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Safeguard rappelling

Whiskeytrain

New Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
13
Just received the safeguard and the ropes needed to start rappelling next season. I have never used one, but plan to practice a lot prior to using it hunting. How easy is it to actually use and learn to have a controlled descent? The videos I’ve seen on YouTube make it seem pretty easy. Any sketchy stories when using one? I understand you can let go if you start dropping too fast, but hopefully your instinct to continue to hold on won’t kick in. Any advice for a beginner safeguard user/ rappelling also appreciated
 

CharlieTN

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
282
For myself, learning how much pressure to put on the release lever is the big trick. If you just grab the handle and pull you will drop quite quickly. There’s a sweet spot and it takes a bit to figure it out. I would suggest starting literally standing at the base of the tree and lower yourself till your seated. Then go up one stick and rappel down a few times. Then go for the longer distances of actual hunting height.

The biggest issue with the safeguard is that in a panic natural tendency is to grab hold harder which can cause you to pull too much on the lever. You have to train yourself to let go if you start going too fast. That takes practice. And finally - ALWAYS keep a hand on the braking end of the rope. Put that hand on the braking end before you ever touch the lever. The braking hand is what actually controls your descent, not the release lever.
 

ShortFuse

Member
SH Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
93
I hung myself from loft in garage and got a feel for rappelling in there, however 8’ off the ground vs 25’ makes a big difference when repelling. Your brake hand (hand on rope feeding through safeguard) is exactly what it is. You can wide open the safeguard and if you’re holding that loose end or tag end of rope, you are not moving at all. So you need to find a balance between letting it feed through your hand and pulling on the lever.

It’s very simple it just takes some practice. It’s not that sketchy I have had a few time I went WOAH that was close after I ripped the lever too far open and descended a little faster than I’d like at 25’ lol but keep in your brain you let go of everything And you stop... it grabs right away every time


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mtsrunner

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SH Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Messages
1,249
You CAN run some form of autoblock below the Safeguard.

MadRock specifically states that you should NOT do this, so do your own research.

My understanding is that it is not recommended because if you tie the autoblock too long (or run a short bridge), the autoblock cord can get lodged in the Safegaurd and you would be stuck in the tree if you didn’t have a way to unweight the system.

I DO run an autoblock in the form of a Beal Jammy tied in a Klemheist below my Safeguard.

I always make sure that the autoblock catches a few inches before it reaches the Safeguard. I also carry at least one 120cm climbing sling that can be used as a foothold to take the weight off of my mainline if my system ever jammed up.

I have used the Safeguard hundreds of times without a backup and never had a problem.

However, I did have one experience where I was using a figure 8 without backing it up. Long story-short, the figure 8 released suddenly. I didn’t hold on with my brake hand. I panicked. I fell about 12’ flat on my back. So, for me, I don’t 100% myself to release the handle in a critical situation.


^^ you can see my autoblock in the bottom right of this picture.
 

arm breaker

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
529
Location
Arkansas
thanks for the replies. Are gloves necessary for the brake hand?
Definitely not, especially at the distances we repel. Now, if you went a long way fast your hand might feel some serious burn but that would obviously be a bad situation otherwise.

It is also worth noting that another reason Madrock says to not use a backup is to keep it from forcing the device open and thus leading to a fall. I often use a backup as well, I just keep it well below like @mtsrunner showed above.
 

ShortFuse

Member
SH Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
93
You CAN run some form of autoblock below the Safeguard.

MadRock specifically states that you should NOT do this, so do your own research.

My understanding is that it is not recommended because if you tie the autoblock too long (or run a short bridge), the autoblock cord can get lodged in the Safegaurd and you would be stuck in the tree if you didn’t have a way to unweight the system.

I DO run an autoblock in the form of a Beal Jammy tied in a Klemheist below my Safeguard.

I always make sure that the autoblock catches a few inches before it reaches the Safeguard. I also carry at least one 120cm climbing sling that can be used as a foothold to take the weight off of my mainline if my system ever jammed up.

I have used the Safeguard hundreds of times without a backup and never had a problem.

However, I did have one experience where I was using a figure 8 without backing it up. Long story-short, the figure 8 released suddenly. I didn’t hold on with my brake hand. I panicked. I fell about 12’ flat on my back. So, for me, I don’t 100% myself to release the handle in a critical situation.


^^ you can see my autoblock in the bottom right of this picture.
IMG_6048.jpg
I do similar hanging off my lineman loop


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gameflogger

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
1,260
Location
Texas
One thing to take note of if you are using the safeguard/ oplux for your tether as well is that when you hang for a while on the safeguard your oplux rope will distort. When you first start your rappel you will get a very short rapid drop until the distorted portion is clear of the device. You can pay out 6” or so before you start your descent (keeping the safeguard partially loaded of course) to help eliminate the first little “drop”
 

Greg / MO

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
56
Really, the biggest danger of rappelling with the Madrock is using out-of-spec ropes. Lots of people do -- I get that -- but I also personally know a couple guys who've used 8MM Oplux with it and did NOT stop when they wanted to, with the Madrock "sliding" on down a good bit after letting go of the handle. Me personally, I want to stop when I want to stop. If that means having a bit bulkier 9MM rope instead of the super-thin 8MM ropes everyone's got accustomed to using over the last couple years, then so be it.
 

ShooterMike

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
511
Location
Caroline County, Virginia
Just received the safeguard and the ropes needed to start rappelling next season. I have never used one, but plan to practice a lot prior to using it hunting. How easy is it to actually use and learn to have a controlled descent? The videos I’ve seen on YouTube make it seem pretty easy. Any sketchy stories when using one? I understand you can let go if you start dropping too fast, but hopefully your instinct to continue to hold on won’t kick in. Any advice for a beginner safeguard user/ rappelling also appreciated
If you’re located in Virginia, I’d be glad to meet up with you to help you get started.


Semper Fi,
Mike
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Jay_Disarray

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
1,479
Location
MN
I had a sketchy incident happen, it all happened so fast, but from what I can tell, this is how it happened.

I was using oplux and a safeguard with my saddle stuff to show my little bro how I 1stick up a tree while we were camping. I reached the top and was getting ready to come down, I think I flipped my safeguard up, so it was parallel with the rope to step down, as it kinda allows the rope to move freely in that position. I did that occasionally as it allowed me to more freely step down on my stick. Next thing I know I landed on the ground about 9 feet below, on just my left ankle. Luckily the ground was really mossy and cushioned my fall. My right hand was pretty rope burnt. I put it away for the day after that and I think my bro was a bit disappointed he couldn't try, but I was a bit flustered.

I'm not 100% sure what happened, but I no longer do that with my safeguard, and I moved up to a 9.5mm rope so its actually in spec.
 

ShortFuse

Member
SH Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
93
I had a sketchy incident happen, it all happened so fast, but from what I can tell, this is how it happened.

I was using oplux and a safeguard with my saddle stuff to show my little bro how I 1stick up a tree while we were camping. I reached the top and was getting ready to come down, I think I flipped my safeguard up, so it was parallel with the rope to step down, as it kinda allows the rope to move freely in that position. I did that occasionally as it allowed me to more freely step down on my stick. Next thing I know I landed on the ground about 9 feet below, on just my left ankle. Luckily the ground was really mossy and cushioned my fall. My right hand was pretty rope burnt. I put it away for the day after that and I think my bro was a bit disappointed he couldn't try, but I was a bit flustered.

I'm not 100% sure what happened, but I no longer do that with my safeguard, and I moved up to a 9.5mm rope so its actually in spec.
How did you have it completely straight up and down? Also by pushing down on the top you can disengage to let rope through. Unless it was backwards I don’t see how it didn’t immediately bind up and grab the rope


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bj139

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SH Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
5,334
Location
SE PA
How did you have it completely straight up and down? Also by pushing down on the top you can disengage to let rope through. Unless it was backwards I don’t see how it didn’t immediately bind up and grab the rope


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I don't see how that could happen either unless the rope was fed through backwards.
 

Jay_Disarray

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SH Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
1,479
Location
MN
I'm not sure how to explain it proper, I had pretty much lifted the carabiner end of the safeguard, that stops the piece from clamping down on the rope internally
 
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