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Topoftheworld

Rope Up or Solo?

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What's safer, to rope up with climbers in your group or not? I've heard/read of instances where a group of roped climbers get pulled down a mountain because one person fell. I'm sure there are instances of a "fallen" climber saved because he/she is tied to other climbers.

 

I would really like to hear from experienced climbers who can talk from real life instances.

 

 

Edited by Topoftheworld

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Are you talking about being roped together without any protection in (probably on snow) or just soloing vs belayed climbing?

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Roping up is a tactic (action or process) used as part of an overall plan. Tactics in themselves are pretty hard to evaluate without the context of an overall strategy. Example: Cruise missile strikes: yeah or neah? Well, depends on the situation.

 

I think you'll get better advise if you phase your question to compare two plans.

 

If you're traveling as a team, you've got to have some sort of belay: running belays/fixed anchors/"body belays" (self arrest, bracing, ?). I would estimate that most people overestimate their ability to self arrest in some conditions. If you're planning on self arresting, make sure it seems reasonable given the conditions.

 

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Blake is right, roping up is part of an overall strategy. If it is good conditions for an arrest with partners that are capable it is a good way to save each others bacon. Bad conditions. or limiting factors call for looking carefull at what works. sometimes roping up and placing pro in a running belay is viable others not.

 

If not roping up is best option maybe one should not even be there. Best option is to actually climb with some skilled pepes until one can make there own calls. There are a vast number of variations that can get one up and back safely.

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never rope up w/ republicans :)

 

Then the multi-level correct choice as Max said and Blake may have been thinking is:

 

ITDepends.jpg

 

 

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I all depends on the circumstance, but I typically rope up when there are hidden crevasses (glaciers) and on technical terrain when putting in gear, otherwise I take the rope off.

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Its fairly simple. If the skills of the group and conditions are such that the group could arrest a fall of one member, then it is better to rope up. If the skills of the group and conditions are such that the group could not arrest a fall, then it is safer to climb unroped. Setting a "running belay" greatly improves your chance of arresting a fall in dicey conditions. But since you are inexperienced enough to be asking the question (not at all a bad question for a noob), stick to conditions where you are confident you can arrest a fall until you have more experience, training and judgement.

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When climbing with people I trust, I frequenty rope up ahead of expected difficulty, but don't place protection just yet. Strictly speaking we'd be much better of not being roped up on the terrain we choose not to protect; We chose to do so simply because it's much easier to start placing pro when going gets hard and you have the rope already on.

 

Otherwise it's very easy to fall victim of "it's just one move, we'll be fine" mentality.

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You don't just rope up on a glacier to be able to group arrest. If you keep slack out of the rope and someone punches through a hidden crevasse or unstable snow bridge they will should not fall far, whereas without roping up you could go for a long ride.

 

 

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