Climbing Harnesses...

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Gavers
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Climbing Harnesses...

Post by Gavers »

... And the knowledge of how to use them... Should be in a boaters bag of tricks.

Anyone do this already/think is a good idea?

The idea sprang into my mind from what Krikkitwars said about an all in one suit with integrated rescue harness...
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John Kennedy
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Post by John Kennedy »

It's a very good idea, but it's only really useful when paddling gorges with no possible walkouts, and a via ferrata is the only solution. You'll therefore know ehen you're going to be paddling such rivers, and therefore don't need to bring it with you all the time.

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Post by kendomat »

Floatable, light weight climbing rope would go down well, for those dodgy exit senarios...

They could it could be built in to the fore-mentioned suit with firing rockets to get ropes up banks / accross rivers.. :)
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Post by TheKrikkitWars »

kendomat wrote:Floatable, light weight climbing rope would go down well, for those dodgy exit senarios...

They could it could be built in to the fore-mentioned suit with firing rockets to get ropes up banks / accross rivers.. :)
You mean canyoning rope?

and I like the rockets idea, with waterproof propellant would be useful for self rescue from huge stoppers :)
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Post by Fatboy »

I've often thought about one. Something dead basic like the Black Diamond Alpine Bod yould be ideal. Only ever been in a position to have to use one a couple of times, but they would have been handy then. As it was, a cleverly looped sling does the same job, albeit less comfortably. Clipped in with your chest harness improves matters somewhat.

They seem to offer most advantage for setting up for filming or photography in gorges, etc.

I think that knowledge of climbing techniques, etc is going to be pretty essential to get the most out of them.

Oh, and before someone comes on getting very excited, we do all know they're not quick release, don't we?
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kendomat
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Post by kendomat »

but there not quick release !!! hahahaha..

Its friday what the hell..
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Post by Fatboy »

Damn! I knew I should have mentioned it in my original... Oh, hang on.
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Post by RobMoffatt »

I can fashion a good enough harness out of a sling and some tape (I think it is shown or at least mentioned in the Franco rescue book) and having tried the method shown at the end of the Hotel Charley DVD can rappel a short distance with a throwline and this basic equipment. It is perfectly safe for purposes such as filming or short extractions and adds no bulk to my paddling equipment since I already carry these items with me. If I were intending to paddle in a committing gorge that might require it, I would ensure that I had a harness with me and that I had the required rope work skills to go with it.

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Post by Fatboy »

I know it's as safe, my issue is with comfort. Filming, etc can involve long periods of hanging. This can be unpleasant. I think if you're using it on steep ground, ok, but in the (admittedly rare) event of hanging free, I'd prefer a harness every time.
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Post by trickywhu »

If you make a triple bowline it forms a harness in the end of a rope.

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Post by Paul Smith »

trickywhu wrote:If you make a triple bowline it forms a harness in the end of a rope.
which is only really for lowering someone.
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Post by neilfarmer »

This appears to be a very strange discussion!

A climbing harness is designed (and please correct me if I am wrong) to take the shock of a leader fall. That is where the comfort element comes in, and becomes essential. A significant problem with a climbing harness (as most people refer to it as), which is a "sit harness" is that if the center of the persons balance is above the waist (for example with a rucksack), when held on a rope, you will tip over and fall out. This is a problem when approaching routes on a glacier, and why a chest harness/rope arrangement (is/should be) often used.

With the difficulty of putting on, and practicalities of getting off quickly, a sit-harness, it would be impractical for kayaking (rescue) use. To further add to the debate, the ropes that we use in throwlines, would probably melt when used for abseling and not provide enough friction to 'lock off' on a descender.

For inspecting a gorge, with a climbing rope, they would be ideal, although a cavers SRT (non-stretch) rope would be better.
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Re: Climbing Harnesses...

Post by srnet »

Gavers wrote:And the knowledge of how to use them... Should be in a boaters bag of tricks.

Anyone do this already/think is a good idea?
An appreciation of climbing techniques would be useful to the kayaker, if only to make you aware of the limitations of the kit an average kayaker carries.

No need for a kayaker to carry a climbing harness, you can improvise quite easily with a sling.

If you are in a situation where you need to use a proper climbing harness (as opposed to an improvised one) you are in a situation where you need the specialist knowledge and experience of the rock climber.

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Post by Dave Manby »

When Yvon Chounard, Doug Tomkins, Reg Lake, John Wasson and Rob Lesser did the first descent of the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River they took a full rack of climbing gear and two 150ft ropes plus food for three days. (They did not need it.)

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Post by Fatboy »

Maybe not rescue, but I believe there are other times (as mentioned above; filnming, inspection, extraction) where they would be useful. The ability to take the shock of a leader fall is not connected with the comfort issue - as anyone who has used a Whillans harness can attest. The comfort issue lies in hanging or being supported for long periods by webbing about 25mm across (harness) or 10mm across (sling). Look at rope access harnesses. Huge. It's simple mechanics. I have used harnesses before for taking pictures, and it adds significantly to the length of time you can dangle.

Throwlines, usually are more than strong enough to be used for this kind of thing, so long as you don't take a lead fall (i.e. from above your anchors) They are thin, however, belay devices designed to be compatible with the new wave of thinner ropes will hold them easily. The DMM Bugette comes particularly recommended. ATC's with their thinner top have worked well too. The problem comes when trying to get back up the rope. Too open a weave makes the use of anything other than prussiks impossible. Plus the alarming stretch will have you either soiling yourself, exhausted, or both.

Canyoning rope would be the best bet, although bulky, but at least it floats. SRT doesn't as far as I'm aware. But it is cheaper.
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Post by Ryan Clements »

Fatboy wrote: Throwlines, usually are more than strong enough to be used for this kind of thing, so long as you don't take a lead fall (I.e. from above your anchors) They are thin, however, belay devices designed to be compatible with the new wave of thinner ropes will hold them easily. The DMM Bugette comes particularly recommended. ATC's with their thinner top have worked well too.
It's not really about strength, it's about materials, durability and heat resistance. I take it that when you are refering to the belay devices that you are suggesting they are used for absiels. This is really bad advice in my opinion, absieling on a polyprop' rope is asking for trouble. If you think you may be absieling then take a climbing rope or buy a spectra throwline at least. I accept that there is a difference between an emergency and a planned abseil, but if it is planned why take the risk.

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Post by Fatboy »

Bad advice? The devices are not made for abseiling per se, they are designed for controlled lowereing, either belay or otherwise. If a rope is passing through a device, it normally doesn't ave time to heat up. In the wrong conditions, a device can melt specific climbing rope. Given the use as a device for controlled descent or work positioning, the chances of overheating are very low. Factor into this the very high likelihood that the rope is wet, and I think the advice given is sound from that point of view. If you want to go screaming down overhanging pitches, get a specific rope. I don't think anyone was saying not to. But buy something better than a figure 8 while you're at it.
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Post by chud »

Can you ignore the overheating if you just go slowly? What are climbing ropes made of that they resist heat/slide more easily? I thought that the fancy materials were in the core and the outer part was the same on most rope?

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Post by neilfarmer »

Fatboy wrote: The ability to take the shock of a leader fall is not connected with the comfort issue - as anyone who has used a Whillans harness can attest. The comfort issue lies in hanging or being supported for long periods by webbing about 25mm across (harness) or 10mm across (sling). Look at rope access harnesses. Huge. It's simple mechanics. I have used harnesses before for taking pictures, and it adds significantly to the length of time you can dangle.

Throwlines, usually are more than strong enough to be used for this kind of thing, so long as you don't take a lead fall
The ability of a harness to take the shock of a leaderfall, is very much what harness design is about. Remember, these are climbing harnesses, that are made for people climbing routes. They take 'leader falls'. Anyone that has fallen in a 'whillans harness' will clearly attest to the discomfort, which is one of the reasons that they have been replaced. Even harnesses such as the 'alpine harness' are a compromise of weight vs effectiveness. It is fairly obvious that any harness will be better than sling for sitting in. Remember, the earliest climbers just tied the rope around their waist, the 'policy' then was to never take a fall.

As for using throwlines for lowering/abseiling, do so at your own risk. The whole point of 'belay devices (such as figure of 8, carabiners and italien hitch, stitch plate, other devices)', however clever, is the use of FRICTION. This will heat the rope up, and put the user at risk. Safety devices should be used for what they are designed for. When designing the product, the designer had the initial criteria in mind!
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Post by srnet »

neilfarmer wrote:The ability of a harness to take the shock of a leaderfall, is very much what harness design is about. Remember, these are climbing harnesses, that are made for people climbing routes. They take 'leader falls'.

Anyone that has fallen in a 'whillans harness' will clearly attest to the discomfort, which is one of the reasons that they have been replaced.
This is one of those modern revisionist things, using modern develeopments to show haw 'bad' things were before.

The longest leader fall I took in a Whillans harness was about 50ft, and the fall was not uncomfortable, I dont recall any discomfort in the other falls I took either.

Harness design did change of course, modern designs are better and have less chance of injury.

When other designs did become available, I dont recall everyone replacing their Whillans harnesses en-masse, so they cant have been that bad really.

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Post by srnet »

chud wrote:Can you ignore the overheating if you just go slowly? What are climbing ropes made of that they resist heat/slide more easily? I thought that the fancy materials were in the core and the outer part was the same on most rope?
The melting point of polyprop is about 150C and for nylon climbing ropes about 260C. The ropes will weaken at a lower temperature, and polyprop has only about half the strength of nylon anyway.

If you could guarantee that you would always be running rope through the decender then your not going to heat up anyone bit of the rope significantly.

But there is no way you can guarantee that, you may be forced to stop or the rope snags or whatever. Then you have a hot decender heating up one bit of rope thats got a very low melting point and is half as strong as nylon .... not good.

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Post by chud »

Why are throwlines not made out of something that could be used that way (canyoning rope?)?

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Post by srnet »

chud wrote:Why are throwlines not made out of something that could be used that way (canyoning rope?)?
Good question ...........

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Post by RobMoffatt »

chud wrote:Why are throwlines not made out of something that could be used that way (canyoning rope?)?
Is it not a lot more expensive, and usually a lot more bulky? - you won't be able to pack 15m of canyoning rope into a small bag easily.

Also throwlines main purpose is to pull swimmers out of a river, and they double up as a useful in a pin situation. They weren't designed to be used like canyoning rope - that was why canyoning rope was invented.

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Post by srnet »

RobMoffatt wrote:
Is it not a lot more expensive, and usually a lot more bulky? - you won't be able to pack 15m of canyoning rope into a small bag easily.

Also throwlines main purpose is to pull swimmers out of a river, and they double up as a useful in a pin situation. They weren't designed to be used like canyoning rope - that was why canyoning rope was invented.
Hardly expensive, 9.5mm Canyoning rope is about £1.30 a metre.

Its heavier sure, but no bulkier than a 10mm throwline, and a lot stronger.

Since we cant carry everything, we need to have things with us that can serve several purposes.

So since you can abseil on a Canyoning rope and it floats, is there any good reason why the large throwlines are still using Polypropelene ?

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Post by Rich C »

So whats the difference between the canyoning rope and the new (?) spectra throwline that can apparently be abseiled on? Is this worth the extra money over the polyprop lines?
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Post by Fatboy »

neil farmer, I know that the design of climbing harnesses is to take a leader fall. Very much so. The point I was making is that a harness is more comfortable than a sling to sit in. Climbing harnesses are not designed to necessarily be comfortable to fall in, they are designed to be safe to fall in. Comfort is mainly for when hanging around. I've never noticed much difference between harnesses for falling in, but sitting about in, you can feel it. That, although badly worded, was the point I was trying to make.

I am also aware of the method used by belay devices. In my considered opinion and practical experience, you simply do not generate enough heat for the devive to get anything more than warm-ish to the touch.

I do know of the practical implications of using either type of rope. This, I think was the purpose of the thread. As a climber and a paddler, I use the crossover of knowledge to be aware of the uses and limitations of equipment, and, hopefully improve both.

I think part of the issue that people are imagining paddling ninjas zipping down precipitous faces at high speeds. My experience of using these things has either been as a means of positioning, or as an aid to progress on steep ground. You just don't go fast enough for heat to become a problem. I understand that if you do, it's a major thing. But you generally don't. If you can, be aware that you shouldn't, and everything will be fine.[/quote]
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Post by srnet »

Rich C wrote:So whats the difference between the canyoning rope and the new (?) spectra throwline that can apparently be abseiled on? Is this worth the extra money over the polyprop lines?
Canyon ropes are a nylon sheeth and enough of a polyprop core to make it float.

I am not convinced a spectra rope would be a good idea, its very slippery and does not knot well. Knots weaken it significantly too. Very low melting point as well similar to polyprop.

Weight for weight spectra\dyneema is stronger than nylon, so you can make a rope thinner or lighter. But you would not want a rope to be thinner than 9mm or so, or it will be too difficult to grip.

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Post by Ryan Clements »

Fatboy wrote:Bad advice? The devices are not made for abseiling per se, they are designed for controlled lowereing, either belay or otherwise. If a rope is passing through a device, it normally doesn't ave time to heat up. In the wrong conditions, a device can melt specific climbing rope. Given the use as a device for controlled descent or work positioning, the chances of overheating are very low. Factor into this the very high likelihood that the rope is wet, and I think the advice given is sound from that point of view. If you want to go screaming down overhanging pitches, get a specific rope. I don't think anyone was saying not to. But buy something better than a figure 8 while you're at it.
I wasn't saying that it was bad advice to use ATC's etc for abseils, just that abseiling on a polyprop rope is bad advice. I think that it is bad advice for a number of reasons, such as the low melting point, the braided as opposed to kernmantle construction (as in a climbing rope) which makes it much less resistant to abrasion over edges, it's low strength (relatively), and maybe most importantly the numerous guises it comes in (some are much weaker/stronger than others. If people have the knowledge and judgement to make their own call, with there own equipment, that's all well and good. I just don't think it's good advice in general to say that polyprop ropes are suitable for abseils.

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Post by Fatboy »

True. I'm all in favour of people using their own judgement. Most throwlines have a strength rating on them somewhere (usually about 1000kg), and people can make their own judgement on that. Also, to be in a position to make decisions about using this kind of equipment, a working knowledge at least is assumed.

I take your point that not all ropes are created equal, older Palm style open weave polyprop is useless for this kind of thing. I've got a Peak UK line that's quite closely woven, with a core construction. I had that in miind as I was writing.

I wasn't aware that i was saying in general to abseil off any old bit of polyprop. If I did, I can only apologise, it wasn't my intention. I was trying to offer advice about the m,ost suitable device to use should someone feel the need so to do. Bear in mind that there are many other applications for that kind of device than just abseiling. I was trying to cover them all in a catch all post. I wasn't trying to convince anyone to do anything stupid.
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