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Contingency when rope is not long enough...

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by ebag irap, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. ebag irap

    ebag irap

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    Been lurking for a while, great forum...

    Quick intro: My background in rope work comes from SAR, where there is an SOP for EVERYTHING!!! I've been getting into the recreational side of climbing and canyoning, and at first I was extremely annoyed at the lack of "This is how you are supposed to do it"... I feel I have a pretty strong understanding of how rope systems work and how to manage them, I just feel weak when it comes to etiquette for the particular discipline. For this reason, I like to stay practiced in lots of different techniques, then choose what works best for the given scenario. For better or worse, I've been to a few of the high dollar Rope Technician courses and have been exposed to a bunch of different "right" ways to do things LOL!

    On to my question, which is more of a "how would a 'canyoneer' do it?" I know the answer, "it depends" :)

    Scenario: 150' rap, (2) 200' ropes, I want to provide a contingency for SRT.

    Option #1: Join ropes, set contingency with bend on rap side...
    Concerns: Rope length not ideal at bottom of rap, twists may cause problems... Maybe not a big deal, better way?? LMAR must be sure to re-rig block to make sure the rope will pull. No knot passing required.

    Option #2: Join ropes, set contingency with bend on block side...
    Concerns: Must pass knot IF lowering more than ~30' is required. Passing knots on a lower is not a big deal, for the small chance the lower is even needed. No re-rig for LMAR. Less rope comes out of bags.

    Option #3: Some "canyon" specific way that I don't know about ;)

    Any discussion would be appreciated. Again, I enjoy reading this forum and hope to be able to contribute.
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Welcome to the Kollective, ebag irap... Let's see the variety of solutions put forth by the members.

    Tom
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  3. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    It depends
    :D
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  4. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Seriously,
    It would help to have a more complete scenario
    Is your landing on dry ground, or into still water (a swimmer), or moving water?
    What is the size and experience level of the group?
    How would the person(s) on top communicate with the person on rope? Is there line of sight or a big roll-over at the start?
    Is the stance easy to rig as a contigency with a bomber anchor (disneyland) or not?
    Etc
    propose a canyon, and a rap, and a group?
  5. ebag irap

    ebag irap

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    Let's say...

    Dry canyon, bolted anchors set back from edge. 150' drop, some free hanging. Group size about 10, mostly teenagers, not super experienced, but not their first rodeo. This will most likely be the longest rappel they have done, so friction setting will be a crap shoot. Bottom belay will be provided, should mitigate friction issues. Person on top will be attached via edge restraint, so they can monitor person on rope, even while operating contingency if need be.

    Contingency will most likely not be needed, BUT it is so simple to set that it would be silly to have to do a conversion IF someone got stuck or "froze"...

    There will be a wide variety of rappel devices being used... 8's, ATC's, ATS, SQWURRERLL's and possibly a Totem or two... Rope twist could be a concern after a half dozen drops if length is not set??

    Realistically, aside from someone "freezing" on rope, a simple "stuck" can be remedied by dropping a biner on a loop to the rappeller, have them clip it to their belay loop, pull up with 2:1 and unweight the device so the "stick" can be "unsticked", resume rappelling.\

    Is rope twist a viable concern? This is a larger group than I am used to.
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  6. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    I would definitely set a contingency with your option #1.
    50 feet of extra rope is easy to manage (you can bag it and spin the bag if rope twist builds up)
    'stuck' can be most serious if something sucks into a rap device (hair, clothing, helmet srap, etc) so having a fast and simple contingency is a plus for
    your group. There is virtually no downside if LAPAR has the skill set.
    :)
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  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    There are many ways to skin this cat. I would likely do something like this:

    Assuming we have someone competent to send down first...

    Secure end of rope1 to the anchor. Drop ropebag. P1 raps down.

    Pull rope up to set rope length, with enough extra to provide bottom belay. At top, bend Rope2 to a bight in Rope1 just below the anchor. Put in a Contingency anchor on Rope2.

    You now have Rope1 set to length, with Rope2 available for contingency.

    Tom

    Contingency.
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  8. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Fiddlestick with stone knot. Rap one rope, pull stick with other. Bag both up and move on down canyon. Minimizes rope grooves. You could also leave one rope home and take a pull cord instead to save weight. (More risk if you're trying to skimp too much on rope.) Not technically a contingency anchor though.

    In fact, if you have two ropes, you have a contingency for all but LAPAR. Put the main rap rope on a munter/mule and keep the extra rope stowed in case of need. You can lower it down, have the person clip in to it, then release the munter mule and lower to the ground. Or you can just put the first person on a top rope belay, then have the rest of the group rap a single line with a bottom belay. I mean, it just depends on how much of a contingency you want to be able to manage easily.

    If I were out with pals, this would be fiddled. If I were out with beginners, every one but me would be belayed either from above or below and I'd use a munter/mule for everyone but me.

    The problem with joining the ropes is that you then have to pull 150 feet of rope, which in the vast majority of situations on the Colorado plateau results in very ugly rope grooves.
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  9. ebag irap

    ebag irap

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    While canyoning in my livingroom the other night, I actually came up with Tom's solution. I set it up with an 8 block instead of a munter-mule, and a figure 8 bend instead of a flat overhand. I like the idea of sending first man down before setting rope length, takes all the guess work out of it...

    Rocks down here are mostly granite, not much grooving to worry about ;) Do have to worry about sticking a rope in all the little cracks though! I don't have any experience with a fiddlestick, maybe sometime I go out with a buddy of mine who does this alot, he can show me the ropes so to speak LOL!

    I'm not super worried about taking too much gear, it's a short canyon and we have a ton of people. Not particularly in a hurry to finish either, just a nice leisurely stroll down canyon.

    We'll see how it goes :)
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  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    While some may disagree, I think there needs to be a compelling reason to use a FiddleStick, rather than just a "I feel like it".

    Tom
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  11. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    That is interesting!
    Are there any test results anywhere for stacked EDK's with one rope doubled?
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Not yet. Who do I know has somewhat of a testing rig? You got some Canyon Fire to test with, or do I need to send you some???

    (Canyon Pro (in its various forms) has an actual breaking strength of about 6000 lbs. Much easier to do tests on a rope that is only 4000 lbs).

    T
  13. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Ooooppps :rolleyes2:
    Put my foot in it...
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Oh, and, tons of spare time. Just sitting around Facebooking and Twittering...
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  15. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    You don't think "prevent rope grooves" is a good enough reason?
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  16. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    I think it is a good reason, however not every drop will it matter. On a 20-30' drop where the anchor is close to the edge there's not gonna be much grooving. On a 150' drop that rolls over the edge before going vertical, thats a different story
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  17. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Agreed.
    ratagonia likes this.
  18. CRNPRES

    CRNPRES

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    I would ditch the contingency solves most of your problems.

    With a simple mechanical advantage (i carry a micro traxion) and a VT, you should be able to change over a single straid with a biner block to a lower and get past a knot pass if needed. You do it in SAR for knot passes with a rack or SCARAB, same idea different tools.
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