14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

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14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Sep 7, 2014 7:24 pm

I know there is a similar thread around here somewhere with similar content. Feel free to combine it with this one if you see fit.

I use a 14" 90 degree offset rappel rack. I do like the idea of keeping the link in my vertical gear minimal an I love how my rack lies so evenly on rope. About a month ago I went caving with a couple guys a few weeks ago and one of them suggested to me that I add a carabiner between my rack and seat harness to help with changeovers.

To compensate with some difficulties I've had with long-rack changeovers (I can -and have done- rappel to ascent changeovers blindfolded) I got used to switching to a Texas system and then loading my rappel rack to begin an abseil. While this does work for me and it allows me to keep two attachment points (Something I really prefer), it isn't something I feel very comfortable doing in all situations. I was reading an old Speleodigest with an article about Paul's Cave/ the Cataract. It got me thinking how if I was about to climb underneath two waterfalls and several pounds of combined water pressure and realized that there was actually more water coming from right below the lip, and the climb is worth avoiding for some time, that my changeover would take too long and put me in too much risk.

I'm about to work with another caver to fix this problem and improve the efficiency of this specific changeover. Until then I have two questions:

1) Why is it so hard for me to do an ascent to rappel changeover with a direct attachment rappel rack? Has anyone else experienced difficulties with this? Again, I'll be working on this issue with another caver when he gets back from a trip I'm just looking for some insight from others until then.

2) When I add a carabiner (or quick link) to my 90 degree rack to attach to my D-Ring, is there a specific kind I can get my rack isn't lopsided during rappel? I want to be able to look down at my rack sitting parallel to the rope like it is now, not perpendicular if that makes sense. Just curious if I need a specific kind since my rack is already designed to lay evenly.

Am I articulating this stuff correctly? If not let me know so I can go into better detail.

JS
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby NZcaver » Sep 7, 2014 8:03 pm

Connecting your rack using a maillon rapide (screw link) will be preferable to a carabiner for better safety and efficiency. To keep the rack oriented as you like it, you'll need something like this.

Image

[Edited to add] Available in the US here. http://www.wesspur.com/carabiners/clips-links.html

Yes, a full length J-rack connected directly into the harness screw link can make changeovers more tedious because of the length and lack of articulation. I see you mentioned converting to a Texas for changeovers, so does this mean your regular system is a frog or something else?
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Sep 7, 2014 8:15 pm

Thanks for the quick response, Jansen.

Yes, I use a frog system. Have a third cow tail now for a QAS, so whenever I practice at the crag near my house I would stand up in my foot loops, and my QAS, clip out of my chest ascender, and start to dress my rack. Even that is difficult to do when it is attached but I can do it.
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby trogman » Sep 8, 2014 12:19 pm

DawgsgoCaving wrote:
2) When I add a carabiner (or quick link) to my 90 degree rack to attach to my D-Ring, is there a specific kind I can get my rack isn't lopsided during rappel? I want to be able to look down at my rack sitting parallel to the rope like it is now, not perpendicular if that makes sense. Just curious if I need a specific kind since my rack is already designed to lay evenly.

Am I articulating this stuff correctly? If not let me know so I can go into better detail.

JS


Josh:
There are a couple of specialty carabiners you could look into:

http://www.westechrigging.com/isc-carabiner-kh260ss.html?productid=isc-carabiner-kh260ss&channelid=FROOG

That one is pricey, at $48. Then there is the twisted carabiner:

http://www.teamsynergyinc.com/equipment/universally-accessible-challenge-course/carabiners-and-links.html

It is about 3/4 of the way down the page, and runs $28.

I am not certain I understand your dilemma; when you look at your rack now, is it laying flat or sideways? In other words, do you see the 'J' shape, or do you see the ends of the bars? I personally prefer mine to lay flat, but I've heard some say that they prefer it the other way.

Trogman :helmet:
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 8, 2014 12:45 pm

If your QAS/Cowstail is connected to the same link, directly, as your rack, you wont be able to do a changeover where you rig the rack UNDER the hand ascender. By same link this means the D ring. If you add a 7mm oval maillion to the rack, it adds slop to the system and allows you to do changeovers EASILY.

Your other option is to rig the rack under the croll while frogging, and perform the changeover that way. While the 14" rack makes it more difficult, its not impossible. I perfer the 7mm link, and doing the "clip the short cows tail to the long cowstail" style changeover. To keep 2 points of attachment I simply thumb a foot of slack through the croll then rig the rack to the slip, after I get a few bars rigged I thumb through more slop and tie off the rack and remove the croll completely. A pantin makes frog changeovers with a 14" rack a piece of cake as you can do it just like a ropewalker, without clipping short to long.

practice.
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Sep 8, 2014 2:45 pm

Trog, my rack lays flat. I look down on the "J" frame. I guess, in short, I am looking for a more efficient means of changing over from ascent to rappel with my rack instead of going to a Texas system like I've been doing. I like leaving my rappel rack flat too, and I would rather not sacrifice that so that's why I asked about specialized carabiners. Does that make sense? Thanks for those links, by the way, I'm going to go for one of those options right away.

Chad, both my QAS and my rack are directly attached to my D-ring, so I'll have to change that. I'll be ordering one of the specialized carabiners people have suggested above to compensate for my offset rack, so that will cover an extra attachment.

In regards to clipping in the rack while frogging, you mean while frogging up the rope I would stop, dress my rack under my chest ascender, then climb a little more to pull the slack out of the rack, lock it off, undo the chest ascender, then the handled ascender? Did I get that right? I'm curious to try this one...

It seems like the most used method is the short cows tail to long cows tail approach. I'm sure a new link will help this process. Never used a Pantin, although I bet it would make things much easier now that I think about it.
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby GroundquestMSA » Sep 8, 2014 3:26 pm

DawgsgoCaving wrote:In regards to clipping in the rack while frogging, you mean while frogging up the rope I would stop, dress my rack under my chest ascender, then climb a little more to pull the slack out of the rack, lock it off, undo the chest ascender, then the handled ascender? Did I get that right? I'm curious to try this one...


I change over (from frog, no Pantin) by rigging the rack under the chest ascender. Stop climbing, rig and lock the rack below the chest ascender with as little slack rope above the rack as possible (this is important since you won't be able, I don't think, to "climb the slack out" and still be in a position to transfer weight to the rack), then bring your hand ascender as low as possible while still being able to stand in it. Stand in it, remove chest ascender, and sit (hopefully on the rack and not your safety tether), remove your upper, and you're done. This has worked well for me, but your frog setup, the length of your tether, and especially the length of your legs relative to the length of your arms may make a different method preferable.
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby NZcaver » Sep 8, 2014 3:38 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:I change over (from frog, no Pantin) by rigging the rack under the chest ascender. Stop climbing, rig and lock the rack below the chest ascender with as little slack rope above the rack as possible (this is important since you won't be able, I don't think, to "climb the slack out" and still be in a position to transfer weight to the rack), then bring your hand ascender as low as possible while still being able to stand in it. Stand in it, remove chest ascender, and sit (hopefully on the rack and not your safety tether), remove your upper, and you're done. This has worked well for me, but your frog setup, the length of your tether, and especially the length of your legs relative to the length of your arms may make a different method preferable.

What type of rack do you use? I use this same technique and it works well with a micro rack or other short descender, but I find it virtually impossible with a long J-rack. And I know I'm not the only one. I suppose if you're really tall it might work more efficiently.
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Sep 8, 2014 3:41 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:
DawgsgoCaving wrote:Stop climbing, rig and lock the rack below the chest ascender with as little slack rope above the rack as possible (this is important since you won't be able, I don't think, to "climb the slack out" and still be in a position to transfer weight to the rack), then bring your hand ascender as low as possible while still being able to stand in it. Stand in it, remove chest ascender, and sit (hopefully on the rack and not your safety tether), remove your upper, and you're done. This has worked well for me, but your frog setup, the length of your tether, and especially the length of your legs relative to the length of your arms may make a different method preferable.


Makes sense. Groundquest, is your rappel rack attached directly to your D-ring or with a carabiner?
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby NZcaver » Sep 8, 2014 3:42 pm

DawgsgoCaving wrote:I'll be ordering one of the specialized carabiners people have suggested above to compensate for my offset rack, so that will cover an extra attachment.

Before ordering, take a quick look at Scott's page here. It highlights how using a carabiner vs a screw link can potentially be problematic when it comes to loading your system. Of course, you should always have a safety connected when getting on rope or doing changeovers, and conduct a rappel test before committing to your rappel rack as a single attachment.
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby Scott McCrea » Sep 8, 2014 4:02 pm

Or just get a regular screw link and use your rack in the perpendicular orientation. It works better that way.
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Sep 8, 2014 4:08 pm

That is a great page. I was planning on getting the maillon that you posted above. I get paranoid about using regular locking carabiners for loading
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Sep 8, 2014 4:17 pm

Scott, you prefer your rack to be perpendicular?
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby NZcaver » Sep 8, 2014 4:53 pm

DawgsgoCaving wrote:Scott, you prefer your rack to be perpendicular?

Yep, he does. And he goes on and on and on and on and on about it. :laughing: I'm sure he will explain.

Personally I don't, but I'm generally using a micro rack so my opinion doesn't count. :big grin:
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Re: 14" Rack Ascent to Rappel Changeover Question

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 8, 2014 5:03 pm

I go perpendicular as well. simple swing of the foot moves the rope from side to side to get tension off the bar, instead of trying to do arm curls to add/subtract bars.

With a pantin, frogging is more efficient, so get one. It also makes changeovers easier as you dont need to do the short/long cowstail clip method. Rigging a 14" rack UNDER the chest croll (which is at your waist) sucks but alpine caving techniques actually shows how to do this with a bobbin and a frog system.

I perfer to thumb rope through the croll and rig the rack into the slack between the hand ascender and chest croll.
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