Forums Splitboard Talk Forum A Little Question for the Rap Crowd
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  • #567667
    IceBat
    23 Posts

    You Splitboarders seem a little nuttier when it comes to technical lines, so I thought I’d post here. 🙂

    I recently saw a climbing website which argued that using a spectra sling as an anchor for your rappel was a bad idea. They claimed the thin spectra band would “cut through your rope like butter.” Or something like that. Their recommendation was to always use a ring or a carabiner to connect rope to leash.

    Ordinarily, I’d ignore the comment, as Freedom of the Hills never had a problem with it.

    …but I do tend to use thin ropes (8mm) and thin slings (mammut contact), and now I’m wondering if there’s any truth to the idea. Has anyone heard of a spectra sling cutting through a rope?

    Hope this isn’t too out there for the gang.

    Andy

    #587668
    Zach
    127 Posts

    NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use Spectra slings as a point of contact to another line in a rappel or anchor system… you can use Dyneema (sp?) slings, I believe, as an autoblock… though even that seems sketchy to me. I only use thinner cord or a shunt.

    You ESPECIALLY do not want to use ANY rope, cord, or sling as a point that the rope will run through at the primary or any secondary anchors. Nylon rubbing against nylon at high speeds and under high loads = melted nylon and a dead climber.

    As I understand it, Spectra slings achieve their light wieght and strength by having a large portion of the fibers running in the same direction. As you have heard, this gives them the unintended property of being like knives, when stressed.

    Anyway, why not just carry a few extra rings for emergency rappels?

    BTW – Freedom Of the Hills = ridiculously outdated… best to get your advice directly form the manufacturer of the climbing equipment you are going to be using.

    Zach

    #587669
    ChrisI
    48 Posts

    Ice, I havnt tried (Im too damn cheap to bail from sewn slings) bailing from spectra, but I’d imagine the issue to be moreso the rope burning through the sling when you pull it, not the other way around. Sounds like they might be cautioning against lowering from a sling..

    Also, i’d be nervous about even rapping off of it, for sure.. aluminum rap rings are cheap and light; it’s your ass on the line here. Rig up an experiment.. setup the ‘anchor’ in question, type a rope into two stirrups. thread it through the sling, and saw back and forth a few times. Scary how fast the sling burns through… That however might not be generated during a rapell, no moving rope during descent, etc..

    Is this something that you’ve been using and are now having second thoughts about? or just something you were thinking about trying? Might be worth testing it in a controlled environ before you commit, should it be the latter.

    Also.. careful with the climbing Q’s on the intarweb.. Everyone seems to be an expert.

    😈

    -C

    #587670
    IceBat
    23 Posts

    @Zach wrote:

    best to get your advice directly form the manufacturer of the climbing equipment you are going to be using.

    Zach

    Thanks Zach. That’s a great suggestion. No, I haven’t tried this practice myself, though I was tempted to.

    Am I correct in assuming this is a problem the older nylon slings didn’t have?

    That would sure suggest TFOTH is in need of updating!

    Andy

    #587671
    skykilo
    24 Posts

    I guess I should be dead. Many times over.

    I’ve rapped off naked trees, tape, webbing with water knot, whateva. Spectra does seem a bit on the spendy side. Carabiners would get expensive real quick.

    Use whatever you want to rap. Most importantly, just be sure that your anchor won’t fail. That’s all that really matters. You might get some friction heating when you pull the rope. Probably not a problem, just inspect the sheath periodically. Anybody telling you much different is probably just trying to sell you something.

    EDIT: Definitely a different situation if you’re talking about lowering. The rope is stationary during a rappel. But is anyone considering top-roping descents? Please god no!

    #587672
    Zach
    127 Posts

    @skykilo wrote:

    I guess I should be dead. Many times over.

    I’ve rapped off naked trees, tape, webbing with water knot, whateva. Spectra does seem a bit on the spendy side. Carabiners would get expensive real quick.

    Use whatever you want to rap. Most importantly, just be sure that your anchor won’t fail. That’s all that really matters. You might get some friction heating when you pull the rope. Probably not a problem, just inspect the sheath periodically. Anybody telling you much different is probably just trying to sell you something.

    EDIT: Definitely a different situation if you’re talking about lowering. The rope is stationary during a rappel. But is anyone considering top-roping descents? Please god no!

    In which of thise pictures are you rapping with your line running through a spectra sling? Have you ever actually done this?

    I’ve rapped off of slings before… didn’t want to spare a carabiner. I spent 2 hours trying to get my rope down… re-leading the pitch to get back up to it on someone elses rope. It twisted just enought to make an autoblock out of the sling.

    Considering the force generated by pulling the rope, I imagine that you would be likely to burn through the rope too… same tyoe of force generated if you were to use it as an autoblock.. I took a leading class, when I first started climbing, right around the time that Spectra slings were first hitting the market. One of the first things that the guide mentioned to me was that they spelled death if used as an autoblock. They heat up really fast and essentially become a rope cutter.

    Zach

    #587673
    Jon Dahl
    384 Posts

    NEVER rap off just a sling. Lowering rings are dirt cheap, and light, too. The real issue everyone is talking about here involves pulling the rope, as in lowering yourself, that will burn through both rope and sling. Pulling through a sling will probably crisp the sling more than the rope, but why take the chance if you don’t have to? How much is a good ‘biner, $8.00?? What is your life worth? And who are you trying to kill if you leave a half-burnt sling somewhere? Sorry to be preachy about it, but think about the next person who may want to, or need to, use that piece you’ve left. Oh, and I’ve had to free a pitch to retrieve rope before, one time I had to do it twice!

    #587674
    dishwasher-dave
    460 Posts

    folks have rapped off their shoe laces before…but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

    #587675
    IceBat
    23 Posts

    Just to be explicit about the technique I’m describing:

    Rope remains stationary, is fed doubled through a rappel device like Fig 8 or Munter Hitch. Drawings are examples from 5th Ed TFOTH.

    Andy

    #587676
    huevon
    124 Posts

    In kilo’s defense, skiing is not rock climbing. You’re not f’cked if you fumble pulling your rope, and there’s much less chance of things getting stuck on a snow slope. Furthermore, if you are scared that you’re going to cut your rope in half by rapping, then you should probably just stay home. The outdoors is too dangerous for you.

    I can see little slings being problematic not due to strength/damage issues, but because if you’re not careful they could tie up your rope. Just take some webbing, and a rap ring if you’re really worried about it. Slings are too pricey to waste on raps anyway.

    #587677
    huFfer
    51 Posts

    @Jon Dahl wrote:

    NEVER rap off just a sling. Lowering rings are dirt cheap, and light, too. The real issue everyone is talking about here involves pulling the rope, as in lowering yourself, that will burn through both rope and sling. Pulling through a sling will probably crisp the sling more than the rope, but why take the chance if you don’t have to? How much is a good ‘biner, $8.00?? What is your life worth? And who are you trying to kill if you leave a half-burnt sling somewhere? Sorry to be preachy about it, but think about the next person who may want to, or need to, use that piece you’ve left. Oh, and I’ve had to free a pitch to retrieve rope before, one time I had to do it twice!

    You know nothing. Your whole diatribe is absolutely 100% obsurd, you should stay home or stick to a “controlled” area. 🙄

    and a few others might as well join him…

    #587678
    rms56
    121 Posts

    Ice Bat That’s along way from a wrap 3 pull 2. I know its a one man….bit it IS……….weak.

    Jump in here if you know. Interlocked web anchors (w3p2) are standard in the training I’ve had.

    #587679
    Zach
    127 Posts

    @huevon wrote:

    In kilo’s defense, skiing is not rock climbing. You’re not f’cked if you fumble pulling your rope, and there’s much less chance of things getting stuck on a snow slope. Furthermore, if you are scared that you’re going to cut your rope in half by rapping, then you should probably just stay home. The outdoors is too dangerous for you.

    I can see little slings being problematic not due to strength/damage issues, but because if you’re not careful they could tie up your rope. Just take some webbing, and a rap ring if you’re really worried about it. Slings are too pricey to waste on raps anyway.

    Good point…. and, I didn’t mean to come across as doomy-gloomy.

    Still, I’m pretty certain that the specific properties of Spectra present additional dangers… oddly enough, I don’t know of any manufacturer that still makes Spectra slings. Seems like they’ve all gone to Dyneema.

    I don’t thikn there’s any question that using webbing as an anchor point for a rappel is relatively safe… The question is whether or not slings made of Spectra are acceptable aas well. I’m actually going to talk to a friend at Mammut today… since they’ve had experience with Spectra, I’ll ask him

    Zach

    #587680
    dishwasher-dave
    460 Posts

    im pretty sure spectra is the same stuff as dyneema. i think dyneema is just a beal trade name. i believe its potentially negative properties are its very low melting point and extreme slipperiness. the slipperiness is why you can only buy it in presewn slings, which largely solves the slipperiness issue.

    the spendy nature of the stuff is why i would be loathe to rap off it.

    #587681
    bcboarderwa
    38 Posts

    @rms56 wrote:

    Ice Bat That’s along way from a wrap 3 pull 2. I know its a one man….bit it IS……….weak.

    Jump in here if you know. Interlocked web anchors (w3p2) are standard in the training I’ve had.

    Wrap three pull two is a good idea for rescue situations, where you might have several people hanging from the same anchor. Never used it myself for single person raps, or heard of anyone else doing so. On a rock climb, you’re trusting a single sling to hold the rope to your piece…

    If anything, a fixed rap station might have several slings. Not sure why some folks seem to think 6 slings through a rap ring are safer than 2 or 3 or 4, but you’ll see it out there. If you’re worried about cost, pick up a piece of 1″ nylon runner for about 30 cents/foot.

    #587682
    rms56
    121 Posts

    Yes it was from TRT classes. Thanks for the clarification.

    We also used a biner or ring, never webbing and rope in that configuration.

    #587683
    ChrisI
    48 Posts

    @huFfer wrote:

    You know nothing. Your whole diatribe is absolutely 100% obsurd, you should stay home or stick to a “controlled” area. 🙄

    and a few others might as well join him…

    Huffer, there’s plenty of validity in Jon’s post. Why dont you add something constructive or cruise on over to rockclimbing.com? So far this has been a great forum without the egos; we dont need that kind of attitude here.

    Thanks,
    -Chris

    #587684
    skykilo
    24 Posts

    Spectra itself may be problematic, but seriously, get some tape (skinny webbing) at some very marginal cost per foot. Have a knife with you. When you go to rap, make a water knot and cut what remains.

    But you can also save your tape by rapping off trees and v-threads without using any webbing at all. Ropes these days are very resilient. I have a rope dedicated strictly to ski mountaineering, on which I never plan on taking a true leader fall anyway. A little friction from pulling the rope after a rap here and there really isn’t an issue.

    For skiing/snowboarding descents, the thought of carrying ‘biners or rap rings solely for rappels seems absolutely asinine to me, but go with your own judgement…

    #587685

    Whoa, did someone just throw up in their mouth?

    I was gonna post on this thread cause I thought it was Rap like Yo,Yo,Yo MCHammer and DJ Eazy Rock rap.

    Now I know it’s about RAPELLING…. the little rope and anchor work I’ve done ROCKCLIMBING tells me RAPELLING and TOP ROPING are two distinctly seperate activities. While both activities require a solid anchor only one activity while under load of a climbers weight will create sufficient friction in which the integrity of either rope or webbing may be put into question (melted?). Now, you the “climber” get to decide which activity it is.

    #587686
    Jon Dahl
    384 Posts

    Thanks, ChrisI, but I can defend this post, too. Maybe I was a little tired when I made it. Yes you can rap off of a single sling, with no ring or ‘biner. Is it the best way of doing it? NO. The single most used reason for doing it is $$$. As in I don’t want to leave behind a ‘biner/ring/etc. Also the dumbest reason. And the most selfish. In an emergency, with several pitches of rapping, and limited gear that needs to be conserved, do it. Carefully. On snow, the stakes are smaller, usually, and there are ways to set up rappels with ice axes/shovels/etc. that make those tools retrievable. If you figure you will never loose gear, or leave it behind, you are just not being a realist.

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