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By Avi Katz
Mar 8, 2013
A few points about some of the systems mentioned-

Above-device backups on rappel can be ineffective
Leg loops are frequently frowned upon for the ease of which they can jam into your rap device (unless you extend it!)
Girth hitches reduce material strength by half! (MFOH)

I've been using a really efficient system shown to me by a guide:

1. "Basket" a double length sling through 2 hard points (run sling through hard points, overhand 2 ends together
2. I keep my rap device, extra locker, and QD on the end of this sling
3. Friction autoblock on a locker on my belay loop.

Generally my multi raps look like this:

-After rappelling I reach the next anchors. Immediately clip extra locker to bolt #1. Clip QD from my extended sling to bolt #2. (Redundancy!)
-Take myself off rappel.
-Once the rope is rigged for my next rappel, I put myself back on rappel using the belay device still hanging from my extended sling.
-Put on my backup autoblock, pull my locker and QD from the anchors, rappel.
-REPEAT

Imagine the gold and brown lockers on my milk crate are bolts..

Blue double length sling. Belay device, extra locker, and QD on the end of sling. Autoblock on belay loop.  <br />What do you guys think? <br />
Blue double length sling. Belay device, extra locker, and QD on the end of sling. Autoblock on belay loop.
What do you guys think?

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By Stephen Ackley
From Richmond, Virginia
Mar 8, 2013
This thread has been all over the place but in the end I am glad that people are making an effort to extend the belay device and use friction hitches to back up their rappels. It blows my mind that many people don't.

I've put a lot of time into researching technical systems for rock climbing and I'd encourage others to do so. I am currently revisiting 'Self Rescue' by David Fasulo. I highly recommend it for any climber. In addition to a great deal of essential rescue techniques it has some interesting ways of extending a rappel which I had never seen before.

So back to the thread, I realized that the system that I demonstrated to start off this thread would work (it works best with the limiter knots closer to the master point than I photographed). I hoped to ask MP to see if anyone else had seen or figured out that particular system.

It shines in a couple instances. I believe it works at a hanging belay better than a single tether or two separate tethers which are statically equalized. The climbers attachment to the sliding x variation (which is with a carabiener) slides allowing a climber to shift around at the rappel station along a line parallel to the bolts rather than in an arc from a single attachment point. This also lets you shift around while constantly loading the sling. Furthermore, this system can be highly efficient if you are already using a sliding x as your anchor! Once again, this system is intended to be used on two bolts. You can also just use one arm of the sliding x as shown in the last picture though the limiter knot should be further down. When used in this fashion, a friction hitch could be used attached to the belay loop.

@Benjaminakd I am not a PAS guy. I do not use my rope to build an anchor.

@ Michael I think R and I just had an article about this and found that friction hitch connected to a belay loop and an atc on the belay loop failed 100% of the time. As I have come to find out, there are a lot of ways to extend an ATC, many of which are easy, simple and clutter free.

@Wivanoff i hope the explanation above and my first posts clear up the ideas behind the sliding x rappel. And, yes, if both climbers want to use this system, than you would have two sliding Xs. With the link I see what you're doing and i like it.

@Michael Urban look into the fireman's belay. It doesnt require any more rope and is a very useful tool.

@Avi did you mean to clip the ATC UNDER the overhand knot? Other wise it would be difficult to transfer your weight from the anchor and to the rope. I often would include something like a quick draw to a second point like you have done and found it to be awkward, hence, the sliding x rig.


Long winded I know, but, all that being said, the sliding x rig is something that I simply figured out a couple weeks ago. I am still messing with it and figuring out if I like it or not. I think I do, but could certainly find something better and use that instead.

I'll be passing this by a guide next month. In the mean time, try it out and tell me what you think.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 8, 2013
Hi,
Well - first of all I do not use a ATC to rap.

Secondly I'd like to know why a belay loop may have failed when BD and others INSIST that the belay loop should ALWAYS BE USED instead of hooking your locker thru your waistbelt and leg loops of the harness.

I believe the belay loop HAS been shown to be damn strong.

I don't mean to be wise or cocky - but the autoblock works so well and is so easy to set up I can't see the need for a Fireman's belay honestly.



???

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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
Michael Urban wrote:
Secondly I'd like to know why a belay loop may have failed when BD and others INSIST that the belay loop should ALWAYS BE USED instead of hooking your locker thru your waistbelt and leg loops of the harness. I believe the belay loop HAS been shown to be damn strong.

It IS damn strong. The primary reason for not "hooking your locker thru your waistbelt and leg loops of the harness" is: improper loading of the carabiner. Any failures I've heard of were due to the belay loop being overly worn on a harness that should have been retired.

If you mean this statement: "I just had an article about this and found that friction hitch connected to a belay loop and an atc on the belay loop failed 100% of the time." He means the friction hitch failed, not the belay loop. I believe the article was discussing friction hitches above the ATC, but I'm not sure about that.

Michael Urban wrote:
I don't mean to be wise or cocky - but the autoblock works so well and is so easy to set up I can't see the need for a Fireman's belay honestly. ???


Having the first person down use an autoblock and then the rest of the party having a fireman's belay is actually faster than everyone using an autoblock - particularly when there are several in the party.

Further, some feel there are safety issues. I'll quote from another thread on MP for one example:

"If you think the only way you'd let go of the rope is if you are unconscious, then it pays to think through what is going to happen when you are hanging unconscious on the rope half way down. You'll die of orthostatic shock if someone doesn't get to you and get you out of the hanging posture, but it will be very difficult for the rest of your party to do this, especially if they are above you.

I think only the first person down should use a backup when circumstances seem to require it. Once they are down, the rest of the party is far better protected by a "fireman's belay" from below, which will allow the party to lower an unconscious climber down to them."

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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Mar 8, 2013
Me on Supercrack
wivanoff wrote:
Having the first person down use an autoblock and then the rest of the party having a fireman's belay is actually faster than everyone using an autoblock - particularly when there are several in the party. Further, some feel there are safety issues. I'll quote from another thread on MP for one example: "If you think the only way you'd let go of the rope is if you are unconscious, then it pays to think through what is going to happen when you are hanging unconscious on the rope half way down. You'll die of orthostatic shock if someone doesn't get to you and get you out of the hanging posture, but it will be very difficult for the rest of your party to do this, especially if they are above you. I think only the first person down should use a backup when circumstances seem to require it. Once they are down, the rest of the party is far better protected by a "fireman's belay" from below, which will allow the party to lower an unconscious climber down to them."


Very important point! Imagine the second rapeller gets knocked unconscious by rockfall. If he's rigged an auto-block you now have to ascend the rope to get him, all the while hoping that his auto-block doesn't slip & drop him on top of you. If you're using a fireman's belay you simply lower the unconscious rapper.

Back to the rappel extensions, I think all of them pictured here so far will work fine. Mainly a matter of what material you have on hand, and your personal preferences. My preference is to have my clip in carabiner on a much longer tether than my ATC, that way I can fully weight my ATC (and make sure I've rigged it right) before I un-clip from the anchor. This also saves having to mule off the atc, to lift myself up & un-clip the tether. My method does look complicated as hell, but actually it's only a sling with an overhand & another with a girth.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 8, 2013
wivanoff wrote:
It IS damn strong. The primary reason for not "hooking your locker thru your waistbelt and leg loops of the harness" is: improper loading of the carabiner. Any failures I've heard of were due to the belay loop being overly worn on a harness that should have been retired. If you mean this statement: "I just had an article about this and found that friction hitch connected to a belay loop and an atc on the belay loop failed 100% of the time." He means the friction hitch failed, not the belay loop. I believe the article was discussing friction hitches above the ATC, but I'm not sure about that. Having the first person down use an autoblock and then the rest of the party having a fireman's belay is actually faster than everyone using an autoblock - particularly when there are several in the party. Further, some feel there are safety issues. I'll quote from another thread on MP for one example: "If you think the only way you'd let go of the rope is if you are unconscious, then it pays to think through what is going to happen when you are hanging unconscious on the rope half way down. You'll die of orthostatic shock if someone doesn't get to you and get you out of the hanging posture, but it will be very difficult for the rest of your party to do this, especially if they are above you. I think only the first person down should use a backup when circumstances seem to require it. Once they are down, the rest of the party is far better protected by a "fireman's belay" from below, which will allow the party to lower an unconscious climber down to them."


Well then, so if one adds a SLING or RUNNER to their belay loop to extend their ATC - isn't THAT a risk venture then?

I have never felt the need for a Fireman's belay from above. yeah I am sure it's nice, but someone belaying you from above tru a belay device sin't going to be able to feed rope OUT as you belay fast enuff I would think. Also, should something happen to the first or second person rapping and they went unconscious - all the last person from above has to do is just RAP down to them instead of all this fuss with a Fireman's belay!
Maybe I am missing something but I just don't see the need for someone belyaing me when I have an autoblock right in my braking hand as I rap in a slow, controlled manner with my rap device within the normal reach. My Autoblock is rigged so it doens't even get NEAR my ATC or my Fig 8!!!!

I dunno - to me it seems like "If it ain't broken don't fix it" kinda deal. But hey - maybe it's just ME!

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By BGardner
From Colorado
Mar 8, 2013
I've been though many phases of rappelling.
For years I did nothing.

Then I started using an auto-bock clipped to my leg loop. This system works well if you lose control. Cation though, this system is not as full-proof as many think. Most of us know to keep the auto-block short so it doesn't hit the ATC, but most folks miss that the the leg loop is a moving point relative to the belay loop. Lift your leg just a bit and the auto-block gets closer and closer to the ATC. I found that I could not set it up in a way that would keep the auto-block off the ATC if I crumpled up. If you're worried about getting knocked unconscious then look at what happens if you flip upside down.
In conclusion I think the ATC on the belay loop and the auto-block on the leg loop works if you slip but is unreliable in an unconscious situation.

I then started using a sling. There are many ways to extend with a 48inch sling. General the simpler the better. If I'm going to use a sling to extend then I always put the auto-block on the belay loop. To me it is way easier to use when it is higher, limits the possibility of flipping(since your leg isn't pulled up) and way easier to use with both hands.
If I know I'm going to do a lot of rappelling that day I bring a PAS style sling. I use the nylon based one from Misty Mountain, the sterling one looks good too.

These days I switched to the Mammut Alpine Smart. Makes rappelling fun again, and way simpler to use. Plus, I feel like it is more reliable then the atc auto-block combo.

Some other thoughts.
Careful using the fireman's backup. If you've never caught someone that actually had some momentum you might be in for a shock at how hard it is. In my experience, it is easy to stop someone when they are barely moving but if someone losses control on rappel they can accelerate really quickly and it takes some serious effort to stop them. To give an effective fireman's you have to keep the rope snug and have 100% eyes on. I give clients fireman's all the time and it works, but when climbing with friends I believe it is way faster to have them back themselves up so that I can deal with getting the next rappel setup.

If you use the auto-block on the leg loop trick be careful of the auto-buckles used on many modern harnesses. If your carbiner gets behind the buckle it can easily open it up. If you look at the leg-loop and find the strap that goes up to the belay loop I clip the carabiner on the other side of that strap. Other side from the buckle. At first it appears to but things a little more on the inside of your leg but as soon as you weight it, things shift into place.

The OPs setup should work. My biggest concerns are that it is a bit complicated, and really short. Maybe I'm missing something but if you had two or three people at a rappel it seems like things would be really crowded.

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Mar 8, 2013
modern man
wivanoff wrote:
Having the first person down use an autoblock and then the rest of the party having a fireman's belay is actually faster than everyone using an autoblock - particularly when there are several in the party. Further, some feel there are safety issues. I'll quote from another thread on MP for one example: "If you think the only way you'd let go of the rope is if you are unconscious, then it pays to think through what is going to happen when you are hanging unconscious on the rope half way down. You'll die of orthostatic shock if someone doesn't get to you and get you out of the hanging posture, but it will be very difficult for the rest of your party to do this, especially if they are above you. I think only the first person down should use a backup when circumstances seem to require it. Once they are down, the rest of the party is far better protected by a "fireman's belay" from below, which will allow the party to lower an unconscious climber down to them."


thats a good method, I'll remember that next time I'm trying to hurry people down who all insist on a backup. I usually only tie knots in the end and go but I've painfully waited at some of the Gunks rap stations while people ahead spent an hour backing themselves up

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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Mar 8, 2013
Me on Supercrack
Michael Urban wrote:
I have never felt the need for a Fireman's belay from above. yeah I am sure it's nice, but someone belaying you from above tru a belay device sin't going to be able to feed rope OUT as you belay fast enuff I would think. Also, should something happen to the first or second person rapping and they went unconscious - all the last person from above has to do is just RAP down to them instead of all this fuss with a Fireman's belay! Maybe I am missing something but I just don't see the need for someone belyaing me when I have an autoblock right in my braking hand as I rap in a slow, controlled manner with my rap device within the normal reach. My Autoblock is rigged so it doens't even get NEAR my ATC or my Fig 8!!!! I dunno - to me it seems like "If it ain't broken don't fix it" kinda deal. But hey - maybe it's just ME!






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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
Michael Urban wrote:
Well then, so if one adds a SLING or RUNNER to their belay loop to extend their ATC - isn't THAT a risk venture then?

Why would it be? You don't trust a 22kN sling DOUBLED?
You could also say that getting clothing jammed up in a rap device that is too close to the climber is a risk venture.

BTW, extending the device has another advantage that I did not mention: you can have BOTH hands on the brake side of the rappel device

Michael Urban wrote:
I have never felt the need for a Fireman's belay from above. yeah I am sure it's nice, but someone belaying you from above tru a belay device sin't going to be able to feed rope OUT as you belay fast enuff I would think.

Please Google "fireman's belay". You clearly do not know what it is.

Michael Urban wrote:
Also, should something happen to the first or second person rapping and they went unconscious - all the last person from above has to do is just RAP down to them instead of all this fuss with a Fireman's belay!

Try rapping down on a rope that is loaded by a climber's weight.

Michael Urban wrote:
Maybe I am missing something but I just don't see the need for someone belyaing me when I have an autoblock right in my braking hand as I rap in a slow, controlled manner with my rap device within the normal reach.

At this point, I don't know if you are missing something or just trolling me. You would not use a fireman's belay AND an autoblock at the same time. I already explained that a fireman's belay would be faster than each person using an autoblock - especially when several people are involved.

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By kilonot
Mar 8, 2013
MTKirk wrote:
Very important point! Imagine the second rapeller gets knocked unconscious by rockfall. If he's rigged an auto-block you now have to ascend the rope to get him, all the while hoping that his auto-block doesn't slip & drop him on top of you. If you're using a fireman's belay you simply lower the unconscious rapper. Back to the rappel extensions, I think all of them pictured here so far will work fine. Mainly a matter of what material you have on hand, and your personal preferences. My preference is to have my clip in carabiner on a much longer tether than my ATC, that way I can fully weight my ATC (and make sure I've rigged it right) before I un-clip from the anchor. This also saves having to mule off the atc, to lift myself up & un-clip the tether. My method does look complicated as hell, but actually it's only a sling with an overhand & another with a girth.


That's not quite the case. The weight of the rescuer ascending the brake strand of the rope locks off the device.

Ascend rope to injured partner.
Remove partner's autobloc.
Descend rope back to ground or next anchor.
Anchor in.
Lock off fireman's belay.
Remove tension from your rope climbing system.
Perform fireman's belay to lower injured climber.

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By Stephen Ackley
From Richmond, Virginia
Mar 8, 2013
Thank you Kirk. Thank you wivanoff.

John, You're correct, I was referring to having a hitch below the ATC and both the hitch and the rapp device off the belay loop.

Heres the article

This is what Petzl, the AMGA and Freedom of the Hillsrecomend

Fasulo's self rescue offers a handfull of variations and addresses consers of attaching a friction hitch to the leg loop (being those people have mentioned)and does not dismiss it as a method. Nor do many other sources. Those concerns are certainly valid.

The method I offered assumes that people are familiar with these methods and derrivatives there of. Clearly I was made an ass by assuming this.

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By Stephen Ackley
From Richmond, Virginia
Mar 8, 2013
@ZachR im diggin it

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By Unassigned User
Mar 8, 2013
wivanoff wrote:
Why would it be? You don't trust a 22kN sling DOUBLED? You could also say that getting clothing jammed up in a rap device that is too close to the climber is a risk venture. BTW, extending the device has another advantage that I did not mention: you can have BOTH hands on the brake side of the rappel device Please Google "fireman's belay". You clearly do not know what it is. Try rapping down on a rope that is loaded by a climber's weight. At this point, I don't know if you are missing something or just trolling me. You would not use a fireman's belay AND an autoblock at the same time. I already explained that a fireman's belay would be faster than each person using an autoblock - especially when several people are involved.


Well dude,
you're NOT going to do that - because you'd HAVE a 2nd rope to be doing a Fireman's belay anyway, right?
So just let them rap using their autoblock and if something happens - use the rope that you would use for a Fireman's belay to rap down!
Simple!
No need to make this more complicated!
My autoblock has never failed me yet and I know all about Orthostatic issues if flipped upside down as I an a RN bro!

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By kilonot
Mar 8, 2013
Michael Urban wrote:
Well dude, you're NOT going to do that - because you'd HAVE a 2nd rope to be doing a Fireman's belay anyway, right? So just let them rap using their autoblock and if something happens - use the rope that you would use for a Fireman's belay to rap down! Simple! No need to make this more complicated! My autoblock has never failed me yet and I know all about Orthostatic issues if flipped upside down as I an a RN bro!


A fireman's belay does NOT require a second rope. The 'belayer' is just holding the bottom of the rope the his partner is descending on. If the descending climber loses control, the 'belayer' applies downward force to the rope. This has the exact same result as the descending climbing applying downward force on the brake strand, as it is the same piece of rope.

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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
Michael Urban wrote:
Well dude,

How do you know I'm a dude?
[wivanoff looks down] OK. I am a dude.

Michael Urban wrote:
you're NOT going to do that - because you'd HAVE a 2nd rope to be doing a Fireman's belay anyway, right?

No, wrong. You ignored my sage advice and did not Google "Fireman's Belay" didn't you?

Michael Urban wrote:
I know all about Orthostatic issues if flipped upside down as I an a RN bro!

Then you would also know that you do not have to be flipped upside down to have Orthostatic issues. You could also Google "Suspension trama" and "Harness Hang Syndrome".

OK, OK. I'm just yanking your chain now...

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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
Stephen Ackley wrote:
John, You're correct, I was referring to having a hitch below the ATC and both the hitch and the rapp device off the belay loop. Heres the article


Thanks for that, Stephen. I thought it was a different article about having the backup knot ABOVE the rap device and how climbers/cavers would not release it and it failed all/most of the time.

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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
John Marsella wrote:
I believe that you're confusing FB with "Assisted Rappel" which looks like this: flickr.com/photos/julienajarry...


I know that photo is labeled "assisted rappel" but I'm pretty sure that is a "belayed rappel". And I'm pretty sure "assisted rappel" is when a climber shares a rappel device with an injured person, tethered together, and they both rap down together.

Not to pick nits, but look at the confusion mislabeling "fireman's belay" caused.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 8, 2013
John Marsella wrote:
DUDEBRO. PLZ figure out what is going on here. Firemans Belay: One person stands at bottom of rope and holds the end, +/- putting tension on the line. This tension in effect acts as the "brake hand" to the ATC style device. In the event that the rapeller (on the line, above the FB'er) loses hold of his brake hand, the FB'er adds more tension and brakes the system. The first rappeller is not receiving a FB (because there is no one at the bottom yet to tension the rope). This happens on the SAME ROPE. To repeat: There is only one (!) rope involved. (Unless there is a double rope rap happening, but then the ropes are tied end-to-end and acting as one. But really, that might complicate things for this discussion, so forget I said anything about two ropes. These are not the droids you're looking for.) I believe that you're confusing FB with "Belayed Rappel" which looks like this: flickr.com/photos/julienajarry...


Ok yeah John I was! LOL! My mistake!

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By Unassigned User
Mar 8, 2013
wivanoff wrote:
How do you know I'm a dude? [wivanoff looks down] OK. I am a dude. No, wrong. You ignored my sage advice and did not Google "Fireman's Belay" didn't you? Then you would also know that you do not have to be flipped upside down to have Orthostatic issues. You could also Google "Suspension trama" and "Harness Hang Syndrome". OK, OK. I'm just yanking your chain now...


LOL! You got spunk! I like you already!

OK I see what you mean! But - what happens if YOU are THE FIRST guy to rap down and no one IS below to FB YOU then?

Signed - Devil's Advocate!
LOL

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Mar 8, 2013
modern man
what if the first person raps down with the intent of giving the second a firemans belay and the first guy giving the firemans get smashed in the face with a rock and the second guy with no autoblock passes out from the gory mess down below???

fill in here- ____ ______ ___

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By Stephen Ackley
From Richmond, Virginia
Mar 8, 2013
everyone goes home and considers taking up caving as a hobby

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By wivanoff
Mar 8, 2013
High Exposure
Michael Urban wrote:
LOL! You got spunk! I like you already!

[wivanoff bows] Thank you, thank you.
I've learned some things in my 40 years of trad climbing ;-)

WOW.. this October will be the 40th anniversary of my first lead at the Gunks! I should go back and do Belly Roll again.

Michael Urban wrote:
OK I see what you mean! But - what happens if YOU are THE FIRST guy to rap down and no one IS below to FB YOU then? Signed - Devil's Advocate! LOL


Well, somewhere up above....
wivanoff wrote:
Having the first person down use an autoblock and then the rest of the party having a fireman's belay is actually faster than everyone using an autoblock - particularly when there are several in the party.....I think only the first person down should use a backup [read: autoblock] when circumstances seem to require it. Once they are down, the rest of the party is far better protected by a "fireman's belay" from below, which will allow the party to lower an unconscious climber down to them."

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By Unassigned User
Mar 9, 2013
TRmasta wrote:
what if the first person raps down with the intent of giving the second a firemans belay and the first guy giving the firemans get smashed in the face with a rock and the second guy with no autoblock passes out from the gory mess down below??? fill in here- ____ ______ ___


Good point! I'll stick to my simple autoblock rigged myself and alos not have to worry about someone below screwing up the FB as well!

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