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  #1  
Old 03-15-2008, 12:54 AM
NightRabbit NightRabbit is offline
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Mountain climbing solo- how do you get the ropes up there? And your ropes back?

I am not at all familiar with mountain climbing techniques. One thing especially puzzles me, though, about using ropes...

I don't even know how to phrase these questions properly, but I'll try:

1) When you're climbing UP, say, a sheer rock face, and you're using your rope to help you, how did you get it up there and secured?

2) when you're rappelling down, and you get all the way to the bottom, how do you unhook your rope from however it's secured at the top? Climbers don't leave a bunch of ropes hanging behind them when they climb, do they?
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2008, 01:07 AM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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I am not a climber, But i taught Rope Rescue for many years.
1st of all, not to many climb alone.
If one has to put anchor in,it should stay in.
One would then loop the rope through and attach both running ends to their system.
Then you would thread it out when you advance up or down.
There is a really dangerous hitch that can be used called a chimney hitch.

Chimney hitches vary from area to area, but this link will give you an Idea on the Knots a climber would need to know.
http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/CITY/fire/...r/ropeknot.pdf

Last edited by Gbro; 03-15-2008 at 01:08 AM..
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2008, 04:13 AM
ticker ticker is offline
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Firstly, as Gbro said, solo climbing is a niche activity and doesn't normally use rope. Part of the thrill is the all-or-nothing sense of danger.

For regular two-climber rock climbing the procedure is as follows. Each climber ties one end of the climbing rope to their harness. One climber, the second, ties him/her self to something solid known as a belay. The lead climber then starts up with the second paying out the rope. Obviously if the lead falls at this point they will crash to the ground so at opportune moments the leader will attach 'runners' along the route. A runner is something wedged or hammered into cracks in the rock with a snap link attached through which the rope is threaded. If the leader now falls from 10 feet above the last runner they will only fall 10 feet past it until the rope tightens (assuming the runner holds and the second is paying attention!). Once the leader reaches the either end of the climb or end of the available rope, they find their own belay to tie in to so they can bring up the second. The second takes out the runners as they come up.

When rappelling/abseiling you can retrieve the rope by the simple expedient of using two ropes tied together and looped through the anchor point so you are descending a double thickness of rope. When you get to the end you can tug on one rope to pull the other one through.
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2008, 05:38 PM
Mr. Duality Mr. Duality is offline
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On many climbs there are permanent rappel/belay anchors. The better ones are two bolts driven into the rock and connected with a loose chain. Sometimes it's a single bolt with a ring attached. The cheap ones are one or two lengths of nylon sling tied around a convenient piece of rock. Sometimes these cheap ones are kinda scary.
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  #5  
Old 03-15-2008, 08:32 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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In general, ropes don't help you climb up, they protect you when you fall. For a standard climb the lead climber is attached to the rope via his harness. He (or she) places protection in the rock face in the form of nuts, cams, or hammers in pitons and attaches the rope to that. The rope is connected through these pieces of protection down to the following climber, who is holding on to the end of the rope and is tied into the cliff via protection of his own.

When the lead climber goes past the protection he just placed he can fall roughly double the distance he has traveled past; down to the protection, then that same distance past until the rope pulls tight. Actually, he'll follow further since the rope is designed to stretch and soften the blow of pulling up quick.

This is why it's important not to go too far without placing another piece of protection. If you climb 10 feet past your last piece of protection, you can expect to fall roughly 25 feet on a fall.
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  #6  
Old 03-16-2008, 02:51 PM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightRabbit
... 1) When you're climbing UP, say, a sheer rock face, and you're using your rope to help you, how did you get it up there and secured? ...
Depends on the climb. If there's another route to the top (climbing or walking), that's what you do, then you can fix ropes for the more difficult route. I think the only time you'd see this is where someone is setting up a route to practice aid climbing on. Top roping a "real" aid climb takes all the sport out of it.

If it's a route up a face that can't be free climbed around then someone has to aid climb the route first, placing (semi-)permanent protection* as they go. Then the belayer would ascend the fixed rope using mechanical ascenders, retrieving the removable protection* and carabiners that were placed by the leader.

(*In free climbing protection is placed by the leader and removed by the belayer (assuming a two person, single pitch climb) while in aid climbing the protection (pitons and bolts) is left behind in place. It's only semi-permanent because pitons and bolts can get loose over time (rust, rock weathering, etc) and won't hold a fall! Also aid climbers will often use the same kinds of removable protection that free climbers do.)

Really though, the only time you'll see someone actually using the rope to get up is in aid climbing or caving and the only time you'll see someone "climbing" on a rope that's already fixed at the top is in top-rope climbing or roped solo climbing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightRabbit
... 2) when you're rappelling down, and you get all the way to the bottom, how do you unhook your rope from however it's secured at the top? Climbers don't leave a bunch of ropes hanging behind them when they climb, do they?
Not if they can help it, rope ain't cheap!

Here's a pretty standard way, the Texas Rope Trick (the bottom illustration). This technique is really rough on the sling though and you can only rappel down one third of the ropes length.
Some more ways to do it here.

CMC +fnord!
IANAC but I do use climbing techniques while off-trail hiking.
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  #7  
Old 03-16-2008, 03:54 PM
Astroboy14 Astroboy14 is offline
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This was a problem that Frodo and Sam had... as I recall, they solved it by grabbing the rope and shaking it. It came right down!
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  #8  
Old 03-16-2008, 04:59 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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To illustrate some of what has been said above. When you lead climb your rope is attached to your harness and you place your protection in the rock as you go. Your climbing partner is your "belay" and manages the safety rope as you climb. As Gbro said above, it's possible to self-belay and techniques for self-belaying are taught in rope rescue for those scary occasions where one of you is injured or somehow incapacitated, or you have to get yourself out of a really tight spot on your own.

As for placing protection, "trad climbing" (traditional lead climbing), you place temporary protection as you go by jamming really tough bits into tight places. Here are a few close-ups of pieces of protection in rock face: a stopper, a hex, and a cam (also called a "friend"). These are removed from the rock face as you come down, either by rappelling or by down-climbing.

Most climbing follows a philosophy of "leave no trace". Everything you set up, you take back down again. (Besides that, protection is really damn expensive). However, there are times when people have to leave some of their rappel anchors at the top, so sometimes you'll find abandoned webbing at the summit. You don't want to rely on webbing that's been sitting there deteriorating for who-knows-how-long, so you install your own fresh webbing then pack and carry down the old, abandoned stuff. (ETA: I hate leaving anything behind, I feel like I'm littering or vandalizing the crag.)

There is also "sport lead climbing" which Fianceephone and I do. It's less scary because you are clipping your rope into bolts and hangers that are permanently fixed to the rockface. Note: It is REALLY bad form to drill into a cliff face to install permanent protection without permission of the land owners or administrators. In many cases, like in National Parks, there are areas where installing bolts is completely prohibited for ecology reasons, in other areas it is allowed only by permit.

You can see a nice big picture of a guy trad climbing here. You can see the rope trailing behind him as he fiddles trying to jam a piece of protection into a crack in the rock face, and his previous piece of protection is below him.

Some extraordinarily brave (or foolhardy) people will climb without any safety line at all. But many solo climbers use protection and styles of self-belay.

Last edited by Swallowed My Cellphone; 03-16-2008 at 05:02 PM..
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  #9  
Old 03-16-2008, 05:43 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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This is a question I always wanted to know as well. How can anyone secure fasteners into granite like we have in New England or most other hard rocks at all? It seems like it would take heavy power equipment and dynamite to even make a dent into it.
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  #10  
Old 03-16-2008, 06:02 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
This is a question I always wanted to know as well. How can anyone secure fasteners into granite like we have in New England or most other hard rocks at all? It seems like it would take heavy power equipment and dynamite to even make a dent into it.
For trad climbing, see the pictures of the stopper, hex, and cam I linked to above. You place your protection in pre-existing cracks and fissures or holes in the rock face. You have to really know what you're doing or else they will pop out when you fall and they are shock loaded.

For sport lead climbing, the bolts are put in place over a period of days sometimes weeks, using a hand-drill and a LOT of patience. Depending on the type of stone, resins or epoxy type material is used to help keep the bolt in place. Bolting routes is not something you do as you climb, it's a different project. (ETA: You also really need to know what you're doing. Taking your own life in your hands is one thing, but when you put up bolts, a much larger climibng community will be at risk if you screw it up.)

I was climbing for two days in the southwest, and it took my acquaintance the full two days just to install three bolts on a neighbouring cliff face, and he wrecked several drill bits in the process. (And nearly burned out his drill.)

Last edited by Swallowed My Cellphone; 03-16-2008 at 06:05 PM..
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2008, 09:23 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightRabbit
2) when you're rappelling down, and you get all the way to the bottom, how do you unhook your rope from however it's secured at the top? Climbers don't leave a bunch of ropes hanging behind them when they climb, do they?
See this post for a rather exciting use for the sheepshank knot.
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  #12  
Old 03-17-2008, 09:34 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroboy14
This was a problem that Frodo and Sam had... as I recall, they solved it by grabbing the rope and shaking it. It came right down!
My local sporting-goods store says they don't stock Elven rope, and don't know where to order it. Bastards!

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 03-17-2008 at 09:35 AM..
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2008, 09:54 AM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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I took part in 2 industrial rescue competitions years back. There was a list of knots and hitches that pleased the folks running the event. One of the knots was a double in-line 8, and i struggled with it for a long time and although i learned it then i never mastered it because i can't tie it today(just did,t use it enough). I have searched many times for this knot. Just for old times sake i would like to work with it again.
One of the events had the Munter Hitch as a theme (if you will), any other belay technique was taboo. We had never used the Munter before, and used it very seldom in training after. But it was a slick belay. They gave out belt buckles and I still wear it today.
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  #14  
Old 03-18-2008, 09:13 AM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbro
I took part in 2 industrial rescue competitions years back. There was a list of knots and hitches that pleased the folks running the event. One of the knots was a double in-line 8, and i struggled with it for a long time and although i learned it then i never mastered it because i can't tie it today(just did,t use it enough). I have searched many times for this knot. Just for old times sake i would like to work with it again.
Do you mean a figure 8 on a bite (as another way of saying it)? I use that to set up my rappel from two anchor points when I'm cleaning my quickdraws off a cliffface. If it's thes same knot, you can Google "figure 8 on a bite" and get instructions for it.

ETA: Like here. Is that the knot you're referring too?

Last edited by Swallowed My Cellphone; 03-18-2008 at 09:16 AM..
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  #15  
Old 03-18-2008, 06:49 PM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swallowed My Cellphone
If it's thes same knot, you can Google "figure 8 on a bite" and get instructions for it.
You'll get much better results (and a lot more of them) with "figure 8 on a bight."
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  #16  
Old 03-18-2008, 08:40 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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No, I said "Double In-Line Figure 8".

I do the;
1. 8 stopper (can do that one with a short 3.5 ft line w/out letting go of the ends)
2. 8 on a bite
3. 8 follow through
4. in line 8
5. double loop 8

To master a knot you will be able to tie it,

1 in the dark
2 behind your back
3. with great big clumsy gloves on
4. with running end tied to your feet and you crawl through.
5. any and all of these in 10 sec and under(except the crawl through)
There may be more that we had to compete with but they elude me now.
When someone would be challenged by the "knot master" (like the game show "Name that Tune")
I can do that knot in 5 seconds, ....i can do that knot in 4 seconds......"Do it pal"
And the knot master was "GOOD"!


6 is the double in line 8 that I am not able to remember.
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  #17  
Old 03-18-2008, 09:16 PM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbro
... 6 is the double in line 8 that I am not able to remember.
Is this it?
Bunny ears who names a knot "bunny ears".

CMC +fnord!
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  #18  
Old 03-18-2008, 10:26 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InvisibleWombat
You'll get much better results (and a lot more of them) with "figure 8 on a bight."
Long crappy, crappy day at work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbro
6 is the double in line 8 that I am not able to remember.
In what circumstances would you use a double in line 8? And waht are the advantages/disadvatages?

Last edited by Swallowed My Cellphone; 03-18-2008 at 10:30 PM..
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  #19  
Old 03-18-2008, 10:46 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Huh... I was just looking over on of my books. Never having had the occasion to use an in-line 8 I never noticed the difference before from an 8 on a bight. I kind of thought they were the same. With an in-line 8, it looks like you could tri-load the rope if you had to.
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  #20  
Old 03-19-2008, 10:34 AM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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No, On the bunny ears, That knot is the double loop figure 8.
If one would take the double loop 8 apart 1/2 way you have a "Inline 8"

We use the inline 8 as a base knot in setting up a self equalizing anchor system. Like 3 pickets that can hold an equal amount of the load.

The double in-line 8 i am asking about was a very impractical knot used to attach a hardware (pulley for example) to a main line. (say one didn't have any prussiks, or Gibbs ). When a in-line 8 is used and a carabiner is clipped in the load is reduced due to the small radius of the beaner. The double in-line was thought to be more beneficial due to sharing the load.
This was 10 years ago in Elko Nevada. Rescue competition with gold, silver, borax mine rescue teams. We came from the Iron Range Taconite mines
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  #21  
Old 03-19-2008, 06:22 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbro
We use the inline 8 as a base knot in setting up a self equalizing anchor system. Like 3 pickets that can hold an equal amount of the load.
Ah, that makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbro
The double in-line 8 i am asking about was a very impractical knot used to attach a hardware (pulley for example) to a main line. (say one didn't have any prussiks, or Gibbs ). When a in-line 8 is used and a carabiner is clipped in the load is reduced due to the small radius of the beaner. The double in-line was thought to be more beneficial due to sharing the load.
I'm having trouble picturing this. I would ask for a diagram, but if you had one, I suppose we wouldn't be having this discussion.

FWIW, I looked for your double in-line 8 in my ancient climbing safety manual. It came out in 1985 and sometimes has diagrams of knots, rope coils, and belay techniques that are much less "de rigueur" these days. Alas, your knot wasn't to be found.

ETA: Apologies to the OP for the hijacking.

Last edited by Swallowed My Cellphone; 03-19-2008 at 06:22 PM..
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