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Premature Fiddlestick Ejection

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bucky, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. Ram

    Ram

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    Cinching on ropes when setting the stick will mitigate slip-age or so it has seemed to me. Care required

    As to heavy pull cords on long raps? They intuitively raised alarms during early testing, but have seemed reliable from my observations. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.

    As for situations like potholes that have the LAPAR unweighting the rope during the raps? That makes me nervous and careful and vigilant and....paying attention to every advantage I can align
  2. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Maybe I should be pulling it tighter, dunno. But picture a ledge where the rope/knot/fiddlestick etc is below you and each time a rappeller gets on he pulls the rope up, attaches himself to it, then climbs down over the ledge until he is hanging on the rope then rappels away. So the fiddlestick is physically moving 6 feet with each rappeller. It doesn't seem to me like the stone knot ever tightens up like a figure 8 that's been weighted. Maybe it's the ropes I'm using or something but the stick really only ever seems secure while weighted to me.
  3. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    OK, that sounds like a fun scenario (dangling stick). Still wondering about your wording "I see them slide out all the time before it's weighted." - what do you mean by "slide out" ? When I read that, it sounds as the stick comes out of the knot entirely. Are you using a stick with a safety 'biner? Got pic?

    Badgeringly yours,

    hank
    Ram likes this.
  4. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I don't have pictures, maybe I can recreate it in the garage.

    I now leave the safety biner on until I'm below the knot as LAPAR. But if you're not, and you pull that rope up, that stick moves far easier than I'd like it to. I watched it on one guy, it was out of the knot and the knot was untied. He had to grab both the fiddlestick and the rap rope to make sure nothing went down! He literally had to do the whole thing again. This was all prior to weighting the rope but after removing the safety biner. Thus why I wait until I've weighted the knot to remove the biner.

    I'll go play in the garage and try cinching the knot down to see if that helps.
  5. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Okay, I've been to the garage. Cinching the knot down doesn't help. The stone knot simply has to be weighted to be secure.

    This was done using Canyonero rope (9 mil) and the Atwood stick. There's 120 feet in the bag attached to the knot. The pull cord is a bag of 70 feet of 9 mil rope (maybe 5 lbs of downward pressure). It's rigged for LAPAR. I have cinched down the stone knot as hard as possible on the stick. Watch what happens when you pull the rope up (and unweight the stone knot) to recreate a rappel where the knot is down over the edge.

    Stone Knot 010.JPG
    Stone Knot 028.JPG
    Stone Knot 034.JPG

    Stone Knot 042.JPG

    Stone Knot 043.JPG Stone Knot 044.JPG
    The moral of the story is that if you unweight the knot, the stick don't stay! The knot must be weighted for the stick to be secure. I tried it several times. This time (with the photos) the stick slid right out as soon as it was unweighted. Another time I had to shake it very slightly to get it to fall out.

    Bottom line: Use extreme caution not to drop the rap rope or the fiddlestick if you have to unweight the knot prior to rappelling. It's cool to ghost canyons, but the only thing anyone remembers about a dead canyoneer is that he's dead.
    Ram likes this.
  6. Ram

    Ram

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    Crediting the above quote...to Steve Allen
  7. John Diener

    John Diener

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    Hi Canyonero, thanks for the pics. Question for you - before the test, did you cinch the knot by applying full rap weight to the rig? I tend to find that after one rappeller, the knot is quite well cinched and holds noticeably better while the rap line is unweighted. Thus having a biner safety that can be removed by the last without disturbing the knot at all is something I consider important. I like what you say about the last weighting the rap line before removing the safety.
    -john
  8. Jolly Green

    Jolly Green

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    Interesting photos Jim- your example seems to be a lot about angles. Lifting the rap rope slightly to the left instead of straight on seemed to cause the knot to turn very quickly, making the fiddlestick completely vertical and more likely to fall out. Your retrieval line on the fiddlestick has zero friction (ie no rub over the lip of a rap) which limits the situations your example is applicable to- the 2 I can think of would be starting on a sheer wall or moving the fiddlestick over the lip below you for a better pull. Based on your photos, if this is the case, this is a good area of concern for anyone going after the retrieval rope is down. Having the last guy throw the retrieval line definitely minimizes risk for everyone else as there would be no direct pull on the fiddlestick until the rope is thrown. Similar to John, I've found the stick gets wedged in there pretty good after one person and in large groups is almost hard to get out (not that I try to remove it, I've just noticed it when pulling the safety biner off).

    So what are we to learn from this setup? Simply to pay attention? To get on rap and weight the fiddlestick before throwing the retrieval line? I'm interested in everyone's conclusions.
  9. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I did not hang on it (didn't want to pull the hook out of the roof of my garage), but I pulled as hard as I could and dressed the knot.

    What are we to learn? Leave the safety biner(s) on as long as possible, use a very lightweight retrieval line (especially on long rappels), hold on to the knot/fiddlestick while clipping in and climbing over the edge if it is below you, throw the retrieval line AFTER the line is weighted maybe etc etc. Just be careful is all. It's almost like the curve that climbers go through when they first start climbing. At first, the non-climber thinks all rock climbing is terribly hazardous. Then the beginning climber learns the safety systems and starts thinking it is a very safe activity. Then, after a few years he's had a few close calls, knows a few climbers who are now dead etc and understands that climbing is inherently dangerous. Rappelling off a fiddlestick is inherently dangerous. I'm not saying don't do it, just realize it's not the same thing as a more bomber set-up and treat it with a ton of respect.
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  10. Ram

    Ram

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    Thanks for the cautionary collection of thoughts from a discerning mind, fresh off using these methods a lot. I have gotten very used to using and seeing these ghosting systems used. That can lead to complacency. There is nuance. Learn it. Brian from SLC will often mention/imply that these new systems are dangerous and remind folks that just because some people...I think he calls them the "cool kids"....are using these system, that someone WILL get hurt or worse, using them. I think he is right. I also think that they can be applied well and safely and that they have the benefit of less impacts on the environment. The future MIGHT be not pulling rope through rapides and/or over sandstone in places beyond the beginner and popular venues. Especially if we follow the prods of Bootboy (Taylor) and Jenny and others, to be as conscientious as we CAN be protecting lips. Its only a matter of doing it. These are improvements in the eyes of those that use them. They are not worth a life. Take care. Be vigilant and mentor. Enjoy and be safe
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
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  11. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    very interesting. I have never used a thick pull cord like this. We always use the Imlay 6MM and have never seen the stick move once someone has rapped on it. In fact, it always takes a good strong pull to get the stick to pop out. There are many variables with the rope used and the pull cord, though..
    good to be able to identify variables that might make a scenario like this more likely. ... I am quite glad that I have never had one, though...

    edit: I know the above post reads that the knot was cinched down on the stick as hard as possible, but that knot doesn't look very cinched down (i.e. someone had full body weight on it) but it's hard to tell...
    It looks too loose
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  12. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    I just did a test on this in my garage:

    I ran the rap rope through a Petzle Sheave to eliminate most of the friction that the rap rope would experience at the anchor. I then rigged a regular Smooth Operator without any safety carabiners.

    I then added my body weight (160 pounds approx) to the system just to cinch it, then removed all weight from the rap strand and started adding weights to the pull cord hole.

    First added 5 pounds: absolutely no slip
    then 10 pounds: absolutely no slip
    then 12.5 pounds: absolutely no slip
    (a 10 pound weight and a 2.5 pound weight in the pic below)
    P6072789.
    then 15 pounds: it held for a few seconds, then pulled..

    So, the weight that was required to pull the stick out was somewhere between 12.5 to 15 pounds without any weigh on the rap strand (with Imlay 8.2 canyon Fire rope used).

    In the field, I have used Imlay ropes, from 8.2 to 9.2 MM with the same results

    I am guessing the blue rope behaves differently ? But I think I have the same rope and have never had problems like this.. try a smaller diameter pull cord ??
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
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  13. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Canyonero and Deagol, nice work!

    Have you tried testing without a limp load strand? I.E. what difference does it make on the pull when the load side is weighted, say 10 lbs. I'm guessing the pull weight goes up significantly, or at lease I hope it does.
  14. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    Hmm, well in the pic above, it's just a short length of rope that sits on the garage floor. There is also a biner and webbing on it that I stood on in order to allow me to put my weight on the rap strand initially..

    Once on a real rappel, we did a test: I was about 2 feet off the ground after doing the rappel (never touched down) and my wife pulled on the pull-cord and could not budge it.

    I don't think the blue rope is cinched properly because (in the pics at least) the 2 parallel strands that run perpendicular to the rap strand, both above and below the stick, are not snugged up against the stick. There should not be any gap between the stick and those strands..

    the area in red shows the gaps between the rope and the stick. These gaps should not be there from my experience. You can easily pull down on the top 2 strands and eliminate these gaps before weighting the knot.
    Stone Knot 010.JPG
    To cinch the knot, you pull the stick towards you with a hand on either side of the knot. The Bluue Gnome website has great videos on all this.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
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  15. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    It may not be perfectly cinched, like I said, it was never weighted with body weight. But my point is this, if you have to completely unweight the rope (i.e. pull it up over a ledge, attach to it, then climb down over the ledge prior to weighting the rope and rappelling on it), it's pretty easy to knock the fiddlestick out/have the fiddlestick fall out, even if it has already been rappelled on.
  16. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Tom has noted this phenomenon too: http://canyoncollective.com/threads...ced-anchor-tool-for-canyoneering.18142/page-3

    SLIPPERY ROPE WARNING

    On our first rappel on Sunday, we had an odd thing happen. A 40' rappel off an arch, from an exposed stance, with Ram going last, using a brand new Imlay 8mm rope for the rap, and a 6mm pull cord for the pull. Ram pulled the carabiner out and re-cinched the knot. When he lifted the rope up to rig his rappel device, the FiddleStick fell out and went to the ground.

    If the setup had been a little different, the rappelling rope could have also fallen out, which could have had dire consequences. We had previously used the FiddleStick exclusively with well-used ropes (I think).

    BE VERY CAREFUL when the rope is brand new and slippery. Cinch the Stone Knot down tightly on the FiddleStick, and see how sticky it is. Make sure it is sticky enough that it will not fall out.

    It also calls for CARE while Rappelling - keep tension on the rope until you are at the bottom, and/or, if you unweight the rope between segments of a rappel, be sure to TEST the anchor again before you put your weight on it again.


    I should note the rope I was using is almost new.
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