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Device for Stunt Rappels

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by NevadaSlots, May 17, 2020.

  1. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    What device are you (or whish you were) using for those big rappels? ya know the ones that make 300 feet look small. Sticking with your standard set up? or prefer something more specialized?
  2. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Anything that long, the issue will be the weight of the rope below acting as a latent belay, meaning you'll be feeding on even the most basic belay device like a standard fig-8. Atwood's 8mm Grand rope (one of the smallest/lightest out there) is 7.8lbs/300', for reference, and that 8lbs is enough for me to not move.

    When you look at our canyon-specific rap devices, they are about adding friction as the weight of that dangle goes down.

    Think the issue you'd face is constant feeding until you get below that 250-300' off-the-deck mark (at my weight anyway); so the difference in 'setup' would be something placedaround/under the rope to protect it from damage over edges as your feeding bounces the rope - not so much a difference in the belay device itself...
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Over 300 feet? Maybe a Sqwurel. Maybe a Critr. Some skinny dude gave me a mini-rack and that would be my preferred device over 300 (well, over 360).

    And tricks. (Off-side leg loop carabiner, Z-rig). And caver-type precautions like having an ascendor ready for a one-handed quick clip-off. Having gear on hand to do various things including completely re-rigging in mid-air.

    Tom
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  4. PutUpYourDux

    PutUpYourDux

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    This. Also, if you don't mind using larger diameter rope (10.5 to 11mm), the Petzl Rig (basically at beefed up GriGri) greatly lessens the need to feed, as it is made for work at height / rope access situations where large diameter ropes and long drops are commonplace. The Petzl I'D is similar to the Rig but adds an "anti-panic" function such that if the handle is pulled back too far, the device locks and stops descent. It is reset by releasing the handle. I have found this feature to be an annoyance though as it tends to lock up even when you are not panicking, so I prefer the Rig. These beasts are bulky, heavy, and expensive, but they have performed like champs for me on raps over 500 ft on bridges, dams, stadiums, building facades, and more.
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  5. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    Thanks for the insight,Yellow Darts point about rope protection is one of the reasons I wanna know what device other people are using. Prior to using a canyon specific devices (Sqwurel , Critr, Hoodoo,Pirana, etc.) on a 300+ footer you know by the end, your gonna want both "legs" activated. Behemoth Mode on a Sqwurel, Initial setting Two on a Critr... and because this setting should only be applied prior to heading down I anticipate having to feed or at least help the rope into the device at the beginning trying to do so as smoothly as possible. Normally is not a problem so much, but on really long remote raps that rope jacking could be a more of an issue for a few reasons, edge protection being one, potential hand fatigue, generally uncomfortable and kinda unnerving, anchor being kinda cyclically loaded could be slightly concerning in some situations,etc. From what I've found (and what Tom said) it sounds like the solution is the rack, specifically a J frame as you can easily adjust from low to high as you rappel in more incremental levels. Would others agree? does anyone prefer some other device like maybe a bobbin-Petzl Stop, seems like the folks doing some big rappels in the Grand cn. used your standard ATC (with added friction ready to go I'm sure). Or maybe I should just learn to use my canyon specific device more fluidly?
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
  6. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    Those both caught my eye, problem is like you said compatibility is with 10-11.5 mm rope, most the time I prefer something in the 8.0 -9.0 range.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Perhaps I am stating the Obvious here but...

    The point of an in-process adjustable device (Critr, Sqwurel, Rack) is that it allows you to set the friction correctly for the top of the rappel so that you do not need to Jack the rope (or at least, minimal Jacking) and then can add as needed. On a 600 footer, on a Critr or Sqwurel you are likely to run out of adding options built into the device and WILL need to do something more advanced. One more-advanced option is to radio down for 10 lbs of bottom belay... not a good option when you are first one down.

    Captain Obvious
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  8. PutUpYourDux

    PutUpYourDux

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    Yea I feel you. I wasn't sure what exactly you meant by "stunt" rappels. They would work great for rapping down Snake River Canyon in a nod to Evel Knievel, but not so much if that canyon was located far away from civilization.
  9. clangingsymbol

    clangingsymbol

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    Hey Tom @ratagonia ... Can you explain this point further? I think I am missing something between the lines here!!! Please reference the settings you would be using throughout the rap! Example at foot 0, Critr ... probably 0 if I remember the settings correctly (I do not have a Sqwurel, so I do not know the setting lingo, but please use all that you know so everyone can reference on their device). Near foot 200 down, Critr to 1. Near foot 400 down, Critr to 2. Etc. Maybe it is obvious to others, but I am just not getting it.

    Thanks

    Brian

    My max rap is right at, or just shy of, 300' for reference.
  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    As I and others have promoted, The ATC, Pirana and ATS can be set-up at various modes labelled 0, 1 and 2. Other modes exist on the Pirana at least labeled 3 and 4... However in general these devices you set the mode and then rappel. On an ATC or Pirana or ATS, you cannot move from mode 0 to mode 1 while your weight is on the rope. We call this Adjustable Friction.

    The next step in sophistication is Adjustable-While-Rappelling Friction.

    The Sqwurel, Critr and Hoodoo (etc.) allow you to add friction while you are hanging on the rope in usable increments.

    This last concept is critical. I can put more friction on the Pirana, but it goes from "too fast" to "fully stopped". I want to go easily from "too fast" to "just right for now", and later to "just right for the new now". On a 300' rappel, I find I have to make one adjustment at 100' down and another at 200' down. This is about the number of adjustments that the 'modern' devices allow. After that - we are back to tricks.

    I kinda think the show and tell on these adjustments is is out there - have a look around.

    T
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  11. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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  12. clangingsymbol01

    clangingsymbol01

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    So if I understand you correctly, the problem is the number of friction settings one would need on the example 600 ft rappel...and that being more the the three on the critr. That makes sense.

    I have moved through say a 1 friction to a 2 friction on my critr during the longer raps (Englestead, Not Imlay and Insomnia). I guess where I missed the connection was needing more stops above the 300' height.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Brian

    PS...I think I have two different sign ons... clangingsymbol above and clangingsymbol01 for this one.
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Just to be clear, I have tried to establish a nomenclature for rappel settings - as shown here: https://www.canyoneeringusa.com/techtips/how-to-use-a-petzl-pirana Thus, I do not think you went from "1" to "2" in the middle of the Heaps ultimate rap.

    Not trying to 'make you wrong' - just trying to set up a way of talking about this peculiar technical issue with clarity.

    Tom
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  14. clangingsymbol01

    clangingsymbol01

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    No offense taken Tom. Thanks for the read on CUSA!!! Makes it even clearer!!!

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
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