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We could do Better!: Rope Grooves

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

  1. Jason Linder

    Jason Linder

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    Yes

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
  2. PutUpYourDux

    PutUpYourDux

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    Gotcha. Most of the jumpers I have set have been at cairn anchors, where I typically use an overhand on a bight to tighten several girth wraps around the base rock, followed by a tieoff at the knot. This method allows for a simple and tight tieoff of the base rock. You could probably do the same with a frost knot, but it seems it may be more difficult to make the girth wraps as tight. Also, once the cairn is built, I can place the jumper wherever is most convenient downstream, instead of having it necessarily located right at the base of the cairn.
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  3. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Yea, mine is going to last forever because I can't find anyone to carry it through a canyon.
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  4. jsb4g

    jsb4g

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    In my recent trip down several heavily trafficked north wash canyons, a number of deadman anchors were well done with the quick link hanging over the edge to prevent rope grooves, and as discussed above, a courtesy knot tied above the edge for easier rappel starts for all but last person down. For instance, in Shenanigans, we saw it on the first rap and then at the grim crawl drop (the crawl is not mandatory for even the last person down at this time).
  5. jsb4g

    jsb4g

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    Another comment on this: My wife attended a video presentation offered by canyoneeringchicks last night and there was a lot of hesitation to recommend the fiddlestick and even the sandtrap, both of which were described as expert only. This reminded me of a recent Birch descent where I happened upon a stuck rope at the big rap. The only thing causing the rope to stick was both strands were in a rope groove. I helped free the rope and asked the people waiting below if they had every heard of a fiddlestick. They said they had, but didn't like them. That was the end of the conversation. There appears to be a genuine fear of fiddlesticks that I am not sure is entirely warranted. Yes, the person selling the stick should use a warning, and yes, you have to be careful, but as long as you don't use it in the wrong spot, I don't see an issue. It is not really easy to pull/push the stick out when the rope is loaded. Ultimately, I think the foregoing anecdote is more evidence that we need to incorporate rope groove minimization techniques into education early and often- whether it is formal canyoneering class or when taking friends down a canyon with us.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Yeah, but... first rule of not getting your rope stuck in the groove is to rappel single strand. Were they rappelling single strand? Both as a manufacturer and as a canyoneer, I am encouraged by the idea that people with minimal skills do not want to use tools that require slightly more than minimal skills.

    Better would be if people would get more than minimal skills before taking their buddies down Birch Hollow... but here we are.

    Tom
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    There was webbing at the grim crawl drop? (sigh)
  8. jsb4g

    jsb4g

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    Yes, they rapped single strand with a biner block and a length of cord joined to the nonrap side for the pull. Neither the biner nor the knot where the rope and cord were joined were stuck on anything. It was pure rope in rope groove causing it to stick. I guess your last point is my point- education solves a lot. There are a lot of canyons that are commonly referred to as beginner canyons, Birch being one of them. The fact that they are described that way is taken to mean by the masses that they can descend the canyon with minimal education/skills. It is a low threshold to suggest that it is ok to descend a canyon where everyone in the group has minimal skills. Maybe this is the risk averse lawyer coming out in me. I'm a believer that a fiddlestick* should be std toolkit fare, and if someone isn't to that point yet skill wise, they should be canyoneering with someone that is. And I say this completely aware of the counterarguments: 1.) many people only do one or two canyons and never get to that point, 2.) my position would restrict canyoneering to a select few, 3.) It is sometimes hard for a beginner to find someone with some skills to go with, 4.) we aren't all wired the same, and some just have a hard time seeing potential perils with a toggle device, etc...I feel the same way about ascending...know how to do it or be with someone that does.

    Edit: *Fiddlestick/Smooth Operator/Atwood Toggle/Other toggle name I am unaware of.

    Edit 2: I am not trying to disparage the folks I helped, nor suggest that they lacked skills. It could have happened to anyone. I am just suggesting that folks (even beginners) get comfortable with a toggle: take a toggle somewhere and practice with it. Fill a pot shot with some sand and tie it to the end of the rope just off the ground to load the rope and experiment with causing the toggle to come out in various ways. Do this in a few different spots with the toggle on and off the ground and variation in the anchor (rock and tree). I learned a lot doing this. I also prefer my toggle to have holes in both ends so I can clip a carabiner in to allow every member of the group to rap with toggle in place so I can observe its tendencies for the rappel at issue without putting any of the other members in the group at risk. And I use lightweight dyneema pull cord (3mm I think?) to minimize the pull cord weight for when I go down (I seem to get nominated to go last every time..haha).
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
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  9. jsb4g

    jsb4g

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    Sure was. I opted to use it instead of taking part in the crawling fun. Lazy, I know.
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