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gym to outdoors / top-rope to multipitch


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This could get a little toasty in the old crotchatola could it not? wazzup.gif

Howzabout just taking the rope below your brake around you back & across hips/butt (just like people used to belay) to your braking hand. You can kind of vary the drag effect of that by whether you face straight in or sideways to the rock.

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using an autoblock usually provides an adequate amount of extra friction, and atcs as a brake hand if the shit hits the fan and you let go of the rope.


sorry if I am missreading the context here, I just jumped to the last page.


our gym provides basic anchor classes and such that help people learn the fundementals of outdoor anchors, this can be simulated indoors.


I think people that take the class (and similar classes) are doing themselves a favor, as probly %90 of gym climbers just go oiut and wing it. maybe %5 buy a book first...


as far as first multi-pitch the smart thing is to find a guide or mentor. bigdrink.gif

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Arch, not for you, but for anyone new to the sport that's reading this thread: Since the late 60s I've used as my primary method of rappeling the dulfersitz, caribiner wrap, caribiner brake, Stitch link, figure eight, and now the ATC. I've seen all kinds of ways to make mistakes. For instance on two seperate occations I've had the chore of rescuing a woman with long hair caught in their rappel device. The rescue involved rapping beside them as they literally hung by their hair (very painfully) and cut their hair with a knife to free them. And I've seen worse. The bottom line is that its not which technique you use as much as knowing the technique you select very well and to practice until it becomes reflex. Equally important, use gear that's in the best possible condition and use it right. ALWAYS check knots, buckles, and the correct rope clip into your rap device. It's so unnecessary when someone dies from technique or equipment failure while rappeling. I don't like to lecture but I was very disturbed by the recent totally unnecessary death of Todd Skinner.

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I'm still kicking myself for a poor performance rapping off of Sky Ridge at Smith. First, I didn't take enough care flaking the ropes before I threw them. Second, I didn't bother with the autoblock. It was an overhanging double rope rap and the wind had blown the ropes into a flake. Leg wrap, pull out of flake. Now they catch on nubbins, another leg wrap. Now they are tangled. Another leg wrap, PITA. An autoblock would have made it all a lot safer and easier.

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Wow, back and forth and back and forth on this thread. My head is spinning and I feel like I'll probably rap off the ends of my rope now! hahaha And not many even tried to answer the initial "How do I make the transition from indoor to outdoor climbing" question.


I see no better way to make the migration outside than to find and attach yourself to an experienced climber, even if you said that was not an option. Books are good, CC.com has info between the spray, instructors and courses can work. Really all you need is to follow around some old fart like me and learn a few of the basics. some of my buddies have stories from when they first started climbing and its amazing they didn't die in those learning years smile.gif


With so many people on this forum and climbing gyms in the area I'm sure somebody would love to have a belay partner as well as someone they can teach a few things to.


As for the knot in the end of the rope. Why is this such a controversial and complicated topic? They can be a safe practice and good for alot of situations but not always.


Anyone who says they'd ALWAYS tie a knot in the line has never been in a situation where getting the rope stuck far outweighed the risks of having to mind the ends of the rope. First person down always risks a bit more whether knots exist or not. Blindly rapping the line assuming knots will stop you is what will kill you the first day you forget a single knot. Always minding the rope will always save you and that knot may also save you the day you forget to mind the rope but not the other way around. Now theres a circular reference!

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For instance on two seperate occations I've had the chore of rescuing a woman with long hair caught in their rappel device. The rescue involved rapping beside them as they literally hung by their hair (very painfully) and cut their hair with a knife to free them.


If you're squeamish about sharp knives and taut ropes, there's another way to deal with this situation.


Tie a prussik above the belay device, and girth hitch a series of runners so that the victim can tranfer their weight from the belay device by standing on the loop of a runner. Then they can pull hair or clothing out of the belay device and then sit back down and reweight. Remove prussik and away they go.

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I have found, through extensive experimentation, that by far the safest rappel configuration is the single-strand method with a Gri-Gri (reference Petzl instructions and practice under controlled conditions first!). The degree of control of descent, and freedom of movement in a "hands-off" mode (e.g. to deal with rope issues, scope out route alternatives, or clearing debris) trump all other methods, in my book. Believe me when I say that I have stretched the use envelope with this device to parchment-thin, and it has performed like a thoroughbred. Nowadays on the occasions when I rappel with a non-autolocking device, I am fairly gripped, and on orange alert for any Murphy's Law scenarios (not a bad thing, necessarily).

The caveat, of course, with the single-side rappel, is the pull down. On steep, relatively clean rock, the linking quickdraw between the ropes and the bulkier knot are usually non-issues, but obviously in choppier terrain the chances of snagging are greater. A good compromise in these situations is for the first to use the Gri-Gri, setting the rap course, then the second rappels double-strand, (after testing the pull-down, of course).


This is a very current topic for me as just a few days a go I finished setting a two-pitch 5.11 with a very "tricky" rappel- a full 30m in length and most of it free, with the last 10m kick-swinging to a hanging stance of "space station" that is well-off the line of the route itself. Needless to say, there will be prominent beta-note on that one in the guidebook!


Another little-discussed aspect of rappels is the timing of the "snap" as the end approaches the anchor. This is definitely an acquired skill, but once mastered, it can minimize the epicicity factor massively. In many decades of this business, I have yet to have to engage in the re-ascent or abandoning of a rope section due to snagging after a pull-down (I have plenty other types of rope-ascent FUBARS to keep the campfire burning late, of course).


Along this line, has anyone else had luck with backfilling potentially ravenous cracks, horns, etc. with rocks/debris, etc. to prevent snagging? I have even snapped off a few hungry-looking veggie-gargoyles in order to keep the rope falling happily (insert cringing eco-emoticon here).


As usual with climbing, paranoia is simply a more complete awareness of the possibilities. I long ago used up any luck I was given at the outset.

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Tradeoffs. Security vs. weight. You have to ask: how involved/steep are the rappels? Are there long and/or hard lead pitches where the extra security of an autobelay is valuable? Are the extra few ounces going to impede the team efficiency, and is that even a factor in the overall success, since not every trip is at the limit of speed and efficiency? One Gri-Gri in a party of two halves the extra weight; leader belays second w/ATC. The extra ounces MAY be worth it.


Everybody and every climb has their own calculus. Those young women on Condor probably would have been safer with a Gri-Gri (properly used), but there are many instances where the advantage is nil or negated (i.e. fast, light alpine).

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Bryan, if I am reading you right, you do the method where you tie an 8 on a bight on the "pull side" of the knot and clip it to the other "non-pull" side with a locker. then rap down the non-pull side?


I have seen other experienced folks use this method, but I don't think I'd teach it to noobs or gym climbers. Seems like there is more margin for error, like clipping the wrong side or rapping the wrong side, or something...


I think I'll try it out myself though.



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It's never occurred to me to use that grigri method on anything other than cleaning & route development, but it's certainly an excellent method for that sort of work, that's the reason I bought the widget in the first place.


Of course, being a worry wart, I always tie a back up loop below my stop-and-work postion and clip it into my harness, like a back up when jumaring.

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Yeah, Matt, that's the method. Definitely an alternative, not a primary for newbs or anything. However, since most newer climbers are used to working with handling autobelay devices, that hurdle is reduced considerably.


When using the "hybrid" (ATC+Gri) team method, the first can just tie off the rope, then the second sets up per usual.


In summary, single side rappel is most usueful for the following:


-Very exposed or free rappels


-Substantially diagonal raps


-When you want to deal with debris/obstacles/anchors w/both hands free


-Situations of serious fatigue, weather, etc..


Other situations offer not as much advantage, see tradeoffs as per weight.


As a local (Mazama) example, I would tend to use a Gri for Prime Rib, Restless Natives (free raps), but an ATC for Sysiphus, Inspiration (lower angle, straight raps).

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