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Best Sequence for When the Pull Cord Should Be Brought Down?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Torresdesa, May 26, 2020.

  1. Torresdesa

    Torresdesa

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    Location:
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Hey all, new member here from Hawaii. Recently I had a friendly disagreement with a good friend about who should throw the pull cord and when it should go down. Keep in mind that the canyons we run are normally wet and have textured waterfalls with many opportunities to snag ropes on little ledges and rocks.

    My friend believed that the LMAR should take the pull cord down as they go down.

    What I thought to be a good order of operations for a 3 person team was:
    1st person: (As the carabiner block on top is backed up) Rappels down, clears the rope bag off any ledges it may have gotten caught on, secure the rappel line to the bottom of the drop, and communicates with the team on top of the drop to set the rope length once off rappel.
    2nd person: (As the carabiner block on top is backed up) Clips rope bag containing pull cord onto harness, allow the pull cord to deploy as they go down, once they reach the bottom, set the pull cord off to the side, out of the way of the rappel strand.
    3rd person (LMAR): Goes does and makes sure the rappel strand is set in a good location to minimize the risk of a stuck rope.

    With this order of operations, everyone plays a part in a safe rappel and hopefully easy rope retrieval. Also, the LMAR isn't overwhelmed and doesn't have to worry about the pull cord. IN ADDITION, after the 2nd person secures the pull cord, they can test the rope pull to see if the rope will release smoothly. When the pull cord is down, you have guys on the top and bottom of the drop to fix any errors if anything is wrong with the pull cord. If the LMAR takes the pull cord down and loses control of it and it goes out of his reach caught on a ledge somewhere, he must ascend—this problem is completely eliminated if the 2nd guy takes the pull cord down. Also I think it goes without saying, rope bags make everything smoother with pull cords too.

    Please share your thoughts on this sequence and if you like it or disagree with it and agree with my friend for any reason. Thanks!
  2. PutUpYourDux

    PutUpYourDux

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    If the pull cord/rope is attached to a toggle (Fiddlestick, Smooth Operator, other), I personally would opt to toss it rather than deploying on rappel to avoid accidentally pulling to toggle out while on rappel. Regardless of whether the pull cord/rope is tossed or deployed on rappel, I generally prefer the last down to handle it, as they can rig their rappel device first and then toss/deploy, eliminating the possibility of rappelling on the pull cord/rope. Your system would work though assuming the last down always confirms they are on the correct strand before disconnecting from the anchor (if applicable) and beginning to rappel.
    Smhunter1983 and Torresdesa like this.
  3. Torresdesa

    Torresdesa

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    Location:
    Oahu, Hawaii
    If a toggle is being used, then yes tossing it is definitely the way to go. Making sure you rappel on the right strand is critical and I think it's just best to throw the pull early, and have the guys on top double check that the person going down next is rigged on the right strand. The LMAR just has to be sure he's on the right strand, as he has no guy on top to check. However, a walkie talkie message from ground guys to the LMAR ensuring he's on the right strand is a good safety measure as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, appreciated.
  4. Smhunter1983

    Smhunter1983

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    Last man throws in my experience. Bag stays close/behind the anchor. That way NO one can rig to the pull side because its not deployed. 2c. Open to hear what other sure fire methods legends use.
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
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    I'm in the second to last person takes the pull cord school of thought. That way, the option of carrying it down (when appropropriate) or throwing it (w.a.) or some of each is available, since the toggle is still safetied off at that point.

    I see a fair amount of personal choice and situational dependency here; but I like having the tasks for the last person be as simple and as few as possible. Also, if the pull cord is not long enough, then the last person can set themselves up to deal with it (rather than discovering the problem 50 feet off the deck and at that point figuring out what to do).

    Tom
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
    Mountaineer, Ali Miller and Bootboy like this.
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