm tag line. Why? In the big scheme of things (cragging in the Valley, not cutting edge alpinism) the weight/bulk savings are truly negligible. If you bring another skinny but lead worthy rope you've increased your options and safety margin so much more...

Old5Ten
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
May 17, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
My hearfelt condolences to family, friends, and those at the scene. I am so sorry for your loss.

Japhy,

That is one of the most incredible posts I have ever read.

It was outstanding for many reasons:

Using this as an opportunity to learn and teach other about what went wrong to prevent it happening again.

Very well written, clear, concise, detailed, and explains the reasons behind everything.

And it shows you are dealing with this tragedy in a constructive and healthy way.



I hope your hand(s) is doing ok. I know how bad a minor rope burn hurts and can't imagine how bad yours is. You were incredibly brave trying to grab the rope.

And finally, I lost a good friend in an accident too. It was tough for me to deal with because although I knew that he made his own choices, I kept going over how I could have prevented it. I couldn't not blame myself, becuase I knew I made a mistake not stopping what happened. I finally was able to come to grips with it by forgiving myself, like I knew my friend would want and I knew I would want the same if the situation was reversed.

All the best,
Steve
JohnRoe

Trad climber
State College, PA
May 17, 2010 - 03:21pm PT
Just now had the opportunity to read through this thread.

Japhy, thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to you and Brian's family and all who were involved.

Peace

JohnR
Dave Kerr

Trad climber
May 17, 2010 - 03:25pm PT
First of all deepest condolences to all those affected by this. My thoughts are with you.

As a brit I thought it might be useful for me to add my ten cents to this discussion as we use a very different system. When I visited the valley 5 years ago I climbed with some americans who commented on how it differed from their norm but also on it's advantages.

I'll go into it in as much detail as I can as I realise there are novices and experts alike on the forums.

I and many others climb all our trad on 2 x 50 or 60m half ropes. These are 8-9mm diameter. Unlike twin ropes which must both be clipped into every anchor halfs are UIAA rated to be clipped individually. The big advantage of this is on wandering routes or routes with pro to the left and right of the line. You can clip one rope for part of it and the other for the rest meaning less drag as your rope line is straighter. See here for a pic: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=103368 the yellow rope clipped on the left the orange one unclipped until the step right was made when it will come into play.

When it comes to rapping one rope is passed through the anchor and joined to the other with an overhand knot (EKD to you). You then rap on both ropes using whatever back up you prefer (french prussik, shunt etc). When the next station is reached by the last climber the end of the rope you are pulling is fed through the anchor and pulled through until the knot is close up to the anchor ring. The ends are then thrown down and you're ready to go.

Safety advantages of this system would be that the EKD is less likely to invert as the ropes are of very similar diameter and differential slippage does not occur for the same reason. Also the knot does not need to be retied at each station (provided it is still sound) saving time and eliminating a potential source of error.

My theory is that this evolved (or was adopted) in the UK as many routes are wandering affairs whereas Stateside more of your routes are straight up cracks where double ropes confer no advantage in reducing drag.

I hope this is of help to folks. I'm happy to answer any questions you've got and hear your comments.

Dave
illusiondweller

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 17, 2010 - 04:06pm PT
Sheesh Japh, I don't know how you're able to function, let alone, write a detailed accident account of what happened! Sounds like its time to take some time off and grieve. I'll say a prayer for you right now.

Seek the Truth,

Gary
Spring Valley, CA
Neal Harder

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 17, 2010 - 05:35pm PT
It seems to me that the EDK is a poor choice for a knot-block system. The great advantage of this knot is that it is flat on one side, so that it has a smaller chance of getting stuck on things: exactly what you DON'T want if you are relying on the knot getting stuck on the rappel ring.
I have not done any testing to prove that a follow-through figure-8 or a double-fisherman's would not pop through a gigantic ring when weighted, but it seems much less likely to happen than with an EDK or any knot with a "flat" side.

Comments?

Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
May 17, 2010 - 06:18pm PT
My sympathy and condolences to the family, friends and students of Brian.

Thank you very much to Zeth and Japhy for posting their experiences and thoughts. I hope the sharing helps in the sorting out process.

Brian sounded like a very fine person, whose influence will live on through many others.
roy

Social climber
New Zealand -> Santa Barbara
May 17, 2010 - 06:55pm PT
My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Brian.

Roy
Rankin

climber
North Carolina
May 17, 2010 - 07:13pm PT
Neal Harder, the type of knot is inconsequential if a locking carabiner is used in the system. The EDK is a fine a knot for this purpose, but the lesson to be learned from this tragedy is not that the EDK was used, but that a locking carabiner was not.
That Darn French Guy

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
May 17, 2010 - 09:03pm PT
RIP Brian.

I also feel very sorry for all those who witnessed the horror as it unfolded, including Japhy. I heard about this on sunday from park services workers.

Technically I also question the safety of the technique as described by Japhy when they were doing it "properly":

"A backup knot - figure 8 on a bight - is just below the two overhands on the 6mm"
The backup figure 8 should be on the lead line, the tag line should never enter the climbing/rapping system.

If I'm proven right, please correct the description posted so no one else uses it. I believe the proper setup was posted earlier in the thread as such:


That means EDK or fisherman, the knot to the tag line is irrelevant. Even where the tag line is attached is irrelevant as long as you can pull it down. A failure of that know would mean you have to climb up the lead rope to retrieve it.

My 2 cents.
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
May 17, 2010 - 09:06pm PT
TDFG- "My 2 cents."

Shouldn't that be a locking biner?

EDIT: I am aware of the fact that "it's for illustrating a point"...

Just considering the possibility of some first timer/kid etc. checking out the site.

No "point" in getting huffy...scuffy!!

I was aware 99.999% would be aware of that...

Just pointing out the obvious...no disrespect meant!
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
May 17, 2010 - 09:09pm PT
It's for illustrating a point. Some people might want two links, some
might even want the anchor attached to something, some might want it
on rock instead of on a floor...

The point is which rope should have the bight and biner.
That Darn French Guy

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
May 17, 2010 - 09:20pm PT
TripL7, good catch. It should.

Indeed my point is no back-up using the tag line.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 17, 2010 - 09:37pm PT
PTPP wrote: "Can the EDK be used to join two ropes of dissimilar diameter? My understanding is that it cannot.

I don't think there have been conclusive tests, but as far as the rolling failure mode is concerned, I believe that a properly tied EDK with different diameter ropes is actually more secure than one tied with equal diameter ropes, because the larger rope can be situated so as to inhibit rolling.

What I mean by "properly tied" is illustrated with two photos in a post on in the thread started in a vain attempt to avoid technical discussions here. The part about EDK's is at the bottom of the post.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 17, 2010 - 10:31pm PT
I haven't gone through the whole discussion here, but in reference to rapping with one skinny and one fat rope: I always like the 2nd rope to be fat enough so I'm comfortable threading that though the anchor when rapping.

I learned once that it's best to pull your lead line down, not the skinny 2nd line. That way if things go haywire, you have the lead line in hand and not your dental floss.

I think Werner states this upthread too: how he uses a 7 mil and pulls fat.
Just 2 more c.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 17, 2010 - 10:42pm PT
7 mm and 6 mm are two different animals. Personally I will thread a 7 mm at times although I consider it dangerous. But its fast - particularly on multiple rappels where each pull is on a different line (assuming you are pre-threading the rings before each pull). I still think tying off the 7 mm below, before the second raps is worthwhile safety. With a 6 mm there is no way you can rap with the skinny threaded through the rings.
danimal7777

Trad climber
Crystal Lake, IL
May 17, 2010 - 11:11pm PT
I am very, very sorry for this loss.

I can't believe out of a couple hundred posts, no one has mentioned the need for a blocking washer to prevent a knot from pulling through a rap ring or a mallion or screw link.

It is the only absolutely safe way I know of to prevent extrusion of a knot. "On Rope" documents it, and not that long ago a caver was killed because his partner left the washer out of the assembly. He indicated (in summary) that they got away without it for decades, and didn't figure it mattered.

I would only bet my life if there was a washer to stop a knot, and have bet my life on that arrangement. Not being from the Yosemite scene, I guess it's not a local custom to use it. I always carry one washer for each rap ring.

Very many regrets.
Esparza

Trad climber
Westminster, CA
May 17, 2010 - 11:25pm PT
Wow... I have not logged on in a while and noticed this post.... My deepest condolences to all left behind. Safe travels to all.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 17, 2010 - 11:33pm PT
Not familiar with the washer. At any rate, any other system except the one described in the Petzl catalogue will GET YOU KILLED.

Are you wankers paying attention? Quit reinventing the wheel for fvck's sake!

"It seems to me that the EDK is a poor choice for a knot-block system. The great advantage of this knot is that it is flat on one side, so that it has a smaller chance of getting stuck on things: exactly what you DON'T want if you are relying on the knot getting stuck on the rappel ring. I have not done any testing to prove that a follow-through figure-8 or a double-fisherman's would not pop through a gigantic ring when weighted, but it seems much less likely to happen than with an EDK or any knot with a "flat" side.

Comments?"

Look, did you guys read my post, or knott? There is NO SUCH thing as a "knot block system"!

Look, do you "get it", or not? If you "get it", you will live. If you don't "get it", you will die.

IF YOU DO NOT GET IT, PLEASE COMMENT HERE AND I WILL DO MY BEST TO KEEP YOU ALIVE.

There is only ONE SAFE WAY to do this, and that is to put your rappelling rope through the anchor, then tie a butterfly knot in one end of it, and CLIP THIS KNOT TO THE OTHER SIDE WITH A LOCKING CARABINER.

It doesn't matter how you attach your pulldown rope to the end of your rappel rope! Use an EDK, a figure of 8, a couple overhand knots with a couple lockers, hell, use a fvickin' rubber band. Even if the knot joining the pulldown rope to the rappel rope fails when you go to pull it, you can jug back up your rappel rope and re-do it! Why? BECAUSE you secured properly secured the rappel rope. It is not a big deal to pull down a locker plus butterfly knot.

Buddy DIED because he TRIED TO REINVENT THE WHEEL.

Read the bloody catalogue. PAY ATTENTION. Learn, and live.

I'm with Dave Kerr. BITD when I used to free climb, I used double ropes exclusively. A far superior system in so many respects.
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
May 17, 2010 - 11:43pm PT
I agree, double ropes is the way to go!
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 17, 2010 - 11:51pm PT
Thank's PT Piton Pete and The French Guy!

finally the correct answer.

i was wondering about that.

because if the knot slips thru the anchor, your skinny rope backup will work, but now you are hanging from a loop in the skinny rope, which is hanging from the belay ring.

and if you shock this now compromised system, you are really asking a lot of the pull down line.


'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 18, 2010 - 12:37am PT
Doc,

I answered the question correctly several pages previously. Some read and got it, some didn't.

Those who didn't, well, we'll pick up their bodies at the bottom of the crag.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 18, 2010 - 12:58am PT
The "pull cord" system makes a special assumption that correctly sized rings exist at every rappel station you will use, or that you have enough correctly sized quicklinks/rings with you to equip all stations.

Equivalent to what danimal7777 wrote, when you have a tiny pull cord, you are relying on the knot to be larger than the rings at all anchors. So you need to bring enough quick links or rings to equip any/all anchors where you will be rappelling (or you could have a special washer to essentially enlarge your knot). The weight of the spare quicklinks might negate the advantage of the light pull cord. Of course, if you are rappeling down the same anchors where you climbed up, you can inspect as you go up and just downclimb or leave gear if you don't have the links you need, or if expected belay bolts/anchors are missing, etc.

Also, the biner and butterfly loop are not as "low profile" as the EDK, so the system might have a higher risk of hangup. Any knot can hang up in a crack, but with a ring/knot blocking system, you do not have the option of advancing the knot down below cracks/objects in the vicinity of the anchor.

If you could somehow guarantee that rings were in place at all anchors, this still does not insure their inside diameter is appropriate, so you have to be able to tie a much larger version of your blocking knot or bring a blocking washer, to make sure your knot/washer can't pass through the existing rings.

The blocking knot/locking biner setup does not work well for plain slings, as the knot could pass through the slings. You would then be held by the locking biner, but you might not be able to pull the knot back through the slings. A (properly sized) ring/quicklink is required for the "pull cord" system.
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 01:10am PT
Maybe I missed some of this during my quick scan.... but how about you bring no extra gear and use what you have? This method with the cloved biner, either clipped to the rap line or not, will never go through the rap rings. You can use parachute cord for the pull if you want to keep it ultralight.




The problem with the other "safe" methods is if the knot goes through the rings you are screwed and will probably have to shimmy the cord to get back up to the anchor to fix the problem.

Edit: I think I like it in the unclipped mode so I can pull the trailer from a more obtuse angle if needed when retrieving.


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/

Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 01:25am PT
you really need a locking biner, if that gate opens, loose cheese.

especially with the blockin knot, as when it pulls thru the rap ring, it will be sitting agianst the gate of the biner, trying to pry it open.



and a biner was not designed to be loaded from the outside, no?



Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 01:28am PT
Dr.Sprock: you really need a locking biner, if that gate opens, loose cheese.

especially with the blockin knot, as when it pulls thru the rap ring, it will be sitting agianst the gate of the biner, trying to pry it open.

Why do you "really" need a locker? Truth be told, in this set up I would rap without a gate on the biner. The knot can never go through the rap ring. The gate never comes into play. Prove me wrong.


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
WBraun

climber
May 18, 2010 - 01:30am PT
Why?

Because locker has what Dr.Sprock smokes in his bowl .....
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 01:30am PT
1) the clove hitch is not a very secure not, it is designed to move and un ravel,

2) for that warm fuzzy feeling when your hangin,

3) if they use a blocking knot and it pulls, it is now resting on the biner gate from the outside (try it with some practice rope)
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 01:32am PT
Dr.Sprock: 1) the clove hitch is not a very secure not, it is designed to move and un ravel,

Not true. Do you have a cite? Even if the clove moved (designed to ????) it moves to tighten, not some random orbit that is going to rifle through your anchor point.

Have you tested the clove in any drop tests? Have you measured the creep on clove hitches while under load?

Dr.Sprock: 3) if they use a blocking knot and it pulls, it is now resting on the biner gate from the outside (try it with some practice rope)

What are you talking about? If it pulls? How does "it" pull exactly? How does that knot get to the gate?


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 18, 2010 - 01:34am PT
My fvcking gosh YES! You need a locking crab!


"If you could somehow guarantee that rings were in place at all anchors, this still does not insure their inside diameter is appropriate, so you have to be able to tie a much larger version of your blocking knot or bring a blocking washer, to make sure your knot/washer can't pass through the existing rings.

The blocking knot/locking biner setup does not work well for plain slings, as the knot could pass through the slings. You would then be held by the locking biner, but you might not be able to pull the knot back through the slings. A (properly sized) ring/quicklink is required for the "pull cord" system."

Clint - normally a voice of reason on this forum - do you have any idea WTF you are talking about???

This system has NOTHING to do with washers, and has NOTHING to do with the size of the rappel anchor. And it has nothing to do with a "blocking knot". Rig it as Russ and the Petzl catalogue has shown. Use slings, carabiners you hate, whatever, it matters knott. It has to do with tying the knot that Russ shows.

I prefer using an alpine butterfly to the clove hitch Russ shows, but either will work - with a locker. [Would you trust your life to a single non-locking crab? I sure as hell wouldn't]

Russ is right - parachute cord, or spaghetti, will work as your pulldown cord.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 01:35am PT
i just tied a clove to a biner, and it almost untied itself.

if the guy on rap takes a load off the rope, the knot could loosen and fall onto the gate.

if you need pics of what i am talking about, let me know.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 18, 2010 - 01:35am PT
One potential problem with the EDK system is the whole shebang getting crammed into the rappel rings or slings or whatever, and jamming. It's designed to pull very hard on one side, so that everything slides and is against the anchors. All the various knots and loops and tails and carabiners, combined with whatever's at the anchor, creates potential for stuck ropes.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 18, 2010 - 01:36am PT
Uh, hel - LOW - hoe!
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 01:40am PT
Dr.Sprock: i just tied a clove to a biner, and it almost untied itself.

Operator error. Cinch your f*#king knots down. The knot will certainly be cinched after the first guy raps on it. The sky is not falling.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 18, 2010 - 01:54am PT
PTPP..
hahahaha!

Yes, I agree with you, lurking here. Although, the conversation is muddied by (interesting) discussions of other (rapping 2 line) systems, and it is hard to tell them apart. Although, somebody had a point about rapping the skinny line and pulling the lead line in case the rope got stuck.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 02:06am PT
ok, although i had to kind of fudge this to illustrate a point, the point is, that without a locker, this Could happen.

probably a thousand to one, but with a locker your odds go way up.

figure 8 is tied a bit loose due to cold hands, it wraps around the anchor and opens the gate.

now the biner slams into the anchor as you hope and pray that the steel ring does not break the allow biner.

Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 02:06am PT
Pete:
I prefer using an alpine butterfly to the clove hitch Russ shows, but either will work - with a locker. [Would you trust your life to a single non-locking crab? I sure as hell wouldn't]

As to the Alpine Butterfly.... if you are using the loop portion for the biner and then clipping that biner into the single rap line, that will not keep the knot from going through a rap ring. Sure you are alive, which is nice, but the rope is stuck at the anchor.

I just tied one with my lead line (9.2) and it honked right through a standard rap ring with minimal force. It is essential that the knot and biner are ONE up against the rap ring. That is why the clove is perfect for the job.

Edit for Sprock: that example above is not what I am suggesting or talking about. The figure 8 knot and any hoops you can make it jump through are apples to oranges. Look at my pics, set your test up exactly like my pics and then show me the possible failure modes.


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 18, 2010 - 02:08am PT
I consider Clint's last statement to be worth considering...

"The blocking knot/locking biner setup does not work well for plain slings, as the knot could pass through the slings. You would then be held by the locking biner, but you might not be able to pull the knot back through the slings. A (properly sized) ring/quicklink is required for the "pull cord" system."

If I'm using a "pull cord" system of some type its almost certainly going to be in an alpine setting. 3/4ths of the way up the Diamond and lightning storm is hitting. I want down fast. If you run the rap rope merely through webbing, (then tie a loop and clip back to rap rope with locking biner) there is still the risk of the knot jumping the webbing. With the biner you are not going to die while rapping, but if you can't pull the line you may-well die of exposure. Having to prussic back up a stuck rap line in the rain and lightning would in itself be a dangerous outcome. Having some spare rings I think would greatly reduce the risk of a stuck rope. But, having said that, the alum rings don't weigh much.

Personally, I generally prefer a lead rope and light rap line, over double ropes, because you only have to handle one rope while belaying, and you can use the rap line for pulling up the pack if need be. But then each climb is a little different, and differing systems might be optimal. That's why we all own a trunk full of various ropes, right?


I will also add, that out of this whole thread, I did learn one good trick; the clove hitch on a biner. I like that (of course with biner clipped back through rap line). I hadn't thought of it before.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 18, 2010 - 02:10am PT
For any truly alpine situation, many use either double ropes, or a lead rope with a second rope that's thick enough to plausibly be used for leading if necessary.
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:13am PT
Heartbraking account japhy, I'm sorry for your loss. I shudder to think what your hands and heart feel like right now. You have, I imagine, learned true suffering.
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 02:15am PT
Rockermike: I will also add, that out of this whole thread, I did learn one good trick; the clove hitch on a biner. I like that (of course with biner clipped back through rap line). I hadn't thought of it before.

Why do you like the biner clipped? How does it make you any safer?


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:22am PT
> This system has NOTHING to do with washers

The washer is simply a way to enlarge the effective outer diameter of the knot, so that it will not pass through the ring. I would use a clove hitch on a biner instead, or tie a larger knot, so I wouldn't have to carry a washer for that single purpose.

If I was rappelling all the way down the Nose from the top, and I knew rings were in place, I might take a (2" outer diameter) washer. It does have the advantage of preventing any part of a knot from going through the ring, and it can't be "untied".
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 02:23am PT
here is a clove hitch after a few shakes,

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:25am PT
The clove hitch is secure. You are weighting it. No shakes possible, unless you get onto a ledge, unweight and try very hard.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 18, 2010 - 02:30am PT
Fish

So PTPP won't proclaim me a dead wanker. ha

but I am going to go with a locker and a ring.
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 02:32am PT
Sprock has provided a picture of an un-cinched clove hitch.... wow that does look sketchy. So if you don't cinch it up real tight, shake it around a bunch, and then hop on a rappel with the clove all loose and on the gate, you are saying that is dangerous? Go figure. Use your bean man. There is judgement involved with these various processes and that pic is just showing a sloppy ass knot, not a possible failure mode in practice. Set it up on a rap ring as I've previously shown, load it, and then show me how it will fail.


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:34am PT
I can imagine a biner going through some sort of non-standard "rap ring" (e.g. like another biner).

Think of it as idiot-proofing - if one always clips the biner to the rope, then one never has to notice that one HAS to clip the biner to the rope because of some weird rap setup.


But I'm imaginative and an idiot...
Reticulous

Sport climber
Sacramento, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:36am PT
Hey all,

I definately want to offer my prayers. We all make mistakes, and every so often they cost us everything.

On another note, I have not done a lot of big wall climbing that requires full rope rapps. The ones I have done have been done without incident and without even much worry, because I am under the impression that what I use is basically bombproof.

I run my lead through the rings and tie off a butterfly with a locking biner back to the front side. I then use a second full rope and tie off on the pull side with a double fisherman. I rapp on both using the big side of a fig. 8 and always prussic around both in my hand as a backup.

I am mainly wondering if this is a good way to go? It seems to me to be an improvement of the Petzl design, but would value all GOOD opinions. I haven't died yet, and don't really want to any time soon!

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:36am PT
Cleo,

Yes, sometimes there are "fixed" nonlocking biners at a rap anchor. (More likely at a sport anchor, about 30m off the ground, so you could rap with a single line). But there are fixed nonlocking biners atop p1 of Serenity Crack. You could then supply your own quicklink.

Reticulous,

Your system is the same as Petzl. Disadvantage is that the butterfly could possibly go into/through the rings, which hangs up the rappel. You don't die, but you have to jug up and rig something better. But you probably use a 10.x diameter lead line on a wall, and that is unlikely to get very far into the rings.
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 02:37am PT
Re: Cleo
Somebody has their thinking cap on! Bravo.

It is situations like that where judgement comes into play. The old one size does not fit all.


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 02:38am PT
so here is the correct setup, illustrating Pete's point that you can tie a frickin bow tie in your drag line, it don't matter, as long as you have the main enchillada all squared away.


that top biner would actually be a rap ring, doh!

ok then.

point me to el cap.
































I' Want To Die!
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 02:42am PT
Reticulus: I run my lead through the rings and tie off a butterfly with a locking biner back to the front side. I then use a second full rope and tie off on the pull side with a double fisherman. I rapp on both using the big side of a fig. 8 and always prussic around both in my hand as a backup.

I am mainly wondering if this is a good way to go? It seems to me to be an improvement of the Petzl design, but would value all GOOD opinions. I haven't died yet, and don't really want to any time soon!

If you are rapping on both cords, why bother with the butterfly and biner clip jazz? Seems like more of a clusterf*#k up at the anchor than just the standard 2 strand rap.

DrSprock: snap out of it or you *are* going to die. That is not the right way. Your enchilada is not squared away. Are we even on the same page here or are you just running your own program?


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
Reticulous

Sport climber
Sacramento, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:46am PT
Well the way I see it, I have never been scared to rappel this way, and quite honestly never even thought of dumbing it down. Would you suggest just the double fisherman and pull?
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 02:47am PT
^^^

yes.... or EDK..... or fig 8 ... or....


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 02:50am PT
please note that if you use this setup that it will be hard to screw it up, no matter what shape your mind is in, therefore negating the need for any silly check list attached to your harness?

or no.

we all place different value on our lives, so our safety should match accordingly.



Reticulous

Sport climber
Sacramento, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:50am PT
OK, I'll consider it. That being said, would my setup be acceptable if rapping one side and using cord in place of a second lead?
Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 02:54am PT
Reticulous: OK, I'll consider it. That being said, would my setup be acceptable if rapping one side and using cord in place of a second lead?

In a word, yes. But, the knot you are using has the potential to pop through a standard rap ring, creating muchas problemas if it does. Look at the stuff I've posted above with the clove hitch. I think it is a far superior system to the one you thinking of using since it eliminates the possibility of the knot getting through the rap ring.


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:59am PT
I like the clove hitch.

It seems safer than the other 2 alternatives (e.g. a stuck, out-of-reach lead rope on an alpine climb, OR having to rap a skinny line so the lead line is available to climb to unstick).

bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
May 18, 2010 - 03:32am PT
Geez, there are so many factors that are necessary to make this system work smoothly and properly that, by it's very nature, seems to fail the most primitive KISS test. Maybe if you are rappelling a trade route with known fixed anchors this is OK, but for general use this system just seems way too complex to be reliably safe.

Bruce
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 18, 2010 - 03:46am PT
Bruce - yep...


My interest is more for alpine or emergency situation.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 18, 2010 - 03:54am PT
Rap ring / knot photofest part 17d:
I believe the anchor atop Serenity Crack p3 was SMC rap rings on slings (B).

Above is my guess at Brian Ellis' setup which failed, based on Japhy's description. I could be wrong. The only differences I noticed are their rope was 10.2mm instead of 9.2mm, and the rings were 2 SMCs, which have the smaller inside diameter. Harder to get that through the rings, but it did go through.

Fish_Products

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2010 - 03:59am PT
^^^^

Clint! You da' MAN! Great set up.


See us on the web at:
http://www.FishProducts.com
http://fishproductsblog.blogspot.com/
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
May 18, 2010 - 03:59am PT
"What I mean by "properly tied" is illustrated with two photos in a post on in the thread started in a vain attempt to avoid technical discussions here. The part about EDK's is at the bottom of the post."

Well I tried...and there is some good info there too if you have knott looked...

Jephy, my heart goes out to you.
Peace,
DD
Andyfin

climber
May 18, 2010 - 04:41am PT
Hey!

My condolences to family, friends, and those there on the day.

I haven't used the clove not with the beaner, but it looks like an ok setup as long as the clove doesn't come loose for one reason or another.
For this reason I use a figure of eight with a locking beaner (with the beaner clipped on the leadline).
The important part is to attach the 5-6mm pulldown cord to the leadline knot with a figure of eight followed through, NOT THE TAIL. So if the knot goes through a ring with a large diameter partly or completely then it can be pulled back.

Sometimes I've had to pull down pretty hard if the knot is partly in the ring, that's why the knot of the pulldown line should be pretty solid. (Followed through 8 on another 8 is bomber no matter what the diameter difference.) To help the pulldown without wasting time, wrap the thin pulldown cord around you shoe a couple of times then press down with body weight while you or your partner shakes the lead line. This normally does the trick to get things going even if it jams mid way.

Another reason why you want the pulldown to be solid (and not a rubber band or bow tie) is that if you have to jug up the leadline to sort out a tangle, you will want your partner to be attached to your pulldown (if you are alone its a different scenario).
This in case you fall when the system frees while you are ascending. If the pulldown is not fixed you will shockload the top anchor when the beaner goes flying up to the top anchor.

I heard a good option is Mammut procord, it's light non stretch sling with a round diameter.

Be safe,
Adrian
dacooker

Sport climber
Vancouver, BC
May 18, 2010 - 08:45am PT
My thoughts are with the family, friends, and the climbing partner of the fellow climber who met a tragic end.
drennon

Trad climber
rocklin, ca
May 18, 2010 - 10:02am PT
such a tragedy, being an ex-climber. and a yosemite rock lover. it really pains me to hear these stories, especially how it happened. climbing takes in all sorts of riskd, and as climbers, we accept those risks. lets all hope he is in a good place, and god bless to his family.

you all stay safe out there,
scott
bhyde

Trad climber
Ogden, Utah
May 18, 2010 - 10:13am PT
My condolences.

My heart goes out to the friends and family of Brian Ellis. This is very sad.
My eyes are wide open right now. I have been way to lax about my rappel setups in the past. I have rapped, with a pig, without a "backup" knot. Never again. Thanks for all the great advice.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 18, 2010 - 10:26am PT
I thought about this yesterday as I was rapping into a back country climb. the anchors were slings on trees and set up with realy big quick links that would swallow a knot and looked like they would even let many locking biners pass through.. Stupid system INMOP
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 18, 2010 - 11:14am PT
this is the best use of the internet, and this forum, right here.

jokes are cool, but this is the sh#t i am looking for.

msiddens

Trad climber
Mountain View
May 18, 2010 - 11:36am PT
Clint- that (and you) are continually impressing me with the steps you'll go though to clarify misunderstandings and/or get a point across. Thank you!
LB4USC

Trad climber
Long Beach
May 18, 2010 - 12:35pm PT
Reticulous, gotta agree with Fish_Products. For two full ropes the setup you pictured looks like overkill. We rap two fulls with stopper knots on each. Backups-to-the-backups are great until your rope gets hung.
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
May 18, 2010 - 02:14pm PT
what a tragic way to die...


in some ways this thread is like a train wreck- i say keep it simple.
if it's too complex to explain w/out photos or illustrations, maybe it's more complex than necessary?

i will just stick with a simple 2 rope rap on 8.1 twins, tied together with a simple overhand knot and an ample bite, snugging the knot for each wrap and after each pull. anyone concerned with their security while rapping might consider the TRE device, which can be used on one rope or 2, and auto locks on rappel.

these explanations and discussions are fantastic, but it's still means hauling an extra rope, educating every new partner you climb with, and obviously, unfortunately, a huge risk if it gets set up incorrectly...

be safe, people.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 18, 2010 - 02:51pm PT
For free climbing, all this complexity is why Vegas locals just climb with twins when they know they're going to be rapping.

That said, Fish's cloved-biner setup is the only one that insures the knott won't end up on the wrong side of things, and you really don't want to have to try to pull a knott back through rings/biner/webbing - ever.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
May 18, 2010 - 04:22pm PT
I can imagine a biner going through some sort of non-standard "rap ring" (e.g. like another biner).

Yeah. Happened in Zion a couple of years ago. Covered here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=394075&msg=394465#msg394465

Most canyoneer types who "biner block" tie the clove hitch onto the spine of a carabiner. Set against a ring or rapide its pretty stable.

Cheers,

-Brian in SLC
SteveB

Social climber
Bend, OR
May 18, 2010 - 11:06pm PT
Knots, The AMGA instructors and other climbers that I know universally refer to the Euro Death Knot as the flat overhand. The flat figure 8 is also referred to but is generally acknowledged to be the weaker knot in spite of its more confidence inspiring appearance. There was some testing done (at Sterling, I think) that was written up in the AMGA Mountain Bulletin 3 or 4 years ago. When either knot fails it generally rolls off the ends of the rope. A blocker knot (one tail tied in an overhand around the other tail) is advised in high load circumstances (or for emotional security) although the knot is not recommended for anchor or lead fall duty. It is, however, more than adequate for rappel duty.
Super bummed to hear about the accident. A good reminder to be ever vigilant, as so many others have said.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
May 19, 2010 - 11:03am PT
Nice thread.

I've seen clove hitches jump out of non-locking biners, so I would roll with Clint's diagram over Russ's.

However, I think I'll stick with my standard 3x grapevine and 2 ropes. I rap with a 7, 9.4 and one of the newer reversos. Just a few weeks of use develops enough fuzz on a 7mm to pretty much eliminate slipping. The setup is very light. I can 2x over the 7mm and lead with it if I loose or stick my lead line. I've found no reason to do anything different. The systems here offer no advantage to me.

I'm sure most here have the experience to know the methods in this thread are only used by a small minority of climbers - and as such are not as well tested - as this death illustrates, IMO. There are too many things that can go wrong in climbing to always be screwing around with the latest way to redo something that has already been working fine for decades.
qigongclimber

climber
May 19, 2010 - 08:01pm PT
ihateplastic: i'm with you. i specifically still buy ovals just for rappelling (six carabiner brake). it's worked for 43 years now, so why change? it's proven and safe, only a slight hassle, and an insignificant amount of extra weight.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
May 19, 2010 - 08:40pm PT
i've read most of this thread, so i hope i'm not being redundant. brian was a graduate student in linguistics at UCLA. that field is known for attracting the "wildly intelligent," to use his partner's words. this loss is felt by many on campus.

a fellow i ski with is a total fan of franz schubert. we were driving back from mt. san jacinto earlier this year, listening to his favorite composer on the CD player, and he remarked, "if he had ONLY lived another 10 years--think of all the wonderful music we would have." i could only cite a well-known proverb, "whom the gods love, dies young". it seemed to settle the issue somewhat.

perhaps not so ironically, schubert wrote a tremendous piece of music, which i recommend to anyone in grief. the "death and the maiden" quartet deals with emotions you are surely feeling, and it takes you to a place beyond the terrible apparent injustice of it. it's one of the most powerful pieces of chamber music you will ever hear--the four instruments which play it have been likened to a full orchestra.

sorry i never had the pleasure of knowing brian.
R.B.

Trad climber
Pacifica
May 19, 2010 - 10:57pm PT
I am old school and believe firmly that the weight of two 60 or even 70 meter ropes is the cost of doing business.

I always use an 11 mm for lead, and a 9.3 for a haul line (and for the second rope for raps.)

I tie the two dissimilar diameter ropes together with a classic "grapevine" knot with a half grapevine on each loose end. Each tail has at least 1-2 inches of tail sticking out.

It's sometimes hard to untie the knot after weighting of a rapp. But what the heck ... I like bomber belays and anchors anyways.

Sorry to hear of the accident and my condolences.

RB
david.yount

climber
May 21, 2010 - 04:34pm PT
I wanted to share my somewhat extended personal experience with using a very large washer as a blocking device to keep the joining knot between a thick rope and a very thin rope from jamming into rap rings, it also prevents pulling the joining knot through rap rings. But, I advise do not use a washer for the purpose of blocking the joining knot from being pulled thru rap rings.

Some words within this thread (not direct quotes):

The washer is simply a way to enlarge the effective outer diameter of the knot, so that it will not pass through the ring.

If I was rappelling all the way down the Nose from the top, and I knew rings were in place, I might take a (2" outer diameter) washer. It does have the advantage of preventing any part of a knot from going through the ring, and it can't be "untied".

--

My story:

I wanted the blocker washer system to work. It seemed ingenious and simple. I used it on many outings one year, involving dozens of rappels. I tried very thin metal washers (hard to find washers that are thin but also that large diameter), I tried washers with sufficiently small inner diameters that somewhat gripped the thick rope they were threaded on. I carried and experimented with several washers.

When you pull the rope, there is a chance the washer will slide off the end of the rope, in one of several ways. It served its purpose, you were kept safe while rappelling. But now you may be faced with additional rappels but you have lost your washer. The only solution is to carry as many washers as there are expected rappels.This is not a light solution; these washers have a lot of heft to them.

The most common way I have personally experienced washers sliding off the end of the thick rappel rope is when the washer sticks or jams against something as Iím pulling the thin line. The washer can get stuck or jammed quite lightly, but just enough that it sits still while I am pulling on the thin line and the thick line is pulling thru the fixed washer. If I am aware of this then I give a hearty flick to the pull rope to attempt to unstick the washer. But sometimes I cannot know the washer is fixed, itís out of sight. Itís stuck, I donít know that, I keep pulling the thin rope. The thick rope pulls thru. When the washer is fixed, rarely will it remain fixed, rarely will it remain on the mountain, rarely will it be lost with me never seeing it again. This happened to me once. One time the washer evidently got stuck and the thick rope pulled thru. I got the thick rope pulled down, but the washer was missing, it never came down. The other times the washer got stuck it also became unstuck. Sometimes it became unstuck for no reasonable ascertainable by me. Sometimes it became unstuck when the thick rope was free falling from itís own weight. However the washer became unstuck Iíll tell you that itís position on the thick line was close enough to the free end of the falling thick rope that often the washer that was stuck and then became unstuck is now dangerously close to sliding off the end of the thick rope. If my testing of this blocking washer system had occurred on vertical rock with no ledges Iím sure that the washer, when it became stuck and then unstuck, would have more often that not, ultimately slid off the end of the thick rope. The less than vertical rock and ledgey nature of the alpine routes I was climbing prevented the free end of the thick line from hanging vertically in space and so I would find the washer slid down the rope, now the washer would be located somewhere along the rope. If the thick line had hung down a vertical rock face after pulling, then the washer could easily slide down the vertical thick line, and the washer would slide off the end and the washer would free fall to the ground. By the way, that could make a dangerous projectile.

Well, I came to a direct and simple solution to the washer sliding off the rope. I would tie an overhand knot in the rap rope. Here was my updated system, beginning at the end of the rap rope. The end of the rap rope is tied to the pull line. Then there is a big washer. This washer prevents the joining knot from jamming into the rap rings, it prevents the joining knot from going thru the rap rings. Then there is an overhand knot. This knot secures the washer on the rap rope. Now thereís no way the washer will come off the rap rope.

Two problems sprung up. First was that overhand could partially jam in the rap rings. If the rap rings were sufficiently small (Metolius and another type I forget) andn the rap rope was sufficiently thick, then the overhand would partially jam in the rings. This jam would make it difficult to pull out when yanking on the thin line. But the real problem was far worse.

Further, the washer can jam or stick in suck as way to prevent the thick rap rope from being pulled further. The presence of the washer can jam your rap rope. When I never yet used this system, but just thought about it, I didnít think the washer could be the cause of a jammed rope. I thought, hey, the washer is metal and metal slides across rock so easily, and the washer is round, and round things roll they donít get stuck. I never foresaw a reasonable risk that the washer could ultimately jam my rope.

The washer can jam in a constricting crack the same way a round rock jams in a constricting crack. And the washer can jam in a vertical orientation which causes sufficient retention / friction on the rope that the rope cannot be pulled through the fixed washer. And if you use an overhand knot to captures the washer so that it canít slide off the end of the rap rope, then this very same overhand will be the knot that fixes your rope when the washer changes basic nature from a safety device to a piece of pro in a crack.

I guess Iíll leave the washers on my bench in my garage, theyíre not for rock climbing.



That being said, when I rappel using a thicker rope (like a 10mm single rope) and a much thinner rope (like a twin rope) or a thin pull line (7mm or 6mm accessory cord) I donít enjoy using the heavily canyoneering tested rigging of a carabiner block (best to tie the clove hitch on the spine of the carabiner). I do use the carabiner block while canyoneering; itís a standard for single line rappelling, and all of the anchors are equipped with Rapide Screw Links / Quick Links. Though, in the recent 3 years Iíve gotten into ďghostingĒ newer canyons so no webbing and Quick Links are left behind; nothing is left behind of our rappels in these canyons.

When I rappel on different sized lines I join them with a flat overhand. I then take the tail of the thinner line and tie an overhand around the thicker line. I squish this right up against the primary knot. I believe there were some tests, though likely not nearly enough, on this exact rigging? I always put the thick line through the anchors. I rap on both lines using a tuber device, like an Omega Pacific SBG-II. And then I rig a carabiner brake on the thin line. This carabiner brake is rigged up rope from my primary rap device.

Iíve used this exact system on 10mm main rope and using any one of 3 thinner lines: 6mm cord, 7mm cord or 7.4mm twin climbing rope. Iíve logged over 50 full length rappels on this system and never had any rope creepage. The extra friction offered by the carabiner brake on the thin line allowed me to rappel comfortably, I did not need to apply extra hand gripping force to the thinner line. The thin line did not creep upward. The joining knot did not creep into the rap rings.



But I gave up on 6mm pull lines. Always tangling itself, tangling in the main line, tangling on bushes, tangling on rock features, and wind causes havoc. As well, they wear out fast! First I got 65 meters of 6mm, and eventually the sheath looked hashed. So I bought another 6mm 65 meters long. When that sheath / cord wore out I switched to 7mm. Oh! Pulling was much less crappy with a 7mm compared with a 6mm. And my buddyís 5mm I only agreed to use once, one day of rapping with his 5mm line and I told him I would never use that 5mm again; pulling is ridiculously stretchy and painful on the hands. But the 7mm still was not enjoyable. It tangled in all the same ways and was horrible in the wind. So I moved up to one of my 7.4mm Twin ropes. Behavior was better and I could use it to climb on by doubling it up.



Ultimately, I got a pair of Half Ropes 8.4mm in 1998 and thatís all I climb on. Itís been 12 years of no fooling around. Two ropes for increased safety in falls over sharp edges. Two ropes to easily mitigate rope drag on wandering alpine and crag routes. Two ropes to increase safety for the follower on traversing sections that are followed by a vertical section. Two ropes for full length rappels. Two ropes for increased safety in case rockfall cuts one rope.

cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 21, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
Ok, I don't really understand this business about a washer. Can somebody take a picture?
scuffy b

climber
Where only the cracks are dry
May 21, 2010 - 04:45pm PT
Is the main reason for these shenanigans the ability to take a light 2nd
rope, or is it being able to rappel using your single strand device?
slobmonster

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
May 21, 2010 - 04:49pm PT
'biner block

cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 21, 2010 - 07:00pm PT
I get the biner block.

Where's the "washer"? I searched the whole page for the word washer, and I didn't see it.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 21, 2010 - 07:06pm PT
I know - I'm just trying really hard to imagine some sort of hardware store washer tied somewhere to the rope (instead of a biner?) and frankly, my imagination is failing me.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 21, 2010 - 07:11pm PT
Great question scruffy.

I think all this stuff is to make up for the fact that a super skinny 2nd line slides faster through a rap device than does a fat lead line. When you have ropes that are pretty close in size, there's no real need for all the shenanagans described here.

I usually take a decent-sized rap line as the 2nd rope if I know I'll be rapping. That said, I do have a 5mm that I carry on long routes, you know, in case of emergency.

I've always threaded both the skinny and the fat through my device when rapping, but with the clove-biner method, it seems you could rap the fat rope alone just as easily. Still, I hate having to pull that skinny cord first.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 21, 2010 - 07:13pm PT
cleo, you thread the rope through the washer and it sits between the knot (where the ropes are joined) and the rap rings. The washer prevents the knot from passing through the rings. But, as mentioned above, there are problems with this method.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 21, 2010 - 07:26pm PT
Cleo, the dude who brought it up also pointed out it's potential failings.

Let it go, don't try to visualize something that doesn't work. Especially when your rig is dependent on a 'hardware store' washer.

Bad idea!
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 21, 2010 - 08:58pm PT
cleo, you thread the rope through the washer and it sits between the knot (where the ropes are joined) and the rap rings. The washer prevents the knot from passing through the rings
.

Oh my gosh! People actually DO that, they carry hardware store washers around for rapping? I can already imagine a dozen ways that might cause problems, and I haven't even read the full post about it.
R.B.

Trad climber
Western Slope of the Cascades
May 21, 2010 - 10:13pm PT
Totally Agree ... like I said before, 11 mm & 9.3 mm ... I like bomber belays, anchors and rappels ... Don't hear too many of these failing. The 8 or so pounds extra can be hauled up or the second can carry it ... it works ... quit the new fangled malarky and you will live another day!
CelticGaz

Gym climber
Redwood City
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:23am PT
Ok, so here's maybe a dumb question/idea from a newbie like me.

To be clear, there are 2 rap rings here. One that you take up with you (#1) and the one at the top of the rappel (#2).

If you rap on a single rope with a tag-line, why not use a rap ring (#1) as the blocker on the fat rap rope? Maybe do a double twist through the rap ring and then back through the double overhand loop with the tag line tied into it. The rap ring (#1) being circular will never be able to pass through the rap ring being used to rap off (#2). The rap ring (#1) will also be the first in the fat rope to hit the rap ring for rapping off (#2). Obviously the rap ring (#1) you tie in as pro must be a bigger diameter then the rap ring being used for your rap rope (#2).

This is similar to the Petzl ideal using a blocking biner. Problem with biners is that they are heavy and not symmetrical.

Personally I don't like this idea as much a EDK with 2 ropes. However this idea can also be used for the 2 rope deal too.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 3, 2016 - 10:40am PT
Just a New Year bump for an extremely important analysis of a fatal rappelling accident recently in Yosemite.

Have a read, understand, and live to tell the tale.

Cheers and Happy New Year, eh?
PtP Pete
Bootymaster

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 3, 2016 - 11:39am PT
Reticulous:

What is the knot you use to join to ropes in this picture?


Is it supposed to be a double fishermans?
Messages 1 - 280 of total 280 in this topic
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta