Apr 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm #1288256
Don't know if this is the place to ask or not, but what is a good rope (and good value) to use as a dedicated rappelling rope? Thanks.Apr 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm #1863123
W I S N E R !BPL Member
I've been using the Blue Water II Plus 10.5mm for many years. Probably the most common static rope I see out there.Apr 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm #1863127
what kind of raps will you be using it for, canyoneering, caving, alpine, etc … how far are you planning on carrying it … do you ever plan on climbing on it later
what kind of device are you usingApr 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm #1863146
Do you care about weight or durability?
"The weight savings is amazing! My 10.0mm, 60 meter rock rope weighs 8 lbs. 10oz (3, 912 grams), or 65 grams per meter ( pretty standard for a burly rock rope).
My skinny 8mm, 40 meter glacier rope? How about a featherweight 3 lbs. 4oz (1,474 grams), a mere 37 grams per meter?"Apr 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm #1863148
Forty-odd years ago, we had a U.S. Army rappelling school overseas. Our primary mission was to train ground troops how to get down some steep cliff in a hurry and without injury. I was an assistant instructor in the class, so I did not have much say over the types of equipment that we used on the trainees. Back then, the best rope was a laid rope (not a kernmantle rope). All of our ropes were made of green nylon, and they were very similar to the brand Goldline. All of our ropes were half-inch diameter except for maybe one or two that were 7/16 inch. All of our ropes were 150 feet in length since the main cliff that we used was around 120 feet or more.
Each person had to tie up a Swiss Seat, which is one-inch nylon webbing tied around the waist and hips and crotch and knotted correctly. Onto that central knot, we clipped an ordinary carabiner with the gate up and facing forward. Then we would straddle the standing rope near its top anchor and clip the carabiner onto the rope with two twists. One of us would inspect for safety, and then, with a step or two to the rear, the person would be over the cliff edge and falling. We used no safety lines or hardware.
If you are not careful at the bottom, your carabiner will be intensely hot from friction, and you can burn your forearms. In fact, if you don't step off the bottom of the rope quickly, you can burn/melt the rope from the heat. I think I still have some light burn scars on my forearms from that time.
You have to have some idea how important it is to have a static rope versus a dynamic rope, since they are kind of two different things. Laid ropes tend to be rather stretchy. You need to periodically inspect your ropes to look for signs of melting or fraying.
–B.G.–Apr 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm #1863184
I'll be using the rope to teach Boy Scouts how to rappel, and we're going caving in SE New Mexico later in the month. It would be nice if it could be used to top rope, but if that meant it wore out in a year, I don't want that. I can't imagine I'd ever be carrying it over a mile or two.Apr 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm #1863190
Some caves are very wet, and some ropes are better for wet than others. I know. I grew up as a caver. For scouts, I would think that there will be rules for using a light safety rope in many circumstances. Also, we used to use a big leather blanket to cover the top edge where the rope rubs. That will decrease your rope wear by a huge amount. You can paint the blanket with the symbol for your scout organization.
Also, it would be good to teach the scouts how to inspect each others knots for safety. At first, it will be an adult supervising. Later, you can teach the scouts to inspect for their buddy. Even make an intentional mistake and get the scouts to spot that.
–B.G.–Apr 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm #1863242
joe … get a 10-10.5 mm static rope … for caving i believe yr mostly rappeling and ascending … the exception is if youll be belaying in the cave then youll want something dynamic … if you plan on TRing alot then dynamic is likely better
im assuming that you and yr scouts will be using ATCs/8s or a similar device to rappel … you definately dont want to go too thin with an 8 … nor with a munter should you use it
my advice is to get the cheapest decent brand certified rope that you can in that range … look for what length you need … itll likely be a 60 or 70m … dry treatment is up to you, but itll wear off quickly with rapelling and top roping and its not needed for your purposes
a suitable rope will likely cost you between 100-150$Apr 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm #1863334
If weight isn't the issue, then everyone's suggestion of a static rope, bluewater etc.
in 10+ mm is a good one.
Top roping with a static rope is sometime preferred over a dynamic rope particularly
when used as a sling shot. This keeps the climber from grounding due to rope stretch
over a long length of rope out.Apr 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm #1863363
Thanks for the help. Most of the caves we'd be going into only require a rope at the entrance. We have a dynamic rope for belay. We'll see how it all works out.Apr 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm #1863395
the problem with top roping with a static is that the belayers must be quite attentive, no slack can be allowed to build up as the rope has very little absorbing stretch …
the trick with a dynamic TR is to pre tension the rope at the base … get the belayer to jump up a bit and pull the rope tight …
note that most gyms use dynamic ropes for their TR walls … and they all have kidsApr 4, 2012 at 10:09 am #1863517
I use both kinds of ropes for commercial program use. "Tricks" are not something to be depended on.
Most climbing gyms have lead climbing, which you do not want someone mistakenly trying on a static line.
Rescue groups may use the static line as the belay line and the dynamic rope as the
raising and lowering line at times. The increased weight of the litter and attendants
on a dynamic rope when used as a belay can cause too much drop when loaded suddenly, causing injury to those
being lowered.Apr 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm #1863844
thats odd david .. almost everyone in squamish, even guides, use dynamic ropes for top roping … maybe they dont know how to do it properly ;)Apr 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm #1865461
Kind of an out of the way climbing spot.
Here is an example of gym rope that is a static line.
Lots of static lines used for wall and expedition fixing.
Also interesting video of tools for self evac (firemen, ski patrol etc.)
Something interesting I read was about tests on old climbing ropes.
They drop tested a bunch, up to 28 years old. All that showed no physical signs of damage passed the drop tests. Anyone have the link? I would like to double check my memory.Apr 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm #1865501
"They drop tested a bunch, up to 28 years old. All that showed no physical signs of damage passed the drop tests."
I have a 50-meter 11mm kernmantle rope hanging in my garage. It is still sealed in the original plastic bag, has never been uncoiled, and looks perfect. It would be interesting to test it, because I purchased it in 1978.
–B.G.–Apr 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm #1865572
well they do the same in the canadian rockies as well …
and most climbers, guides and gyms i know too
dynamic ropes for top roping …
guess were all doing it wrong ;)
here's sterling ropes gym series … not they dont say "alternative" … it just says gym =PApr 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm #1865583
There is like what, 100 climbers in Canada? ;^)
A Dynamic rope is rarely the wrong choice.
Static lines are just better at a few things.Apr 17, 2012 at 9:23 am #1868117
I wouldn't consider a static rope if you plan on doing any toproping or climbing at all, or there's even a slight chance of it. Look around for studies of impact force when a climber takes even a small fall on a static rope. It's not good. Otherwise for rappelling or gear hauling, static would definitely be the way to go. Use a rappelling rack or figure 8 for descending.Apr 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm #1868899
Doug SmithBPL Member
@jedi5150Locale: Central CA
I was the head of our SAR team's cliff rescue team for a few years, and I also taught our SWAT team members basic rappelling. We bought all our ropes and gear from CMC Rescue. We use 1/2" kern-mantle such as the Static Pro Lifeline and steel rescue 8 plates for rescues involving more than 1 person on line (ie: litter tender plus patient). For single person on line or remote back-country stuff we used 7/16" ropes and aluminum rescue 8 plates. We pretty much followed NFPA guidelines when it came to technical gear.
Over the years we started replacing the 8 plates with the brake-bar rack for the majority of our rescues. I'm a die-hard 8 plate fan myself because I like simplicity and bomb-proof, especially when it's cold, dark, wet and muddy, and you're going on zero sleep (the majority of rescues ;-). But even I will admit that the bar rack has some great things going for it, such as the ability to add and decrease friction under load, as well as it doesn't twist your ropes up as bad on long drops like the 8 plates do.
As for anchors, we use 1" tubular webbing, typically a 3 wrap, 2 pull, although where practical, a tensionless hitch with the rappell line is often my personal favorite choice.
If I could give you one piece of advice before taking the scouts out, it would be always have back-ups. Always use a safety line in addition to your main line. Secondly, always have a rescuer suited up and ready for a pick-off at a moments notice. When someone gets hung up or freezes up mentally while over the side, that is not the time to be practicing pick-offs or getting your back-up system in place. I've seen training/ play sessions go to "real time rescues" on more than one occassion because of unforseen situations, especially where novice rappellers are involved.
Finally, always have a safety officer designated. That person's sole job is to check every knot, every system, every anchor, every harness, helmet, etc. before people go over the side. Your system should be set up so that if a whistle blows at any time, every single person there can let go of what they are holding and the person on-line will not drop. You accomplish this with brakes and safety lines (rescuesenders, Gibbs, prusik cords, etc.). Nobody should go over the side in anything less than a full body harness. This doesn't mean you have to buy a comercially made one. A seat harness and webbing chest loop will work just fine. but the person has to be able to stay in their harness while inverted.
Sorry if it sounds like I'm coming across as an alarmist. I'm all in favor of teaching scouts rappelling (I did it when I was a scout). But at the same time, rappelling is an exceptionally dangerous activity (far more so than firearms training), and emergencies often do happen. Scouts are at the perfect age to teach not only how fun rappelling can be, but also respect for dangerous activities and how to be safety-conscious in general. I'd highly suggest practicing setting up and taking down systems, including the rappelling itself, on flat terrain before doing it for real.Apr 19, 2012 at 1:53 am #1868916
thats odd as guides generally teach rappelling the usual way … rappel down, usually with a prussik and possibly a firemans to start
i havent head of any accidents doing so under proper supervision
not saying its right or wrong …Apr 19, 2012 at 2:57 am #1868921
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> we started replacing the 8 plates with the brake-bar rack for the majority of our rescues.
Wet canyoning in NSW (Australia) in the walking clubs is pretty big stuff. Some abs are nearly 50 m. By and large, figure-of-8s are banned by all clubs, on safety grounds. Yes, we use a highly developed (bar) rack. Heavy, but VERY reliable.
For wet canyons we use static ropes.
CheersApr 20, 2012 at 12:27 am #1869283
@footeabLocale: Pacific Northwest
1 person as safety knot check?
Sounds like bad way to teach IMO. EVERYONE needs to be checking all the knots ALL THE TIME. Get them in the habit to take personal responsibility for their own safety. This is NOT to be taken lightly or to assume that someone else did it FOR YOU.
Figure 8 banned? Makes a mess of the ropes I agree, but banned? Rediculous. Sounds more like a bunch of power hungry zealots in charge of "safety". Tieing off an 8 is simplicity itself. A tac bar… for very long repels, sure, but all the time? Heck no! Teach the munter hitch right after basic repel technique!
Heck the first time I learned how to repel I did it upside down. They were teaching us TRUST in the rope/gear and how to get out of being inverted. If one is NOT going to teach this first time out, then ya, maybe a chest sling. They also taught 1st thing out a fireman rappel stop.
PS. Make sure the scouts wear OLD T-Shirts/jackets as the likelyhood of them getting their clothes STUCK in the repel device are high and ripped. If they are young and light enough, they might have a VERY difficult time actually repeling on a larger rope. Then if they get their shirt stuck in the repel device on top of this… Beware!Apr 20, 2012 at 9:39 am #1869364
Doug SmithBPL Member
@jedi5150Locale: Central CA
"1 person as safety knot check?
Sounds like bad way to teach IMO. EVERYONE needs to be checking all the knots ALL THE TIME. Get them in the habit to take personal responsibility for their own safety. This is NOT to be taken lightly or to assume that someone else did it FOR YOU."
Sorry for not making that clear enough Brian. I figured it was a given that everyone is responsible for their own safety. On top of that, a full-time safety officer is designated. Does that make more sense now?Apr 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm #1869480
From: Rock Climbing by Craig Luebben
"Static ropes work fine for rappelling and top roping, but never lead on a static rope."
From: The Mountaineering Handbook by Craig Connally
"Static ropes ….. are designed for caving, rescue, rappelling, canyoneering, hauling, expeditionary fixed lines, top roping, gym climbing …"
Static lines are much more durable. Less rope stretch is part of the reason
why. Gym ropes can be semi static and split the difference in elongation. Personally I
own a 10 mill lead line, and a 9 mill rap and glacier line. At one point in my
life I wore out an 11 mill line one year top roping. If I had it to do over again, I
would have saved my lead line by buying an extra static for the top roping.
"thats odd as guides generally teach rappelling the usual way … rappel down, usually with a prussik and possibly a firemans to start
i havent head of any accidents doing so under proper supervision
not saying its right or wrong …"
All the places I have worked (about 6) for that did climbing with students used a separate and
independently anchored belay rope when rappelling. And the rappel rope was tied to the
anchor with a munter/mule hitch on a master biner. This way if the student got stuck (clothing in device etc.)
the rappel rope could be loosed and the student lowered enough onto the belay
while the device was cleared, or be lowered on the belay rope all the way down.
This can be particularly important on a summit with weather coming in. You don't
want a student stuck halfway blocking everyone's escape.Apr 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm #1869482
"I wouldn't consider a static rope if you plan on doing any toproping or climbing at all, or there's even a slight chance of it. Look around for studies of impact force when a climber takes even a small fall on a static rope. It's not good. Otherwise for rappelling or gear hauling, static would definitely be the way to go. Use a rappelling rack or figure 8 for descending."
Jamie- lets see a link.
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