The Masters


Jeff Ward - IFMGA/AMGA Guide

Jeff Ward is an IFMGA-licensed and AMGA-certified Alpine, Ski and Rock Guide. He grew up in the Northwest and is co-owner of North Cascades Mountain Guides (www.ncmountainguides.com) based in Mazama. Ward is a lead instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association and serves on their technical committee.



Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide

Martin Volken is the founder and owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA. He is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides over 120 days per year in North America and Europe as a ski, rock and alpine guide. Volken has pioneered several steep ski descents, ski traverses, alpine and rock routes in the Washington Cascades. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000 and has authored and co-authored three books on ski touring and ski mountaineering.

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and either Jeff Ward or Martin Volken will supply the answer.

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CLIMBING FORUMS


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Rappelling

01-Dec-2016 01:14 PM

Jerry

Jerry
Posts: 2

Hey Martin,

As a guide do you teach rapelling with a GRB? If so, which backup do you recommend (prusik, klemheist, etc).

Thank you,

Jerry

  Reply

02-Dec-2016 09:19 AM

CHWeston

CHWeston
Posts: 2

When I rappel with various climbing partners I have noticed that we all use a wide variety of auto-blocking 'knots' and cord types.  Some, like me, tie their own loop using cord, others have purchased a sewn loop.  So what is the best 'knot' to use and what cord material and size (e.g. 7mm, 8mm)?  

  Reply

02-Dec-2016 10:11 PM

Not Available


Posts: 1

With ropes and cord getting smaller and smaller these days I have a few rappelling questions.

1. What is the smallest diameter rope you would use on a double line rappel? Using both slots of an ATC.

2. What is the smallest diameter rope you would use on a single line rappel? Using one slot on an ATC.

3. What is the largest difference in rope diameter you would use on a double line rappel? Using both slots of an ATC and taking the knot and rope slippage into consideration.

4. What is the smallest diameter pull down cord you would recommend in that type of rappelling situation?

Thanks,

Bry

  Reply

11-Dec-2016 08:26 AM

Jeff Ward

Jeff Ward
Posts: 41

Jerry,

I'm stepping in for Martin so we can share the work load here.  

I actually had to look up what GRB meant but, yes I often use a backup to my rappel. Not always, but often. My preferred tools are the Petzl Dual Adjust for my extension and a Sterling Hollow Block (13.5" loop) tied in an autoblock hitch for my backup. If I'm trying to go a little lighter I will use a double length, nylon sling for my extension. Hope this helps.

Jeff

  Reply

11-Dec-2016 10:35 AM

Jeff Ward

Jeff Ward
Posts: 41

Bry,

I alway recommend going with the manufacturers recommendations when it comes to matching rope diameters with belay devices.  For the Black Diamond ATC Guide they recommend it can be used with ropes between 7.7 and 11mm.  That being said I wouldn't rappel a single 7.7 on an overhanging climb with a pack on without some other form of additional friction or a backup belay.  

Diameter of the rope is just one factor to consider.  Steepness of the rappel, weight of the person, additional weight carried, etc... are all important factors.  Also, some ropes of the same diameter are much slicker than others.  All of these things must be factored in.  Sorry I can't give you a hard number for these situations but there are many factors to consider.  

As far as pull cords go, when I'm using anything smaller than a twin rated rope I start using a "jammed knot" technique, where the fatter lead line is clipped back to itself, creating a single fixed line.  The skinny line is then just used as a pull cord and not threaded through the rappel device.  

If you haven't used this technique before find someone that understands it well or before trying it in the "real world".  

  Reply

18-Dec-2016 07:24 AM

CLM

CLM
Posts: 1

Rappelling is widely considered the most dangerous part of climbing, and for good reason - all of your security comes from trusting the rope system and rappel anchor. In your estimation, what factor, if any, unites rappelling accidents? It would be this underlying mistake that, if avoided, would prevent the all-too-prevalent fatalities and injuries associated with rappelling.

  Reply

19-Dec-2016 09:57 AM

Jeff Ward

Jeff Ward
Posts: 41

CLM,

The most common cause of rappelling accidents is rappelling off the end of the rope, either from uneven ends or the rope being too short.  The easiest way to prevent these accidents if by tying a knot in the ends of the rope.  Many people skip this step because they are worried about getting the knots stuck.  If that is a concern then clip the knots to your harness and keep them with you during the descent.  Over the years tying knots in the end of the rappel rope has become habit for me.  It's a habit I recommend everyone pick up.  

Jeff

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