I will admit, back in the day, the scariest thing for me to learn and then show people, was how to pass knots on either raise or lower. I would downplay the whole process in an effort to "deny myself the opportunity to learn something super cool" because I just didn't get the practical steps. Like ballroom dancing (which I hate!)... There are a few critical steps to learn but once you know them, you have it for life!
Generally there are two primary reasons for passing a knot.
- When the ropes won't reach the ground and the ropes need to be adjoined to make the system and travel distance work.
- When the rope becomes damage but must still remain in active duty during an evacuation.
The hope is that a knot can be passed in a safe place and on the ground, but this just isn't real life. Often the "package" is under load and precautions need to be taken to simply "not drop the package" when transferring the load and things can get muddled when nightfall hits, the rains come and sleep deprived people are doing their best.
Rigging Lab Academy pushes really hard, the Two Tension Rope System (TTRS) or Dual Capacity Rope System (DCRS)... as opposed to a Dedicated Main Dedicated Belay System (DMDB). The reasons for this are not part of this article, so if you would like to see more on these systems, CLICK HERE and then simple type in "twin tension" and all the articles will pop up. So all that said, if you know you are going to be passing a knot (and you should know this most of the time), make sure you stagger your TTRS so that you don't end up passing the knots at the same time. This would be a very big headache.
There are endless ways to accomplish this task and the ones we are bringing to light can have modifications and equipment replacements in ways many of us may not have thought about. So we'll start with the basics and move from there.
This topic came about as a question from one of our RLA members. A simple question about passing knots, but the simple got more complex when team dynamics became a source of frustration and multiple techniques with a variety of equipment selections added to the challenge and in the end... their learning was hampered. Remember, a person's life is on the other end of the rope, so screwing up here is not an option. Only move past the current when mastery of that current model has been attained.
I want to re-introduce to you Craig McClure. Craig is no "Johnny Come Lately". Craig is a highly skilled craftsman and own and operates The Crackerjack Group. Craig has now rejoined Rigging Lab Academy as a partner having already worked on another RLA Mini Session... Edge Safety in Search and Rescue. His expert prowess in the backcountry is amazing. Please read his bio... particularly about 2013. Craig joined us a few months ago and agreed to help us finish our soon to be released 5 Day Advance Workshop. Together, with another training partner, Jason Ilowite... this course promises to deliver the goods!
Living in Bend (which is only 20 miles from Sisters where RLA is located), we have the benefit of dreaming up ideas a few times week in our Neverland studio. This Mini Session is the first of many to come and are essentially quick and to the point. We normally get an idea and just run with it, sometime using only an iPhone... which is what we did here. Other times, we'll break out the Zs, Blackmagics, REDs, Sonys and who knows what else.
Why am I telling you about all this latter stuff? Because we are soon releasing our Q&A page where our members are free to ask their questions.
So without "further ado", here are a couple of the videos we produced on Passing Knots.
Introduction To Knot Passing
Knot Passing On A Raise and Lower Using The MPD
Peace on your Days...