Author Topic: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.  (Read 12730 times)

Lelandbug

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low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« on: March 30, 2008, 09:47:27 PM »
Yo all,

I was thinking (don't worry, if you think only a kid would come up with this, I am a kid, just a smart one :) that it would be cool to make a rope harness for climbing up to the top bar in a swingset, to fix the swings which  have been looped over the top and knotted so they are impossible to use.  It seems like a pretty good idea, and might even work for accessing tree branches.  I have a pretty basic idea of how the harness will work, with some double or triple butterfly knots, but I don't know what kind of cinching knot I could use.  I was thinking maybe I could set up two prusik knots and use them pretty much as the normal climber would.  Any ideas? 

It's obviously not too risky, as it's only up about 10 feet up, but also if anyone has something to say against suspending your whole body above the ground with just a rope, then please do so. 

Dan_Lehman

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2008, 11:33:08 PM »
Firstly, the suggestion that "only 10 feet up" means that there is no danger
must be chucked out of belief:  one can end up paralyzed or worse, from
a fall of such height.  And falling a short distance on unstretchy rope can
impart serious injury (say, to your spine).  Rockclimbers, e.g., count the
ratio of fall distance to rope in the arresting system--their "fall factor".

As for dealing with something 10' up, using the sort of rope-climbing system
you seem to want is indulging in rope play rather than solving the problem
(swings, here)--something I'm good at (finding a reason, er, excuse to involve
rope).  Simple solution:  make a rope ladder (etrier, a French term), and
climb up that (suitably anchored after being tossed over the top bar).
Etriers were typically made of solid webbing/tape, which was comfortable
to stand in.  One tied Overhand knots in suitable step-wise increments,
in a doubled rope, making one side longer than the other in order for it
to provide sufficient room for ones foot.  (A series of Butterfly loops is
NOT the answer, so nevermind Ashley.)

Then again, a grappling hook & line might serve to retrieve/unwrap the
swings from ground level (or entangle one's rope onto the swing!).

--dl*
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turks head 54

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2008, 11:50:43 PM »
I agree with Dan that a fall while doing this operation
would be painful if not deadly. I have experience in climbing
and if you get tangled in your setup the results would be
bad. My advice is to get someone with the proper experience
to untangle those swings.

TH54
« Last Edit: March 30, 2008, 11:55:43 PM by turks head 54 »

Lelandbug

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2008, 12:35:03 AM »
I suppose you guys are right. :-\ Especially that the system that I came up with is more playing around then efficiently solving the problem.  Might a more efficient way be using four prusik loops to get to the top, untangling the swing, untying the rope and climbing down the swing?  I wouldn't need anything to descend, as controlled descent is pretty easy.  This would actually be less risky than my previous idea, as I would have my feet towards the ground, and if I fell, would not land on my bottom or back.  Unless I fell over with my feet stuck in the loops, in which case I would probably land on my head or end up hanging by my severely wrenched ankles. 

If I used a rope ladder or rope with knots, how would I secure it to the top bar?  I couldn't pull a hitch through to the top.

turks head 54

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2008, 02:29:54 AM »
The most efficient way I can think of is using two prusik
loops to ascend and descend.
I wouldn't need anything to descend, as controlled descent is pretty easy. 
What would you use for a controlled descent?

TH54

Lelandbug

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2008, 02:51:24 AM »
I would use my arms descending.  I am not strong enough to climb a rope without any knots, but it won't be hard to lower myself down.

With the swingset, it would be easy enough to reach the top, untie the two half-hitches which I would have made at the bottom and slid up to the top, then drop the rope and climb down the repaired swing. 

However, I don't know how I would get down if I was climbing a tree.  It would be easy to tie the rope to a branch, but how would I get it down?  Unless I anchored the other end to the ground... Ya, that would do it.

I will try it with the prusik loops.  I'm really interested to know how all these climbing knots work, because they are easy to understand, but what about to use?

TheTreeSpyder

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2008, 10:07:49 AM »
Ropes without padding can dig in to you; powered by your own bodyweight.

If, you were harnessed off and anchored line to harness; then threw the line over the top of the swingset; then pulled the free end, you'd have a 2:1 - friction lift over yourself.  Prussiks to harness to let the Standing Part slide up and down thru (but not run out of) could give safety locks between pulls.  Also, you could descend in that configuration (2 legs of a line bent over bar; one terminated at saddle, 1 sliding thru prussik that itself is terminated at saddle); for then the prussik can unload enough to slide properly.

But, without knowing what you are doing, and proper gear, you could fall, choke, get hung up etc.; for you are playing with height and power.


DerekSmith

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2008, 12:41:53 PM »
Right then Young Man,

Being a bright young fellow, you will appreciate the importance of preserving life and limb, so you will accord with the advice which follows.

Go find a responsible adult with a ladder and a certificate in 'Safe Ladder Use'.  Get their permission to borrow the ladder and their assistance to safely use it.
Carry out a Risk Assessment for the transfer of the ladder to the swing.
Apply the Risk Assessment and safely transport the ladder to the swing.
Carry out a Risk Assessment of placing the ladder against the swing with the intention of taking your weight in ascent and decent.
If the Risk is acceptable, then cordon off the area in accordance with the Risk Assessment.
Place the ladder against the swing in accordance with the 'Safe Ladder Use' guidance supplied by the suitably trained adult.
Make sure that the foot and the head of the ladder are firm and placed  in accordance with your 'Risk Assessment' and the 'Safe Ladder Use Protocol'.
Get the adult to 'Foot' the ladder (if appropriate) and ascend to the first rung having first donned a full safety harness, connected via a re-threaded fig 8 loopknot to a 12mm (new) Kernmantel climbing rope.
Reach above yourself (do not overreach) and clip the safety rope to a rung using a full gated 'bina'.  Lock the gate and ask the responsible adult to belay the safety rope for you.
Keeping both hands on the horizontal rungs, climb up one step.
Take another gated 'bina', reach up and clip the rope to the next rung making sure that the responsible adult has not gone to sleep is fully attentative and that they are maintaining an appropriate tension on the belay.
Take a third step up the ladder and repeat the safety tying in process.
Having gained access to the ladder contact point with the swing top, lash the ladder to the swing using 4mm braid and a recommended binding.

You have now reached the top of the swing and can reach the knotted swing lines to unfoul them.

BUT, as it is unsafe to work off a ladder, you had better go back down the ladder, reversing the above process as you go.  Do another Risk assessment for the return trip of ladder to its owner, clear up the cordoning, give up on fixing the swing and concentrate on a future career working for the HSE or your equivalent national body.  You have after all managed to demonstrate that you have practical experience of implementing Safety Awareness and Due Dilligence application, and you left a clearly dysfunctional and therefore unsafe swing safely out of harms way from those who might otherwise have enjoyed an obviously dangerous swing on it.

PS. The responsible adult may well have highlighted the need for a secondary overhead safety system and fall arrestor sytem, if that were the case, naturally you would have implemented this fully before ascent.

You see, that is the piggin mess we adults have created for you, the next generation.  Very sorry for having let it happen and I hope some bright new wave of intelligence can sweep away this mess which holds that you are not responsible for your own actions - everybody else is - but not you (after all you can hardly sue yourself now - can you?)

Derek

Lelandbug

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2008, 04:51:06 PM »
Now I really feel chastised for out-of-the-box and unsafe thinking (Though I understand the good-natured humor of the entry directly above.)  But isn't there some line between playing around and indulging in creative thinking, and being unsafe and deserving a push back into the real world?  I don't want to be the naive kid who thinks he knows better than his elders, and gets hurt both physically and mentally because of it, but I also don't want to sit around and be bored.  Theoretical studies in knotting don't really compare to the real application, and what's in the point in theoretical studies if the real application is unsafe or impractical?

So if I was a little too enthusiastic, sue me, but all I want are some ideas... yup.  What can I do without disabling myself for life?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 07:36:45 PM by Lelandbug »

Fairlead

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2008, 05:36:23 PM »
Very well put Derek - BUT (tic) you forgot to inspect the top of the swing frame to make sure it would take the weight of the ladder!!  Which means he would also have to borrow a portable tower or cherry picker first!!

Gordon

Dan_Lehman

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2008, 07:38:23 PM »
If I used a rope ladder or rope with knots, how would I secure it to the top bar?  I couldn't pull a hitch through to the top.
The etrier would be tossed over the top of the swings, and it would have to have it end
anchored somewhere such that you could climb it.

Use of friction hitches to me implies some sort of harness, or maybe some awkward
manipulation of hitch-to-stirrup arrangement which would require the hands to be
on the rope.  A problem with various set-ups in who-knows-what materials is that
friction hitches are tempermental re their gripping enough to too much, et cetera.
Tree climbers have a method of ascending in which they are sort of pulling themselves
up the, by means of a rope run over something and down to their harness:  when
they stand on the end of the rope ("footlocking" it), they somewhat hoist themselves
(i.e. pull down on this end, pulls up on harness end); they then recover in the harness
and resume, ascending it little surges.  Descent comes by actually sliding the friction
knot down the rope (which suggests concerns for overheating the material within
the hitch), in which the hitch has the additional advantage of the rope running
over something at the top (in contrast to if one where hitched directly to a single
line supporting all weight).

--dl*
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turks head 54

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2008, 05:21:34 AM »
First of all Leland DO NOT ASCEND THE ROPE WITH YOUR
HANDS!! This could cause  :'(BAD :'( rope burn(Just ask Me.
I've tried it.) Secondly if you really want to unravel the secrets
of climbing knots and ascention and rappeling and all that get
the book entitled Freedom of the Hills( http://www.amazon.com/Mountaineering-Freedom-Hills-Mountain
eers/dp/0898868289/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207282785&sr=1-1
). 
 I have a copy and it is my best friend.

TH54

DerekSmith

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2008, 02:21:29 PM »
snip......  What can I do without disabling myself for life?

Generally, the answer would be -- Very Little.

There seems to be a universal rule -- High Safety = Low Fun and High Fun = High Risk.

I had some fun a while back.  I tied a 3 loop Butterfly.  Two loops each big enough for one leg to go through and the third loop a tight fit around my hips.  I then tied a single loop Butterfly at chest height so the loop went tight around my chest underneath my arms.  I threw the rope over a bough and hauled on it, lifting myself off the ground by a few inches and then tried 'sitting' into this makeshift harness.  It was without question very uncomfortable and there is no way I would have been prepared to take a fall onto it, even though it was tied out of 11mm kernmantel, it would have shredded me had I fallen far onto it.  Still, I wasn't planning on falling onto it, I was going to be on a tight overhead rope all the time so I felt confident to give it a go.

I climbed the tree, fitted a bina to a tape loop around the trunk and then clipped the rope through a belay plate so I could abseil back down the tree.

It was fun, it hurt and I still haven't lived down the laughter from the sight of a fully grown man, trussed up like a Christmas turkey spinning out of control as my foot slipped off the trunk and sent me into a wide swinging loop around the tree.

Would I do it again?  Well, yes - but then it is widely established that I am only a few cranks short of being sectioned and I do take full responsibility for my own actions.  Should you consider doing it -- most certainly not -- it is MUCH TOO DANGEROUS.

Derek
nodeo ergo sum
(at least I think so?)

PwH

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2008, 11:44:20 PM »
I once used 3 prussic loops to climb a street lamp to change the photocell on the top- one round waist and one for each foot- took a bit of jiggery pokery to get it right but it worked ok. My workmate thought I was Craaazyy! Should have used a MEWP but the rope was much more fun!!

Dan, our tree trimmers (I work for the electric company and we have huge problems with trees in O/H lines) climb with a rope tied on the harness, tossed over a bough and back through a prussic loop which is also attached to the harness. A two handed pull on the working end followed by a swift slide upwards of the prussic gains the climber about a foot or so of height. They can climb real fast like this with no foot contact at all , mind you the best guys weigh about 8 stone (112 pounds) dripping wet and have muscles in their spit. Descending the weight is taken on the rope with one hand and the prussic slid down under no tension, the climber drops down onto the knot then repeats. Again a very fast and safe process. This is the same technique as described by The TreeSpyder above.
Frictional heating in the prussic is minimal as it is slid 'free' rather than tensioned. Leland, I would recommend you get in touch with an Arborist or tree surgeon to learn this technique, experimenting on your own may work but could be dangerous. Always do stuff like this with a fully trained rescue capable buddy to hand. Have fun and stay safe (ish).

MEWP-mobile elevating work platform, or cherry picker
« Last Edit: May 28, 2008, 01:19:20 PM by PwH »
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ski.ninja

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Re: low-risk climbing ideas, rope harness etc.
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2008, 07:53:37 AM »
it would be cool to make a rope harness for climbing up to the top bar in a swingset, to fix the swings which  have been looped over the top and knotted so they are impossible to use. 

Two words my friend: Hockey Stick.  They're good for more than slapping your puck around.