A creeping system is a rigging system where the rope is slowly being moved to constantly change the abrasion point. A recommended speed is 1/2 inch every 3 seconds (very slow!), but should be adjusted based on the speed and weight of the rappeller.
When rappelling double strand with a static system, the weight is distributed equally on each strand, so each strand sees half the weight and receives half the abrasion. This may be enough to safeguard the rope on sandstone or limestone, but on sharp rock such as schist and exfoliating granite this is often not enough and creeping systems should be used. Creeping the rope is an effective way to safeguard the rope in swift water conditions, where double strand rappel should be avoided.
In addition to generally (but not always) having all the advantages of Anchor ring systems, creeping systems can reduce rope abrasion and minimize risk of coreshot due to one or more sharp edges, visible or invisible. In wet basalt (and other volcanic rock) canyons, sharp edges might exist even when covered by running white water.
The person on rappel should be entitled to signal stop / continue to the person manning the station to stop or resume the creeping; sometimes people need to stop to evaluate the scene or the footing.
Some techniques allow to creep the rope even for LAMAR, but the circumstances of the rappel may not always make them applicable.
Creeping systems may accumulate rope at the end of the rappel, which can be dangerous in swift-water pools. In this circumstance, rope should be pulled back up after each rappeller disconnects and start the creeping process over again.
- Creeping the rope: this the most effective way to protect the rope in shift water, it's basically continuously lowering a person but VEEEERY slowly
- Bottom anchor: a bottom anchor is essentially manning the rope from the bottom, which allows creeping the rope even for LAMAR
- Traveling double rope: mostly useful for only the last person, this technique involves rappelling double strand, occasionally locking one of the strands and leaving the other moving.
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