Double Rope Rappels?


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Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Nov 1, 2012 - 08:14pm PT
Kevin .... I noticed also.

So now your into that?

Me to, gets the pro just right.

Times change.


Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 1, 2012 - 08:20pm PT
When you rap, you trust your life to your grip and the system.

When you simul-rap, your grip and your partners grip are parts of each other's systems...the parts most likely to fail.

I generally prefer the set up where I know what's going on w/ both ends of my rope, but have done simul in a pinch. We usually use 8.1's for long routes with many raps, and I'm not at all psyched to rap on one strand.

The only way I'd simul-rap with a n00b would be if they were hooked up to my device like a haul bag.

Trad climber
Nov 1, 2012 - 08:49pm PT
it took russ two minutes to post the correct answer.

he also spelled it correctly. "simo," NOT "simul."

if you actually say, "SI-mull rapping," you'll sound like a tool.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 1, 2012 - 08:52pm PT

Trad climber
Aliso Viejo, CA
Nov 1, 2012 - 08:57pm PT
My partner and I started simul rapping this past season and haven't looked back. We simul climbed, then simul rapped royal arches / crest jewel (no simul climbing on CJ).
We even simul rapped off El Cap last month when I broke my heal. It just seemed like our new normal setup, even in an emergency self rescue.
It doesn't seem dangerous at all if you and your partner are dialed. We're both using gri-gri2 devices.

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 1, 2012 - 09:02pm PT
Heh, yeah, I did it all wrong...

just like I climb...

Hee hee



A long way from where I started
Nov 1, 2012 - 09:09pm PT
So, what jumps out from all the comments above is that a lot of people are saying:

a) simul-rapping is somewhat faster than sequential rapping, so might be useful in a situation where speed is critical

b) I wouldn't simul-rap in a critical situation because it's a new technique with massive opportunities to screw up and die.

Which amounts to something very similar to saying "complicated and unfamiliar rescue techniques might be valuable in critical situations, but I'd never use them in a critical situation because they're complicated and unfamiliar."

Where's Werner when we need him? He should be here saying "You are stupid American pussies. Practice simul-rapping now, and it won't be complicated and unfamiliar when you actually need it."

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 1, 2012 - 09:12pm PT
I've done it a handful of times. Here are some of the concerns: (1) Much higher anchor loads. (2) One partner going off the end of their rope can kill both. (3) One partner detaching from the rappel before the other is ready can kill the other. (4) Inadequate device friction on single (thin) strands can lead to nasty situations, including Item (2). (5) Propensity to interact with rappel mate can distract attention from essential tasks. (6) No ability to test the pull-down and have someone in place to adjust it. (7) No ability to add anchor back-up for first person down and then remove it when anchor has proved reliable.

Advantages. (1) It can be quite a bit faster, unless you run into problems because of Concern (6). (2) The rappellers can stay in communication, which can be very helpful in bad or uncertain conditions.

A few, but not all, of the disadvantages can at least be mitigated. I think it essential that both rappellers use some kind of friction back-up knot (or a device that locks when released), both have to know how their devices behave with single strands and be competent in adding friction to the system while in mid-rappel, and the ends of the ropes absolutely have to be knotted.

We have seen, through repeated sad experiences, that rappelling is dangerous even for very experienced climbers. Simul-rapping multiplies the kinds of things that can go wrong, and so multiplies the risk. The trade-off is essentially for speed and communication, either of which might make sense in some situations, but surely not in all or even in most. So for me it's a special-purpose technique to be used rarely, only when the increased speed and/or enhanced communication ability seem to definitively outweigh the extra risk. At which time, as Ghost says, you better have practiced it...

Gym climber
Nov 1, 2012 - 09:21pm PT
Actually, it's si·mul·ta·ne·ous, so I believe "simul-rap" is correct.

Not that it matters, but since you're attempting to emphasize the correct terminology, might as well get it correct.

Now, back to the thing that does matter:

It IS fun, lady S, leaping and bounding side by side down an untouched palete of stone, sharing the experience of touching things that have never felt a human hand...

A fine last experience before plummeting into the void

Trad climber
Nov 1, 2012 - 09:30pm PT
Actually, it's si·mul·ta·ne·ous, so I believe "simul-rap" is correct.

you sound like a tool

Nov 1, 2012 - 09:45pm PT



*neither are mine.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 1, 2012 - 10:03pm PT
Isn't simul-rapping mandatory on some routes in the Needles of South Dakota?

And it's spelt simultaneous, not simotaneous. But if it was done by two simians, we could call it simi-rapping.
The Warbler

the edge of America
Nov 1, 2012 - 10:06pm PT
Not "into it" per se, Guy, but on certain crags it's the way to go, and although the thrill is less than the discovery on lead, it's still a thrill.

To veer off topic a bit - I had a friend who's relatively new to climbing claim an onsight ascent of a route, and I said "I thought you said you rapped down it first". He thought it was still an onsight because he didn't toprope it first and didn't fall on it. I said "sorry, guy, not an onsight", and he got all peeved.

Am I just being a stickler or do you guys agree?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 1, 2012 - 10:07pm PT
Refer to rgold point #3...

Its shocking to me someone would do that.


Trad climber
Nov 1, 2012 - 10:40pm PT
Refer to rgold point #3...

Its shocking to me someone would do that.

lotsa ways that can happen, most aren't volitional. least that's how i read it, since (potrero and maybe rr aside) most simo scenarios are either no-anchor-on-top or else alpine or semi-alpine scenarios.

And it's spelt simultaneous, not simotaneous.


Mountain climber
portland, Maine
Nov 1, 2012 - 10:43pm PT
I have and would do it on a formation that requires it. Arches, towers.

Other wise I think it's something a gym rat came up with.
Captain...or Skully

Nov 1, 2012 - 11:09pm PT
He was called Simo.
Big Mike

Trad climber
Nov 1, 2012 - 11:26pm PT
I have done it on bomber anchors, with a longtime partner. Certain risks can be mitigated, knotted side is clove hitch/alpine butterflied to a locking biner, and gri gris or a leg loop prussic knot on the brake side. Knots of course unless on a rope eating finger crack like serenity crack.....

Heavy guy goes first on the opposite side of the biner, which is usually me, which means I control our fate. Make sure you don't unweight the rope before your partner clips in and it's all good..

Not a good practice for sketchy anchors or ones where you might want to move the knot to clear the edge or avoid rockfall..

We didn't do it in the valley.... Nor would I (except royal arches or something that would require it....) The anchors on p2 Sons of Yesterday were interesting.... So were the rap anchors on Central Pillar of Frenzy... But I think we were off route a bit....

The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Nov 1, 2012 - 11:42pm PT
I'd rather take the extra hour or whatever over the long haul -- I'm usually not in that big of a hurry. Or just get faster in general before tackling the long route. I also usually carry a headlamp, and rapping one-at-a-time by headlamp is probably just as fun and significantly safer.

I had a partner once who liked to emphasize how important it is to not rush; I wonder whatever happened to her.

"It's fine as long as..." is a slippery slope. It's all fun and games until that which shouldn't happen happens.

Yosemite Valley, CA
Nov 1, 2012 - 11:47pm PT
Refer to rgold point #3...

Its shocking to me someone would do that.


On my first ever simul rappel my partner (who was also new to simul rapping) did just that. Well, he didn't take his device off, but he completely let go of the rope to clip into the anchor once he reached the stance. We were still a pitch off the ground. Like an idiot, I didn't even start screaming at him to get his hands back on the rope. We were on 2 ropes and I think he was on the longer one, so my first thought was "oh, the rap must be sort of close so he's lowering me a bit to even out the ends". I'm not sure how close the end was to slipping through his ATC, and I don't remember if we had knots in the end. Luckily, we were a party of 3 and the third guy was up there at the anchor. He saw the rope sliding through the rings and just grabbed it with his hands to stop it. He rapped down to us and was like "WTF were you guys doing?!"

Just one of many incidents early on in my climbing career that I look back on and shudder. I've also seen another party do the same, although in a less serious situation (they were both pretty close to the ground). Now before I ever simul rap with someone for the first time I give them a big instructional speech about how when you simul rap you're not just rapping, you're also belaying the other person. And before anyone unweights the rope or detaches the rap device, they need to verbally confirm that it is ok to unweight the rope or go off rappel. Just like when you're belaying you wouldn't ever take your hands off the rope without your partner announcing that he is off belay.

Actually it's good practice to just shoot your partner a quick reminder before any simul rappel (no matter how many you've done together) "K, so we stay on the rope until we're both ready to get off it. Right?" "Right!"
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