Simul Rapping

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pbeckham
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Simul Rapping

Post by pbeckham » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:58 am

I watched a team simul rap off the Pillar the other day and was left wondering why they made this choice and if they understood the risks.
Not sure if they were using autolocking descent devices like Gri Gris or ATC/Reverso type rappel devices. Couldn't tell if they were running safety prusiks, it didn't look like it.
Definitely no knots in the end of their ropes.
Worst case, the guy on the non knotted side of the anchor blows it and they both die.
Next worst case, guy on knotted side blows it, knot jams in anchor and dude number two survives and hopes the knot stays jammed.
Obviously, simul rapping puts twice the load on an anchor, not a problem on twin 3/8 or 1/2 stainless anchors. Worth bearing in mind on less robust anchors.
Simul rapping is taught to ACMG guides for rapping on loose terrain where knocking rocks on each other is likely. It can be a time saving technique if that's important.
Both rappellers are clipped together, run safety prusiks downstream of their rap devices and tie knots in the end of the ropes.
It's easy to see the novelty value (especially for onlookers) while you rap off the Grand on a busy day.
I would encourage people to think it through carefully before doing it though.

PB

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jonny2vests
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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by jonny2vests » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:00 pm

The only time I've ever done this was when I've had to get off certain pinnacles, like in South Dakota or the odd one in the UK. Minimal time saving for making something already risky, even more so.

J Mace
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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by J Mace » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:32 pm

Minimal time saving for making something already risky, even more so.
Well its actually twice as fast....pretty standard for big bolted faces..El Potrero, the big limestone rigs in Austria...

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by Sang » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:23 pm

I used to simul rap every so often. But after two folks plummeted 100m to their deaths this August in Heart Creek doing so this year I said to myself why bother. Id rather just go slower and rap in the dark if necessary, whats the rush....

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by scrubber » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:20 pm

I agree that it does increase your exposure to risk, and the consequences of an accident. Here are a few precautions you can take if you do choose to simul-rap:

-Only do it with an experienced and knowledgeable partner (the end of a long day is not the time to be teaching this technique to a noob)
-Maintain tension on the rope at all times. The only time you stand up is beside your partner, once you are both clipped into the next anchor
-Knots in the ends of the ropes always
-Full system check by both people of themselves and their partner before removing leash to commence next rap
-Both people use a prussik backup to their rap device, always
-You can "close the loop" by attaching a double length sling (or two) between the belay loops of both rappellers. This can be awkward in corners or convoluted terrain. (maybe you shouldn't be simul-rapping)

Be safe out there

K

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by slinky » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:49 am

Simu rapping and simu climbing fall arresters two over used and unnecessary techniques used by mostly intermediate experience multi pitchers, folks who don't still have the fear of god in them but haven't been around the block enough to have seen things like this go sideways. There is a reason that "this is the s#@! they don't teach in books" because it like playing Russian roulette.

Simu rapping done without prussik back ups (i would estimate that 90% of people consistently rap without these) and/ or knots in the bottom (i would estimate that 98% of people consistently rap without these) all it takes is one of the two to even slightly unweight to rope, this could be as little as leaning down to toss some hung up coils, and the rope can easily start running through the device, sending second rappeller dropping, this situation would be difficult for either side of the rap to regain control. Knots and prussik back ups still do not make this system anywhere close to foolproof.

Simu climb fall arrest systems are probably even sketchier than the above technique, most of the rope grabs that people use for this technique could fail or cut ropes at relatively low rating +/- 4kn, any loop of slack on the seconds end of the rope will give the potential of shock load fall onto the rope grab, 4kn isn't very much...keeping the slack out of the rope while simu climbing isn't easy and you're kidding yourself if think you can do this 100% of the time.

Speed in multi pitch rappels is achieved through efficient station management and anticipating and mitigating rope hang ups. Not racing down the wall beside your partner with mission impossible theme music running through your head.

If you want to speed climb, learn how to short fix, link pitches with long ropes and big racks (and long runners), simu free solo easy terrain (at least your not kidding yourself with the make believe safety rope) simu climb occasionally with very thoughtful analysis of the likelihood and consequence of a fall by either team member and forgo the rope grabs.

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by Fish Boy » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:51 am

I simul a lot. I do it with partners I trust, and only if we both have gri gris. I never ever tie knots in the ends.

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gnarnaphobe
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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by gnarnaphobe » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:26 pm

I must come forward,

Mr. Chief, Your honour, I was the peasant inappropriately simul rapping with out backup.

I'm ashamed of my actions, Sir, and will humbly accept any punishment you deem necessary.

Please dont ban me from the monolith, I beg of you.
Imaging how much funner this could be with booze and explosives

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jonny2vests
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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by jonny2vests » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:43 am

J Mace wrote:
Minimal time saving for making something already risky, even more so.
Well its actually twice as fast....pretty standard for big bolted faces..El Potrero, the big limestone rigs in Austria...
That would require a minor miracle. All the actually time consuming bits still have to take place as normal.

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by scrubber » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:14 am

The rope pulling and threading still take just as long as before, but the hooking yourself up onto rappel, and actually descending time could conceivably be cut close to in half. Especially if you're already in the habit of always using a priussik and tying knots when rapping one at a time.

I am in no way endorsing simul-rapping here. I use it occasionally, and realize the risks involved. That being said, two out of the five "close calls" I've had in my 20 years of climbing have occurred while simul-rapping. Those ratios are far out of whack with the amount of time I actually spend simul-rapping. Both of them were with very experienced partners, but happened either at the end of a long day, or when unnecessarily trying to do really quick anchor changeovers to speed things up.

K

J Mace
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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by J Mace » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:28 am

Some places its standard procedure some places its not. Two people at the same time is twice as fast as one at a time, if its above your pay grade then yes better to fireman your friend down.

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by Sang » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:07 am

yeah, we were on "Sciatica" in Heart Creek two days before the accident. With short pitches/short rappels on that one, I think the time saving of simul rapping is outweighed by the risk. Pulling the lines/resetting for the next rap seems to be the most time consuming part and if your partner is already well on their way of threading the next anchor when the second rapper is coming down then you can move quite quickly. As rapping and lowering is the practice where many accidents happen I dont really see the time saving merits being that valuable here, especially on climb so close to the car.

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by Dru » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:53 am

On nice clean slabs with fast pulls and chain/ring rap anchors simulrapping can give you significant time savings, as JMace said. I've only ever done it a few places. Coming off Snootli Express in Bella Coola we got down 12-13 raps in just under two hours; rapping one at a time would have added at least half an hour, maybe more like an hour. Since a storm was coming in, every minute helped.

On my last tour up Speedway on Yak we simulrapped the whole rig in just over an hour, although I did stop rappelling and just walk down the last three "pitches" on that one.

I don't know what tethering yourselves together is supposed to do if one person goes off the end? I always tie big stopper knots in each end when simuling.

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by natsdad » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:42 am

Interesting discussion.

Thanks, Bearbreeder, for the interesting links. Like Dru, I rarely, but occasionally, have simul-rappelled. On "Seven One-Move Wonders..." on Yak, there were something like 14 rappels on quite low angle, clean slab. We tied knots in the ends of the ropes, flaked and stacked the ropes – attached with slings to our harnesses and simul-rappelled side by side.

Whether or not your party chooses to simul-rappel, I like these safety tips:
Double check each others’ rappel setup. Add a second (locker) biner to the one attached to the belay device, especially when using skinny ropes. This adds friction and allows for a more controlled descent. Tie knots in both rope ends.

Flake out ropes and hang them from a sling attached to your harness (start with larger loops and make them smaller as you work your way up) – this is ideal when rapping into gorges (or near to other bodies of water) or when it is windy or there is a likelihood of ropes getting snagged by terrain features (and low angle slabs). This is also useful when rappelling in popular areas when tossing your ropes may hit climbers below.

Stay safe,
Steve

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Re: Simul Rapping

Post by pbeckham » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:01 pm

Some great feedback on the subject.
To be clear, my intent is not to disparage the practice or malign the practitioners.
(gnaraphobe, I was offering observation and am unqualified to pass judgement so give er' dude! :D )
My intention was to bring attention to the risks and encourage people to think it through before simul rapping. Rappelling is inherently dangerous with its intentional disconnects in system integrity.
Too few of us regularly knot the ends of our ropes on multi pitch raps and history proves it can be an unforgiving oversight.
I witnessed a fatality at the base of the Grand a few years ago, the result of an unknotted rope running through a Gri Gri. I'll never forget the look on the faces of the guy's partners (bloodstained from doing CPR I might add) as they stared at the rescue team attempting to revive him. We flew him out in a body bag.
Simul rap because it's the right tool and you can manage the risks, not because it's in vogue.
Always tie knots in the end of your ropes on multi pitch rappels.

Sincerely,

PB

ps. What exactly does "pay grade" refer to?

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