Multi-pitch abseiling

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ironclimb
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Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby ironclimb » Tue May 22, 2012 4:27 pm

So my dream is to do a long Multi-pitch climb, enjoying a brilliant view. I've been doing a few sport routes and slowly improving, but I was day dreaming about multi-pitching some beatiful mountains, when I realised I couldn't figure something (important) out. Scenario is on a Sport (bolted) Route.

Let's say, that your 3rd pitch happens to go quite a lot to the right. So you traverse up, no problem and eventually get to the top. On the way down though, if you are to abseil down from the top of the 3rd pitch, you will not be able to get to the top of the second pitch because it will be way on your left. What now? Do you have to "climb down" to the left, pulling yourself toward the top of the 2nd pitch or is there a safer way to get down? :shock:

Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Tue May 22, 2012 6:31 pm

Yes, walk
Happy climbing
Nic

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Justin
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Justin » Tue May 22, 2012 9:36 pm

Walking is almost always your safest and often quickest option (and I assume that Nic doesn't enjoy doing rescues in the dark :)

So... assuming that you climbed the multi pitch route with a partner. Setup your abseil, climber 1 goes down the rope whilst back clipping the rope into every other (or necessary) bolt as he goes down until he ends up at the anchors below (by clipping the bolts into your rope above, it will keep you on course for the anchors below).

Climber 1 then clips into the belay station and secures the rope onto the belay station whilst leaving enough slack for climber 2 to still be able to abseil.

Climber 2 then starts to abseil, as he goes along he removes the quickdraws from the bolts he passes. He will eventually end up hanging off to the side (below his abseil point and to the right of climber 1). Climber 2 must make sure that he does not abseil below the height of climber 1.

With climber 2 hanging across from climber 1, climber 1 can now pull climber 2 to the anchors.

Repeat as necessary.

Make sure that you both have prussic cords with you (and know how to use them).
It also highly recommended to protect your abseil by means of a prussic.
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Ray
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Ray » Tue May 22, 2012 9:52 pm

I have had an epic swinging episode off of Spitzkoppe to reach the intermediate abseil anchors when abseiling off of the top. No-one else seems to have had this problem so maybe I just got it completely wrong.

And no, Nic, walking off is not always possible. Valid question :) Trying to swing to about 10m away from you with your 9mm rope abrading on sharp granite above you is not for the faint-hearted :)

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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby DeanVDM » Tue May 22, 2012 11:15 pm

Ironclimb, in the aviation world there is a saying that you should never go where your mind has not been 15 mins before. I think the same applies to climbing and it is good that you think these things through beforehand.

Many of the guys that have been around a bit have stories of epics or incidents and sadly also fatalities whilst retreating off multi-pitch routes, particularly trad routes. Your cautious approach is the right approach to take.

Some of the answers have already been given but I'd like to point out some other there are other things to keep in mind:
  • Your first multipitch is most likely going to be an established route where many others have gone before. The RD will advise (or ask around) what the standard descent route is. It might be abbing down the same route, abbing down a different route or walking off the back off the peak. It is as essential to know how to get down as where the route goes and you need to know it beforehand so that you are prepared (e.g. taking ab cord or knowing where the chains are etc.)
  • Most of us had a bit of an apprentership with a more experienced climber and I would reccomend the same for abbing down a significant route (esp. trad). There are many things to learn about rope management, pulling ropes, efficiency, working on small or hanging stances etc. and learning the ropes from a solid climber will pay dividends in avoiding some of the epics in a safe way and it is the best way to become a more rounded and competent climber

... oh and if it was me I'd take a torch

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Hann
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Hann » Wed May 23, 2012 8:59 am

DeanVDM wrote:... oh and if it was me I'd take a torch

Amen brother, amen.

@Ironclimb:
Also find out concerning the ropes you you'll need for the abseil.
Will 1x50m be long enough?
Do you need a 60m rope?
Some routes require 2x ropes for the abseil.

On a side note:
Many 3 pitch trad routes can be abseiled in one pitch on 2x50m ropes.

AND TIE A F@CKING KNOT IN THE END.
ALWAYS!

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gollum
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby gollum » Wed May 23, 2012 9:56 am

Hey ironclimb

Find someone experienced and have him/her take you on a multipitch climb. That's by far the best way to learn the ropes.

Where you at?
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Hawkman
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Hawkman » Wed May 23, 2012 11:05 pm

As has been mentioned you can back-clip. On trad routes you sometimes have to tension traverse or lower off and pendulum. This is very good for excercising your poephol muscle. Search on youtube for the pendulum from Texas Boot flake to the stoveleg crack on El Cap.
\"When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you\". - Oom Nietzsche

ironclimb
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby ironclimb » Thu May 24, 2012 8:44 am

Thanks for all the replies guys. :thumright Gollum, I'm in Centurion (Pretoria) unfortunately.

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Justin
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Justin » Thu May 24, 2012 8:50 am

As stated above (in between all the lines). Try and find someone who has done this before or get a guide/instructor to show you how its done and what to do when things do go wrong 8)

If you make it down to Montagu, there are a few great multi pitches here. Incidentally someone got stuck mid-air on a double pitch route not too long ago in Bad Kloof.
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gripit
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby gripit » Thu May 24, 2012 10:34 am

IF you want King Kloof has 2 nice easy mutli pitch routes that are easy to learn "the ropes".

Chris F
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Chris F » Thu May 24, 2012 11:19 am

Justin wrote: Incidentally someone got stuck mid-air on a double pitch route not too long ago in Bad Kloof.


Nearly happened to me in the Verdon. Luckily I spent a lot of time on swings as a kid and managed to generate a bit of momentum until i could get a toe on the rock and kick off to get a proper swing going. Knackering though.

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Geoffrey
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Geoffrey » Thu May 24, 2012 8:18 pm

Justin wrote:Incidentally someone got stuck mid-air on a double pitch route not too long ago in Bad Kloof.


... so you're saying they had to be rescued?

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Justin
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Justin » Fri May 25, 2012 7:41 am

Yes, if I remember correctly someone passed him another rope. It was the double pitch route at Sloth (good place screw up and learn from :)
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ironclimb
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby ironclimb » Fri May 25, 2012 9:41 am

I saw some great pictures of Blouberg in Limpopo! Wow... :mrgreen:
Has anyone ever climbed there or know about it. Looks like a place to put on my bucket list. Also is it Trad or are there bolted routes?

Blouberg for the win!

http://climb.co.za/gallery2/thumbnails.php?album=36

Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Fri May 25, 2012 10:12 am

Blouberg is all trad routes with some bolts here and there. Huge place, epic walk in, epic climbs, not for the beginner or the faint hearted! Bucket list for sure
Happy climbing
Nic

ironclimb
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby ironclimb » Fri May 25, 2012 5:30 pm

What about Wilgepoort? Is that also Trad or are there some sport routes we can Multi-pitch?

pierre.joubert
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby pierre.joubert » Fri May 25, 2012 5:36 pm

All trad. But it is rad.

clark5901
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby clark5901 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:06 am

Thanks for the nice information in the post...
clark

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DerrickStarling
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Re: Multi-pitch abseiling

Postby DerrickStarling » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:39 am

:lol: :thumleft: :arrow:

Hawkman wrote:As has been mentioned you can back-clip. On trad routes you sometimes have to tension traverse or lower off and pendulum. This is very good for excercising your poephol muscle. Search on youtube for the pendulum from Texas Boot flake to the stoveleg crack on El Cap.


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