Send us a suggestion!

We could do Better!: Rope Grooves

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    5,665
    Likes:
    7,131
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Someone said:

    "I hate rope grooves.

    "I am very grateful for those who have developed ghosting techniques, placed appropriate bolts, extended webbing etc. I don't have the veteran status as most of you have but here are some my thoughts... There should be increased discussion/training especially in beta about where/how to minimize rope grooves.

    For instance Behunin canyon has several places where rope grooves should not be... The length of the rappels is a factor (more rope pulled across the rock) but a big factor is people are attempting to pull the rope with "less" rope. i.e. the final rappel should be pulled from 40 feet or so from the bottom of the rappel to get a clean pull but that takes more rope than many have on hand.

    I also see conflicting anchor/webbing placement some are clearly designed to reduce grooves other are to minimize visibility but perhaps at the expense of the rock. I think we can develop a better standard for extending webbing, where you should stand for pulls, canyons that should not be done without a fiddlestick, etc."

    Discuss!
  2. UtahNich

    UtahNich

    Messages:
    26
    Likes:
    21
    As for the Behunin comment, I've not done it personally, but in other canyons with large-ish final raps (Mindbender, Pandora's Box, Tidwell) I've found it useful to carry a bit of light-weight pull cord and when it comes time to pull the rope, attach the cord to it and walk quite a ways downcanyon to get a better angle. It doesn't add that much weight, and it sure makes the pull easier.

    I think extending the webbing is key, even at the expense of minimizing visibility. The impact of scars on the rock are much longer lasting than a sling peeking over an edge. Where visibility is a serious issue, that's a good place for ghosting techniques. Any rappel that has a long rolling start or goes around corners should probably be best done with a fiddlestick, if possible and safe.
    Ali Miller likes this.
  3. Ali Miller

    Ali Miller

    Messages:
    161
    Likes:
    190
    In addition, it'd be great to see courtesy anchors for all the the LPAR become more common where safe/possible. I think I've only really seen that technique live in-canyon, not discussed much in tutorials, beta, TRs, etc. Maybe more awareness of this very useful "hack" for extended webbing could cut down on grooving in trade routes?
    John Diener likes this.
  4. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

    Messages:
    1,776
    Likes:
    2,217
    Location:
    Utah
    I have, in the past, made Velcro rope protection sleeves. They didn’t sell very well but with a renewed focus on rope grove mitigation among the community, perhaps if offered again, they may become a more popular item.

    Rope groove mitigation has always been a particular focus and pet project of mine in canyons. I’ve learned and developed several techniques that can be easily implemented with gear we all carry (or should) that I think would be worthwhile sharing.

    Perhaps a video series on this subject is in order. Or at least a pictorial guide to this particular aspect of Leave No Trace ethics.

    I’ve got some free time this week that I can perhaps devote to this project. I just wish that demonstrations could be done in the canyon environment, but given the current “crisis”, it is perhaps not so easy or responsible.

    Standby...
  5. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

    Messages:
    639
    Likes:
    954
    Location:
    Woodland Hills, UT
    I think awareness is the big issue, I've put in a courtesy anchor or two and come back weeks later only to find the whole anchor redone with short webbing. I think a lot of people out there simply don't understand how they work and so they don't use them.

    For now demonstrations can be at home to at least get this project started, they can be updated with in canyon tutorials later as time permits.
  6. John Diener

    John Diener

    Messages:
    181
    Likes:
    361
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Looking forward to more tricks from @Bootboy. I have some at-home photos of the basic courtesy anchor I have used - any tips or improvements appreciated.
    (1) build anchor / attach webbing
    DSCF4639.
    (2) add butterfly knot in convenient location
    DSCF4640.
    (3) last, set rapide/rap ring just past edge (can now cut off extra webbing)
    DSCF4642.
    (4) anchor in courtesy mode
    DSCF4643.
    (5) rigged for last
    DSCF4644.
    -john
    NM Ben, darhawk, Ram and 5 others like this.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    5,665
    Likes:
    7,131
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Niiiice. Very nice.

    In this case, you are making a "jumper" (anchor spot) with the intent of leaving it in the webbing. I tend to making jumpers that the last person removes, but I can see how overall it is better to go ahead and provide a jumper spot for future parties. And now I know that if it is tied with an Alpine Butterfly, there is a good chance it is John's.

    When setting the length of webbing, it is a good idea to set the ring a bit long. When the webbing gets wet and dries it tends to shrink. This results in many anchors that were originally set "just long enough" to become "just too short".

    Tom
  8. jsb4g

    jsb4g

    Messages:
    141
    Likes:
    97
    Location:
    Washington, UT
    Since I am bored to death (my small business is in hibernation at the moment and outdoor recreation is severely restricted), I will respond as someone that is a bit newer to the sport and probably closer in skill to those that are probably causing the bulk of said rope grooves.

    Courtesy rappel rigs are a nice, like the one posted above, but I've only recently become more comfortable with downclimbing into my rap (seems to have coincided with me taking up climbing as yet another hobby). I think many people are uncomfortable with the exposure and won't be inclined to set up or use courtesy rap rigging for its intended purpose. For me, the knowledge of the fiddlestick and an enhanced awareness of rope pull geometry were game changers for stuck ropes and rope grooves. Thus, I would vote for increasing awareness of the fiddlestick and rope pulling techniques. With durable ropes like Tom's Imlay Canyon Fire, BW Canyon Pro/Extreme, and Taylor's Atwood Grand (trying to be an equal advertiser here), rope pulls just doesn't do enough damage to the rope to force people think about minimizing abrasion (and therefore rope grooves). Maybe a link to rope pull techniques on your websites where you advertise your rope? And kudos to the two of you for the rope groove concern despite the fact that rope abrasion decreases rope life and increases rope sales. That is one of the reasons I buy your products (the other being quality).
  9. John Diener

    John Diener

    Messages:
    181
    Likes:
    361
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Thanks for that info! Also, if you make a temp jumper, do you use a figure 9 for easier untying? (or do something entirely different?)
    -john
  10. Helo-ops

    Helo-ops

    Messages:
    52
    Likes:
    52
    Location:
    85022
    Let's just clarify how courtesy rig works. So you set the anchor then you tie it short (pic 4). At this point everybody in the party but the LAPAR goes down.
    Now the LAPAR undoes the midpoint and sets it to go over the edge. I won't explain it beyond this point because it gets complex and wordy.
    End point is at least one person only needs be efficient and comfortable performing this action.
  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    5,665
    Likes:
    7,131
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Yes, a fig 9 or 10... though in webbing they still end up being very difficult to get out. I'm planning on switching to the 'permanent' jumper after this discussion, and maybe to the Alpine Butterfly, if I can get it to work in 1" tubular.

    Tom
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    5,665
    Likes:
    7,131
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Yes. And even if the over-the-edge start is not too difficult, it tends to be faster to use the courtesy anchor, especially with beginners.

    T
  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

    Messages:
    1,174
    Likes:
    1,269
    I think the key is simply getting out the word that rope grooves are something to try to avoid and what some of the technique to avoid them are (padding edges, fiddlesticks, splitting a long series of drops into multiple separate drops etc). It's not something I ever really thought about until I went out with people who thought about it.
  14. Canyonero

    Canyonero

    Messages:
    1,174
    Likes:
    1,269
    Those aren't durable ropes are they? I don't think even the manufacturers would claim that. You want durable grab yourself some Imlay Canyonero (and someone to carry it.)
    Yellow Dart and ratagonia like this.
  15. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    5,665
    Likes:
    7,131
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Many of the people who do the popular canyons in Zion (and elsewhere, in other highly-used canyons) are not "canyoneers". They are just people who happen to be descending a canyon. While we can quibble about definitions, they are not people who would consider themselves part of the "Canyoneering Community". They put the rope through the ring and toss the end down. Period.

    We can reach these people after they have done 3 or 4 or 5 easy canyons and decide this is something they LIKE! And then google up canyoneering or facebook canyoneering and start to be part of the canyoneering community. Rope grooves in many canyons (but certainly not all) are a result of people who only have a vague idea of what they are doing rappelling down canyons.

    Go ahead, call me out as an elitist...

    But we need to account for this, which is why I have spent considerable effort re-anchoring canyons in Zion with anchors in places where they will minimize rope grrrrroves. If anything, I regret that I was insufficiently pro-active, and rope grooves progressed substantially before I was stimulated to respond.

    Tom
  16. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    5,665
    Likes:
    7,131
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    I claim the Canyon Fire is durable for it's weight and cost. Though the Canyonero is MORE durable for it weight and cost.

    Tom
  17. jsb4g

    jsb4g

    Messages:
    141
    Likes:
    97
    Location:
    Washington, UT
    All I can tell you is I've put my first rope, a Canyon Fire, through a lot of canyons and abuse. It has held up very well. I've never used any of the bigger, more burly ropes.
  18. PutUpYourDux

    PutUpYourDux

    Messages:
    37
    Likes:
    35
    I think I'm going to try the alpine butterfly the next time I set a jumper too. I've thought about it before, but have also opted for a fig 9+ for better untieability since I've typically untied them when I am last down, but since it is difficult to untie regardless, I might as well just leave it. More convenient for future parties to boot.
  19. Jason Linder

    Jason Linder

    Messages:
    49
    Likes:
    37
    Why not just use a frost knot so you are putting your weight/load in the direction of the major axis?

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
    Ultra Static likes this.
  20. PutUpYourDux

    PutUpYourDux

    Messages:
    37
    Likes:
    35
    Are you referring to a frost knot at the knot that secures the webbing around the anchor material?
Similar Threads: Better Rope
Forum Title Date
General Discussion We could do better: Welcoming New Canyoneers Apr 7, 2020
General Discussion What could the Canyon Community do Better? Apr 6, 2020
General Discussion Long Branch better anchor option Apr 21, 2017
Tech Tips and Gear Surely three bolts are better than two? Oct 17, 2016
General Discussion Creating Better Beta Nov 27, 2015
Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group More tales of biting bugs in canyons (''better than hockey) Jun 14, 2011