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kane_schutzman


Mar 14, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Half rope for alpine
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Just curious if people have used a half rope for alpine climbing, say anything less than vertical ice, and glaciers..again im talking about using a half rope as a single.

Looking at trying this

http://www.rei.com/product/737416


yodadave


Mar 14, 2010, 11:59 AM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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i've done it but i pretty much treated as a the leader doesn't fall exercise.


midwestpaul


Mar 14, 2010, 1:36 PM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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looks like a good deal.

i sometimes use a 8 mm half rope for stuff i not at my limit, or soloing. According to Mark Twight, half ropes are okay to fall on as long as your not taking a factor two. but i also treat it as a no falls situation.


yodadave


Mar 14, 2010, 1:59 PM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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now with 100% added clicky

http://www.rei.com/product/737416


petsfed


Mar 14, 2010, 2:56 PM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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REI sells an Edelweiss twin whose stated purpose is for glacier travel. I have that.

I know that for quite a while, sport climbers would use half ropes on redpoint attempts since they'd only fall the once (if at all) on it and then lower off, so its certainly safe enough, if you don't plan on falling.

I guess its a question of what you're comfortable with. I wouldn't want to be in a place where I could easily fall and the rope was all that was there to slow me down.


sspssp


Mar 15, 2010, 12:45 PM
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Re: [petsfed] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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I agree that it is a question of what you are comfortable with. The rope manufacturers put safety margins on their equipment and by climbing on a single twin you have substantially reduced it.

I've climbed plenty of easy, alpine style terrain with a single twin, but I have no expectations of taking a fall on it. If I do ever fall, I have every expectation of the rope holding just fine. (Now given that on easy terrain I'm probably only putting a piece in, say every 50 feet or so, I don't neccesarily expect to casually walk away from a fall, but that is different question).

It seems to me the biggest issue would be the increased chance of the rope cutting on a sharp edge, which the likely hood of that happening is very route specific.


builttospill


Mar 15, 2010, 2:18 PM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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Let's not confuse half and twin ropes. I believe Mark Twight's comment was about twin ropes specifically, not half ropes.

I've got a set of twins, and I've considered using just one of them as a single on alpine climbs before. I would do it on climbs that I would solo but that my second would not.

I'd also do it on climbs that are mostly very easy but with short cruxes where you can fold the rope in half and have a full-strength system for 30m. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't do it.

In both cases, the approach would have to be fairly lengthy for it to be justified in my mind (i.e. several hours, or where speed is of the essence for some other reason like a long enchainment).


nattfodd


Mar 16, 2010, 8:40 AM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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On a half rope, sure. If the climbing is below our limit and we want to go fast, there is no hesitation in bringing one half rope. Unlike twins, they are rated for lead falls on a single strand, the main issue is that they are much more prone to be cut over sharp edges (especially in low-angle alpine climbs).

Since I'm not planning on becoming Mark Twight anytime soon, I wouldn't do it on a single twin.


midwestpaul


Mar 16, 2010, 12:24 PM
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Re: [builttospill] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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builttospill wrote:
Let's not confuse half and twin ropes. I believe Mark Twight's comment was about twin ropes specifically, not half ropes.

Indeed, let's not. Twin ropes are clipped together and generally much skinnier than half ropes (double ropes) which can be clipped together or to alternating pieces.

Although really it's just nomenclature to describe the testing done to the ropes.


kheegster


Mar 27, 2010, 4:03 PM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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These days the skinniest single ropes are beginning to approach the weight of half ropes, like the Sterling Fusion Nano 9.2mm at 53gm/meter or Mammut Serenity 8.9mm at 52gm/meter (compared with typical half ropes at 48gm/meter each).

I've brought a single half rope on easy routes like OS on the Grand where I was unlikely to fall but wanted to provide security to my follower.


caughtinside


Mar 27, 2010, 4:09 PM
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Re: [sspssp] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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sspssp wrote:
I agree that it is a question of what you are comfortable with. The rope manufacturers put safety margins on their equipment and by climbing on a single twin you have substantially reduced it.

I've climbed plenty of easy, alpine style terrain with a single twin, but I have no expectations of taking a fall on it. If I do ever fall, I have every expectation of the rope holding just fine. (Now given that on easy terrain I'm probably only putting a piece in, say every 50 feet or so, I don't neccesarily expect to casually walk away from a fall, but that is different question).

It seems to me the biggest issue would be the increased chance of the rope cutting on a sharp edge, which the likely hood of that happening is very route specific.

+1 for this.

Depending on the route, it's good to double it in half for simuling, so you're only 30m apart instead of 60. Mostly so you just don't get the full heinous drag of 60m of rope wandering around corners, gendarmes, etc.


dugl33


Mar 29, 2010, 8:21 AM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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Half the people posting here don't know the difference between twin ropes and half ropes.

Twin ropes are always meant to both be clipped to each piece, as opposed to half ropes, which are typically alternated.

If you climb on a single strand of twin rope then you're an idiot. And no, this is not a safe setup for belaying a second either.

A single strand of half rope -- proceed at your own risk, and pitch it out in 30 meter pitches with the rope doubled if the climbing is cruxy or moving over sharp edges.

For reference:
http://www.mammut.ch/...namic_ropetypes.html


sspssp


Mar 29, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Re: [dugl33] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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Right. Since the rope makers say that twin ropes are meant to both be clipped to each piece, if you climb on a single strand of twin and take a fall, you will automatically die. Doesn't matter if you weigh 250 lbs or 130 lbs, doesn't matter if it is a free air factor 2 fall or a tumble down a 60 degree alpine slab, etc. Tongue

There is certainly nothing wrong with being conservative, but climbing is all about taking calculated risks (those uncomfortable with that should probably stay on the couch). There is no guarentee that a fall on one strand of a half is automatically going to be safe and the a fall on one strand of a twin is automatically going to dangerous.

Each to their own, but just how is a single strand of a twin going to fail belaying a second...


adnix


Mar 29, 2010, 1:08 PM
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Re: [dugl33] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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dugl33 wrote:
If you climb on a single strand of twin rope then you're an idiot.

On less than vertical ice or snow a single strand of twin could be ok.

The case would be that you have short sections of rock which you use the rope as a 30 meter twin and then you run it out to 60 meters in stead of soloing on ice. If you ask if the extra risk is worth the savings in weight, I would say it depends on the route and the partner.


dugl33


Mar 29, 2010, 2:31 PM
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Re: [sspssp] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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sspssp wrote:
Right. Since the rope makers say that twin ropes are meant to both be clipped to each piece, if you climb on a single strand of twin and take a fall, you will automatically die. Doesn't matter if you weigh 250 lbs or 130 lbs, doesn't matter if it is a free air factor 2 fall or a tumble down a 60 degree alpine slab, etc. Tongue

There is certainly nothing wrong with being conservative, but climbing is all about taking calculated risks (those uncomfortable with that should probably stay on the couch). There is no guarentee that a fall on one strand of a half is automatically going to be safe and the a fall on one strand of a twin is automatically going to dangerous.

Each to their own, but just how is a single strand of a twin going to fail belaying a second...

Calculated risks based on what exactly? If a single half rope is tested to withstand min 5 falls with a mere 121 lb mass, what will a single twin hold? Yeah. I don't know either. Probably less than the beefier half rope. (And most climbers + gear are north of 121 lbs)

Every time you leave the belay you face a factor 2 fall. A fall on 80 degree ice is going to be as severe as 90 degree ice for all practical reality. Oh and be sure not to hit the line with your crampons or axe or let it drag across a corner.

I've spent a few seasons climbing on 7.6 mm twin ropes, and let me tell you -- they are flossy little things. Rapping under blocky edges on a steep wall will make you say a little prayer. And weighing in at 38 gm per meter, why not just do it right and use two?

As far as your second goes, ropes under tension can cut. Smaller ropes are easier to cut. Now maybe you have a second who fully understands what's going on, and is equipped to decide they are fine with it. Yes each situation is unique, but at what point are you soloing and not aware of that reality? Those unaware of risks should probably also stay on the couch.


scotty1974


Mar 29, 2010, 2:50 PM
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Re: [kane_schutzman] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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It's doable sure, but quite often alpine climbs require multiple double rappels with full 60m. I'd probably find 100 climbs that require 2 ropes to get down (in a reasonable time) that I'd want to do. Save the single for snowclimbs etc. that only require you to rope up in small sections.

Plus with two light ropes, you split the load w/ your partner.


sspssp


Mar 29, 2010, 4:24 PM
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Re: [dugl33] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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dugl33 wrote:
Calculated risks based on what exactly? If a single half rope is tested to withstand min 5 falls with a mere 121 lb mass, what will a single twin hold? Yeah. I don't know either. Probably less than the beefier half rope. (And most climbers + gear are north of 121 lbs)...
but at what point are you soloing and not aware of that reality? Those unaware of risks should probably also stay on the couch.

As far as ropes breaking, it is an extremely rare event. Yes, it has happened and will happen again and when it does, it gets a tremoundous amount of press in the climbing community. But if you read, for instance, Accidents in North American Mountaineering, I think you would realize that this is a very tiny risk compared to all the other ways that climbers have serious accidents/deaths.

That is what I am basing my calculated risk on. Yes, rope makers can test their ropes to failure in the lab. They also have large margins of safeties (as well they should). That doesn't mean that the moment you start using their products in a manner that is not approved by the [justifiably] paranoid legal department, you are courting instant death.

About the only time that I climb with a single twin is simul-climbing fast-and-light on what (in my opinion) is easy terrain but not a situation that I want to free solo.

I have zero expectations of ever taking a fall in this situation.

Yes, I basically consider it soloing with the added advantage that if I (or my partner) fell, there is a very good chance we would escape without long term injury.


dugl33


Mar 29, 2010, 5:54 PM
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Re: [sspssp] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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sspssp wrote:
dugl33 wrote:
Calculated risks based on what exactly? If a single half rope is tested to withstand min 5 falls with a mere 121 lb mass, what will a single twin hold? Yeah. I don't know either. Probably less than the beefier half rope. (And most climbers + gear are north of 121 lbs)...
but at what point are you soloing and not aware of that reality? Those unaware of risks should probably also stay on the couch.

As far as ropes breaking, it is an extremely rare event. Yes, it has happened and will happen again and when it does, it gets a tremoundous amount of press in the climbing community. But if you read, for instance, Accidents in North American Mountaineering, I think you would realize that this is a very tiny risk compared to all the other ways that climbers have serious accidents/deaths.

That is what I am basing my calculated risk on. Yes, rope makers can test their ropes to failure in the lab. They also have large margins of safeties (as well they should). That doesn't mean that the moment you start using their products in a manner that is not approved by the [justifiably] paranoid legal department, you are courting instant death.

About the only time that I climb with a single twin is simul-climbing fast-and-light on what (in my opinion) is easy terrain but not a situation that I want to free solo.

I have zero expectations of ever taking a fall in this situation.

Yes, I basically consider it soloing with the added advantage that if I (or my partner) fell, there is a very good chance we would escape without long term injury.

Not to be too much of a pain in the ass, but part of why there aren't many reports of ropes breaking is due to the fact that most people are following the manufacturers intended usage. Those going for the off-label use are relying heavily on "not falling", DFU jujitsu, if you like, as their primary safety strategy. Interesting to note there aren't too many soloing fatalities in Accidents in North American Mountaineering, either.

I am a little curious though, why a single twin and not a single double? The distinction may be minor, but as you shave away safety factors, minor distinctions become more relevant. Also, for simu-climbing, is there really any advantage in not doubling the line over in the first place? You are no longer pitching it out, so why not be 100 ft apart rather than 200 feet? Should be able to keep a few good pieces between you either way. (I guess the leader could take a 50 footer and knock out the second...doh)

To each their own as you say. My own fear isn't so much an untimely death, as the analysis that will ensue from majid and the rest of the crew as a result...Tongue


adnix


Mar 29, 2010, 9:07 PM
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Re: [scotty1974] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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scotty1974 wrote:
It's doable sure, but quite often alpine climbs require multiple double rappels with full 60m.

I would say quite the opposite. If you do full 60m rappels the is very likely to get stuck. Unless it's a free hanging rappel there is no need for full rappel.


builttospill


Mar 29, 2010, 9:40 PM
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Re: [dugl33] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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dugl33 wrote:
Those unaware of risks should probably also stay on the couch.

sspssp wrote:
I agree that it is a question of what you are comfortable with. The rope manufacturers put safety margins on their equipment and by climbing on a single twin you have substantially reduced it.


For the most part I think the posters involved in this thread have done a damn good job of making the point that this is about personal comfort zones. You're not going to find a rope manufacturer who suggests a follower use a single strand of twin rope, nor that a leader lead on one. But you're also not going to find a gri gri manual suggesting you alter it to allow you to climb solo, or rope manufacturers advocating simul-climbing, and yet some of us do these things routinely. You're right to say that those who are unaware of the risks should stay on the couch (or educate themselves) but, all in all, the posters in this thread have been aware of those risks and have enumerated them in as clearly a fashion as I've ever seen on RC.noob.


Some rambling follows.....
As for single rope versus twin or half rope weights....the comparison made earlier is not a reasonable one. Sure, 8.9mm single ropes are approaching the weight of 8.5mm half ropes that used to be commonplace. But they're not approaching the weight of the new-age thinner twins and half's. My mammut twilight twins weigh 38 grams per meter, not 48, so compared to a 52 g/m single rope, we are talking about closer to 2 lbs of rope difference. There are doubles out there that weigh 40 g/m and I think there are twins that are less than 38 g/m now.

With that said, it would take a LONG approach or a very long, very easy route in the mountains to justify (for me) carrying a single twin versus a single single, or a pair of twins. I'm thinking something along the lines of the a big traverse like the Grand Traverse, Cirque Traverse or bigger, where one would need to rappel, but no more than 30m, where the climbing is mostly very easy and where the mileage and elevation gain involved are huge. That's the only time it would make sense for my risk calculus, but other people can err on the more cautious or more aggressive side as they please.


scotty1974


Mar 29, 2010, 9:40 PM
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Re: [adnix] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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It's a pretty big generalization, but in RMNP there are many routes where doubles are pretty key especially if you plan to get off a bigger alpine climb and back to the car in a day. Stuck ropes maybe, but the EDK is pretty decent overall....still a major consideration of course.

So I guess it really depends on the route, but my Mammut 8.5's are pretty light. If I'm doing a snow climb or a relative moderate where we might be unroped a bit, then a single would be ok.


harpo_the_climber


Mar 30, 2010, 11:43 AM
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Re: [scotty1974] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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Related question. The REI page linked above said you should have a matching pair of twins or half ropes to use together, as the characteristics of the rope vary between models and manufactuers. Should I pay attention to this warning?

I ask because my new climbing partner has a half rope, and he wants me to buy a half that we can use with his. I already have a Sterling Nano, that is rated as both single an half, and I wanted to use that with his half rope. Obviously I won't save as much weight as if I got a dedicated half, but it would work for wandering pitches and long rappels. If it was a straight forward pitch, we could use the Nano alone.


scotty1974


Mar 30, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Re: [harpo_the_climber] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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I'm sure you could get away with non-matching ropes, but I would recommend sticking with a matching pair. I always take Mfg. recommendations with a small grain of salt, but I would recommend same brand for purpose of similar elongation. Additionally there will be different ratings and color schemes as well.

I'm sure other have more technical aspects to share.


adnix


Mar 30, 2010, 12:30 PM
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Re: [harpo_the_climber] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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harpo_the_climber wrote:
Related question. The REI page linked above said you should have a matching pair of twins or half ropes to use together, as the characteristics of the rope vary between models and manufactuers. Should I pay attention to this warning?

You should be aware that your ropes might not be equal. You'll notice this in difference in rope lenghts and difference while abseiling. I wouldn't worry too much about difference while falling.

I wear out one half rope every now and then and I think I had matching ropes last time two or three years ago. But I do make my non matching ropes a pair. I cut them equal lenght before I climb with them. I do this because I hate the slack loop for second and I hate ropes which are different length while abseiling. I hope this answers your question.


adnix


Mar 30, 2010, 12:52 PM
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Re: [builttospill] Half rope for alpine [In reply to]
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builttospill wrote:
My mammut twilight twins weigh 38 grams per meter, not 48, so compared to a 52 g/m single rope, we are talking about closer to 2 lbs of rope difference.

There is also a huge difference in pack size of the ropes. These days I routinely carry only one 60 meter twin rope while sport climbing, too. I use it as a 30 meter twin.


builttospill wrote:
With that said, it would take a LONG approach or a very long, very easy route in the mountains to justify (for me) carrying a single twin versus a single single, or a pair of twins.

Route examples where we've carried one twin or half rope are Frendo Spur, Chamonix Aiguilles Traverse and Aiguilles du Diable Traverse. On The Nose on El Capitan we had one 60 meter single rope. We planned on 30 meter abseils and leaving plenty of gear in case of retreat. On Fitzroy we had two half ropes but we abseiled most of the route with only one rope. During the last two seasons I haven't had a single incident where ropes got stuck.

Now I have two small kids and I'm stuck at home... Wink

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