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Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why?
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areijin


Oct 24, 2011, 10:22 PM
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Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why?
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Once on a trad route a common and pre-slung natural horn kept twisting around with the second climbers line until I was no longer able to take up rope. How did this happen and how to prevent it?

Some details: Looking at the wall the route was on the left. The horn with many an aged large sling was maybe 10ft to the right and the highest point,maybe 8ft from the last piece of gear. Then the marked belay station was another 10ft to the right and a bit lower than the horn, maybe 5ft lower. The horn was the only option for gear hence all the old slings FYI. My thoughts were that the horn was working like a top rope belay.

But why when my second was cleaning the route did the line spin the slung horn's sling/carabiner? Other than the line was coiled. How do you prevent this situation if you don't know a rope is coiled? How do you get out of this situation once faced with it?

Since I have done years of trad and never faced this again nor read about it before. It still makes me wonder what I would do if this happened again. Thanks for any help.


billl7


Oct 25, 2011, 5:35 AM
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Re: [areijin] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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areijin wrote:
My thoughts were that the horn was working like a top rope belay.

But why when my second was cleaning the route did the line spin the slung horn's sling/carabiner? Other than the line was coiled. How do you prevent this situation if you don't know a rope is coiled? How do you get out of this situation once faced with it?

Edit: I'm assuming you mean that the rope coiled up until it could not be taken in anymore. If that is not what you mean then maybe ignore the below.

I'm pretty certain this has to do with how free or not free the carabiner was to hang in its most natural orientation at the horn with the rope running through the biner. This can happen if the sling is itself in some way limited or restricted (e.g., kinda tight around a horn).

For example, I've seen about 12 feet of rope coil up into a knotted mess at the harness of a top-roper as he neared the anchor with belay down below. The anchor had chains and the rope ran through two lockers simply clipped directly into the chains. The chains prevented the lockers from orienting themselve in a natural way. I believe that the coils developed as the rope ran through the carabiners under the hanging load of the rope while the chains held the biners at an angle other than 90 degrees to the running rope(maybe someone can put this in more technical terms).

Our fix was to lower off the top roper, get to the anchor in some way, and put the lockers on single-length slings (~2 feet).

I heard of this happening another time when my sister was redirecting a belay from above, where the rope ran from the climber, up to a high piece, and back down a little to the belayer (not unlike your situation). The high piece may have been clipped directly as in no sling (not sure - but I do recall her saying the biner on the high piece may have been restricted from hanging freely).

Bill L
Edit: trying to get the words right. :-/


(This post was edited by billl7 on Oct 25, 2011, 6:15 AM)


Partner cracklover


Oct 25, 2011, 8:31 AM
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Re: [areijin] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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areijin wrote:
Once on a trad route a common and pre-slung natural horn kept twisting around with the second climbers line until I was no longer able to take up rope. How did this happen and how to prevent it?

Some details: Looking at the wall the route was on the left. The horn with many an aged large sling was maybe 10ft to the right and the highest point,maybe 8ft from the last piece of gear. Then the marked belay station was another 10ft to the right and a bit lower than the horn, maybe 5ft lower. The horn was the only option for gear hence all the old slings FYI. My thoughts were that the horn was working like a top rope belay.

But why when my second was cleaning the route did the line spin the slung horn's sling/carabiner? Other than the line was coiled. How do you prevent this situation if you don't know a rope is coiled? How do you get out of this situation once faced with it?

Since I have done years of trad and never faced this again nor read about it before. It still makes me wonder what I would do if this happened again. Thanks for any help.

Add a longer sling next time and this probably won't happen. When the rope cannot feed perpendicular to the carabiner, the rope will twist.



GO


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Oct 25, 2011, 8:34 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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Oh, and as for what to do once you could no longer pull the twisted rope through the biner, I would climb up to the horn, clip another sling behind the tangle, and then unclip the tangle from the horn.

GO


billl7


Oct 25, 2011, 9:01 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
Oh, and as for what to do once you could no longer pull the twisted rope through the biner, I would climb up to the horn, clip another sling behind the tangle, and then unclip the tangle from the horn.

GO
Depends on how asexual (a.k.a., coiled) the rope is.

In theory, one should not have to free one or the other end to let the kinks work out. In our case, it was so bad that the fastest thing to do was to completely untie both ends of the rope, hang it as for a rap, and run the excess rope back and forth through the anchor while helping the coils "fall off" the rope ends. Even then, it took more than one outing until the rope was back to behaving itself.

Bill L


areijin


Oct 25, 2011, 9:03 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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I had thought about adding a longer sling before to make it less of a Top Rope situation at the bad angel you drew. Then the line would be more horizontal passing through the biner/sling until it got to the belay station.

I'm not sure a 2ft or 4ft sling would have added enough. Lets say the difference between the last piece of hard gear and the belay station was 3ft (but 20ft over to the right). Belay station was 5ft below the horn and the gear on the left was maybe 8ft hence a 3ft difference. So at the horn in the middle of the gap the rope would be 1.5ft below the belay station if I skipped the horn. So wouldn't I have to extend the horn's sling buy 6.5ft to have the line pass through and upwards rather than be more like a Top Rope situation? Then when the second would be passing the 20ft ledge he would have been 6.5ft above the last piece of protection (the Horn) and with a 10ft swing to boot. 16 plus foot fall and swing.

Does that make sense to anyone else? Any thoughts?


billl7


Oct 25, 2011, 9:11 AM
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areijin wrote:
I'm not sure a 2ft or 4ft sling would have added enough.
The actual length of the sling is not critical. The critical thing is that the biner the rope runs through is free to orient itself to the rope.

Imagine that the horn were slung AND tied off so a leg of the sling ran as one unit from the tie-off knot to the biner. I'd guess this leg can be pretty darn short and still alleviate the coiling problem. Maybe six inches would be okay for ordinary sling material (i.e., not a quickdraw / sport draw with a relatively stiff sling).


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Oct 25, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Re: [areijin] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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areijin wrote:
I had thought about adding a longer sling before to make it less of a Top Rope situation at the bad angel you drew. Then the line would be more horizontal passing through the biner/sling until it got to the belay station.

I'm not sure a 2ft or 4ft sling would have added enough. Lets say the difference between the last piece of hard gear and the belay station was 3ft (but 20ft over to the right). Belay station was 5ft below the horn and the gear on the left was maybe 8ft hence a 3ft difference. So at the horn in the middle of the gap the rope would be 1.5ft below the belay station if I skipped the horn. So wouldn't I have to extend the horn's sling buy 6.5ft to have the line pass through and upwards rather than be more like a Top Rope situation? Then when the second would be passing the 20ft ledge he would have been 6.5ft above the last piece of protection (the Horn) and with a 10ft swing to boot. 16 plus foot fall and swing.

Does that make sense to anyone else? Any thoughts?

Did you even look at the picture I loaded?

GO


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Oct 25, 2011, 12:17 PM
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Re: [billl7] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
areijin wrote:
I'm not sure a 2ft or 4ft sling would have added enough.
The actual length of the sling is not critical. The critical thing is that the biner the rope runs through is free to orient itself to the rope.

Quite so. On a pure slab, it might not make any difference if you extend or not. But typically, a short sling will trap a biner, while a longer one will allow the rope to orient the biner so that the two are oriented properly (90 degrees from each other).

GO


areijin


Oct 26, 2011, 9:13 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Did you even look at the picture I loaded?

GO


I looked at it too and agree, but with the distances and something like a 150 degree angle that the horn made it is inevitable. The angle can't be lessened to a higher point. It can only be could only be increased to make a passing through.

The setup I had is in Freedom of the Hills and Rock Climbing Mastering Basic Skills for natural protection but neither book says anything about what if it's the last and highest pieces of protection.

So all that needed to be done was Girth Hitch a 2ft runner to the horn's sling and clip into the biner from the 2ft sling. No twisting for sure?


(This post was edited by areijin on Oct 26, 2011, 9:20 AM)


billl7


Oct 26, 2011, 11:02 AM
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Re: [areijin] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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areijin wrote:
So all that needed to be done was Girth Hitch a 2ft runner to the horn's sling and clip into the biner from the 2ft sling. No twisting for sure?

Yep.

Consider how often leaders re-direct a belay of the second through a biner above their belay device. This would be a non-existant practice if that alone was sufficient to noticably coil the rope. Edit: I know that's not proof but it goes some distance in making the point.

Seems it should be pretty easy to research how far the supporting biner needs to be misoriented to the run of the rope to lead to noticable coiling.

Bill L

P.S. I would not girth software on software in the application you mention because it seems one sling might slide on another sling in a fall and so abraid / burn.


(This post was edited by billl7 on Oct 26, 2011, 11:05 AM)


billl7


Oct 26, 2011, 11:18 AM
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Re: [areijin] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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areijin wrote:
I looked at it too and agree, but with the distances and something like a 150 degree angle that the horn made it is inevitable. The angle can't be lessened to a higher point. It can only be could only be increased to make a passing through.

The critical angle is not the angle formed between the rope leg on one side of the biner and the rope leg on the other side.

Instead, think about the imaginary flat surface that passes through both rope legs. Also imagine a second flat surface that passes through the entire perimeter of the biner (like a table top when the biner is lain down flat upon it).

The critical angle is when those two flat surfaces are NOT perpendicular to each other. I suspect they can be off by a little without bad coiling ... how much off may depend on how much weight the biner feels from the rope as the rope passes through.

Edit: If you're good with imagining in 3 dimensions ...

Imagine the line of contact between the rope and the biner as though the rope doesn't squish from the weight of the hanging rope.

When the two imaginary surfaces are perpendicular, that line runs in only two dimensions like through part of a simple circle.

When the two imaginary surfaces are not perpendicular, that line runs in three dimensions like a spiral.

A squishy rope running through a spiral has a very different effect than a squishy rope running around a simple circle!

In the case of the circle, one particular part of the rope tends to stretch while the other tends to compress until through the bend.

In the case of the spiral, as a given rope section initially contacts the biner one gets the same stretch/compression. As that section continues to travel and if the rope somehow could not twist (impossible) the zones of stretch and compression would vary around the long axis of the rope.

BUT, for a squisy rope and in simple terms, I think the zone that intiially stretched tends to stay stretched as it goes through the spiral 'cause it takes work to do otherwise. And so the rope twists. Voila!


(This post was edited by billl7 on Oct 26, 2011, 11:41 AM)


Partner cracklover


Oct 26, 2011, 11:33 AM
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Re: [areijin] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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areijin wrote:
In reply to:
Did you even look at the picture I loaded?

GO


I looked at it too and agree, but with the distances and something like a 150 degree angle that the horn made it is inevitable. The angle can't be lessened to a higher point. It can only be could only be increased to make a passing through.

No, it's not inevitable. Argh. I thought my pic was clear, but I guess it wasn't.

In this pic...



...you need to imagine that the rope has stayed exactly the same, but the frame of reference has moved around it, and the biner has moved from the right orientation to the wrong one.

Maybe this will help. In this pic...



... I have left the frame of reference the same in both "good" and "bad", but only changed the biner orientation from the right to the wrong one.

GO


billl7


Oct 26, 2011, 11:45 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:

This picture is GREAT for imagining the 'circle' on the left versus the 'spiral' on the right that I tried convey in words. Thanks!

That boils my earlier 3D discussion down to just this:

In the case of the spiral (on the right), as a given rope section initially contacts the biner one gets the same stretch/compression as with the circle (on the left). However, as that section of rope continues to travel along the spiral and if the rope somehow could not twist (impossible) the zones of stretch and compression would vary around the long axis of the rope (e.g., one specific part of the rope would stretch and later compress - roughly put).

BUT I think the zone that intiially, say, stretched tends to stay stretched as it goes through the spiral - because it takes work to do otherwise - and so the rope twists. Voila!


(This post was edited by billl7 on Oct 26, 2011, 11:52 AM)


ladyscarlett


Oct 26, 2011, 12:12 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Natural Protection Twisting Until Unusable. Why? [In reply to]
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Thanks for the clarification.

Was a little puzzled at first and considering changing my technique. But thank goodness, all the previous advice and tips I've learned on rc.com still hold true...

all is ok with the world...Wink

It seems to me that the 'good' pic would also have much less rope drag than the 'bad' pic?

I'm still new at this, but drag, hang, and flow (of the rope) is an identifier that I use sometimes to judge the quality of my placements...and influence the way I set up other placements.

Guess what I'm trying to say, is that as a total n00b leader, I find myself naturally shying away from having pro that looks like the 'bad' pic for a variety of reasons. Didn't even think about the one the OP mentions. Guess I just found another one...

Thanks for sharing!

Cheers

LS


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