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Published by jmvictoria6870

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Published by: jmvictoria6870 on Jul 29, 2010
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Before the days of mechanical descenders, caversdescended pitches using a classic abseil. It wasdone by running the rope between their legs,forward across one hip, diagonally across thefront of their body and over the opposite shoulderwith one hand to control the rope below and oneabove for balance. Not at all comfortable, safe orused much these days.A more comfortable classic abseil runs the ropestraight across your back with one arm holdingabove for balance and one arm below with a twistof rope around the wrist. The Shoulder abseil isstill a good way to descend slopes without adescender or for use on knotted ropes and tapes.In most cases though, a descender is needed tosafely get down a rope.
Descenders — bobbins
All bobbins work on the same principle. Open thedescender by rotating a moveable plate (like operating apair of scissors). Thread the rope under the bottompulley, through a tight ‘S’ bend between two pulleysfixed to a plate and exit at the top of the device on theother side. The rear plate has the pulleys bolted to it andan oval hole to attach the bobbin to your seat maillonwith a locking karabiner. The front (moveable) plate hasa spring loaded gate that allows the bobbin to be openedquickly with no risk of dropping it. Once the top plate isclosed again the rope cannot escape. The pulleys aremade of either aluminium or stainless steel.Control your descent by varying the tension on the ropeon the lower side of the bobbin. Use aBrake karabiner attached to your seat maillon and clipped onto the ropebelow the descender to add extra friction and allow youto hold the rope at a more comfortable angle. Controlyour descent rate by lifting or lowering the rope tochange its bend through the brake karabiner. This givesmuch better control than squeezing the rope or passing itover your hip.Should the rope be too fast, use an Italian hitch, or thefirst turn of one, on the brake karabiner. Should thebobbin run too slowly, only engage the lower pulley or
Classic abseil Shoulder abseil Petzl ‘Simple’ Petzl ‘Stop’ SRTE descender 
thread the rope backwards in a ‘C’. Depending on the descender, reduced frictionconfigurations may disable the autostop ability of the descender. Some models allow you topull a flexible rope backwards through the descender, a handy feature when crossingrebelays and for rigging.Bobbins are not variable friction devices but they do work well over a wide range of ropesand rope weights, being best on ropes 10 mm or less and pitches shorter than 50 m (thoughyou can safely use one on any pitch). At first a bobbin may seem fast and uncontrollable butwith practice you can go fast or slow with ease without adjusting the device.
while the control is excellent, bobbins with stainless steel pulleys can heat upenough to melt the fuzz on dry rope after only a few metres of fast descent, and the softerthe rope, the faster this happens.
Simple bobbin
A simple bobbin is just that – simple. Two fixed aluminiumpulleys bolted between aluminium plates.
Autostop bobbins
Take the essentials of a simple bobbin and add a camming action to pinch the rope and ahandle to control it and you have the best descender so far invented. To ‘go’, squeeze thehandle and control the rope as for a simple bobbin. If you release the handle you stopautomatically. The ‘stop’ handle is just that. Use it as a stop or go lever while maintainingcontrol with your lower hand.Not all autostops are the same, some work better than others and the stopping quality varieson different ropes or even the same rope wet or dry, new or old. You can use an autostop
Extra frictionReduced frictio‘C’ threaded bobbin (autostop inactive)- minimum friction Lower pulley only (Petzl autostop still active)- less friction Italian hitch -maximum friction Single twist -more friction, but twists the rope Simple bobbin – without a brake handle you can hold it so that it stops with a single squeeze 

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