Rope recomendations

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Rope recomendations

Postby Alpine Girl » Sep 5, 2005 9:11 pm

Does anybody have any recomendations on what brand of rope to buy? I have seen the New England and Petzl ropes on Karstsports and PMI ropes on Inner Mountain Outfitters. I've seen Bluewater Ropes in a Surplus Store. What about ropes at REI or other sports stores. What is a good rope to buy?

Nylon? Polyester?
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Postby pacaver » Sep 6, 2005 4:23 am

I've been using 11mm PMI Max-wear for dropping pits in WV and TAG. It's strong and at $.50/foot fairly inexpensive.
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Re: Rope recomendations

Postby mgmills » Sep 6, 2005 5:19 am

Alpine Girl wrote:Does anybody have any recomendations on what brand of rope to buy? I have seen the New England and Petzl ropes on Karstsports and PMI ropes on Inner Mountain Outfitters. I've seen Bluewater Ropes in a Surplus Store. What about ropes at REI or other sports stores. What is a good rope to buy?

Nylon? Polyester?


I've not used the polyester ropes but understand they have a place in the vertical world.

I've tried other brands but always go back to PMI. If you buy caving rope anyplace other than a caving vendor be sure you are getting "static" rope not "dynamic".
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Postby Pippin » Sep 6, 2005 9:43 pm

I prefer PMI for caving. Very durable. Bluewater is durable but really bouncy.
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Postby rchrds » Sep 6, 2005 10:34 pm

I use 11mm PMI in TAG for the tourist caves (the high rope rub areas) and 9mm PMI everywhere else. I love the 9mm- it feeds like crazy through my frog stuff and makes for great rappells particularly when wet. Friend has 10mm polypro- that stuff is interesting- almost no stretch compared to the 11mm PMI but kinks a little too much for my liking. Another about 9mm- it requires proper rigging and padding (one can reduce or eliminate the other.) The other good part about 9mm- try shoving 300 feet of 11mm into a small cave bag.

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Postby Scott McCrea » Sep 7, 2005 8:22 am

PMI is by far the most popular brand of caving rope. More specifically PMI Pit Rope, which is 11mm (7/16 in.) It's a great all-around caving rope. You can do anything vertical in a cave with it, with confidence. There are other caving rope makers out there and they also make good rope, but PMI is the tried and true standard.

It's rare that you'll find it anywhere other than caving vendors. But the caving vendors usually have the best prices anyway, because they buy and sell so much of it.

Nylon vs Polyester... ultimately personal preference. Nylon is the standard for good reason, low stretch but still decent shock absorption, durable, strong and not too expensive. Polyester has less stretch but less shock absorbing capabilities and absorbs less water. So, if you have bomb proof rigging and smooth climbers poly is great. If you have want an all-around rope, nylon is still the best bet.
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Postby Alpine Girl » Sep 7, 2005 9:33 am

It sounds like the PMI rope is the one to buy. Thank for the replies!

I am also looking into buying a descender and would like some advice on what to buy. I have never rappelled before. I am looking for something that is easy to use but safe as well. I was looking at the Petzl "STOP" descender on IMO. Does anyone have any comments about this descender? Or any other descenders. I have heard bad things about the figure 8 and I don't think that I will try it on my first descend. What are your comments?
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Postby hank moon » Sep 7, 2005 10:11 am

rchrds wrote:Friend has 10mm polypro-


I hope you mean polyester and not polypropylene... :?:

And...this thread should be moved to the equipment section

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Postby rchrds » Sep 7, 2005 11:17 am

hank_moon wrote:
rchrds wrote:Friend has 10mm polypro-


I hope you mean polyester and not polypropylene... :?:



Yack- you are correct, it was early in the morning.
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Postby rchrds » Sep 7, 2005 11:29 am

Alpine Girl wrote:I am also looking into buying a descender and would like some advice on what to buy. I have never rappelled before. I am looking for something that is easy to use but safe as well. I was looking at the Petzl "STOP" descender on IMO. Does anyone have any comments about this descender? Or any other descenders. I have heard bad things about the figure 8 and I don't think that I will try it on my first descend. What are your comments?


Figure 8's are fast and simple, but they twist the rope which can cause real issues, real fast, not to mention that you actually have to remove the figure 8 from your harness to attach the rope. That may be cool on the bottom of a climbing pitch- but it can be a real PITA at the top of a long pit.

I've had long racks, min-racks, bobbins, etc (I'm a gear-junkie) and I've eventually settled with the stop. There are violent detractors out there, and probably for good reasons, and like any other piece of equipment there are advantages and disadvantages. The stop is really designed for less than 11mm ropes (despite its markings) and truly excells on 9mm ropes. This can cause some anguish on muddy, wet, or just plain old 11mm ropes, particularly if you are lightweight or have a weak left hand. (To squeeze the stop handle.) Their only true disadvantage, and this may never come up, is that you cannot execute a pull-down rappel with a stop. It will only accept one rope, where most of the racks (and 8s) will accept multiple ropes. This does seem to happen to me occassionally, but one of my buddies always has a rack. The rest of the arguments seem to boil down to technique and training issues. :twisted:

More issues will come to light as you get more experience, and the type of vertical caving that you do predominantly will certainly effect the sort of equipment that you choose to buy. The type of folks who use rope-walker climbing systems and racks are usually not the same folks who stick with a frog system and a stop, and the texas system folks seem to be somewhere in the middle.

Find a bunch of vertical folks and watch what they use- your local caving area will most likely have a common system that works for where you are.

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Postby rchrds » Sep 7, 2005 11:33 am

Dang- forgot to look- I know where you are- the frog system and stop work great in the alpine caves out there. Most people I caved with in CO used this system. Packs light for the long hikes in.

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Postby hank moon » Sep 7, 2005 12:26 pm

rchrds wrote:Their only true disadvantage, and this may never come up, is that you cannot execute a pull-down rappel with a stop. It will only accept one rope


Nice post! I would like to point out that there are many ways for a single rope rap device to be used in a pull-down situation. The simplest involves blocking the rope at the top (e.g. 'biner block). There are others...

Great weight savings possible using a 'biner block. You can take a single rope of length sufficient for the longest drop and pull it down with a lightweight cord.

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Postby cave rat » Sep 7, 2005 3:30 pm

Six bar SMC U-Bar SS Rack is the way to go. I use nothing else.
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Postby Gary Cotney » Sep 7, 2005 4:55 pm

Make contact with local cavers or their grotto and see if they be willing to teach you to rappel. Try out the different devices they have available and see what works best for you and the type of locations you intend rappel before you go out and spend the money.

For me; on short drops or multi-drops I'll use a micro rack with a hyper-bar along with my frog and on the medium drops I'll use a standard SMC six bar rack with a hyper bar and stainless bars with my rope walker.

What ever rappel device you decide on, take the time to practice and become familiar with your equipment before you go out in the woods for real.
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rope and descender recomendation

Postby filox1 » Sep 7, 2005 5:07 pm

Hi Alpine girl,

If you are interested in caving as your main rappelling activity I will recommend you to start right, buy a rack and find someone to teach you the safe way to use it. In my opinion the rack is the more versatile caving descending tool

about the rope, as other have, 11mm PMI is a very safe beat.

Be safe. :wink:
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