/ Castell Helen ab rope cut 3/9/18
I've given 24 hours to the person who cut the end of my ab rope to confess and explain on here or try to get in touch.
Accidents happen and I understand this, we as humans are not infallible. I assume what happened was after lobbing my abseil rope that was stacked on the half height ledge down the Atlantis corner, the rope hit the water and instead of trying to pull it out it was left there to get eaten by the sea, which necessitated the cutting of the rope.
I've not got around to checking how much has gone but if someone had the balls to try and find me on ukc (I logged the route I was on) to tell me how much they thought had gone and apologise at the bare minimum that would have been nice.
On a side note, did either of the other two teams on castell Helen happen to see a purple montane jacket? it was attached to the ab rope (in a way that wouldn't interfere with parties wanting to ab to the halfway ledge) along with my fleece as we had decided it was far too warm. When I pulled up the rope only my fleece appeared, so somewhere that has got lost and would be great to know what happened to it.
Edited for some grammar errors, probably still loads still there though
What happens after 24 hrs?
I think you should prioritise checking how much has gone over expecting an apology
Bugger about your rope and coat though.
Sorry but it is not quite clear to me what you think happened. Do you think someone who was at or near sea level at the bottom of Castell Helen cut your rope? That would need a sharp knife and I do not think many people go down there with one. Or maybe I have got it all wrong
Hope you find out what happened to your jacket
Loads of people carry a knife on their harness, I don’t, but I do carry prusics which are pretty good at cutting through ropes.
> Loads of people carry a knife on their harness, I don’t, but I do carry prusics which are pretty good at cutting through ropes.
OK, I never do nor my mates but thanks for that
Nothing, just asking to see if I can find out what happened.
Since I'm not out climbing till next weekend and not planning to ab in anywhere and I've been at work all day it's not been high on my priority list to check, it's cut and that's not gonna change so I'll check it when I get chance.
Not convinced prusics are the best tool for the job when it comes to cheese and chorizo though...have been known to use a nut key mind, so any port in a storm I guess
It was left on the half height ledge in good condition, someone used it to abseil down Atlantis and when I pulled it up it had been cut and coiling from the ends didn't meet the middle. I for one always carry a rope knife and some tat on multi-pitch routes but maybe I'm just wierd.
It's when you use a Nutkey to cut chocolate cake that you know things have gotten interesting
They are great for flipping sausages on a BBQ too.
I normally set up a belay at the top of the first pitch of Atlantis and abseil down from there, especially if it's busy.
Its unfortunate that it got chopped and that you lost a jacket. I've left a whole rack and my phone at the top of the crag there on a busy day by accident and they were exactly where I left them, but it could easily have not been the case
It's annoying and I hope it didn't spoil the day too much.
> They are great for flipping sausages on a BBQ too.
> I normally set up a belay at the top of the first pitch of Atlantis and abseil down from there, especially if it's busy.
With the BBQ or just the sausages?
I was with one of the teams there late afternoon. Was yours the blue rope? We abbed down the white rope about 2.30 or 3.00pm (the owner was at the top belay when we set off and kindly suggested so instead of adding another). Definitely remember seeing the end being sat on the ledge with a bundle of clothing attached as I went past. Though given that you'd evidently collected it by the time we got back up, and there didn't seem to be anyone else around, it may have already happened at this point?
I'm afraid I didn't notice if the jacket was on the ledge and didn't see one anywhere else.
Sorry this isn't really any help at all. Not really sure why I'm posting, just kind of rambling really. Guess I don't like the idea of someone thinking it might have been me even though we didn't bump into each other and I would have been completely anonymous if I hadn't posted.
Good luck finding out what happened anyway. Sorry for such a crap end to your day
eating ben and jerrys with an ice axe adze is a personal favourite of mine!
Cheers for posting, because there were only three sets of bags and shoes (including mine) at the top I assumed there was only three teams on the crag. Did you head down to do something out of the half height niche? If they were your bags at the top then maybe the owners of the white rope decided to use my blue ab instead to direct it to Atlantis corner? Who knows!
Thanks again, I wasn't sure if anyone saw the coat tumbling down the crag, it could have easily got snagged and popped off when I was pulling the rope back up or when the team was finishing the ab down the corner
What route did you do? Did you enjoy it?
So.... What's the best DIY way to seal the end of a rope?
Rotate it in a gas flame for a wee while until it starts to melt evenly, then seal with wet fingers
Or heat a knife up on a gas flame and when it's really hot just chop through.
Hot knife (naked flame ok but messier) finish off squeezing/shaping using some newspaper or kitchen towel best to insulate fingers and prevent hot molten nylon from gluing to your skin (not use raw fingers which can get quite cooked). If you are doing it indoors use your extractor or open the windows it can be a bit smelly.
I found that a hot knife only does a superficial job that often cracks, whereas melting it in a gas flame creates a more substantial seal.
Wrap in tape.
Cut with sharp knife.
Seal over an open flame.
10m of rope was gone when I checked, I guess it's only a 50m ab rope now....
Sorry to hear about this incident - we can only hope there was a reasonable explanation.
Whilst all the DIY methods sound super fun, do you not have a local gear shop/wall who you can ask nicely?
> Whilst all the DIY methods sound super fun, do you not have a local gear shop/wall who you can ask nicely?
To seal the ends of a rope? If you can't do that yourself you probably shouldn't be allowed outside on your own!
I don't know the area you're discussing but if you are saying the end of your rope was in the water were there any lobster pots in the vicinity? As someone who has had the 'pleasure' (twice) of having my prop tangled in random lengths of rope I could well imagine anyone with a boat observing your rope cutting it (justifiably in my opinion cause I would have). If I'm well off the mark then my humble apology. Oh and any yachty/boaty would have an extremely sharp knife to hand.
Well your 24 hours have elapsed, what now?
I imagine you should actually be thanking the cutter. This scenario springs to mind:
Another team uses your ab rope to below the ledge, the rope ends up caught up in the sea below, so they cut it to ease retrieval.
This has saved you a lot of bother, had you discovered at the top of the crag your rope was stuck, retrieving what you can would be quite onerous.
At which point, surely they ought to have the grace to 'fess up on UKC and offer to buy a replacement...
Whilst climbing might be a small world, UKC is much smaller.
The op should take this one on the chin, his rope, his responsibility. Next time set it up so this cannot happen.
> The op should take this one on the chin, his rope, his responsibility. Next time set it up so this cannot happen.
By, say, leaving it stacked on a ledge 20m above the sea you mean? As the OP says they did?
>"The op should take this one on the chin, his rope, his responsibility. Next time set it up so this cannot happen. "
Really? What... like put a padlock on the rope? How to you prevent someone fecking about with your ab rope while you are climbing further along the crag?
To be fair, I can imaging a senario where a jacket tied, to the end of the rope, is caught by the wind and takes the rope off to be jammed somewhere. Along comes a passer-by who thinks, oh look, that guys rope is jammed.... I'd better cut it so he can retrieve it from above without the hassle of having to come down here to cut it himself.
But what really happend is anyones guess...
Set the rope to length at the anchors. So it cannot go in the sea.
Well, I suppose you could do that.
I think most people would prefer to risk their ab rope being 3m too long and ending up with the end in the sea, rather than being 3m too short and THEM ending up in the sea.
I am not clear why the OP left 20mtrs of rope on the half way ledge. As you quite rightly say, you do not want to end up short, however too much can cause problems with ropes getting stuck and the like. IIRC, you can see this ledge from above, so 20m seems an extrangance and a temptation for someone else to chuck your rope and continue on.
Would the wise thing to do, be to set the rope to the right length, then a bit extra, say 2 or 3 mtrs? Just asking
Is Presley Whippet a regular troll? Can't tell if it's genuine stupidity or just put on.
It was beautiful sunny windless day once we had abbed day we were out of the wind and the sun came and it was perfect conditions! Hence leaving the jackets on the halfway ledge... Losing my jacket is probably my own stupid fault the cord probably wasn't strong enough and at point it snapped.
The rope was borrowed and dropped down Altantis corner the assumption is this was point it must have got snagged up in the sea as it was then high tide. It's had several near misses in it's life and this time it didn't escape intact. Ce la vie! An apology would have be nice but at least they did have the tools to cut it. As much as I enjoyed Atlantis doing it again to retrieve the rope may not have been quite as good.
Thanks for that, this is a lovely place isn't it.
Setting up an ab rope to ensure that it won't be eaten by the sea and you won't fall off the end is not difficult, it is a pretty essential skill.
I am of the opinion that the Op knows this and is cross with himself for messing up. He is taking out his frustrations by issuing thinly veiled threats.
Could you illuminate us as to how you do this on a crag you've not visited before? For reality's sake, please assume that there is a reasonable strength of wind blowing across the crag.
Use a rope bag clipped to your harness. Tie this off (preferably above the high water mark). This is the easiest method.
Or, first climber down is tied to the end of the ab rope, with rope lap coiled and held in a sling or laid over back of neckand fed out as needed. Once down, second climber pulls up spare rope and ties it off.
Option one is preferable as you can have jumars and a whistle in the bottom of the bag.
>For reality's sake, please assume that there is a reasonable strength of wind blowing across the crag.
Third method: daisy chain the rope from the top to the end. Fix the end to your harness and let it go - it unravels to broadly the length of the daisy chain. Start to ab; as you move, it unravels a bit more. When you can see what you going to land on, you can let it go. If it's windy, it will still drop. If it's going to go into the sea, keep it with you. If you know what's below and it's windy, a daisy chained rope is heavy enough to go where it's thrown and carry itself all the way down.
I found my abseiling revolutionised by the purchase of a cavers tackle bag.
Clip to harness, ab down to just above sea level, make yourself safe, clove hitch bag back onto rope. Never get a wet rope again.
You could do the same thing with the ubiquitous ikea bags too.
Not difficult if you can see the bottom of the crag. I’m pretty sure you can’t from the top of Castell Helen (you can see the ledge in question though). Of course you can ab in with the end and tie it off once at the bottom.
I'd be pretty pissed off if someone just set up an ab rope here just to the ledge as it would be effectively blocking anyone getting to the bottom. The op has done nowt wrong here. If you set up an ab rope at a busy crag then you have to accept others will use it you also should expect them to treat it with care!
Until your IKEA or other bag gets stuck when you pull it back up. That is the downside of this method.
>"Would the wise thing to do, be to set the rope to the right length, then a bit extra, say 2 or 3 mtrs? Just asking"
My GUESS is that the OP "just abbed in" without thinking through every possible outcome of having 20m extra rope at the bottom.
I'd care to wager not many of us have ever come back to find their ab rope shorter than it was when they'd left it. If not unprecedented, it would seem a rather rare turn of events and I can fully understand the OP's surprise, umbrage and lack of precautionary measures.
To ensure the rope was not eaten by the incoming tide or was snagged up I personally left it neatly on a half-tide at Castel Helen on a windless day.
The rope was then borrowed and dropped down the Atlantis corner at nearish high tide and I saw another team descended the rope. Dino simply wanted someone to find him and a private message with an apology. If it was his fault he would never has posted the message...
The coat now... that is something I'm aware is almost certainly my fault! And wish he'd never mentioned it as we all hate admitting our failures...
The cavers bags are fairly good at not getting stuck, but it is certainly a consideration. If you account for the terrain when you position it and pull back up from a sensible direction then it's usually not a big deal.
The rope was on the halfway ledge... Then borrowed. So no I didn't think what if someone takes this rope and borrows it and lobs it down instead of using a rope bag or clover hitching to themselves on the descent.... I left it somewhere easy to retrieve and anyway from rope eating sea.
You need to take this on the chin sunshine. You are not Liam Neeson. I think this is probably just karma for not be man enough to pull your abb rope and fully commit...
I felt pretty committed as he disappeared on the True Moments traverse and waved goodbye any easy escape! Double checking was made to ensure that both prussics where still safely attached to my harness... Fortunately its not hard E2
> Two methods:
> Use a rope bag clipped to your harness. Tie this off (preferably above the high water mark). This is the easiest method.
> Or, first climber down is tied to the end of the ab rope, with rope lap coiled and held in a sling or laid over back of neckand fed out as needed. Once down, second climber pulls up spare rope and ties it off.
> Option one is preferable as you can have jumars and a whistle in the bottom of the bag.
> Clever eh?
Option 2 sounds like needless faff to me. Option 1 doesn't do what you suggested, which was to fix the length of the rope to just the right length (i.e. don't have excess at the bottom). You can achieve the same result by just stashing the rope neatly at the bottom, provided you're abseiling in to some sort of ledge, which at Castell Helen you are. With Option 1 you've got the potential for the bag to get stuck when pulling it up, and it'll probably be heavier to pull.
This is quite possibly what the OP did, but decided to pull the rope up to the halfway ledge when they got there.
Bedspring, the halfway ledge at Castell Helen is huge. 20m of neatly coiled rope isn't going to get in anybody's way.
My rope was on the ledge
This didn't happen as the jacket and fleece were together, not at the end of the ab rope.....
I will try to remember that next time I have an opportunity to damage some of your property.
The mention about the jacket was just to know if the other team had seen it cascading down the crag or something similar really, probably snagged when being pulled up and came off but that's only a side point of the original post.
Pulling my ropes down a full sideways 60m abseil over a massive ledge for it to get caught on... Sounds sensible to me
Since I did set up a rope that wouldn't get eaten by the sea(on a ledge), I assume when you talk about methods of abseiling keeping your rope safe you are referring to the lack of skill the user of my abseil has in this task?
But by tying their jacket to it, is that not kind of saying do not use. I have climbed at Castell Helen many times, and used other peoples ab ropes and let other people use ours. I am just a bit confused by this circumstance with the rope coiled and jackets tied to it.
Anyway, all I wanted was an apology for something that's easily enough done by accident. I don't believe it was malicious at all, just one of those things that happens sometimes, but when it's not your rope then I know I would try to seek out whoevers it was to say something at least.
We threw our ab down with a plan to squeeze another route in if there was time(hence the extra rope). It was blustery up on the top and we set off in fleece and jacket underestimating the stillness and the sun that was to come. On the ledge we re-abseiled on one of our ropes (30m) down Atlantis. Once we were back on the ledge on the Atlantis belay (which was already set up due to abseiling in off of it) I realised it was far too hot and because my fleece has no harness loops and another ab line had come down I attached it to the ab rope in the thought that the second ab which was on a static rope would probably be preferred over ours. A bit complex but that's the story of how the ropes came to be where they were
Opted to get to Atlantis in a double ab (clearly unnecessarily). But the rope was set to allow access to the bottom if we wanted to another route. It was hot so we left the jackets on the rope when arriving back at halfway ledge. It was a Monday, there was a static line down as well whereas mines an old sport rope, the jackets were placed so they wouldn't get in the way another party using the lines blah blah blah etc etc etc
Ive abb at Castell Helen a few times over the years & alway used 120 foot rope (show's my age) right down to the bottom . Never been any problem apart from when some c--- threw down a fully coiled rope after just securing the end, it landed on the 1/2 way ledge still coiled just missing some beginners.
It was a CC meet that weekend so enough said
The other time was my partner had just clipped into the ab rope and in the time it took her to take off her belay and start to ab the rope went solid and nearly pulled her of the ab point. Luckily the ledge is quite large so no harm. Untill the dick head who was jumaring up the rope we had just lowered down showed his thick head. Never had a need for a knife on a craig till then. Not for the rope i might add but his throat
I don't know what happened to the OP rope or coat but he has a right to be aggrieved and some of the suggestion's of what might have happened and what to do to stop it happening again don't warrant a reply.
The memory of True Moments ect will help to erase all of the above, but as said UKC is quite small so we may never know
You and I clearly are not going to see eye to eye. You asked the question and I gave you 2 answers
Option 1 is a good option when it is windy (remember your criteria?) as it prevents the loose end of the rope from being blown into a constriction. The weight of the rope and the smooth texture of the haul bag mean it can be lowered and swung out of jams and/or slide over then. The spare rope can of course be hauled up and tied off and the bag carried by the second if it looks like snagging territory.
Option 2 can leave a clean end if pulled through, or be weighted by coiling the remaining rope and tying off if wind is an issue, this can be snaggy, the climber has to make a decision and take responsibility for it.
Neither are too onerous. Stashing the rope on a ledge can and does lead to problems, as is obvious from this discussion we are having.
A less faffy option is to chuck the rope down and hope for the best, but that would be stupid wouldn't it.
> Since I did set up a rope that wouldn't get eaten by the sea(on a ledge), I assume when you talk about methods of abseiling keeping your rope safe you are referring to the lack of skill the user of my abseil has in this task?
Both parties are at fault. You abseiled in to CH the most popular of the Gogarth cliffs. You should have anticipated others using your rope and prepared it appropriately. The team which took the rope lower should have taken action to prevent the snagging when they discovered that you had left it too long.
> >"Would the wise thing to do, be to set the rope to the right length, then a bit extra, say 2 or 3 mtrs? Just asking"
> My GUESS is that the OP "just abbed in" without thinking through every possible outcome of having 20m extra rope at the bottom.
> I'd care to wager not many of us have ever come back to find their ab rope shorter than it was when they'd left it. If not unprecedented, it would seem a rather rare turn of events and I can fully understand the OP's surprise, umbrage and lack of precautionary measures.
Hence my question, and trying to learn from other peoples experience. Its something UKC is good for ;-)
Cheers, just trying to understand and learn. Part of the fun always something to learn
Well, it was you that said that the OP should have fixed his rope to the correct length at the top. I asked how. You gave me two solutions, one of which did not meet your own criteria, the other (in my opinion) is a solution in search of a problem.
And if the OP should have fixed his rope to the exact length, and lets say he's climbing Lighthouse Arete or something, what should he do to set up his abseil rope for anyone who might want to use it to access North West Passage's start, given that to get there you have to go off to the right (facing in) and would need a longer rope. You're talking nonsense. The OP left his gear in a totally reasonable way (and I think there was another rope available to use) and somebody fucked it up and made no effort to apologise or reimburse him. Shite behaviour.
Re read your question, it was answered quite clearly. All 4 options, both long or short would suffice. The choice of sub method is condition dependent.
A second party on an ab rope take responsibility for themselves, if it is too short for their intentions then they must deal with it.
When abseiling into a sea cliff I always clip end to myself allowing me to control the rope on the descent. The learning point here is not everyone does this they randomly lob ropes down cliffs at high tide. Taking the gamble they've properly judged whether it's 55m or 52m or 58m they've chucked down and given the point below it could be a little tricky to get it precise...
The abseil is 55m. My rope was sold as 60m but I've lost 10m. So is the abseil 50m or was the rope actually 65m?
I really don't undestand your lack of empathy.
The OP didn't leave the rope in anyone's way; they didn't leave it on Atlantis; they coiled it and left othe rpersonal kit with it.
Somebody took it without asking (bad); moved it elsewhere (bad); abbed on it (bad) and f*cked the ab up so that they had to chop it (bad). So in what strnage world are you thinking that it's appropriate to have a go at the OP.
You come across as a complete arse to be honest.
OP - I'm really sorry it happened, and even sorrier that several people here have responded like f*ckwits.
Yeah I can see that a caving bag would be ok in most cases. It’s designed to be ragged round caves after all. An IKEA bag is much more likely to snag.
I do like the suggestion of pulling up the slack once the first person is down. Requires good communication though.
> The memory of True Moments ect will help to erase all of the above, but as said UKC is quite small so we may never know
It is indeed an amazing route! One of my favourites
Not masses of communication required, it canbe done on rope tension, ab rope slack for an extended period the first climber is belayer and the rope can be pulled up. Rope tight, that's your mate on the end. Drop a metre or two and tie it off.
> I really don't undestand your lack of empathy.
> The OP didn't leave the rope in anyone's way; they didn't leave it on Atlantis; they coiled it and left othe rpersonal kit with it.
> Somebody took it without asking (bad); moved it elsewhere (bad); abbed on it (bad) and f*cked the ab up so that they had to chop it (bad). So in what strnage world are you thinking that it's appropriate to have a go at the OP.
> You come across as a complete arse to be honest.
> OP - I'm really sorry it happened, and even sorrier that several people here have responded like f*ckwits.
I have offered a scenario which could have lead to the rope becoming trapped and cut and some methods to avoid a repeat.
I have suggested that the cutter made the best of a bad job by cutting the rope and that this should be recognised.
The general consensus is that ab ropes on busy sea cliffs are shared, it would be quite a mess without this. There is a worrying selfish trend developing though. I hear of a hilarious incident last week where a pair of climbers received a bollocking for using someone else's ab rope. They then rescued the bollocker and partner.
There has been no aggression, threats or insults in my posts, that cannot be said of many of the others, yours included.
I really think you are I the minority here, rather than be another random disliker i will say i think that the op has undertaken a pretty standard practice and has done absolutely nothing wrong whereas you are coming up with some pretty unusual practices. But then again I am very drunk (tasting of wines for upcoming wedding tonight).
Either way if you're an e2 leader it's an amazing route and possible worth a some ab rope. Personally I don't think think the traverse pitch is easy at the grade
Moral of the story if you're setting up an an rope think how others after you may use it and if your using someone else's an rope don't be a dick
> I have offered a scenario which could have lead to the rope becoming trapped and cut and some methods to avoid a repeat.
> I have suggested that the cutter made the best of a bad job by cutting the rope and that this should be recognised.
> The general consensus is that ab ropes on busy sea cliffs are shared, it would be quite a mess without this. There is a worrying selfish trend developing though. I hear of a hilarious incident last week where a pair of climbers received a bollocking for using someone else's ab rope. They then rescued the bollocker and partner.
> There has been no aggression, threats or insults in my posts, that cannot be said of many of the others, yours included.
No. I'm not having that.
You waded in seemingly without having read and understood the scenario properly. Shared ab ropes are fine - when they're set up and in place for the day. Not to be removed from storage in another place and set up (poorly) without any discussion. If the OP had left the rope in a sack, would that change your view? Why/not?
Holding out that somehow one should be grateful that someone has "made the best of a bad job" of damaging your property without asking, is straight up bollocks. Defending it makes you sound like a troll at best.
Yes but I would be wary of going by feel alone if you can’t see or hear what’s going on, which is often the case on sea cliffs. Could be all sorts of issues - your partner is on a ledge figuring out whether they need to be lower down or off to the side, you tie the rope off, ab down and find that you’re both in the wrong place and don’t have enough rope to get to where you need to be, so have to prusik back up; or what you think is your partner’s weight on the rope is just the rope stuck in a crack from being pulled back up, you ab down to find that you haven’t taken in enough slack after all; or your partner unties due to a misunderstanding and you end up pulling up too much rope and have to drop it back down anyway. Could end up making things worse basically.
It’s a bit like belaying out of sight and earshot - you think you can figure out when the leader is on belay but can’t be 100% sure so the sensible thing is to keep them on belay until the rope goes tight.
Mate, that's a gutter, I'm not too sure about all this talk about measuring the exact length of rope needed and tying it off or using rope bags etc, sounds like the methods of anal retentive caver types. Personally I (and probably about 90% of fellow climbers) simply throw an an rope down, if it goes in the sea I'll pull it back up stack it nice and neatly if there's a ledge, coil the end if not, then give it a wash back home. Sounds like you did the right thing, and the most commonly done thing, then someone else came along and (probably unintentionally) screwed up their ab on your rope and then cut your rope as a consequence. The point made of there being another ab on a static line there, already thrown down, makes the situation more bizarre as to why they would choose a neatly coiled, tatty old sport rope over an already in place static.
As to Mr whippet and some others making you look like the villain in this story, don't worry about it, probably those caver types i mentioned, we should all bow down to their superior knowledge and perform calculated risk assessments before dreaming about setting off on an abseil
Glad I have stopped climbing on rock due to shoulder damage when i hear the "risk assessment" come up. You got it spot on mate
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