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Kiwi Coil Question - Shortening the Rope

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Kiwi Coil Question - Shortening the Rope

Postby jstluise » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:58 am

When shortening up the rope between you and your partner (alpine/glacier situations), it seems the kiwi coil is an easy way to do it. I noticed that after you make your kiwi coil, any pull from your partner is now going to be transferred less from your harness and more on your upper body, which may throw you off balance.

Is there a remedy for this? Something to put the pull back onto your harness? Or is it something that just comes along with using this technique? A figure 8 on a bight on the rope extending to your partner which can then be clipped into your harness will work but I didn't know if this would be correct.

Used this as a guide. "Alpine Climbing" by the mountaineers has the same instructions.

Also, what other methods are out there that are worth learning?
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Postby Buz Groshong » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:34 pm

Jstluise wrote:

any pull from your partner is now going to be transferred less from your harness and more on your upper body, which may throw you off balance


If you fall into a crevasse it's better to have the pull on your upper body, but if you're the one catching the fall, better to have it down lower.
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Postby jstluise » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:48 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:If you fall into a crevasse it's better to have the pull on your upper body, but if you're the one catching the fall, better to have it down lower.


I know this is the tradeoff with using the kiwi coil, but I would much rather fall into a crevasse being pulled from my harness than fall into a crevasse and shortly there after have my partner come down on top of me because he was pulled from the chest, throwing him off balance which made him unable to stop the fall.

I just figured it would be best to always have the pull coming from the harness, as if you weren't using the kiwi coil at all.
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Postby sixfingers » Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:05 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:Jstluise wrote:

any pull from your partner is now going to be transferred less from your harness and more on your upper body, which may throw you off balance


If you fall into a crevasse it's better to have the pull on your upper body, but if you're the one catching the fall, better to have it down lower.


Best to designate who will fall into the crevasse so set up can be adjusted appropriately. :wink:
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Postby mconnell » Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:06 pm

The Kiwi is finished with clipping the bight back onto the locking biner. Unless you wrapped the kiwi really tight, any pull on the rope is still going to be at your harness.
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Re: Kiwi Coil Question - Shortening the Rope

Postby Brad Marshall » Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:35 pm

jstluise wrote:When shortening up the rope between you and your partner (alpine/glacier situations), it seems the kiwi coil is an easy way to do it. I noticed that after you make your kiwi coil, any pull from your partner is now going to be transferred less from your harness and more on your upper body, which may throw you off balance.

Is there a remedy for this? Something to put the pull back onto your harness?


The Kiwi coil is the way to go but it's usually finished by taking a bight of rope from the last coil, passing it through the coil and your belay loop and tied off with an overhand knot around the rope leading to the other climber. This keeps the coil close to your body preventing it from hanging in the way and, if a climber falls, places the force on your belay loop and not your body.
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Postby AndyJB444 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:36 pm

I would also agree with previous posters that when tied and finished off properly (usually with an overhand knot) and clipped in to a 'biner on your harness that the majority of pull goes to the harness instead of the upper body. I've also noticed a bit too much pull on the upper body when I made the coils a little shorter than they should be...I'd say from neck to belly button is about the right size.

Andy
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Postby bodyresults » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:53 pm

Personally if I on a Glacier where crevasses are an issue and I'm on a rope with only one person I would tie in short with a Butterfly and stuff the extra rope in my pack. If one person falls in the butterfly is a nice compact knot so it's easier to reach down between your legs to tie a prusik knot for your anchor. Having the rope in your pack may make it easier to remove it if you are in a tight situation where it might be hard to pull over your neck and shoulder.
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Postby jstluise » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:58 am

Thanks for the responses everyone...just the kind of feedback I was looking for.

I am finishing the coil correctly (with the bight passing through the belay loop and then an overhand knot on the rope going to the partner), but it sounds like I may have my coils too tight, which is transferring the pull too high...which a couple of you described. I'll have to try it out again, playing with the size of coil.

When glacier travelling, I've only ever been on a rope with my partner, so we each have a stash of rope in our packs, with the desired length of rope between us. I just wanted to get this kiwi coil down so I can shorten up the rope between us if the terrain calls for it.

bodyresults wrote:If one person falls in the butterfly is a nice compact knot so it's easier to reach down between your legs to tie a prusik knot for your anchor.

You should already have that prusik sling tied onto your rope to speed up this process :wink:
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Postby bodyresults » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:07 am

jstluise wrote:
bodyresults wrote:If one person falls in the butterfly is a nice compact knot so it's easier to reach down between your legs to tie a prusik knot for your anchor.

You should already have that prusik sling tied onto your rope to speed up this process :wink:


Silly me. I wasn't thinking very clearly. Of course you would already have your prusik tied. What I should have said it that the butterfly is good not only because it's compact but also because you can untie it relatively easy after it has been loaded and you are in a compromised position.

But back to your original question, when short roping it over something like rocky terrain I would want all the pulling force to come off my harness where it’s close to my center of gravity.
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Postby T Sharp » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:37 am

Couple of things here.....
I will concur with the butterfly knot with each person having a third of the rope in their packs. I think this is the safest technique for 2 person glacier teams.
It will be much more efficient for crevasse rescue. The other advantage to a butterfly is that both of the legs and the loop are fall rated, [unlike an 8, where only the loop is full strength] so no matter what you have to do with the knot it will be safe.

Second, if you are on rock you can carry coils, but as long as you are on the glacier, keep your distance from each other. :wink:
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Postby Brad Marshall » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:33 pm

jstluise wrote:I am finishing the coil correctly (with the bight passing through the belay loop and then an overhand knot on the rope going to the partner), but it sounds like I may have my coils too tight, which is transferring the pull too high...which a couple of you described. I'll have to try it out again, playing with the size of coil.


I don't know how you make your Kiwi coil but I was taught one method that works well for me as far as coil size goes. If it's different from your method you may want to give it a try:

First, start your coil by passing the rope around your right side, over the left shoulder and back down in front of you. Next, place the thumb of your left hand inside your belay loop and press downward with the palm of your hand parallel with the ground. Start wrapping the rope to make your coils but when the rope passes in front of you loop it under the palm of your hand. When finished making the coil pass your right arm through the center of the coil and then finish it off with the bight of rope.

I found this method made a coil that was not so tight that it felt like it was pulling on my neck but not so loose that it kept flopping around.
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Postby jstluise » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:35 pm

I never thought about using a butterfly knot to tie in (always used the figure 8), but it makes sense.

Brad, my method is similar, though I just put my hand out to my side (instead of next to my belay loop). I was just putting my hand too high, which made my coils too tight.

When you guys grab that bight after you finish making your coils, what do you prefer to pass it through? I've seen it through either the belay loop or the loop of your tie in knot. Does it really matter?
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Postby cragrat » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:47 am

the key to this is not quite how it is finished off (lot of methods) but changing the pull point to a lower level - this is easily done with the prusic.
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Postby JonW » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:23 pm

I apologize for hijacking the thread, but what is the best approach for shortening the rope when using twin or half ropes (in a party of two). I thought about each climber coiling equal amounts of rope but on opposite ropes, which seems easier than making a kiwi-coil out of two ropes. The goal is to be able to move from pitching-it-out to simul-climbing rather quickly, say in an alpine rock situation.
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