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Stuck Rope Ascending

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Mike Zampino, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Mike Zampino

    Mike Zampino Canyon season never ends.

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    I have been fortunate that the only time I have stuck rope, there was a group behind us (knocking on wood right now). All other instances we were able to free the rope by changing pull angles or doing a little climbing. My question is dealing with the risk of ascending a stuck rope. What tips/trick can be done to make sure that it won't come free while ascending? Is there any history of that happening?
  2. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    this would not work in all situations, but in Morocco, I stuck a rope and the rap was pretty short. I had to ascend to figure out what happened. The rope was more than twice the rap length, so we were able to use the pull end at the bottom to anchor it down there and allow me to ascend the rap end of the rope without possibility of it busting lose and dropping me. YMMV
  3. John Styrnol

    John Styrnol

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    What we have done in the past is have a person clip into the other strand with a figure 8 on a bite or an overhand on a bite and sit/wedge themselves in somewhere. I brought this up on a forum and was asking a question if I would be lifted off the ground if the person slipped or whatever, and was told I would not.
  4. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Jedi powers. You have to want it to not come loose.

    The best way of "dealing with the risk of ascending a stuck rope" is to not do it.

    There are no tips or tricks. Think about it, What could you possibly do to a rope you can't reach? I for one can't tie knots with my mind. Unless you have both ends of the rope in hand, and are able anchor one side, there is no way to ensure that a stuck rope won't come free while ascending it. Once the rap side is out of reach, that's it. That's why most (sane) people who stick ropes literally cut their losses and end up leaving a section of rope behind.

    An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    Your best bet is to take measures to avoid, or at least greatly diminish, the odds of it happening in the first place.
    hank moon, Kuenn and ratagonia like this.
  5. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    :facepalm:

    You had to be told that?

    You'll stay put. Even if you weigh less than the climber, the friction through the top anchor is usually enough to not allow for much if any movement of the rope. Add the friction of any rock the rope touches and this effect is amplified. Its just like top roping but when ascending a rope that is ground anchored on the other side, it is incumbent on the person ascending the rope to tend slack as a fall in this scenario would double the force on the top anchor (minus friction losses)
  6. gajslk

    gajslk

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    When I've stuck ropes I've almost always had both strands still within reach. Once on Devil's Tower I stuck a rope out of reach and had to go back up a half pitch or so to free it, using the rope end we had pulled down for protection. Fortunately, the ropes were dynamic, I had a rack, and Devil's Tower takes pro like a casino takes money. If both ends aren't available? I wouldn't ascend the rope itself except in the direst emergency.

    Gordon
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  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    In the unlikely case that you HAVE to ascend the rope, you can improve your odds a bit by:

    1. Pull really really hard on the rope. Have one person ascend the rope 5 feet, then another person jumps up and grabs them around the waist. That is two person's weight. Add more people, in fact, you want to add ALL the people you have.

    2. Pull really really hard. If you don't have many people, or they are all lightweights, set up a mechanical advantage system and pull on it as hard as you can.

    3. If the other side of the rope is not too far up, AFTER pulling REALLY REALLY HARD, have the lightest most expendable person (but really, it should be the person who made the mistake) climb very gently up to the other side - tie on a rope and have that ground anchored. Whew! Actually the first thing you do when you get there is anchor it to yourself, then you can worry about ground anchoring etc.

    4. Even if you HAVE the pull side and can anchor it, ascending the rope might still be a really dumb idea. What is going on up there? If you don't have a really clear idea of the geometry, and that the rope is not crossing a sharp edge, don't ascend it. Did one of those earlier this summer - had to cut a 300' rope at 240 feet, barely had enough to get out. I would rather have the embarassment of calling out SAR than risk ascending 240 feet on that rope:

    http://www.canyoneeringusa.com/rave...neering-gem-hidden-in-plain-sight-may-1-2013/

    Tom
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  8. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Good point. I guess I took it for granted that one wouldn't go down the drop in the first place if this wasn't true. That's probably not a good assumption in some cases.

    Gordon
  9. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Test the pull before the last person comes down.

    Remember if you anchor from the bottom, you can load the anchor above 2x. Additional risk.
  10. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Tom - so critical, thank you, I emphasized it again.

    Even in the best of circumstances, jugging on a rope against an unknown edge (you really sure about no edge?) is a very bad idea. Leave it, get rescue if you must, descend the canyon the next day to get it.

    Your life is not worth the risk.

    If you don't have a really clear idea of the geometry: that the rope is not crossing a sharp edge, don't ascend it.
  11. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Agree Gordon, always important to protect from edges when going down whenever possible. Jugging will usually cause more wear on your rope than rappelling.
  12. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    Yup, the physics of that can work against you. In my situation, there was no other way (that I could think of). Fortunately I don't weight a huge amount, so doubling my weight would only be a bit over 300 -320ish pounds.
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  13. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    A typical (organized) caver will normally be thinking of ascent when rigging a descent. This is not true of the typical (maybe quasi-organized) canyoneer.
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