Author Topic: staying upright whilst descending?  (Read 8728 times)

Offline simonsays

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staying upright whilst descending?
« on: February 27, 2012, 12:56:38 pm »
Whilst descending the 75' pitch into Yordas yesterday I reached the conclusion that I'm the wrong shape for srt.... Despite losing 5 stones in weight over the last year I'm still kind of porky. 5'10" and about 15 stone. My centre of gravity is way to high, the hand gripping the petzl stop is also having to constantly fight to hold me in an upright position. Very tiring on the wrists, by the time i was down I had all the strength of limp spaghetti....  If I don't hold on to the stop and just sit in the harness I assume an almost horizontal position.  Neither comfortable nor safe :annoyed:

I'm working on the long term solution. It involves salad :-\

In the short term I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how to alter my centre of gravity to make my abseils safer and less knackering?  I thought about adding another karabiner between the harness and the stop but this just raises the stop up a bit, it doesn't really address the centre of gravity issue...

Any ideas?
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Offline Speleotron

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 12:58:47 pm »
How tight is your chest tape?
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Offline paull

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 01:12:59 pm »
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Froment-Safety-Fall-Arrest-Harness-Full-Body-HA044-Larg-/220672199411?pt=UK_BOI_ProtectiveGear_RL&hash=item3361168af3#ht_3277wt_1031

i dont know if it will help you much on the way up but would change your centre of gravity on the way down, ive seen a larger caver with something like this down Lancaster hole a few years ago
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Offline owd git

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 01:27:30 pm »
Hi, had the same problem when i changed to a avanti harness, found my stumpy wee legs inadequate to counterbalance me as in my 'loved 'caving supplies  harness,
On discussion with Phil Brown we thought the only real difference was supporting the leg 'loops' to ensure the heighest point of balance,'fulcrum'.
attention to placement did help, additional webbing strap works perfectly. trial& error to find length,
then sewn to possition leg loops NOT to bear load! will photo later if that helps.
I can now let go (when locked off!) and lean back and return upright with no hands, what more would ya want?  :thumbsup: What harness are you using?
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Offline skippy

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2012, 01:28:51 pm »
Hi Simon,

I suspect its more to do with your sit harness....The Petzl one you have appears very 'low slung' at the front and back.....therefore any back support will be low down at the back and you may feel you lean back more.

You could try a Torse chest harness....I asked you to clip mine in yesterday......When you tighten it the belt of the sit harness gets pulled up....therefore giving you higher support at the back.

Just a thought.

Offline Greg L

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 01:32:53 pm »
Slackening the leg loops will allow the waist bit of your harness to sit higher up your body therefore your COG will be lower and hopefully be below your central D.
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Offline Groundhog

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 01:47:32 pm »
Congratulations on that spectacular weight loss. 5 stone in a year must have taken some effort.

Offline JessopSmythe

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 06:16:55 pm »
I had a similar problem, I've got a long back and relatively short legs.

The simple addition of a maillon between the centre maillon and the chest jammer has totally changed my perspective on SRT. After trying it out on a practice trip, I went hunting and found a twisted maillon so everything still sits nice and flat.

http://www.upandunder.co.uk/Outdoor/Caving/Karabiners-and-Connectors/P---Standard-Twist---14429/

I find I get less tired as I'm not using my arms to pull myself upright all the time.
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Offline Amata

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 06:51:25 pm »
At least on racks, you can put an additional teather from around your chest to your descending device. this holds you up right. Next vertical practice is in 2 weeks I can try and get a photo of James' setup like this if you want. If I remember how he did it correctly, you should be able to do it on your stop as well. Comfort on long rappels is nice!
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Offline adz

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 07:14:08 pm »
Buy some of those concrete wellies you see at some garden centres (Look in Gnome section)

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 07:16:13 pm »
Clip your chest harness to the rope above your descender with a climber's quick-draw.

Offline Norris

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2012, 12:03:21 am »
Buy some of those concrete wellies you see at some garden centres (Look in Gnome section)

I too like Simon, am the wrong shape for SRT... My torso is dispropotionate to my leg length, I have short legs  :) consequently on ascending and descending struggle to stay upright.

I use a Caving Supplies sit harness, use a one inch tape chest harness pulled really tight when ascending, my current set up is with the chest jammer directly onto the D ring, but previously I have tried a maillon between the D ring and the jammer, and I have also tried it with two maillons between the D ring and the jammer, and none of the variations seems to shift my centre of gravity dramatically.

Just recently been experimenting by clipping my gear bag (weight about 1 - 2 kg?) to a loop around my foot, and this has had the most profound effect on my SRT position. Not a long term solution perhaps, but a useful exercise if you want to prove your SRT position and for free

Two other options I want  explore to the same end would be trying a differant sit harness (cost involved  :(), or the use of a pantin, I was reading on  (I think)the NSS website that some American cavers favour the use of the pantin with a resulting benefit in SRT position (cost involved again  :()

My two pence worth  :)
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Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2012, 08:04:05 am »
I too am of the short legs relative to body design and I can confirm that a pantin does help.

I have read a few suggestions that a chest harness is better than a torse and I was just wondering if anyone has any more to contribute on the subject. I hate the fact that I have the Torse so tight when prussiking I am like the hunchback of Notre Dame when I get off the pitch head

Its also worth noting that there was an article in Decent about SRT and body shape a few issues ago.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 08:19:48 am »
Its also worth noting that there was an article in Decent about SRT and body shape a few issues ago.

Worth noting, just. Its conclusion was that different people do SRT differently and more research could be done. 

Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2012, 10:35:41 am »
Yeah, but it moved the debate on from me just being slow old fat b*st*rd to "having a less than optimal body shape"   ;D
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Offline simonsays

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2012, 11:01:50 am »
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions :bow:

I'm going to try some of them out this weekend on my SRT-lite practice rig (an aluminium ladder wedged in between a brick outhouse and the wall of my house)

Does anyone think there may be any mileage in using one of these

 http://www.petzl.com/us/outdoor/verticality/harnesses/full-body-/-chest-harnesses/voltige


and rigging it like this

http://www.petzl.com/files/all/technical-notice/Sport/C60-VOLTIGE.pdf

I think must of the load is transferred to the seat harness D ring but it is routed to the rope via the chest harness. That would certainly sort out the centre of gravity issue, but i'm wondering how it would affect the ability to carry out deviations/rebelays

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Offline potholer

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2012, 11:20:40 am »
Yeah, but it moved the debate on from me just being slow old fat b*st*rd to "having a less than optimal body shape"   ;D
I guess it depends whether your body shape was more optimal when you were twentysomething.

I know mine was.

Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2012, 12:10:56 pm »
It's always been less than optimal but has got worse since gravity went metric  ;)
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Offline paul

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2012, 12:26:30 pm »
If you are having problems prusiking using the usual "Frog" set up, it may be worth investigating a "Ropewalking" setup. This is quite popular in the US as they quite often don't have rebelays (and passing rebelays with a Ropewalking setup isn't as straight-forward as with the Frog setup), just using rope with freater abrasion resistance and padding any rub points.

There are ways of swapping between a sort of Ropewalking setup and a Frog setup using the same gear.  Try googling for "Ropewalking".

One advantage of Ropewalking types of setup is that the body is much more straighter than when using a Frog setup and closer to the rope. You make upward progress by alternately stepping upwards with each leg while the chest is held close to the rope.

It may be worth having a try if you find your body shape is not optimal for Frogging.
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Offline Alex

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2012, 01:03:24 pm »
I don't see how ropewalking is harder to pass rebelays I sometimes 'rope walk' in a sudo sense by using my pantin on my left foot and my foot loop on the right. The only thing slightly akward is getting the pantin off but that disadvantage is overcome with the fact that it makes it easier to stand up straight at a reblay too when transferring the gear to the other rope.

Maybe I am not rope walking and still prussicking but I don't half shoot up pitches this way and I seem more upright. (40m in under 5 minutes)

 :-[ Oops sorry this is about descending ignore that then, that won't work too well in reverse.
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Offline skippy

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2012, 01:19:38 pm »
Alex...thats the same set up I use(pantin on my left foot).I still find it difficult to 'rope walk' up a free hanging pitch...but fly up stuff when the ropes about 12 inches away from the wall.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2012, 01:35:36 pm »
I don't see how ropewalking is harder to pass rebelays I sometimes 'rope walk' in a sudo sense by using my pantin on my left foot and my foot loop on the right.

I think that the important word here is "sudo" (or pseudo as it is sometimes spelt). Rope walking with a frog set-up and a pantin is fast, but it is not viable for long free-hanging pitches. Moreover, it reverts back to the orthodox sit-stand system at rebelays.

Proper rope walking systems (e.g. the Floating Cam system, and the Mitchell system with its many variations) are fast and efficient, but tend to be more difficult to get onto the rope, and also to pass rebelays without the fixed chest ascender, and hence are not used much in Europe.

Offline Judi Durber

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2012, 01:41:25 pm »
Quote
http://www.petzl.com/files/all/technical-notice/Sport/C60-VOLTIGE.pdf

Looking at the petzl diagram the first thing that came to mind was that you would have to be very careful not to get hair, chin strap, or nose close to the Figure 8  :o

The next thought was that you would possibly need  an extra cows tail to clip onto the figure 8 before you unclip to make sure it isn't 'lost' down the pitch  :o

The next was I would really have to practice lots to make sure it didn't take me forever to do the changeover  :-[
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Offline big-palooka

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Re: staying upright whilst descending?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2012, 01:50:27 pm »
I see that this topic, whilst headed "staying upright whilst descending" has discussion about staying upright whilst ascending, which has been a bit of a problem for me.  Seeing the Petzl spec sheet for the Voltige beautifully illustrates the problem.  I am both tall in the body and round(ish).  What everyone refers to as the "chest" jammer is clearly not a chest jammer when fitted direct to my sit harness maillon - it is a "belly" jammer and no amount of tightening the chest strap can get the jammer anywhere near my chest. The picture on the Voltige spec sheet clearly shows the "chest" attachment to the rope, albeit in this case a descender, above the position of the heart and not the navel.
I am ignorant of the historical technicalities - so can someone explain why caving harnesses were designed with such a low central attachment point in the first place and secondly, why it is not thought advisable by some to raise the location of the chest jammer by using an extra maillon to attach it to the D ring, which I was certainly thinking of trying next time out in view of the earlier suggestions on this thread.
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