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Rapping with a tagline - tips?
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By C. Archibald
Jul 24, 2014
Me on some bolted 10 in boulder canyon
All this other debate aside, Gred D nailed it. It was the second rap on Petit where the tangle occurred.

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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
Jul 24, 2014
C. Archibald wrote:
We threaded the lead line through the anchor and tied it to the tag line with two EDKs. I clove hitched a locking biner into the tag line and clipped the lead line through it. I was told that this was the "biner block." When we went to pull the ropes, (we pulled the tag line) the lead line and the tag line started twisting around each other. The twists were above the knots, so we couldn't untangle them.


Not sure if doing a retreival line for climbing and canyoneering is different, but I never used this method until I started canyoneering. typically I set up like this (which is pretty standard for canyons, and works just fine for climbing). take a few feet of the main rap line, pull it through the anchor rings (5ft should be plenty). Clove the short tail onto a large biner towards the live end of the 5 ft, tie the EDK (or whatever knot you want) to attach both ropes with the remaining tail from the main rap line. If the ropes are close in diameter, no need for 2 EDK. usually 1-1.5mm is close enough, especially for retrieval only.

you can back up the clove multiple ways, and I typically do. The purpose of the backup isn't so much the clove failing, but someone accidentally rapping off the non fixed end. Also, I typically don't toss the retreival line until the last person is rapping. This person should be pretty level headed as they won't have a backup, they need to remember to break the backup down, lower the tag line, and also setup properly. Seems easy but a lot of experienced people have messed up.

Climbers usually don't have rope buckets but lowering the retreival line as you descend should reduce tangles. I've really never had a tangle using the setup I mentioned above. I did recently have someone forget to remove the backup, and that was a bit of a mess.

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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
Jul 24, 2014
Greg D wrote:
Perhaps I wasn't clear. In order to prevent the internet replies analyzing every little minutia I should have said: Biner block. Totally unnecessary unless rapping with a device that can only rap a single line such as a gri gri. IN ALL OTHER CASES YOU MUST PUT BOTH STRANDS IN YOUR DEVICE! IN FACT, THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO DO THIS. Happy mr gold?


First, I agree. The internet has a way of finding any possible inaccurracy in your wording. Been there, done that.

Now my turn. Why do you need to put both lines through and ATC/Reverso/Tube?

I rap all the time on a single strand with a tag line that isn't in the device. Can you point me to the source that explains how I am still here?

When you top rope, you only have one side of the device loaded. When you lead belay or belay a second from above, you only have one side loaded. Seems like it was designed for use like this.

The reason you use a biner block is because a 6mm or 7mm cord paired with an 10mm or 10.5 or 9.8mm rope is a bad match. If your cords are similar, then just EDK and rap both strands. There is a lot more that can go wrong with your setup than with the biner block. At least in my opinion.

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By GLD
Jul 24, 2014
Greg D wrote:
Well, when I rap my ropes are stationary for the most part making a cut rope nearly impossible. Sure I swing a little to one side or the other. In order for a rope to get cut it needs to move across a sharp edge or get repeatedly abraded. I'm not sure what kind of rapping you do. But YMMV.


Even if you don't swing you can saw through a rope. The extension and retraction of a dynamic (and all ropes are, it's just degrees) from small bouncing by the rapeller can cause a rope to be cut, obviously the smoother you are the better. I've never seen one cut entirely through though I have seen sheaths totally removed, 4 of the cores sawed through, and a bunch of other rope damage on both static and dynamic ropes.

If I had a 7 and a 10 I would probably use double rope technique. A 9 and a 5 though I would probably use SRT and a biner block. I do a lot of canyoning and there are lots of pros and cons to each, I might use one technique or another depending on the situation.

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By Greg D
From Here
Jul 24, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
GLD wrote:
Even if you don't swing you can saw through a rope. The extension and retraction of a dynamic (and all ropes are, it's just degrees) from small bouncing by the rapeller can cause a rope to be cut, obviously the smoother you are the better. I've never seen one cut entirely through though I have seen sheaths totally removed, 4 of the cores sawed through, and a bunch of other rope damage on both static and dynamic ropes. If I had a 7 and a 10 I would probably use double rope technique. A 9 and a 5 though I would probably use SRT and a biner block. I do a lot of canyoning and there are lots of pros and cons to each, I might use one technique or another depending on the situation.


agreed!

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By Greg D
From Here
Jul 24, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
J. Serpico wrote:
First, I agree. The internet has a way of finding any possible inaccurracy in your wording. Been there, done that. Now my turn. Why do you need to put both lines through and ATC/Reverso/Tube? I rap all the time on a single strand with a tag line that isn't in the device. Can you point me to the source that explains how I am still here? When you top rope, you only have one side of the device loaded. When you lead belay or belay a second from above, you only have one side loaded. Seems like it was designed for use like this. The reason you use a biner block is because a 6mm or 7mm cord paired with an 10mm or 10.5 or 9.8mm rope is a bad match. If your cords are similar, then just EDK and rap both strands. There is a lot more that can go wrong with your setup than with the biner block. At least in my opinion.


You have asked a reasonable question. But, you may want to direct your question to those advocating a biner block is absolutely necessary. The truth is, in some situations, a biner block in not needed, some situations it is a good idea, some situations it is mandatory. As usual, the best answer is "it depends".

I rewrote my post in response to rgold asserting that if you take my advice you may die. Then, he cites a very unfortunate death without mentioning some critical details. So, I rewrote my statement to ensure someone doesn't take my advice and misunderstand the limitations of it. Personally, I have rapped many times on a single line without a biner block. I am still here, too! It really just depends. What rgold didn't mention is that this unfortunate accident was the result of a system that the two climbing deemed a biner block was absolutely necessary. Yet, they did not install the biner block this one time by mistake.

Furthermore, someone else extrapolates that tag lines "are not rated for the heat". You will have to do your own research to understand why a tag line burned. But, it has nothing to do with rappelling on a tag line. Ah, the internet.

Personally, I believe it is fine to rap a single line without a biner block provided your brain is sufficiently large enough to compare the size of your blocker knot to your rap rings.

How could you possibly still be alive rappelling on a single line? I can think of a few ways for sure. But, please share with others cause I'm on the same page with you.

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By Old Sag
Jul 24, 2014
Greg D wrote:
Furthermore, someone else extrapolates that tag lines "are not rated for the heat". You will have to do your own research to understand why a tag line burned. But, it has nothing to do with rappelling on a tag line.


I didn't extrapolate anything. This is what Japhy Dhungana wrote:

"The first is that, although Brian was using the system properly for a single-rope rappel (yes, I know the backup knot was not tied when the accident happened), when I hopped on rappel with an ATC, I was using the system improperly. Although I'm rappelling on both the 10.2 line, and the 6mm cord, only the 10.2 line is properly rated to withstand the force temperatures that a friction device can create. Pull cords of that diameter have a much lower melting point."

I didn't say I agree with him or that he is correct, but I pointed this out because it wasn't something that I had considered. He did say the pull cord was severed from the heat on the rap rings, after the climber had started falling.

"The shock load that Jesse talks about is the result of the tag-line getting tangled up and getting jammed up on the rings. The heat generated on the rings then burned the 6mm line, and a clump of the tag line fell on the ledge where I was."

AAC's analysis of the accident had this to say about the knot pulling through the rings:

"When examined after the accident, the primary overhand bend was compressed so much that it passed through the rings with room to spare. Much of the compression was probably due to the subsequent impact of the cord jamming, but Ellis’s body weight plus his movements as he took pictures was enough to pull both knots through the rings, even with several strands of cord and webbing from the anchor competing for space. (The illustrations show the actual number of anchor strands, to scale.) These rings were the rolled aluminum type with 1˝-inch interior diameter (ID). The ID on some welded stainless steel rings common on modern fixed anchors is smaller, but only by ? inch—hardly enough insurance for a compressible/ deformable material like a single knotted rope."

rgold linked to another post made by Clint Cummins where he tested EDK against several types of commonly found rap setups in Yosemite and found that many allowed the knot to pass through. I wouldn't start rapping on a single line with no backup, no matter how unlikely it may look that the knot will pull through. Rapping on the static line and the rope at the same time is probably fine and I have seen videos of pros doing it and I have done it myself. Most likely the heat won't be an issue? But I rather just use a half rope as the tag line because that's actually rated for a rappel.

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By Greg D
From Here
Jul 24, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
^^^^ Thank you for your long winded yet mostly irrelevant explanation.

"I didn't say that I agreed with him or that he is correct". Yet you quote him, hmm. So he made you think. Does that equate to a fact.

If you have a link to a situation where someone burned through their rap line while rapping, that would be useful. Instead, you cite a situation where the system failed, then the rope zipped through the rings at an extremely fast rate, generating tremendous heat. Nothing like rappelling heat. Ah, the internet.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Jul 25, 2014
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
Greg D wrote:
The truth is, in some situations, a biner block in not needed, some situations it is a good idea, some situations it is mandatory. As usual, the best answer is "it depends".


If you had said that, I wouldn't have responded. But what you actually said was

Gred D previously wrote:
Biner block. Totally unnecessary unless rapping with grigri


Since you have admitted you didn't actually mean this and have corrected it by adding a condition you hadn't specified and which is not in force in many cases, all is now well.

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By george wilkey
From travelers rest sc
Jul 25, 2014
me
politically incorrect or not, I thought that "biner block on the border" joke was pretty funny.

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By Old Sag
Jul 25, 2014
Greg D wrote:
^^^^ Thank you for your long winded yet mostly irrelevant explanation. "I didn't say that I agreed with him or that he is correct". Yet you quote him, hmm. So he made you think. Does that equate to a fact. If you have a link to a situation where someone burned through their rap line while rapping, that would be useful. Instead, you cite a situation where the system failed, then the rope zipped through the rings at an extremely fast rate, generating tremendous heat. Nothing like rappelling heat. Ah, the internet.


I don't think it is a requirement to agree with someone to quote that person. Hey look, I'm quoting you and I don't agree with you!

I brought up the cord cutting thing to make it clear that it wasn't from rappelling heat. You know, or else I'm going to get a comment, "ahha, you are trying to confound the two issues because the cord was cut from something else, yet you never brought it up... blah blah."

I have never seen or heard of the tag line getting cut from the heat during a rappel. I think it's a cautionary tale from someone who had just been through a tragedy. It does not make it fact, but it jumped out at me because it was not something I had read before.

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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Jul 25, 2014
Middle
rgold wrote:
...all is now well.


I, for one, was very worried.

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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Jul 25, 2014
Middle
george wilkey wrote:
politically incorrect or not, I thought that "biner block on the border" joke was pretty funny.


Words hurt, sir! A lot! And they are not funny when they hurt! Herumfffff!

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By Chris Massey
Jul 25, 2014
120 meter skinny lead ropes. Now there is your answer.

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By jaredsmokescigars
Aug 1, 2014
Scratch the 2x EDK...all you need is the Mickey Mouse Knot. It's the EDK with an overhand on both tails, tightly cinched to the EDK. Frank Sanders, of the Devils Tower, showed this to me years ago. Also, trust what Greg D. "from Here" is saying...he may be a jerk, but he does know what he is talking about.

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