How many ways can I stuff up SRT?

The continuing story of me trying to become proficient with SRT (Single Rope Technique – used in caving).  If I just have to abseil down a rope, or prussik up the rope, I’m fine, but add anything slightly technical in SRT and I’m crap! I’d like to blame the equipment, but I’m afraid the problem is the user. 

David S took Marcia K, Anna O-B and me to a small cliff in the Thornleigh area.  My brother, Greg came along too to have a go at abseiling.

Ordinarily, this SRT day wouldn’t be blog worthy, but I’m posting it so you know how bad I am at re-belays and re-directs, and so, when I nail them, you’ll all know what an achievement it is for me.

David first gave us a run down on equipment.  I’ve been abseiling for 25 years now and I learned stuff from David that I didn’t know before, but will I remember it (lol)?

We then set a rope up for Greg to give it a go, I swapped places with David so that he could belay Greg.

Greg’s first go at abseiling, he looked right at home.

We then sent him over a little overhang and he nailed that too.  Pity he lives so far away, I think he’d go out with me again if he lived closer.  We sent him home after the abseiling and we then focussed on the SRT side of the day.

David explaining his prussiking set-up to Marcia and Anna. He makes it look so easy!

Then I went up to go past a “redirect”, where the rope goes through a carabiner to keep it away from a potential rub-spot in a cave, you have to prussic past this carabiner.  I was having all sorts of trouble, my jerry-rigged chest harness was strangling me, and I was under the mistaken impression that you had to unclip the rope and clip it up behind you all in one go, which I couldn’t manage.  Now that I know the right way to do it, I’m chomping at the bit for another go!

David setting up a re-belay.

Anna trying the re-belay.  With the re-belay you have to prussik up to it, then clip into the anchor while you move your gear past the carabiner with the knotted rope in it.  We decided that this re-belay was too hard because our cows tails and gear wasn’t set up the right way for it to work, and I had trouble orienting the chest ascender (takes practice I guess).

Anna prussiking down – she actually made it look easy.

I thought I’d give it a go, but really stuffed it up, I thought I’d be on that rope for the rest of the day. I’ve decided to give a Jumar ascender a go, it doesn’t stick into the rope as much and will be easier (I hope) for me to use. Also found out that my chest ascender can be moved easily by depressing a little lever, I’ve had that stupid ascender now for four years and didn’t know that!

So, I’ve just put in an order for a new harness and chest harness (replacing the dodgy one that I’ve used over the past six years!), and I’ll shelve that lovely Petzel ascender and give the old Jumar a go (much less wear and tear on the ropes too!).

So, keep watching for the SRT day in July, let’s see if I can show some improvement (lol).

Banner:  Marcia at the bottom of the pitch
Thumbnail:  Anna on the rope

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4 Responses to How many ways can I stuff up SRT?

  1. john says:

    despite your adverse comments, you made it look like a lot of fun (apart from the BWOC technique of abseiling without a helmet). I’m tempted to give it a go on the nursery slopes.

    • marilyn says:

      Yes, John was a lot of fun, in a very safe environment. Unfortunately you’d have to be an MSS member, but I think caving might be a new thing for you!

  2. David says:

    Just add lightness and move on….

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