regaining control when using bars and a rack

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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 4, 2013 11:04 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
GroundquestMSA wrote:I think he means to say that since it's possible to go too fast with 6 bars, it's a given that losing speed with fewer is a possibility; and must therefore be prepared for.

Semantics. My point is simply that the focus should be on proactively avoiding an out of control situation, not being prepared to react once you've lost control. You should not get on rope if you believe getting out of control is a possibility/certainty/given, unless you are in training and have some sort of safety such as a belay.

GroundquestMSA wrote:Assuming the rack is oriented parallel to your body...#1 explains how to add bars when you are on 3 or 5 bars. #2 explains how to add a bar when you are using 4. #3 suggests that you jam something into the rack.

If you say so. Two reactions are described: the quick and the sudden. It's more like the unclear and the confused.


I wasn't commenting on the usefulness of the original post, and I agree that the focus should be on avoiding an out of control situation. I read the original post a until I could understand it and simply intended to explain what I thought Dan meant so that y'all could attack with more clarity.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Jan 8, 2013 12:46 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:I read the original post a until I could understand it

Whew, that must have been quite the project!
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby caverdan » Jan 8, 2013 10:30 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:What do you suggest one should shove into the rack? I can't think of anything routinely carried on rappel with enough substance and flexibility to jam up a speeding rack.

What about the finger of your glove? :yikes:
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 8, 2013 12:02 pm

I think I shall start carrying a bra to shove in my rack.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby driggs » Jan 8, 2013 1:54 pm

eyecave wrote:if you was to shove something soft and flexible and big enough into the spot where the nylon hits the metal
it could stop you suddenly if it got sucked up into the bars.....always have this in mind before any rappel, add it to that checklist that you either do deliberately or instinctively at each rappels brink..........think about what you would use....for the brainless.....flesh and hair often isn't tough enough to stop the weight and friction stuff completely so avoid that :tonguecheek: .........


I'll surely regret taking part in this discussion, however...

This ranks among the worst "advice" I've seen spewed on CaveChat. Exactly what are you suggesting someone jam into their rack to cause an instantaneous halt of their uncontrolled rappel? What do you think this would do to the rope at the point of jamming combined with the extreme shock of this sudden stop, which would be near the same shockload as taking a fall onto the rope? Everything on my person while rappelling is attached to me, anything soft like clothing would feed up into the rack, at best requiring a changeover, and in the worst case pinning the rappeller into the rack where they are unable to change over.

Yes, if the pitch is long enough that you won't crater while doing it, and you're not so out of control that you're able to quickly add a bar, and you actually have additional bars to add... then by all means add a bar while making sure not to orient the rope in such a way that you reduce friction in the process of adding the bar. Jamming a foreign object into the rack? Stupid.

Here is my advice, for any person confused enough to read this thread into its second page:

  • Don't get into situations where you will go into an uncontrolled descent; always start a rappel with more friction than you'll need.
  • Tune your rack! In my opinion, the perfectly tuned rack requires the bars to be manually spread in order to initiate rappel, and the bars close under the rappeller's weight to slow or stop descent if not tended. I found that, for me, a 12-inch rack didn't give me this performance, so for any drop too big for my micro-rack, I use an 18-inch rack with 7 bars. The extra length lets me put more bars on the rope than necessary, and I must spread them to rappel. You may find that a combination of different bars and/or small spacers let you achieve this with your rack. This setup isn't always possible to achieve with varying rappel conditions, but is a goal to strive for.
  • Have a hyperbar on your rack so you can quickly, always add friction without fumbling with bars. Practice quickly looping the rope up over it and pulling with your brake hand; it squeezes your rack bars together using mechanical advantage in addition to the extra friction of the bar itself. But remember to loop the rope in the direction that doesn't reduce friction during the operation (don't accidentally remove a bar while engaging the hyperbar!).
  • Practice, practice, practice stopping yourself with a quick leg-wrap as soon as you feel your speed go beyond control; you will not have time to perform clever maneuvers at freefall velocity. This will hurt; the alternative hurts much more. Shorts are not appropriate rappelling equipment, wear pants.
  • Consider using an auto-stop rappel device. This includes autobloc knots like the so-called French Wrap or devices like the Petzl Shunt with a rack; also auto-stop bobbins, for drop lengths where they are appropriate. Train with it. Train some more. This is religiously argued about, so read and decide for yourself if you feel this appropriate: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Last edited by driggs on Jan 8, 2013 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 8, 2013 4:44 pm

Jeff Bartlett wrote:Whew, that must have been quite the project!

I figured that if someone with that much experience takes the time to write that many words I owe them a decent effort. It wasn't that perplexing, really.

I like your advice Riggs. Since the "shove something soft" suggestion was advanced as a last resort to keep alive, I think it's pretty harmless. I don't think many people will start seriously considering that a proper vertical technique. If by some miracle I had a deep enough hole, a completely out of control rappel, and the presence of mind to (after all else failed) ram something into my rack, I would be pretty happy with being in a situation "requiring a changeover (oh the horror) or pinned into the rack and unable to change over."
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Extremeophile » Jan 8, 2013 5:38 pm

driggs wrote:I'll surely regret taking part in this discussion, however...

I think I'll bring Dave Riggs to shove into my rack if I get out of control. Probably won't slow me down much though.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby driggs » Jan 8, 2013 7:41 pm

Extremeophile wrote:I think I'll bring Dave Riggs to shove into my rack if I get out of control. Probably won't slow me down much though.


While I may be "soft and flexible", I don't have anywhere near the mass to slow your descent. Now Bartlett, on the other hand...
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby PeterFJohnson » Jan 8, 2013 8:56 pm

One major advantage of bringing Dave as a rappel back up is that it doesn't add any weight to your pack since he carries himself...
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby caverdan » Jan 8, 2013 10:05 pm

Chads93GT wrote:I think I shall start carrying a bra to shove in my rack.

I think this is a most brilliant idea for a new safety product. :kewl:
Last edited by caverdan on Jan 9, 2013 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Extremeophile » Jan 8, 2013 10:25 pm

PeterFJohnson wrote:One major advantage of bringing Dave as a rappel back up is that it doesn't add any weight to your pack since he carries himself...

Even if I had to carry him it would hardly be noticeable. In fact I'm pretty sure the little pockets on the inside of Lost Creek packs were designed to carry Dave Riggs. I can't see any other use for them, but I digress. This probably needs a new thread - "101 Uses for Dave Riggs".
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 9, 2013 12:05 am

I think next time I rappel I will just carry an extra bottle of awesome on my harness and then I will have nothing to worry aboot.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Scott McCrea » Jan 9, 2013 4:35 pm

If you are out of control on a rappel, you are out-of-control. There is nothing you can do. Only someone else or luck can save you.

If you are going too fast and don't know how to fix it, there is a tiny chance that something jammed in a rack could stop you. However, this is not a good plan. Spend you time making and practicing a better plan.

Dave's bit about tuning your rack is one of the greatest safety features of a rack—sadly it seems to be widely misused.

Repel ≠ rappel.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Jan 10, 2013 12:44 pm

This thread repels me.
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Re: regaining control when using bars and a rack

Postby Scott McCrea » Jan 10, 2013 12:46 pm

Off repel!
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