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Who trails the rap rope - leader or follower?
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valygrl


Feb 5, 2003, 7:17 AM
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Who trails the rap rope - leader or follower?
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Suppose you are climbing a multipitch route, that requires a second rope to rappel off. Assume you don't have doubles or twins so you are trailing a rope.

Who trails it? The leader or the second? Or does the second carry it on his back in a coil?

If "it depends" - on what?

Is there some other, better way of handling this situation?

do have an opinion here, I'll reserve it for now, though, interested in what everyone else does.]

Thanks for playing!

Anna


wigglestick


Feb 5, 2003, 3:11 PM
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It depends.

If the pitch is close to the limits of the leader then the second usually trails it. Otherwise, the leader trails it. I have found that if the second trails it, it is more likely to get stuck and it is a pain in the ass to unstick it from above. I have never tried to carry it coiled on the back except on really easy pitches where it would otherwise be guaranteed to get hung up on something.


rock_diva


Feb 5, 2003, 3:24 PM
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If the second can wear it coiled as a backpack without making the climb too difficult, that would be the best especially if it is a multi-pitch climb. You don't have to worry about the rope getting stuck and you don't have to pull it up.

If the coil is not the best option, the leader should trail the rope.


Partner rrrADAM


Feb 5, 2003, 3:32 PM
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I, well my 2nd, does this quite often.

I find it easier to just have the 2nd trail the rope, as wearing it BP style, can cut in to the shoulders.


brianinslc


Feb 5, 2003, 3:52 PM
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Leader trails it.

Only situation I can think of where the leader wouldn't trail the second rope, is maybe a one pitch route, and, in that case, they really should too especially if they are over half the way up and, say, they fall and get hurt and can't continue. Pretty limited options if you don't have the second rope with you.

Of course, if your climbing multi pitch as a party of three, the leader might not need to trail the second line.

Can be a bit of a bummer to be on a popular multi pitch where the second is trailing a line and it gets stuck.

Brian in SLC


i.karen
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Feb 5, 2003, 4:38 PM
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Adam strings pitches together most of the time and as the belayer it is my job to trail the second rope.

What leader would want to trail two ropes???
One rope can get pretty heavy!!!

I have never got the trailing rope stuck. But If it happened there is a way out of it.


ambler


Feb 5, 2003, 4:40 PM
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Good chance it will hang up if the second trails, which could raise your epic potential fast. Are your anchors great, have you got plenty of daylight/weather/energy, can you climb back from where the rope's stuck if someone has to rap down to it? On a short familiar crag route these worries might be minor; six pitches off the deck with the wind blowing they are not.

On easy ground the second might carry a rope in the pack, but I think on steep routes it more often makes sense for the leader to trail. This opens other options as well -- leader can haul the pack, pull up extra gear ("Hey, I need that #4/raincoat/your anchor up here!"), or find creative ways to help out the second in a jam.

On free routes where we're not hauling, but know we'll need two ropes to get down, I often prefer to lead on double ropes anyway -- a pair of 8.8's. Again, that gives the leader more options, increases safety, and saves weight compared with one double rope and one single. (I know there's a still lighter option, trailing an 8mm static line, but that does not have the leading advantages.)


dsafanda


Feb 5, 2003, 4:50 PM
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My $.02...

Depends on where you climb but I'm a bit surprised by all the people saying they trail a rap rope. If you climb a 5-10 pitch route in Yosemite while trailing hundreds of feet of rope beneath you I think there is a very good chance that you are going to get it hung up on something. An occasional bush, tree, flake or rope eating roof crack are all features that you will be encountering. If the follower is trailing it, there's also a good chance the rope will be in the way of people climbing beneath you.

I'd suggest throwing a small diameter rap rope in a pack that the second is carrying.



kmunderground


Feb 5, 2003, 4:56 PM
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I'm really surprised at the number of people who trail the rope rather than have the second carry it in a backpack coil. I don't climb that strong, but except for the occasional chimney pitch, i've never had problems with a backpack coil. I don't think i've ever been on a multi-pitch where either has trailed a rap line.


kmunderground


Feb 5, 2003, 5:03 PM
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I'm really surprised at the number of people who trail the rope rather than have the second carry it in a backpack coil. I don't climb that strong, but except for the occasional chimney pitch, i've never had problems with a backpack coil. I don't think i've ever been on a multi-pitch where either has trailed a rap line.


alpnclmbr1


Feb 5, 2003, 5:38 PM
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been said before, anyway
Leader or second carries the trail rope back pack style. Better yet find the walk off and donít leave any gear at the base.
I suppose I have dragged a rope once or twice in which case the leader trails it for sure. Mostly in the case of chimneys and the second not being so strong. The rope management for this style is slow, slow, slow. I carry a single 8.2 double rope usually for a trail line. Static would probably be better. Hardly ever go with a full double rope rig, but it is better if you are doing a lot of raps (10+)
Hate to rap


pancaketom


Feb 5, 2003, 5:45 PM
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If the second isn't carrying it coiled, then the leader trails it. This allows for some non-verbal communication. When the lead rope stops, and the rap line goes fast, that means that the leader is safe and the belayer can take them off and get ready to climb.


blessard


Feb 5, 2003, 5:55 PM
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Okay, so if the Lead is trailing the second rope and it gets caught, does the Lead stop (I guess he has no choice) and set up to belay the 2nd from there, assuming there's pro....or I guess he'd have to downclimb to where he can set up?


climblouisiana


Feb 5, 2003, 6:11 PM
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It is just as probable that the leader will get his lead rope caught as the second rope.

If the leader trails the rope, the higher he gets, the heavier the rope gets. But he will also be placing gear which may equalize the effect.


Partner rrrADAM


Feb 5, 2003, 6:36 PM
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Ummm, if the leader trails, and it gets stuck, then he has to set up his anchor where ever he is at, since he can't climb any further.

Makes no sense to me. Plus, I don't need the extra weight if I am leading. The 2nd has the luxury of hanging on a TR if it get's stuck, which of the at least 50 times I've done this has NEVER happened. Makes more sense for the 2nd to carry.

But, to each his own.


BTW... No need to "split hairs" with all the well what if's. Not saying that all of those who have replied have not, but what if those who post the "what ifs" try both ways, then comment.


chuckd278


Feb 5, 2003, 6:47 PM
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Im the same as rrradam. It is best for the second to carry it. Depending in how many pitches and how hot is it, sometimes it is good to have the second wear a small close fitting backpack that you can stuff the extra rope and other goods like water in. Then when you switch leads you can also switch the backpack.

Chuck


mikedano


Feb 5, 2003, 6:48 PM
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I think the most efficient way to do this is for the second to carry the rope inside a backpack.

This way you can easily switch leaders by exchanging the backpack, and you don't have to worry about getting it stuck (which would royally suck) or interfering with possible parties beneath you.

I know people hate backpacks, but I think I look cool when I'm climbing with a backpack. And looking cool is all that matters.


vram1974


Feb 5, 2003, 6:53 PM
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In Squamish, when I was trailing the rope as the second, I got the trail rope stuck many times. This quickly changed my opinion on who should be trailing. Besides, while my partner was not, I am a firm believer in leading on double ropes. This way neither leader nor second should get the ropes snagged. Of course two 10.5's would be heavy...


Partner rrrADAM


Feb 5, 2003, 6:53 PM
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From what I read, 'dsafanda' has the best idea. But since I have no use for a "zip line", I don't own one. Nor would I comment on it, since I have never done this. But in terms of "efficiencey", his suggestion is the best.


dingus


Feb 5, 2003, 7:05 PM
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Done all three, so it depends.

2nd carries the rope if its likely to get stuck. But switching over the butterfly coil at every belay has its own set of hazards (like dropping the thing!). I personally do not like to carry a butterfly coil during difficult climbing. It can and will eat into your shoulders and eventually your endurance as well.

2nd trails the rope if there is little likelihood of it snagging. In the nearly 3 decades of climbing I have managed, I can count the times the rope has gotten irretrievably stuck on one finger. I chalk that up to my and my partner's good sense mostly.

The leader trails it if she will perhaps need something hauled up from the belay (surprised no one mentioned this). The leader can also end up toting it when her evil 2nd fails to mention she still has the thing attached to the back of her harness from the previous pitch! hehe. And some leaders selflessly continue to carry it in order to bolster their flagging seconds.

A great example of lead needing something is a squeeze or OW chimney start followed by some demanding crack climbing above. There may be no room for the big rack in the constriction. Tote one or two wagon wheel cams for that part, then pull up the rest of the rack once clear, that sort of thing. Or the bolt kit on an FA...

DMT


maculated


Feb 5, 2003, 7:38 PM
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I always make the second trail. If it gets stuck, the second's still on belay so he or she can undo it.

I would NEVER carry it in a butterfly coil if I were climbing. Too often the coil's the crux of my descent.


dingus


Feb 5, 2003, 7:59 PM
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Quote: i think yo all should go out and climb a long route something like epinephrine at red rocks.

Thank you Master Po. Let me see if I can snatch the pebble from your hand.

Please refer to my post in the Favorite Cracks thread. That list represents (I did a brief count) roughly 900 pitches of multipitch climbing. It's an approximation in that some of the routes I've done so many times I lost count so I just figgered 10 to be conservative. I excluded any single pitch climb from that count and of course none of the other climbs I've done are included either. I have no earthly idea what my lifetime multipitch pitch count would be, but it has to be over 1000 pitches! (I'm cutting myself some WAY BIG slack with that!)

Now I/we didn't drag a rope up every one of those pitches, not even close to half of them. But in all that time I've gotten a drug rope stuck once. Once.

I sort of like those odds.

Cheers,
DMT


toobigtoclimb


Feb 5, 2003, 8:21 PM
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I just love the kung fu reference


alpnclmbr1


Feb 5, 2003, 9:08 PM
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A few more points
If there is lots of loose rock on the route, you shouldn't drag a rope.
switching the rope at belays is a pain, I'd rather just carry it. If the route is to hard to climb with a light rope on your back, just leave it behind and find the walkoff. there is almost always one there
everything in climbing is about personal preference, do what works for you.
climb on


dingus


Feb 5, 2003, 11:26 PM
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Quote: well dingus what do i know

i'm not a climber i just spray a lot

Right on my friend. Point taken by the way. Wasn't really trying to spray and if you look at the routes you'll see it isn't much to spray about anyway. Just a long lived punter.

But you implied that people who don't do it your way must be inexperienced. I wanted to disabuse you of that notion. There's more than one way to skin a cat bro.

Cheers,
DMT

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