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Brad_CA

Rap'ing off a sling?

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I've seen bail biners with tape wrapped around the gate to prevent them from opening. Not a bad idea.

not a good one either. i actually had to rap off anchors this weekend where taped crabiners attached chains to the hangers. fukin gay as a three dollar bill. screwlinks are better and less pricey and lighter and smarter and better looking.

Why didn't you replace the carabiner with a screwlink?

 

Are you a three dollar bill?

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can we have a reality check here? "always replace slings with your own?" come on. i have made hundreds of raps off of found webbing, and an equal number off of single slings that i placed myself.

 

think about it: how much force are you actually putting on a rappel anchor? 3-400 pounds, max, even if you bounce? usually less with the rope friction. a found sling, even frayed and UV degraded would have to be in pretty sorry shape not to be able to support that. most found anchors in the mountains have several old slings. even better. here's what i do:

 

1) examine the sling(s). occasionally you'll find that rodents have chewed on them back behind that big flake, so it's important to look at the parts that are on the back side to make sure that they are good. if the sling still has no obvious damage, a reasonable amount of its original color and is not too brittle, i call it good. the more slings there are, the less i worry about the integrity of any individual sling.

 

2) randomly rotate the slings around the anchor. this keeps your rope from adding to the "burned" area and distributes the load along the sling if it runs over sharp edges or something

 

3) i almost never use carabiners or rap rings. occasionally, i'll use one of the booty biners i've picked up if it looks like a difficult pull. but this is pretty uncommon. sure, i'll use them if i find them, but i don't believe that pulling an UNWEIGHTED rope through the slings causes much damage except in very high traffic areas.

 

4) rappell very smoothly. the only way to put a lot of force on the slings is to shock load them by jumping, swinging, slipping, etc. if you concentrate on moving slowly and smoothly, you will seldom if ever exceed a body weight load on the anchor. IMHO, this it far more important than whether or not you use a rap ring.

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Does anyone else use old rope sheath for rap anchors? I retired my old craggin rope recently and think this might be an ok thing to do.

 

Any idea what rope sheath might be rated to? Probably not as good as webbing but it seems like tubular webbing is usually stronger than the anchor anyway. Any opinions on this? I remember reading about using the sheath for rapping in some book a few years ago. I think it was "Extreme Scramblism" or something. And yes, I know webbing is cheap.

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I've seen bail biners with tape wrapped around the gate to prevent them from opening. Not a bad idea.

not a good one either. i actually had to rap off anchors this weekend where taped crabiners attached chains to the hangers. fukin gay as a three dollar bill. screwlinks are better and less pricey and lighter and smarter and better looking.

Why didn't you replace the carabiner with a screwlink?

 

Are you a three dollar bill?

 

man. i dont feel the need to upkeep rap stations. and i didnt have a screwlink anyway. but i am strangely attracted to jamie lee curtis. wtf?

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Do not rap off just a sling (rope through sling w/ no biner) when using two ropes of unequal diameter. As you rappel, the ropes will stretch at different rates which will cause them to equalize at the anchor and there will be movement where the rope touches the sling. This will create more heat and friction than if you were rappeling with two ropes of equal diameter.

 

For the gumbie climber--- yes, it is okay to rap of a sling without a rap ring. Keep in mind when you do this it is more dangerous than when using a piece of hardwear. My suggestion is if you're going to rap off just a sling and you don't want to leave any of your gear, first back up the rap slings with your own gear-- slings, biners, gear, whatever-- then let the fatter person in your climbing party rap first. If the slings hold, then you can take all your gear and rap with confidence on the sling.

 

Read Accidents in North American Mountaineering and you will be amazed how many occur while rappelling/descending.

 

bigdrink.gif Stay safe.

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Do not rap off just a sling (rope through sling w/ no biner) when using two ropes of unequal diameter. As you rappel, the ropes will stretch at different rates which will cause them to equalize at the anchor and there will be movement where the rope touches the sling.
Right, you want the fat rope through the sling so the knot will lodge against the sling and prevent further movement.

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can we have a reality check here? "always replace slings with your own?" come on. i have made hundreds of raps off of found webbing, and an equal number off of single slings that i placed myself.

 

I have been on routes in the past that are not climbed often, and have found old slings that looked suspect- in this case I chose to back them up. On more popular routes, there are usually a cluster of slings that are availiable for the rap. Using a new sling every time is not practical- carrying one with you should the need for it arise is practical.

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i rapped off a single sling in the alpine one year that i placed myself. went back next year by a different route to the same descent and my sling from the year before was so uv-bleached and rotted it broke when i pulled on it. obviously this doesn't happen all the time but it can. shocked.gif

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and again ... if you find old slings that look suspect and want to add a "backup" - then do your fellow climbers and snaf.gif s a favour and cut the old shit out.

 

In the Bugaboos supposedly they have found that pikas scavenge rap sling material to make their nests. In the winter time the nest itself is a food source for the pkas. Not much nutritional benefit to nylon. Do your part to reduce the amount of garbage that is harmful to the wee critters ... and unsightly messes yadda yadda

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well, i would agree that if the sling breaks when you yank on it, you shouldn't trust it... but i also think that most of those accidents in ANAM are caused by anchor failure and out of control rappellers, not sling breakage. obviously, it can't hurt to replace or add slings. it's good public service to do so and if it makes you feel safer, go for it. i'm just saying that of all the things that make rappelling dangerous, tubular webbing breakage is pretty low on the list of things i lose sleep over.

 

using a gear backup for everybody but the last guy is smart when using old slings. bounce testing the slings you're going to rap on while clipped to said backup is wise.

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I think there was an accident on Temple Ridge where it was thought that a rappel anchor sling failed just a couple of years ago. I don't remember if the sling broke or the knot came untied or what. That is the ONLY time I have ever heard of such a thing, though. I think Forrest is right: anchor failure, rapelling off the end of the rope, and just plain losing control are far more common.

 

One comment on Catbird's method of putting the knot against the sling when using ropes of different diameters: this is not fool proof. If you momentarily uneweight the rope, or even perhaps if you do not, the know may slip past the sling and thereafter you're facing the sawing that Matt's prior post mentioned.

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I think there was an accident on Temple Ridge where it was thought that a rappel anchor sling failed just a couple of years ago. I don't remember if the sling broke or the knot came untied or what. That is the ONLY time I have ever heard of such a thing, though. I think Forrest is right: anchor failure, rapelling off the end of the rope, and just plain losing control are far more common.
It was stefan and no one will ever know exactly what happened because the sling was never recovered.

 

One comment on Catbird's method of putting the knot against the sling when using ropes of different diameters: this is not fool proof. If you momentarily uneweight the rope, or even perhaps if you do not, the know may slip past the sling and thereafter you're facing the sawing that Matt's prior post mentioned.
Agreed. If it concerns you, use a rap ring, a biner or quicklink.

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furrest sed: well, i would agree that if the sling breaks when you yank on it, you shouldn't trust it... but i also think that most of those accidents in ANAM are caused by anchor failure and out of control rappellers, not sling breakage.

 

I would call 'sling breakage' a perfect example of 'anchor failure'.

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I think there was an accident on Temple Ridge where it was thought that a rappel anchor sling failed just a couple of years ago. I don't remember if the sling broke or the knot came untied or what. That is the ONLY time I have ever heard of such a thing, though.

jim boyer who wrote for discovery.com while climbing mckinley (and wrote for many other publications) died on mt lemmon from a fall due to sling failure. it happens. he even put a biner on to avoid friction on the old webbing (which looked great). $1 worth of new webbing would have prevented his death.

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also if you don't trust the slings and want to add a new one of your own that you do trust then cut out all the other junky ones. If they're no longer trustworthy then they're just garbage that needs to be cleaned up so do your part.

 

 

thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif I second what Fern says, let's work together at keeping our playground clean. It can get really bad out there. One time when bailing off of Cannon in NH I started clearing out all the old junk on a seldom climbed route. I was five pitches up and by the time I was on the ground my pack was full and I had to strap my ropes to the outside of my pack.

 

It is a good community service leaving a rap ring or bail biner when leaving sling so that it doesn't get cluttered up. I typically carry a few rap rings with me with some bail cord, it weighs nothing. With that said though as others have said you can rap directly off a sling and it is ok, just don't lower and I would recommend against trusting sling that left by others that don't have rap ring or bail biner on it, most likely they rapped on it and pulled their rope across the sling or cord.

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In the Bugaboos supposedly they have found that pikas scavenge rap sling material to make their nests. In the winter time the nest itself is a food source for the pkas. Not much nutritional benefit to nylon.

 

And snaf.gif too blush.gif This is one reason that they have started putting bolt/chain anchors on the more well used descent routes as well. thumbs_up.gif

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Just over a year ago, a friend and I were climbing a somewhat obscure route in Red Rock. We were in a rush and it was cold out. When my buddy leaned back on the rappel anchor and one of the three slings in the system broke, this sling was the only sling on one of the two bolts we were rapping off. The two slings on the other bolt held.

 

After the "incident" we looked far more closely at the slings we were rapping off. One of the two remaining slings appeared somewhat degraded. We cut this off and replaced the whole system.

 

In the parking lot we played tug a war with the slings and were able to break them!

 

The sun was the primary problem in our near accident. The slings had been degraded horribly by UV rays. Since this happened I've been far more liberal with leaving gear behind.

 

The question that you must ask when deciding what to leave is what is your life worth? Slings, biners, rap rings, whatever you need to leave...the moral of my story is not to rush and to check the anchors closely. Look carefully for damage on rap material that has been left by others.

 

Jason

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This is a tangential issue, but is bleaching of slings any indication of degradation? Are dark colored slings more resistent to UV damage than light colored ones?

 

They ought to start making 1" tubular webbing out of acrylic. It would last ten years. Those blue boat covers with which many are familiar are made out of a fabric called Acrylan. The fabric always outlasts the polyester thread used to assemble the cover. I remember restitching the cover on my Lido 14 two or three times.

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This is a tangential issue, but is bleaching of slings any indication of degradation? Are dark colored slings more resistent to UV damage than light colored ones?

aint you a chemist? i would reckon oxidation = degradation = 'bleaching'. i would think --like paint-- red is more susceptible than say white.

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Bleaching & the resultant stiffness is an indicator of UV degradation for sure. I prefer dark slings as this breakdown is easier to ascertain.

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UV degradation isn't necessarily oxidation. It has more to do with breaking of chemical bonds. There are compounds present in fibers that react with UV to form free radicals.

 

Red dye degrades before blue dye because it absorbs shorter wavelengths and reflects the longer ones. The shorter wavelengths have higher energy and break bonds. It would be difficult to say to what degree the dye actually serves to protect the fiber by absorbing UV energy. I do know that UV protective chemicals have been incorporated into sail cloth, particularly cloth made of Kevlar and Spectra. It is said that carbon black is the best protection against UV rays. Black slings are probably among the least obtrusive colors.

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um. oxidation = loss of electrons. formation of a free radical would help rection with oxygen too wouldnt it? (all that triplet state shit and all)? the oxidation number would be fucked with for sure.

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