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half/twin ropes??

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I am curious what everyone's thoughts are on half/twin ropes for trad climbing. I have used them in areas like Darrington, and it was great not to have to haul up a second line to rap. I have a trip to Yosemite planned, and I am wondering if half ropes will be just as good down there? Much of my targeted climbs in the valley are steeper than darrington, but still requiring double rope raps.

(should I bring half ropes, or leave them behind and bring two singles?)

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-2 ropes for rapelling good for wandery/traversy pitches if clipping both

-extra margin of safety for chopped ropes

-not as tangly as a rap cord for double rope raps

-extra margin of safety if you have to reclimb to unstick a rope

-don't have to carry another rope in the 2nds pack, or repeatedly pull and coil at each belay




-generally heavier than a lead line with a rap cord

-can create a clusterfuck when dealing with 2 ropes belaying the 2nd on a hanging belay.

-more impact force on a piece if clipping both together

-difficult(clusterfuck) if leader is clipping lines separately and climbing difficult terrain (hard to pull up rope in time for takes and watch-me's)


On alpine routes I prefer doubles unless the terrain is clean, steep and hard, then I'd rather just deal with the mess of one line.


If you are aiding and or hauling forget the doubles.


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as a note all mammut half ropes are actually tested for twin use as well now


i just bought a set of 8mm ... worked out the weight for 70 m rope / 75m static ... and the difference is roughly 1-2 lbs for 9.2mm rope and 6/7mm static


for 9.5 mm rope and 7mm static .. there is very little weight difference ... for 10 mm rope, the double 8mm weight less


hope this helps ...


1st type 2nd type lbs

phoenix 8mm phoenix 8mm 14.82

revelation 9.2mm mammut static 6mm 12.29

revelation 9.2mm mammut static 7mm 13.94

infinity 9.5mm mammut static 7mm 14.41

maxim pinnacle 9.5mm mammut static 7mm 14.87

galaxy 10mm mammut static 7mm 15.49

Edited by bearbreeder

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cool comparison.

however, if weight is an issue then you wouldn't be using >9.4mm lead lines to begin with

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Mike's first post points you toward a complete multiple-factor analysis. One more pro for twins is that neither climber has to carry a rope on their back.


If it were me, I'd make the call based on how game I (and partner) was for the extra rope handling (belaying and stacking) associated with the twins. If so, twins are a safer and more versatile system.



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weight wasnt a huge issue ... i just wanted to compare the weights before i bought ... it has either 2 8mm ... or a 9.5 and a 7mm static ...


either is lighter than my current 10mm galaxy ...



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Once you get rope management figured out, Half Ropes for long trad routes can be the cat's meow. I've used them extensively in Squamish, Darrington, Red Rocks, the Gunks etc etc.


One of the BEST tips I've read to minimize the Fluster Cluck is to carry a Metolius Rope Hook. You flake the rope back and forth into it and then just lift out the loops and drop them when feeding out rope on the next pitch. This is FAR FAR better than making loops around your leg etc. That NEVER seems to work. EVER.

Rich Goldstone of Gunks fame swears by it.


For the Valley, half ropes can be GREAT for the longer climbs. Royal Arches to Crest Jewel for example. On climbs with "simple" walk offs like Manure Pile, a single cord is better.


I've always believed with the rare exception, that if you need to drag along a rap line, you should just climb on half ropes.


For your Valley Trip, bring your doubles and a single 70/80m if you can. The Doubles are great for all the long rap descents. The single cord can be your cragging rope AND is great for linking pitches on routes with walk offs and short "old length" pitches.

Edited by matt_m

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