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Technical Solutions: Ask a technical expert

QUESTION:

“I’d like to use my GRIGRI on multi-pitch routes, but don’t want to carry a REVERSO just for the rappel. How can I descend a route using a device that only takes one rope?”

ANSWER:

Descending a few pitches with an assisted braking device, like the GRIGRI + and GRIGRI 2, can be done with blocked rappels on a single rope, in conjunction with a pull-cord, or with two-ropes.  

EXPLANATION:

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A blocking technique must be used to prevent the risk of the knot passing through the anchor point when descending a route on only one strand of rope. Additionally, on rappels longer than half a rope-length, a dedicated dedicated pull-cord or another rope must be used in order to recover the rappel rope.

There are many methods for blocking the rappel with both knots and carabiners, and each has their own pros and cons. Below are a few of the many possible variations where the risk of the knot pulling through the anchor has been minimized.

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Connect the pull-cord to the rappel rope with a flat overhand, creating a knot-block. Use an alpine butterfly or clove hitch and carabiner to close the loop should the knot squeeze through the anchor.

Pros: If the knot goes through the quick link, the fall will be stopped but rope recovery will be difficult.

Cons: If using a dedicated pull-cord, the second rappel can be set up only after the rappel rope has been fully retrieved. There is also the risk that the carabiner or knot may get stuck during retrieval.

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Connect the rappel rope to the pull-cord using two figure eights on a bight and a locking carabiner. The figure eight on a bight on the rappel rope acts as the knot block. Close the loop by clipping the carabiner around the rappel rope.

Pros: Because the ropes are joined using a carabiner and not a joining knot, the second rappel can be set up without threading the whole rope through the quick link.

Cons: Risk of poor carabiner positioning and/or stuck rope.

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Use a figure eight on a bight as the knot block on the rappel rope. Connect the pull-cord to the rappel rope by tracing it back through the figure eight on a bight starting at the loop and ending at the tail. Close the loop with a locking carabiner.

Pros: The knot block is of considerable size to reduce the risk of it getting sucked through the anchor point.

Cons: This is a more complex knot, and the rappel can be set up only after the rope has been fully retrieved.

CONCLUSION:

In order to rappel on a single line using a GRIGRI or any other device, you must have the proper knowledge and training to set up a blocked rappel that is both backed up and retrievable.

TECHNICAL NOTICE:

It is important to fully understand the information provided in the technical notice for the GRIGRI + and GRIGRI 2 before using this complementary information. All Petzl products include a technical notice with their packaging. These notices are also available on every product page of Petzl.com. It is important to fully understand the information provided in the technical notice for each product before using this complementary information.

HAVE A QUESTION?

Send your questions to our team of technical experts at solutions@petzl.com

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Technical Solutions are provided by the Petzl Technical Institute. The Petzl Technical Institute serves as a center for knowledge, discussion, and the creation of solutions for those who work or play in the vertical world. 

THIS STORY WAS WRITTEN BY PETZL AS ADVERTISING MATERIAL. CLIMBING MAGAZINE’S EDITORS ENDORSE THE CONTENT, BUT HAD NO INVOLVEMENT IN ITS CREATION.

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