Building a Scaling Pole

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Re: Building a Scaling Pole

Postby caverdan » Dec 30, 2013 3:29 pm

tamarmole wrote:Slightly concerned about the poles, they don't sound like they are designed to be load bearing - if the walls are not thick enough the poles will buckle when loaded with catastrophic results.

I think you are correct. 2" sounds too small a diameter. The pole in the above picture is 3" and around 20' tall. It actually is supported in the middle by contacting the rock shelf about half way up. I made a PVC ladder for another cave that is 18' tall and made with 3" pipe with 1 1/2" rungs. If I was to build one 30'-40' in height, I'd step it up to 4" pipe and connectors. One way I was able to keep the flex down in the PVC ladder was to space the rungs at 18" instead of 12". There are two supports built into that ladder also, that contact the wall. I'll see if I can find a picture of it.

If any of you are coming to the 2014 NCRC training in Colorado, you will get to use these ladders and see for yourself how they are constructed. :kewl:
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Re: Building a Scaling Pole

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 30, 2013 7:17 pm

tamarmole wrote:Slightly concerned about the poles, they don't sound like they are designed to be load bearing - if the walls are not thick enough the poles will buckle when loaded with catastrophic results.


caverdan wrote:I think you are correct. 2" sounds too small a diameter. The pole in the above picture is 3" and around 20' tall. It actually is supported in the middle by contacting the rock shelf about half way up.


I don't know what to say, except that I'll test everything on belay before taking it caving. The poles seem quite rigid. They are 13' long (I plan to cut them) and have an inside diameter of 2 3/16". Thay are galvanized steel, which is more rigid (and less resilient) than aluminum. A 13' section weighs 35 lbs. A couple of users from the thread I linked on page 1 said that their 2" galvanized poles worked well.

I'll let you know how it works. Unless I die.
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Re: Building a Scaling Pole

Postby caverdan » Dec 31, 2013 11:48 am

I'm sure you will be fine. Sounds like your poles are bigger than 2" OD pipe. It's really easy to criticize the material when you can't see it in person. Definitely test it before taking into the cave. I know too many people that would not test it, but just use it because it looks like it would work. Either way, let us know if it works out for you.

Are you going to try climbing the pole.....or are you going to attach a rope to the top and ascend the rope?

I can't find any pictures of the ladder or bridge I built in Breezeway.....both made from 3" PVC pipe. :shrug: :off topic:
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Re: Building a Scaling Pole

Postby Extremeophile » Dec 31, 2013 5:47 pm

caverdan wrote:I can't find any pictures of the ladder or bridge I built in Breezeway.....both made from 3" PVC pipe. :shrug: :off topic:

Here's the Breezeway ladder.
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Re: Building a Scaling Pole

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 31, 2013 7:16 pm

caverdan wrote:Are you going to try climbing the pole.....or are you going to attach a rope to the top and ascend the rope?


I'll climb a rope.
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Re: Building a Scaling Pole

Postby caverdan » Dec 31, 2013 8:14 pm

If it does flex and want to bend, I'll bet it will be in the middle or lower portion of the pole. You could beef that up with an inner pole that you could slip inside during assembly. As far as the top attachment point....I'd probably go with as large of an eye bolt as I could find. Like 5/8th or 3/4" shank and drill it all the way through. Maybe put a short piece of wood dowel in the top to tighten against.
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