Lightweight Pit Rope

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Lightweight Pit Rope

Postby Kevin Bruff » Nov 23, 2007 5:46 am

Im going to be looking to get some new rope soon and im looking for something thats going to be as light as possible to do some hiking with. there's some caves i know of that i want to get back to in the spring or summer that requires a 5 mile hike each way and i dont want to carry more weight than i have to. I've heard something about a (new)?lightweight pit rope. anyone have any ideas for me? thanks

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Postby NZcaver » Nov 23, 2007 9:20 am

Bluewater make a range of lightweight ropes for canyoneering that may suit your needs. I haven't used any of these ones personally, but as with any smaller diameter ropes you'll want to be very careful when rigging to avoid abrasion points and the possibility of shock loading the system.

They make an 8mm Canyon Xtreme, and several other ropes around 8-9mm diameter.
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Postby Kevin Bruff » Nov 23, 2007 11:36 am

i have 10mm rope now and i really dont want anything smaller. either 10 or 11mm is what i will end up getting. i know about the smaller 9mm rope but i wouldnt feel comfortable using it.

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edit. i wouldnt mind using it. im comfortable with it but not sure of others i cave with.
Last edited by Kevin Bruff on Nov 23, 2007 1:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby adleedy » Nov 23, 2007 1:12 pm

i think you can get a 9mm pmi rope
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Postby NZcaver » Nov 23, 2007 1:31 pm

If you want lighter, you'll basically need to go smaller in diameter. There's plenty of 10mm static rope around, which should save you some weight compared with 11mm. I think my first ever caving rope purchase was a Beal 10mm static.

Many 8-9mm ropes (like the one in my previous link) contain core fibers other than nylon, mainly to increase the strength-to-weight ratio. However this usually comes at a price - most don't handle sudden shock loads very well. That said, there are plenty of cavers around (especially in Europe) who rig with less-than-10mm rope all the time. They call it "alpine SRT" as opposed to "American SRT" - or SRD (Sling the Rope Down) as it is sometimes known. :tonguecheek:

By the way, here's the PMI rope that adleedy just mentioned in 9mm and 10mm.
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Postby Kevin Bruff » Nov 23, 2007 1:57 pm

thanks for the reply's, i dont have a problem using 9mm but i dont think the others i cave with would like using 9mm rope, well i know some wouldnt mind but others would so i want a happy medium :happy: i'll have to see who's up for this "hiking, camping, and caving" trip and see what thier input is. i have the winter to think it over and decide so again thanks.


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Postby driggs » Nov 23, 2007 2:37 pm

Coil the rope into two separate coils, with a 15' connector tail in between them. You carry half the rope, one of your pals carries the other half. Don't let the connector get abraded on the hike in!
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Postby BrianC » Nov 23, 2007 5:18 pm

PMI has a polyester 10mm I used on on 165' drop! I still like 10mm pit rope!
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Postby Dane » Nov 23, 2007 10:00 pm

Brian - Was that 9mm or 10mm we used at WHHH?
I was a little iffy about it before I got on, but it handled my fat a......uh.....I didn't have any problems with it!
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Postby BrianC » Nov 24, 2007 9:50 am

Dane ! It was 10mm! It was a great rope indeed! I do like the feel of 11mm PMI Pit rope though!
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Postby Dane » Nov 24, 2007 12:57 pm

Me too - being more substantial than many of my fellow cavers, 11mm gives a more confident, and more controllable ride down. I think that was Talon we used - a poly cord w/ a nylon sheath.
Still, if you are on an expedition where every ounce counts, a lighter rope does make some sense I suppose.

Keep in mind that virtually any construction rope of a smaller diameter will be more susceptible to abrasion, and exhibit more elongation, giving a "bouncy" climb on the way back out. Also, as NZC pointed out, smaller ropes (and poly to an even greater degree I believe) are more susceptible to shock-loads.

[BTW Jansen - congrats (I guess!) on the Mod/Admin gig - a little sanity in an insane world is always welcomed!]

Generally speaking, going from 11mm to 10mm will save you about 10% in weight - you are looking at saving about 1/2 lb per 100' of rope going from 11mm to 10mm.

Going down to 9mm is even more impactful - nearly 2-1/2 lbs lighter per 100' than 11mm, but now you are talking about rope that isn't really suitable for daily use as a pit rope, nor would it be suitable in the event of a rescue or pick-off situation.

I think you have the right idea - a 10mm nylon rope will give you a good balance between your technical needs and the desire to shed a little weight, and shouldn't cause anyone on your trip too much distress.
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Postby NZcaver » Nov 24, 2007 1:40 pm

Dane wrote:[BTW Jansen - congrats (I guess!) on the Mod/Admin gig - a little sanity in an insane world is always welcomed!]

:crazy: Thanks (I guess!) :big grin:

On the subject of sanity, I have played on 8mm rope before. Psychologically "interesting" to say the least. (Not as interesting as playing with 5.5mm Spectra, but that's another story!)

For Kevin's application, 10mm would probably be a good choice to lose a little weight/bulk, without needing to take the mental leap required for rigging and using 9mm. It might also be worth considering options inbetween, like the 9.5mm static ropes made by various companies.
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Postby adleedy » Nov 24, 2007 6:35 pm

NZcaver wrote:
Dane wrote:[BTW Jansen - congrats (I guess!) on the Mod/Admin gig - a little sanity in an insane world is always welcomed!]

:crazy: Thanks (I guess!) :big grin:

On the subject of sanity, I have played on 8mm rope before. Psychologically "interesting" to say the least. (Not as interesting as playing with 5.5mm Spectra, but that's another story!)

For Kevin's application, 10mm would probably be a good choice to lose a little weight/bulk, without needing to take the mental leap required for rigging and using 9mm. It might also be worth considering options inbetween, like the 9.5mm static ropes made by various companies.


hmmm...thought i was the only one crazy enough to even think of using 5mm spectra or kevlar to rappel.
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Postby johnlhickman » Nov 25, 2007 8:13 pm

Kevin,

How long a piece a rope are you planing to carry? The longer the rope, the more of a weight difference there will be with a smaller diameter rope, but it may require more padding and rigging, thus loosing any weight advantage.

I have both 11mm and 10mm. I can tell a difference in size (and weight_ with my 100' pieces (great for pulldown trips). I also have a 100' piece of 9mm PMI. I have used it occasionally in the backyard to rig ropes or for a pulldown trip through Kennamer. I wouldn't go much smaller.

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Postby wyandottecaver » Nov 26, 2007 6:46 pm

As has been said, bigger is usually safer. But if abrasion is not an issue, and you are not double climbing etc. then 9mm works fine and can be quite safe. I also have used 8mm on "push" trips where free drops without abrasion could be rigged.

In my opinion, if abrasion is not a factor ( a big if) once you get below 10mm the real issue is not usually the strength of the rope, but how well does your rappelling/ ascending gear work on it. 8mm rope is strong enough for climbing, but it sure handles a lot differently in racks, cams, rollers, etc.
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