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Am I the only one who thinks Prusiking is a b*tch?
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theclimer


Jul 29, 2002, 5:46 AM
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Am I the only one who thinks Prusiking is a b*tch?
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It's been since last June, at a crevasse rescue class in BC, since I tried Prusiking up a rope with cordage. At the time, I blamed my complete inability to make it much farther than 10 feet up on several factors: "my cordage is too narrow (6mm)," "the rope is icy and wet," "I weigh at least 250 pounds with all this gear and a pack on," "I am obviously weak."

So anyway, Saturday I ended up attending a "refresher" course on ascending a rope, and of course the first method taught was the classic 2-Prusik method. One Prusik tied to the harness, and one to a foot loop. Simple process, right? Simply stand up in the foot loop, move the harness Prusik up, sit back, move the foot Prusik up, repeat as necessary until you're at the top of the pitch.

Well, it didn't work out that way. I ended up just like last year (sans pack and icy rope), completely flamed out in the arms, pretty much dangling in space with the terrible realization that if I ever had to use this technique for real, I was pretty much f**ked.

So I ask all of you rope ascension masters out there: Am I really all that weak? It seems to take an inordinate amount of strength and balance to stand up in the foot loop whilst simultaneously pushing up the waist knot. Is the Prusik really such a great method of ascending the rope? For God's sake, there HAS to be a Better Way!


[ This Message was edited by: theclimer on 2002-07-29 05:48 ]


sciber


Jul 29, 2002, 6:07 AM
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Well there are different ways that you can do things different. One way is to make the prusic know that is connected to your harness shorter (my GF only uses one standard runner when ascending, I need 2). The other thing is when you are standing up on the one foot grab the rope above your head to help blance your self when you stand. Also I can purisc up a rope no problem but add 60lbs to my back and I get winded after 5ft.

If you have any other question please drop me a line and I may be able to help you more.

--Sci



glockaroo


Jul 29, 2002, 6:57 AM
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Am I the only one who thinks Prusiking is a b*tch? [In reply to]
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You are correct, theclimer: classic prusiking on a freehanging rope is a b**tch. Yet another reason to tip our collective hats to the pioneers like Harding, Robbins, et al. BTW now you know why those pioneers sought out a Better Way (for the time) and found Jumars.

The crux of the biscuit while "classically" ascending a freehanging rope is: while standing in the footloop, you must burn arm energy to keep yourself upright while loosening and sliding up the waist prusik. So, other things being equal (fitness, proper sling length, etc) the key to minimize flameout is to minimize the time it takes to move the upper/waist prusik up.

This is why mechanical ascenders are such an improvement. And the most reasonable substitute for ascenders, IMO, are the Petzl Tiblocs. You can haul yourself up onto the footloop and zip that Tibloc up much faster than you can loosen & move a prusik/bachmann/kleimheist. Those of you who don't weigh 225 like me might have an easier time with those knots. That's 225 pounds, not kilos, for our Euro friends.

On aid walls things can be made much easier with Better Way techniques like the frog. Even Traditional Bigwall Technology like the Yosemite method is better than prusiks.

But on go-light freeclimbs, I carry two Petzl Tiblocs to avoid exactly the torture you describe. I also have a couple prusik slings for other self-rescue uses, but if I have to "jug" up a freehanging rope the Tiblocs will save the day... relative to the prusiks, of course.

My advice:

1) know how to get by with prusiks just in case. They work OK on slabs, at least. Try some variants like the Bachmann or Kleimheist.

2) on lightweight adventures carry a couple of Tiblocs as compact, light insurance. On walls carry one as a last-ditch backup for a dropped ascender. Still, keep a couple tied prusik slings on hand for other uses.

3) on walls know how to frog so that all this other crap becomes "emergency-only" knowledge.

4) don't be a serious weightlifter for 15 years and build up 225 pounds of muscle mass and then get into climbing.

[ This Message was edited by: glockaroo on 2002-07-29 07:14 ]


atg200


Jul 29, 2002, 8:50 AM
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prussiking is not that hard. try the texas system - a short prussik attached to your waist and a prussik with long leg loops just below that. it work well, even on free hanging ropes for fairly short ascents like out of a crevasse.

for what its worth, i have a beer gut, am not very strong, and i can prussik a 100' free hanging line in about 10 minutes without any arm flameouts.


full-time-climb
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Jul 29, 2002, 8:55 AM
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If you find that your pack is causing a lot of arm burn or pulling you back you might want to tie it to the end of the rope for a pull up later or hang it off the belay loop on your harness. Try to make the jugging about legs. If you are using a lot of arm you probably nead to adjust your tie-ins. Usually longer.
John


snapier


Jul 29, 2002, 9:03 AM
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Yeah, pretty much what atg200 said - the Texas Prusik. There's also another way that makes things easier but I can't remember it right now (thank God I don't need to use it at this moment). They are both described in "Freedom of the Hills". I tried both of them out in my tree in my backyard (thank God I've never had to break them out in a real situation) and both seemed pretty good.

[ This Message was edited by: snapier on 2002-07-29 09:04 ]


theclimer


Jul 29, 2002, 9:55 AM
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Glockaroo,

Thanks for the advice. It seems we're both in the same boat as far as being "overweight" - I've always been a fairly stocky guy (at least since high school), and tip the scales around 200 when in fighting shape. Right now I'm not in fighting shape. It surely does play a major part in the effectiveness of the Prusik system, as I find that I simply cannot release the knots after weighting them. I tried both Prusik and Klemheist, BTW. I presume that many others who display more prowess with the Prusik system are (A) much lighter than me, and (perhaps more importantly) (B) have more practice with the system

Anyway, I actually did also try the Tibloc method on Saturday. And they seem to work pretty well for ascending, but just try to go down the rope with the Tiblocs incorporated into the system and you're in for a ride surprise! (At least I was). While the Tibloc is supposed to be able to be released under load with a simple pulling up motion, I found this didn't work when using carabiners on them that were of any realistic diameter (I mean the actual diameter of the 'biner shaft). The hole on the Tibloc that accepts the 'biner is small enough that a 'biner, combined with a rope, made release impossible. Thus, I would still have to put a Prusik on the rope above the Tiblocs to sit back on while I undid the damned Tiblocs in order to release them. Glad I didn't find out about that on any climb of significance - I was able to scratch back onto the rock wall I was practicing on to get out of the system.

As for the Tibloc setup - did you follow the pictograph in the instructions and place one on your waist, and the other to a foot loop? I found that this made it so that I could only get about 6" of "travel" per stroke...not too efficient. Would it be more efficient to use the higher Tibloc attached to a sling to the harness, so that one could extend it up higher per stroke?

Thanks for your input,

J



atg200


Jul 29, 2002, 10:17 AM
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I weigh about 190 and have weighed over 200 in the past, and considerably more than that while wearing mountaineering gear and a pack. I doubt our weight difference has anything to do with it.

You may be right about the practice element of it. My first 10 times jumaring were a mess that I am sure were very entertaining to onlookers. You have to practice any technique to get good at it - that is just how life works. Go to a local crag, hang a line, and have at it. I spend a day every year reviewing techniques like prussiking, escaping the belay, raises and lowers, etc. as a refresher.

Have you tried the texas system?


glockaroo


Jul 29, 2002, 10:53 AM
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theclimer:

I think you've got some problems with technique. When I use Tiblocs, I use them in the Texas style, not the way Petzl describes. I have never had any problem moving a Tibloc upwards. I'm not flaming you at all, I swear, but if you feel you need to weight a higher prusik in order to slide up the Tibloc you are definately doing something wrong.

The other guys on these thread are right: if you're not frogging, then Texas is about the best alternative. This is too complicated to describe in text, at least for me. You need to get yourself a copy of a book called "On Rope". You won't regret it.


punk


Jul 29, 2002, 11:20 AM
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The problem is with the knot and the technique I hate useing the Prussic I use the Autolock,Klemheist,Or Bachmann all of which cinches tight when weighted and very easy to move once unweighted always use 11/16 to 1/2 nylon webbing a lot easier then the 6-7 mm Perlon
hope it helped



[ This Message was edited by: punk on 2002-07-29 11:22 ]


theclimer


Jul 29, 2002, 3:56 PM
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Hmm, as I recall I said in my reply, my gripe was not with sliding the Tibloc upwards, which is a cinch...but in trying to get the damned thing to release so I can descend if need be. The trouble is that those damned teeth bite so well, and in conjunction with the small diameter hole that you are supposed to place a carabiner through, it leaves almost no clearance for releasing the thing so you can slide back down the rope. I do realize that I've only played around with the things for about 30 minutes, so maybe I'm missing something. Further investigation is required! And yes, I am aware that Petzl markets them as ascenders, not descenders. But you should still be able to release them if it is required.

Anyhow, I have also used the Texas Prusik system. That's the system we used in attempting to extricate ourselves from a crevasse. I agree that in theory the system seems to work well, but when the rope is wet and freezing up on your Prusik, and you've got 6mm cordage cinched onto that rope tighter than a new convict's puckerhole, it's a real pain to try to release. This means that a lot of time is spent trying to get the knot to release, and this is difficult to say the least when you're balancing yourself against the natural tendency to fall backwards with on hand holding the rope. The risk of flameout in the arms for me was/is very real.

I will go to my local crag this weekend and try again with the Tiblocs (Texas style this time), and also with the standard Prusiks. Maybe I'm just being a bonehead.

Regards,

J


Partner philbox
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Jul 29, 2002, 4:51 PM
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   I`ve found that the best way to release the prussik knot after it has been weighted is to alter the way I tie the prussik onto the jugging line. I place the double fishermans knot within the prussik knot, by this I mean that when you are tieing and feeding the prussik around the rope you make sure that the knot is placed in such a way that the knot becomes a handy bit of cordage bulk with which one can simply push to help loosen the weighted prussik.

This goes against everything that one has been taught about not placing a knot within a knot. I tell you it works well and could well be the better way. I hope I`m not being too obscure with my explanation.

...Phil...


theclimer


Jul 29, 2002, 5:30 PM
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Hmmm...a double fisherman's within the Prusik? I'm trying to imagine this, but can't. Can you explain a bit more please?

One other thing that I noticed that many other methods of ascension have going for them (as outlined in that excellent book On Rope) is the attachment of the ascender device to the chest. One example of this is the venerated Frog System. The placement of the ascender near one's center of gravity helps to combat the natural tendency for one to topple over backward when standing up in the foot loops. Of course, this is at the cost of the extra hassle of using a chest harness, but it could well be worth it (I've not yet tried it). I tried to incorporate this idea into my Prusik attempts last weekend by using a 'biner clipped through two slings that I slung over my shoulders, but it didnt' really seem to help much. Anyone else out there have experience with this?

Regards,
Jeff


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Jul 29, 2002, 6:26 PM
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   Ok, you have to tie the prussik loop with a double fishermans knot so that you have a loop right, got me so far.

You place that loop against the rope and proceed to tie a prussik knot, before tieing the knot make sure that the double fishermans knot is going to be located within the prussik knot.

When completed the knot should be located such that you can thumb the prussik knot loose. There that should clear things up. If you have anymore trouble understanding what it is am trying to explain then I will be happy to post a pic.

...Phil...


punk


Jul 29, 2002, 6:31 PM
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Did u tried to attach the leg loops from the Texas Kick to a chest harness…. what u describe is imbalance once trying to stand on the legs loops and rising the waist prussic… and again, the easiest to operate knot that works on both direction will be the Autoblock…but not as easy as the Tibloc
hope it helped


theclimer


Jul 29, 2002, 6:35 PM
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Ahhh! Got it now, Philbox. The double fisherman's that is used to make the cordage into a loop to begin with is situated in such a way as to be in the middle of the Prusik itself, up against the rope. I'll give that a shot. I didn't understand at first because evertime I've ever seen a Prusik it's tied such that the double fisherman's is away from the rope.

Thanks again for the tip.


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Jul 29, 2002, 7:01 PM
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   Yup, you`ve got it now. Of course this is a better way only if you must insist on using prussiks. Prussiks are awesome and light for use in an emergency but for jugging I would much rather use the frog system and for cleaning use the Grigri and jumar system.

The thing about the prussik knot as described tied with the fishermans layed close to the rope it never seems to cinch down as hard as when it is tied the standard way. You should also take note that this way is actually stronger although if it ever did aproach the terminal breaking strength it would have long since melted down the rope.

A couple of mates of mine had a height access job of shifting an overhanging boulder from above a railway bridge. They had to shift this dirty great boulder sideways a bit and then allow it to fall so that it would not take out the bridge.

They had a great mess of ropes harnessing the rock and had set up a pendulum. They had also set up prussiks from the harness to the main lines. The rock started moving with a bit of persuasion from some crow bars and levers.

It went exactly where it was supposed to go but of course the prussiks melted and the main lines became stiff as a board after the prussiks melted their way down the rope.
Here endeth the prussik story.

...Phil...


bigdan


Jul 29, 2002, 10:26 PM
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my only comment would be....

texas system

...but really, my only other comment would be...

DON'T PRUSSIK!

prussiking isn't hard, but it sucks (as we've determined a few times here) and it takes way too long. prussiks are only for emergencies in my book.

last time i prussiked was a couple years ago on shiprock in new mexico. on the normal route, you climb up to a col, then do two raps (25' and 100') leaving two fixed lines to jug on the way back. we continued on and summitted, then reversed the route. only problem was, we forgot the jugs in the car. so on the descent (which ironically involved ascending in this case) all three of us had to prussik the fixed lines. to make matters worse, it was raining heavily at this point, and our ropes hung in a natural water chute. so not only did we have a waterfall of runoff coming down on us, but as we moved the prussiks up the lines, they squeezed more water out of the rope and onto us, while tightening on the rope more than normal due to their wetness!

moral of the story is: don't forget your jugs! prussiks are for emergencies, bring jugs, tiblocs, something besides prussiks!

(at least, that's how i see it)


wildtrail


Jul 29, 2002, 10:33 PM
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One word:

Ascender

I hate prusiks. Ascenders; Never leave home with out 'em.

Steve


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