/ NEW ARTICLE: Everything you wanted to know about abseiling

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Michael Ryan - on 28 Jun 2007
Loved by student groups, dreaded by climbers. a series of tips on how to make your abseils run smoother.

by Bob Wightman

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=167
Swirly - on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Quote "a length of sling or cord to replace existing loops (common on alpine routes where the sun bleaches the old rope that is in place)."

I thought it was because of damage caused by ropes being pulled through when retieved or through being blown around by the wind? Nylon is UV stable so other than colour bleaching the sun doesn't weaken it.
endless winter on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

why no mention of the pussik knot to back up the system?
In reply to endless winter:


Last but one paragraph

What about an emergency backup?

Given that in most situations you are totally reliant on the anchor and the ropes and that there is little you can do to back these up, the only other weakness in the system is yourself.

If there is a chance of debris falling on you then it is beneficial to use a French Prusik or Klemheist knot around both ropes. Whether this knot is above or below the abseil device is down to personal preference - I have seen valid arguments for both - my personal preference is to have the knot above the device.



Chris
sutty on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Chris Craggs:

He's a Canuk, they don't do reading and comprehension over there.;-)
KeithW - on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

The photos showing how not to drop your Figure 8 device are in the wrong order; see Bob's own website for the right order.
Michael Ryan - on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to KeithW:

Should now be correct. Refresh page.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I have refreshed a heap of times but it hasn't changed?

Chris
sutty on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Chris Craggs:

clear out temp files then, still showing wrong for me and just going to do disc cleanup to see if it helps.
sutty on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to sutty:

Nope, cleared stuff out and refreshed twice and still wrong way round.
Michael Ryan - on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Empty your cache.

Then take your cursor and drag across the url and manually refresh.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Actually - I'm not that bothered really!


Chris
KeithW - on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

> Then take your cursor and drag across the url and manually refresh.

<IT Helpdesk>

Then switch your PC off and on again.

</IT Helpdesk>
sutty on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to KeithW:

He wears a dirty mac you know, maybe things work differently on them?
Jon Garside - on 28 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: There's a free BMC leaflet on abseiling good practice, which is also available as a download here https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Download.aspx?id=14

We also have abseiling good practice posters in English and Welsh.

Jon Garside
BMC / MLTE Training Officer

Ian Jones on 29 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Something that might just save a life or 2. Years ago Chris Gore pointed out to me that it is a good idea to back-up your harness loop and he is right. The belay loop isn't really that substantial and over the years it will get a bit of wear. So either run a length of cord or tape through the same route as the loop or use a nice large screw gate and then your abseil/belay screw gate goes through the nylon loop and the 2nd screw gate. I was told that Todd Skinner died this year because of loop failure.
swingy on 29 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: http://www.wildcountry.co.uk/HintsandTips/SafetyStuff/
interesting video and pdf on belay loop failure
GrahamD - on 29 Jun 2007
In reply to swingy:

...Which basically concludes that they don't fail.
Paz - on 29 Jun 2007
In reply to GrahamD:

Is that only if you replace your harness every 4 years instead of every 20 years though?

I backed up my belay loops, becuase the tat was doing nothing else basically, but also because I belay loads of people through it (and because I'm a big fat coward on exposed hanging stances).
GrahamD - on 29 Jun 2007
In reply to Paz:

No - the article states that even worn through to an extent not seen in practice by any of the Wild Country staff, ever, on any harness - they don't fail.
sutty on 29 Jun 2007
In reply to GrahamD:

>The part that broke, called the belay loop, is designed to be the strongest part of the climbing harness, but Hewett, 34, said Skinner's harness was old.

"It was actually very worn," Hewett said. "I'd noted it a few days before, and he was aware it was something to be concerned about." Friends of Skinner said he had ordered several new harnesses but they hadn't yet arrived in the mail.

On Monday's climb, Hewett said the belay loop snapped while Skinner was hanging in midair underneath an overhanging ledge.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/10/26/MNGMBM08VF1.DTL&hw=skinner&sn=00...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=271445&f=0&b=0
Fidget - on 29 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Surely this article is just for retrievable abseils, rather than all abseils. If you're abseiling into a sea cliff or something, and want the rope there as a back up anyway, it's common to just use a full length of single rope (rather than halving it, or using two ropes) - this isn't covered. If it's just left out, fair enough, but that doesn't fit in with the section "What is the best rope to use for abseiling?" If the article was entitled "Retrievable abseiling - tips" rather than "Abseiling tips" if would make more sense :)
sandywilson - on 02 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good article Bob, thanks.

Mick, keep these coming!!
datoon - on 02 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Surely stopping abseiling off the end of the rope, the better way to stop this is to tie both ends of the rope together rather than just 2 individual knots in the end of the ropes... Different ropes stretch and having knots in individual ends has the potential to pull the abseil knot on to abseil point...

The article is good but not "everything you wanted to know about abseiling"...

For example extra information such as never climb up an abseil rope which is stuck...

Thread the rope that you are pulling through the next abseil point and coil the other rope so that once the next person arrives they can simply clip in and start pulling the rope...
GrahamD - on 02 Jul 2007
In reply to datoon:

Tying the ends of the rope together doesn't allow twists to come out of the rope.
Mark J - on 04 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Great article - thanks.

Other aspects to mention:
Problems sorting out untangling rope from trees/bushes etc when abseilling first; ok I know a prussik is best but doesn't everyone just wrap the rope round their thigh to use both hands?

When untangling with one hand and holding with 1 hand don't do what I did and get the bight of skin b/w thumb and forefinger sucked into the plate. Had to yank it out with injury for 6 months. Ouch. Lesson learned.

Could happen with long hair, clothing etc and its definitely a dangerous situation. Didn't Tom Patey die that way?

Rosi
ads.ukclimbing.com
knudeNoggin - on 08 Jul 2007
In reply:
The treatment of knots is not good. The names "overhand" & "figure 8" should
be qualifed as "Offset Overhand" & "Offset Fig.8" to distinguish them from the
Water knot/ Ring Bend & Flemish Bend / Rewoven Fig.8 . That the Fig.8 bend
isn't considered is somewhat surprising (hard to tell what the knot is by that
name in the Needlesports site--looks like it might be a pull-together knot like
the Fisherman's knot).
It's certainly NOT the case that the Grapevine bend is the only choice for joining
non-similar ropes. The Offset Overhand's asymmetry lends itself to such situations,
where one orients the knot such that the thinner rope makes the initial choke
of the mainlines; back it up by tying this thinner rope's end around the thicker
with an Overhand knot snug to the OOB.

The bit about rope slippage is mistaken, too: what might be observed of rope
pulled FROM a knot is not the same as material pulled from the tail into it--but
results from knot compression. Tests have shown little slippage in the latter case
(of end into rope) for the Grapevine or even a well-tied OOB (esp. at abseil loads).

Here is some information concerning the effectiveness of friction hitches in
protecting an abseil: www.chockstone.org/TechTips/ProtectingAnAbseil.htm

*kN*

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