To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

If you are a beginner climber and want to ask other climbers any questions - then this is the place to ask.
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PeterHS
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To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by PeterHS » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:27 pm

I abseiled today down a 28m face with my 60m rope - and so ended with barely a metre spare at the bottom. This was all ok as I had marked the rope centre and was planning a long and then a short abseil when, as it happened, one was possible.

I wondered before, and after, if stopper knots are ever useful at the end of abseil ropes. On the plus side, they could prevent coming off the end of of an abseil rope, with potentially very dangerous consequences (I always have prussick safety above my abseil device.

On the other hand, knots can cause jams. Ropes with knots can get caught in rock cracks or between boulders.

What is your practice. Never? Always? Sometime? When? Just asking.

Peter

RyanKarate
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by RyanKarate » Sun Jun 12, 2016 7:06 am

Always... Well except when into water... Iv heard that abseiling off the end of the rope is the most common cause of accidents in climbing. Iv made it a habit to always do it when dry landing.

Also been using a tunnel/barrel knot as i think is the least likely knot to come undone when being tossed around.

Old Smelly
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by Old Smelly » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:29 am

Always! (yes except into water - just hope the drop is not too big though...)
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

PeterHS
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by PeterHS » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:42 am

Thanks for the replies above. I'm curious as both being taught to abseil and using abseils during adventure activities I have never been told about or seen abseil stopper knots and the rope ends. The latter of course is is a controlled and repeat environment.

Besides into water, what disadvantages might there be?

Who else uses or doesn't use stopper knots?

wesleywt
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by wesleywt » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:34 am

Who else uses or doesn't use stopper knots
Everyone uses stopper knots. Those who don't they should. Abseils are responsible for the deaths of many climbers with years of experience. Complacency and tiredness leads to accidents. Get into the habit of always doing it.

mokganjetsi
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by mokganjetsi » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:53 am

the only downside is if you start pulling the rope and forgot to take the knot out.....

either way, unless you know that you know that you know there rope is long enough tie the knot - takes 2 seconds

SNORT
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by SNORT » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:03 pm

I rarely use stopper knots. They can get you into serious trouble in high wind and in other instances.

If the two ropes catch an twist together it can cause an almighty clutter uck. A prussic is fine.

It is only the first one down that requires a back-up knot in any case.

I sometimes, if I am first one down, tie off the ropes at the anchor eccentrically if I am worried about the length and tie a knot in the longer rope.

If I get close to the end of the rope and I am concerned about the length I then put a knot in the ends if necessary. The problem is also that a 60m rope stretches a lot and if you have a knot at the end of the ropes and they only just reach the ground or ledge with stretch that you are aiming for it can be very difficult and even impossible to get off the ropes especially if they are twisted.

If there is high wind the best thing to do is to stay tied into the ropes and let your buddy lower you. But tie in with clove hitches so you can get off the ropes quickly and easily if the abseil is 60m.

Avoid full rope length abseils....

jacosmuts
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by jacosmuts » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:31 pm

Hello Snort
Avoid full rope length abseils....
- absolutely.
and tie a knot in the longer rope
I do feel when i doubt tie a knot. I would expect the knot in the shorter of the two ropes though?

Edit: OK - reread your post. If the ropes are tied off at the anchor then the longer ropes makes sense. In high winds lowering the first person down also makes sense.

Cheers
Jaco
Last edited by jacosmuts on Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:32 pm

Chucking your rope in windy conditions is asking for trouble, knots or no. Lower your buddy is waaaaaay better, or learn how to stack the rope on a sling so that it doesn't tangle while abseilling with it.

I use stopper knots if: I have not done the abseil before and I cannot see the rope on the ground.

I do not use stopper knots in kloofing as they are a serious hazard. There the best thing is to pull up the rope until the tips are just in the water and abseil off the end.

In rescue we always abseil with the rope in a bag, feeding out as you go. The end is tied into the bag (important to confirm this before going).
Happy climbing
Nic

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XMod
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by XMod » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:18 pm

In high winds bundle the rope into a day pack and clip it on a sling hanging from your harness. If you flake the rope into the bag properly it will feed smoothly. Dont throw the ropes if its windy - asking for trouble. Obviously on multipitch routes tie a stopper knot, not necessary if you know for certain the ends reach the ground (visual confirmation).

PeterHS
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Re: To be or knot to be - abseil stoppers?

Post by PeterHS » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:20 am

Thanks for the very useful replies so far. Some great tips and help. Peter

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