The Dye Clan
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The Jester Method


The jester method is a rigging option that is very versatile. To rig the jester method:

  1. Feed the rope through the anchor point until both ends reach the ground.
  2. Connect the totem to both strands using the "ATC-like slots" and connect a locking carabiner through both loops, just like if you were connecting to rappel double strand.
  3. Use a carabiner to connect the totem to the anchor. The carabiner should connect to the webbing and not to the quick link (otherwise it may pinch the rope and prevent the rope from sliding through the quick link during the lower. 
  4. The rappellers should rappel single strand if you are wanting a contingency rig (i.e. the ability to lower a stuck rappeller). Rappelling double strand is OK too, but this removes the ability to lower a stuck rappeller. 
  5. The last man down removes the carabiner that connects the totem to the anchor webbing, attaches the other carabiner to his harness, and rappels down double strand using the totem.

Note that if you use the Jester method, you can rappel on either strand (i.e. it isolates strands) and both strands have contingency. This speeds up large groups because the second person can be hooking up while the first person is still rappelling. It also gives each person the option to rappel single or double strand. 

The Jester is very straight forward to convert to a lower, but it is much easier with two people. To convert the Jester to a lower (if the rappeller gets stuck on rappel):

  1. Pull the brake line up to the top of the cliff.  
  2. The first person holds the brake line while the second person pulls the entire non-rappel-side of the rope through the totem.
  3. The first person gradually feeds rope through the totem until the stuck rappeller reaches the bottom. 

Note that steps 2 and 3 can be done simultaneously as long as the first person doesn't let rope out faster than the second person can pull rope through the Totem.


CAUTION: Because the Jester method is relying on friction through the totem, which is not locked off, there is the potential for the rope to creep through the totem, or even slide uncontrollably through the totem. Small ropes, heavy rappellers, or not-smooth rappellers, may all cause the jester to fail. Please test your combination of gear in a safe environment before taking this method into the field. Additionally, it is crucial to have a belayer (either at the top or the bottom) hold the non-rappel strand in case it starts to slip through the jester.


Munter-Mule Contingency Anchor