QAS/Cow Tails Question

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QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby tflaris » Oct 28, 2013 5:07 pm

Total newbie caver question. I have been reading up on the Frog System and I noticed some literature uses the QAS attached to the foot loops and long cow's tail while other use a third Cow's tail attached to the foot loops and QAS.

Why the discrepancy? Personal preference?

Thanks

Tony Flaris
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Oct 28, 2013 6:01 pm

Hi Tony,

There have been pages upon pages written about this, but I will spare you the misery and try to give you the quick version. (which will almost certainly be immediately and passionately disagreed with by trolls)

For certain on-rope maneuvers, you need a short cowstail and a long cowstail. Ideally, both of them should be equipped with a carabiner for clipping into things. In the simplest version of the frog, your foot (upper) ascender is attached to your long cowstail via a carabiner. This setup allows the long cowstail to function as the safety tether between you and the foot ascender, or as a clip in point for anchors, rebelays, traverses, etc.

Other methods of attaching the upper ascender are not as versatile. Hard-tying the ascender to the cowstail robs you of the ability to clip into anything with your long cowstail except a vertical rope. Attaching the ascender with a small quick link is also popular. This is more versatile than hard-tying, but adds weight and another link in the system. With this setup, a carabiner can be added into the quick link for when you need to clip into bolts or loops of rope or webbing.

Some cavers add a third cowstail. This is usually because their long cowstail is hard-tied to the ascender, preventing it from being used for other applications, or because the caver uses a 6-bar (long) rack. With a 6-bar rack, it is very difficult to perform a changeover with only two ascenders (foot +croll). It is much easier to do a 6-bar rack changeover with two ascenders each on long cowstails because it allows you to disengage the croll and hang from the two uppers.

I personally recommend having only two cowstails (short and long), both with biners on the end for maximum efficiency and weight savings. I add a third cowstail with QAS when I am using a 6-bar rack. When using shorter descenders like micro-racks and bobbins, the third ascender is not necessary.
Last edited by Anonymous_Coward on Oct 28, 2013 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby NZcaver » Oct 28, 2013 6:02 pm

tflaris wrote:I have been reading up on the Frog System and I noticed some literature uses the QAS attached to the foot loops and long cow's tail while other use a third Cow's tail attached to the foot loops and QAS.

Why the discrepancy? Personal preference?

Personal preference. My ascender is clipped into the longer end of my double cowstail. Some prefer to add a third cowstail and don't mind a little more clutter for the added redundancy.

Also the upper ascender in a frog system can (and should) be used as a Quick Attachment Safety when appropriate, but is not normally referred to as a QAS because it's an integral part of the climbing system. Those who use the term QAS are usually referring to an additional ascender independent of their climbing system.

P.S. what Andy just said.
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 28, 2013 6:25 pm

One thing I have noticed, is that very experienced vertical cavers, that have caved all over the world, in very deep caves and have passed thousands of rebelays and climbed miles of rope, have very simple climbing systems.

The more you know, the less you need.

But, depending on the situation, you may need to add something, like an extra cowstail when frogging with a full sized rack.
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Stridergdm » Oct 29, 2013 2:59 pm

What the above 3 said.

I describe my system as a 3-tail system. I have a short and long cowstail (Petzl Energyca) with non-locking carabiners on the end (you'll get debates about locking vs non-locking) and then a 3rd tail attaching my asceneder to my rack (and my footloop hangs from that.)

I used to have an additional ascender (a QAS) and used it as part of my change-over (using a micro-rack). I personally think I got better when I stopped using my QAS.

But the overall point is probably the same. "know your system and how to use it".

I've seen folks with 4 ascenders (yes, seriously) that couldn't do a change over and folks who 2 that could do it under 10 seconds. It's the skills, not the equipment ultimately.
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Oct 31, 2013 11:10 am

Stridergdm wrote:.... and then a 3rd tail attaching my asceneder to my rack (and my footloop hangs from that.)


????? :shrug:

Did you mean to say harness instead of rack?
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby tamarmole » Oct 31, 2013 12:57 pm

In my frog rig (which is pretty typical of UK practice) I use a long and a short cows tail tied from a single length of 9mm dynamic rope attached directly to my main harness maillon. Each cows tail has a snap gate crab on it. The short and the long are pretty essential on more complex British/European rigging.

My hand jammer (Petzl handled) is attached via a length of 9mm dynamic rope to my main harness maillon. My footloop is tied from 10mm static and hangs from my hand jammer. This can fulfil the role of a QAS although we don't tend go in for QAS as such on this side of the pond (that said I do use one on my ropewalker).

This is a two jammer rig (chest and hand). Whilst I usually carry a Petzl Basic as a spare (third) jammer I have never used it in anger.
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Stridergdm » Oct 31, 2013 9:57 pm

Anonymous_Coward wrote:
Stridergdm wrote:.... and then a 3rd tail attaching my asceneder to my rack (and my footloop hangs from that.)


????? :shrug:

Did you mean to say harness instead of rack?


Err yeah. (actually meant to say mallion, but yeah, not to my rack. That would be awkward. ;-)
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby hank moon » Nov 2, 2013 12:27 pm

Stridergdm wrote:It's the skills, not the equipment ultimately.


:exactly:

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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby tflaris » Nov 22, 2013 8:14 pm

I spent the day practicing Frogging and changing over to a rack and found that at this point I would rather use the short/long tails versus adding more gear. I may change my mind as my experience level increases but less seems better/cleaner with less clutter. But what do I know.....

Thanks for the responses.

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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Stridergdm » Nov 30, 2013 3:03 pm

tflaris wrote:I spent the day practicing Frogging and changing over to a rack and found that at this point I would rather use the short/long tails versus adding more gear. I may change my mind as my experience level increases but less seems better/cleaner with less clutter. But what do I know.....

Thanks for the responses.

Tony Flaris


Not surprised actually. I came to the same conclusion as have many others once they really grok what's happening.
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby tflaris » Dec 4, 2013 7:10 pm

Spent the holidays bouncing some pits including Neversink and found the I'm happy still using just the short and long cows tails.

Thanks for everyone's input and suggestions.

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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 4, 2013 8:51 pm

If you have a pantin, you can do a change over on a frog without clipping the short into the long cowstail. the pantin also makes the frog system much more efficient as well. For as small as that 1 piece of gear is, the payoff is 10 fold.
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby tflaris » Dec 4, 2013 10:35 pm

How/where are you connecting the pantin?
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Re: QAS/Cow Tails Question

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 5, 2013 9:35 am

On my foot. I guess I don't understand your question, unless you didn't know that the pantin is a foot ascender. More like an ankle ascender. It is very small as it is like a handled ascender with everything under the cam lopped off. No cam handle either so you can actually kick it off the rope, or put it on rope if you practice enough, hands free. While people get frustrated using them because they come off the rope so easily, it just means they have bad form and have to work on it.

Anyway, you simply hang from your handled ascender and thumb slack through your croll (without clipping the short end into the long) and thread in your rack. tie it off, stand up on the pantin and slide your hand ascender down. Just like a ropewalker changeover.
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