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Jake

Rope Lengths

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Gonna buy a new rope for moderate alpine routes. Trying to decide on what length to get. I figure 50m would be better than the 60 i've been using cause it would be lighter and an extra 10 meters isn't gonna make much of a difference on a mountain anyway. Thoughts?

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Sounds like a plan. Get the 50 m, especially if your 60 meter rope still usable. Get a 9.4 mm diameter if you plan to use it for alpine, but then don't use it cragging. They wear out too fast doing lowers, etc.

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I'm a beginner so please take with a grain of salt....

 

For moderate alpine routes, I use an 8.5mm x 50m "half rope" system. If you have two 50m rope strands, you have a lot of flexibility:

 

On some routes, I've carried just a single strand of 8.5mm x 50m rope (e.g., Buckner NF, Eldorado NEF, Glacier FR, Maude Entitat Icefall). This is good for moderate routes with an obvious walk-off.

 

On other routes where there is the potential for a rappel descent (or retreat), I've carried a single strand of the rope, plus 50m of 6mm cord which allows full 50m rappels (e.g., Maude NF, Shuksan, Colchuck NEC, Kyes Peak, ...).

 

For "steeper" rock or ice climbing, I use two strands of the 8.5mm rope as a "double rope" system. Mostly I've used this technique on waterfall ice and trad rock climbs, but I've used it on a few alpine climbs (Tooth NEF, Liberty Bell, Chair NEB).

 

On occasion I've encountered terrain that made me wish for an extra 10m of rope. But if the terrain is moderate, you can often simul-climb until you reach a more suitable belay location.

 

Well, just my $0.02.

 

For all of the routes I mentioned above, I imagine that a single rope system would work just fine. It all depends on your taste, climbing style, comfort level, etc.

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Gonna buy a new rope for moderate alpine routes. Trying to decide on what length to get. I figure 50m would be better than the 60 i've been using cause it would be lighter and an extra 10 meters isn't gonna make much of a difference on a mountain anyway. Thoughts?

 

Like Catdipshit said, get a 9.4 or similar for alpine. But, an extra 10-m is an extra 10-m in the mountains. Think about it. Overall, potential for fewer belays, slightly longer rappels, generally more flexibility. When you don't have it, you'll want it. Go 60.

 

Take it all with a grain of salt, 'cause I've never climbed the Tooth. the_finger.gif

 

Roark

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Anybody know a long skinny rope that isn't really stiff? I've been pondering on just taking my super-soft 50m cragging rope and a 5.5 mm retrieval line.

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Gonna buy a new rope for moderate alpine routes. Trying to decide on what length to get. I figure 50m would be better than the 60 i've been using cause it would be lighter and an extra 10 meters isn't gonna make much of a difference on a mountain anyway. Thoughts?

 

Like Catdipshit said, get a 9.4 or similar for alpine. But, an extra 10-m is an extra 10-m in the mountains. Think about it. Overall, potential for fewer belays, slightly longer rappels, generally more flexibility. When you don't have it, you'll want it. Go 60.

Like the wHoar said, get a 9.4 or similar for alpine. But, an extra 10-m is an extra 10-m in the mountains. Think about it. Overall, potential for fewer belays, slightly longer rappels, generally more flexibility. When you don't have it, you'll want it. Go 70.

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If you go with a 9.4 single 50m and are doing a route with a load of rappels, bring along another 50m rope, not a 9.4... that would probably keep you on your back in the parking lot.

 

Get the skinniest rope that you would feel comfortable rapelling on, if it were a double. There shouldn't be any shock loading on a proper rappel so you can get pretty skinny with your second rope. I've heard of some people getting into the thread classification on this one. When you're faced with a lot of rappels simply double it up with your 9.4 and you got a full 50m of fun ahead of you.

 

If you think about it, no-one questions prussiking up a rope with one 5.5mm rope with a friction knot as a lifeline, so why not rappel on one combined with a 9.4mm with a bomber knot? 5.5mm prussik will hold 4,000Ibs and even after $5 little Caesear's Pizza I don't weigh 1/20th of that. Of coarse there are increased risks like rockfall slicing rope, or rope abrasion but I still feel safe on this. 50m of prussik is 2.1Ib's in your pack!

 

If you want a little bit of added insurance, always tie it so the knot is on the thin rope side. I know the knot will only stick when you're trying to pull the rope, but it does help ease the mind a little for those of us that start quivering when we see something that thin.

 

Also for name brand... check out Maxim's rope (not the magazine). I bought their 55m 10.5 as my first rope and fell in love with it. Excellent fall ratings vs. weight and it stood up well to abrasion. It was fairly limp right out of the package too, so it was easy to work with(future dirty references welcome). They don't have a 9.4 but check the weight differences with their 9.8's, as it might be negligible.

 

This isn't mainstream thinking so I welcome your thoughts on this... does too much Little Ceasear's make you sick in the head?

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70 meters? Damn, that's pretty weak. Might as well go with 80 smile.gif

 

It seems a 50m would be fine, cause I would likely be carrying a thin rap cord too. With a full 50m to rap, I'm not sure that an extra 10m on a 60 would speed things up much. Of course, it could be nice to have in some situations, but wtf, a little sketchy downclimbing is always a fun way to get your heart rate up.

Do you think rockfall hitting a 9.4mm vs. a 10mm would make much difference. Would the 9.4 be cut considerably more times than the 10 would?

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Do you think rockfall hitting a 9.4mm vs. a 10mm would make much difference. Would the 9.4 be cut considerably more times than the 10 would?

 

Sorry shoulda been a bit more clear. Rockfall and abrasion on the 5.5 vs. rockfall on the 9.4 might be reason for a little concern.

 

I think 9.4 is bomber for a main rope! If you look at what ropes are actually capable of doing, you can see that everyone has a huge safety factor built into their considerations, even on the thin ropes.

 

John Long wrote a really good bit about dropping a cow 60m on a rope and how many times you could do this before risking losing your meat. Unless you or your partner is a cow, the present day ropes are generally overkill.

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Right. 9.4 is pretty tough stuff.

I wouldn't be too concerned about rocks hitting a rap rope - hopefully you wouldn't be dislodging too much stuff on the way down.

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I'm a beginner so please take with a grain of salt....

 

For moderate alpine routes, I use an 8.5mm x 50m "half rope" system. If you have two 50m rope strands, you have a lot of flexibility:

 

On some routes, I've carried just a single strand of 8.5mm x 50m rope (e.g., Buckner NF, Eldorado NEF, Glacier FR, Maude Entitat Icefall). This is good for moderate routes with an obvious walk-off.

 

On other routes where there is the potential for a rappel descent (or retreat), I've carried a single strand of the rope, plus 50m of 6mm cord which allows full 50m rappels (e.g., Maude NF, Shuksan, Colchuck NEC, Kyes Peak, ...).

 

For "steeper" rock or ice climbing, I use two strands of the 8.5mm rope as a "double rope" system. Mostly I've used this technique on waterfall ice and trad rock climbs, but I've used it on a few alpine climbs (Tooth NEF, Liberty Bell, Chair NEB).

 

On occasion I've encountered terrain that made me wish for an extra 10m of rope. But if the terrain is moderate, you can often simul-climb until you reach a more suitable belay location.

 

Well, just my $0.02.

 

For all of the routes I mentioned above, I imagine that a single rope system would work just fine. It all depends on your taste, climbing style, comfort level, etc.

Well I've been climbing for 30 years so don't get buried in the bullshit I am about to spew. Like this new guy says, 50 m twins are great. It is the system I used for many alpine climbs in the Bitterroots, especially 1st ascents. The combination of weight savings over a 60m, the 165 ft rappel length, the security of a double rope amoung loose rocks and over sharp edges have all made it seem like the best system for me.

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I hope this is relevant.

 

I guess a rope decision would depend on what constitutes "alpine routes".

A couloir climb with a glacier descent?

A little simulclimbing?

A 30 to 50m 8mm or 9mm cord should be plenty.

 

For rock routes it seems 60m has become the standard, so beware of coming short on raps with a 50m. When rapping is anticipated, I climb with a 60 m 9.4 lead and 65m of 7.5 mil static that I found in AK. I wish I had the $$ so I could get 70 or so meters of 6mm. If your backup/tagline is static (like 6mm cord)get it a few feet longer than your lead bc/of rope stretch, and you can always chop chunks off to beef up anchors.

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Right. 9.4 is pretty tough stuff.

I wouldn't be too concerned about rocks hitting a rap rope - hopefully you wouldn't be dislodging too much stuff on the way down.

 

I would be. It's the only situation I've ever lost rope due to rockfall. frown.gif Mind you, it was when I was pulling the line, not when I was on it. blush.gif

 

Twight has a lot to say about this issue in "Extreme Alpinism," I am too lazy to type it all in here though. tongue.gif Worth looking up.

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He's got a 60 m rope already. If he gets a 50 m, he can take whichever rope is more appropriate for the route.

 

I think what a lot of people are saying is, why take the 50 when you have a 60 skinny? Personally, I wouldn't take a 70 into an alpine setting. Although, I used on on Angel's Crest in Squamish and it was perfect for that route; the approach was cake, so we didn't have to carry it that far.

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Yeah this is good. The idea about many rock routes at cragging areas being set for 60 is right on - and I normally use a 60 for this. But since there is a lot of leeway on routes in the mountains where you can rig your own belay or rap twice if need be, I'm starting to lean toward bringing a thin 50m cord. One way to look at it is why bring a thin 60 when you could bring a thin 50 and probably get away with it just fine?

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I think people who are bumbly and inefficient with

ropemanagement and anchor building will never realize

the benefit of the xtra 10 or 20 meters and people who

are way-honed and efficient will climb the route faster

than me even if their rope is only 10m long. A 50m rope is

a perfectly adequate tool thumbs_up.gif

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Right. 9.4 is pretty tough stuff.

I wouldn't be too concerned about rocks hitting a rap rope - hopefully you wouldn't be dislodging too much stuff on the way down.

 

I would be. It's the only situation I've ever lost rope due to rockfall. frown.gif Mind you, it was when I was pulling the line, not when I was on it. blush.gif

 

Twight has a lot to say about this issue in "Extreme Alpinism," I am too lazy to type it all in here though. tongue.gif Worth looking up.

 

Can you elaborate on this??? hellno3d.gif Did you lose a 10 or a 5.5? Did the rope get cut in two, or did the sheath just get scarred?

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I lost about 3m off the end of my pretty pink 10mm. It pulled a couple rocks down with it, and they landed on it somewhere along the way. Luckily the whole thing went down to the side of the ridge we were rapping down. thumbs_up.gif

 

The sheath was busted wide open and the core sustained some damage. Maybe about 80% intact core. I've still got the bit lying around as a souvenier, somewhere. If it was a rock landing on a loaded rope I imagine it might have been a deeper cut.

 

'Twas a good climb, I would recommend it. wink.gif

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So am I crazy and taking my wife's and my own life into our hands by using a single 9mm double for easy stuff (NE Black Peak, SEWS punter route, Flatirons)?

 

Any of the tech gods here know what the strength is of using a single double rope as opposed to using two? Mind you, this is stuff that you would never take a whipper on.

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I think a 9mm is bomber for a lot of routes. If you're doing snow/glacier traverses where the only time you plan on using it is if someone takes a spill into a crevasse or on a snow/rock ridge where you're not placing gear but want to be roped up in case someone walks off into the abyss, I would feel comfortable using anything down to an 8.5mm. It may make the recovery a little more difficult with the rope being able to slice deeper into the snow ice on the edge. If you do have someone take a spill into a crack on an 8.5mm, try to get a pack under the rope at the edge before you start hoisting.

 

As for rope length, I think an important consideration is how much pro you will be placing on a route and how large your rack is. Like Fern said, those that are really good at building anchors will cope just fine with a 50m. If you're placing 50m of pro vs. 100m, you can get away with a lot smaller rack... less weight. I'd say 100m is overkill unless you like to really run it out and only carry a rack for anchors at either end. In the Alpine, its not a whole lot of fun waiting for your partner to run that 50m while you turn blue I could only imagine 100m. cry.gif I'd leave the 60+m for the crag and take a 50-55m/9.4mm-9.8mm for the Alpine and bring along a 5.5mm chord for those nasty rap routes.

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