The Jester is a friction rigging similar to the Joker, but requires a rigging device with two sticht plates like a Totem or ATS (device).
The construction of a Jester starts by passing the rope through an anchor ring like a quick link or rapide. Then, the rigging device is attached to the anchor and bights of both strands of rope exiting the the anchor ring are passed through the two sticht plates on the rigging device and secured with a single carabiner. Various additions to this basic rigging are necessary depending on the usage of the Jester.
If being used to isolate (allow rappelling on) both strands of rope, it is necessary to put a safety knot in the non-rappel strand unless someone is controlling the non-rappel strand 100% of the time another canyoneer is rappelling on the opposite strand. See Dangers section below for the possible consequences of failing to do this.
The Jester has similar advantages to the Joker: it allows a second canyoneer to rig on one strand while the first canyoneer is rappelling on the other strand. This is similar to the Stone knot, but it also allows lowering on either side (unless the safety knot has been jammed into the rigging device). In addition to the Joker's advantages, the Jester allows LAPAR to clip directly into the rigging device as his rappel device, saving the time to unrig the Joker and rerig his rappel device separately.
Because the Jester is a friction rigging and has relatively low friction with certain ropes, it must often be backed up with an additional safety knot. This knot must be tied and untied for every canyoneer except LAPAR if using the Jester to reduce rigging time, and it can make the system unreleasable if the rope slips and jams the safety knot into the rigging device.
Also, when lowering from a Jester, rope must be pulled through the first sticht plate before it can be fed down to lower the canyoneer on rappel. This makes lowering more difficult than with the Joker.
The Jester, like the Joker, is only a friction rigging and does not lock. This means that, when sufficient tension is applied to one of the strands, the rope will slip through the rigging. This problem can be mitigated by placing a safety knot in the non-rappel strand.
- Bogley: Accident Report: Rigging Failure During a Rappel
- Totem Rigging Facebook page: Discussion of rigging failure
- American Canyoneering Association Facebook page: Discussion of rigging failure
The primary proponent of the Jester, at least in the United States, has been Rich Carlson, especially when rigged using the Totem as the rigging device. Prior to the rigging failure reported in July of 2012, it is unclear whether the Jester was taught using the safety knot on the non-rappel strand. Since that rigging failure and the ensuing discussion, the Jester variation with no safety knots has usually been accompanied by an indication that a canyoneer should be rigged on each strand (thus making the safety knot unnecessary).
On 10/21/2011, rcwild posted to canyoneering.net:
SECOND PHOTO -- BOTH STRANDS FIXED
Friction is provided in three places; (1) rope in left slot, (2) rope through rappel ring, and (3) rope in right slot. With this much friction, the rope is fixed allowing each strand to be loaded independently. Like the Joker. Someone rapping on left strand while another person rigs on the right strand. Etc.
If you need to lower someone to the ground (contingency rigging), remove the opposite bight of rope from the black carabiner.
EDIT: We have since discovered it is normally not necessary to remove the rope from the black carabiner for lowering. See the photo in post #356.
The rest of the thread (thread 2500 entitled "The Totem") does not contain any mention of safety knots until after the rigging failure report, but Rich says earlier "Jared, the instructions for [the Jester] are here in this thread." On 7/26/2012, Rich [oldcanyoneering.net/forums/showthread.php?2500-The-Totem&p=29844 writes]:
Illustrating what I meant [in his previous post] about tying off the brake strand with a mule and overhand or two half hitches. Used two half hitches in the photo. If you are using the Jester as a double rope contingency this is obviously not necessary. If you are using the Jester to creep the rope this is obviously not necessary.
It is not really necessary with the 9.2mm rope in the photo, but it only takes a few more seconds, so why not.
- Totem Rigging Facebook page
- Four variations of Jester rigging
- Converting a Jester lower to haul (caution: required safety knot is missing in step 1)
- How to rig Jester for strand isolation
- American Canyoneering Association Facebook page: Totem as linear rigging plate