Walking the Rope

When climbing an overhanging route or a roof, a fall will often leave you hanging in space, unable to get back on the wall.. what to do?

Climbing magazine shows you how to Walk the Rope

 

8a.nu also has a good explanation of this cool technique

 

Check your Draws! Rope side and Bolt side Carabiners

One of the golden rules of using quickdraws is to be consistent about using one side for the bolt and one side for the rope. But why do we do this?

Because this can happen.

Bolt worn rope-side carabiner

Normal Wear on Rope Carabiner(closeup)

Bolt wear on a Rope Carabiner(closeup)

Carabiners are made of strong, but soft aluminum. Bolts can very quickly cut sharp burrs and edges into the metal, things you don’t want your soft rope to be running over.

Pssh. It’s just a scratch. 

Actually ...DMM has conducted tests and indicated that in just a few, normal(Factor 0.4) falls on a bolt-worn carabiner, nicks and grooves like these can cause  severe damage on a rope.

click to watch DMM’s video

Whether or not a bolt worn biner causes immediate danger to you, at the very least it will greatly accelerate rope wear, and no one wants that.

Identifying Rope and Bolt Side

With solid gate carabiners, the straight gate is the bolt side, the bent gate is the rope side of the quickdraw.

straight gate up

With wiregate carabiners, both gates may be straight, or one may be very slightly bent and hard to tell, and so it is absolutely essential that your wiregate draws have different color carabiners. If for some odd reason that’s not possible, consider using colored tape to mark the top biner.

make sure your wiregates have different color carabiners

If you are not sure which side is bolt side, look at the dogbone; the tighter side of the dogbone is the rope side.


Make sure to be absolutely consistent in which side you use.

Suggestion

-Prevention: Don’t share draws, but if you must , be careful about who you give your draws to, and make sure they understand which side is which.

-Regular Inspections: This is just another reason to do periodic checks of your gear. This particular bad draw was spotted while cleaning my gear, which you should be doing regularly anyways, especially if you go to sea crags like Long Dong. In fact, you should do it now! Go on, we’ll wait for you.

 

Climbing is a dangerous activity. Your safety is your own responsibility. This article and other information on this site is meant to supplement and not replace professional climbing instruction. 

Backing up a Rappel Part 2: Setting up an Autoblock

As outlined in the first “Backing up a Rappel” post, Rappeling is a decievingly dangerous aspect of climbing, with rappeling accidents causing  disproportionate deaths in not only new, but experienced climbers.

One of the main ways to backup the rappel from the climber side is a friction knot. There are different ways to do this but this video from Peak Mountain guides shows one of the current best  known ways to hook up a friction knot rappel backup.

This is NOT a rappel lesson and there is no way that you should be doing a rappel without qualified instruction from a professional. This article and the video included are supplements, not replacements for qualified training.

Important notes about this method

As always, even with an autoblock backup you still need to practice basic rappelling safety:

  • Tie stopper knots (a double fisherman is the standard) in the end of the rope so you cannot rappel off them.
  • Check that both ends of the rope reach the ground! Do a visual inspection and have a partner on the ground confirm it.
  • Test your rappel system by weighting it with your body weight(or even more by jerking around) before you trust your life to it.

We recommend even if you use an autoblock backup to have a belayer on the ground give you a fireman’s belay.

Once learned, Autoblocks are simple to setup, but if you still find them a hassle, some newer belay devices such as the Mammut Smart Alpine and Climbing Technology’s Alpine Up offer built in rappel backups which can make rappelling safer yet easier. These are not always foolproof so read the instructions carefully and supplement with a fireman’s belay.

Disclaimer:  If you had trouble understanding this post or the terminology used, chances are you shouldn’t be rappelling. Please  find qualified instruction from your local rock climbing gym or guide.

Climbing is dangerous. You are responsible for your own safety. Please get advice and practice climbing techniques with professional guides or experienced, trustworthy climbers before trusting your life to something you read off the internet.

Source: Chockstone “Backing up an Abseil” ,  Traditional Mountaineering -”How do I Self-belay my rappels?”

Backing up a Rappel Part 1: Fireman’s Belay

This climbing season, over 4 climbing deaths in North America have been recorded due to rappelling accidents

Each of these cases could have almost certainly been prevented if some basic safety precautions were taken in regards to rappelling:

  • Tie stopper knots (a double fisherman is the standard) in the end of the rope so you cannot rappel off them.
  • Check that both ends of the rope reach the ground! Do a visual inspection and have a partner on the ground confirm it.
  • Test your rappel system by weighting it with your body weight(or even more by jerking around) before you trust your life to it.
  • Backup your rappel

One of the simplest methods of backing up the rappel is the fireman’s belay, which ideally should be combined with another method built into the rappel system, such as an autoblock.

Fireman’s Belay

 

The Fireman’s belay, seen here illustrated by Zion Mountain School, is a simple way of backing up a rappel off of a single pitch sport route.

The Procedure

(This is NOT a climbing or rappel lesson and there is no way that you should be doing a rappel without qualified instruction from a professional. This article  is meant to supplement, not replace qualified training.)

  • A 2nd climber stays on the ground monitoring the rappeling climber while holding both strands of the rope the climber is rappelling off of.
  • If the rappeller loses control of the rappel, the climber on the ground can pull on the strands, halting the fall of the climber.  It is essential for the belayer on the ground to pay close attention to the descending climber.
  • The belayer on the ground should be holding the rope loosely so that the rappel is not slowed down, but there shouldnt be much slack in the system because they need to be able to quickly pull the strands tight to halt the rappelling climber’s descent.

The benefits of the fireman’s belay are its simplicity and it requiring no additional equipment. It also is a check that both ends of the rappel rope reach the ground, since the belayer on the ground needs to hold both strands of rope in his hand. For these reasons, it’s a method we think should be used whenever possible.

The fireman’s belay is effective but is not foolproof – it should be used in conjunction with other safe rappelling practices.

Disclaimer: If you had trouble understanding this post or the terminology used, chances are you shouldn’t be rappelling. Please  find qualified instruction from your local rock climbing gym or guide.

Climbing is dangerous. You are responsible for your own safety. Please get advice and practice climbing techniques with professional guides or experienced, trustworthy climbers before trusting your life to something you read off the internet.

Source: Chockstone “Backing up an Abseil” 

Pulley Injuries – Rest? or … Climb?

Now you’ve done it — you pulled too many crimpers, hit the fingerboard too hard, or pulled too hard on the mono and now you’ve tweaked your way to a tendon injury. What now?

Conventional climbing wisdom is that you should rest until you’re 100% Recovered. This is actually not correct – recent research and anecdotal evidence from climbers in the field indicate that once the intial major healing period is over, a form of active recovery promotes much better recovery than completely layoff.

Read the Full Article at Dave Macleod’s Blog

Dave Macleod is an established UK Climber and Climbing Coach well respected in the community. He runs a well known climbing blog.