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Escapes and Captures

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Ram, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Ram

    Ram

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    Here is an escape and a capture from No Kidding album with further explanation


    Justin at 82 pounds is lifted up, bellies out and then becomes the anchor for his dad Scott, who is twice his weight. He is able to do it because he has established good geometry, although he might have benefited from being further back around another corner. Bends in the rope take enormous weight off. Scott could have been gentler going over the top too, bellying up helps reduce the force. It is best if Justin has the rope through his belay devise and with a fair bit of extra rope, as opposed to being tied in, say with a figure 8. This allows him to release rope, if the weight of his dad becomes too much. A safety value in a way
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    While this escape was occurring, just up canyon we have Jenny doing a "last Person At Risk" downclimb into a capture. She initially starts down, but there is a gap between her lowest foot and the reach of her capturers. She would perhaps come in "too hot" to control safely. See below
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    It would probably be OK, but if you do it a lot, better to be more conservative. The slight overhang at the bottom makes a big difference on what the capture people can accomplish easily.

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    At this point, Jenny retreats back up, displaying flexibility and strength. We toss a rope up to her, that is attached to a pack. She places the pack in a groove up above and deploys the rope down the drop. This is called a "Pack Drag." You can wedge the pack enough to support an additional relief of 10-25 pounds or so, which allows for better control on descent. It kinda feels like reduced gravity a bit. The pack can't be too wedged in, or it won't be retrievable. After the pack is placed, we do a test of the pack pull. Steph, who took this series of pictures, takes the rope from the place she took the pictures and confirmed that the pack will pull down. Then Jenny places it again and starts down as before
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    With the extra resistance from the pack and rope Jenny can ease down with better control and we can get her foot
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    What happens next is critical. Jenny will square up directly above us and SURRENDER!. She does this by straightening her legs and molding her body to the rock, to create the maximum friction. If she fails to do this, especially BENT KNEES, she would exert MUCH more forces on us and we could easily drop her. The friction is what makes it work. THIS IS THE MOST FREQUENT ERROR! You have to trust your capturers. We move our hands up her from feet to calf, to knee to thigh. We do so, when practical, with locked wrists and elbows, increasing our strength significantly. As soon as is practical for Jenny, she uses our shoulders for enhanced balance of the whole pyramid.
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    When the rock remains less than or vertical, it is easy to bring the person all the way to the ground. In this case it is slightly overhung near the bottom. The capture folks can wrap arms around the thigh, and place a shoulder there too and ease Jenny to the ground. When the overhang starts higher and is more pronounced, other capture techniques are called for. Nice pictures Steph. Then the pack is pulled down easily and its off to the pothole and it's escape.
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  2. Canyonbug

    Canyonbug Outdoor Junkie!

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    Very Nice sequence and write up Ram.
  3. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Sometimes you can also grab their harness and push them into the rock a bit adding friction. Can be a bit hard on your back maybe, if there is a lip or something on the rock, but the friction does work! Good points on the surrender and lying flat.

    I wondered about the bag idea. I suppose there is a risk that it will get stuck and not come down, but perhaps if you can get further out for a more direct pull it is not as much of a concern. I've done this in a class, but haven't practiced it yet in the field. Cool to see others using that trick with success.
  4. Sam G

    Sam G

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    Ram, thanks for posting. I've got a lot to learn about partner assist and capture skills and I found this post very helpful.


    "The pack can't be too wedged in, or it won't be retrievable. After the pack is placed, we do a test of the pack pull."

    "I suppose there is a risk that it will get stuck and not come down,"

    If the geography of the canyon is amenable to it, you can get a really bomber retrievable anchor with a wedge. In canyons, I have used a single potshot wedged in a constriction for everything from a free rappel to a guided rappel. We typically tie a length of webbing to the back(upcanyon side) of the potshot and this becomes our pull cord. Here are some pics of a retrievable guided rappel set from the top and rigged with two wedged potshots... 24DownCanyonPotshot.JPG 25UpCynPot.JPG 26UpcanyonPotshot.JPG 27WillGrapSmile.JPG 28WillGuidRap.JPG 29WillAcross.JPG 30BeforePull.JPG 31FoulWater.JPG 32PulledPoshot.JPG
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  5. MTN_DUDE

    MTN_DUDE

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    It really is amazing what a pack toss can do to help climb out of a pothole. I've never done much actual pothole escapes, but practicing it amazed me!
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  6. Ram

    Ram

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    Another great capture. Eric on the shoulders of Murray, steadied by Jud. Jenny as LAPAR. Sinusitis Canyon
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  7. Deborah Davis

    Deborah Davis

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    Great picture Ram, but I can't figure out what the next move would be here. Jenny is mostly out of the crack, but nowhere near having somewhere to put a foot. Did she have enough upper body friction to come down further without dropping? How was the capture done?
  8. Ram

    Ram

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    Jenny can get several feet lower at least, with a right arm bar, in the crack she is in and then would be in a slow slide. It is not a sudden release kinda place. By then Jud who is uber strong will be able to help bring her in. The fact is Jenny's, light weight, weight to strength ratio, combined with her climbing prowess equals.......top shelf captures. Don't try this one at home.

    For those that don't know, an arm bar is dragging the semi jammed arm behind one, in the crack behind were Jenny is. It is very effective in the right geometry
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  9. Deborah Davis

    Deborah Davis

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    Thanks. I couldn't tell from the picture, and I was curious.
  10. Ram

    Ram

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    Another capture? Looking over potential pictures for the Best of 2013, for May pictures, this series came up. We have become fond of saying rappels don't start till the drop is 15 feet high and then only sometimes. Truth be told, sometimes short drops need rapping. Sometimes much bigger drops can be "worked." Overhangs are tougher. Ability of the last person to control speed matters, but most often it is the geometry at the bottom that matters most. Great footing and a tall and strong individual can work great things. But when the geometry is fair or poor, down low, other things can be managed as well. We are at a 15 foot drop with a bad sloped landing. Here we have 6'7" John Diener, with his 9 foot reach (is that right John?) doing the capture of last person champ Jenny. He is a few feet up the wall. Everyone else has rapped off of people. Most have continued down to "work" the next problem/challenge. But the area at the bottom is sloped out. which has allowed John to get a few feet up the wall. Sooooo, we have Eric Godfrey securing John's feet. AND Mike McPhee holding John's back, allowing John to lean back and not be impacted by the bad geometry. Without the support, he would fall hard out of his position or be MUCH weaker in his balance points to secure the capture. TRUST is all around the exercise.

    Having Jenny again, up top, using the "pack drag" discussed earlier in the thread, as the LAPAR, she eases down, getting low as she can, taking in the information offered (Facing in is mostly blind, facing out, you can see well), trusting her partners and voila, another drop dispensed with.

    This was important because it was a loooong pothole canyon exploration and having to build an anchor here would have been time consuming. The result of anchor building would have been a spread out group, getting cold and/or heavy handed shifting of anchor resources. Speed, when under control is safety. It allows warmth from continued movement and time margins etc.. These techniques were born of these necessities. I LOVE this sport. BTW, expert appraisal of possible captures occurs best from below. Rap your best analyst down, off of meat (a person) and trust their take on what to do...or get a second opinion, on a per drop basis. Did I mention that speed, under control is safety, on exploration?
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    Note...The final picture is not the most desired position. This was a pretty easy capture. If the distance had been further or the geometry worse, even with support, Jenny would be flat against the wall, spread out, allowing John to push he into the rock, reducing her "real" weight.
  11. John Diener

    John Diener

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    Hehe. Jenny is great to capture - both light and skilled. This one turned out a little funny as part way through Jenny realized the angle was shallow enough and the pack "drag" was so solid she could just handline it, but we didn't communicate that very well... I think we were already laughing about it by the last picture! But yes, captures can be a great tool for moving efficiently through canyons. Ram, you ever document that sequence you came up with for Schasch and I on that one drop last May? ...Ram is one of the best at eyeing up what goes and how to stage it...
    -john
    Ps. That Sinusitis capture is expert-only for sure - tricky place.
    ratagonia and Ram like this.
  12. Ram

    Ram

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    I had forgotten about it until I saw the pictures. The drop was only about 12 feet to a safe and sustainable stance in the water, but there was no ledge on the lip to help and the rock landing was a 45 degree slope, with an ankle busting groove in it. Also the slope was polished. A conspiracy of factors made this one a surprisingly tricky spot for so small a drop. We noted that the groove on the bottom continued up into a corner, to the side of the drop. The idea was hatched. Rap all down on meat. Denali Mike anchors Big John, who does a tension traverse into the groove. This was tricky, balancy move and none to secure a spot to land or stay in either. Once John was in place, Mike tensioned off of John and I came up and helped from below. Then we spotted John down. Neither John's nor Mike's moves were possible, under control, without rope and support. We essentially set up our own meat anchor pendulum. FUN,FUN,FUN!! All pictures...Mike McPhee. First picture already shows John in place, imn the groove.
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  13. Deborah Davis

    Deborah Davis

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    That is a cool sequence. This is a great thread, thanks for posting these.
  14. Ram

    Ram

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    Another capture series, this from Poe. The three man stack. Murray on the bottom is 6'5"
    I'm in yellow and recent groom Steve B. on the top
    Jonathan is dragging a pack, reducing his "gravity."
    Pictures by Mike Heinkin
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  15. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Nice pictures of a thousand words. But don't leave those of us uninformed hang'n (or could just be me). What is the proper technique for collapsing the stack...top down or from the bottom? Seems like eventually there would be a wad of bodies to untangle, if top down, but either way would appear to have its challenges.
  16. Ram

    Ram

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    No standardized technique for collapsing a stack. Every stack is different. Stacks are best on lower angles, 60 degrees or so. Note the ledge with the wet foot prints in the bottom center of each picture? That is Jonathan's target and Stevee will be helping until Jonathan gets there. I think first step was Murray lowering me and thus the whole stack. Murray is VERY strong. Once I am down with Murray we both support Stevee, who is now in my position in the pictures and Jonathan who is now in Stevee's position, slide over on the slab till Jonathan gets on the ledge
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  17. DaveC

    DaveC

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    Awesome thread.
  18. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    I need to be better about implementing some of these tricks. It is nice to have an exceptionally TALL guy in the mix.

    Recently, I lowered a partner into a pothole and I was left without anchor to follow, except 2 very tenuous sand bags. As I left the entry chute the bags began to slide. As soon as I hit the muddy deck I had to hop forward onto my hands and knees to avoid being clobbered by two near-full sandbags. Next time I'll just use Bryce as a human ladder like we do to get OUT, to get IN.


    LNT
  19. Ram

    Ram

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    The spring had its share of captures and escapes.
    Here are a few....

    The third guy on the capture is the key. Stabilizes the capture
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  20. Ram

    Ram

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    meat into the pot. slick mud everywhere
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    Light Jenny pushed thenclimbs out
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    last person is captured
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    Two man haul assist out the slickery slope
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    Kevin and EvergreenDean like this.
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