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Alpine Rope. What do you use?

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Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby JohnWilliams » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:50 pm

Just wondering what people use for their alpine climbs. What size?
I use a 60m 10.2mm and its on the heavy side. I would like to go lighter with the next rope I buy. Does anybody use a smaller rope?

Also, has anyone choped a full lenth rope for use on shorter routes or for back-up protection? If so, how wise is this?

Thanks,
John
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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby schrund » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:20 pm

I have a 30 meter 8.0 mm rope for when full rope just isn't neccesary:
http://www.highonropes.com/climbing-ropes/edelweiss-discover-dynamic-twin-rope-30-metre-super-everdry.asp
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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby ajkagy » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:23 pm

got a 10.2 cheaper rope for top roping/sport and a mammut 9.2mm 60m for lightweight alpine. Cutting a rope in half for a backup is nice especially on some sections of class 4/5 scrambling where conditions might not be the best and having a short belay gives you peace of mind.

No sense in buying a new 30/40m rope for the backup since they are overpriced and usually twins, my cut rope works just fine :)

I use my 10.2 on stuff like the flatirons because rope drag/rock tear the crap out of the rope.
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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby Pivvay » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:46 pm

I carry a 30m half rope for sections where a rope is only needed for a short bit or a quick rappel. Otherwise i carry some sort of real rope, either doubles or skinny singles depending on which partner I have. My 60m is a heavy old bastard but I did carry it on Longs when my wife and I did the Cables.

EDIT: You can go real skinny in the alpine. I've used one half rope (60m) before on stuff like Martha or other slightly technical couloirs. Just don't fall on them, esp near sharp edges. Most people are probably better off using a pair of double/half ropes when rappels are necessary or a skinny single when they're not. Skinny ropes still catch ya, you just need to decide how much cut hazard you're going to be exposed to.

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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby JohnWilliams » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:56 pm

Thanks everybody! whats a good way to cut a rope? Should the ends be melted? if so how?

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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby glad2Bme » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:16 am

I don't do enough technical alpine to justify a full length small diameter rope.
I've carried 25m (I think it was a 10.5) on some class 4/low 5 routes. I taped it in the middle with two bands of tape about 1/4 inch a part, cut it between the bands, and melted the ends. It was a comfort to have in some of the sketchy, icy parts though never weighted it. It was a good excuse to get a new rope (10.2x60) for the crags.
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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby Doug Shaw » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:30 am

Johnba wrote:Also, has anyone choped a full lenth rope for use on shorter routes or for back-up protection? If so, how wise is this?


It's fine, just keep sheath slippage in mind. I.e. the core no longer extends all the way to the cut end of the sheath. How much slippage there is may depend on the rope - length, construction, etc. You just want to be aware of it before you find yourself tying in to only sheath. Should be pretty obvious when you inspect your rope...

In fact I've got a 60m 9.5 that I've been thinking of doing this to; it suffered some notable sheath abrasion (while top roping at Ouray, no less... eep). While the core is not exposed and I think it's probably fine (both from visual and tactile inspection), I've found I'm no longer willing to trust my life to it any longer, so I think I'm going to cut it and turn it into a 30m.

If you're looking for lightweight without violating a rope, you can use a smaller-diameter half rope and sacrifice pitch length for redundancy by doubling the rope.

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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:17 am

Johnba wrote:Thanks everybody! whats a good way to cut a rope? Should the ends be melted? if so how?

Take an old butter knife, sharpen the BACK of the knife (the straight part) slightly with a file. Heat the knife with a camp stove or over a gas stove burner until it is red hot. It is convenient to use a camp stove for this as the knife can be clamped in a metal vice or lock-grips while you are heating it. Once it is red hot, push the rope through the knife and use the hot sides of the knife to clean the edges of the rope. This will melt the core to the sheath which is what you are looking for. To finish the ends, cut some heat shrink tubing to fit and put it over the rope BEFORE you cut it. The ends of the rope should be peened, slide the heat shrink tubing up to the end of the rope and heat it up to tighten it around the end. This method gives you an almost perfect end to your rope.
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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby coloradokevin » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:12 am

Johnba wrote:Thanks everybody! whats a good way to cut a rope? Should the ends be melted? if so how?


If you don't have a hot knife at home, and don't want to hassle with trying to make a clean cut/melt, you could always just drive to REI or another mountaineering shop and ask them to cut the rope for you. Any store that sells rope is going to have a hot knife, and I doubt any of them would give you a hassle about cutting the rope in their store.

Don't get me wrong, you could certainly cut/heat the ends at home... I'd just rather do a nice clean job the first time, and I always enjoy a trip to the local climbing shops :)

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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby TomPierce » Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:01 am

John: I have been using what I call shorty ropes for years on alpine routes. Just seems crazy to lug a 60m rope (do they even make 50's anymore...?) when all you need is, for example, a 60' rope for a crux section. I'm just not the backpacking type so anything I can do to lighten the load I'm all for it. Right now I use 35m Beal Jokers as my standard alpine rope but even that often seems too much. I was looking over the Mountain Tools catalog last night and I'm thinking of getting an 8.9mm Mammut rope at 70m and maybe making 3 ropes out of it. Still thinking about it.

One safety note: Not sure I followed some of the previous posts but IMO rope buyers need to fully understand the difference between twin, double and single ropes; there's a symbol on the end tape that will state what sort of rope it is. Leading on, for example, a single 8mm twin rope is IMO very unsafe. It's just not designed to take a full-on leader fall. The Euros use them for glacier ropes but that's a much different deal than leading on alpine rock.

Prep: If you chop a rope whatever factory-placed mid-point marker will probably no longer make sense. There's a controversy about using Sharpie markers to mark the mid-point and the last I heard was that the only good marker was the Sharpie TEC (trace element certified) marker; hard to find locally but available online for about $4. Pros & cons to the debate (read the UIAA bulletin to understand the issue) but I'd rather have a marked mid point than not. I mark the mid point with a couple of small stipes and also a single line about 10' from each end. It's a simple marker that, as you rappel, you're nearing the end of the rope. Finally, the Baron's suggestion of heat-shrinkable tubing is a good one (available at Home Depot, etc.). Another option is to buy a little jar of this stuff called Rope Dip. It's liquified rubber, sort of like the consistency of egg nog, and you dip an inch or so of each rope end in; it dries in a couple of hours to a super thin but durable casing on the rope. The bright red also makes it easy to find the ropes ends. Just some ideas, and as always just my opinions.
-Tom

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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby rickinco123 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:17 pm

TomPierce wrote:Prep: If you chop a rope whatever factory-placed mid-point marker will probably no longer make sense. There's a controversy about using Sharpie markers to mark the mid-point and the last I heard was that the only good marker was the Sharpie TEC (trace element certified) marker; hard to find locally but available online for about $4. Pros & cons to the debate (read the UIAA bulletin to understand the issue) but I'd rather have a marked mid point than not.


New England ropes recommends the "marks-a-lot" marker. Used to be made by Avery, not sure who makes it now. I would not suggest anyone ignore UIAA warnings but........... I have never heard of one accident because of rope failure due to marking with a marker.

If you want to be real "old school" you can also whip the ends of your rope after splicing.

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Re: Alpine Rope. What do you use?

Postby Pivvay » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:02 pm

The difference between a half/double and a twin is important for sure. People do lead on one half of a set of double ropes and they will hold a fall. It's an advanced technique though and does significantly narrow your safety margin. Make sure you understand this before using any rope outside it's "recommended" practice.

I'm guessing most people reading this thread are best suited to carrying a shortened rope rated for single rope use.

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