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Reepschnur Rappel Inquiry
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By The Stoned Master
From Millerstown, PA
Feb 4, 2013
Day Lily.

I just bought 60m of 6mm cord because I am interested in trying this rappel/multi-pitch technique. I have no experience with it. I'm aware of some fatalities and that a backup is a must for consistent results (I'm going to use the alpine butterfly on the rappel line because my research says it doesn't jam like the figure 8 has for some people).

I read that this method isn't good (won't work is the way I interpretted it) on webbing or basically anything except bolts or carabiners. Therefore the author said not good for alpine.

Is this true? What is your experience? Could this reepschnur setup really not work on straight webbing or around a tree, etc? Does anyone have EXPERIENCE using this setup in the alpine environment or at all to say one way or the other?

Is a carabiner (or two) or something equivalent necessary to leave everytime I want to/need to rappel and am not at bolts with the reepschnur?

It seems as though it would work fine under most conditions/setups. I appreciate your time.


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By mark felber
From Frisco, CO,USA
Feb 4, 2013

For anyone who's wondering: www.traditionalmountaineering.org/FAQ_ReepschnurRappels.htm .

This looks like a really good way to get hurt or killed, why do you want to do this?

You would have to use a rappel anchor that would stop the knot from passing from one side of the anchor to the other, so yes, a rappel ring or small carabiner would have to be left at each anchor. Looking at the photo in my link, the climber is using another carabiner as a backup. this would certainly prevent a catastrophic failure, but when the rope is pulled the carabiner is going to fall the length of the rappel, which is generally not good for carabiners. Also, the knots and carabiner used in the backup would be more likely to snag on something on the way down resulting in a stuck rope.

I used to descend off of multi-pitch climbs with my lead rope (11mm) and a 7mm static line of the same length as the lead rope, both threaded through the rappel/belay device. That way if the knot flipped over to the other side of the anchor, I didn't end up free falling to the ground. The 7mm rope was fairly light and easy to carry, but it abraded quickly, got tangled, and was a bit more vulnerable to jamming in cracks, etc., on the way down. I suppose the reepschnur would have the benefit of letting one climb multi-pitch with a gri-gri or similar device, but how big a deal is that?

A rappel setup that "seems as though it would work fine under most conditions" just does not appeal to me.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Feb 4, 2013

mark felber wrote:
This looks like a really good way to get hurt or killed, why do you want to do this?


This technique, like many others in climbing, will get you killed if you don't set it up correctly. The reepschnur works fine, but has its limitations. If your rope gets stuck when pulling it, you have less safety margin because you may only have your pull cord to ascend back to the stuck rope.


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By The Stoned Master
From Millerstown, PA
Feb 4, 2013
Day Lily.

Your comments makes sense. I appreciate your time and experience.
I've had 8mm doubles get stuck like crazy on rappel in cracks so this 6mm cord will most likely as well.

Any one else with something good, bad or ugly about this rappel method working on anything but bolts or left carabiners?

You think with an alpine butterfly and a locking biner to secure the rappel line (10.2 for me on a single) webbing and or a tree or sling, etc will give me a negative result (injury, psychological scare, damage to any equipment, etc)?

I appreciate your time.


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By Larry S
Feb 4, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

It's pretty much the same technique you would use to rappel with a grigri. I haven't used a separate pull cord, but i've done the grigri rappel a few times. The extra knot bulk will probably make it more likely to get stuck.

Rappelling with a GriGri
Rappelling with a GriGri


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By mark felber
From Frisco, CO,USA
Feb 4, 2013

I would expect the alpine butterfly and locking carabiner to get stuck easily on the way down.


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By The Stoned Master
From Millerstown, PA
Feb 4, 2013
Day Lily.

Do you think having the rappel device on the rappel line (of course) but securing the 6mm pull cord to the 10.2 rappel line via a friction hitch rappel backup would help, hinder or make no difference?

I would think the constant tension would hold the setup in place well enough to at least mitigate the knot being stuck problem?

Anyone any experience with the reepschnur on anything but bolts or carabiners?

Thank you.


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By Alex McIntyre
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 4, 2013

mark felber wrote:
For anyone who's wondering: www.traditionalmountaineering.org/FAQ_ReepschnurRappels.htm . This looks like a really good way to get hurt or killed, why do you want to do this? You would have to use a rappel anchor that would stop the knot from passing from one side of the anchor to the other, so yes, a rappel ring or small carabiner would have to be left at each anchor. Looking at the photo in my link, the climber is using another carabiner as a backup. this would certainly prevent a catastrophic failure, but when the rope is pulled the carabiner is going to fall the length of the rappel, which is generally not good for carabiners. Also, the knots and carabiner used in the backup would be more likely to snag on something on the way down resulting in a stuck rope. I used to descend off of multi-pitch climbs with my lead rope (11mm) and a 7mm static line of the same length as the lead rope, both threaded through the rappel/belay device. That way if the knot flipped over to the other side of the anchor, I didn't end up free falling to the ground. The 7mm rope was fairly light and easy to carry, but it abraded quickly, got tangled, and was a bit more vulnerable to jamming in cracks, etc., on the way down. I suppose the reepschnur would have the benefit of letting one climb multi-pitch with a gri-gri or similar device, but how big a deal is that? A rappel setup that "seems as though it would work fine under most conditions" just does not appeal to me.

I use the recommended GriGri rappel method all the time on half of my rope. The carabiner doesn't ever fall- it should arrive at you just as the other side pulls through the anchor and should be within a few feet of you or even in your hand if you are doing this properly. I've never had a rope get stuck with this method (knock on wood). Just because it is somehow foreign to you doesn't make it the devil or any worse of a method. As long as the backup in in place and the rings sufficiently small, there isn't much to go wrong. In the accident linked, the victim both used a knot that was too small and did not tie the backup.


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By John Ryan
From Poncha Springs, CO
Feb 4, 2013

On my first attempt at the Diamond we made it to Broadway but bailed due to time. My friend had loaned us a small tag line probably 6 mm. Instead of single rope rappelling like we probably should have done we rapped doubles on our 9.9 and the 6. This sucked due to the extreme amount of stretch in the 6 mm line. It was terrifying. We nearly had an epic when my partner missed the rap station and got way off route. He decides to sling a flake as his only pro and calls off rappel 50 feet off the rappel route. We had to rig some bullshit since I refused to put both our weights on that rubberband. Then after I find the next rap station my partner pulls the ropes to his stance 50 feet to the side. We didn't place the knot correctly so as he pulled the rope the 6 mm was shooting upwards FAST. I feel lucky it didn't pull thru the anchors and leave my partner rapping off some flake, or pull thru and fall to the ground.


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By John Ryan
From Poncha Springs, CO
Feb 4, 2013

On my first attempt at the Diamond we made it to Broadway but bailed due to time. My friend had loaned us a small tag line probably 6 mm. Instead of single rope rappelling like we probably should have done we rapped doubles on our 9.9 and the 6. This sucked due to the extreme amount of stretch in the 6 mm line. It was terrifying. We nearly had an epic when my partner missed the rap station and got way off route. He decides to sling a flake as his only pro and calls off rappel 50 feet off the rappel route. We had to rig some bullshit since I refused to put both our weights on that rubberband. Then after I find the next rap station my partner pulls the ropes to his stance 50 feet to the side. We didn't place the knot correctly so as he pulled the rope the 6 mm was shooting upwards FAST. I feel lucky it didn't pull thru the anchors and leave my partner rapping off some flake, or pull thru and fall to the ground.


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Feb 4, 2013
Me on Supercrack

The Reepschnur works fine as long as you know it's limitations. Personally after using a few different methods, I've settled on the "Carabiner Block" technique. This is simply a clove hitch on the spine of a carabiner (I use a Petzel Attache screw gate). You do have to have a hard ring for the carabiner to block against, but a 'biner block will work well with many different pieces of hardware (rap ring, chain links, locking carabiners, rapid links). I always carry a couple of rapid links (and sometimes rap rings) with me, they're cheap and useful for many things. I do recommend keeping your small pull line on your harness, saddle bag style, to keep tangles to a minimum. Many times I will saddlebag the rap line as well (rap line right side, pull line left). A really good idea is to extend your rappel device and use an auto-block back up, in case you have to stop and work out tangles. Carabiner dropping IS NOT a problem. It only falls a few feet, if at all. Your carabiners probably take more abuse jangling around on your harness.




Biner Block
Biner Block


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By Brian in SLC
Feb 4, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

The Stoned Master wrote:
Any one else with something good, bad or ugly about this rappel method working on anything but bolts or left carabiners?


The friction between the two lines, especially if you're not rappelling on the thin cord, will be very different. Should the ropes slip while through a sling, could cut the sling fairly quickly.

I've used a tag line (6mm) a bunch. I've had the knot pop through a rap ring. I usually rap both cords. Helpful in that case to say the least (I could control the descent by handling either strand with different friction to keep the ropes from sliding).

I think for alpine, doubles/twins are the way to go.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Feb 4, 2013
Stoked...

The Stoned Master wrote:
I just bought 60m of 6mm cord because I am interested in trying this rappel/multi-pitch technique. I have no experience with it. I'm aware of some fatalities and that a backup is a must for consistent results (I'm going to use the alpine butterfly on the rappel line because my research says it doesn't jam like the figure 8 has for some people). I read that this method isn't good (won't work is the way I interpretted it) on webbing or basically anything except bolts or carabiners. Therefore the author said not good for alpine. Is this true? What is your experience? Could this reepschnur setup really not work on straight webbing or around a tree, etc? Does anyone have EXPERIENCE using this setup in the alpine environment or at all to say one way or the other? Is a carabiner (or two) or something equivalent necessary to leave everytime I want to/need to rappel and am not at bolts with the reepschnur? It seems as though it would work fine under most conditions/setups. I appreciate your time.


Ya I'd never use this technique and probably 'accidentally' drop the 6mm cord on the way up to ensure both our safety.


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By The Stoned Master
From Millerstown, PA
Feb 4, 2013
Day Lily.

I'm blown away how many people are at the extremes: have no problem with it and use it to purposely dropping good cord to not have to use it.

Well this is another experience on my path to finding my preferred methods. I'm going to give it a go (on bolts), see how it goes and move on from there.

Worst case if I dont like it is I now have enough cord for the rest of my life! and I've gained the experience of trying this method.

Totally unexpected to get some who loath it though. Thank you all.


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Feb 4, 2013
Me on Supercrack

If you decide you don't want the cord, I'll buy it from you.

At a steep discount of course!


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By The Stoned Master
From Millerstown, PA
Feb 4, 2013
Day Lily.

Noted kirk. I'm going to give it a try at the gunks and seneca and ill let you know. I'm hopeful I can make this work as a faster lighter way than carrying two singles (I dont own doubles but multiple singles). Especially at the gunks or seneca where you can climb many routes in a day.


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By Kyle Pease
From Missoula, MT
Feb 4, 2013
Goat on Brothers

I have been using a 60m x 5mm pull cord this past season. It definitely has its places. I have found that clipping the biner through the rap line usually causes too much friction (long episode of two guys tugging a rope and swearing ensued) and I rely on the biner's size as a backup to a figure 8 jammed on the rings. Remember also that it is significantly harder to pull the rope down (than a double rope rap) as there is essentially no counterbalance mass on the pull cord side.

If you have a longer climb with a descent requiring a rappel or two it saves some energy. I would not consider it for anything outside of that.


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By The Stoned Master
From Millerstown, PA
Feb 4, 2013
Day Lily.

I appreciate your post kyle. Thanks man.


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By Rob Dillon
Feb 4, 2013

I used to use a 6mm and it sketched me out, so I quit using it. Now I like the BD 8-something-mm, which you could actually double up and lead on in a pinch.


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By bearbreeder
Feb 4, 2013

the method shown by petzl works fine and is perfectly "safe" ... for joined ropes i put the biner block after the EDK on the rap line side as to prevent the joining knot getting stuck in the chains

in some ways it should be "safer" than rapping down say a 10mm+7mm normally as some people do ... as rapping with different sized cords can cause slippage in the smaller cords and a bit of sawing motion on the rap sling ... a single line rap doesnt have this issue

the flip side is that the knot and biner could get easily stuck .. as can the thin line

it works best for clean raps where there aint to much to get caught on

houston and cosley describe it in their alpine climbing technique book using the alpine butterfly


from the book
from the book


as usual there are plenty of people going off about a technique that is demonstrated by petzl and respected source material ....

gotta luv da intrawebs ;)


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By The Stoned Master
From Millerstown, PA
Feb 4, 2013
Day Lily.

Good stuff bearbreeder. What's the title of that book? I'm always hunting down new ways. Thank you.


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By bearbreeder
Feb 4, 2013

www.amazon.com/Alpine-Climbing-Techniques-Mountaineers-Outdo>>>



a VERY good book


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By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Feb 4, 2013
CoR

+1 for the biner block (using a clove hitch) and a light pull cord.


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By TWK
Feb 4, 2013

Maybe it's just too "old school", but on long trad routes where multiple rappels might be encountered for any variety of reasons, we simply trail a second rope off the second's harness. Can't tell you how many times this simple solution was helpful, but certainly often enough to keep doing it. You're already more than halfway there if you're carrying a 6 or 6.5 around. Why not use a real rope?


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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Feb 4, 2013
11th hour of the Sundial

food for thought.... the single with tag line was a method for weight saving, and really somewhat of an outdated one (even though I still use it) I don't trust that the knot wont pop through a biner regularly so chains or rings is the only way I'll use it, mind you the knot "could" potentially open a none locking biner as well so if your anchor is a biner proceed with caution. now since I haven't seen any modern weight comparisions, this thread just inspired me to run some numbers, as all weight advantages I've seen to this system are fairly old numbers. lets base everything off of 70 meter ropes
BW 6mm cord= 26gram/meter mammut serenity(new version) 51 gram/meter
total weight for a 70m set up= 5570 grams

BW Ice Floss twins 38 gram/meter
total weight for 70m set up= 5320 grams

thats a little over half a pound lighter to go with twins over the single/tag line and the twins will make rappel that much easier. and for the numbers I used the serenity as its the lightest single on teh market I know of, any other rope will only increae the weight difference


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By Wannabe
Feb 4, 2013



Thread drift but I can't say enough good things about this book either. Good rec bearbreeder. Should have read it a couple years ago. There's probably a time and a place for everything that's safe right?! Could imagine this being great in the dolomites with fixed anchors at most belays.


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