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Hangman Rigging

Episode 6 of 10

Canyon Rope Systems

Hangman Rigging

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I like to call this the “Hangman” method where some devices when hanging from the anchor, look like a hangman. Being symmetrical on both sides, you can rig a simple blocking system or a complex twin compound releasable system with just one device.


We used the Palikoa Pivot from GlacierBlackGear here but it can be done with any symmetrical device. The key is do not to cross any strand over the center.

Evolution of Canyon Techniques

The Figure-8 has been an iconic canyon descent control device (DCD) for decades. Due to its long history and versatility, a lot of techniques have been developed around the use of a Figure-8 device. But the Figure-8 did not meet all of the required needs of modern canyoning. This led to the development of “modified 8 devices” or Variable Friction Descenders (VFD). This article is not about the development of the devices themselves, but the techniques in which they are used. I started looking at most of the rope techniques, basic and advanced, rigged with figure-8s and started rigging them with the new devices. What I have found so far is with a symmetrical VFD all rope configurations can be done with less equipment on the anchor. The caveat is the user must be proficient with this type of device and have a firm understanding of locking off the device by using a cleat. This would be considered an open system, but it is a commonly acceptable tie-off for these devices.

The devices that I have experimented with are the Resonator, Hoodo, CRITR 2 and the PaliKoa Pivot. I refer to using these devices for these techniques as a Hangman due to the fact they look like a person hanging from the anchor and Hang-Person just sounds weird. They are shown here in a couple of different configurations. Light Weight using a 30cm Dyneema sling, High Abrasion using a quick-link and with a quickdraw.


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Rope Configurations

Single Rope Static

This is no difference between these devices since the device

is rarely needed for this technique.

Single Rope Releasable (AKA 8 Block)

A Traditional Way

Double Rope Static (AKA Toss-and-Go)

This is no difference between these devices since the device

is not needed for this technique.

Twin Rope Isolated Releasable

A Traditional Way

Tom Seeley and his partner from On Rope did a pull-test of this configuration with 8.5mm CST rope and it starts pulling through just under 400 pounds.

Twin Rope Compound Releasable

A Traditional Way

Twin Rope Compound Releasable

w/ Separate Rope (Rescue Rope)

A Traditional Way

All of the Hangman techniques are done with a common process.

The Common Process:

  1. Pass rope through the anchor

  2. Create friction on the Load Strand; pull a bight through the VFD head and pass over an arm

  3. Create friction on the Backside; wrap the Brake Strand around and an arm/leg

  4. Cleat for lock-off

For double and twin rope configurations, this needs to be done on the same side, left or right, of the VFD to maintain releasability.

Terminology defined for clarification:

Load Strand - Strand of rope the person is rappelling on

Brake Strand - Strand of rope used to control the descent

Frontside - The side of the rappel ring or quick-link the Load Strand is on

Backside - The side of the rappel ring or quick-link the Break Strand is on

Cleat - The action of passing an underhand bight over a solid point


Applying Different Systems

  • Twin Tension Lowering for rescue

  • Twin Compound Releasable w/ PaliKoa Pivot

  • Twin Isolated Releasable on Un-Linked Bolts


What's Next?

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