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Old 04-15-2004   #1
ski/kayak bum
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
Carabineers (sp)?

what assortments? styles? sizes? quick draws? tows? are needed for a kayaker getting ready to jump into harder creeking (IV+ V-). I plan on taking a swiftwater course and i'm sure that some personal preferences play into this but what are the basics?

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Old 04-15-2004   #2
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
A few (3 or so) regular biners, light pulley (optional, I think a biner works fine, too), really small (<5MM) prussiks, some sling to wrap a rock or tree (10' is plenty) and you're set. The prussiks need to be small to bite into the skinny little throw lines we use, regular climbing prussiks are fine for 10MM ropes, but too fat for boating lines. A buddy bought mine for me, but they are killer because they're about 3MM and reinforced with spectra. I don't know where he got them though because all the spectra line I've see is 5.5MM and maybe a little to fat. Think of a smaller prussik cord as sharper teeth. The loads you might be z-draggin though can be pretty intense, so make sure if you get one of these little lines that it's at least as strong as your toss line (think weakest link theory). The other thing I learned in a swiftwater course was that a 50' throw line is only good for narrow streambeds, anything broader than about 30' and it's hard to reach an anchor on shore unless it's right next to the river. I don't know what's available, but a beefier throwbag than the piece of shit I have would be nice.

Also, my course was just for kayakers, so I'd recommend making sure you're entering a course where the instructor has that mindset. When I see a wrapped raft I just think, damn, sucks to be you. . .unless it's the support one carrying my sleeping bag!

Lastly, I'm not a hardman creeker so that's just my two cents from a course I took last summer.

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Old 04-15-2004   #3
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Seattle, Washington
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Biners are not the same as pulleys. The reason to have pulleys and biners is to set up a z-drag of some sort, which gives you a huge strength advantage. However, if you set up a drag with biners, the friction of the rope running through the biners will hugely reduce the strength advantage. Buy and carry two small pulleys if you're serious about saving your friends/boat/gear.
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Old 04-16-2004   #4
Eagle, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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yup, if you are setting up z-drags, etc, you need to carry a pulley. if you are dead set against a pulley, then plan to use 2 biners instead, gates opposite...for your anchor, you can use a daisy chain from your climbing gear, but i also carry 2 6 foot pieces of tubular webbing, water knots are your best bet for webbing. the above comment about prusiks is correct. i carry 3, sometimes more, depending on circumstances. as far as biners go, i have 4 ovals and 2 lockers and 1 oversized locker, i think. to answer your question, you should have both. i also advise you not to mix your climbing gear with your water gear. some people carry all or most of this on their person. i lean toward carrying my broach kit, along with my first aid kit, in a dry bag in my stern.

i strongly advise you take a course and learn as much as possible. you should also be aware that when playing with ropes, you should have a knife handy.

hope that helps...

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Old 04-16-2004   #5
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I use the new wire gate biners. The gates eventually get broken down on others and stuck due to river gunk. If you are going to be serious about it and you are going to create a pin kit that you keep dry then buy whatever you want. You can create some serious force with a spectra rope, an anchor and two biners. I dont do serious creeking so I don't bring pulleys.
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Old 04-16-2004   #6
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3
You want at least three locking biners

If you want to do this right lockers are the way to go. And get a good pulleys. Inevitably you will have to set up in a situation that the biners are pressing up against rocks and trees. A non locker will pop open greatly compromising its strength. More so, I find ropes can magically find their way into biners in the system if you use non lockers causing friction on ropes etc..

Set up a z drag with and without pulleys with a wet rope. You will quickly see why they are important.

I have seen broaches where half a dozen people are pulling hard on a z system trying to get a boat out. The last thing you want is something popping out or breaking.

Two non lockers gates opposed are effective but are not as easy to set up. You porobably spent close to 2000 on all your gear don't chintz out on 15.00 for non lockers over lockers.
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Old 04-16-2004   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 480
Yes, yes to having some pulleys. I would also say to have 4 regular oval 'biners and for sure 2 locking 'biners. If you have to lower someone down river a locking 'biner to the rescue vest is imperative. Just my opinion of which I have too many.
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Old 04-16-2004   #8
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Two biners together with the gates opposite of each other has always worked for me in a situation where a person is on the other end. Single if its just gear.
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Old 04-16-2004   #9
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 71
Last I heard Wildwasser of Boulder made a great kit that has pretty much all the equipment you need for a pin kit. It looks really slick. If I was starting over, no question I would purchase it. No affiliation either. Instead of prussiks, it uses a mechanical brake that is foolproof.
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Old 04-21-2004   #10
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 147
I am not too saavy with river rescue, but quite with high angle rock and have this to add.

mechanical braking devices need to be used with caution. They, by design have no allowance for slippage when forces become more than they can handle, therefore something must break. Something would generally be the rope being torn or pinched by the brake device. Prusiks will slowly slip to disspate energy without a massive blowout. Also, there are few, if any, ways to safely detension a loaded mechanical brake, whereas prusiks can be worked in reverse back to zero, or even minded by hand when loads are minimal.

A note also on cordage- kevlar and dyneema type cordage are good for in-line loads but have disadvantages. the very cords that make them strong when straight lose significant strength when bent (ie knots, around biners/ pulleys, or when used for prusiks). nylon cordage would be best.


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