Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

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AdventureMan

 
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Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by AdventureMan » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:06 am

Hello, I'm going on a few backpacking trips in the mountains next year. I am looking at possibly taking some rappelling rope with me. I'd like to carry at least 80-100 feet of it. Not planning on doing any climbing or anything like that. I just wanted to have the rope with me for an emergency rappel if I had too. I thought maybe 8mm would be big enough If I was using my body as the friction device and setting up a rappel with just the rope alone. My question is would 8mm rope suffice to that task just fine? I want to carry that size rope cause it's smaller and easier to have on my rucksack. My last question is could I do a Military style rappel with a carabiner and a "tied" military rappel seat if I absolutely had too safely?

Thanks for the help in advance! Just looking for some guidance here. Don't really plan on taking risks rappelling anything further than 30-50 feet as needed if I absolutely had no choice for what ever reason. I have been reading up and plan on practicing some light rappels on inclines instead of vertical cliffs. I heard somewhere that the standard repel width for rope was 9mm for vertical rappels but I didn't know if that applied to the rope only style of rappelling I would do in an emergency or with the military style possibly.
Appreciate any guidance...

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Scott
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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by Scott » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:23 am

Yes you can safely rappel on a 8mm rope, even if you are a big guy (I don't know your size), but you must know how to set your friction properly. This is regardless of what rappel device or method you use.

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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by runout » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:02 pm

There are much thinner static ropes you could use for that - check the specs! I have used 5.5mm ropes myself.
But be aware that you need the right technics and belay device for such thin material as this will have much less friction than a thicker rope.
Check the specs of the line you are going to use!

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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by AdventureMan » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:59 pm

Good news to hear! If I did like an ancient south African style method of rappelling with just a rope wrapped around my body (my body becomes thr friction device) and anchor with no other gear do you think that would be plenty of friction? I weigh 200 pounds.

I guess I need to give it a try on an incline somewhere

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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by dadndave » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:58 am

A good idea is to also carry a prusik loop (or two). You can readily look this up. Using a "Dülfersitz" abseil (which is what you're referring to here) you can use a prusik loop on the "uphill" section of the rope as a back-up which will work even if you accidentally lose all hand contact with the main rope. With two prusik loops, one attached to your harness, the other dangling as a foot-loop you can even re-ascend the main rope if required.

Haven't heard of this "South African" method so I'll have to look it up. (Just shows, yer never too old to learn)

I would not recommend using the Dülfersitz without heaps of practice though.
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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by Bob Sihler » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:12 pm

Instead of using your body, carry a 120cm nylon sling or similar-sized length of webbing tied into a loop to use as an emergency harness. That and an ATC weigh very little and take up almost no space, but they are more secure. Plus, that sling can come in handy for other situations.

And yes, a prusik for backup is a good idea.
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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by nartreb » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:13 am

Just wanted to emphasize that there's a very good reason why nobody does body-as-friction-device rappels any more. Wear a harness (or make one), it weighs nothing.
You can use a (large) 'biner as a friction device (with an appropriate hitch), but again, an actual friction device (e.g., an ATC) is better, weighs very little, and isn't much more expensive.

Whatever methods you choose, you MUST practice. Bear in mind that a free-hanging rappel is MUCH more difficult than an incline. Practice using prusiks too. A back-up is generally a good thing, but more gear also means more ways something can go wrong. For example, many folks like to tie the prusik to their leg loop, but if you do that, you have to make sure the prusik is *very* short, or else the bottom of your ATC will hit the prusik and push it along the rope, rendering the prusik useless.

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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by Sierra Ledge Rat » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:29 pm

I've been backpacking in the mountains for 40+ years and never had to do "an emergency rappel."

I suggest a re-evaluation of your need to carry rope for "an emergency rappel."

The fact that you have to ask how to rappel demonstrates that you should not be carrying around rappel equipment.

nartreb wrote:...nobody does body-as-friction-device rappels any more.

You calling me a "nobody?" (:
Body rappels are still widely in use as a quick and easy way to get down short drops. You don't need carry around a harness or hardware, that's the beauty of body rappels.

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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by Teresa Gergen » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:22 am

I have a bad leg that I can't trust. I rappel down class 3-4 stuff all the time in the Sierra. I always carry minimal rap gear at this grade so I know I can get myself back down if I can manage to get myself up. I got sick of knowing I could climb up a spot, but turning back because I was not at all sure I could downclimb and stay in control with the added component of gravity. Note that I had many years of easy to moderate rock climbing experience before I had to start doing this. Also note that I weigh something between 125-135 lbs and don't know how this would feel at 200 lbs.

My kit for this kind of situation is:
- Camp Alp 95 harness (https://weighmyrack.com/Harness/CAMP-ALP-95) which isn't made anymore, but this is a similar weight: https://www.camp-usa.com/outdoor/product/harnesses/alp-racing-harness/
- Edelrid MicroJul rap device https://weighmyrack.com/Belay/Edelrid-Micro-Jul
- small light locker: https://www.camp-usa.com/outdoor/product/carabiners/photon-lock-carabiner/
- two 50-ft, 6mm lengths of perlon cord, usually tied together with a double-fisherman's knot, to rap on
- one or more 20 ft lengths of 5/8" tubular webbing to rap from

If I've seen a photo of the route (thank you Bob Burd) and think it's a little steeper or longer than what I comfortably do with this gear, I'll bring a 6mm, 30m or 60m rap rope instead of the cords. I have one of these in each of those lengths:
https://www.edelrid.de/en/sports/accessory-cords/rap-line-ii-6-mm.html
Despite having the same diameter, the rope is noticeably more "solid" than the perlon cords, and weighs more.

I've made a quick diaper harness out of webbing in the past, but found myself much happier with the ultralight harness. I also feel much happier with the locking MicroJul compared to a standard ATC with cords/rope this thin.

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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by dRandle » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:28 am

Sierra Ledge Rat wrote:I've been backpacking in the mountains for 40+ years and never had to do "an emergency rappel."

I suggest a re-evaluation of your need to carry rope for "an emergency rappel."

The fact that you have to ask how to rappel demonstrates that you should not be carrying around rappel equipment.

nartreb wrote:...nobody does body-as-friction-device rappels any more.

You calling me a "nobody?" (:
Body rappels are still widely in use as a quick and easy way to get down short drops. You don't need carry around a harness or hardware, that's the beauty of body rappels.

I've met a couple of climbing guys that still use body rappels. Should be easy when one mastered the technique.

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Re: Rappelling with 8mm Static rope QUESTION

by ROL » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:06 am

I grew up doing body (Dulfersitz) rappels in the 60s. This was standard backcountry technique in the Sierra on "non technical" alpine routes prior to that particular inflection point in climbing history. A couple of notes: Practice this technique on all kinds of terrain, even hyper vertical, before committing to even bringing your rope. In my experience, it is neither as easy, nor as safe, as a mechanical friction rappel. Sometimes, leather half horns were used to protect your "sitz" from rope burns. I have no doubt that even a short, steep rappel may melt any of the excellent technical non natural clothing of the current fashion. I concur with the prussik advice, if you know how to use one. My preference based on safety, if not convenience, would be that once a rope (for rappels) is along, that light rappelling devices and a sling or two be used as previously described. While not necessarily lighter, carabiners alone can always be combined and used as effective breaking devices (I never saw a descending device in Yosemite until sometime in the mid 60s and climbed with a fellow who had brought in one of the first Whillans sit harnesses from Dougal Haston's IMS in Switzerland – at least that's the way I remember it). So with a light rope and a few slings and biners, spread among a group (hint), a much wider circumstance of terrain can be traversed both up and down with a higher degree of safety. I would advise seeking out professional mountaineering instruction before carrying a rope.


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