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Do you use an autoblock?

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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby cheeseburglar » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:20 pm

BaronVonBergschrund wrote:Another site with a few good techniques is this one by Eli Helmuth.


Definately some good stuff on that site.
Why don't you call the autoblock knot the "French Prussik"? Do you still use the term AT instead of randonee?
Why does everyone hate the French still?
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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby rickinco123 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:39 pm

When you do a long rappel, especially with double ropes, the rope weight makes it difficult to feed your rappel device, especially in the cold, with gloves etc. If you put your auto block in first, you can pull the rope up through the auto block and it will hold the heavy rope ends and give you an unweighted section of rope to feed your rappel device.

The autoblock also works much nicer when you extend your belay IMO, once you get used to it, there is almost no difference in feeding the rope efficiently vs not using one.

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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby Garrett » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:16 pm

Using a rappel backup is just another way to add redundancy to whatever system you're using. If you make your anchors etc redundant why wouldn't you do the same with your rappel. And it's a simple way to protect both yourself and your climbing partner. I've watched a very experienced climbing partner slide down the rope and deck because he didn't use a back-up. It was on a Single pitch climb in perfect conditions on nice rock. He slipped, lost the rope, and that was it. Even had his back up with him he just didn't use it. Luckily, he only suffered a minor concusion, rope burn, and was still with it enough to milk his then girlfreind into staying the night with him.

If you don't use some sort of backup you should start, be it whatever. If you just do single pitch stuff have your belayer give you a firemans belay.

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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby Daniel Trugman » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:14 pm

[quote="BaronVonBergschrund"
I suspect that people who do not use an autoblock or rappel backup have never rappelled on skinny cords, never rappelled with another person or never rappelled with a haulbag. Probably sport climbers, now that I think about it.[/quote]

Wrong on all accounts (except for the haul bag) in my case. Plus all the people I climb with regularly don't use one either. These people would probably not appreciate being labeled mere "sport climbers", as most are much more experienced than I am, and some onsight 5.12 trad and are responsible for FAs in the Himalayas, among other places. I think you may be on to something however, it that this kind of stuff is being taught less and less in the modern "sport climbing" era.

An autoblock is never a bad thing (incidentally, I had never heard the prusik back-up called an autoblock until this forum, but I assumed this was the true name after hearing it).

But I can't really think of a situation in which a high friction rap device, knots in the end of the rope, and some care would not substitute for an autoblock backup.
"When mountains speak, wise men listen."
-- John Muir

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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:15 am

Daniel Trugman wrote:But I can't really think of a situation in which a high friction rap device, knots in the end of the rope, and some care would not substitute for an autoblock backup.

You are not a very imaginative person.
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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby Doug Shaw » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:43 am

Daniel Trugman wrote:But I can't really think of a situation in which a high friction rap device, knots in the end of the rope, and some care would not substitute for an autoblock backup.


Consider any scenario in which the rappeller is impaired or distracted, affecting his or her ability to display "some care" in the course of their rappel. Rock fall, injured climber, etc. Having knots on the end of the rope is great to keep you from going off the end - what happens when you're 70 feet above the knots when you lose control of the rap? If you're extremely lucky, you'll "only" have to deal with having the knots solidly wedged into your belay device.

Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:13 am

Daniel Trugman wrote:
These people would probably not appreciate being labeled mere "sport climbers", as most are much more experienced than I am, and some onsight 5.12 trad and are responsible for FAs in the Himalayas, among other places.


You know The Great Camillo?
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby Daniel Trugman » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:37 pm

TGC would *never* use the autoblock! Just kidding. I didn't mean to come off sounding like that, I just wanted to point out that there is not a consensus among expert climbers that an autoblock is always necessary.

Any time you're rapping on a skinny rope or with a heavy load, it is always a good idea to set up an autoblock. And as someone upforum pointed out, if you stop paying attention or for some reason are incapacitated, an autoblock is a great safety measure.

But as there really is not an equivalent safety precaution one can take (to my knowledge) for the possibility of an incapacitated belayer, it hardly seems fair to declare belaying without a backup to be safe but rappelling without a backup to be unsafe.

I'm not sure if I'm clearly articulating my thoughts here, so feel free to ignore what I have to say.
"When mountains speak, wise men listen."
-- John Muir

Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:20 pm

Daniel Trugman wrote:But as there really is not an equivalent safety precaution one can take (to my knowledge) for the possibility of an incapacitated belayer, it hardly seems fair to declare belaying without a backup to be safe but rappelling without a backup to be unsafe.



Of course there is, it's called a Grigri.
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

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Re: Do you use an autoblock?

Postby Daniel Trugman » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:01 pm

I was actually hoping someone would call me out on that with the Gri-Gri/Cinch example. In some ways, the Gri-Gri is analogous to the autoblock. Yes, a Gri-Gri makes climbing safer (when used correctly, of course). So does an autoblock. But does it really make that big a difference? I would argue that it does not, except in special circumstances.

Anyways, I think we're beating a dead horse here, and that is mostly my fault. I apologize for resurfacing this thread.
"When mountains speak, wise men listen."
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