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General => General Climbing => Topic started by: DLottmann on November 10, 2013, 07:27:30 am

Title: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 10, 2013, 07:27:30 am
Good info from the AAC:

http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201212427/Know-the-Ropes-Lowering
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Admin Al on November 10, 2013, 04:18:41 pm
great article by the AAC, one I think would be worth discussion.l let's see if we can keep any discussion on the topic, rather than getting diverted as is so often the case.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Pete Jackson on November 11, 2013, 10:56:40 am
great article by the AAC, one I think would be worth discussion.l let's see if we can keep any discussion on the topic, rather than getting diverted as is so often the case.

I definitely dig the AAC articles aimed at limiting common accidents. After 20 years of climbing, and climbing with the same partner for the last 3 years (my wife: she's awesome, but I digress), we've developed habits for lowering, and anything that deviates (rappelling, topping out) is discussed before the leader leaves the ground.

A couple habits we've gotten in to (we mostly climb sport, but most of these apply across the board):

1. Unless we can scope it from the ground, the second / cleaner usually asks, "What's on the anchor?" As in, quick clips or rap rings? This usually starts a discussion about how the second expects to lower off.

2. When we double check knots and gear, we also inventory cleaning gear. For sport anchors, we make sure the other has a tether, or has opted to clip in with draws while cleaning the anchor. If they plan to rappel, we double check that they have a rappel device (you'd be surprised).

3.  We've started buying only bi-patterned ropes (side note, it sucks when you have to cut off the end of your rope). We call out when the halfway mark passes. If the leader is not close to the anchor, then the belayer should be tied in.

4. Lots of people who visit us in Rumney are used to rap-ring sport routes and expect us to rappel off, so we discuss lowering and cleaning techniques with everyone who is new to us, local or not. You can never tell who expects what until you discuss.

5. When we rappel with more than one person at a station, we pre-rig all of the belay devices on the line before the first person raps. That way we can double check the last person's rigging. All they have to do it clip in to the device to rap, or better yet, clip in to it with a long sling before anyone rappels (unweighted). As soon as the first rappeller is off, the second is on without fiddling with the ropes or rigging.

With respect to the discussion about 35m sport routes becoming the norm, I continue to kick and scream and complain about this. I prefer shorter, lighter ropes, a 50m where possible. I also like avoiding lowering by topping out, which is something of a lost art at my local crag. :-)
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 11, 2013, 11:28:00 am
I think all 5 of your points are excellent.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: crazyt on November 11, 2013, 01:11:51 pm
When I'm climbing in a crowded area I begin all commands/communication by saying the persons name first.  Always interesting when one person says off belay only to watch several others obey the command. :)
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 11, 2013, 01:51:24 pm
... Always interesting when one person says off belay only to watch several others obey the command. :)

 :o :o :o
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: JBro on November 11, 2013, 02:47:34 pm
When I'm climbing in a crowded area I begin all commands/communication by saying the persons name first.  Always interesting when one person says off belay only to watch several others obey the command. :)

Yup I was leading at the Gunks one time when a leader next to me called off and 5 seconds later my partner called up that I was off.  :P
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: frik on November 11, 2013, 03:09:44 pm
Dude, that's only because you were taking too long, i was getting tired of holding the rope and went in search of a beer. At least i had the courtesy to inform you, you were on your own.

I knew it wasn't you, that said; "off". I can't believe you keep bringing this up... let it go.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: JBro on November 11, 2013, 04:39:57 pm
Pretty sure it wasn't you but in any case when you're belaying I always assume I'm soloing.

Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Pete Jackson on November 11, 2013, 04:40:15 pm
When I'm climbing in a crowded area I begin all commands/communication by saying the persons name first.  Always interesting when one person says off belay only to watch several others obey the command. :)

Yup I was leading at the Gunks one time when a leader next to me called off and 5 seconds later my partner called up that I was off.  :P

  :-\ Yikes.

That reminds me of one more convention we've built up over time. If the leader calls "Off Belay," there is no expectation that they will be put back on and lowered. Calling 'off belay' is never a part of the lowering sequence for us. Only the rappelling or seconding sequence.

I have seen climbers go in direct, call 'Off Belay', clean the anchor, thread the rap rings, then call 'On Belay' to be lowered. No no no! In these cases, I call for "Slack".


Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 11, 2013, 05:09:57 pm
When I'm climbing in a crowded area I begin all commands/communication by saying the persons name first.  Always interesting when one person says off belay only to watch several others obey the command. :)

Yup I was leading at the Gunks one time when a leader next to me called off and 5 seconds later my partner called up that I was off.  :P

  :-\ Yikes.

That reminds me of one more convention we've built up over time. If the leader calls "Off Belay," there is no expectation that they will be put back on and lowered. Calling 'off belay' is never a part of the lowering sequence for us. Only the rappelling or seconding sequence.

I have seen climbers go in direct, call 'Off Belay', clean the anchor, thread the rap rings, then call 'On Belay' to be lowered. No no no! In these cases, I call for "Slack".

Well said. I’ve seen this practice too and it make NO sense. Like the belayer needs a break while you re-arrange to be lowered?

Great tips so far.

Per your tip:

"3) ...We call out when the halfway mark passes. If the leader is not close to the anchor, then the belayer should be tied in.”

I think it’s a good practice to “close the system” every time before the climber starts. I wouldn’t want to have to wait while my belayer ties in when we discovered the route was longer than expected. To that note, I often close it just with a quick overhand on a bight... faster than tying in if I’m not following the pitch.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: sneoh on November 11, 2013, 05:30:51 pm
Pete, accept/embrace it, man; 35m, going to 40.  I carry a 70m rope now.  Next rope probably a 80m 9.5 or 9.6 mm.  It is the 18 draws that gets to me.  We split the gear up now more than ever, all draws to one person, rope for the other.

Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: strandman on November 11, 2013, 09:21:53 pm
I'm getting rid of some cams if you need more weight....?..47 is just too many
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 11, 2013, 09:43:39 pm
Pete, accept/embrace it, man; 35m, going to 40.  I carry a 70m rope now.  Next rope probably a 80m 9.5 or 9.6 mm.  It is the 18 draws that gets to me.  We split the gear up now more than ever, all draws to one person, rope for the other.

80m? Man, I hope this trend doesn’t catch on with trad/ice climbing. On average, a 80m rope will weigh 3 pounds more than a 60m. And packing 20 more meters of rope when not needed is also a pain considering most of us use the smallest possible alpine packs... I’ve had a few partners ask if we should bring their 70m and I’ve always declined... I love full length 60m pitches with no extra rope to deal with... Recent exception, Whites Ledge in Albany has me thinking I should add a 70m to the quiver, probably would go for a 9.4-9.5....
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: JakeDatc on November 11, 2013, 09:51:24 pm
70 is pretty handy at the gunks too..  can single pitch to the top of many routes or skip rap stations on the way down :)      uhh.. i mean stick clips and glue in bolts and sport crap and stuff   :D
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: strandman on November 12, 2013, 09:12:13 am
I was haefting an 80m X 9.2 the other day... a really long string !  But about the same weight as my 60m x10.5
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: sneoh on November 12, 2013, 10:10:39 am
9.2 mm SCARES me and I am a lightweight.  Just got used to 9.8mm after three years of "imposed training" put on by my friends and every 9.8mm Sterling Velocity you can imagine.
DMan, ice/alpine is a different story, I grant you that.  I am referring to all sport or "lightly mixed" routes.
Why were you hefting a 80m, Strand?  :)  A sporto now??  :):)



Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: strandman on November 12, 2013, 10:25:49 am
80m..yup...but at Peni you only need a 40m line !   I may have to do a lot ofeasy sport during recovery, though some of the local cracks NEVER get done
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Pete Jackson on November 12, 2013, 11:42:52 am
"3) ...We call out when the halfway mark passes. If the leader is not close to the anchor, then the belayer should be tied in.”

I think it’s a good practice to “close the system” every time before the climber starts. I wouldn’t want to have to wait while my belayer ties in when we discovered the route was longer than expected. To that note, I often close it just with a quick overhand on a bight... faster than tying in if I’m not following the pitch.

+1. This is probably the one area where I am most guilty of cutting corners, and probably one of the more dangerous. It's definitely important to have a closed system before the climber leaves the ground. We treat the "HALFWAY!" call as a time to re-check this.  But we should be double checking this before the climber leaves the dirt. If this thread has done one positive thing for me, it's has renewed my focus on this pre-climb check. We can always improve.

As far as the 80-meter ropes go..... when they start offering 90m ropes, I will buy them. And cut them in half to have two ropes of the length I prefer. ;-) My wife wants to start buying 70-meter ropes: maybe I should relent if she will carry the rope?
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: sneoh on November 12, 2013, 12:17:06 pm
Pete - if your wife offers to go climbing with you AND carry the 70m, you would be A FOOL not to take her up on it! :)

Tell you the truth; sometimes I get lazy, I just pack the 50m (chopped down from 60), ten draws, and two slings and head to the shorter crags at Rumney.

Edit:  I think chopping only one end of a bicolor rope is one of the more dangerous thing one can do.  Perhaps not for you but for someone else that might use the rope.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Pete Jackson on November 12, 2013, 01:02:55 pm
Pete - if your wife offers to go climbing with you AND carry the 70m, you would be A FOOL not to take her up on it! :)

Hah! Yes I suppose you're right. Soon, you have to meet Shana next time you're out at Rumney!

Edit:  I think chopping only one end of a bicolor rope is one of the more dangerous thing one can do.  Perhaps not for you but for someone else that might use the rope.

Good call! Trim both ends in order to keep the middle mark where it belongs. It means I retire it slightly sooner, but I would never forgive myself if a misplaced middle mark led to an accident.

There are plenty of uses for a 4-foot 10mm rope around the house and yard.



Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: OldEric on November 12, 2013, 03:13:39 pm
Be very very nervous about blindly trusting the "middle" mark whether its an actual mark or a bicolor.  Either lower both ends at the same time for a rap or get confirmation that they are down.  If doing mutiple raps at least lower them simulantiously for the first one and see where any marks end up rlative the the anchor.  Beware of marks warning that "the end is near" - it may be nearer then you think if they get confused with the middle... Confusing the marks has been the cause of many accidents.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 12, 2013, 03:21:55 pm
...Beware of marks warning that "the end is near" - it may be nearer then you think if they get confused with the middle... Confusing the marks has been the cause of many accidents.

This has been discontinued as far as I know... haven’t seen a rope made with these in a few years...
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: OldEric on November 12, 2013, 05:39:56 pm
...Beware of marks warning that "the end is near" - it may be nearer then you think if they get confused with the middle... Confusing the marks has been the cause of many accidents.
This has been discontinued as far as I know... haven’t seen a rope made with these in a few years...

Manufacturing may have been discontinued (Petzl doesn't seem to make them any more and they were the worst culprit) but therre was no recall.  There are still a lot out there.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: strandman on November 12, 2013, 06:05:20 pm
The end is near when you come to the KNOT in the rope
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 12, 2013, 07:56:40 pm
Well I am glad they are not making them anymore I don't think they were worthy of a recall for user error
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: tradmanclimbz on November 13, 2013, 06:40:35 am
Petzle is directly responsible for every person they killed and injured with that terrible system. No different than makeing a car with the gas peddal where the brake is supposed to be.
 An accurate middle mark is essentual for anyone who does a lot of rappels especially late in the day with bad weather comming in.  Some folks seem to like to ridicule anyone who relys on the middle mark and they often preach the lower both ends at the same time method. In the real world lowering both ends while feeding through rap rings is slow and twist and tangle prone. Know your rope and know your middle mark and things can move along much faster and safer.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: strandman on November 13, 2013, 09:14:35 am
A sad issue.. Paul Duval's death involved middle marks ???? Eric ?
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: OldEric on November 13, 2013, 09:30:38 am
A sad issue.. Paul Duval's death involved middle marks ???? Eric ?

That was the story I heard.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 13, 2013, 09:39:22 am
Petzle is directly responsible for every person they killed and injured with that terrible system. No different than makeing a car with the gas peddal where the brake is supposed to be.

Sorry but gotta disagree here.

If you didn't notice you only pulled 5 meters of rope through the anchor, or 55 meters, AND didn't knot your ends, AND didn't look for the ends of the rope while rappelling, that is plain NOT PAYING ATTENTION. Pilot error, not equipment failure.

Blaming end marks is a knee jerk victim protecting response IMO.

However they did the responsible thing by stopping production since obviously people were not paying enough attention to what they were doing.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Jeff on November 13, 2013, 09:40:39 am
A sad issue.. Paul Duval's death involved middle marks ???? Eric ?

That was the story I heard.

As did I. However as a mentor to so many climbers, I believe Paul would have blamed human error (which makes his passing no less sad)! RIP
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: strandman on November 13, 2013, 09:49:40 am
Agreed

maybe petzl should be blamed for making shitty ropes ?
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: sneoh on November 13, 2013, 10:55:40 am
Recently, a kid told me his Petzl rope showed core after doing only 12 pitches of sport routes.  The bad spot was quite far from either of the rope.  No sharp edges or worn biners involved apparaently.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: OldEric on November 13, 2013, 11:31:55 am
Petzle is directly responsible for every person they killed and injured with that terrible system. No different than makeing a car with the gas peddal where the brake is supposed to be.

Sorry but gotta disagree here.

If you didn't notice you only pulled 5 meters of rope through the anchor, or 55 meters, AND didn't knot your ends, AND didn't look for the ends of the rope while rappelling, that is plain NOT PAYING ATTENTION. Pilot error, not equipment failure.

Blaming end marks is a knee jerk victim protecting response IMO.

However they did the responsible thing by stopping production since obviously people were not paying enough attention to what they were doing.

It's prety easy when doing the post-mortem of any accident to conclude that it wouldn't have happened "if the victim had been paying attention" - chalk it up to pilot error (and infer that "I am better then that and it won't happen to me").  But accidents do happen and human nature is what it is.  Throw in the usual - cold, wet, dark, tired factors.  It's ironic that the 5 and 10m end markings were a response to just another variation on the same basic "off the end of the rope" accident. 
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: DLottmann on November 13, 2013, 11:41:22 am
It's prety easy when doing the post-mortem of any accident to conclude that it wouldn't have happened "if the victim had been paying attention" - chalk it up to pilot error (and infer that "I am better then that and it won't happen to me").  But accidents do happen and human nature is what it is.  Throw in the usual - cold, wet, dark, tired factors.  It's ironic that the 5 and 10m end markings were a response to just another variation on the same basic "off the end of the rope" accident.

I agree with all of it, except what was inferred. I am not "better than that". I am extremely paranoid of making a mistake because I recognize it happens to much more experienced climbers than myself. It is ironic the end markings were meant to help prevent an accident they contributed to.

It is true though isn't it? If the victim was paying attention they would have caught there mistake before it became fatal. There are multiple stages of setting up a rappel and many "best practices" commonly used to prevent this.

I just think some people assign more than reasonable responsibility on Petzl for this. Like the lawsuit over Tiko right now. Sue the quick draw manufacture? Gear shop? Then again if these dog-bones didn't come with instructions... ahh getting off topic....
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Jeff on November 13, 2013, 11:47:47 am
FWIW, I've used a 9.8 Petzl Nomad rope for trad for the past 3 years in CT, NY, WY and NH (50+days) and it shows no unusual wear. How many pitches of sport did "the kid" fall off of? How many falls on the same general area of the rope? Without a rope record it's all anecdotal. My other ropes are a Bluewater 9.7 bi-color and a Sterling 9.8 with comparable numbers of days in use over the same periods ( I keep accurate rope records--pitches, rappels, falls --very few of those), and they show comparable wear.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: sneoh on November 13, 2013, 11:51:05 am
We agreed that it is probably a one-off quality control problem.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: tradmanclimbz on November 13, 2013, 06:47:53 pm
Dave,  I have to very strongly dissagree. There have been only 2 accidents with the quick draws despite decades of use with rubber thingys on the biners. both involving kids and or females.  Despite a fairly short service life there were quite a few accidents with the end marks and many of those accidents were experienced adults. The fact that at least one manufacturer refused to join the trend with safty concerns in mind and that Petzle discontinued it is also telling. It was a terrible idea and it got people killed. No excuses.  The  real human error in those accidents was the guy who  came up with the idea of putting 3 marks on the rope instead of one. Watch this! Gonna mess some folks up with this one. Most of the people hurt were older climbers who had decades of experience with ropes only marked in the middle. It was a set up and it worked.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: lucky luke on November 13, 2013, 07:19:47 pm
It's prety easy when doing the post-mortem of any accident to conclude that it wouldn't have happened "if the victim had been paying attention" - chalk it up to pilot error (and infer that "I am better then that and it won't happen to me").  But accidents do happen and human nature is what it is.

it is well know old eric. In the text of McCammon 2002, the author explain that: "The familiarity heuristic is the tendency to believe that our behavior is correct to the extent that we will have done it before" (McCammon, 2002). Probabaly that he did the rapp many time and he tought that he was correct because he rapted many time and made a mistake.

Contrary at Dman, who accused the person to be careless, I suggest that people understand what McCammon explain and understand what they said.

It happen to every of us. We saw the hold on the right, we concentrate to place the right hand under the hold and grab the hold with the left...we do the move and we use the right hand instead of the left. some time, the brain do the contrary of what we want to do consciently.

Those kind of accident is not a lack of knowledge or that the person don't pay attention. It is a way that our brain work and we have to understand it to be safer.

Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Pete Jackson on November 13, 2013, 07:38:26 pm
The  real human error in those accidents was the guy who  came up with the idea of putting 3 marks on the rope instead of one.

Are we talking about 3 black stripes on the rope? Or are you talking about the ropes that have woven in "rumble strips" in the sheath near the ends? Having used neither setup, I can't really offer much insight, but I am following along with interest.
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: JakeDatc on November 13, 2013, 07:46:37 pm
The  real human error in those accidents was the guy who  came up with the idea of putting 3 marks on the rope instead of one.

Are we talking about 3 black stripes on the rope? Or are you talking about the ropes that have woven in "rumble strips" in the sheath near the ends? Having used neither setup, I can't really offer much insight, but I am following along with interest.

For a while a few companies had a middle mark  and then  marks on either end 5-10m from the end.   they have been discontinued because a few people screwed up, only fed 10m through the anchor, rapped of the short end. 

they were put in place to try to prevent people from lowering climbers off the end of the rope  or from rapping off the end..  prevent one problem.. created another. 
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: tradmanclimbz on November 13, 2013, 07:51:17 pm
It did not even prevent the lowering off the ends of the rope problem.  Marks on the rope will never prevent that because when folks lower they usually look at the climber that they are lowering not the rope. They always say they never saw it, just felt it slip through their fingers.....
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: Pete Jackson on November 13, 2013, 08:01:41 pm
Oh jeez. Yeah I can't see a black mark near the end of the rope being useful.

I've been curious about those ropes with the rough woven pattern on the sheath near the end, though. Seems like you'd feel that as you're rapping or lowering.

Of course, it's hard to miss a knot, which works with every model of rope out there!
Title: Re: Know The Ropes- Lowering
Post by: danf on November 13, 2013, 08:28:26 pm
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/lcc-accident/108435136
http://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/stories/lowering-accident-learning-opportunity