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Sequencing is the conscious planning of the order in which members of your team tackle each obstacle. Every group and every canyon require different strategies in order to (in no particular order):
- Minimize bottlenecks where everyone is bunched up at an obstacle.
- Avoid having all your strong downclimbers at the bottom already with no one at the top to help a weaker downclimber.
- Keep your rigging experts where they're needed.
- Don't put all your rescue gear or first aid supplies in one pack.
- Don't drop everyone into a keeper pothole that no one can get out of.
Here are some general sequencing strategies that we use:
Sequencing Strategies for Speed:
- The person at the front of the group sets the rappel, let's everyone pass him, then cleans the route. This is similar to a flock of geese, where the lead goose drops to the back after after his turn at the front. This strategy keeps the ropes at the front of the group where they can be used instead of having the poor person at the back collecting every rope.
- Try to spread out in the canyon and go single-file rather than bunched up in a group. This will help prevent bottlenecks at rappels. After the first person is down, #1 does a fireman belay for #2, then as soon as #2 is down, #1 continues down canyon. Likewise, as soon as #3 is down, #2 continues down canyon.
- For a canyon with a lot of short rappels and only a few long rappels, it's faster to have 2-3 short ropes than 1-2 long ropes.
- If you have beta that lists the rappel lengths, you can strategize which ropes you will need for which drops and keep the next rope at the front of the group.
- If only some members of your group are comfortable rigging rappels, keep those people in the middle of the sandwich (with competent people at the front and the back).
Sequencing Strategies for Skills:
- Have a strong stemmer go up first and belay weaker stemmers.
- Have a strong downclimber act as meat anchor and go down last.
- Have a strong canyoneer try the obstacle first to see how doable it is for everyone else.
- Keep the person with the camera in front of you so your front side is in the pictures.
Sequencing Strategies for Pothole Escape:
- Send the best climber up first.
- Send the lightest person up first.
Sequencing Strategies for Sketchy Anchors
- Save the lightest person for last. Use a meat anchor backup for all but the last person.
Rigging Part 1