Post by Rebel Rouser on Dec 27, 2006 19:20:52 GMT -5
"The same should apply to caver education, particularly that involving vertical skills".
Tell that to the Thor '06 crew.
"As for your voter education - well, I won't touch that one with a barge pole..."
The topic is the relation of big wall rappelling to caving. I don't get the thread drift into how scary it is. It's pretty much 'cut and dried'. Bad technique can kill you! This is the vertical section so it is a given that the topics might involve height and rope work. Any assertion that big wall rappellers have an unhealthy disrespect of height is ludicrous. Rebel
Post by happykillmore on Dec 27, 2006 21:29:00 GMT -5
Vertical caving has its origins in TAG. Perhaps because there are so many pits and caves in this area. In the early years TAG cavers invented much of the gear that made this a safe sport. I remember when Gibbs were the standard climbing gear. Then Petzl emerged as the leader in ascending equipment. My hats off to the pioneers that made this the safe sport we all enjoy today. We can thank TAG cavers for that. I have a very healthy fear of heights. I more than double check my gear whether 160' or 2650'. I've seen rock climbers who said they were more afraid of rappelling than they were of climbing or skydiving. Going from 1' to 2000' is easier than going from 2000' to 1'. I guess thats why they say dont look down instead of dont look up. I have seen many people that didnt have a fear of heights. As long as they are safety minded and properly trained it doesnt bother me. I have seen those that are wreckless and think of this sport as some kind of stunt. I'm not sure you can properly train someone like that. I would rather stay clear of them. One thing is for sure. Rappelling has its origins in caving. At least the gear we enjoy safely using today. And tall wall rappellers started off as cavers. At least the pioneers did.
For US cavers - absolutely. In a global context partially yes, but other "origins" were emerging around the same time. Just ask the French, Italians, Germans, and Swiss.
...One thing is for sure. Rappelling has its origins in caving...
Rappelling technically had it's origins in climbing. R'appel is French for "recall." A climber would summit a climb, pass his rope around a rock or tree, and drop both ends down. He would then lower himself using body friction. At the bottom, he would pull on one end of the rope to "recall" it down to him. Hence - r'appel. FYI - the German term for this is a little less convoluted. Abseiling, literally translated, means "down rope."
Sorry to get technical, but this is a (somewhat) technical forum after all. No offense intended. You make some great points.
I don't think vertical caving had its origins in TAG. Vertical caving had its origins in the first time someone dug a well shaft that required a rope to reach the water, and then the bucket became untied, or the first time someone tied a rope around himself (99% sure it was a 'him") to go down a natural pit to rescue a hunting dog. i'm sure this happened in New England or on the Eastern Seaboard long back when TAG was still in the hands of the Natchez, Creek, Chickasaw and Cherokee.
If you want to modify your statement to say modern technical vertical caving (that is, US people inventing new devices to go down shafts for pleasure) maybe you have a point.
Post by happykillmore on Dec 31, 2006 14:36:37 GMT -5
No problem. I'm talking about the gear we currently are using , i think was invented by cavers. Some of it i know was. The rope walker system was developed by cavers. The GIBBS made by Chuck Gibbs along with the Simmons Race Plate made this sport , at least physically appealing to a much broader audience of people (cavers) . I'm not sure about the rack. Would like to hear if you know for sure. I know climbers are not going to carry the extra weight of a rack just to do pull down rappells. Early cavers borrowed gear from other sports I understand that. But it was cavers that developed the vertical gear we use today that made the rope walker system and made rappelling and ascending big walls possible or at least more accessible to the average person. With proper traing of course. I know i could never climb 1000' on knotts. I am only speaking to the relation of big wall rappelling to caving. The climbers may look at you funny and think you are crazy and many of them do.. But the cavers understand the evolution of their gear from the cave to the pit to the wall. I dont know who invented the rack. Would like to know if you can tell me.
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Dec 31, 2006 16:26:11 GMT -5
I've always heard two cavers invented the rappel rack at roughly the same time, but I can only remember John Cole as one of the named inventors. Perhaps someone else knows the other person's name or has a different version of the invention of the rappel rack.
A few notable events in the history of vertical caving....
Around 100 years ago Frenchman E. A. Martel is credited with making the first descents of many pits using a very crude and limited system. His technique consisted of having a large party at each pit lower the lead explorer to the base of the pit. I assume they had to pull the person back up following exploration.
In 1930, Robert de Joly developed the cable ladder which enabled the first systematic exploration of deep caves by more than one person. This system allowed for multi-drop exploration (Martel's system did not), but still had problems; a belayer had to remain at the top of each pit.
In the mid 1940s, Pierre Chevalier introduced scaling poles to vertical caving. His team achieved the first world depth record (603 meters), in Reseau de la Dent de Drolles in France, in 1947.
Sometime during this era, Henri Brunot developed a rope ascender that was to be the predecessor to the modern-day Jumar.
In the late 1950s, Bill Cuddington made the biggest advancement in vertical caving with SRT, single rope technique, (the system most modern cavers are familiar with). This earned him the name "Vertical Bill". Incidentially, Cuddington was still using the prusik knot ascending system at the time.
The invention of the rappel rack came along somewhere in this time frame. If someone can expand on this, by all means, please do so.
Following the introduction of Cuddington's SRT technique, many other descending devices and ascending systems were subsequently developed by U.S. and International cavers.
I believe several TAG cavers began manufacturing PMI rope, specifically for caving, in the mid 1970s.
Disclaimer: This is information I obtained from reading different sources over the years and may or may not be the correct or only version of events. If anyone wishes to correct me, or expand on the history of vertical caving, feel free.
Post by happykillmore on Dec 31, 2006 17:13:18 GMT -5
Sharon Thank you. I was also wondering if the rack was invented by cavers. I know Cuddington Used the knotts on every pit he could find. He made it look easy. I made it look difficult. But it was at this time that the sport of rappelling first began to benefit from technology. I came along later and benefited from the hard work of others. If i was still using prusik knotts they probably will still be lowering food and water in a hole somewhere to keep me alive. I think we have cavers to thank for this technology. Both those that made it and those that made it well known. Bill Cuddington , Chuck Gibbs , Jim Yoemans and later Chuck Henson to name a few.And it is my contention that this technology is the cause of tall wall rappelling being a realistic and achievable goal to such a wide and large group of people today.
Cave enthusiasts were entering Missouri pits in the 1880s using bucket and pulley haul systems commonly used for mining, with the pulley haul ascent usually powered by mules or horses. In "Cave Regions of the Ozarks and Black Hills" describing her cave travels of the 1880s, Luella Owen laments in several places that such bucket and pulley systems were deemed adequate for 200 lb. men, but when she proposed to be lowered in such, her hosts (specifically at Marble (Marvel) Cave, relatives of the famous John Wesley Powell, demurred, saying it was too dangerous a trip for a 110 lb woman. She had a similar experience in South Dakota.
Both hand and motor powered winches were used to hoist divers and explorers via bosun's chair into and out of Devil's Well, a Missouri underground lake beneath an 80 foot drop in the mid 1950s.
Last Edit: Dec 31, 2006 18:09:46 GMT -5 by Azurerana
Post by happykillmore on Dec 31, 2006 18:28:05 GMT -5
Please dont miss my point. Those systems are too heavy to carry to any cave or pit. and probably too expensive for the average caver. The Bible speaks of people going down into pits and lifting out their livestock. I understand descending and ascending has been done for thousands of years. The invention of the rack made tall wall rappelling possible. I'm not sure but i would think it would be pretty difficult with a D-ring or figure 8 on El Cap. Someone correct me if i am wrong. Also , I don't know many people that would want to use Prusik , jumars , or the frog system on a regular basis on Large walls. This would certainly place a limit on those who would be willing to participate. My point is that their were a number of people , primarily cavers , who revolutionized the sport of vertical caving and rappelling. TAG cavers played a large role in much of the develpment and testing of the equipment we use today. Without their influence and expertise tall wall rappelling would certainly not be where it is today. The advancement in technology and opportunities to participate would not exist as it does today without their input. Without the input of such pioneers (who were cavers)rappelling would still be borrowing equipment from other sports. Anyway if you look at vertical cavers and big wall rappellers they are using the same equipment. Big wall rappellers use bigger racks that to my knowledge they still have to make for themselves.
Please dont miss my point. Those systems are too heavy to carry to any cave or pit. and probably too expensive for the average caver.
So, how did they get them to the caves and pits, if not by carrying them? And in the case of the Ozarks at least, these people had ingenuity, not money.
The invention of the rack made tall wall rappelling possible. I'm not sure but i would think it would be pretty difficult with a D-ring or figure 8 on El Cap. Someone correct me if i am wrong.
Ever heard of rappelling on a spool? Or a bobbin? To rappel on El Cap the problem was how to get up to the face first, and that one wasn't solved by cavers. Or rapping on biners and bars? That, and the wrap rappel were military solutions for many years. I would say racks make descents more controllable, and less a matter of brute strength, but not necessarily 'possible'.
My point is that their were a number of people , primarily cavers , who revolutionized the sport of vertical caving and rappelling. TAG cavers played a large role in much of the develpment and testing of the equipment we use today.
There were a number of people who used a long string of biners and bars as descent devices before the solid frame rack was devised. My first trip was on biners and bars. The problem was the very one which led to the invention of the rack: without a load on the flexible string, the friction decreased dramatically. Sooner or later, someone would have figured out that a stiff frame was needed.
Without the input of such pioneers (who were cavers)rappelling would still be borrowing equipment from other sports. Anyway if you look at vertical cavers and big wall rappellers they are using the same equipment. Big wall rappellers use bigger racks that to my knowledge they still have to make for themselves.
What are you trying to prove here? There isn't any point in trying to 'puff cavers' by saying cavers revolutionized the sport of vertical caving. Say what? There is a point at which a rappel rack can get 'too big,' of course.
Last Edit: Jan 1, 2007 0:22:25 GMT -5 by Azurerana
Post by Rebel Rouser on Dec 31, 2006 23:20:59 GMT -5
Doesn't sound like Happy is "trying to prove" anything. I don't think he is trying to "puff cavers" by saying cavers revolutionized vertical caving. You have to admit nobody knows vertical caving like cavers, especially vertical cavers! ;D I think Happy was just trying to point to the link between big wall rappelling and caving. I don't see any ego stroking in his posts. Technique applied in SRT/ deep pit/big wall rappelling came from many different disciplines and was honed/perfected to the usage seen today by cavers, primarily TAG cavers. Yes, others participated but the majority were TAG cavers. This is not pomp or circumstance,just fact. It would be my guess that some Phoenician sailor figured out how to slide down a rope before a well digger did. Rebel
Precisely. Phoenicians. That's what the bosun's chair pic was all about. Thanks for catching the reference, Rebel! (If others did not, a bosun's (or boatswain's) chair was a device used aboard ship to check rigging. Actually, they still used them into the 1960s (and who knows, possibly even today) to check radio antenna masts and such on aircraft carriers.)
I'm not trying to put you down, Happy. It's just it's a big old world out there, and an awful lot of it from a lot of continents went into getting people to be able to do vertical work safely, not just the SE US. That's my only point. Does it really matter 'who' did what, as much as what was invented and accomplished? I think not. Happy New Year and best wishes to you. Azurerana
Last Edit: Jan 1, 2007 0:30:10 GMT -5 by Azurerana
Post by happykillmore on Jan 1, 2007 0:39:44 GMT -5
Thanx Rebel I knew someone would come along and do a better job of making my point than i did. That is exactly what i was trying to say. I certainly was nothing more than a beneficiary of this process.
Post by happykillmore on Jan 1, 2007 0:55:00 GMT -5
Azurerana I dont know where you are from. I certainly am not trying to insult you either. I understand your point and still stand by mine , that the development of todays tech. is due in large part to cavers. I would give not all but a large part of that credit to TAG cavers. I would like to add that Petzl did a much better job of manufacturing , marketing and selling SOME of that equipment. Or at least their own versions of it.I don't think you can overlook that either. When i ordered my chest plate i had to wait 11 months before i received it. Thats almost long enough for anyone to lose interest. I wouldn't wait that long for my wife. HeHe.
"For years I used the Speleoshoppe rack as my standard caving rappel device (I loved the bars), but when Larry Howell started making racks from certified titanium, I switched. Now I use #386, which Larry custom built to my specifications: nothing fancy, just pure utility, full size yet still exceptionally light. Unfortunately, none of his racks are available any more.
One of Larry's innovations was the hyperbar, seen on many of his racks. This was a nice idea that has its place, but I think that people have gone overboard with the idea. On a normal rack, for most uses, the hyperbar is unnecessary. Yes, it helps one tie off, but one can tie off without one. The down side of the hyperbar is size and weight. I use racks with hyperbars, but when I see three, four, or more hyperbars on a standard-length rack used for standard rappelling (rescue is different), I naturally begin to question the user's competence."
Check out all the other info on vertical devices. Good info!
A certain fellow from the Rockeater Grotto waaaay back was known to rappell into Cemetary Pit using a rock hammer with an eye so he could attach it to his harness. Vertical Bill's first descent into Surprise Pit was a body rappell using a polished piece of aluminum wrapped around his torso. This was in the late 1950's I think? As for more primitive descents into abysses prior to our modern day techniques........I would say hand over hand was likely popular!!
Post by happykillmore on Jan 4, 2007 9:32:29 GMT -5
I'm getting together a trip to Halh Dome. Hand overhand and body rappelling only. Sign up below. HeHe. I started off doing hand over hand but since i discovered the rack , i haven't tried hand over hand again. Thank God i survived the dumb things i did , and for the NSS and the experienced people in it.
You should try the aluminum body rappell off Half Dome. Stuff some cheese, butter and bacon down your shirt in case you make it to the bottom. That way your rescuers can crack you open since you would likely be baked like a potato from the heat buildup. Save the hand over hand for the trip back up!
Post by happykillmore on Jan 4, 2007 23:07:37 GMT -5
I would have to disagree on one point. The rescuers wouldnt have to crack you open. The fall or rather the sudden stop would take care of that. I'm going to take Rebel with me and let him go first. HeHe.
....i don't care what anyone says.....doing a deep big wall drop and the same distance in a cave is exactly the same.....
now one might include water and the other wind...but they both can have it present........
alllllllllllllllll of the people who originated big wall raps have always been cavers first.... ...some cavers like vertical work......some don't......those who do....we just couldn't find drops big enough in the caves we knew of...
....the sad thing is that the outdoor drops aren't big enough either!.. ...
hey NZ.....the relationship between caving srt and big wall raps?...... its the ropework ..... .
hey NZ.....the relationship between caving srt and big wall raps?...... its the ropework ..... .
Ah, but where are the rebelays? ;D
Coincidentally, I recently stumbled on this little gem by Bill Storage (written in the late 90's).
As fate would have it, while writing this, I just received from John Dill, the Search and Rescue expert at Yosemite, an account of the death of a caver
[/u] last year on El Capitan. Doing 3000-foot rappel is serious (many say atrocious) business that has little to do with caving technique. I'll spare you the details, but the victim carried no means of ascending, and that may have been a factor in his death.[/quote] www.bstorage.com/speleo/OnTech/ontech.htm (Scroll about two-thirds down the page.)
I sincerely hope times (and techniques) for bigwall/caver crossbreeds have changed a little since then...