Author Topic: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?  (Read 4678 times)

Offline PAprepared

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Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« on: June 21, 2010, 10:14:13 AM »
Hey guys! Wasnt sure where to put this so mods feel free to move....but...

I'm looking for a good school and/or resources for mountaineering courses? Preferably on the east coast. My wife is really interested in rappelling since she works on the 22nd floor of a skyscraper.

Anyone know any?

endurance

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2010, 10:36:28 AM »
I'd recommend stopping by a local indoor climbing gym, looking at their bulletin board and talking with the front desk.  Getting indoor gym instruction won't have nearly the utility, but they'll have local contacts.  Here in Colorado I have dozens of choices of some of the best in the country, but I'm sure there's plenty of good stuff there, too.

Offline PAprepared

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 02:31:30 PM »
Thanks Endurance!

I didn't even think that we had such a thing here in Philly , but to my surprise....

http://www.govertical.com/
http://www.philarockgym.com/index.htm
http://www.doylestownrockgym.com/

This is a good start. I hope they get into proper carabiner looping etc. Not just "for the kids fun". Going to check into this asap. Pretty cool.

Offline Muddyboots

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 02:53:44 PM »
That is a long rappel that needs special equipment and training beyond mountaineering or rock climbing standard practices. It is more in line with vertical rescue.

22 stories @ 12ft ea. =264 ft. + distance from edge to anchor. That is a large expensive piece of rope! Also you can not use simple mountaineering gear for that kind of drop (heat build up and rope weight lock off) You'll need an edge pad and anchoring materials too. Oh, can you open the windows or would you need to break them? How about wind? How about wind from a fire? This is not a simple thing! I'm not saying it isn't a valid technique, but you do need to think it all the way through. I have the training and tools to do it and I still prefer not to rely on that technique. Deliberate evacuation rehearsal, even if just solo is better. You can stack the deck in your (her) favor with an escape hood, door passage tools and a couple good lights. Early warning and rapid response are the best approaches. On 9/11, the people who started moving immediately mostly survived. Look at this whole thing like Jack says to look at other survival situations: Threat Matrix.

Also I have to point out that there are currently schools out there that are training based on "how we did it" which does not necessarily mean state of the art. Even Magpul which is a very good company shows some middle of the road (not bad, but there are better ways) techniques of rigging in their Arial Platforms DVD. At least it was better than Surefire's "recipe for disaster" rigging on their catalogue cover about four years ago!


Muddyboots

endurance

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2010, 03:50:04 PM »
I'm glad you found some good resources.  As someone who actually keeps a 150' rope in my office along with webbing, a 10oz. cotton tarp, two harnesses and belay devices, I obviously don't think it's a bad idea.  That said, I would certainly add to her office kit:
An emergency alert radio (Eton makes several good ones for reasonable prices)
A high quality flashlight
An LED headlamp
A smoke hood
A case of bottled water
A day pack
A minimalistic 72 hour kit
A solid first aid kit

All that fits in two filing cabinet drawers in my office.

Pick up a copy of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why by Amanda Ripley.  There's a lot of analysis of who survived 9/11 and why, what little things made a difference and how to innoculate yourself from fatal decision making in times of stress.

Offline PAprepared

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2010, 08:19:38 AM »
Muddy and Endurance,
                                Wow guys, you really put me light years ahead of the game with those two posts. Extra gear, expensive rope? No brainer, well worth it for my wife. But I also hear Muddy on the evac procedures. The wife is no newbie to being prepared (tsp member) and her situational awareness is second to none. If the SHTF in her building, best believe she would be one of the first out the door if evac was possible!

Yes, she can open the windows, the wind is very dangerous at that height too due to other skyscrapers in the vicinity. Endurance, we did put together a good grab bag that she leaves at her desk...no smoke hood though, and her EDC is pretty hefty. I would still feel better if she had even the minimal of belaying skills and would gladly pay for her to take advanced training.

Any other DVD resources ya'll can recommend?

+ 1 to both of you!!! :)

endurance

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2010, 01:18:53 PM »
I actually saved quite a bit of money by going with a 7mm static rope rather than a 9 or 11mm dynamic rope.  No doubt, if you're climbing and are going to fall down to the last piece of protection, this would be an absolute no-no.  Static rope has no stretch and if you fell on it, it would put tremendous stress on both your equipment and your body, likely leading to severe injury.  All rock climbing should be done on a dynamic rope, which can stretch up to 1/3 its length and absorb a tremendous amount of force.  On the other hand, for rappeling, a static rope is fine because your speed is controlled and there are no sudden jerks.  You can also buy it from most climbing shops by the foot off a 600' roll, whereas most dynamic ropes come in two standard lengths, 165' and 180' (although you can order longer lengths up to 600').  My proper 11mm dynamic rope is 165' and cost about $125 in the late 1990s (and should probably be retired).  My 7mm static rope is 150' and cost under $75 ($65 if I recall correctly, but I bought it when I got my current job back in 2001 and I'm too old to remember that far back with any accuracy).

Another consideration is to have a hammer or hatchet with a teather on it.  Completely innocuous, makes a great self-defense weapon, can get you through a drywall wall in a hurry, and if you need to remove a window, it'll make quick work of the task.  Remember, her best idea for escape may not necessarily be going all the way to the ground, but just going down a few floors, so she'll need to have a way to get through a window when she gets there and tempered glass does not break nearly as easy in real life as it does in the movies.

As for the smoke hood, you can find them as cheap as $65 on up to about $125.  I even keep one in my suitcase for hotels when I travel.  It's a lot safer to use a smokey stairwell than trying to rappel.

endurance

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2010, 03:04:51 PM »
Actually, I just remembered seeing one of these on the discovery channel a while back and I'm not sure it's a realistic possibility, but it is designed for exactly what you're thinking and works in buildings up to 1,000' tall.  I'm not sure if it takes modification to the building or what and it is pricey at $1,500, but there's no doubt it's designed for the task and less vulnerable than a rope.

Offline Muddyboots

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 06:58:51 PM »
You'll also need need a  "parachute type" retainer banded deployment bag. You can't just toss a coil out the window in a situation where it  MUST be knot free.

I agree that this line should be a dedicated static line though I think a 7mm or other skinny line is not a good idea. Be aware that a 7mm takes up less room but it is also a whole hell of a lot more difficult to control especially if it is a Sprectra (type) "escape line" I personally wouldn't hang my tail off a 7mm unless I had NO other option. A spectra line will cost about 40% more than a comparable diameter Nylon line. The commercial escape lines and devices are designed for firefighters bailing out of the fourth story or under and are calibrated for their specific weight and line weight up to a set length.

For clarity, A "Static line" ( aka Rappel rope) is supposed to have less than 2% stretch under "working" load  (80 KG.) and a "Dynamic line"(aka Climbing rope) is supposed to have no more than 40% in the first test fall and commonly around 7% +- under that same 80 kg. working load. Depending on the weave and type, a climbing rope will stretch to a ridiculous length before breaking on edges and at knots.


HTH!

Muddyboots

Offline Andy in NH

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2010, 08:12:26 PM »
I'm looking for a good school and/or resources for mountaineering courses? Preferably on the east coast.

Eastern Mountain Sports has classes at Ralph Stover State Park and Chickies Rock Park in PA.  They also have other venues around the east coast.  The classes in NJ, NY, or VA might be closer depending on where you are in PA.

Offline PAprepared

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Re: Rappelling and mountaineering resources?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2010, 08:47:36 AM »
COOOOL!!!!

Wow.

Endurance, you shed allot of light on the subject. I am going to sit back and think about these options. I am a complete layman, so I had no idea about static/dynamic ropes. Makes a whole lot of sense. As for the high rise escape system, thats brilliant, but a bit much for her office. I doubt her boss would understand. She works in a grasshopper infested company.

Thanks Muddy, is this the type of deployment bag you were talking about?
http://www.opticsplanet.net/blackhawk-rope-deployment-carry-bag-10-diam-x-20.html

I also saw some static rappelling rope on Camping Survival's website. Any good?
http://www.campingsurvival.com/swatraprop.html


Thanks Andy, EMS were the first people I called and the girl told me they didn't have any classes!!! Maybe she just meant for her particular store? We are going to follow up with them.


The wife is excited. She is already making plans to visit this place next week end.
http://www.govertical.com/

I will let you all know of our progress!

You guys rock!!!! ;D