/ Use of a fiddle stick

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Planeandsimple 22 Oct 2019

Having just seen a video (Google it) of the use of a fiddle stick to rig a retrievable abseil I think this US method has some serious advantages  operating in areas where the environment is sensitive for rope wear.

Rope wear from retrievable abseils is clear at crags like  Symonds Yat and others with tree anchors and can lead to death of the trees. Teaching this method would prevent this.

Other benefits is that it decreases the risk of dislodging stones and sticks on ledges when pulling through, which is quite common with poorly placed abseils.

The method has some drawbacks and involves learning a new skill but if you're not capable of assessing or learning then you shouldn't really be trad climbing IMO.

I am aware that this idea will probably get torn into by every UKC stick in the mud but on this occasion I think we can learn from the Americans. 

3
ianstevens 22 Oct 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> Having just seen a video (Google it) of the use of a fiddle stick to rig a retrievable abseil I think this US method has some serious advantages  operating in areas where the environment is sensitive for rope wear.

> Rope wear from retrievable abseils is clear at crags like  Symonds Yat and others with tree anchors and can lead to death of the trees. Teaching this method would prevent this.

> Other benefits is that it decreases the risk of dislodging stones and sticks on ledges when pulling through, which is quite common with poorly placed abseils.

Or... a nice bit of abseil metalwork would resolve all these issues with far less visual impact, if placed well. 

> The method has some drawbacks and involves learning a new skill but if you're not capable of assessing or learning then you shouldn't really be trad climbing IMO.

Controversial, but I actually go trad climbing to climb up things not faff about with over-engineered bits of kit. 

> I am aware that this idea will probably get torn into by every UKC stick in the mud but on this occasion I think we can learn from the Americans. 

5
oldie 22 Oct 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> The method has some drawbacks ....  <

Useful method to know. Would need to bring an extra item when planning to use. Obvioiusly wouldn't need a tag cord if climbing with double ropes. Might be worth listing the drawbacks.

Planeandsimple 22 Oct 2019
In reply to oldie:

As far as I can see the main drawback is death if you set it up in a way that the stick can be pushed out. This is rectified easily by clipping the holes at each end with a krab while the first person descends and tests the system, this tightens the knot. Since the knot is now tight and the second has observed that the stick isn't moved by the abseil tracking back and forth the krabs can now be removed knowing the stick is secure. I don't see this kind of care as an issue, it's common in ice climbing and common sense with all abseils to observe failure modes during the first descent. Good practice for all knots should be free of mechanical interference anyhow.

Other drawbacks, have to learn 1x knot, carry 50g(ish) of acrylic which you'd be hard pressed to find another use for, other than spreading butter ... the 3mm pull cord does weigh something but can also be used to create additional rap tat or an emergency prussic. An additional item which could get snagged in a crack when pulling it down, probably unlikely as on vertical ground it will fall away from the cliff. Could break on impact creating plastic litter and disappointment.

DubyaJamesDubya 22 Oct 2019
In reply to oldie:

> Useful method to know. Would need to bring an extra item when planning to use. Obvioiusly wouldn't need a tag cord if climbing with double ropes. Might be worth listing the drawbacks.

Not sure I like the idea of  50m/60m of rope weighting the stick. You'd have to be careful not to apply a pull to the spare rope when abbing after the safety Krabs are removed.

Planeandsimple 22 Oct 2019
In reply to ianstevens:

Haha Probably one of the simplest additions to your rack and very cheap. I take it you leave the cams at home too? Climb without quickdraws on slung nuts? Belay off just Italian hitches?

Personally I advocate minimalist approaches and often visit stanage armed with a rope and two screw gates. Solo up then belay my second off the rope tied around a block or two. Swift, effective and efficient. 

3
aln 22 Oct 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> (Google it) 

No.

1
oldie 23 Oct 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> Other drawbacks, have to learn 1x knot, carry 50g(ish) of acrylic which you'd be hard pressed to find another use for, other than spreading butter ... the 3mm pull cord does weigh something but can also be used to create additional rap tat or an emergency prussic. An additional item which could get snagged in a crack when pulling it down, probably unlikely as on vertical ground it will fall away from the cliff. Could break on impact creating plastic litter and disappointment. <

Actually since most trad climbers use double ropes one of these would be used to pull, and dedicated pull line would be unnecessary. If using a single 60m rope there might be enough length for a 25m ab keeping both ends at the top and using one side to pull. I've minimal experience of thin pull lines but it might be easy to tangle round ab rope/legs,plants etc as well as cracks.

>Personally I advocate minimalist approaches and often visit stanage armed with a rope and two screw gates. Solo up then belay my second off the rope tied around a block or two. Swift, effective and efficient. <

Of course the minimalist, simplest, and safest approach is just to use the rope round a tree, but this doesn't prevent trunk damage which was the point of the OP. Another option might be to pass a sling round the tree, one end of sling clipped to a fig8 on bight in the middle of the rope and the other end clipped beside the knot, ab on a double rope, then pull from the side with the bight, avoiding the rope running over the tree and requiring no extra item.

I'm not suggesting the tiny extra weight of a fiddlestick would be a problem (and the second could carry it) but people would probably only take it if they were certain they'd use it. Perhaps a combined fiddlestick/nut extractor is a possibility!

Post edited at 12:35
pass and peak 23 Oct 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

I think the product answers its own questions in it's naming! Also its advertised as a canyoning product. When i trad climb my plan is to walk of the top! If its multi-pitch then I carry TAT in case of a bail, Whats wrong with cord and a mailon? Safe, reliable, and doesn't damage a tree. If it's a bail then I hope the next assensionist will remove it and keep the metal work for their efforts! When i look at devices like these I think how many times do you have to place it before you get it orentated wrong? Add tiredness, cold hunger, etc etc. 


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