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Repelling Question for a Noob

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Repelling Question for a Noob

Postby gpsjake » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:17 am

I am a general contractor and I have a very unique building that I need to access various parts of the wall and I feel that repelling from the top of the building is the best solution. That said, I am very interested in what I should do for repelling gear and most importantly how to reliably tie of a repel mid-descent allowing both hands to be free and the tie off not to slip. I will then need to decend further and tie-off again.

So for I know I need a rope, harness, some clips, but what type of descender and tie off method should I use?

Thanks!
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Postby nartreb » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:25 pm

Tying off mid-descent is pretty easy (clove hitch the rope to a large 'biner on a leg loop), but if you're doing any significant amount of work, you need a more comfortable setup. Talk to a window washer.

Edit: reading your post again I'm convinced you haven't rappelled before. Rappelling is generally considered the part of climbing most likely to kill you. Whatever method you end up choosing, get somebody experienced to show you exactly how to do it and don't go sailing (or abseiling) off any tall buildings until he's convinced you know what you're doing.
Last edited by nartreb on Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:44 pm

You're risking your life if you think that you can just buy some gear and go out and do it safely. Like nartreb said, rapelling is the most dangerous aspect of climbing.

Cavers approach vertical work differently than climbers, for a variety of practical reasons. Since I'm a caver and a climber, I recommend that you look into the caver's methods of vertical work. I think it would suit your needs and goals better than climbing equipment.

Try a place like Karst Sports.

http://www.karstsports.com/

You can also join your local caving organization to obtain training in vertical work.

http://www.nssio.org/Find_Grotto.cfm
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Postby Brad Marshall » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:21 pm

Abseiling in industry appears to be more common in Europe. For gear have you checked out Petzl's professional site?

http://www.petzl.com/us/pro

They have a nice compact self-braking descender for these applications. Don't forget to use a lifeline as well for a back up.
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Postby Matt Worster » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:41 pm

I have done exactly what you are describing for a 25 story building and a 5 story building. I'm a civil engineer and our firm gets involved occasionally with buildings that require rapelling for facade access and inspection. We always team with a rope access (you'll find that is the industry term) contractor for this work. I humbly suggest contacting a firm in that industry, since they are very well trained, not to mention insured. For my relatively easy training levels, it took a few days of training before my certification (how to descend, ascend, rescue, switch ropes, get out of other binds).

This after about 5 years of rock climbing experience. It ain't the same thing. Just like free climbing and aid climbing are different worlds entirely, rope access is different from anything we do recreationally. Factors of safety are worlds apart.

We have worked mostly with Ropelink (www.ropelink.com). One of my favorite mutual projects:
Image

But there are others. You can find more through SPRAT (Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians) at sprat.org.

If you have any other questions about how this works, PM me. We have friendly competitors in your area that may be able to help, too.

edit: some of the guys (Ropelink, at least) are also licensed contractors. They have performed concrete coring for me 60 feet of the deck via rope access. Kinda cool at the time.
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Postby Buz Groshong » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:05 pm

Oops! I thought this post was going to provide me with a question that would repell noobs. :lol:
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Postby Augie Medina » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Just out of curiosity, anyone know what kind of anchor set-ups are used when working outside of a building?
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Postby Matt Worster » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:35 pm

Generally speaking, they look for two separate anchors that are capable of supporting 5,000 lb each, per OSHA. I've seen structural steel used, I've seen bolts epoxied into concrete.
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Postby ksolem » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:49 pm

I do a fair amount of vertical work on rock, replacing old unsafe bolts and anchors, in pretty high and exposed settings like The Needles in Sequoia. I very much prefer to set a fixed rope from above, but ascend the rope from the bottom using one jumar and one grigri rather than rappell down. This gives you a lot more control as you can make small adjustments up and down the rope with ease and safely.
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Postby Augie Medina » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:57 pm

ksolem wrote:I do a fair amount of vertical work on rock, replacing old unsafe bolts and anchors, in pretty high and exposed settings like The Needles in Sequoia. I very much prefer to set a fixed rope from above, but ascend the rope from the bottom using one jumar and one grigri rather than rappell down. This gives you a lot more control as you can make small adjustments up and down the rope with ease and safely.


Makes a heck of a lot of sense.
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Postby Matt Worster » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:35 pm

ksolem has it exactly right. We use these to go down:

Image

and we use Petzel ascenders to, er, ascend. We usually have the Petzl shunt on the safety line (each person gets two ropes).
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Postby gpsjake » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:12 am

Wow, thanks for all the responses!! I have not ever repelled and after some cruising around the web I also found it is generally regarded as the highest risk part of climbing. I would like to learn repelling practices, but on the job is probably not the best place. :)

Thanks for the input, I will definitely use this information to start practicing at low levels before attempting on a building.

For now the tried and true, scaffolding.
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Postby Joe White » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:17 am

Brad Marshall wrote:Abseiling in industry appears to be more common in Europe. For gear have you checked out Petzl's professional site?

http://www.petzl.com/us/pro

They have a nice compact self-braking descender for these applications. Don't forget to use a lifeline as well for a back up.


Good advice in the above posts....but just to reinforce brad's advice....using self-breaking descender with a backup could be good.
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Postby gpsjake » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:28 am

Buz Groshong wrote:Oops! I thought this post was going to provide me with a question that would repell noobs. :lol:


Come on now, we're all noobs at some point in our lives!
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Postby ksolem » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:02 am

Step one in escaping the dreaded noob designation is to spell it right...

Rapell (abseil in Brit)

:wink:
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