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rappelling on belay devices...

6:02 a.m. on March 15, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

As some might have gathered from my query about the Petzl Pirana, I've been looking at devices for rappelling. Until I discovered how crap it was for belaying in a rock gym, I've been using a Faders device on snow with no major dramas. I tried a climbing partner's Wild Country Variable Controller (belonged to Bill from Japan... you out there Bill!?) and it was much smoother in the gym than my Faders one.

Anyway... so now I have the VC... I'm just wondering, before I try it, what's it like as a rap. device? Also, does anybody out there doing mountaineering ever use a figure 8? I hear they are really easy to control but I've never seen anybody carry one where I've been and I don't own one. I assume most people figure they're too heavy? Maybe they're still used for canyoning?

Anybody like to fill me in here?

Alan
(who is still new at all this but has had several fun sub-zero climbs and is SO hooked)

7:45 a.m. on March 15, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Don M, Don Morris, Don P. Morris

does anybody out there doing mountaineering ever use a figure 8? I hear they are really easy to control but I've never seen anybody carry one where I've been and I don't own one. I assume most people figure they're too heavy? Maybe they're still used for canyoning?

Quote:

Anybody like to fill me in here?

Alan
(who is still new at all this but has had several fun sub-zero climbs and is SO hooked)

Figure 8s were OK in their time, but they are obsolete now that many rappel/belqy devices surpass them. They are easy to control, but they kink your rope into the devil's own corkscrew. Also, if slack develops in the system the rope can slip into a girth hitch, conveniently locking you in place.

I currently use a BD ATC. As far as I know, it is about as good as anything else out there.

5:15 a.m. on March 17, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Bollocks

Quote:

Figure 8s were OK in their time, but they are obsolete now...

I own a collection of some 7 or 8 abseil and belay devices that range from recreational, to rescue to industrial use.

The 8 is still the simplest, most easily managed and most versatile divice to take into mountains far from home. You can make a soft or hard belay (important when using bunk anchors), abseil (rappel) smoother than tube/plate devices and use with variety or rope diameters safely and without fuss.

8 is the only device I take when going to high mountains.

Macca

8:00 p.m. on March 17, 2002 (EST)
3 reviewer rep
98 forum posts

Hey Alan:

So you got a Variable Controller, huh? Great!

I like mine, and within the confines of the pure rock that I do, it works fine for rappelling. I've used it with 10.5 mm x 60 meter and 10.0 mm x 60 meter singles and 9.6 mm X 60 meter doubles. Lot's of rappeling - no problems. It gets pretty warm on full 60 meter raps, but if you keep your speed under control, it's not significant.

I haven't tried it yet, but if you're rapping on a single thin cord, you may want to clip the rope through two biners, instead of just one when rigging your rappel. This'll increase the friction and make it easier to control. Especially true with heavy pack, I suspect.

With all that said, I can imagine in the high mountain setting that Macca's point about the versatility of an 8 makes some sense. (Since I don't do that crazy stuff, I don't know from experience. :-))

9:40 a.m. on March 18, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Paul, Paul R., Paul Raphaelson, PaulR, PR
Re: Bollocks

8s are perfectly safe; you should use whatever you like most. Personally, I prefer my atc for everything. It gives me more control, is a lot smoother to use (especially to take up slack with), is lighter, and especially important to me in the mountains: it doesn't twist the rope like an 8. my ex got my 8 when we split ... i wish them well but don't miss either of them ;)

One note about dynamic belays with an 8: you don't have a choice. your belay is always dynamic with it. there's no 8 that can lock the rope off statically like a grigri. You can generate at most a couple of kilonewtons stopping force, so in any hard fall a lot of rope will pass through (same is true with an atc).

And a safety note: when you rap with 8, you should be VERY careful that no slack builds up in the system that you can drop onto. There have been a number of cases where the 8 slid down onto the gate of the biner, torqued against it, and then under a small impact load, broken the gate off the biner. People have died in seemingly ordinary situations.

Paul

Quote:

Quote:

Figure 8s were OK in their time, but they are obsolete now...

I own a collection of some 7 or 8 abseil and belay devices that range from recreational, to rescue to industrial use.

The 8 is still the simplest, most easily managed and most versatile divice to take into mountains far from home. You can make a soft or hard belay (important when using bunk anchors), abseil (rappel) smoother than tube/plate devices and use with variety or rope diameters safely and without fuss.

8 is the only device I take when going to high mountains.

Macca

4:47 p.m. on March 18, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Eights - two (three...four) configs

$There are a number of ways to use an eight:

1. rigged as per usual with the loop passed through the big hole and over the stem
1.a. Keep big loop clipped to harness biner. Feed loop of rope through big hole and over stem as usual, but now don't need to detach from harness to rig - no risk of dropping. Not for beginners though for obvious reasons - rope is not captive.
2. as above but passed through the attaching biner as well (so called 'sport rig')
3. loop passed through small hole and around biner to create a belay like a plate or tube device - almost as strong and so gives you 4-4.5kN or so stopping force.

Quote:

One note about dynamic belays with an 8: you don't have a choice. your belay is always dynamic with it. there's no 8 that can lock the rope off statically like a grigri.

$ And you would want it to? Why in gods name would you want to use a Gri-Gri, a purpose built sports climbing device that has a HARD pull up, in the mountains where many anchors and running belays may be suspect?? Not to mention the weight. Gri-Gris as good in their place but are also dangerous in many situations where people use them. See the article I posted below somewhere about bolts - gri-gri DOUBLED the peak forces on anchors and running bolts cf. stitcht plate!

$You can generate at most a couple of kilonewtons stopping force, so in any hard fall a lot of rope will pass through (same is true with an atc).
$ And as I say - in many situations this is a benefit not a failure.

Quote:

And a safety note: SNIP...under a small impact load, broken the gate off the biner. People have died in seemingly ordinary situations.

$ Same would apply to any dedicated (not a belay device pressed into service as descender) descender except a rack. They are all cast lumps of metal and have a profile that gives the potential for cross gate loading. It's a hard world out there...

And yep they twist the rope a little bit but this can be managed OK if use a biner on the leg around one strand to keep ropes separate while rapping. They're also able to be used in anchor set-ups (off label as it were but strong enough if do sensibly), can use to rack stuff on, are easy to rig with gloves or mitts on. As you say, it's horses for courses though - use what you want...

Macca

5:42 p.m. on March 18, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

No offense, but blah blah blah

Quote:

$ And you would want it to? Why in gods name would you want to use a Gri-Gri, a purpose built sports climbing device that has a HARD pull up, in the mountains where many anchors and running belays may be suspect?? Not to mention the weight. Gri-Gris as good in their place but are also dangerous in many situations where people use them. See the article I posted below somewhere about bolts - gri-gri DOUBLED the peak forces on anchors and running bolts cf. stitcht plate!

Your example is one of a "static" belay anchor, the belay anchor point not moving and probably can not move in this case. Necessary for an experiment like that, but not real life.

I think it is a question of learning how to belay differently. Gri-gris are wonderful if you are standing on the ground belaying(in the mountains I wont carry one because of weight only). It is up to you, using your body to make a "dynamic" belay with a little hop or give in the hips. God knows I dont want the rope running in a "controled" way through my hands. Once that rope starts to run, forget about stopping it. In a hanging belay position, I dont think you have alot of choice about giving with your body to absorb shock, but then I think you had better use a screamer or clip a single skinny rope into your suspect gear rather than rely on your hands.


Quote:

$You can generate at most a couple of kilonewtons stopping force, so in any hard fall a lot of rope will pass through (same is true with an atc).
$ And as I say - in many situations this is a benefit not a failure.


If you suspect you will need give because of suspect gear, get some screamers and scream aids. That is the only true way to mitigate impact force. Belaying by giving rope through your hands is too much art and finesse to mitigate falling force. True, some rope does go through an ATC/sticht plate(hopefully not "alot" as you state), but I wouldnt rely on it. A couple of kilonewtons should move your body attached to a gri-gri dissipating the force as well if not better than relying on 6inches of rope through an ATC.

my 2 cents,

matt s

6:54 p.m. on March 18, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

None taken...

Quote:

Your example is one of a "static" belay anchor, the belay anchor point not moving and probably can not move in this case. Necessary for an experiment like that, but not real life.

$ Gri-Gri still produces greater peak load on all parts of system than other belay devices. Like was compared with like...

Quote:

but then I think you had better use a screamer or clip a single skinny rope into your suspect gear rather than rely on your hands.

$ this started out with a query about general mtneering; and now we're carrying a grigri, some screamers, extra ropes, yadda yadda to protect a snow anchor on a slope that can be done by just using a less aggressive device. I agree and I said so; great in their place - aid, long rock routes, sport (not that I'd know about the latter being crap on steep stuff!!). Just not when anchors are marginal and you're belaying slopes for safety in a general mtneering context.


Quote:

A couple of kilonewtons should move your body attached to a gri-gri dissipating the force as well if not better than relying on 6inches of rope through an ATC.
$But that's the point, with a grigri you have the *potential* whether you like it or not, to create a much higher force than 'a couple of kN' no matter how you use it, especially on the top lead running belay which cops a double load even with your 'little hop'.

M

8:01 p.m. on March 18, 2002 (EST)
3 reviewer rep
98 forum posts
peripherally related question - sticht plates

Is any manufacturer these days making a sticht plate? I've been thinking that I'd like to give one a try, but my searches of various on-line sites haven't yet turned one up.

Anybody?

10:44 p.m. on March 18, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: sticht plates

Bill,

Can still get down here. Want me to buy you one and send up? Postage may be a killer??

Macca

11:08 p.m. on March 18, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: sticht plates

Quote:

Bill,

Can still get down here. Want me to buy you one and send up? Postage may be a killer??

Macca

Hey Bill,

Yeah, I'll be back in Nihon this July! (We can sort out details offline... maybe not Tokyo, depends on costs etc. Know any good climbs around Kansai?)

Yeah, as Macca says, sticht plates are easy to come by down here... several different ones I've seen (even a lovely purple and silver number), I'll check brands for you and get back with prices if you're keen. I used them last winter in Aust. - on snow they're fine. I never tried doing anything steep with them and did no abseiling on them either.

Alan.

9:27 a.m. on March 19, 2002 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
43 forum posts
Re: sticht plates

Sticht plate are very available. Try www.climbaxe.com
I find they are less abrasive to the rope then the edges of atc types. I also recommend the spring; much smoother for lowering and rappelling. Locks fine under a shock load but is less jerky to control.
Elder

Quote:

Quote:

Bill,

Can still get down here. Want me to buy you one and send up? Postage may be a killer??

Macca

Hey Bill,

Yeah, I'll be back in Nihon this July! (We can sort out details offline... maybe not Tokyo, depends on costs etc. Know any good climbs around Kansai?)

Yeah, as Macca says, sticht plates are easy to come by down here... several different ones I've seen (even a lovely purple and silver number), I'll check brands for you and get back with prices if you're keen. I used them last winter in Aust. - on snow they're fine. I never tried doing anything steep with them and did no abseiling on them either.

Alan.

11:23 a.m. on March 19, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Paul, Paul R, Paul Raphaelson, PaulR, PR
Re: Eights - two (three...four) configs

>

I bring this up not as a point of failure but as a clarification. It's something that a lot of people aren't aware of. I hear peaple asking a leader if they want a static or a dynamic belay, and they're using a device that's ONLY capable of a dynamic belay.

It's something everyone needs to know about whatever device they're using. You should know what forces it might generate, how much rope might slip through, etc.. Taking a hard fall can be surprising enough even if you DO know how your gear behaves.

8:12 p.m. on March 21, 2002 (EST)
3 reviewer rep
98 forum posts
thanks!

Thanks to all for the information!

Macca, thanks for your offer, but I won't bother you to send something up yet, since it sounds like Alan (animaland) may actually be in my neck of the woods again this summer. I'm grovelling for more information from him off line. If that doesn't work out, however, I may take you up on it after all!

Elder, do you really like the spring-equipped sticht plate that appears on the climbaxe website? I was thinking that spring looked like an unnecessary gimick, but I haven't played with one yet. Doesn't it tangle with other gear on your harness, get bent, etc.? Is it removable?

Anybody else have thoughts on spring-equipped sticht plates?

Thanks again.

11:08 p.m. on March 22, 2002 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
43 forum posts
Re: thanks!

Yes, I prefer the spring as it is smoother to me.
It is also a little heavier/bulkier, but doesn't snag, bend easily...and you could remove it, permenantly only I think.
I like the heavier aluminum for heat disapation and it's easy on ropes but will handle frozen fine.
Elder

Quote:

Thanks to all for the information!

Macca, thanks for your offer, but I won't bother you to send something up yet, since it sounds like Alan (animaland) may actually be in my neck of the woods again this summer. I'm grovelling for more information from him off line. If that doesn't work out, however, I may take you up on it after all!

Elder, do you really like the spring-equipped sticht plate that appears on the climbaxe website? I was thinking that spring looked like an unnecessary gimick, but I haven't played with one yet. Doesn't it tangle with other gear on your harness, get bent, etc.? Is it removable?

Anybody else have thoughts on spring-equipped sticht plates?

Thanks again.

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