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#219701 - 03/18/11 06:35 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: Mark_M]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1627
Loc: Northern California
I should start a new thread because I've moved on to other things besides surviving a chairlift.

Originally Posted By: Mark_M
Originally Posted By: ireckon
Originally Posted By: Mark_M
Or, assuming you have enough paracord, quadruple it up and twist to make a larger bundle, then do a leg wrap or dulfersitz for a controlled descent. Specifically, I'm thinking about the "Surviving Disaster" Towering Inferno episode (see Part 6).

Do you have a time code? Those videos are 42 minutes long.

Part 6 starts around 36 minutes.

Interesting...I've never seen a Dulfersitz performed without a steep incline for the feet. I've never seen it done on a vertical building. What about the other methods of decent in the video, has anybody tried those for anything?
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#219702 - 03/18/11 06:37 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: Alex]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6482
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Alex
The paracord rappelling was discussed on the forum many times. I was always arguing positively for that. Yes it's very dangerous but doable if you know what you are doing.

However since then I switched from paracord to a much better rope - the 3/16 Amsteel Blue. It's 10 times stronger and much more durable, also it's lighter than paracord (see the specs). I'm using it to hang my hammock in the woods all the time and it works very well. I have a 100ft piece in my camping/travel survival kit. Add a huge but lightweight aluminum carabinner, which you can find at some stores in form of a padded carrying handle (I've got mine at Kragen) and you can rappell much more safely. Add a 3/16 belay rack for easier descending control.

I heartily second parapete's comments about the ersatz carabiner and I would be very dubious about your choice of rope. Dyneema is very strong, but it is hard to knot and loses more strength in the knot than other fibers. It also degrades at temperatures as low as 150 degrees F ([u]On Rope[u], Smith and Padgett, pg. 26, 1996.) This is relevant because using a rappel rack like the one you reference can get very hot. I have sprayed water on my rig in midrappel and observed the water boiling away as it hit the rack. Dyneema and spectra make great climbing slings, but lousy climbing ropes.

There are better sources for climbing equipment than auto parts stores. They are called climbing stores.
Geezer in Chief

#219703 - 03/18/11 06:48 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: ireckon]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Hmm. Thank you for the temperature limit heads up. But perhaps it's OK for a single use? Sure, the dedicated climbing gear is better, but IMO, it's overengineered to adhere to way too many safety regulations. So it's heavier, bulkier, and pricier than necessary to justify carrying it for a single emergency.

#219707 - 03/18/11 07:02 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: ireckon]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6482
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: ireckon

Interesting...I've never seen a Dulftersitz performed without a steep incline for the feet. I've never seen it done on a vertical building. What about the other methods of decent before the Dulfersitz, has anybody tried those for anything?

The Dsitz is the original alpine rappeling technique and was the only technique taught when I began climbing. As the video shows, you need only the rope (and a secure anchor) to use it. Back when it was in vogue, climbers regularly sewed leather patches on their pants and parkas to reduce the inevitable rope burns. There is a great classic photo from the 1950's showing a dsitz rappeler in mid rappel from The Maiden, a rock formation near Boulder which features a 120', overhanging free rappel. It works just fine if you are well padded.

Even today, the Dsitz is occasionally useful, especially when time is short and you don't want to bother with putting on a harness, etc. In my opinion, you are not well trained if you are not capable of using the dulfersitz.

A technique similar to the Dsitz is the French arm wrap rappel - stand with your back to the rope, twist the rope around both arms, and go. This is useful on fairly low angle slabs. The leg wrap technique comes from arborists and tree climbers, I believe. I don't think it would be very useful on rock - you want to have your legs free and mobile.
Geezer in Chief

#219708 - 03/18/11 07:03 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: ireckon]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2301
First, do no harm. Rather than carry cordage not designed for that use, invest in safer and more reliable solutions; a bivy bag, cellphone charger, PLB, etc.

Me? Even if I skied 200 days a year I still wouldn't pack rope for that purpose. The cost to benefit is far too low. The odds are just plain unlikely.

#219715 - 03/18/11 07:21 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: Alex]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6482
Loc: southern Cal
Well, what is your life worth?

With respect to temperatures, the temps I achieved were with a single use. Failure of the rope due to heat would be accelerated when under load and the results could be very ugly.

Another point. Decent, purpose made climbing rope is versatile. You can do more than rappel on it. Sometimes you have to go up, or traverse sideways, or help a less practiced or proficient partner over a rough spot. A good rope can work well in all these situations, given that it is properly employed. This is yet another situation where knowledge is more important than the gear.
Geezer in Chief

#219735 - 03/18/11 08:41 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: ireckon]
njs Offline

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 41
Loc: Colorado
Rappelling is inherently risky, given that you are committed to trusting yourself to an anchor, rope, rappel device and harness. To use anything less than equipment specially designed for the purpose is a bad idea.

Using para-cord for a rappel line is basically near suicidal since merely bouncing the weight of a typical adult male can generate forces way beyond the breaking strength of the cord. Not to mention the poor cut and abrasion resistance of the small diameter Nylon cord and the difficulty using such thin cord with any typical rappel device or technique.

All that being said, rappelling is not an inherently suicidal activity, climbers, cavers and others are not dropping to the ground to serious injury and death routinely, just occasionally.

In the instances that climbers do hit the ground during rapping it seems like anchor failure and going off the end of the rope are the two most common problems. Anchor failure is difficult to generalize about but going off the end of the rope is true user error and most easily prevented by tying knots in the rope ends.

Rappelling is not some mystical or arcane art form to be practiced a select few, nor is it such a specialize technical activity that only very highly trained elite people can do it successfully. It is a simple activity that needs some basic instruction and practice to understand. There are climbing schools, guides and clubs all over the country that can provide basic instruction.

Back, closer to the topic of self evacuation rappeling, it is possible to obtain, very light, compact functional gear. A good example is the Micro Rappel system from New England Rope Company.

micro rappel set.JPG

#219783 - 03/19/11 03:56 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: njs]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1347
njs ... great contribution. Looks like someone developed this idea and made it work. Brilliant! I've got to check this out. It'll probably turn out to be cost-prohibitive :-(
But New England Ropes is a very good company, so their product should be good. I emailed them to get a retail price - I'm mostly just curious (not sure I would really purchase it right now). I'll post if I get a reply.

Pete #2

Edited by Pete (03/19/11 04:03 PM)

#219825 - 03/20/11 01:55 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: Susan]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Originally Posted By: Susan
People without functioning brains have a high propensity for dying. Let the ski lift people deal with the bodies next week.
Could you be more specific? Are you saying that everyone who gets on a ski lift without a PLB deserves to die?

Because that's pretty much everyone who goes skiing. They will be dressed for the conditions, but conditions will worsen at night. If you were on the ground you could find shelter, or make a snow-cave and maybe a fire, but on a lift you have no resources other than what you have on you. Getting stuck there probably won't happen, but if it does happen it'll probably be due to the lift operators not doing their job, which is outside of your control. It's not like you've gone skiing off piste.

Getting stuck there for five days is going to be a serious survival challenge. Even if you have water, there's a limit to what you can carry and still enjoy your skiing.
Quality is addictive.

#219879 - 03/20/11 11:31 PM Re: Surviving a Chair Lift at a Ski Resort [Re: ireckon]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
@Brangdon. I think Susan's comment, and she is welcome to respond one way or the other, was directed at the movie Frozen which the the OP was addressing and not people IRL (In Real Life).

If not familiar w/ how the 3 characters get stuck on a chairlift, they basically guilt each other into one last run down the mountain before a storm arrives, bribe a chairlift operator to let them go up and then are mistaken as coming down by another operator. Having watched the movie, one of the stuck characters and a ski lift operator are portrayed as not having functioning brains.
Don't just survive. Thrive.

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