Hot answers tagged

20

The simple answer is the weight of your rope. When you're at the top of a pitch, you will have the full weight of 60m of static line below you, braking on your device. As you move down the rope, there is less and less rope below you, ergo less weight and friction on the braking end of your device. To avoid this, as well as any possible rope entanglements ...


19

I was thinking about this question while rappelling over an overhang this evening with my little girl and payed attention to exactly what I do: Plant your feet on the edge of the overhang, keep your legs straight, and let the rope through your descender until your body has cleared the roof. Think of the wall as flat ground, you want your body as ...


11

First some general dangers not related to melting: Burning your hands braking on the rope (can also happen with semiautomatic descenders like a grigri due to reflex) Uncontrolled impact on the rock Without a backup knot (e.g. prusik) and with a passive descender (e.g. tuber, eight) you may let go of the rope due to the heat induced pain or when impacting ...


11

This is not a direct answer but more of an extended comment about safety when rappelling on overhanging terrain. When rappelling over an overhang or an overhanging wall, make sure that you are certain that you will be able to reach the ground. Ideally you know that both ends of your rope are touching the ground. If your rope doesn't reach the ground you ...


9

Was it safe? Yes, you were not in any danger here (unless your tree was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree). Was it the best thing to do? No, for a couple of reasons, the most important being that it does not comply with leave not trace ethics, and can badly scar the tree. It's also no good for your rope, dragging your rope through dirt and sap can ...


9

I believe the "commando rappel" was invented by the military (special forces) though I can find no history of this. My understanding of the idea is that it allows you to rappel fast, gives you a free hand (to hold a weapon, handgun, etc) and allows you to see where you're going. So it's basically designed for rappelling into military situations. Unless ...


9

Climbing Magazine has an article about this situation. The basic game plan is to build an improvised tube device with four carabiners. The picture from the article is pretty clear: You can also do a carabiner wrap. It really is as simple as it seems you just wrap the rope around the spine of a carabiner until you get the friction you need/want. This will ...


8

Toss the middle first. Throwing your rope isn't always the best solution. High winds, trees, and rocky slopes can make it easy for you to get your rope hung up. Throwing your rope is only really advisable if you're on a steep vertical cliff and there's little or no risk of getting your rope hung up on anything. When you do throw your rope though, it's ...


8

Carabiner Braking Device You can make a braking device using only carabiners, which is how things were done before tubular devices, or braking plates: Source: Freedom of the Hills


7

I'm not aware of any special technique, as it mostly does depend on the actual situation. If you already rappelled quite a length, then the force pulling you to the rock might not be to great anymore, and if you feel confident you can certainly just take a big leap to cross the overhang. Otherwise I'd go slow. When rappelling you usually lean back and push ...


6

First of all, don't coil your rope in the "usual" U-shape, like climbers do! (example picture) Or in ASCII art ___ ------- //// o \\\\ |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| \\// \\// This form is good for carrying, but not for tossing. You mention "lap-coiled", so probably you already know that, but it's worth mentioning (for the likes of ...


5

An Aussie rappel is useful for when you need to see and work going forward. It's particularly useful on steep slopes, not just down vertical or extreme slopes you are going to run down. You may need to clear brush down a steep slope, working in front of you as you go, something you obviously can't do if you aren't forward facing and able to stand safely. ...


4

I love these situations "It tried it once, and it worked, must be safe"...... I am so glad aviation and car industry don't work that way. The answer has to be No, its not safe with ropes of different dimensions. Its also not safe with ropes of the same dimension. Which is less safe - I don't know and I don't care and neither should you. There is one place ...


4

Having rappelled in waterfalls while canyoneering I can honestly say it's not as scary as it sounds. The rope can get more slippery, but the key is keeping a firm grip. I canyoneer without sticky canyoneering shoes (because they're expensive and I'm cheap) and I slip and fall all the time while getting over the edge of a waterfall or while rappelling down a ...


4

If you have an ice axe, you can make a setup similar to the standard "carabiner braking device" - use the ice-axe instead of the additional carabiner. With this setup, you can get away with using just one carabiner. Also, (not directly related to the question) it helps if you cannot use your braking device because your rope got soaked with water and froze. ...


4

You do not say what size tree, but to me big means something like 1/2 meter or more diameter trunk. Presuming a living tree with no obvious movement of the roots the tree was infinitely stronger than your quick draw or chains or bolts holding them to the rocks. "Was it safe" is not the right question "was it safer than what I already accepted as safe enough" ...


3

Short answer: If the tree is a living and thick one, then it was OK. That being said, there are several reasons you should had done a proper anchor with multiple points (trees, in this case) and equalized, and then walked back again to the top. One simple drawback of your approach is, that the friction between the rope and the tree trunk, when you recall ...


3

I also agree that 8mm rope is pretty safe. I've done pretty close to straight vertical rappels up to 160ft on it while canyoneering (8mm rope is very common in canyoneering). I'm assuming you've gone on your trip by now, but for anyone else who might be curious, I'd like to address the idea of different descenders. The speed that you travel on the rope has ...


3

I think you invented a new knot, or at least one that is decently documented (my non-trivial search came up empty). Regardless, the bigger question (as others pointed out in the comments) is how it handles in various tests, and whether it fares better, worse, or on par with the flat overhand bend. Even if it was previously named, it may not have been tested ...


2

This reminds me of basic training when I was in the military. We started with the basics and went backwards over a 30' rock wall then I think it was a 90-100' rock wall backwards. When you do it the first time, the most unnatural thing was going from standing on the edge and letting the rope through your hands until you were still standing at the edge but ...


1

I have the truly terrible technique of rappelling down to the point of the overhang, stopping, turning sideways so the rope is only half my hips width away from the cliff, then continuing. It makes me look like a rank amateur.


1

This is basically a supplemental to imsodin's answer. In Marine Corps boot camp about 15 years ago I remember one of the instructors demonstrated in dramatic fashion how safe rappelling on the tower was due to the presence of a belayer below. The instructor took a flying leap off the tower and the belayer was able to stop his fall. Given that free fall is ...



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