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#214565 - 01/08/11 03:15 PM Emergency Rappeling
hikermor Offline
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Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: southern Cal
I thought it would be better to start a new thread rather than continue the thread drift from the original question concerning belt buckle tools.

Tjin has a point - "emergency rappel" is a bit of an oxymoron. If you are planning to use a rope, you generally will take along a harness and a rappel/belay device as a minimum, plus whatever other goodies are necessary. However, the need does arise occasionally for an emergency rappel. I have been in situations where it was quicker and simpler to just wrap the rope in a good old dulfersitz and do it rather than fiddle with the harness. Correspondingly, on short, low grade leads it is better to just tie in with a bowline on a coil, do the pitch, and proceed. These situations usually arise on an excursion where there is a lot of hiking and just a bit of technical terrain to deal with.

It is worth knowing that there is a whole spectrum of techniques and associated gear that allows safe use of - 1) just a climbing rope - dulfersitz (body rappel) and bowline on a coil - 2) rope plus nylon sling material and rap device - basically several types of swami seat, -. 3) rope plus harness and appropriate hardware - up to and including the gear suitable for very long rappels and ascents (200 to 1000 feet).

In a way, I am fortunate to have started climbing when the dulfersitz was standard technique. Many climbers today have no experience with this useful, albeit somewhat painful, technique. Back in the day, we would sew leather patches in the right spots.
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#214567 - 01/08/11 03:45 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: hikermor]
Oware Offline
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Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 41
Loc: 49th parallel
I have used an arm rappel for short, lower angle rappels.

Doesn't hurt as much when you don't need as much friction to
control the descent. Also a bit quicker to remember for me
than the dulfersitz.

http://books.google.com/books?id=O_SNr4L...pel&f=false
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#214570 - 01/08/11 05:58 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: hikermor]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
US army calls the dulfersitz, a term I had never seen before, a 'hasty rappel'.

The hasty rappel is fine on moderate slopes and short distances and on a doubled line, with its extra width, it isn't to bad. I've did it using a single 7/16" line on a free hanging rappel and the best that can be said was it beat falling. The US army used three-strand rope that tended to cause spinning if you hung free. Feeling like you are being sawed in half and spinning made for an interesting experience. For a very long time I had a slightly pinkish stripe that wound round my body that made it look like I was into S&M.

Fortified with some early youthful experience we took to protecting ourselves using spare socks for gloves and stuffing extra clothing into the crotch and shoulder areas to limit the rope burn. Worked well enough.

For serious rappels we would tie a Swiss seat out of the rope and use a simple non-locking carabiner as a belay device. When I got around civilian climbers I was duly informed that my technique was "suicidal". Then again I didn't spend hundreds of dollars on gear, carry anything but the rope, gloves and a carabiner, or take twenty minutes to set up a simple 70' decent.

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#214571 - 01/08/11 05:59 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: Oware]
Crookedknife Offline
Stranger

Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 24
Loc: Washington
I agree that "emergency rappelling" is a bit of an oxymoron. That said, I've done quite a bit of scrambling where I really wished I'd had, at least, rope. Yet I never bring any because if all I'm doing is tromping around the woods for a week with a 25 lb pack, I don't want to lug around my climbing equipment "just in case".

I also get accused of being reckless if I mention that I'd like to bring just a length of rope for those times when I get stuck at steep inclines during off-trail hikes. I see rope + a body rappel as a huge leap forward in safety, but most people seem to think that the lack of a harness, etc., is an automatic sign of irresponsibility.

A few years before I joined this forum I'd compiled a list of the lightest equipment a person would need to do a bit of rappelling. It was centered around a Camp racing harness & the idea that 20' of rope can get you out of a lot of off-trail hangups. I never bought any of that gear, though, because I discovered that trail hikes could be fulfilling & challenging in their own way.

I'm not sure how I feel about those belts with a built-in clip for climbing. I could see how they could give under experienced users a dangerous sense of safety. I wouldn't trust one as a primary safety device, but I'd clip into one in tandem with a harness. By themselves I suppose they'd be safe for moderate inclines, but I'd sooner build a rope seat than use a belt for free hanging.
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#214572 - 01/08/11 06:24 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: Crookedknife]
hikermor Offline
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: southern Cal
Some years ago I worked in Canyon de Chelly (Arizona) and poked around a lot. It became my invariable practice to carry 60 feet of 3/8" climbing rope, even if no climbing was contemplated. I used that 60 feet from time to time, even without any other gear, and it smoothed out a lot of problems.

If we did plan to climb, naturally we loaded up with the appropriate stuff.

I think you are exactly right to carry some rope in that situation, particularly where weight is a consideration.






Edited by hikermor (01/08/11 08:59 PM)
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#214622 - 01/09/11 02:58 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: hikermor]
Ann Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 42
Loc: Western Washington
I am far from an experienced climber, but this thread piqued my interest and off I went to research. Here are some links of interest I found:

The matter was discussed here at ETS nearly 10 years ago.

New England Ropes offers what they call "Micro Rappel System". It is worn as a belt that can convert into a harness and contains 82 feet of 5mm "tech cord" along with other climbing gear. They claim it was designed for U.S. special forces. (No affiliation)

From what I'm reading, it appears that special material 5mm cord and even some 3mm is used for emergency rappelling in the military and by firemen, but it is considered a one-time-use item because it is overly susceptable to wear.This thread over at backpackinglight has been informative. No affiliation.

Again, I'm the farthest thing from an expert in the matter; I just like to read. smile

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#214625 - 01/09/11 04:51 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: Ann]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: southern Cal
Rope abrasion is a real problem, even with conventional ropes. It is even more significant with smaller diameters. I have seen an 11mm rope lose about one-third of its diameter from abrasion on sandstone as the result of just one relatively jerky rappel. Fortunately it did not snap.

If I take a rope on an outdoors trip, "just in case," it is just as likely to be used for leading or belaying, applications for which I would only want to employ a "real" climbing rope.
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#214640 - 01/09/11 09:11 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: hikermor]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1749
First of all get proper training. Reading it on the web isn't. I have seen some really bad practises on the web.

I know the dulfersitz, but don't really trust it or feel comfortable with. Apparently it is now recommended to wear a harness with a prussik on it, to back up the dulfersitz. Which kind of defeats the use of the dulfersitz...

I'm a sport climber, alpine climber and also do a little industrial climbing. I personally only rappel with proper safety equipment. Not much point in risking my life to save carring a few extra gramms of equipment. Besides you can get a harness, HMS biner and a piece of prussik for less than 40 bucks and it weights not much at all.

There are a few really know mistakes with rappeling:
- Rappeling of the end of the rope: Tie a end knot, big enough to get stuck in the belay device and with plenty of tail.
- Letting go of the rope (To much weight, not enough friction, trying to free the rope, etc.): Make sure you have a back up.
- Anchor failure: find proper anchors!
- Rope abrasion: check how the rope is hanging and use rope protectors if needed.
- Figure of eights braking carabiners: Allign it properly or use something else.
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#214645 - 01/09/11 10:43 PM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: Tjin]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Tjin

I know the dulfersitz, but don't really trust it or feel comfortable with. Apparently it is now recommended to wear a harness with a prussik on it, to back up the dulfersitz. Which kind of defeats the use of the dulfersitz...


When it comes to the dulfersitz, I guess I have an "advantage"-at the time I started climbing, it was the only technique for rappeling, so I learned all about rope burns and proper padding. I am comfortable with it, but the only sensible application today is for short, fairly easy rappels. One other thing, it is best done with a doubled rope - naturally. The advice to wear a harness while doing a dulfer is truly bizarre. One good, hot rappel will trash the harness completely.


In Yosemite Valley, NPS statistics indicate that rappeling is as dangerous as lead climbing - same fatality rate.

It is instructive to look at the American Alpine Club publications on accidents in North American mountaineering. There must be fifty ways to die on rappel - you definitely need to learn hands on from a good instructor. I was fortunate that way.
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#214660 - 01/10/11 09:15 AM Re: Emergency Rappeling [Re: Tjin]
Ann Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 42
Loc: Western Washington
Originally Posted By: Tjin
First of all get proper training. Reading it on the web isn't. I have seen some really bad practises on the web.


I am incapable of climbing due to medical reasons, so I do not see that there would be any benefit for me to receive "proper training". However I do see some potential benefit to others when I serve in the capacity of an Internet search engine on the subject--I enjoy the reading and would be doing it anyway. If others find that quoting Internet information is unhelpful or misleading then I will respectfully refrain from doing so in the future.


Edited by Ann (01/10/11 09:15 AM)

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