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passing knots while rapping
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By lewisslc
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Dec 2, 2011

i have passed knots when rapping on two ropes, both on multi pitch and slots, some dangerous, others no so much...i was wondering what is actually the best way others pass knots?


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 2, 2011
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

If there is going to be only one knot to pass, the simplest method (and one that is as safe as or safer than any other) is the Munter Pop technique. No slings to stand in or prussiks to fiddle with.

To do this, fully rig your atc-type device on the section of rope immediately below the knot and tie it off with a releasable hitch as in belay-escape. Then set up a rappel using a Munter Hitch, using a sling to extend the Munter biner to face level.

Rappel using the Munter hitch until you are fully supported by the tied-off ATC. The Munter biner will still be loaded, but you can "pop" the it off the loaded rope.

Unlock the atc and continue rapping on it as usual.


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By -sp
From East-Coast
Dec 2, 2011
Buenos Dias!

Real men use one of these...


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By DBarton
From CENTENNIAL, CO
Dec 2, 2011
Moab, Potash Road and Ice Cream Parlor



"Not to be used for rappelling."


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By erik kapec
From prescott, az
Dec 2, 2011
enjoying the static, grappel and a smoke on Dana...

Using prussiks to pass the knot works, orrr just start going with the old fashioned body rappel!


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By Jon Rhoderick
Dec 2, 2011

If you need help unweighting the rope above the knot (which you wouldn't with rgold's method, but important to know anyway) I find that instead of standing in a sling a quick simple trick is to take the rope ends below the knot, form a clove hitch at shin or knee height and stick your foot in it, then you basically have an instant cinched aider step that feels secure standing up in.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Dec 2, 2011

Lewis: Why did you need to pass a knot? Emergency situation?


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By -sp
From East-Coast
Dec 2, 2011
Buenos Dias!

DBarton wrote:
"Not to be used for rappelling."

Where's your sense of adventure?


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dec 2, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Essentially you need a rope ascending system to downclimb past the knot to pass it. Whatever you use it is easy to unweight your rap device once you climb up above it a few inches, then you remove it and down climb past the knot, reattach your rap device below knot, downclimb until your weight is on the rap device again and remove ascending system. Continue your rappel.


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By Buff Johnson
Dec 3, 2011
smiley face




I'd pay good money to see you bring that one up the crag; save me some time at least. Then again, I am not a real man.


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By Jason Lantz
Dec 3, 2011

wouldn't it be better to do it the other way around? Rapping with a device that's extended enough to allow you to fully weight a mounter below the knot?

it seems like if you do it this way you'll have an easier time releasing the top device and you don't have to mess with pre rigging a device (or multiple) and if the munter twists the rope the lower bit would kick out the twists well...


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 3, 2011
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

No, you won't be able to fully unload the ATC if you use it above, unless you really get your weight off it, which will require foot slings or prussiks or both, nullifying all the advantages of the Munter Pop method. The beauty of the Munter biner up top is that you can pop it off the rope even if some or most of your weight is still on it.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dec 3, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

rgold wrote:
No, you won't be able to fully unload the ATC if you use it above, unless you really get your weight off it, which will require foot slings or prussiks or both, nullifying all the advantages of the Munter Pop method. The beauty of the Munter biner up top is that you can pop it off the rope even if some or most of your weight is still on it.


Any illustrations showing this method, Rich? I'd like to try it sometime. Whenever I have passed knots rappelling it was while caving, so I had a full ascending system.


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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Dec 3, 2011

rgold wrote:
If there is going to be only one knot to pass, the simplest method (and one that is as safe as or safer than any other) is the Munter Pop technique.


I was skeptical of this method when I first read of it. I tried it and it works well even on an overhanging rappel on a fully loaded rope. It is a little disconcerting when it pops and you drop a few inches but works great. The only trick is you have to make sure you extend the rap device far enough that the load shifts to the pre-rigged rap device.


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By JasonMills
From Albuquerque, NM
Dec 3, 2011

I've used the Münter method described, but for multi-pitch raps I've found that the Münter kinks the rope so badly that after a pitch or two you have to keep stopping to try to unkink the rope.

You can use the same method, but use a carabiner brake above the knot instead of a Münter hitch. Extend the carabiner brake the same way as you do the Münter. Doesn't kink the rope, and works just as well.


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 3, 2011
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

stich wrote:
Any illustrations showing this method, Rich? I'd like to try it sometime.


Not that I know of, but I think the description pretty much says it all. The Munter has to be extended and the ATC has to be on the harness belay loop and installed just below but right up against the knot that is going to be passed.

Brian wrote:
The only trick is you have to make sure you extend the rap device far enough that the load shifts to the pre-rigged rap device.


Yes.

JasonMills wrote:
I've used the Münter method described, but for multi-pitch raps I've found that the Münter kinks the rope so badly that after a pitch or two you have to keep stopping to try to unkink the rope. You can use the same method, but use a carabiner brake above the knot instead of a Münter hitch. Extend the carabiner brake the same way as you do the Münter. Doesn't kink the rope, and works just as well.


Four comments:

(1) Passing a knot is pretty rare in most climbing situations; passing a knot on multiple rappels even rarer, but it can happen, if ropes are damaged and one has to be knotted to tie off a damaged section.

(2) How much twisting you get from a Munter depends on how you handle the Munter and also on the particular ropes.

(3) If twisting becomes a problem, at the risk of less security, the ATC can be clipped to the belay loop on the harness and not installed on the rope below the knot until the rappeller reaches the knot (an autoblock backup to the rappel would be necessary in order to get hands-free and install the ATC just before reaching the knot.) This would allow the strands of the rope to untwist independently and so reduce and maybe even eliminate the accumulated twisting. Some ropes kink much worse than others in my experience, even the same models by the same manufacturer in some cases.

(4) If a carabiner brake works for you, fine. Be sure to test it out on a free-hanging rappel with the biners you will actually have on hand if you have to do this. I've never tried it, but I've used carabiner brakes for rappelling for years before fancier gadgets appeared, and I'd be concerned about the difficulty of getting a carabiner brake off a loaded rope---it was sometimes a struggle to get them off an unloaded rope!

One approach, which is, however, less secure, is to have both gates on the main biner pair on the same side and aligned. Then the cross-piece braking biners can be pulled sideways to disengage them, and perhaps this would work even with the rope weighted.

Some people have raised concerns about using carabiner brakes with wire-gate biners. I have no idea how serious the issue of the side-loading of wire gates is.

All told, in an emergency situation, I would stick with the Munter and deal with the tangles, but YMMV.


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By ian watson
From Albuquerque, NM
Dec 8, 2011





and at only $236 bucks its a steal!


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By -sp
From East-Coast
Dec 8, 2011
Buenos Dias!

ian watson wrote:
and at only $236 bucks its a steal!

I have two.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dec 8, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

-sp wrote:
I have two.


" Not to be used for rappelling."

Yer gonna die.


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By -sp
From East-Coast
Dec 8, 2011
Buenos Dias!

Stich wrote:
" Not to be used for rappelling." Yer gonna die.

That's the problem with climbing, it's so dangerous that even if you don't do it, you still die*.












* eventually**















** edit for noobs and the humor-impared*** - I don't actually have any of these, nor do I recommend rappelling with them.










*** this in no way is intended to imply Stich is humor-impared.


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