Note From Jon


Monday, September 3, 2007

Safety Knots

I'll take a quick break from chronicling my trip to West Africa (I'll keep updating the entry below this) to bring you this public service announcement: Always tie safety knots at both ends of a rope you rappel down - or better yet tie the two ends together in a double fisherman's knot. Note to Jon - learn how to tie a double fisherman's knot!

You might not want to read this mom. We climbed Juliet's Balcony at Great Falls VA this morning and decided to rappel down. This was nearly a "very bad idea". I made it down to the balcony without incident and then threw the ropes down the rest of the way. Robert pointed out I needed to verify both ends had reached the ground. I'm pretty sure they did (it was hard to tell from the angle where I was at - not that that's a good excuse) but when you rappel the ropes can feed through your belay device at different speeds as I found out when one of the ends fed right up through my hand and out the belay device, essentially meaning there was nothing holding the other end of the rope I was hanging from. I caught the rope but it was out of the device and I was now dangling from the end of a rope with nothing to hold me up. Thankfully I was only about 5 feet from the bottom at this point and was able to fall safely (except for some nasty rope burn). When Garrick from Sportrock came by later and rappelled down the same rope he pulled the entire rope back to the top and tied the double fisherman's knot between the two ends before coming down. I should probably take the outdoor safety class :-) Good thing I just got a gift certificate for a free class!

The climbing went well though after I shook off the nerves from my (mini) fall. I did a couple of 5.7s and a 5.10c which clearly was mis-rated (or I used some holds which weren't intended for it). Garrick had climbed it before me and rated it a 5.8 so we'll go with that, and modify the name from Randomly Vicious to (Not So) Randomly Vicious. I think the difference is that we climbed a bit up the flake to the left of the intended face at the bottom (though Yvonne definitely climbed the intended route once) and perhaps too far to the right at the top. Either way it was a fun climb and I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a 5.8 level climb.

My day outdoors on Sunday was a tad safer, with an easy hike out to Raven Rocks WV. It is a 5.5 mile out and back hike with a great view and lunch spot in the middle, where we discovered some climbers on one of the cliff faces. I'll have to investigate the area online more and see about doing some climbing out there. I do think I'd have to rappel down though...


joel said...

edgy. sounds more dangerous than sky diving?

Jon said...

More dangerous than "sky"diving in a wind tunnel anyway Joel :-p

joel said...

once the shoulder heals i WILL do that wind tunnel.perhaps not vegas, but somewhere. I think PA/NH/FL have 'em. joining?