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new subject contingency anchors

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by Roger Arhart, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. Roger Arhart

    Roger Arhart Guest

    new subject: contingency anchors I have started using contingency anchors on almost all rappels. A contingency anchor has significant benefits over the standard static block, for example, a clove hitch on a biner. I use a double figure 8 belay device for the contingency anchor, but a regular figure 8 device will work too. Some may not have heard of a contingency anchor so I will first explain it, then lay out its benefits and requirements. Let's suppose a rappel station of a big tree wrapped with webbing and a quick link on the end of the webbing. Suppose the rap is 100 feet, and I have a single 200 foot rope. I would feed rope through the quick link and out to the middle of the rope. Then I would block it with my double 8. I used to simply block it with a clove hitch on a biner. The blocked double 8 allows me to unblock it while it is under load (rappeller on). The method of blocking is too hard to explain with words, so just bear with me and believe that I can unblock it under load. When I unblock it goes into belay mode. The munter and mule method is a contingency anchor too, but more awkward than the double 8. One cannot unblock a clove hitch on a biner under load and put it in belay mode, so I call that block a static block. The benefits of a contingency anchor (I am touting the double 8 method) come from being able to go from block to belay while under load. Benefit number one is that I can lower a stuck rappeller. Hair, clothing, glove, a surprise knot in the rope, etc. can stick a rappeller. When that happens I can unblock the double 8, go to belay mode, and lower them to the ground. The neuters a potentially very bad safety event. Benefit number two is that I can creep the rope. Let's suppose there is a nasty rock edge just 10 feet below the station. As each rappler gets on rappel and starts to go over the edge, I unblock the figure 8 and go to belay mode. I let rope creep out as they rappel. This means the rope never dwells on the rock edge. Rope creep will dramatically preserve your ropes. Static anchors will dramatically damage your rope sheaths. I have about 3000 feet of sheath damaged rope in my garage to testify to the unforgiving nature of static anchors. Since I have been creeping rope I have not even gotten a fuzzy spot. The contingency anchor requires that the group have twice the rope of the rappel. Continuing with my 100 foot rappel example. Suppose the longest rappel in the canyon is 100 feet. For a contingency anchor one would need 200 feet of rope. 100 feet of rope and 100 feet of 6 mm pull cord will not do. In practice, to keep the weight down, I usually carry an 8 mm rope and 9 mmm rope. For a long rappel the knotting of two rope needs discussion. Again, the example is the 100 foot rappel. Suppose I have two 100 foot ropes, one an 8 mm and one a 9 mm, each in a bag. I would pass the 8 mm through the quick link a few feet and tie an ED knot with the 9 mm on the down stream side of the quick link. I would drop the 9 mm bag over the edge all the way to the bottom of the rappel, or the first over the edge might take it on their hip. The ED knot must be on the downstream side of the quick link to allow me to creep rope and/or lower a rappeller. I tie the ED knot close to the quick link, but on the downstream side. Then I block the 8 mm rope on the upstream side with my double 8. I keep the 8 mm rope in a bag at the station, often on a biner on my harness, or on a biner on the staion. As each rappeler goes over the edge I unblock, go to belay mode, and let rope creep out. For a 100 foot rappel I may creep 3 feet of rope. The rappeller does not even feel the creep. After each rappeller I pull the rope up 3 feet and reset the block, of if I have plenty of rope (say this is an 80 foot rappel) I simply reblock it. One other benefit of contingency anchors comes from creep. Suppose one is confronted with the common situation of the quick link over the edge. It should be over the edge for rope pull. So this is good, except that is is awkward to get on rappel. To move the party faster, I will temporarily shorten the webbing, and have the quicklink conveniently upstream of the edge so each person can get on rappel easily. As they rappel I will creep the rope out to protect it from the edge right in front of me. Then I go last. I restore the quicklink to the "over the edge position," I dismantle the double 8 and go down on two strands so the forces of rock against rope are halved, and I suffer the awkwardness of downclimbing to get on rappel, but only me, so we move faster. The basic concept is all except the last person go down single strand with rope creep to protect the rope and lower them if they get stuck. The last person goes down two strand, halving the forces on the rope. This contingency anchor approach will handle easily the very bad safety event of a rappeller stuck on rope, and the rope creep will save your ropes. Roger Arhart _______________ The other season of giving begins 6/24/08. Check out the i’m Talkathon. http://www.imtalkathon.com?source=TXT_EML_WLH_SeasonOfGiving
  2. Rich Carlson

    Rich Carlson Guest

  3. desertres

    desertres Guest

    I think this is one that is way over-rated. The use of lowering a person has suspect advantages to me. For example, in the previous example, there was a rappeller who was not attached to the rope at a certain time as I understand it. Not sure what lowering would have done at that exact time, but would have not been appreciated by rappeller I think. Of course if the rappeller is not tied-off and you are lowering the rope, is that a good idea? I have always understood lowering as a 2 way street. If the rappeller is out of sight and the problem is unidentified, isnt starting a pickoff a better approach?

    > The method of blocking is too hard to explain with words

    Yup, and one that I remember as being quite specific. One that also is not easy for others to inspect.

    >One cannot unblock a clove hitch on a biner under load and put it in belay mode

    Hmm...this hasnt been tested fully as far as I know. I did try it once and it did unblock easily. That being the exploding version of the clove hitch. There are other hitches that can release as well though. If safety is the focus, then why not just set up a whole system to be able to raise or whatever right off the bat?

    >Benefit number two is that I can creep the rope Or with any ascender/capture device pretty much.

    >I tie the ED knot close to the quick link, but on the downstream side.

    Meaning the last person down has an unchecked system or goes double rope. Something goes wrong in the double rope and then? Thats when you need all the technical guys on the team. From the lesson I saw on doing it from the top was brilliant, I think its much harder from the bottom though. And there was a waterfall too?

    I only have seen the contigency anchor once thankfully. And more thankfully it wasnt deployed. The situation was as follows: A rap with an unknown length, but a conclusion was reached that the length was say X ft. Whistle signal on rappel was heard (and misinterpreted since one was heard but three were whistled) and reinterpreted to 3. Strangely enough, the contigency length already set would not have been enough(about 50-100ft free air short, so obviously the length was way underrepresented , for example, like how the last rap in Echo has been short). Another rope was dropped instead, and the situation resolved.
  4. beadysee

    beadysee Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Roger Arhart <rogerarhart@...> wrote: > new subject: contingency anchors I have started using contingency anchors on almost all rappels. A contingency anchor has significant benefits over the standard static block, for example, a clove hitch on a biner. I use a double figure 8 belay device for the contingency anchor, but a regular figure 8 device will work too.

    Hey, put some air in this rig. Try double spacing with that "enter" key.

    You lost me because I can't read a page full of words...

    Cheers,

    -Brian in SLC
  5. Mike Dallin

    Mike Dallin Guest

    Cue the Rich "It Depends" speech.

    M

    -----Original Message----- From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of desertres Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 4:01 PM To: Yahoo Canyons Group Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: new subject contingency anchors

    I think this is one that is way over-rated. The use of lowering a person has suspect advantages to me. For example, in the previous example, there was a rappeller who was not attached to the rope at a certain time as I understand it. Not sure what lowering would have done at that exact time, but would have not been appreciated by rappeller I think. Of course if the rappeller is not tied-off and you are lowering the rope, is that a good idea? I have always understood lowering as a 2 way street. If the rappeller is out of sight and the problem is unidentified, isnt starting a pickoff a better approach?

    > The method of blocking is too hard to explain with words

    Yup, and one that I remember as being quite specific. One that also is not easy for others to inspect.

    >One cannot unblock a clove hitch on a biner under load and put it in belay mode

    Hmm...this hasnt been tested fully as far as I know. I did try it once and it did unblock easily. That being the exploding version of the clove hitch. There are other hitches that can release as well though. If safety is the focus, then why not just set up a whole system to be able to raise or whatever right off the bat?

    >Benefit number two is that I can creep the rope Or with any ascender/capture device pretty much.

    >I tie the ED knot close to the quick link, but on the downstream side.

    Meaning the last person down has an unchecked system or goes double rope. Something goes wrong in the double rope and then? Thats when you need all the technical guys on the team. From the lesson I saw on doing it from the top was brilliant, I think its much harder from the bottom though. And there was a waterfall too?

    I only have seen the contigency anchor once thankfully. And more thankfully it wasnt deployed. The situation was as follows: A rap with an unknown length, but a conclusion was reached that the length was say X ft. Whistle signal on rappel was heard (and misinterpreted since one was heard but three were whistled) and reinterpreted to 3. Strangely enough, the contigency length already set would not have been enough(about 50-100ft free air short, so obviously the length was way underrepresented , for example, like how the last rap in Echo has been short). Another rope was dropped instead, and the situation resolved.







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  6. adkramoo

    adkramoo Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "desertres" <desertres@...> wrote:
    I think this is one that is way over-rated. The use of lowering a > person has suspect advantages to me.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/message/8532 The other progeny rap mishap. My kingdom for an easy lowering contingency then. If so, bang! Game over in seconds and then no mid air knife work R
  7. desertres

    desertres Guest

    Well..there are litters ;-) hehehe, just joking of course. I think the commendation goes to those who dare to post such experiences. Its easy to say to extend the rap device or setup a contigency anchor, thats why I like when those in the know metion some tools of the trade. I just sharpen these technical guys&gals, perhaps coming off rude or rough, but yeah they know their stuff. In this case, to be honest I have no business to be in the lowering trade, so yeah, I know Roger could slam me no doubt but is cool enough to stay silent. But I think Im bringing up some decent questions. Just anyone in the whole rescue scenario is something suspect...then it has the potential to be overused/overrated. Thats mainly what Im trying to say. He is right that setting up that contigency anchor gives more flexibility than a simple clove block.

    As far as cueing in the 'It Depends' music(Rich has not expressed his music style that I know of???), its nice to hear someone genuinely concerned about safety and getting away from the Im better than you attitude. If there was something I would propose, listen to these technical peoples because you never know when it could come into play. Ask whatever question and challenge them on the depth or second opinions.

    Anyways, keep up the cool TRs too. Adonis





    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "adkramoo" <adkramoo@...> wrote: > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/message/8532
    The other progeny rap mishap. My kingdom for an easy lowering > contingency then. If so, bang! Game over in seconds and then no mid > air knife work > R >

    > --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "desertres" <desertres@> wrote:

    I think this is one that is way over-rated. The use of lowering a
    person has suspect advantages to me.
  8. Rich Carlson

    Rich Carlson Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "desertres" <desertres@...> wrote:
    I think this is one that is way over-rated. The use of lowering a > person has suspect advantages to me.

    18 years guiding and teaching. Well over 70,000 clients and students. Contingency anchors set maybe 10,000 times. Maybe. Two primary reasons:

    1. Strong current. High risk of drowning if someone gets stuck on rope. 2. Rope length suspect.

    Actually released maybe 60-70 times. Maybe. Lives saved 5-10 times. Maybe. Incredible amount of time saved when rope length was short. Sucker on the end of the rope didn't have to ascend. Didn't need to have another rope lowered. Had him/her down in fraction of the time other options would have required.

    Times released when it wasn't necessary due to miscommunication or misinterpretation of the time the rappel was taking? 10. 20. 30. Who cares? I would rather lower 20 people who didn't need to be lowered than not lower one person who needed to be.

    Times I didn't rig a contingency, but wished I had. 30-40. Knowing how to convert to a lowering system from block or toss 'n go to lowering system saved lives. 2 or 3 times. Maybe. Time saved when rope length was short? Not as dramatic as it would have been with contingency pre-rigged, but still significant. Couple years ago in Mexico. Person on the rope was the one who threw it and KNEW it was long enough, but it came up short. Dropping off the end would have resulted in severe injury. He started ascending as I started converting to lower. He moved up about five feet - only 95 more feet to go - when I finished the conversion and started lowering.
  9. Once concept of the contingency anchor I have always had a problem with is the person who gets hurt while rappelling, or is in some way incapacitated. That contingency, however it is set up, is not going to help because the person cannot tie off. A person gets their hair stuck in the rappel device. Do you execute a lower or a pickoff? Yes, I know that it "depends".

    But to use it everytime it is in my own opinion a little bit of overkill. We did a lower in Telephone canyon because we could not see the bottom and the beta we had seemed to be a bit off on what to expect next. The individual completed two rappels and then we lowered him for three more sections of the canyon. As it was there were no more anchors so it proved to be a good choice.

    Be safe,

    bruce from bryce

    To: canyons@yahoogroups.comFrom: desertres@yahoo.comDate: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 22:00:49 &#43;0000Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: new subject contingency anchors



    I think this is one that is way over-rated. The use of lowering a person has suspect advantages to me. For example, in the previous example, there was a rappeller who was not attached to the rope at a certain time as I understand it. Not sure what lowering would have done at that exact time, but would have not been appreciated by rappeller I think. Of course if the rappeller is not tied-off and you are lowering the rope, is that a good idea? I have always understood lowering as a 2 way street. If the rappeller is out of sight and the problem is unidentified, isnt starting a pickoff a better approach?> The method of blocking is too hard to explain with wordsYup, and one that I remember as being quite specific. One that also is not easy for others to inspect.>One cannot unblock a clove hitch on a biner under load and put it in belay modeHmm...this hasnt been tested fully as far as I know. I did try it once and it did unblock easily. That being the exploding version of the clove hitch. There are other hitches that can release as well though. If safety is the focus, then why not just set up a whole system to be able to raise or whatever right off the bat?>Benefit number two is that I can creep the ropeOr with any ascender/capture device pretty much.>I tie the ED knot close to the quick link, but on the downstream side.Meaning the last person down has an unchecked system or goes double rope. Something goes wrong in the double rope and then? Thats when you need all the technical guys on the team. From the lesson I saw on doing it from the top was brilliant, I think its much harder from the bottom though. And there was a waterfall too? I only have seen the contigency anchor once thankfully. And more thankfully it wasnt deployed. The situation was as follows: A rap with an unknown length, but a conclusion was reached that the length was say X ft. Whistle signal on rappel was heard (and misinterpreted since one was heard but three were whistled) and reinterpreted to 3. Strangely enough, the contigency length already set would not have been enough(about 50-100ft free air short, so obviously the length was way underrepresented , for example, like how the last rap in Echo has been short). Another rope was dropped instead, and the situation resolved.





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  10. Rich Carlson

    Rich Carlson Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, bruce silliman <weabruce@...> wrote:
    > But to use it everytime it is in my own opinion a little bit of overkill.

    Definitely. Not just a little bit of overkill. Way overkill. Especially for everyone on this group who only does CP 3Bs. No high risk of drowning in strong current. That just leaves the concern for rope length.

    Could provide other situations, too. Beginners on rope. Etc. I'd add a contingency for anyone who insists on using an auto-block, but not every time. That would be a little bit of overkill.
  11. Steve

    Steve Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "beadysee" <beadysee@...> wrote:
    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Roger Arhart <rogerarhart@> wrote:
    new subject: contingency anchors I have started using contingency > anchors on almost all rappels. A contingency anchor has significant > benefits over the standard static block, for example, a clove hitch on > a biner. I use a double figure 8 belay device for the contingency > anchor, but a regular figure 8 device will work too.
    Hey, put some air in this rig. Try double spacing with that "enter" > key.
    You lost me because I can't read a page full of words...
    Cheers,
    -Brian in SLC >

    yeah i could only read like 6 sentence without getting a head ache :)
  12. Mike Dallin

    Mike Dallin Guest

    >As far as cueing in the 'It Depends' music(Rich has not expressed his >music style that I know of???), its nice to hear someone genuinely >concerned about safety and getting away from the Im better than you >attitude. If there was something I would propose, listen to these >technical peoples because you never know when it could come into play. >Ask whatever question and challenge them on the depth or second >opinions.

    So here's my deal with contingency anchors - if you set them up on a potentially dangerous rappel, they give you more options if something does go wrong. I don't use them everywhere, but a few choice spots - class C canyons, or when leading someone who is new to rappelling, or with kids... they might be overkill for, say, a very experienced group in Pine Creek, but that doesn't make them "way overrated".

    As I said... are they useful? When would you use them?... it depends!

    M
  13. Kurt

    Kurt Guest

    Also any system used(toss&go,biner block,etc) can be converted to a raise(haul) or lower system. It's a few more steps than being pre-rigged for contingency but very do-able. The key may be having the right gear(canyon specific) and the knowledge to use the right gear(toolbox) Using a pullcord always reduces your options.(or makes your options less safe) ----- Original Message ----- From: Mike Dallin To: Yahoo Canyons Group Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 8:36 AM Subject: RE: [from Canyons Group] Re: new subject contingency anchors

    >As far as cueing in the 'It Depends' music(Rich has not expressed his >music style that I know of???), its nice to hear someone genuinely >concerned about safety and getting away from the Im better than you >attitude. If there was something I would propose, listen to these >technical peoples because you never know when it could come into play. >Ask whatever question and challenge them on the depth or second >opinions.

    So here's my deal with contingency anchors - if you set them up on a potentially dangerous rappel, they give you more options if something does go wrong. I don't use them everywhere, but a few choice spots - class C canyons, or when leading someone who is new to rappelling, or with kids... they might be overkill for, say, a very experienced group in Pine Creek, but that doesn't make them "way overrated".

    As I said... are they useful? When would you use them?... it depends!

    M





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  14. hank moon

    hank moon Guest

    Using a pullcord always reduces your options.(or makes your options less safe)

    Tch. Careful with the 'always' ... (and never).

    For example, a pullcord can give you the option of making a rappel that would otherwise be impossible. There are times when "light is right", etc.

    hank
  15. Rich Carlson

    Rich Carlson Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "hank moon" <onkaluna@...> wrote:
    For example, a pullcord can give you the option of making a rappel > that would otherwise be impossible. There are times when "light is > right", etc.
    hank

    Yep. The 2 pounds you save using a 6mm pull cord vs an 8mm rope could be critical. (he said through his usual smartass grin)
  16. Kurt

    Kurt Guest

    If a 6-7mm pullcord is substituted for say--a 8mm rope(of equal length), It reduces your options and makes remaining options less safe. O.K. I'll even add IMHO. But I'll stick with my ascertation. ----- Original Message ----- From: hank moon To: Yahoo Canyons Group Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 9:51 AM Subject: Re: [from Canyons Group] Re: new subject contingency anchors

    Using a pullcord always reduces your options.(or makes your options less safe)

    Tch. Careful with the 'always' ... (and never).

    For example, a pullcord can give you the option of making a rappel that would otherwise be impossible. There are times when "light is right", etc.

    hank



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  17. hank moon

    hank moon Guest

    the weight savings can be much more than two pounds when talking about hundreds of feet of rope...and, all pullcords are not equal (mine is 1/4" Dyneema SK75: wonderfully light and hydrophobic).



    On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 9:09 AM, Rich Carlson rcwildone@yahoo.com> wrote: > --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "hank moon" <onkaluna@...> wrote: >
    > For example, a pullcord can give you the option of making a rappel >> that would otherwise be impossible. There are times when "light is >> right", etc. >
    > hank
    Yep. The 2 pounds you save using a 6mm pull cord vs an 8mm rope could be > critical. (he said > through his usual smartass grin)
  18. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Guest

    Rich

    I think people should be very careful when exercising the 'contingency' part of a contingency anchor.

    Here's a story I heard from Galen. If I'm getting the details wrong it doesn't really matter, the point is the same.

    On a recent ACA rondy to Arizona someone got a foot stuck while rapping the waterfall in the Jug. He was apparently in some distress as he was in the watery part. The anchor was (perhaps luckily) not set up in contingency mode. As the rapeller struggled unsucessfully to free himself, the crew at the top struggled mightily to remember what you taught them about changing over to a lowering system so they could lower their comrade. Communication was nonexistant due to the victim's location under water.

    By the time our heros finally got a plan together the victim had escaped. Had the anchor been set in contingency mode and the crew released it, the rappeller may very well have inverted and drowned.

    I'm not arguing against contingency anchors. I'm just warning that there are dangers involved (especially when there is no communication) and that people should be careful before they take control of someone else's descent.

    Tim
  19. hank moon

    hank moon Guest

    maybe sometimes a contingency might give too many options?

    :)

    On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 9:25 AM, Tim Hoover frisbeedog02@yahoo.com> wrote: > Here's a story I heard from Galen. If I'm getting the details wrong it > doesn't really matter, the point is the same.
  20. Rich Carlson

    Rich Carlson Guest

    Close. I had been with the group earlier in the day, but did not go through the Jug with them. Didn't see them again until after the incident back at the trailhead.

    They opted to rappel down the "V" chute instead of crossing the shelf to the original rap anchors. Water was running high in April. Darrell was on rappel and got his foot stuck in a crack at the bottom of the V. While struggling to free his foot, his brake hand started slipping. Force of water that was beating on his lower legs was now beating on his upper legs, too. Foot still stuck. With more surface area exposed to the force of the water, it was hitting him harder and harder. Pushing him back even more. Now hitting him in the torso. He finally pulled his foot hard enough that it came out of the still-buckled Canyoneer. He hiked out wearing one shoe.

    When they started telling me the story, my first reaction was to ask why they didn't set a contingency. When I heard the rest of the story, it became obvious that in this case, releasing the rope would have been the worst thing to do. I wondered if I would have understood the situation and taken the correct action right away. I don't know. I do know that I would have figured it out and switched to a haul system instead. I hope I would have done it in time.

    I haven't mentioned the word toolbox in a long time. It's overdue. Bothers me how many people are content to have really small toolboxes. I used to guide the Jug. I could tell you a bunch of stories about how important it is to use a contingency anchor there. And now I can tell you one story about how it is also important to know how to convert a block to a haul system.



    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Tim Hoover <frisbeedog02@...> wrote:
    Rich
    I think people should be very careful when exercising the 'contingency' part of a contingency anchor.
    Here's a story I heard from Galen. If I'm getting the details wrong it doesn't really matter, the point is the same.
    On a recent ACA rondy to Arizona someone got a foot stuck while rapping the waterfall in the Jug. He was apparently in some distress as he was in the watery part. The anchor was (perhaps luckily) not set up in contingency mode. As the rapeller struggled unsucessfully to free himself, the crew at the top struggled mightily to remember what you taught them about changing over to a lowering system so they could lower their comrade. Communication was nonexistant due to the victim's location under water.
    By the time our heros finally got a plan together the victim had escaped. > Had the anchor been set in contingency mode and the crew released it, the rappeller may very well have inverted and drowned.
    I'm not arguing against contingency anchors. I'm just warning that there are dangers involved (especially when there is no communication) and that people should be careful before they take control of someone else's descent.
    Tim >
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