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How big a block is bomber to sling for rappel?
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By Peter Pitocchi
Jan 18, 2012
Pete belays 2nd pitch Little corner
So here is what I'm wondering...rapping a route you come across a nice slingable boulder to set up your next rappel. How big does it need to be to rap absolutely safely? Refrigerator? Shopping cart? Microwave oven? Beachball? Assume it's set back on a level ledge a couple feet and for sake of argument egg shaped oriented horizontally.

I understand the multiple scenarios that could alter the decision, but I'm just trying to get an idea of what others feel is pretty much certainly safe.

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Jan 18, 2012
Colonel Mustard
Depends on the rock type, angle, surface contact, weight, etc. I dunno, I don't personally have a hard and fast rule for this situation other than you shove on the block and test it out a bit first to check for stability, etc.. I do know that any slung block looks drastically smaller once you start rapping from it.

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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Jan 18, 2012
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.
back it up and send the fat guy down first...if it holds your good to go hopefully

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By JJNS
Jan 18, 2012
Go canyoneering and it will flip your perspective. Those guys sling fragile desert plants and cairns without giving it a second thought.

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By Yarp
Jan 18, 2012
I really wish that you were trolling, but I have my doubts.

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By Copperhead
Jan 18, 2012
rock_fencer wrote:
back it up and send the fat guy down first...if it holds your good to go hopefully

Test the rock for stability first (by pushing, if noone is below to make sure it isn't about ready to go) or your fat guy will get crushed.

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By dorseyec
Jan 18, 2012
Peter Pitocchi wrote:
How big does it need to be to rap absolutely safely?


Too many variables, if you cant figure this out on your own and make a judgement call you should probably not be climbing.

What is with all the weird threads you create anyway?

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By andrewc
Jan 18, 2012
rock_fencer wrote:
back it up and send the fat guy down first...if it holds your good to go hopefully


The real question is, how much fatter does your partner need to be for safety?

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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jan 18, 2012
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
Yarp wrote:
I really wish that you were trolling, but I have my doubts.

+1

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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 18, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
I'm guessing it is not jammed in place or anchored deeply into the earth or behind some other boulders. So I would go for refrigerator sized with lots of surface area contact,( so not oval shape) up to car size to trust it as sole rap anchor. But then again I've used 2 inch trees with good roots as an anchor too.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jan 18, 2012
As others have said, there are many variables besides size (size matters, though!).

Read the right-hand column ("Sharkfin Tower") on this website for an accident that occurred when a large block used for rappeling slid:

mountaineers.org/nwmj/06/061_N...

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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Jan 18, 2012
I would sling a grape sized pebble if it was chocked in place securely, and I wouldn't trust a truck sized boulder if it was balanced precariously on loose rock.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jan 18, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
JasonJNSmith wrote:
Go canyoneering and it will flip your perspective. Those guys sling fragile desert plants and cairns without giving it a second thought.


Yeah, not a fan of that sort of sketchy practice. For popular canyons, just put some decent rap anchors in. Sheesh.

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By ERolls
From Custer, SD
Jan 18, 2012
Devils Tower Summit
If it's not bigger than a coffin then it probably is one.

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By dorseyec
Jan 18, 2012
Stich wrote:
Yeah, not a fan of that sort of sketchy practice. For popular canyons, just put some decent rap anchors in. Sheesh.



Well then how are canyoneers supposed to tell people how bad ass they are? Otherwise its just glorified hiking with some safe bolted rappells.

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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Jan 18, 2012
Crux roof on Freeway...
Rock cairn rappel, Trail Canyon, Utah. Steve "Ram" Ramras pictured.
Rock cairn rappel, Trail Canyon, Utah. Steve "Ram" Ramras pictured.


If the blocks are small, just pile a bunch on top of each other.

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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 18, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Guy H. wrote:
If the blocks are small, just pile a bunch on top of each other.


? that way when the pull loose, if the big one doesn't hit, you improve your chances of a strike from all the other rocks falling down with it?.

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By Glenn Schuler
From Monument, Co.
Jan 18, 2012
A grey fox skull wedged in a crack 100' up on a FA I was working on - don't see that every day...
Skinner & Piana thought van size would be sufficient. We all know how well that worked out. Too many variabels other than size to consider.

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By KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Jan 18, 2012

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Jan 19, 2012
Colonel Mustard
Well played, sir.

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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Jan 19, 2012
Crux roof on Freeway...
Woodchuck ATC wrote:
? that way when the pull loose, if the big one doesn't hit, you improve your chances of a strike from all the other rocks falling down with it?.


I was of course joking in my above post. Steve knows what he is doing. If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't try this at home.

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