Rope recomendations

Discuss vertical caving, equipment, & techniques. Also visit the NSS Vertical Section.

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Postby itabot » Sep 7, 2005 7:45 pm

hank_moon wrote:
And...this thread should be moved to the equipment section



This thread is in the right section!


There are no grottos in our part of the state. The closest one is really hard to get a hold of and doesnt give a lot of information. We have been in contact with other grottos in the state who have members that teach SRT classes, but they are far away and cost a lot of money. Any other ideas on finding a class?
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Descender

Postby Dangerjudy » Sep 9, 2005 7:47 am

I've never seen anyone use a Petzl Stop. I'm here in TAG.
I use the BMS micro-rack, LONG, with hyper-bar. http://store.karstsports.com/33101.html
Most women I know who try this rack love it. I'd do anything except really big drops with it.

For really big drops I have a SMC 6 bar rack with u-shaped steel bars. http://store.karstsports.com/33401.html
For small drops and muddy/old/slow rope the 6 bar rack is a misery for me. I need spacers on it, a controversial subject.

But it's hard to make decisions on this stuff without trying it out.
Maybe y'all can come down to TAG sometime? The Huntsville and Chattanooga grottos have vertical classes, I dunno when, and I'd say TAG is the best place in the world to learn SRT.
:D




Alpine Girl wrote:It sounds like the PMI rope is the one to buy. Thank for the replies!

I am also looking into buying a descender and would like some advice on what to buy. I have never rappelled before. I am looking for something that is easy to use but safe as well. I was looking at the Petzl "STOP" descender on IMO. Does anyone have any comments about this descender? Or any other descenders. I have heard bad things about the figure 8 and I don't think that I will try it on my first descend. What are your comments?
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Postby Kelly U » Sep 9, 2005 8:44 am

Where is Panoia? I'm asking because I'm going to be in the Denver area (School of Mines) to take a class next month. I would be free in the evenings to help people out with a rope in a tree if you are in the area. I had been wanting to hook up with some cavers, to see if there are any nearby short cave trips I could go on in the evenings.

Judy, you are right, I think TAG is a wonderful area to learn, with no shortage of teachers.
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Re: Descender

Postby hank moon » Sep 9, 2005 9:32 am

I'd say TAG is the best place in the world to learn SRT


...and I'd say TAG is the best place in the world to learn TAG SRT. :P

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Petzel Stop

Postby hunter » Sep 9, 2005 10:03 am

Not to bash the Stop in anyway (I use one and it is my favorite descender) but there is one big disadvantage for learning.
The main breaking mechanism on the stop is released by moving the lever closer to the body of the stop. Breaking is accomplished by pulling the lever out. In practice one often holds the stop and lever with one hand and releases the break by clenching the hand. The break lever can be released differently but this often seems to happen, especially with nasty rope.

The problem with this scenario for learning is that rappelling is scary and a beginners instincts are to grab the rope/device as hard as possible. On any device but the Stop(and one or two others I've never seen used caving) grabbing will slow you down or at the very least, not release the device.

Not sure if this helps, but given the price I would recommend starting with something other than a Stop and once you have rappelled some borrow one and decide if you want to switch.
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Postby Rick Brinkman » Sep 9, 2005 10:04 am

itabot,
Get in touch with the Colorado Grotto. They have some excellent vert cavers and do training fairly often. I know that it's a long trip to Denver for an evening of training, but it would be WELL worth it. I REALLY wish that I had been trained in the basics before I started dropping pits.

Here in MT we have only one grotto and now try to have one vert weekend every year. All of us have to travel a long way because we are spread across the state.

Perhaps you could talk a CG caver or two to meet you halfway in Eagle for a weekend of practice????
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Re: Petzel Stop

Postby hank moon » Sep 9, 2005 10:36 am

The main breaking mechanism on the stop...

Braking, braking. Let's hope there is no "breaking" mechanism on any descender.

I would recommend starting with something other than a Stop and once you have rappelled some borrow one and decide if you want to switch.

I second this recommendation. And...I recommend learning how to rappel on a simple friction device to develop the correct braking reflex and technique*. Yes, this means NOT learning on a brake bar rack. :shock: Simple devices include figure 8s, ATCs, standard bobbins, etc. (even a munter hitch). A top belay is *required* during training for all beginners. It may be somewhat difficult to find a caver who is competent in belay techniques, but such a caver will likely possess above-average skill and safety consciousness. You will probably want to find a supple rope to train on b/c many simple rap devices don't work well with super stiff caving rope. Too many cavers become entirely dependent on the rack from the start and have difficulty using/learning other devices/techniques that can be advantageous in certain situations.

Once the braking reflex is developed, THEN try out more sophisiticated devices such as the rack or STOP. Note that one reason the rack is so highly favored in TAG is the common use of PMI Max Wear rope. This rope works very well with the rack due to its stiffness. A more supple rope offers less friction with the rack, but works better with the STOP (YMMV).

*descent control via tensioning the rope below the device with the brake hand.

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Re: Petzel Stop

Postby Arthur Clarke » Sep 9, 2005 11:00 am

[quote="hank_moon"]

...I recommend learning how to rappel on a simple friction device to develop the correct braking reflex and technique*. Yes, this means NOT learning on a brake bar rack. :shock: Simple devices include figure 8s, ATCs, standard bobbins, etc. (even a munter hitch).


I am surprised you would recommend a device such as Figure of Eight or Harpoon for caver involved with SRT training, especially since that person might - after some practice down a cliff face - be tempted to use such a friction device in a cave. My objection to using such devices in a cave is simply due to the effect they have on the rope, cause it to twist and this can be very unnerving for a beginner and/ or the next person descending with a conventional device such as a rack or a stop... especially on long pitches. If you don't recommend a rack for a beginner, why not use something like a whaletail, if you have them over your way.

cheers,
Arthur Clarke.
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Postby hank moon » Sep 9, 2005 11:16 am

I am surprised you would recommend a device such as Figure of Eight or Harpoon


Point is to develop the correct reflexes during training...not necessarily one device or another. Whaletail would be a good alternative, but hard to find around these parts. I see no problem with a beginner learning on an 8 (not sure what a Harpoon is) under the tutelage of an experienced caver. Progression might go something like this:

Train aboveground with a variety of ropes, devices, and techniques. Learn correct reflexes, how to vary friction, etc. Learn how to belay, ascend, changeover, pass knots, etc. Along the way decide what your startup system will be. Train more with this system on "real" caving ropes (whatever that happens to be in your area - but seek a variety of rope types to develop versatility and experience). Request a top belay from the start and eventually move to a fireman's belay.

One reason why cavers constantly urge rack use is that they do not understand - and sometimes fear - other rap devices. This is a misfortune as I believe cavers would be safer overall with a wider variety of tool/tricks under the belt.

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Postby Alpine Girl » Sep 9, 2005 11:17 am

These are all really great replies and they helped me out a lot. thank you.

It is hard for me to keep up with all of these wonderful replies. I usually work 9-10 hour days and i never have much time for anything else.

Hunter, and Hank Moon,
I do agree with you guys. It is probably best to start out with something simple. I would like to try a rack and i don't really know what a bobbin or an ATC is. And is a balay a rope that catches you when you fall or let go of the rope? These might be silly questions to any vertical caver, but i really don't know much about any of it. I know i have a lot to learn and i will except help from anyone who wants to offer.

Dangerjudy
I would love to come down to TAG sometime. I don't know when that will be but i have always wanted to go caving over there!!!

Kelly U,
Paonia is in Western Colorado. One hour South East of Grand Junction, and about 4 1/2 hours west of Denver. There are not a lot of caves near Paonia. We usually go around Glenwood Springs. I would love to meet up with you to do some practicing, and I could take you to some caves. That is if you are willing to drive to Glenwood Springs.

I have to go to work now. i will try to reply more when i have time.
thanks again for all the replies and i can't wait to see more after work!!!
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Postby hunter » Sep 9, 2005 11:44 am

Alpine Girl,
I'm sure someone is typing this at the same time I am, but a belay rope(what rock climbers use) is anchored around the same area as your rappel line, attached to you and controlled by a partner who locks the rope and catches you if you fall.

Hank, I knew something didn't look right about breaking... :).

It is tough to offer suggestions on finding someone to help (I am in northern NM which is a bit of a drive) but I would agree with other posts that finding someone to teach you is a good idea. Especially since if you are rappelling you generally want to ascend the rope as well. You will also want to anchor the rope safely. In general ascending and anchoring are as (or more) tricky than rappelling.

All else failing the book On Rope covers all these techniques.

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Postby Kelly U » Sep 9, 2005 12:50 pm

Hi hunter! I'm not familiar with the term "anchoring" for rope work. Is this what we here in TAG call "rigging" the rope?
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Postby hunter » Sep 9, 2005 2:00 pm

Hi Kelly,
I guess rigging would be the politically correct caving term, never really thought about it but I climb a lot and certainly use the term "anchoring" there.
"Rigging" is probably a better word because it really encompasses the full setup of a rope for caving (building the anchor/rope pads/re-belays, etc...). Of course thinking about it I also say I will rig the rope when I'm climbing...

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Postby David_Campen » Sep 9, 2005 3:15 pm

Hi hunter! I'm not familiar with the term "anchoring" for rope work. Is this what we here in TAG call "rigging" the rope?

A canyoneering group teaches the term "contingency anchor" for what I would call a "load releasing hitch". I am told that this is due to historical use of the term by mountaineering guides.
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rope question

Postby Dangerjudy » Sep 9, 2005 7:27 pm

Why does everybody call PMI Pit Rope 11mm but PMI calls it 10.5mm?
Is this one of those meaning of like kinda questions? :D
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