Double Rope Rappels?

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ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 1, 2012 - 05:20pm PT
I know this has been discussed before, but it's been a bit, and there's a different mix of taco heads, so I'd love to take the pulse on this subject.

Double rope Raps. I might be using the wrong phrase, but I'm talking about when two people rap down on single strands at the same time. If I should be using a different phrase, please let me know!

Recently, I found out that a partner, who has been climbing longer than I've been able to eat with a spoon, has never done a double rope rappel. This kinda blew my mind, because I've done more than 5 and it's weird to think that lil newb me has collected experiences that my partner hasn't.

I think that it's definitely not appropriate for every rap, or even most raps. It's definitely not safer. It's faster, but not by much...maybe a third faster?

However, when it's the right kind of rap it can be a LOT of FUN...and JUST enough faster to beat the ticking clock.

I'd never compromise safety for fun, especially as raps are inherently freaky. However, when the safety factor allows for some fun, I'm always exceedingly tempted...and on occasion, even give in to temptation.

So... thoughts?

Cheers

LS

Edit: SIMUL RAP!!! I knew I had it wrong, sorry folks...my head is stupid...ha, so who wants to climb with a stupid climber? HAHAHA! Now if I can just figure out how to change the title...
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:23pm PT
Unnecessary risk..but what the hell so is climbing. If you and a partner can do it safely why not if you feel like it. Done it a few times but not much point to it really.

It has however been a part of a recent tragic accident in Canada I beleive.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:28pm PT
Canmore fatal simul-rappelling accident:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1890595&tn=20

Not worth the risk in my view, so I never do it.

Has been discussed often, as it is a potential risk-return tradeoff.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:29pm PT
I've never done it (maybe once? not sure), and can't really see a use case where the time matters that much. Maybe in a burgeoning storm with rising risk of avalanche or something. But just to avoid rain or darkness or snow flakes, it wouldn't be worth it to me.

If I saw someone else doing it, it wouldn't bother me and I wouldn't comment on it. If my partner asked, I might be receptive depending on the quality of the rap anchors and ropes and presence/absence of sharp edges.
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:29pm PT
Rapping double, even though its alittle faster, is totally not happening for me! Rapping anytime is fricking dangerous when you have to rely on an anchor with your body weight.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:30pm PT
my pulse just quickened.
locker

Social climber
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:30pm PT

Many years ago a couple was doing that sh!t in the "Gunks"...

Short roped, no knotts, both shot off the ends...

One died, the other paralyzed (Memory is probably off on the details as it has been over 30years)...

Somebody here may remember the incident and details better than myself...

I recall that my brother was the first or second responder...



EDITED:

I should add that they did it, "Euro" style, meaning they ran down facing the ground...

They found it!!!...
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
SLO, Ca
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:30pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1505190/Simul-Rap


I've never once simul rappelled, have never seen it done or had it suggested by a partner, and I've bailed off with lightning blasting all around me, in blizzards, at night, and a variety of other terrifying scenarios. I doubt it would save that much time because of all the extra double checking and general unease doing non-standard stuff in deteriorating conditions.

Trying some new trick while things are going south is just asking for the reaper.

labrat

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:32pm PT
Only when the girl is really cute.....
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:46pm PT
Guess you guys have never been to El Potrero...you would be there for days going down those rigs one at a time...or any of the Austrian 20+ pitch bolted routes...like everything there is a time and place...
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 1, 2012 - 05:56pm PT
It's useful on new terrain because it allows you to discuss anchor location options with your partner. Also fun on new terrain to share the first preview with your partner. I only do it off of two big stainless bolts, or some other absolutely bomber anchor, and with a trustworthy partner.

couchmaster

climber
pdx
Nov 1, 2012 - 06:03pm PT
Generally more dangerous, however, not having a partner rap down from above a very loose, chossy slope while you are down there waiting for them and praying that the blocks keep missing you can have some cachet and appeal.

It gets you down faster as well, thinking of the 14 double rope raps off the apron as the sun sets kind of thing. Some of the danger can be mitigated if you quickly clip yer daisy or a sling to your partner.

I've done it a few handfuls of times....like Kevin says, solid gear and partner is a prerequisite:-)
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 1, 2012 - 06:05pm PT
Warbler, you are the first person to include the word 'fun' in your response...

guess it's too scary to really be fun?

Been a long while since I've done one, and have no idea when I'd be able to do another.

But I won't forget the times I did, with the setting sun silhouetting my buddy, us making comments about rock features, the climb, and discussing if we should shift the ends of the rope (already hitting the ground) to the flat boulder to the right, or the big ledge with the last sun hitting it.

Cheers!

LS
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Nov 1, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
The best is when you're right next to your partner and try to tickle (or punch) them into letting go. It'a called rope tickles, fun game...
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Nov 1, 2012 - 07:07pm PT
did it once. it's a novelty rappel. I won't do it again except to show off that I can do a novelty act
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 1, 2012 - 07:17pm PT
If you're bailing off a lightening storm, I'd vote for using failsafe methods that you normally use. The last thing I'd do in an emergency is try a shortcut technique to save time. It would probably just result in an accident instead. Go slow, concentrate, remain calm, recheck everything one more time. If it's fun to do, then I guess go ahead and have fun, but I don't think it's a great idea to do this in an emergency.
Byran

climber
Yosemite Valley, CA
Nov 1, 2012 - 07:29pm PT
I've done it plenty of times, mostly when I'm trying to get out of people's way. Like say you and another party topout a cliff at the same time, and the routes share a common rap line. If we're going first, we'll simul the first couple raps just to get some space between us so we're not holding up the other party.

It also saves time when you're looking at a lot of raps, especially if you're a party of 3. With a party of 3, you can do it so two simul and one raps normal and it's no more dangerous than everyone rapping individually but only takes as long as a normal party of 2.

And as someone already mentioned it's also a useful trick if you're descending loose terrain (though you still have to pull the ropes which is generally more likely to knock off sh#t than your partner rapping above you). I've actually never done it for that purpose.

It's sort of like simulclimbing. It's not something you want to always do, but it has it's place and it's time for a party that knows what they're doing. And yeah, bailing in an electrical storm isn't the ideal situation to be trying it out for the first time. It's also best with thicker ropes, rapping on a single 8.2 is pretty sketch (not because the rope would cut, but because of the reduced friction with your belay device).
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 1, 2012 - 07:36pm PT
Preview?? The shame! damn.....

At least somebody noticed that




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
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Nov 1, 2012 - 07:37pm PT
To clarify:

Double rope rappel = one person rappelling on two full-length ropes tied together.
(next anchors or the ground is farther than 30 meters away so you need 2 ropes).

Simul-rap = two people rappelling at the same time on two ends of the same rappel rope(s).

Simul-rapping is faster but definitely adds a lot more risk to what is already a risky part of climbing. I give it a pass unless extenuating circumstances call for it.

I've only ever done it once out of desperation. It was the only way to get off some stupid obsure dummy dome out in Wonderland that had no descent. We sort of had to tension and rap off opposite sides of the formation since it was basically just round on top with no features. SKEERD!!!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Nov 1, 2012 - 07:41pm PT
Guess you guys have never been to El Potrero...


Well actually...

Before going to EPC, a buddy told us "you gotta simul-rap!" My partner and I did one rap that way, then said "fug it," and did normal raps for the rest of our trip. I suppose it could save time, but the risk:reward is a little too great for my blood.

Once the first goes down and gets the ropes to the belay, it only takes a couple of minutes for the second to rap the pitch. 20 pitches going up is at most 10 going down. So, you can save maybe 1/2 an hour, if you're slick, by simul-rapping a 20 pitch route? Nahh...
giegs

climber
Tardistan
Nov 1, 2012 - 07:50pm PT
I've done it a bunch canyoneering... never climbing.

Generally pointless. Sometimes fun.
guyman

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.

Late
Melissa

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.
klk

Trad climber
cali
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.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 1, 2012 - 08:52pm PT
Simotanious
Nate101

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.
Nate
ladyscarlett

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

Cheers

LS
Ghost

climber
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."
rgold

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...
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
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
klk

Trad climber
cali
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
shiro16

climber
Nov 1, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
Simul-rap?

Picture*

Picture*


*neither are mine.
Mighty Hiker

climber
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

climber
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.

DMT
klk

Trad climber
cali
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.


lol
Onewhowalksonrocks

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

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

Trad climber
BC
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

climber
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.
Byran

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

Its shocking to me someone would do that.

DMT

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!"
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Nov 2, 2012 - 11:41am PT
If you're going down opposite sides of a pillar or needle or blob,
you can reduce communication issues by descending one at a time.
first climber can either be lowered or rappel on a sufficient length of rope,
using other climber as anchor.
On the ground, he will be the anchor while the second climber rappels.
Kenygl

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Nov 2, 2012 - 11:43am PT
One person at a time rappel so there's someone to clean up the mess, call rescue, run in circles scream and shout, etc.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 2, 2012 - 12:06pm PT
Crazy story, Bryan. What was your partner's ropeburn like?
JerryA

Mountain climber
Sacramento,CA
Nov 2, 2012 - 12:22pm PT
Rapping a snow bollard in the Palisades was the scariest thing I've ever done & only did it because we had no choice.
Jeremy

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 2, 2012 - 12:24pm PT
I would NEVER do that sh#t unless I HAD to.

I'm not in that much of a rush to die and all...

Carry on!

WOO HOO!!!

J
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Nov 2, 2012 - 12:30pm PT
In an emergency, if I thought it would help, I'd do it, as a matter of course, it's too dangerous.
Ralphy

Trad climber
Green Honda Element
Nov 2, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
I simul rap all the time! If you are on a solid anchor (like 2 shiny beefy bolts) and both partners are totally tuned into what's going on, I feel its totally safe. I also feel that it is significantly faster than rapping one at a time. Its a good idea for both partners to have an auto-locking device or one of those little prussics around the leg loop. Always tie knots in the end of your line. With a good partner, it is so convenient and fast.
It goes something like this:
1. Always feed the thicker rope through the anchors.
2. I prefer to always use the same side every time (if Im on the skinny rope I am on the skinny rope every time. This minimizes confusion as to who can unweight first.)
3. Both partners rig devices and check each other.
4. Ready? Ready. 3, 2, 1, weight.
5. Rapping. Skinny rope person slightly ahead of thick rope (remember, thick rope is threaded)
6. Skinny rope person reaches anchor and tethers in. (skinny rope guy can unweight without effecting the guy on the thick rope because of the knot.)
7. Thick rope guy arrives at anchor and tethers in.
8. Working together to set up the next rap begins as soon as both people are tethered.
9. Repeat many, many, times.

Maybe slightly more confusing the very first time you do it but it is SO FAST. And I really think it is safe, the added benefit of being in communication the whole time is awesome. I only do this with partners I know well and trust, typically I only climb with partners I know well and trust.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 2, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
I've done it a few times, mostly to get off a spire that didn't have a top anchor. And, only with a partner I really really trust.

Had some friends have a close call when one was chattin' at a rap anchor, and, the other took off, got to the bottom, and removed the rope from his rappel device. Top person leaned back and plummetted. Guy at the anchor stopped the fall, but, with serious rope burns to his hand.

There was a recent accident here in Big Cottonwoood, just a couple weeks back, where some guys simul rapped and one lost control of the rappel. Lucky they weren't hurt worse, but, one ended up in the ER fairly busted up.

Even on longer routes, where I've had to do 15 in a row, we didn't simul rap. Usually on fairly skinny twins, too, and, with any tangles...its a cluster enough solo on the ropes.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 2, 2012 - 12:56pm PT
All that said? I'll do a simulrap with you LS, as I told you I would :-)

We will have fun, laugh at each other and take some great pictures. Hah!

And I won't let go of the rope, either.

I've done, like many here have many times over, done some utterly sickening rappels, slinging cow pie quality blobs and anchoring with gossamer and spit. More times than a father should admit, I was last down and pulled all but one piece so there would be enough sh#t to get us to the bottom.

I don't like it. But I've done it.

Dashing in front of a fast moving train in an emergency is one thing. Doing so for fun, another thing entirely.

Hmmm, I've hopped trains for fun too. Hypocrisy is not my hobgoblin however.

DMT
Borut

climber
french
Nov 2, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
I never did what is decribed, but rapped with someone on my back. On vertical terrain it's easier because the carried person's weight is taken over by the rope, but it's tough on less than vertical. This was during an improvised rescue drill, and I know it's not what the topic is about. Just couldn't help it.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 2, 2012 - 01:53pm PT
I'll do a simulrap with you LS

how to put this delicately?

well, the one simo i did that really terrified me was with someone who was about half my body weight.

heh
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2012 - 02:05pm PT
Heh, I was gonna let this thread go off the first page, but y'alls keep bringing it back, heh!

All the simul raps I've done, my partner has considerably outweighed me...So it's not impossible, it was just very important to me...and one of my partners...that we stayed side by side. Part of the pre-requisite.

That being said, I'm a heavy pudgy kinda girl, so don't just assume that you guys all outweigh climbers like myself!

Heh...

weight is a factor, but it's not a big deal as it's cracked up to be...especially for a heavyweight like myself!

Cheers

LS
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 2, 2012 - 02:12pm PT
Thanks klk. Believe it or not, I know something about rope systems, and such, and can think for myself having taken in input from others. Thus I have always done. Appreciate your advice.

Cheers
DMT
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 2, 2012 - 02:12pm PT
Yeah Kerwin. In case of major weight difference, the heavier person should rappel on the strand that is blocked from moving by the knot. Or, if the rappel is on a single rope rather than a knotted pair, the rigging used for rappelling with a tag line should be used to keep the heavier person from pulling rope through the anchor.

Note, however, that in the case of knotted-together ropes, this interferes with the efficient threading of the rappel when doing multiple rappels. Ralphy's procedure has the same efficiency deficit. This diminishes the overall speed effect, which is the primary reason to simul-rap.

Another possibility for major weight differences is to link the two climbers with a long sling.

It seems that the biggest danger in rappelling generally comes from complacency born of the routine nature of the activity. Make simul-rapping routine rather than occasional and you add its additional danger points to the inattention risk pool. At least as a special-use activity, you'll be more scared, as you should be...
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2012 - 02:18pm PT
Cheers rgold for such clear and easily understood clarification of the factors involved.

It's wonderful

and this might make me a geek, but it makes me smile!

And...I'll say, if I ever do a simul-rap again, I won't forget my camera ;)!

or I'll just have Dingus handle the camera, since we all know it never really leaves his hand...hee hee! Either way, goal achieved...

Stay safe so you can enjoy the beer at the bottom folks!

Cheers

LS
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Nov 2, 2012 - 03:35pm PT
Isn't simul-rapping mandatory on some routes in the Needles of South Dakota?

I haven't been there for years, but there were some route that you had to just drape the rope over the top of a spire and carefully simul-rap. That's the way real hard men do it, not you pussy Americans of today.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 2, 2012 - 04:18pm PT
Yeah, we rapped off a bunch of pinnacles that way BITD. The goal was to leave everything as pristine as possible, so no ugly slings on top and no bolted rappel anchors if it could possibly be avoided. Those who followed were either "softer men" or lacked the imagination or interest to figure out how people had been getting down without leaving anything.

That said, simul-rapping was not ideal, because afterwards you still had to drag a rope over the top of the pinnacle, and given the highly abrasive Needles rock, your ropes wouldn't last long at all. So we started bringing some extra ropes, which we left on the ground during the climb, and then employed as follows:

One person would rap to the ground, if necessary using the other person as an anchor. A second rope was then pulled up, a loop tied in it with rap rings installed, and the other end of this second rope was anchored on the ground by the climber already down. The second climber threaded a rappel rope through the rings, rapped off the other side of the pinnacle, and pulled their rope. The anchor rope could then be pulled over the top of the pinnacle, there being just a short piece with the loop hanging down the opposite side.
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Nov 2, 2012 - 05:28pm PT
JMO, but why add one more risk to the already risky business of climbing?

It seems to me, more climbers are killed, being in a rush and trying to
save time.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Nov 2, 2012 - 05:52pm PT
Kevin.... I agree 100% on both counts.

Bottom line for me is, whatever it takes to make great route.

Hope to get down to SD this winter/spring, friends tell me its all good.

And to answer to OP.....

Only time I simu rap is when there is no anchor, you go down one side I go the other.... Rob Raker style.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Nov 2, 2012 - 06:00pm PT
Bunch of madatory, anchorless rappels at Pinnacles.

You may or may not be in earshot of your partner.

This technique is going to be in the next outdoor climbing class...







clockclimb

Trad climber
Orem, Utah
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:00pm PT
Simul-rapping with gri-gri's is a very bad idea. The inside of the gri-gri gets very hot very quickly. It is steel inside which does not conduct heat away quickly. There is also not a good thermal path to the outside walls of the gri-gri. Lowering a heavy person quickly through steel chain links can also melt your rope. I have been there when rope sheaths have been melted through in both of the above scenarios.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:27pm PT
Tell you what, Guy, if you do make it down this way, I'll give you a guided tour of the best local crags.

All I ask for is a toprope on anything hard, as I haven't been climbing much for a couple years.


I hope to be at Nooblandia, that's right, tomorrow, possibly even simulrapping.


Eagle Peak
Eagle Peak
Credit: The Warbler
Captain...or Skully

climber
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:49pm PT
Noo-Blandia? ;-)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:40pm PT
Simul rap only when there is no other option, never to save time.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Nov 3, 2012 - 11:32pm PT
I don't do it often but it is a good technique to have in the quiver.
If u went to Potrero & didn't u probably could have done a lot more climbing and a lot less descending in the dark.

Tie the ends of the rope together.
Use a Grigri/backup.
Pay attention, sigh-moe-rapping doesn't kill people, mistakes do.
Sometimes time is safety.
Pretty much every situation in climbing is circumstantial, a blanket statement saying "simul rapping is dangerous" is just ridiculous.
Setting up a toprope is inherently more dangerous IMO.
It's not usually techniques that are dangerous but often how they are executed.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Nov 3, 2012 - 11:45pm PT
Pay attention, sigh-moe-rapping doesn't kill people, mistakes do.

Sure, but the problem seems to be the high consequences of small mistakes on an otherwise unfamiliar procedure.

Tying the rope ends together is a grand idea. So is attaching yourself to your partner and both using some sort of autolocking backup (whether it be gri-gri, friction knot below, friction knot above ...).

Unless you take some measures, the "mistake" that kills people (perhaps both) can be a minor lapse of attention while doing something unfamiliar trying to save time.

It's always a personal choice...

I can fly down a single-person-rap when I want to -- I learned to rap before I learned to climb. If both partners do that, it's just a quicker version of something they're already familiar with. There's no additional risk of doing something that they do only once-in-a-while which requires a whole different set of safety measures for mitigating the risk.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 4, 2012 - 12:50am PT
Here's some guesses about speed savings for multiple 150 foot rappels.

Each person raps separately:

Threading device: Each person takes 10 secs = 20 secs

Pace: 5 ft/sec, (brisk walking pace, about 3.4 mph) each person takes 30 secs = 60 secs

Getting off rappel: each person takes 5 secs = 10 secs

Total time: 90 secs.

Simul rap:

Threading device: Each person takes 10 secs = 10 secs.

Pace 3 ft/sec (because of extra caution, slow walking pace, about 2 mph): each person takes 50 secs = 50 secs.

Getting off rappel: each person takes 5 secs = 5 secs.

Total time: 65 secs. Time saved: 25 secs per rappel. Let's call it half a minute.

So over twenty rappels, you save ten minutes. If the simul-rappers don't slow down as I suggested, they could save fifteen minutes instead of ten.
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2012 - 01:02am PT
man, I'm totally amazed this is still a point of contention as it seems very clear that most people are against it on principle.

Something about trusting your life to your partner and all the other bits seem to give people the heebeegeebees.

Which I can understand.

Every time a partner lowers me off the top of TR, I feel the same way...I mean, what if a rock hits them in the head and I go plummeting? My life is in their hands...

I figured this thread would have died by post 25 at least...

Cheers

LS
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 4, 2012 - 01:08am PT
ok rgold

what if the probability of a FU on each rap for one person is, say P,

the probability that you FU on a single rap is P
the probability that either you or your partner FU is 2P

you have twice the chance of being involved in an FU... if the probability remains the same.

In all likelihood, the probability of an individual FU is actually greater, in my opinion, on a simul-rap since: 1) it is not a commonly used technique, 2) single rope raps are also unusual and have to be treated somewhat differently (use two 'biners instead of one...) 3) you have to do something very different at the end of the rap than you usually do (that is, not unweight the rope before your partner does).

In usual risk analysis, the risk of not simul-rapping has to be higher than the risk of simul-rapping for it to make any sense.

I've done it, late (a bad time since you're rushing... and it was my first time), to clean routes and because we had to move the rap station by a pendulum over to a horn, where you couldn't get the ropes back to the second (in retrospect we probably could have done that differently!).

Part of the tool kit, but it there would have to be a really good reason to do it.. to overcome the increased risk.

In my opinion...

and 20 raps... geeze, can't we just walk down?
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Nov 4, 2012 - 01:11am PT
Something about trusting your life to your partner and all the other bits seem to give people the heebeegeebees.

I don't think it's the trusting your life to the partner that gives people the heebegeebies. Anyone who climbs with a human belayer would be silly to say they're not trusting their life to their partner.

Seems to me the bit that gives people the heebegeebies is the thought that the time savings are small enough that less-risky alternatives are a viable option.

If I simul-rapped, it'd be for fun...

I figured this thread would have died by post 25 at least...

Some folks like to analyze & discuss things...
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 4, 2012 - 01:18am PT
LS, it isn't about trust or lack of trust partner at all. Simul-rapping is more complicated and presents more ways for something to go wrong. In addition, when something does go wrong, it is more likely to kill both climbers. So, RyanD notwithstanding, there is an objective sense in which it is more dangerous than ordinary rappelling---the probability of a failure times the expected number of fatalities is just plain higher, and there is nothing anyone can say or do to change that. (See Ed's comment above as well, posted while I was typing this.)

Which doesn't mean there might not be reasons to choose simul-rapping anyway. Climbers make choices of objectively riskier procedures all the time, usually because they feel that the additional risks are more than offset by the extra speed their choices confer, but also because they are confident that they can control the extra risk factors.

The history of rappelling and lowering accidents suggests that confidence might be illusory, however, and my guesstimates above suggest the time savings from simul-rapping are likely to be pretty insignificant.

That still leaves some situations that might call for simul-rapping, like the absence of anchors at the top of a pinnacle, and if you want to do it for fun in casual circumstances, the heightened sense of caution and lack of stress would be in your favor.
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2012 - 01:29am PT
Damned if I don't love it when you guys all tell me I'm wrong...

hee hee

dunno if it's the way you say it, but it makes me smile!

:)!

Cheers

LS
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Nov 4, 2012 - 01:54am PT
Great points as usual RGold & Ed. Having both dabbled with Simon rapping I can see how u guys formed your opinions & they bring some good thoughts to consider. The one point I don't entirely agree upon is the speed argument. It is close to twice as fast if done efficiently by a competent party who is confident with the technique & has done it before(remember we'd be silly to pop the simul rap cherry in a storm or epic situation). Another factor to consider is that when simul rapping, if u are competent, there is 2 people & 2 sets of eyes to dbl check the system, mistakes should be easily noticed, especially if dbl checks are done (read: competent). I think many who do not approve of this technique have never used it, that seems pretty obvious from the replies by many here so I can't really accept your opinions as being anything close to valuable on the topic. I can attest to the efficiency & time savings having rapped a route one at a time & having simul rapped the same route on a different occasion. It is faster, quite a bit faster. I'm not saying that we should all sumo rap on every single rap we do but I'm glad I have the confidence to use this technique in the right situation.


Next time your at the crag or gym build an anchor 6' off the ground & try for yourself.


Edit- Ed in places like Potrero sometimes 20 single rope raps off bolted stations is the only way! I'll usually takes the walk offs any chance I can since I think any type of rappel is best avoided if possible:-)
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 4, 2012 - 10:42am PT
Craig Leubben, in his book on rappelling, calls simul-rapping "super-dangerous."

An experienced voice on simul-rapping is that of Will Gadd, who had a long post about rappelling on his blog with a lot of comments (full disclosure---I was one of the responders). A relevant quote is

Donít simul-rap and otherwise get tricky on your raps until youíve really, really figured your systems out, and even then simul-rapping doesnít generally speed things up much...I did a lot of simul-rapping over the years but have pretty much given up on it in the last decade, itís open to problems unless so many control measures are put in that it becomes very slow. Very, very rarely is simul-rapping justified by expediency...

Here is an interesting comment about speed from a Time Wave Zero climber http://www.summitpost.org/time-wave-zero/591986:

We do not simultaneously rappel anymore . Since this climb we have compared the time it takes us to rappel one at a time verses simultaneous rappelling. We actually rappel significantly faster rappelling one at a time than we do simu rapping and it is a hell of a lot safer.

The reason simul-rapping doesn't speed things up as much as people think is that the actual descending from one anchor to the next is a relatively small part of the rappelling process. Most of the time is spent at the anchors, in untanging snarls, and in freeing hangups, and these time elements are the same regardless of the rappel method. Even halving the actual descending times won't make that much difference in the total descent time, because you are halving a relatively small fraction of the total time expenditure. My guesstimates earlier suggest this as do the quotes above.

Of course, if a simul-rapping party gets down fifteen minutes ahead of a conventional party, they think they've gone a lot faster, but the time savings are really pretty minimal.

On the other side or the coin, here is one of the better arguments for simul-rapping I've seen, but note that the claims are for communication, not speed. http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=1503728#1503728

IMO, in less than optimal conditions -- windy, rainy, cold, dehydrated, injured-but-conscious partner -- or any other time when communication is imperative and yet not a foregone conclusion, keeping the partners together has substantial value...I think simulrapping may actually be safer than solo.

I can think one time in which my wife and I were rapping from Chrimson Chrysalis in RR, a notorious rope eater. I won't get into the details how, unless you really want me to, but I managed to get the rope stuck about thirty feet under me. I was at the anchor below, she was at the one above and I was unable to give her slack to hook up her device. I was also unable to communicate with her due to high winds and drizzle. And we couldn't see each other. The weather was obviously in a downward spiral and it took me some time to get down to free the rope. The whole time I had trouble concentrating -- all I could think of was my wife alone and confused, not knowing what was happening and unable to get down to me to find out. It was one of the most terrifying moments in my climbing life. Had we been simulrapping to eliminate the communication problem from the get go, we would have avoided a lot of terror. Luckily, neither us compunded the situation by committing further errors.


And here's a previous Supertopo thread on simul-rapping in which the OP claims a 45% time reduction (which I don't believe, but I could be wrong too). http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1505190/Simul-Rap.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 4, 2012 - 10:51am PT
Pretty funny, when LS and I talked about this recently (at an unfamiliar rap station where I couldn't see the ground) I mentioned that most of the climbers I knew would not endorse or do much simul-rapping, I also added:

"rgold does a good job at detailing all the ways to get the chop" or words to that effect.

Didn't I, LS? :-)

I get no heebeejeebees when certain partners lower me off routes - absolute trust, proven.

DMT
orangesporanges

Social climber
Nov 4, 2012 - 11:05am PT
There may well be
Other techniques/skills to become more proficient and efficient with
Thus negating
The 'need' to simul-rap
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 4, 2012 - 11:23am PT
Is there a thread about ropes getting stuck? That's always a good rock climbing story.
jstan

climber
Nov 4, 2012 - 11:14pm PT
Oh GOD no!

I feel a Locker graphic coming on.
cliffhanger

Trad climber
California
Nov 5, 2012 - 10:36am PT
"IMO, in less than optimal conditions -- windy, rainy, cold, dehydrated, injured-but-conscious partner"

These may be the times simul-rapping is most dangerous. When you're cold, injured, rushed, panicked, and not thinking too clearly.

"I managed to get the rope stuck about thirty feet under me. I was at the anchor below, she was at the one above and I was unable to give her slack to hook up her device. I was also unable to communicate with her due to high winds and drizzle."

Simul-rapping isn't the solution to this problem. In very windy conditions the rope ends should be clipped to the harness. Additionly the rope may be belayed out by the partner above or you can just take all the rope with you. This would prevent getting the rope stuck, esp. on a "a notorious rope eater".
klk

Trad climber
cali
Nov 5, 2012 - 10:55am PT
Believe it or not, I know something about rope systems, and such, and can think for myself having taken in input from others. Thus I have always done. Appreciate your advice.

Actually, it was a joke. Obviously not a very effective one.

I don't have any strong opinions on simos one way or the other.

Aside from my commitment to phonetic spelling. heh



crasic

climber
Nov 5, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
Is it really that much faster than a single rope rappel? Maybe what, like a minute or two a rappel if you are efficient

I usually use the time while my partner is rapping to set up my third hand, speeds things up and gives them an emergency belay if the ends aren't even.

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