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The Climbing Club • View topic - Rappel devices

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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 12:54 pm 
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Cap'n Wingspan
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Location: Wallingford
I use an atc guide. I don't know what a cow tail is in this context. I used to use a sling with an overhand knot forming a small loop on the end, which worked fine. Now I use a personal anchor system, I think made by petzl. It's more adjustable and stronger than a daisy chain.


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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:12 pm 
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UW Climber
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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 6:12 pm 
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Cap'n Wingspan
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Sorry, that metolius thing is the PAS that I use.


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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 6:25 pm 
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Which loop do you use to clip the rappel device? Is it the very first (bigger) loop or the second?


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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 11:00 am 
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Cap'n Wingspan
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I use the second, but this is ultimately a function of how long your autoblock is.


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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 5:23 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:15 am
Posts: 129
I do quite a bit of technical canyoneering and the Petzl Pirahna is the single most popular rappel device for that sport. It is designed to be used for single rope rappels, as single rope rappels are the standard for canyoneering. Also, it is designed so that you can easily and securely lock it off while rappelling. And it's easy to unlock and continue rappelling. It's further designed so that you can add friction or decrease friction by changing the rigging of the rappel rope(s) thru the various holes and horns of the device.

It's quite ingenious! When you begin a 60-meter rappel on a single rope in free space the friction added by the weight of the rope below you is significant. Then as you rappel lower on the rope, that extra friction disappears and it's wonderfully nice to have extra rigging available to increase the friction mid-rappel.

For wet exits any style of "figure-8" is superior to a "tube" style rappel device. Wet exit is when you rappel into a pool of water deeper than you are tall. You need to be able to separate from the rappel rope immediately, reliably, and without hassle. Especially in moving water situations.

I wouldn't think the Pirahna would find its way onto many climber's harness just 'cuz climbers seem obsessed with weight of gear and the Pirahna is a husky fella.

I love the Pirahna, but I use the Omega Pacific SBG-II for canyoneering. I don't have the mid-rappel extra rigging options, but it's lighter, I already own it, it has 8 different rigging options for super-fast-and-loose descents to terribly-uptight-and-slow descents, and the Pirahna is a bit pricey.

If I owned nothing and was able to buy either at the same price, I might still prefer the SBG-II 'cuz it's lighter. (yep, me too)

For climbing I love the Reverso 3. It's lighter than the Black Diamond Guide, and it works better with thicker ropes [more than 10.2mm], but still works just as well (better?) with thinner ropes [less than 8.4mm].

For rappelling while climbing I always use a friction hitch backup. I far prefer the Klemheist tied above the rappel device. Not uncommonly in the alpine realm I've needed to temporarily (and quickly) climb back up the rappel rope to unstick ropes or get back up to a nice tree or bush for the next rappel. With a friction hitch rigged above the primary rappel device it is easy and convenient to ascend the rope 10-feet or 15-feet.

With a friction hitch below the rappel device you would need to perform several magic acts to reconfigure your system to be able to ascend the rope.

As well, on long rappels the weight of the rope hanging down creates significant added friction and when the friction hitch is rigged below the rappel device you cannot pull the rappel ropes outward from the rappel device to lessen the friction. In this case, as you begin your long rappel with a friction hitch rigged below your rappel device, you need to pull rope thru the hitch and then feed it thru your rappel device. This is laborious and somewhat tedious.

I prefer the Klemheist as my friction hitch because it can be released under load, it's simple to fluff and loosen after weighting, it's easy to configure for thick ropes or for thin ropes, it's simple to form and dress. The Bachman friction hitch is another favorite of mine.


Last edited by David Yount on Sat May 15, 2010 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 6:51 pm 
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UW Climber
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Hi David!

Thanks a lot for your detailed description. Why do you think that the Pirana is not appropriate with double ropes? You might not get all the friction settings but shouldn't it still work with ropes up to 10.5 mm? I don't mind the extra weight if it really makes rappelling easier. I use a prussik below the rappel device which should give me enough friction.

I still kind of like Figure 8 devices for rappeling and the Mammut Bionic 8 is only 67 gr, thus lighter than the ATC.

For belaying I still use the Munter. I find it much easier to hold a falling lead climber with the Munter than with the ATC. I have held several falling lead climbers with the Munter without even noticing that they are falling if I hadn't been watching. The few times I have held a falling lead climber with the ATC I felt that my braking arm had to work more. I also like it that I have one specialized device just for rappeling.

It's also not true that the Munter twists the rope. If you use it correctly, i.e., the braking strand always parallel to the party rope, twisting will be minimal. I have seen twisted ropes also after belaying with the ATC.


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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 8:12 am 
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UW Climber

Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:15 am
Posts: 129
Using any type of friction multiplying tool (Reverso 3, Black Diamond Guide, ATC, Hugh Banner Sherrif, Figure-8, carabiner brake, etc) or friction knot (Munter, carabiner spine wrap, etc) may introduce twisting into the rope(s). Most any method may be employed without twisting, if it is used appropriately.

Specifically it has most to do with the angle of ingress of the brake rope.

I can rappel on a Figure-8 without twisting the rope(s).
I can lower a climber with a Munter Hitch without twisting the rope(s).

I used a Munter Hitch with a pair of Half Ropes last weekend. After 13 pitches of climbing there were additional twists, but not many.

The Petzl Pirahna is fine with double rope rappels; sorry if what I wrote allowed any confusion to that.


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 Post subject: Re: Rappel devices
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 6:53 pm 
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UW Climber
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