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#101920 - 08/07/07 09:08 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: ducktapeguy]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Thank you for the link, ducktapeguy!

Well, IMO, instead of making threatening gestures, the professionals could make a comprehensive analysis of the potential threats of using paracord, and of the ways to minimize them with skills and knowledge. Like regarding the anchoring, for example, one could rig the rope this way: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/3-97-61/ch7.htm#fig7-13
in order to minimize the chance of rope breaking at this point due to the friction in the knot, which could simply melt the thin paracord. Which descending technique is the most paracord friendly? And so on...

#101959 - 08/08/07 03:38 AM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: Alex]
Raspy Offline

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 351
Loc: Centre Hall Pa
Like the others I'm not advocating repelling with out proper training. Using paracord as anything but a last resort is rather foolish. But if the choices are roasting like a marshmallow or trying to learn how to fly or levitate while falling. I would risk repelling with 550. Hey, If it breaks you are no worse off than if you had jumped. Maybe better because the fall started at a lower height.

So if you absolutely have no other choice here would be how you would try it.

First double the cord if at all possible. 1100 lb. break strength is better than 550.

Learn knots so that you can tie one that puts the least strain on the rope. You will have to tie at least one to anchor the rope. Along with that you have to figure out an anchoring system ahead of time.

Where the rope goes out the window and over the ledge pad it with something to reduce the risk of the rope being cut. A doubled up jacket or some other clothing can work in an emergency.

A harness is nice. But if you have gone that far you should go the extra distance and have the proper rope and an edge guard. But you can repel with just the rope. There are techniques that you wrap the rope around the body and use the friction as a break. Again these methods can be learned when getting proper instruction.

OK, you have started your decent. Don't use those bounding drops you see the swat guys in the movies use. The stops and the extra shock adds a tremendous amount of strain on the rope. It is called G-Force loading. You are pushing the limits already. Any increase could mean a long drop. What you have do do is slowly methodically walk down the side of the building. Your feet against the building will support some of your weight putting less strain on the rope. Going carefully will lessen the chances of shock loading the rope.

Again I don't recommend this method. But by using these tricks. It should improve your chances. Maybe just enough that it might work.
When in danger or in doubt
run in circles scream and shout

And always remember TANSTAAFL

#101966 - 08/08/07 05:10 AM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: Raspy]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Wow! Thanks!

What about the specialized simple descending devices? Like the compact figure 8 versions or something like this: http://www.rescuetech1.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=524

I understand that they'll require a harness and probably a carabiner. But one could improvise a harness this way: http://www.animatedknots.com/harness/ind...imatedknots.com

(thanks big_al! Found it in this thread http://forums.equipped.org/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=101877#Post101877)

It seems to me that a harness would provide a much better body weight balance and control compared to body wrapping methods (the rope is closer to the center of mass), and the descending device, on the other hand, is much easier to operate without much of practice. Is that correct? Is there any special concerns in using such a device with the thin and/or doubled paracord? In other words, are they designed to work well with the thicker ropes only?

#101984 - 08/08/07 02:38 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: ducktapeguy]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...82' of 5mm tech cord..."

Eighy two feet. An interesting length, I wonder why they chose that???

#101985 - 08/08/07 02:41 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: OldBaldGuy]
frenchy Offline

Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 1320
Loc: France
82' = 25 meters ???? maybe some kind of standard length ...

#101986 - 08/08/07 02:42 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: Alex]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Long ago I was taught, via the Yosemite Mountaineering School, to tie my anchor rope to a tree (or whatever), using a bowline on a coil knot. Seems like that should work with paracord also...

#101987 - 08/08/07 02:47 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: Alex]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Sorry about your friend. This story kind of points out the old saying, you can't help if you can't get there...

#102045 - 08/08/07 08:24 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: OldBaldGuy]
weldon Offline

Registered: 09/09/05
Posts: 64
I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to say NEVER rappel on paracord if there is any chance you will live otherwise. If you want small cord to try something like that buy some of the cord that is designed for it. DON'T USE PARACORD. Sure it has 550lb test strength, but think about how many cords go from your harness to your parachute when skydiving.... uhuh, it's not 2. The problem is that even entertaining this idea can lead to someone trying it and you don't have to fall far to break your back or anything else. Yes, they make devices for doing this, but NONE of them are designed for using with paracord. Sorry for how this is coming out but I can't stress strongly enough not to do this.

There are several kinds of stress put on a rope, you have static load (what paracord is rated for) and you have dynamic loads (you moving around while rappeling) and you have friction (rope going over edge, through decender) and you have the cumulative stress of the dynamic and static loads, every jostle and weight placed on it stresses the rope and those stresses are cumulative. Paracord can not handle these stresses.

#102047 - 08/08/07 08:42 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: weldon]
drahthaar Offline

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 110
Weldon - I think people get that you should not rappel using paracord except as your final option - especially since 8 or 10 posters said as much above.

I can see the basis for your concern, but I don't think discussion of this is will encourage people to try rappelling with paracord for kicks. No more than discussing what ammunition to use against Bears will encourage people to try and go share some meals with grizzlies or discussing improvised shelters and water collection methods will encourage people to hike off into the desert without water or shelter.

#102051 - 08/08/07 09:11 PM Re: How do you Repel Using Paracord? [Re: weldon]
Lasd02 Offline

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 130
Loc: Pasadena, Calif.

We are really making this WAY more complicated than it needs to be. Here are the facts:

Paracord has a breaking strength of 550lbs., let's say the average weight of any of us ETS readers is 200lbs...paracord is more than twice as strong as we need! Simply split the cord down the middle and 50' of cord becomes 100', I know, it's a brilliant idea and you are all asking yourselves, "why didn't I think of this?"

The weakest part of any rope is at the knot. The solution to this problem is again, shockingly simple; don't use any knots! Pull out the mini-bic lighter we all carry, melt the end of your paracord and stick it to any solid surface. The melted cord will weld onto the surface and provide a bulletproof anchor to rappel from.

How many of us carry harnesses? Probably none, and for good reason, they are totally unnecessary! A nice slipknot tied around the waist is sufficient in an emergency rappel situation. If you have the few extra seconds and are the, "better safe than sorry" type, go ahead and add a second slipknot around your neck to help distribute the weight more evenly.

So there you have it! The safe, time tested, USDMCA (U.S. Darwinian Mountain Climbing Assoc.) approved paracord rappelling technique. Climb on!

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