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How do you set up your descent?
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By mr. mango
Jan 11, 2013
north wash
There will be some inherent regional biases on this because it's a heavily debated topic. But I want to know how you do it and what you think. Do you rap or lower? Do you clip into the last links of a chain anchors, or do you use your own caribiners and clip directly into the bolts? Do you use the rappel rings? Which one is safer? Thanks for any input.

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By Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Jan 11, 2013
Clip yourself into the bolt hangers using your pas or a sling
to your harness. If you're just setting up to TR, clip your QD's into
the bolt hangers also. Then just thread/clip your rope through
the locking biners on the end of your QD's.
If you're just going to be lowered off, clip your harness into the hangers, (both, not just one), tie a bight of your rope to your harness,
then untie from your harness, thread the rope through the last links of the chains (if they're not too worn), retie rope to your harness.
Test it before you unclip from your anchors, and then unclip from
the bolt hangers and have your partner lower you.
Be safe

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By mr. mango
Jan 11, 2013
north wash
Thanks for your advice. Do you ever lower off the rap rings?

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By Bryan Gall
From New Castle, CO
Jan 11, 2013
Lowering off the rap rings, while safe, ultimately wears out (grooves) the community hardware. If you're at all concerned about the public commons, rappel the route. Or lower away and be willing to replace hardware. Or base jump.

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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Jan 11, 2013
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock
snowboard

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By Larry S
Jan 11, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I usually rap and encourage others to do the same. I'll lower rarely if it's a tough route to clean (lots of tramming) and there are beefy rap rings and not just quick links or cold shuts. The argument has been made that lowering is less accident prone, and I do agree, but I choose to rap and be kinder to the hardware.

I secure myself to the anchor with whatever I have, usually two quickdraws or 2' sling "Trad Draws". I clip one side to whatever part is convenient and wont get in the way of threading the rope... could be the hanger, the ring, a mid link in the chain, and just clip the other side to my belay loop. I think dedicated girth hitched slings or a PAS are a waste, i tried and found them annoying. I just make sure to carry two more draws than the route needs.

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By Andrew Blease
From 4runner, parking lot, USA
Jan 11, 2013
If I'm rappelling by myself I put a sliding-x with a 2 ft runner on the bolts and clip into the master point. Then set up the rappel as normal, with knots in the end of the rope (always, no exceptions).
When lowering I clip into an anchor bolt with a draw, then call for slack. Next I pull a bight of rope through the rings, tie a fig-8 on a bight and clip it to my belay loop with a locker. After that I call tension, untie from my harness and get lowered off the route on the fig-8 and locker. It's pretty simple once you do it and you never have to come off belay.
Of course the number one rule is "It depends". Do what works for your situation based on conditions, number of people, route etc.

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Jan 11, 2013
John Marsella wrote:
I love lowering off the rings. I usually get my rope wet and sandy first, as the extra friction helps give a more controlled descent.


Not bad, not bad.

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By Maurice Chaunders
Jan 12, 2013
Colombian Crack
I prefer to be kind to the gear and my rope, so I rap. I converted to a PAS awhile back and I highly recommend them. I started rapping when I heard that Yosemite guides have their clients climb a top rope and then rap on a second, preset rope, rapping while still on belay. Overly safe and protective of equipment? Perhaps, but overly safe seems an oxymoron. Emulating Yosemite guides = probably a good thing.

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By David Appelhans
From Lafayette
Jan 12, 2013
Imaginate
Top rope on your own gear. When you are ready to clean, if it is chains you should be rapping because you are wearing them out quickly in one spot. If it is rings lowering is more acceptable because they can rotate position and wear more evenly (thus slowly).

I rap most of the time because it is easier on my ropes. I have yet to wear out one of my ropes, and I've been climbing for 5 years.

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By Jim Sweeney
Jan 12, 2013
mr. mango,

Before you leave the ground be very clear with your belayer on how you will be descending.
Other than that, rappelling and lowering have too many variables in technique and materials for you to be safely informed through verbal instruction.

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By Gunkiemike
Jan 12, 2013
Jim Sweeney wrote:
mr. mango, Before you leave the ground be very clear with your belayer on how you will be descending. Other than that, rappelling and lowering have too many variables in technique and materials for you to be safely informed through verbal instruction.


Excellent point. The surest way to jeopardize yourself is to climb the route and yell some ambiguous nonsense like, "Okay!". I've heard of far too many accidents resulting from poor communication.

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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Jan 14, 2013
Me on Supercrack
For lowering and top roping I use my gear only, clipped as high up the chain as I can get it (or directly into the bolt). If I have to use permanent rings/chains it is to rap only. If every one did this the rap rings/chains would last longer for everyone's enjoyment. Plus your rope will take less abuse.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Jan 14, 2013
You stay away from mah pig!
Dude, you guys... just lower. Please, for the love of God, just lower.


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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Jan 14, 2013
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
mr. mango wrote:
Thanks for your advice. Do you ever lower off the rap rings?

Depends on how steep the route is. Steep routes...I lower through the rings most every time.

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By Buff Johnson
Jan 14, 2013
smiley face
I go both ways, but not at the same time

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By Ian Stewart
Jan 14, 2013
I top rope on my own gear and then usually lower directly off the fixed gear when possible. If the fixed gear isn't conducive to lowering off of it or it would bung up my rope, I'll rap. Lowering is faster and less accident prone, and I'm more than willing to fit the bill for new fixed gear once in a while for that convenience and safety.

I own a PAS and used to use it all the time when I first started climbing, but then over time I realized that there was always something else on my harness that could be used to anchor in. There's no sense bringing a specialized piece of gear that gets in the way when a couple draws and/or slings does the trick.

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By Arianne Hendrick
From North Pole, AK
Jan 15, 2013
Soloing upper tiers of Hayes falls
Bryan Gall wrote:
Lowering off the rap rings, while safe, ultimately wears out (grooves) the community hardware. If you're at all concerned about the public commons, rappel the route. Or lower away and be willing to replace hardware. Or base jump.



Yes.

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By Michael C
From New Jersey
Jan 15, 2013
Mt Minsi, PA
Sometimes I forget that bolted rap stations exist. I'm so used to wrapping trees in webbing.

So yeah, most of the time I rappel. I'm all for redundancy so that means two independent strands with two peices of hardware. I either add to, take away from, or accept whatever I find up top. And I don't leave a mess either. I'm anti sling-salad and will remove any busted up tat.

If I'm being lowered, I normally would use my own hardware/biners.

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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Jan 15, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on
one word: depends

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By Alex Whitman
Jan 15, 2013
Luxury Liner, Indian Creek
Ben Brotelho wrote:
one word: depends


I've done some scary rappels before, but never shat myself. Maybe you should back up your anchor?

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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Jan 15, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on
I actually buy the off-brand, but they work just as well. Speed is safety so I try to just shit in my pants while doing long rappels to save time

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By Simon Thompson
From New Paltz, NY
Jan 15, 2013
Ben Brotelho wrote:
I actually buy the off-brand, but they work just as well. Speed is safety so I try to just shit in my pants while doing long rappels to save time


And if per chance you are caught without your depends, you may just have to shit in a belay cave/chimney on a big alpine climb. Hey, it happens.

FLAG


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