Bridge Day : Saturday

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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Cody JW » Oct 13, 2011 4:23 pm

Chads93GT wrote:185-200 lbs depending on the day of the week and my gear on. I routinely go from 5 to 6 bars, rope between the legs, rope over the hip. People who are too scared to drop a bar and wear themselves out by feeding the rope are only punishing themselves.
It is not a matter of being scared, I did drop to 5 bars and was going too fast . I have since found by just going to a longer rack I can have 6 bars and have friction adjustment necessary for big drops. I found that if you get going too fast sometimes it is not easy to add a bar , try picking up the weight of a bridge rope hanging there and quickly try to add a bar.It is possible but not easy when screaming down the rope.I also know with a long rope like a bridge rope a bottom belay may not work real well. I would rather be safe than sorry. I figure I can chose between a wheelchair for the rest of my life ( at best) or forearms that may be sore from having to force feed at the top , I will take sore forearms every time. I understand there are many factors like the condition of the rope ect. that can effect friction. I tried 5 bars ( not at the bridge) and glad I had the good sense to have a bottom belay ready , I needed it. I was going too fast to add a bar. My advice to the 180 lb guys out there saying "just drop a bar" is to strap a 5 gallon bucket of paint on their back then try the same drop with 5 bars and then come and talk to me. The important thing is to do what YOU feel is safe . What works for a 180 lb . guy may not for a big boy.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 13, 2011 4:40 pm

I don't have any data to back this up, only observation. I believe that feeding rope is the cause of most rack accidents. Feeder gets tired, frustrated and desperate. Tries to drop a bar, gets going to fast and is too tired to do anything about it.

Bottom belays at Bridge Day do work, but. But, only if there are enough bars engaged on the rack. Drop to three bars and there is little anyone can do. A good way to test a bottom belay at Bridge Day is to try it. Have the belayer pull just a bit. Try it at the top or the bottom. You'll stop.

Also, running and pulling sideways or uphill may be more effective that just pulling straight down. Adding some angle to a rappel can add quite a bit of friction.

Also, speaking of racks, in my observation, the majority of rack users don't use them properly. It's an education problem, not an equipment problem.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 13, 2011 5:06 pm

Cody JW wrote:
Chads93GT wrote:185-200 lbs depending on the day of the week and my gear on. I routinely go from 5 to 6 bars, rope between the legs, rope over the hip. People who are too scared to drop a bar and wear themselves out by feeding the rope are only punishing themselves.
It is not a matter of being scared, I did drop to 5 bars and was going too fast . I have since found by just going to a longer rack I can have 6 bars and have friction adjustment necessary for big drops. I found that if you get going too fast sometimes it is not easy to add a bar , try picking up the weight of a bridge rope hanging there and quickly try to add a bar.It is possible but not easy when screaming down the rope.I also know with a long rope like a bridge rope a bottom belay may not work real well. I would rather be safe than sorry. I figure I can chose between a wheelchair for the rest of my life ( at best) or forearms that may be sore from having to force feed at the top , I will take sore forearms every time. I understand there are many factors like the condition of the rope ect. that can effect friction. I tried 5 bars ( not at the bridge) and glad I had the good sense to have a bottom belay ready , I needed it. I was going too fast to add a bar. My advice to the 180 lb guys out there saying "just drop a bar" is to strap a 5 gallon bucket of paint on their back then try the same drop with 5 bars and then come and talk to me. The important thing is to do what YOU feel is safe . What works for a 180 lb . guy may not for a big boy.


Jeff I don't mean with big guys, i mean with smaller guys, sorta like myself. Ive seen several people improperly using racks lately, ugh.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Cody JW » Oct 13, 2011 5:39 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:I don't have any data to back this up, only observation. I believe that feeding rope is the cause of most rack accidents. Feeder gets tired, frustrated and desperate. Tries to drop a bar, gets going to fast and is too tired to do anything about it.

Bottom belays at Bridge Day do work, but. But, only if there are enough bars engaged on the rack. Drop to three bars and there is little anyone can do. A good way to test a bottom belay at Bridge Day is to try it. Have the belayer pull just a bit. Try it at the top or the bottom. You'll stop.

Also, running and pulling sideways or uphill may be more effective that just pulling straight down. Adding some angle to a rappel can add quite a bit of friction.

Also, speaking of racks, in my observation, the majority of rack users don't use them properly. It's an education problem, not an equipment problem.
We tried at bridge day to use a bottom belay on our best guy going down the rope , the guy on the bottom was well north of 200 clipped in the rope with full weight feet off the ground and the guy on rope did not even slow a bit. Maybe these tricks of running at an angle may work , but keep in mind at that time you have somebody screaming down the rope out of control and time is a factor. I also wonder how light a person would have to be to be able to use 3 bars, I could use three bars if only my right leg was going down. We did this as an experiment and the guy on rope did not fully simulate a real person out of control , just a guy moving fast so he could stop on his own. I am sure it MAY be possible but in our case not very likely. Also the rope was at an angle the day we went ,by the wind. From the top it looked like it was hanging in an L shape. We did have a new slick rope .
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Extremeophile » Oct 14, 2011 7:39 am

Cody JW wrote:
Chads93GT wrote:185-200 lbs depending on the day of the week and my gear on. I routinely go from 5 to 6 bars, rope between the legs, rope over the hip. People who are too scared to drop a bar and wear themselves out by feeding the rope are only punishing themselves.
It is not a matter of being scared, I did drop to 5 bars and was going too fast . I have since found by just going to a longer rack I can have 6 bars and have friction adjustment necessary for big drops. I found that if you get going too fast sometimes it is not easy to add a bar , try picking up the weight of a bridge rope hanging there and quickly try to add a bar.It is possible but not easy when screaming down the rope.I also know with a long rope like a bridge rope a bottom belay may not work real well. I would rather be safe than sorry. I figure I can chose between a wheelchair for the rest of my life ( at best) or forearms that may be sore from having to force feed at the top , I will take sore forearms every time. I understand there are many factors like the condition of the rope ect. that can effect friction. I tried 5 bars ( not at the bridge) and glad I had the good sense to have a bottom belay ready , I needed it. I was going too fast to add a bar. My advice to the 180 lb guys out there saying "just drop a bar" is to strap a 5 gallon bucket of paint on their back then try the same drop with 5 bars and then come and talk to me. The important thing is to do what YOU feel is safe . What works for a 180 lb . guy may not for a big boy.

Some things you describe from your experiences don't jive with my own experiences. With a standard length rack it sounds like you often have to feed rope when using 6 bars, and yet with 5 bars you're in an uncontrolled free-fall. I've found that squeezing the bars together, adding tension below the bottom bar, changing the angle of the rope as it passes over the bottom bar, etc. give me a great range of friction control. For myself, I generally always start pitches on either 4 bars or 5, depending on many factors including how clean or new the rope is, rope diameter, length of drop, aluminum vs stainless bars, etc. For especially long drops (maybe >250 feet) I might add a bar part way down. I find the other techniques for controlling friction significantly overlap the number of bars being used as a means of controlling speed. I also have a hard time imaging that a 200 lb person hanging on the end of a rope has no influence on the rate of descent. Maybe it was the wrong rope?

I also agree with Scott that a large number of rappel accidents seem to be caused by feeding rope with too many bars engaged. Sometimes fatigue may be a factor, but other incidents seem to be related to bars popping off or slack leading to shock loading. I think with good technique there should never be a choice between extreme fatigue (6 bars) and being out of control (5 bars).

For full disclosure, I'm about 210 with gear.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Cody JW » Oct 14, 2011 10:00 am

Extremeophile wrote:
Cody JW wrote:
Chads93GT wrote:185-200 lbs depending on the day of the week and my gear on. I routinely go from 5 to 6 bars, rope between the legs, rope over the hip. People who are too scared to drop a bar and wear themselves out by feeding the rope are only punishing themselves.
It is not a matter of being scared, I did drop to 5 bars and was going too fast . I have since found by just going to a longer rack I can have 6 bars and have friction adjustment necessary for big drops. I found that if you get going too fast sometimes it is not easy to add a bar , try picking up the weight of a bridge rope hanging there and quickly try to add a bar.It is possible but not easy when screaming down the rope.I also know with a long rope like a bridge rope a bottom belay may not work real well. I would rather be safe than sorry. I figure I can chose between a wheelchair for the rest of my life ( at best) or forearms that may be sore from having to force feed at the top , I will take sore forearms every time. I understand there are many factors like the condition of the rope ect. that can effect friction. I tried 5 bars ( not at the bridge) and glad I had the good sense to have a bottom belay ready , I needed it. I was going too fast to add a bar. My advice to the 180 lb guys out there saying "just drop a bar" is to strap a 5 gallon bucket of paint on their back then try the same drop with 5 bars and then come and talk to me. The important thing is to do what YOU feel is safe . What works for a 180 lb . guy may not for a big boy.

Some things you describe from your experiences don't jive with my own experiences. With a standard length rack it sounds like you often have to feed rope when using 6 bars, and yet with 5 bars you're in an uncontrolled free-fall. I've found that squeezing the bars together, adding tension below the bottom bar, changing the angle of the rope as it passes over the bottom bar, etc. give me a great range of friction control. For myself, I generally always start pitches on either 4 bars or 5, depending on many factors including how clean or new the rope is, rope diameter, length of drop, aluminum vs stainless bars, etc. For especially long drops (maybe >250 feet) I might add a bar part way down. I find the other techniques for controlling friction significantly overlap the number of bars being used as a means of controlling speed. I also have a hard time imaging that a 200 lb person hanging on the end of a rope has no influence on the rate of descent. Maybe it was the wrong rope?

I also agree with Scott that a large number of rappel accidents seem to be caused by feeding rope with too many bars engaged. Sometimes fatigue may be a factor, but other incidents seem to be related to bars popping off or slack leading to shock loading. I think with good technique there should never be a choice between extreme fatigue (6 bars) and being out of control (5 bars).

For full disclosure, I'm about 210 with gear.
Believe what you want , if you want to use 4 bars you go right ahead. I will use my long rack and will be just fine . I have been vertical for over 22 years and know what works for me. I never got "fatique" from feeding a regular rack , just had to do it a short ways then it was smooth sailing . Now I just use a longer rack and have no problems at all. All you have to do is engage all 6 bars on a regular rack with a 9 mil rope running through it and you will see there is NO room to move the lower bar, add a couple inches to the rack frame and presto , you have room. As for your "theory" of bottom belaying the wrong rope, we watched several members of our team come off that same rope prior to the belay attempt. Ever heard of rope stretch on longer ropes. I am sure when the person out of control got close enough to the bottom belayer that he would stop, but I sure would not want to be the guy on the bottom with an out of control person was coming at him for several hundred feet. Also all the "good technique" in the world is not going to make all that rope weight hanging under you ( at the bridge) easy to lift to facilitate adding or removing a bar. Common sense tells me I can just use a longer frame and have the best of both worlds-6 bars engaged and lots of extra room to move the lower bar to facilitate friction adjustment for long drops and never have to lift 40 lbs of rope to change a bar.. That is all I am saying , you guys want to use 5 bars go right ahead. Also my 220 is without gear add gear and that figure goes up with gear and a pack .
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Cody JW » Oct 14, 2011 10:45 am

I should say 11 mil not 9.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby self-deleted_user » Oct 14, 2011 11:01 am

I'll be there coming up with Marshier. Go VBats! We have two ropes...don't remember where I think by tracks though.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Extremeophile » Oct 14, 2011 2:19 pm

Cody JW wrote: Believe what you want , if you want to use 4 bars you go right ahead. I will use my long rack and will be just fine . I have been vertical for over 22 years and know what works for me.

I didn't intend to be critical of your experience or methods. I have no doubt that a long-frame rack solves many of these issues for longer drops. I was just offering a different perspective for those with less experience.

Cody JW wrote: All you have to do is engage all 6 bars on a regular rack with a 11 mil rope running through it and you will see there is NO room to move the lower bar, add a couple inches to the rack frame and presto , you have room.

No argument here. That lack of play on a standard length rack is what leads many people to "feed" rope for progress. If someone isn't using a long-frame rack I believe a much safer technique is to drop a bar.

Cody JW wrote: As for your "theory" of bottom belaying the wrong rope, we watched several members of our team come off that same rope prior to the belay attempt. Ever heard of rope stretch on longer ropes. I am sure when the person out of control got close enough to the bottom belayer that he would stop, but I sure would not want to be the guy on the bottom with an out of control person was coming at him for several hundred feet. Also all the "good technique" in the world is not going to make all that rope weight hanging under you ( at the bridge) easy to lift to facilitate adding or removing a bar.

My comment about the "wrong rope" was a bit smart ass because I have a hard time picturing this much tension below a rack (40lbs rope + 200lb person = 240lbs) not having some effect on rate of descent, but I have no first-hand experience. Rope stretch may make it difficult to apply full body weight to the bottom of the rope, but once a person is hanging there then rope stretch has no influence on the tension.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Cody JW » Oct 14, 2011 4:52 pm

No problem Extremeophile , I do get defensive sometimes when I see people tell me about "proper technique". I appreciate your and every bodys input. This form is about sharing opinions and two people have different ways to go about doing the same thing. Both ways are likely safe and I am sure what you do is safe accepted practice. I run into this alot most of the time when I am sharing my thoughts with somebody who weighs 150. I also ride road bicycles in the summer (instead of caving) and I have found that most light weight bicycle components (wheels) are made for the guy who is 150- 160 lbs. I found out the expensive way that somebody my size cannot use some of that stuff. I say that because I look around at cavers and see I am heavier than most ( especially vertical guys) and people in that "normal range" think the way they go about doing something is the only correct way without understanding what happens when you add 70 to 80 lbs to the situation. They all say "use the rack correctly " when they see me doing something that they do not do. Fact is I know all about jamming bars, changing the angle the rope comes off the lower bar, wrapping the rope around your feet to provide extra friction, putting the rope off a hip or between your legs all that stuff. For example, I take the edge of the pin on my simmons roller when locked into the roller assmbly. and wrap it around the vertical bar just above the eye of the rack when in a long free hang rappel. The 160 lb guy thinks -"why in the hell is he doing that, you are not doing that correctly" . I have found that with all my upper body weight I fight like hell on rappel to keep my torso close to the rope because when you are my size you waste lots of energy in your arms and lower back to keep yourself from leaning back too far. The skinny guy cannot comprehend that because he has a sunken chest and it is not an issue for him but sure the hell is for me. Just little things like that I have to do different than " accepted practice" . What I do may not be normal but I am sure is safe or I would not still be here after 22 years of doing it if it were not. I have On Rope , both versions and use it alot for reference. I also read all the accident reports and try to learn all I can from the mistakes of others. I also respect your opinions and Scotts and others I have had these kind of "exchanges" with. I can see from all of your past posts that you have a wealth of info to share and I soak up all I can, even if I may not agree. I just hope maybe there is a heavy guy who is new to vertical that will see what I am saying and be able to learn from me. I wish I had somebody like that 23 years ago, I had to learn all these alternative ways on my own because I soon found out if I did what the 160 lb guy did I was going to be the guest of honor at my local cemetery sooner than later. I just hope anybody out there who wants to scoff at my practices can understand what would happen to them if they strapped a 5 gallon bucket of paint to their back and then tried to do what they do. I hope I have explained myself , I do enjoy chatting with all of you on this forum.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 14, 2011 8:58 pm

I swap between 10mm and 11mm regularly as I have both. sport rope and talon. way different rides. 10mm talon is fast all the way down with 6 bars with me, but not out of control unless i go full retard.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Mudduck » Oct 15, 2011 1:09 am

Not trying to take sides but I must say it is quite different for us large folks. I'm 6'3 and 265 lbs with a chest like a pro wrestler. There are things I do differently than some especially on rapel. The top heavy feeling is definately a problem so I sympathize
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Cody JW » Oct 16, 2011 12:25 pm

Mudduck wrote:Not trying to take sides but I must say it is quite different for us large folks. I'm 6'3 and 265 lbs with a chest like a pro wrestler. There are things I do differently than some especially on rapel. The top heavy feeling is definately a problem so I sympathize
I know Muddock. I am not as tall as you as I am only 5 foot 9 but I have a 48 " chest and 36" waist. Needless to say I am normally the slowest guy up any rope. I am never in any hurry ,normally there are no prizes for first place plus I like to look around and enjoy the view, especially at the bridge. I have found with rope work it is not only the weight but where the weight is, the higher the weight mass the more of a disadvantage on rope. For a guy built like me , doing a frog climb of 100 feet or more is an athletic achievement. On Rope says big guys like us cannot use bushing type rollers, I went through one after two climbs.
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby self-deleted_user » Oct 16, 2011 7:17 pm

Well I had a bunch of fun! I ended up on morning belay team there were snaffus from the start from the "bus will leave no later than 7:00 be on it!" And not showing up until 7:25 or so. Then there was a mix-up about what passes the belayers needed so we were delayed along with other teams at the bottom while officers straightened. That out. Got to our ropes 13 was in the tree badly (eventually ended up moving that) so while Jeff got that straighted out he sent me (apparently the 2nd most experienced having actually practiced catching "out if control" on purpose rappels and belayed some at Stephens gap and practice bluff. So I with 2 others got rope 16 set and cleared by the safety peeps and bang we were cooking while Jeff and tiny and others tried to get 13 straightened. I think our rope had about the 3rd rappel of the day on it :) it was fun! Not a horrid spot either clear of tree and a briar free patch to land peeps on with a nice 10-15ft downhill run free of most shrubbery with a 10ft droppoff after that to jump if needed. Belaying was a blast and had great views of everything. :) I can't wait for next year! And luckily no belaying was actually needed :)
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Re: Bridge Day : Saturday

Postby Chads93GT » Oct 16, 2011 9:20 pm

Sungura wrote:Well I had a bunch of fun! I ended up on morning belay team there were snaffus from the start from the "bus will leave no later than 7:00 be on it!" And not showing up until 7:25 or so. Then there was a mix-up about what passes the belayers needed so we were delayed along with other teams at the bottom while officers straightened. That out. Got to our ropes 13 was in the tree badly (eventually ended up moving that) so while Jeff got that straighted out he sent me (apparently the 2nd most experienced having actually practiced catching "out if control" on purpose rappels and belayed some at Stephens gap and practice bluff. So I with 2 others got rope 16 set and cleared by the safety peeps and bang we were cooking while Jeff and tiny and others tried to get 13 straightened. I think our rope had about the 3rd rappel of the day on it :) it was fun! Not a horrid spot either clear of tree and a briar free patch to land peeps on with a nice 10-15ft downhill run free of most shrubbery with a 10ft droppoff after that to jump if needed. Belaying was a blast and had great views of everything. :) I can't wait for next year! And luckily no belaying was actually needed :)


Belay? Whats that ;) I didn't have one :P
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