Bluff Work

Discussion in 'Search, Rescue and Technical Skills' started by Guyon, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. Guyon

    Guyon Member

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    Today, I engaged in some solo training with new gear at a small bluff that is about ten minutes from my house.

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    Gear ready to go...

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    Here's the rigging. Wrap-three-pull-two on the red webbing with a redirect on the yellow webbing.

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    I had never used the rope, which is 8mm Imlay Canyon Fire. I also tested out an SMC micro rappel rack, a Petzl Pirana descender, and an SMC Flex Pad edge protector.

    In addition to working a couple of changeovers and climbing the bluff after every rappel, I descended at least once with each of these devices. L to R: Sterling ATS, SMC micro rack, Petzl Pirana, BMS (long) micro rack.

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    Here they are under load (same order as above)...

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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
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  2. Guyon

    Guyon Member

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    Since I was rappelling alone, I took precautions. For instance, I did soft locks on the racks and loaded them before rappelling.

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    I also used a French wrap (autoblock) since there was no belay. I had a designated piece of webbing sewn onto the leg loop of my harness so I can easily run an autoblock.

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    Also, regarding safety, I don't get on rope without a long and short prusik. I have set-ups sized for 7/16" and 1/2" rope and for 8/9mm rope.

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    Saved my butt today too. On the first changeover, I misjudged the height of my ascender and had to use my long foot-loop length to stand and readjust. (I used a Klemheist knot.)

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    Noted that someone had bolted a route since the last time I was there.

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    In fact, there were two bolts right where I drop in. You can see one here.

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    Flex edge protector worked well.

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    Gear porn.

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    RAT swag.

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  3. Guyon

    Guyon Member

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    A few observations...
    1. I need to pack a small folding saw in summer. That bluff had grown in thick, and the climbers there never trim it back because they don't top out. I had a ZT folder on me, but a saw would have worked better.
    2. The Pirana is faster than the ATS, and I had the Pirana in the "2" (highest friction) setting. Since that setting zapped my red ID tape, I've got to mark a different spot.
    3. Imlay Canyon Fire is not the easiest for setting and untying knots, but it's tough stuff.
    4. I like the mini-racks on the 8mm if I engage the top hyper bar. Smooth ride and they don't twist the rope. I used two quick links so they'd orient properly on my caving harness.
    5. I may make a prusik set out of 5mm cordalette just for the Canyon Fire. I used 6mm, which is in the 60% to 80% recommended range, and I tested it before I got on rope. However, I have a feeling 5mm would grip even better.
    6. Getting to the top to set anchor and drop in is a PITA because of the climb up and the thick growth. There looked to be an easier way up if I'd only had 6' legs. In the first pic above, it's right next to the big tree in the background. I have a couple of safety tethers designed for tree stand self-rescue, and I think I could use one to scramble up next to that tree and save myself the nasty bushwhacking through thick hedge.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
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  4. Sisyphus

    Sisyphus Member

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    Nice write-up.

    Who the heck is bolting that route?
     
  5. Guyon

    Guyon Member

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    Local folks looking to practice lead climbing, no doubt, since there aren't a lot of outdoor options close by. It looked like new hardware. I was there this past November, and it was bolt free.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  6. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    What? no rope walker pics in this thread?
     
  7. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    I like the mini-rack but I wish I would have gotten the long frame. When we bounced Valhalla I used the short frame on the 11mm rope and had to feed it until I was half way down since the bars wouldn't separate enough. Gonna use a standard rack to do Ferris pit. May even use a Petzl ID. Hell, I may just parachute in with a contractor garbage bag.
     
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  8. Guyon

    Guyon Member

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    Skeered. Out there by myself with just one fisherman down river. I'm going to practice some ropewalker changeovers this week in the back yard--with 11mm rope and a full-size rack. That way, if I wind up upside down, one of my kids can call 911.

    My short frame SMC works great on 8/9mm. I'll be using a standard at Ferris though. More adjustable, better heat dissipation. I doubt I parachute.
     

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