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Retreating off a crag

By Baggy Richards

If you are a Multi Pitch climber, then at some stage you will probably have to retreat off a crag. This maybe due to bad weather, lack of daylight or the route being too hard.

Tip One

Retreating off a crag

It is important never to skimp on the gear you leave behind.  
However, by carrying a length of 6mm cord you can limit the amount of krabs and slings you leave behind without comprising safety.  This can either be as a bundle on the back of your harness.

Retreating off a crag

And/or in addition carry your chalk bag on 6mm cord wrapped around your body 2 or 3 times.

Tip Two

Retreating off a crag

Instead of using slings to put over a spike or block cut a piece of cord and tie it with a double fisherman's knot (leave a good length tail.)

Tip Three

Retreating off a crag

When having to retreat off nuts always use two bomber nuts as a minimum.  Tie into both nuts with a re threaded fig 8 knot with a stopper knot.  Equalise the cord in the direction of the abseil and then tie an overhand knot on the bight.

Tip Four

Retreating off a crag

If you cannot find two bomber nuts then you are going to need three or more.  This is where the cord really is useful.  Tie into one of the end nuts with a re-threaded fig 8 knot.  Equalise the cord in the direction of the abseil and tie an overhand knot on the bight.

Tip Five

Retreating off a crag

With all the methods detailed above the abseil ropes can be passed directly through the cord because when you abseil there is a static load creating no friction on the cord.  If you feel that there might be too much friction when retrieving the ropes, leave a karabiner.


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