Long rappels

7:56 a.m. on July 24, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

When tying two ropes together for a long rappel what are the preferred knots and the advantages/disadvantages?

11:09 a.m. on July 24, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

I prefer two overhand knots with 2' tail. This knot is simple, reliable, & easy to tie. It is also the recommended knot for this purpose by the climbing bible "Freedom of the Hills". There are also many other safe knots for this purpose (i.e fishermans, figure 8 etc)
Check out "Freedom of the Hills" on how to tie and which one you like the best.

Quote:

When tying two ropes together for a long rappel what are the preferred knots and the advantages/disadvantages?

5:16 p.m. on July 24, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

Quote:

When tying two ropes together for a long rappel what are the preferred knots and the advantages/disadvantages?

The best (most secure and convenient) are :

- the double (preferably the triple) fisherman knot.
(The down side of using the fisherman's knot however is that it is quite hard to untie once it as been loaded)

- The figure 8 knot with the tails in opposite directions and with the tails long enough so that you can tie an stoper knots (like the fisherman) on each side of the knot is my personal favorite and is the safest knot for joinning two rope (of identical or different diameter).

*****
Be careful of the recent trend of using the overhand knot with the tail facing the same direction. This knot is also called the "European death knot" and is by all mean NOT the safest knot aroud. This Knot as bean the cause of some major accidents (just do a search on the "European death knot" on the Net for more info and some testing done by black diamond).

Some poeple will stil tell you to use this knot because it is less likely to jam in cracks when you pull the rope.

This may be true theoricaly but I know that the figure of 8 with the tail facing in opposite direction is not more prone to jaming than the overhand. I have personnaly been using the figure of 8 for more than 10 years now and I have never have it jam when pulling the ropes.

Martin

11:23 a.m. on July 25, 2003 (EDT)
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OEDK

Actually Martin, that's not quite what the tests of rappel knots have to say. The traditional joining knots for rappels on same-diameter ropes have long been the fisherman and double fisherman (aka grapevine) with a backup, with a more recent usage of the followthrough figure 8 (what you refer to as the "figure 8 knot with the tails in opposite directions"). The problem with these knots is that they have a strong tendency to get stuck in cracks and other places due to having pieces sticking out all around the knot. I have had to climb back up to free rappel lines more than once due to these knots getting stuck, a scary business at best (is it going to let loose, is it really stuck firmly .....). They are ok on open faces where there is noplace to get jammed, but they are also hard to untie, even when all folks descending take care to descend gently and avoid the stunt, multibounce rappels.

The OEDK (overhand European Death Knot), properly tied and dressed, with one foot tails has little tendency to get jammed, instead rolling onto the flat side and sliding on over the obstacles. The tests (including the ones that turn up on the various search engines) show that the knot is quite safe. Yes, there have been two fatal accidents in recent years that allegedly involved the EDK, although in one case it was supposedly the figure 8 version, which the tests show has more of a tendency to upset when improperly tied. The OEDK failure strengths at worst in the available tests are higher than you would encounter in a smooth rappel.

The knots that work well for joining dissimilar lines are quite a different situation, but then you should be looking at techniques for reepschnurs, not double line rappels.

But for Darryl, my suggestion is to get together with some folks who have done lots of long rappels involving joined ropes, including learning about passing knots while hanging free in the middle of your descent. Remember that rappeling is probably the most dangerous thing you will ever do in your climbing. More can go wrong than with almost any other aspect of climbing. Do not make the mistake of treating it casually.

10:58 p.m. on July 25, 2003 (EDT)
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Dissimilar ropes

When ever I am doing 50m raps its generally with a 10.5 or 11mm lead rope and a 8.4mm backup rope. For these ropes its a good idea to use a triplle fisherman's knot because they are quite different size/stiffness. Yes it can be a pain to untie and it can get jammed. I put the knot on the side of the anchor with the larger rope through the anchor and pull the smaller rope. Always control the end of the rope going upward as long as you can so you can pull on it to clear a jam.
As Bill points out - rapping is extremely dangerous, especially free rappels because you life depends on the anchor - study up on anchors, equalize them and make them redundant. And in my opinion - never rap off an old anchor without it being many times redundant - the nylon rots in the sun. I generally redo every anchor (in Yosemite) before I will use it, and I carry a lot of sling material and rings in my pac for this purpose.
Jim S YMMV

11:02 a.m. on July 28, 2003 (EDT)
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408 forum posts
In line overhand...ditto...

Quote:

I prefer two overhand knots with 2' tail. This knot is simple, reliable, & easy to tie. It is also the recommended knot for this purpose by the climbing bible "Freedom of the Hills". There are also many other safe knots for this purpose (i.e fishermans, figure 8 etc)

That's the method I mostly use.

Recently rapped off a 6mm and 10.5mm tied together. Used a figure eight on a bight on the 6mm, and laid in a sheet bend with the 10.5 finished with a double fisherman's as a backup. Easy to untie. Not too bulky.

If the pull is clean, double fishermans works. So does a rewoven figure eight. So does...

For me, though, I use a EDK most often. Easy to untie. Simple. And...test data is good for this knot (see Tom Moyer's testing for example).

Brian in SLC

7:21 a.m. on August 1, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

Not true. I couldn't find any documents or records of accident associated with the use of EDK. Like all knots, if properly tied (read the test result), can be used for its intending purposes. The name of the knot is just from paranoia. Climb on.

Quote:

*****
Be careful of the recent trend of using the overhand knot with the tail facing the same direction. This knot is also called the "European death knot" and is by all mean NOT the safest knot aroud. This Knot as bean the cause of some major accidents (just do a search on the "European death knot" on the Net for more info and some testing done by black diamond).

Some poeple will stil tell you to use this knot because it is less likely to jam in cracks when you pull the rope.

This may be true theoricaly but I know that the figure of 8 with the tail facing in opposite direction is not more prone to jaming than the overhand. I have personnaly been using the figure of 8 for more than 10 years now and I have never have it jam when pulling the ropes.

Martin

11:03 p.m. on August 5, 2003 (EDT)
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EDK accidents

Quote:

Not true. I couldn't find any documents or records of accident associated with the use of EDK. Like all knots, if properly tied (read the test result), can be used for its intending purposes. The name of the knot is just from paranoia. Climb on.

Better look a little farther. There is one in Accidents in North American Mountaineering that is re-visited in one of the last couple of issues of Rock and Ice. The knot used in this case was apparently the figure-8 variation of the EDK, as I noted. But true, the name came from people looking at this thing and saying "it can't possibly work." Except that it does work very well.

October 25, 2014
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