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All about Rappel Racks

NickfromWI

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So I used the search feature. I found a few threads that mention rappel racks, but the threads weren't ABOUT rap racks. So rather than derail another thread, I started my own.

A while ago I loaned Burnham a NT Tengu harness. He offered to loan me a rap rack sortof in exchange. I'd never used one and had been thinking about buying one, so thought, "what the heck."

Well, I used it locally on a few local 30' rappels. It wasn't anything special and sure as heck didn't warrant the extra weight and bulk of the 6 bar solid stainless rack.

Well, last weekend I got to go climb some big trees and I was able to test out the rack on a 175' descent in a 300'+ tree. Let me just say...WOW.

I only needed 5 bars, but even with 175' of rope pulling below me, I was able to have a super smooth descent. It was sortof unbelievable to look down and not see even a tiny bit of twist in the rap line (7/16 Sterling HTP, if you're wundrin).

I was toying around on the ground while someone else was ascending and I found a rather secure way to lock this thing off:
 

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NickfromWI

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Sonofagun- you know. I never even tried it under load. I had an auto lock (prusik) below the device anyways, so it didn't even come into play.

It's worth looking into, though.
 
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NeTree

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I bet the tail would follow back around to the left quite nicely; the real question is how secure a lock off it is, and is that how you do it with those things anyways?

I've never played with them, so I is just askin'.
 

NickfromWI

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Loading 5 wraps, it only takes slight downward pressure on the tail of the rope to hold yourself steady. This gave me a VERY secure lock off. I assumed it would pop off when I wanted it too, but I didn't test that out.
 

NickfromWI

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Now I just get to decide which one to buy. I'm thinking 4 bar since I like to get the lighter weight stuff, but I could see that extra bar coming in handy now and again.

I saw some where the bar is just a curved sheet of stainless. I like that idea.

love
nick
 
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TheTreeSpyder

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i'd think that is only a temp lock, but for a hard lock you'd drag the bight out longer and give 2 half hitches around the standing (less line) or even better around frame. Very nice peace with no twists(so nicer working out of a bag), also less heat concentration than 8's.
 

Burnham

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So I used the search feature. I found a few threads that mention rappel racks, but the threads weren't ABOUT rap racks. So rather than derail another thread, I started my own.

A while ago I loaned Burnham a NT Tengu harness. He offered to loan me a rap rack sortof in exchange. I'd never used one and had been thinking about buying one, so thought, "what the heck."

Well, I used it locally on a few local 30' rappels. It wasn't anything special and sure as heck didn't warrant the extra weight and bulk of the 6 bar solid stainless rack.

Well, last weekend I got to go climb some big trees and I was able to test out the rack on a 175' descent in a 300'+ tree. Let me just say...WOW.

I only needed 5 bars, but even with 175' of rope pulling below me, I was able to have a super smooth descent. It was sortof unbelievable to look down and not see even a tiny bit of twist in the rap line (7/16 Sterling HTP, if you're wundrin).

I was toying around on the ground while someone else was ascending and I found a rather secure way to lock this thing off:
Oh for shame, Nick...:D

I sent you that section from the USFS that covers the rappel rack...you didn't really use that resource, did you? Proper rigging, soft and hard lock methods are shown there...starting on page 65, I believe. http://www.fs.fed.us/treeclimbing/policy/guide/tree-climbing-field-guide-2005-edition.pdf

Anywho, you made a mistake in rigging...don't reave the rope between the top of the frame and the first bar, start between the first and second bars. By doing so, you'll find you get yet a smoother ride and easy lockoff...less wear on the rope, too. Your pictured soft lock is close, but the mistake in mounting will cause a bind when you unlock under load. It shouldn'd be like with a standard rescue 8.

Take a minute to look at that section of the Guide, in my link above. Locking off properly will not bind the rope and unlocking is fully controlled and without effort.

Glad you got a chance to really give the rack it's head and let 'er rip on a decent drop. It really is the bomb for that type of rappel.
 

NickfromWI

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Burnham- I think you just about nailed that one. I flipped through the paper you sent, but just quickly perused and sorta went, "yeah, I think I got this figured out already, I don't need to read ALLLL if this."

I will have a look right when I get home. The concept of not really using the top bar makes a lot of sense. I'll do one or more raps with it when I get home, then I'll send it back to you.

Thanks for letting me use it for so long!

love
nick
 
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moray

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...I only needed 5 bars, but even with 175' of rope pulling below me, I was able to have a super smooth descent. It was sortof unbelievable to look down and not see even a tiny bit of twist in the rap line (7/16 Sterling HTP, if you're wundrin).
Super smooth is right! But I am surprised, with 175' of rope below you, that you could even move with 5 bars. You must weigh a lot more than me. I use a very tidy little BMS MicroRack with 5 bars (the 5th is a HyperBar), and using the same rope you were using, I use only 4 bars with more than about 30' of rope below me. The HyperBar is a very cool feature, and besides supplying about two bar's worth of friction, because the rope does a full half turn around it, it provides a very convenient lockoff. It also puts your controlling hand in a much more convenient and comfortable position. A beautiful piece of equipment.
 
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