Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

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Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby STLCaver » Jan 22, 2013 9:32 pm

Has anyone any experiences with getting on rope in deep water? Problems? Has anyone tried floating with full wet suit and vert gear on? :shrug:
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby John Lovaas » Jan 23, 2013 9:27 am

Hi Tony-

I know I've floated with my vertigear and a shorty wetsuit in Puerto Rico- but I also had my Swaygo as a flotation aid.

You could open up you pool and practice ;-)
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby Tlaloc » Jan 23, 2013 10:23 am

I've done it many, many times. Generally you will have put your vertical gear on before you swim to the rope. A full wetsuit gives you a lot of floatation. Sometimes you need a canal line to get to the rope because of current in the stream below the drop. These should be polypropylene because it floats.
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Jan 23, 2013 11:52 am

Now I have this great mental image of Tony, floating in the middle of a deep pool, holding his vertical gear and trying to put it on without drowning or dropping any of it. Are you asking about putting your vertical gear onto the ROPE while swimming or putting it onto your BODY while swimming?

If the former, getting on and off rope in water is pretty trivial with any standard caving descender or climbing system. You probably won't want to use the old canyoneering "set the end of the rope just above the water line" trick, which would make it difficult to attach the Croll. The value of doing so for caving is limited anyway, since canyoneers primarily do it to prevent dropping their descenders (ATC, figure eight, etc) during a swimming disconnect.

There are several groups that rappel into the water at DeSoto Falls, AL each summer, then swim around for a while and climb back out. As with nearly all things, this will be significantly easier with a frog system (or texas) than any kind of ropewalker.

edit: and yes, I've floated several times with full vertical gear and wetsuit on, both caving and the few times I've been canyoneering. I can hardly swim, but the neoprene does provide quite a bit of buoyancy, especially if it's a full wetsuit or jacket + farmer john combo. The heavy boots give me more trouble than anything else because they make it hard to kick -- I bet those crazy Para things you just got will be great.
"Although it pains me to say it, in this case Jeff is right. Plan accordingly." --Andy Armstrong
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby gindling » Jan 23, 2013 12:14 pm

There is another reason to not cut the rope at water level or just below.

In the 70s and 80s during the heyday of Green Fork Falls caving in alpine Montana a group of cavers snowshoed and skied 12+miles to the cave to see how the water levels were in the upstream sump series. At first all was great as they WALKED through previous sumps and stayed relatively dry until they came to a wall with a rope hanging a good number of feet out of reach. SInce the water was usually 6-8 ft higher and was a full swim they had cut the rope to just below the water level to help conserve rope. Now with the water level down all they could do was stare up in frustration and remember to leave that rope a bit longer next time!
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby STLCaver » Jan 23, 2013 6:15 pm

I was talking about what Jeff said, getting on and off rope in deep water. I am very familiar with the flotation of my wet suit. I was having a little theoretical argument with someone about it. He had suggested that your vert gear would drag you to the bottom and you would drown. That seemed a little excessive. I figured I could have my vert gear on, and my boots, etc and still float with no problem. He suggested I would still need a PFD. How can you wear a PFD AND your vert gear, specifically the Croll or chest roller!!?? Do they make one for Canyoning? I though you only went down in Canyoning. I kinda figured getting on/rope would be easy. And yes John, this will be fully tested come summer in the pool. :big grin:
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Jan 23, 2013 6:59 pm

STLCaver wrote:I though you only went down in Canyoning.


Until something goes wrong! :)
But canyoneers don't wear PFDs, anyway.
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby Stridergdm » Jan 26, 2013 10:18 pm

STLCaver wrote:I was talking about what Jeff said, getting on and off rope in deep water. I am very familiar with the flotation of my wet suit. I was having a little theoretical argument with someone about it. He had suggested that your vert gear would drag you to the bottom and you would drown. That seemed a little excessive. I figured I could have my vert gear on, and my boots, etc and still float with no problem. He suggested I would still need a PFD. How can you wear a PFD AND your vert gear, specifically the Croll or chest roller!!?? Do they make one for Canyoning? I though you only went down in Canyoning. I kinda figured getting on/rope would be easy. And yes John, this will be fully tested come summer in the pool. :big grin:



Drown from the weight of vertical gear? What's he using for his gear? Lead weights? Even w/o a wetsuit on I don't think the weight of my vertical gear would be that much of an issue. Me thinks if that's your concern, your vertical system may have bigger issues. :-)
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Re: Putting on vertical gear in deep water?

Postby eyecave » Jan 29, 2013 11:44 pm

if you have on a 3/8th 's or thicker full wetsuit or especially a farmer john-full upper jacket!......you will float with your vertical gear on.... :kewl: ...a quarter inch shorty type i wouldn't try without something that would hold air..its a little bit of a struggle...not fun.. :yikes: ..making it safer is easy..and since using a quarter inch wetsuit is better more comfortable, in a lot of wet caves is there a way to avoid a thick full wetsuit.........yes....just add neoprene waist bands secured by velcro.....they hold in a lot of heat and you can put two or more 1/2 inch thick neoprene waist bands easily around your waist... :exactly:...you can also slip them up and create a chest neoprene band so three or more becomes easily possible...this neoprene covers your core so heat is helped.. ..these belly bands also come in handy during those hypothermic moments in caves only moderately wet... :popcorn: ..
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