Abseiling tips and tricks.

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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SNORT
Posts: 1231
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:53 am
Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Location: Cape Town

Abseiling tips and tricks.

Post by SNORT » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:33 am

Abseiling tips and tricks.
1. Knot the ends of ropes.

2. If it is windy or if the terrain is bushy or not very steep, then abseil with butterfly coiled ropes each through a sling on one side of your body and feed out the rope as you abseil. The ropes can also be double coiled around your neck or fed out of a rucksack hanging off your belay loop.

3. Alternatively lower the first person down.

4. Always use a prussic if you are first down. The second can be controlled by the first person down. For long multipitch abseils I prefer to add a 30cm sling tied with a larks foot to my harness with the belay/abseil device on the sling rather than the belay loop and a prussik attached to my belay loop. This makes for very smooth descent. If you choose to keep your abseil device on your belay loop then the prussic has to be attached to a leg loop that is a bit more awkward to manage.

5. The first abseiler must have all or most of the gear so as to build stances or place directional as needed.

6. Simul abseiling is insanely dangerous. If you are going to do so then the first person down must be on the rope on the same side of the knot that is hard up and large enough to prevent feeding through the abseil point. Otherwise make an overhand loop knot on the rope you will pull down and clip it to the other rope with a biner. That way if either rope is unweighted the rope will be arrested.

7. Abseiling with a grigri or single rope device also requires an overhand knot and loop being made on the pull rope that is attached to other rope. (If the terrain is rugged and not very steep and or bushy there is a danger of the knot and biner catching on the way down so it is then better to keep abseils shorter and have rope to spare.)
Biner.png
Biner.png (9.55 KiB) Viewed 448 times
8. Always abseil with heavy objects hanging off your belay loop below you. Heavy rucksacks unbalance you and are very uncomfortable on your back especially on steep terrain.

9. Avoid abseils that are longer than 75% of the rope length unless they go to ground.

10. When abseiling with novices or inexperienced climbers, have them attach their device to the rope before you go first. A short 30cm or even 60cm sling is usually necessary so that there is some slack in the system. Make sure their locking devices are locked and monitor a prussic if applied.
11. If the top anchor is dodgy, place protective pieces every few metres as you descend and take as much of the gear and weight as possible. When the second comes down keep them on belay as the descend removing the gear.

12. If there is a novice that is terrified, you can simul-abseil with him/her but then you must tie the ropes off if you are three or use the method in the image above.
13. If you think but are not sure that you may or may not reach the ground on a long abseil then you can tie of the ropes with one being a little longer than the other. However this does pose a problem for the next abseilers. But this can be mitigated by lengthening the one rope with lots of slings once the first person is on the ground.

14. Sidewise and overhanging abseils require directional from time to time that are removed by the second abseiler.

15. Do not let go of the ropes when you get to a stance even if directly below. You may need to control the second and the rope will escape you as directional are removed.

16. Consider loose rock as you descend. Wear a helmet. The second can knock stuff on to you as can the rope when you pull it down.

17. Once you get to a stance and you are first down, feed some rope through the abseil device and the prussic and shout “rope free”. This allows some time for the abseil device to cool and can save lots of time. Then clip into the anchor.

18. If you are descending next, position yourself and get ready to go and at least apply your prussic while the previous person is abseiling. If you are anchored with 2 slings to the anchor point release one. You still have the other one and the prussic. If you abseil as I do with a 30cm or 60cm sling you can in fact apply your abseil device and prussic at the same time as the first descendant and then actually unclip yourself altogether from the anchor as you are locked. This saves even more time as you are good to go as soon as the first person is down and unweights the rope. Up to an hour can be saved on say 10 multipitch abseils if there are 3 of you. This could be life-saving.

19. If someone is injured or otherwise incapacitated, hang them from your harness belay loop below you and between your knees so you can manoeuvre him/her past obstacles. If unconscious tie their legs together and their arms over their chests with wrist together. With a sling try and keep the person in a sitting position with a sling under the armpits. This will be very difficult if you are alone but feasible if you are 3. Make sure you have a very good prussic system and add a device like a shunt. A grigri, jule or other locking device os ideal in this situation too! But have prussic cord ready.

20. If no prussic or even your prussic loses its shape and locks or loosens you can arrest your descent by wrapping 2 or three coils of rope around your thigh. You can also add friction by pinching or rather kinking the rope between your left and right foot at different levels. It is advisable to abseil with shoes on for this reason and other reasons like when needing to swing to a stance or to retreive and errant rope.

RyanKarate
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:06 am
Real Name: Ryan Peel

Re: Abseiling tips and tricks.

Post by RyanKarate » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:19 pm

If I may add a nice tip...

8. Consider abseiling with heavy objects hanging off your belay loop below you. Heavy rucksacks could unbalance you and are very uncomfortable on your back especially on steep terrain. Or you can try use a Carib on the chest strap of your back back and clip it to the rope above your abseil device to take the strain off that “falling backwards” feeling with a big bag.

I abseiled like this down tooth gully a few months ago with a 30kg+ back pack, it was super comfy. My partner concurred and we’ll happily do it again next time

SNORT
Posts: 1231
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:53 am
Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Location: Cape Town

Re: Abseiling tips and tricks.

Post by SNORT » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:29 pm

If you have a straight steep drop that method is fine but if you have to deal with stuck ropes or directional descents best to go as light as possible first down.

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