/ NEW ARTICLE: VIDEO: How to rig an abseil

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UKC Articles - on 01 Apr 2010
[Castle Helen, Gogarth, one of the many sea-cliffs that require an abseil approach, 3 kb]This brand new UKC mini-series combines words, photos, diagrams and video to make it easy to grasp some of the trickier aspects of climbing.

With the most up to date info possible it uses the stunning images of Mike Robertson, video clips from Get Out On Rock and diagrams from Rock Climbing Essential Skills and Techniques.

Here professional mountain guide Libby Peter shows us how to rig an abseil.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2642

wolverine - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:
> This brand new UKC mini-series combines words, photos, diagrams and video to make it easy to grasp some of the trickier aspects of climbing.
>
> With the most up to date info possible it uses the stunning images of Mike Robertson, video clips from Get Out On Rock and diagrams from Rock Climbing Essential Skills and Techniques.
>
> Here professional mountain guide Libby Peter shows us how to rig an abseil.
>
> Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2642

Surely, in the checklist to make sure you are not an abseil disaster statistic: Tie knots in end(s) of rope(s)would be advisable too, unless the is a reason for this omission?
Mike
ahaynes - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: the rope was left over the edge of the ledge with no protection for chaffing or cutting. This particular ledge didn't look too sharp and I know the rope is static against it (unless she bounces around a lot), but a comment from the lady about the need for possible padding at that point might be useful. Otherwise a great vid, glad they included the prussic (SP).
Henry L Buckle - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to wolverine:

Some people prefer knots, others no. It's not a hard and fast rule, just understand the consequences of your decision.
always_falling on 01 Apr 2010 - acces1333.res.insa-lyon.fr
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article but whilst I only usually tie knots in the end of my ropes if I can't see where I'm going/visibility is bad, I think some mention of not abseiling off the end of the ropes might be useful.

Scarab - on 01 Apr 2010
In reply to wolverine:

Its mentioned in the video
whistler - on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:
Hmm. I thought that it was generally accepted that the prussik loop clipped to the legloop is not the best solution due to the possibility of it being pushed against the belay if flipped upside down (knocked unconcsious etc.) I'm surprised the "proper" method was not shown (belay device on an extender etc.) Having said that, the video describes nicely how a vast majority of climbers abseil (including me).
Great work!
Pete
Mark Stevenson - on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Similar to the last one. It is OK but the format still fails to really cover all the issues comprehensively.

The crucial requirement especially for novice abseilers of having HIGH anchors is not mentioned. A minor but rather basic omission.

I would never advocate just tying the end of the rope into the anchor and dropping the rest. You should always endeavor just to drop enough rope but no more down, especially at sea cliffs. Neither the video nor diagrams make that clear or even mention it. A fundamental omission for an instructional article in my opinion.

A demo or picture of using rope protection would, as already mentioned, be useful.

There was no demo of backing up the prussik with turns around the thigh. This is really essential as it is not safe to swing around hands off just relying completely on a French prusik for safety as Libby seems to suggest. This is a really major omission.

A final omission is that there is no demonstration or discussion of the failure of the leg loop prussik in the event of the inversion of an abseiler or discussion of the alternative method of extending the belay device with a sling so as to avoid this failure mechanism.

All in all, some useful stuff but free online articles are never going to be completely comprehensive.
jimtitt - on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:
A bit thin if you asked me, this is a subject with so many variables that its really not possible to cover in this format.

As well as all the points above:-
Is there enough friction before you go over the edge for that 40m ab on a single 9mm?
Yet again the equalised multi-point anchor so the numpties are confused by single stakes etc.

cyberpunk - on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to wolverine: If your rope reaches the ground, (which it clearly did in the video) there is no need to tie a knot in the end of the rope.
Michael Ryan - on 02 Apr 2010
In reply to Mark Stevenson:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)

> All in all, some useful stuff but free online articles are never going to be completely comprehensive.

And paid for printed articles even less so.

Great comments to go with this basic article and we will revisit this subject and link in to make it even more comprehensive.

Mick

ojp - on 03 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:
It would be interesting to see if anything changes when using half ropes??
The book also only covers one rope.
heist182 on 07 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Since they talk about sea cliffs they should have shown something on how to abseil with your rope. Untangling ropes from boulders at the bottom of the cliff in your boxers with waves crashing over your head is not much fun - I speak from experience.
jamescronin - on 09 Apr 2010
Clearly the check list at the bottom is missing some very important items.

Firstly - Check the rope reaches the bottom!!!

Secondly - Check the rope is usable

Thirdly - Get your partner to check everything

Forthly - Check it all again

If were going to publish articals like this clearly aimed at novices, and encouraging people to go any try these sorts of things then the descriptions must be right, and bomb proof.

I also don't like the idea of the anchors only showing two attchments. Clearly this is fine if it's a huge bit of chain around a steal piller at an indoor center, or a pair of freshly placed bolts, but if its outside in the real world, where your putting gear in the rock - we surly should be promoting safetly, and suggesting three being safer than two????

(Or am i just being old fashioned here????? )
jon on 09 Apr 2010
In reply to jamescronin:

James, I think you're just an old fashioned troll.
airbournegrapefruit on 09 Apr 2010
In reply to jon: I think he's got a good point.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Another omission (one of the most important things of all) that should have been mentioned under 'Rigging a retrievable abseil': the first person down must always check that the ropes can be pulled. Often there are problems with friction, the rope going into a crack, or round a spike etc. etc, which need to be sorted out before the last man comes down. Really page one stuff. Many accidents connected with abseils are the result of the rope/s jamming when the party tries to retrieve them. The worst scenario on a multi-abseil descent being when the rope jams when most of it has been pulled through.
jon on 09 Apr 2010
In reply to airbournegrapefruit:

Maybe, but his last (in fact, his only) recorded climbs are two V Diffs. This doesn't sit well against an article written by a well known internationally qualified mountain guide. Personally I question his assertion that three anchors should be used... why not four. Or five. Because two bomber (or even one...) anchors are enough.
jon on 09 Apr 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

The problem with 'definitive' articles Gordon, is that if you forget to tell people how to wipe their arses whilst abseiling, you're going to get pulled to pieces.
JSA - on 09 Apr 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

I've never used a prussik on a leg loop below the device, always from the belay loop to above the device, that way you're less likely to become inverted, also it's if the prussik becomes jammed for whatever reason a foot loop can be clipped to the prussik allowing the belay device to be moved up the rope enabling the jammed prussik to be unloaded(while still clipped to the harness) and unjammed.

I don't know if anyone else uses this method but it works well for me.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Conor1 - on 23 Apr 2010
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to airbournegrapefruit)
>
> Maybe, but his last (in fact, his only) recorded climbs are two V Diffs. This doesn't sit well against an article written by a well known internationally qualified mountain guide.

Jon, I thought you were being a little tongue in cheek when you called James an old fasioned troll, but then I see this? Why do people feel compelled to go looking up people's log books when they disagree with them and then, finding their 'opponent' is a beginner climber, use this information to rubbish their opinion on a public forum?

You might say that experience is relevant to a debate on rope techniques, but it's not really. If someone's right, then having little experience doesn't make them wrong.

Your point about 3 being an arbitrary number is a good point. Why make it pesonal by pointing to someone's inexperience and ability (if it had been two E2s I'm guessing you wouldn't have been so quick to point the finger)as a reason for disregarding their opinion?


Regarding the article, I think the format is great - the combination of text, pictures and video has the potential to explain things in a very comprehensive manner. But like many others I would have liked to have seen more detail. Obviously you can never cover everything, but I particularly would have liked to see some pictures like the ones of the prussik loops showing how to tie an alpine butterfly, which, although you can use an overhand knot, is a fairly central part of the abseil set-up. It's also fairly specific to this function and not something you're likely to encounter otherwise, unlike the italian hitch which is also brushed over.
jon on 23 Apr 2010
In reply to Conor1:

My sentence that you quoted explains itself...

< Maybe, but his last (in fact, his only) recorded climbs are two V Diffs. This doesn't sit well against an article written by a well known internationally qualified mountain guide >

Why do you find it strange that 'people are compelled to look into people's logbooks'. It's perfectly normal to look at peoples profiles to see who you are replying to. If a relative novice starts criticising an article written by someone who holds the highest possible qualification there is, then frankly I'd question their ability to do so. The way to assess this can only be from their profile etc.

Personally I think writing a definitive article on how to do something, aimed at novices, is opening a can of worms. It has to be simple enough for a novice to grasp, yet complete enough to satisfy those who'll go through it with a magnifying glass looking for omissions. A thankless and impossible task. I refer you to my reply to Gordon, two posts above yours.
davidwright - on 23 Apr 2010
In reply to Conor1:
> (In reply to jon)
> [...]
>

>
> Your point about 3 being an arbitrary number is a good point. Why make it pesonal by pointing to someone's inexperience and ability (if it had been two E2s I'm guessing you wouldn't have been so quick to point the finger)as a reason for disregarding their opinion?
>
>
Because proliferating complex multiple anchors is a classic beginners style which shows a lack of confidence in well placed gear and understanding of the mechanics of the system where 3 anchors makes you 10% more safe not 50%.

Also if it was 2 E2's you would be assuming that there was a significant body of experiance before the log opened. Not many people lead E2 as one of there first few routes but with VDiffs that those climbs do represent all the experiance there is quite high.

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