Throw Rope Safety - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-29-2016   #1
 
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
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Throw Rope Safety

Every year we hear of throw ropes stuck in the river. Again yesterday I recovered one from in the right channel below Silver Bullet, directly in the path of potential swimmers. It was deployed with the bitter end chocked in the rocks upstream and the bag downstream. The culprit, of course, a knot used in the rope at the bitter end.

Please do not put knots at the bitter end of your throw ropes. Instead, leave yourself a few coils of rope for insurance rather than a stopper knot. And certainly do not tie a loop that a hand can be inserted into.

Using a throw rope is a big responsibility. Please learn safety skills for their use before attempting to utilize one. Ropes in the river are a hazard.

Best regards,
Ken

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Old 06-29-2016   #2
 
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Ken, thanks for getting that rope and starting this discussion.

I see the point about leaving the end bare, but that is not how I roll and think there may be more issues raised than avoided.

I keep a small loop tied and also keep a carabiner on it as well as a Prussick loop on that end.

I fell this provides quicker options when something needs to be done quickly.

What are other people's bought a on this issue?

Be safe.


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Old 06-29-2016   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Dave Frank View Post
Ken, thanks for getting that rope and starting this discussion.

I see the point about leaving the end bare, but that is not how I roll and think there may be more issues raised than avoided.

I keep a small loop tied and also keep a carabiner on it as well as a Prussick loop on that end.

I fell this provides quicker options when something needs to be done quickly. In order for mine to be seperated from my boat it would literally have to tear my boat in half.

What are other people's bought a on this issue?

Be safe.


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Ditto. Small loop for a thumb wrapped around the BACK OF THE HAND with a carabiner on it. In cold water I've seen people toss the whole bag. If you open your hand it comes off your thumb.

The knot doubles it's purpose by not allowing all the rope to come out by cinching up the bag just above the knot. The carabiner is clipped off to the bag then and my boat.

By not having a knot how do you know where the end of the rope is when you need it NOW and have ice cold hands? I've recently been in two situations like this. One could have ended very badly without quick access to a rope. (The shitty pin spot in the S turn in the steeps in Bailey)

I believe the better fix here is to secure your rope bag in your boat.
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Old 06-29-2016   #4
KSC
 
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I've never really thought much about the knot at the end. I have a small knot on the end of mine because: (a) it's faster to identify the end, (b) I think my ropes came that way, and (c) it was suggested to me in my first SWR class with Mathers.

I can see the argument that it can be chocked into a rock when you lose it, although isn't it just as if not more likely for the bag end to do the same. You need a knot on the bag end to keep the rope from sliding out too, right? Do you not secure the bag to your rope?

Btw - slipping a rope around your thumb sounds really scary to me.

Seems like the main culprit of ropes stuck in the water are people not being careful about how they deploy them. Ropes are one of the scariest hazards on commonly run river sections and I can't agree enough about being serious about deploying them and even more serious about leaving one in the river.
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Old 06-29-2016   #5
 
Duluth, Minnesota
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Preach! I just pulled a rope out of my local run, while towing a swimmer to shore. Not one message or post warning about it being in the river.

I also keep a small loop (follow through figure 8 ). Makes it that much faster if you need a biner on the end and helps keep it in the bag. Maybe even a little extra weight for throwing coils. I don't know, maybe that's a stretch. I see your point Ken but if it didn't snag because of the knot it would have gotten stuck somewhere else.

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Old 06-29-2016   #6
 
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Boise, Idaho
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+1 for knots.

I use a figure eight. I keep the loops at both ends small enough to prevent someone from sticking their hand through it.

Every Rescue 3 instructor I've taken a class from has a loop at the end of their throw bag rope and recommends setting up a rope with one.

You never know when you may need to quickly clip a carabiner to the end of your rope to extend it with another rope.

Also use that loop to run the throw bag clip through so the end of the rope is immediately accessible.

I've never seen or heard of anyone not having a knot in the end of a throw bag rope.

Maybe the most important lesson here (other than be responsible with and for your deployed ropes) is always carry a knife.
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Old 06-29-2016   #7
 
San Jose, CA, California
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1. Is there evidence of victims not being saved because there was not a knot at both ends of the rope?

2. Is there evidence of ropes being lost / getting stuck in the river in part because there are knots in both ends when they were deployed? Yes! just read the lost rope/ found rope history in this forum.

3. Why not anchor the rope to the side of the river before throwing it? Sure it may still get stuck but at least then you have an end to work with to help with the removal process.
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Old 06-29-2016   #8
 
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Originally Posted by buckmanriver View Post

3. Why not anchor the rope to the side of the river before throwing it? Sure it may still get stuck but at least then you have an end to work with to help with the removal process.

Anchoring a rope before every toss is not that efficient. By the time you identify the anchor and secure the rope, the swimmer is likely gone.

I have been dragged into a river with a swimmer on the other end. A solid and secure standing platform and low center of gravity (i.e. Sitting if necessary) was my lesson from that.

I have a knot in the end of my rope. I don't know if that is good or bad, but I wasn't planning to change right now.

Good conversation.


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Old 06-29-2016   #9
 
NIMBY, Oregon
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This should be an interesting topic because every rescue class is not equal. I know this because there are far too many people advocating for knots on a throw rope in this thread. IMO, ropes are the last ditch effort.

Some manufacturers put a loop in the end and that is the first thing we remove. Some boaters clip into this loop to leave the ropes' end obvious and accessible. If the cinch cord at the top of the bag breaks or the rope decides to payout, you now have the possibility of a 50+ft rope entrapment in your boat. The bag can get caught on a number of things, so why create another snag point at the opposite end of the rope? Do you like to limbo while you swim?

I have taken a few different Rescue 3 SWT/WRT/AWRT/TRR over the past 15 years. One detail I have retained, a knot can and will get caught between rocks/trees where a clean rope won't. I have seen this happen to a "prestigious" outfitter in the top of Clavey Falls on the Tuolumne. Six customers swimming with a 75ft loop of rope in the water off a pinned boat. It is unfortunate they're so protective over the footage because it presents a valuable lesson on ropes with knots in water.

If you have enough time to clip two ropes together under tension, you should have noticed this and just set boat safety that could paddle/row to swimmers, pre-anchor the rope, or apply a girth, munter, clove hitch. Friction can do a lot; one foot of webbing or rope is enough to wrap around a leg or arm and entrap a body.

Of course... all of this depends on the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roddy View Post
I have been dragged into a river with a swimmer on the other end. A solid and secure standing platform and low center of gravity (i.e. Sitting if necessary) was my lesson from that.
Everyone needs to look into the friction coefficient of the human body in relation to the surface it's on. One person can pull and sustain an average of 75lbs with secure footing. Do you think secure footing is easily found on a riverbank and enough to hold a swimmer in current? Keep in mind, 1 cf of water = 7.48gal x 8.34lbs = 62.38lbs.

No offense, but if you got dragged into the river after throwing a rope, good. That's what happens with piss poor planning while also showing you're committed to your buddy. Now you know more than one person on a rope isn't just a good idea. What doesn't kill you...
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Old 06-29-2016   #10
 
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Originally Posted by heavyswimmer View Post



No offense, but if you got dragged into the river after throwing a rope, good. That's what happens with piss poor planning while also showing you're committed to your buddy...

Agreed, like I said it was a lesson. If only all rescue situations could be under perfect conditions.


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