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Friday, August 5, 2011

Adventure (Serious) Sport Climbing at the Point!

Climbing at the Point and Edd’s Place can turn into a serious situation should something go wrong.  Remember that unless there are some other climbers around, no one else on the island can rescue you but you!  The rappel approaches present some unusual challenges for many climbers, especially since many of them overhang.  Also, you will be rappelling on a single rope.  Depending on your rap device, you may want to add friction to the system.   We suggest the following procedure for first-timers.

climbing the roof
First of all, evaluate the surf conditions before rappelling.   Be sure your targeted belay stance isn’t being hammered by big waves.  If it is, you might choose another route, or one of the inland areas for the day.

Anchor one end of your rappel rope to a tree or thread on the top of the bluff.  Then tie a figure-8 on a bight with enough slack to reach the bolt anchor that's over the edge of the cliff.  Clip your harness into this knot to protect you when downclimbing to the bolt anchor.   You might want to protect this section of rope with a piece of hose or other padding (There are chunks of garden hose in the shed at Bluff View).  Leaving about 10’ of slack between knots, tie another 8-on-a-bight to anchor the rope to the bolts using two quick draws.

If you are the first person to rappel, clip the free end of the rappel rope into the back of your harness to keep it out of the sea.  If it’s windy, feed the rope from a bag or coil.  As you descend, clip the rap line into the bolts in order to stay close to the cliff; if you don’t you may end up hanging 15’ from the wall and 30’ above the water!  When you get to the belay anchors, clip yourself in and tie in the rap line securely!  
The second person to rappel, which will usually be the leader, brings the lead rope down in a bag.  This person unclips the rap rope from the draws as he/she descends and (sometimes) ends up hanging over the sea.  The first person then pulls them into the belay.
 One of the most common mistakes is to rappel all the way down and then remember that you left the lead rope on the top!  To combat this, we've developed the "one-two-three" check before starting the rappel:
1.    Am I safe?  Check your rap setup, anchors and harness.
2.    Am I taking everything I want?  Such as the lead rope, draws, ascenders, camera and chalk bag.
3.    Am I leaving everything I don't want?  Such as sunglasses and hat (you’re usually rapping into the shade).
Even when both of you are at the belay DO NOT release the rap line until the leader is off belay at the top of the route and ready to pull it up.  This rope is essential for self-rescue (prussik, Tiblock, Ropeman) if for any reason you should not be able to climb the route. 
Once the leader is at the top, belay from the anchors below the rim to avoid running the lead rope over any sharp edges. Have the belayer take a small stuff sack that can be clipped to the back of their harness.  When they’re ready to climb, they can stuff the rope bag (that you carried the lead rope in) into the sack and clip it to the back of their harness.

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