Tom Martin Rappelling, Edition II

ISBN 13: 9780930871031

Rappelling, Edition II

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9780930871031: Rappelling, Edition II
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This book is a photo documentary of extraordinary phenomenon which few people have been privileged to see - phenomenon which may never be seen again. It pictures towers of ice, over one hundred feet high, standing alone in the forest like silent gendarmes; snow, rolled by the wind into giant doughnuts; delicate needles of ice, taller than a man, growing from the floors of caves; and waterfalls frozen solid. With the aid of forty large color pictures, this book describes how such beautiful creations came to exist, and tells about the unique places where they were found.

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About the Author:

Tom Martin is an entrepreneur, writer, inventor, and outdoorsman. Much of his adult life has been spent in electronic research, and in the development of products ranging from burglar alarm systems to equipment for rappelling and rescue. He has also been instrumental in the startup of several sales and manufacturing companies.

A great love of the out-of-doors has led him to countless places in search of beauty and adventure, as is obvious in his book about ice formations. For many years, through hikes, campouts, and slide presentations, he has been sharing the joy of these adventures with boy scouts, girl scouts, and many school and adult audiences. His expertise in the art of rappelling has enabled him to train many firemen, police officers, and rescue squads in this lifesaving skill. His volunteer efforts have introduced a huge number of people to rock climbing, cave exploring, rappelling, and to a greater appreciation of the natural world in which they live.

Other books by Tom Martin include: Kentucky Ice, and Osbervations.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

This book is dedicated to the countless people in rescue squads, fire departments, police departments, and the military who rappel to save lives. May it make your job safer.

Just how safe or dangerous rappelling is, depends on how you wish to make it. It can - and should - be far safer than driving to the area where you rappel. How safe it is depends almost totally on you - the rappeller. You are allowed no mistakes!

Look out for holes. As one rappeller was bounding down a cliff, his leg got jammed in a hole. Snap, crackle, pop!

Besides losing strength during use, ropes do all manner of things. For instance, as kernmantel ropes are pulled over rough surfaces, fibers are pulled out to the side and the ropes become shorter. Along with becoming shorter, they become more flexible. This is generally bad because it increases knotting difficulty and the need for friction in the rappel system. The stiffer the rope, the less friction is needed in the descender to hold a given amount of weight.

A variation of the Dulfer is called the Geneva (Fig. 4-3). The rope is passed across the hip and then wrapped around the forearm, instead of going across the shoulder. Genevas are generally less painful than Dulfers, but they don't work well if there is a great amount of rope weight below the rappeller.

A comfortable harness will allow longer hang times before physical and psychological problems occur. This is very important when raising or lowering injured people. Long periods of hanging can result in extreme pain, numbness, blood pooling in the legs, blood pressure changes - and fatal mistakes.

As stressed in the Foreword, only the finest rappel equipment should be used. If you are too poor - or too cheap - to go first class, then don't go at all. The consequences could be fatal!

The purpose of the ears, or horns as they are sometimes called, is to prevent the rope from slipping upward and cinching. Eared-8's come in a great variety of shapes and sizes, and the larger ones can easily pass most knots. The large sizes have longer life, do less damage to ropes, dissipate heat better, and are easier to lock than standard Figure-8's.

When use properly, the Sky Genie works satisfactorily. Its prime problem is one of the rope slipping out of an upper slot and making a half turn around the top of the spindle. This only occurs in very hard, fast stops, with heavy loads. Generally, the worst effect of this is a bit less friction. Under extreme circumstance the cover can fly off, letting the spindle come off the rope.

The Pro-Pak descender is designed for use with 5/8 inch tubular Kevlar webbing, which tests at over 9,000 lbs. (4,082 kg.). This webbing is pure Kevlar, and not covered by a mantel, so that it is easy to inspect for abrasion and wear. It is provided with a sewn attachment loop at the end, so that strength is not sacrificed by using a knot when anchoring.

Be careful ladies! Breasts sometimes get caught in descenders. Always carry prusiks for getting unjammed.

This device (Fig. 7-12) is made of heavy steel, and can be used at the end of a rope to expedite retrieval. This is described in Chapter 13 under "Rope Retrieval." Because Fiffis have been known to break, use only the strongest ones for rappel hookups. If there is any doubt about strength, tie two or more together so that they function as one - or better yet, use another method of retrieval.

A rappeller's life depends on many factors, not the least of which is how well he ties knots. The knots shown in this chapter are those most commonly used in rappelling. You must learn them so well that you can tie them in the dark while in a cold shower.

The angle at which anchor lines run is also of great importance. As can be seen in Fig. 9-3, when lines run parallel, each supports one half of the attached load. As their angle becomes greater, the tension on each line can become much greater than the total load. At 120 degrees, the tension on each line is doubled; at 170 degrees it is over eleven times greater.

The harness ascender is the descender you are rappelling on. Yes, you may be able to use it to climb back up the rope! Many descender types readily lend themselves to this purpose. After you stand up in the foot loop, merely pull the braking end of the rappel rope back thru the descender, raising it up the rope as far as possible (Fig. 12-13). Apply tension to the line (as if you were stopping a rappel), and sit down. Once again push the ascending knot upward and repeat the climbing process. Any descender can be used for ascending if the rope can easily be pulled thru it in reverse - when tension is removed.

Gravity can be harnessed to retrieve a rope. The Gravity Method is rigged much like a Reepschnur, but instead of a cord, a heavy object, like a log is tied securely to the rope. When the rappel is done, the rope is released, and the weight pulls it to the ground.

Visualization is another way to conquer fear, and can be used in the safety of one's home, before any rappelling is done. In quiet and comfortable surroundings, with the eyes closed, the beginner should visualize a positive rappel scenario. Like watching a "movie" in the mind, he should imagine himself safely getting over the edge, and slowly sliding to the ground.

Ascender - Any instrument used for ascending ropes which "clamps" on to the rope, providing movable hand or footholds.

Splat - Sound produced at the end of an excessively fast rappel.

Tail - A rappeller's posterior or dorsal area. Also, that end of a rope nearest to the ground.

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