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Smooth Operator/Fiddlestick not so Smooth!!!!!

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Moab Mark, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    . I've been using the Smooth Operator for the last few years. Have felt very comfortable with it, no rope grooves leave no trace etc.
    Well today while doing a 220 ft rappel in Moab the knot did not collapse. This is the first time we have used it on a rappel of this height. We did the route again so we could get our rope back and see what had gone wrong. The rappel strand had collapsed but the tail side did not. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    I am very anil about making sure the 2 strands that run over the Smooth Operator are as flat as possible to give the knot the best chance of collapsing.
    After all of that rambling, we think that due to the amount of rope in play that when the stick was pulled out the heavy rappel side collapsed but the weight of the rope pinched the tail before it could collapse? Anybody else fiddle rappels of this height? If so any problems? Our go to tool has now failed and we're in the fog. Please help bring me out of the fog.
    Mark

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    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  2. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    I always tie the knot in the up direction.

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  3. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    Having toggled several drops in the 260 - 400' range, not sure drop length is a primary factor. After playing with the capture knot shown in pic #3, I guess that that the 0° angle between the two strands* played a role, exacerbated by the low angle and the knot resting on a shallow indentation (pics #1 and #2). Glad the situation worked out well for your group!

    Just curious - why toggle there instead of doing a standard pull? Rope groove mitigation?

    * the two strands exiting the top side of the knot in pics 1 and 2


    Toggle1. Toggle2.
    Toggle3.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  4. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    I just noticed in picture 1 it looks like the strands have a twist in them above the knot? That could slow down the collapsing of the knot?
    We didn't want to haul 440 ft of rope. We had not done this rappel before and learned that there was a mid rappel anchor. Which tirns it into a 120 and 100. On second time we biner blocked and used both locations.[​IMG]

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  5. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    I've spent sometime today in my garage trying to replicate this. With a 300 ft rope bag hanging on the knot cannot stick it. Even had knot on a flat table,hung it over the other edge of table. I even attached the rappel side to my jeep and backed up to load the knot. Old piece of rope of course. Nothing it just collapses. I'm stumped.

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  6. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    Fiddlestick is pretty tough.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  7. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    .

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  8. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    I have absolutely no idea why this would happen either. I have used the Smooth Operator plenty will good results. The only thing I can say, and this might not mean a thing, is that when we do it, the two strands that are perpendicular to the stick are ontop when the stick is rigged and laying against the rock. In your pic #2, those two strands are underneath the stick. I don't know if that matters at all, but just an observation..
  9. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    If I just rolled it over they would be on the bottom? I don't think that would make any difference?

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  10. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    yeah, that's sort of what I was thinking.

    In that video where the winch is hooked up to the Fiddlestick, is that a standard Imlay Fiddlestick?

    The Blue Gnome Smooth Operator is thinker, so even less likely to bend or break
  11. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    Yes that's an Imlay. I use a Smooth Operator now. I was surprised it did not break. I put a lot of force on it.

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  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    How much load was that?

    Of note, that is the Mark1 FiddleStick which was made of thinner material (0.224 inches). Now made from thicker Lexan (.370).

    The thinner ones bend like that, and then the rope can slip. The thicker ones essentially go with some bending until the rope breaks. The Smooth Operator is (pretty sure) the .370 Lexan.

    Tom
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I usually try to rig it with the stick suspended in air, rather than against a surface, when possible.

    Crazy, and disturbing.

    Tom
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  14. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    As far as load I don't know but the jeep was getting close to sliding on the cement. I was amazed it held up that long. Send me a new one and I' ll put the hurt on it.

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  15. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    I'd say 1000 lbs if not more.

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  16. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    In some ways, this is encouraging. At least the Jeep thing, not the knot getting stuck...

    I wonder if shaking the rope from below and whipping it around would relieve the tension on the strand pinching the bite enough for it to release ?
  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Well, that is the problem with Looooong rappels. You can do a lot of shaking and whipping, but it is hard to get any of that action to occur up at the top, especially above an edge that the rope runs over.

    Tom
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  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    So many toys, but no load cell????

    ;-)
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  19. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    Yeah, figured it was a long shot. I've never used a Fiddlestick/Smooth Operator on anything near this big...
  20. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    No load cell when the tire started to slide I got nervous. You're not going to break the fiddlestick canyoneering, I know that much from my little test. Yes we shook the living snot out of it but at 230 feet you're not getting anything to the top. We even went from a 3 to 1 to a 5 to 1 and could not get it to release. We were down canyon quite a bit which really changed the angle and it still wouldn't release. The rope was so tight you could play a tune on it.

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