Rope recomendations

Discuss vertical caving, equipment, & techniques. Also visit the NSS Vertical Section.

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Postby angus » Sep 22, 2005 5:38 am

Found this about special rope that can be monitored electronically. Electronic load and wear monitoring, pre-failure detection and shock-load counting. Sounds excellent (if not expensive!). The company is looking for development partners so I hope some of the caving/climbing rope manufacturers get involved. ... 040308.pdf

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Postby Shelly Wolf » Sep 23, 2005 6:07 am

I rely on my 9MM PMI for "almost" all my rope work. Its a great rope for short or deep pits.
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Re: Descender

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Sep 25, 2005 1:11 pm

hank_moon wrote:
I'd say TAG is the best place in the world to learn SRT

...and I'd say TAG is the best place in the world to learn TAG SRT. :P

and I say Utah is the best place in the world to learn SRT anywhere else in addition to TAG... :D
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Sep 25, 2005 1:27 pm

hank_moon wrote:
I am surprised you would recommend a device such as Figure of Eight or Harpoon

Point is to develop the correct reflexes during training...not necessarily one device or another. Whaletail would be a good alternative, but hard to find around these parts. I see no problem with a beginner learning on an 8 (not sure what a Harpoon is) under the tutelage of an experienced caver. Progression might go something like this:

Train aboveground with a variety of ropes, devices, and techniques. Learn correct reflexes, how to vary friction, etc. Learn how to belay, ascend, changeover, pass knots, etc. Along the way decide what your startup system will be. Train more with this system on "real" caving ropes (whatever that happens to be in your area - but seek a variety of rope types to develop versatility and experience). Request a top belay from the start and eventually move to a fireman's belay.

One reason why cavers constantly urge rack use is that they do not understand - and sometimes fear - other rap devices. This is a misfortune as I believe cavers would be safer overall with a wider variety of tool/tricks under the belt.

Hank is correct with this, it is close to the methodology that I was trained in and use to train others,the "go with what you know" thingy. The 8 is a fine rappel device for the short little raps that all beginners should do. I've seen how other people train and they are sometimes insistent with this device and that device. I try to train a beginner in ALL devices except the rack until they've shown good self-controlled techniques using simpler devices, such as 8's.
As ATC's are not normally used in caving I don't bother with those as all other (caving) rappel devices can be used above ground as well.
One person I know kept harping about how bad the 8 is and how it twists the rope badly and bla bla bla. I told him (and his small audience) that the reason 8's do that is because the rigger is using too long of a rope for the rappel, i.e. 200' rope on a 60 foot rappel (because that's the shortest rope they have). Short rig the rope to the proper depth... if necessary have two experienced riggers and one raps to the bottom of the drop (cliff/pit where-ever! :roll: ) and then hollers up when the end of the rope meets the ground/floor after pulling it up to the right lenght, and the second rigger re-ties the rope at the anchor. This way the rope can get all the twists out as the rappeller comes down. The twists work only in the direction of the rappel and thus won't compromise the knot at the anchor.
All that being said... if you're going to be training beginners then get enough (seperate) lengths of rope to meet your needs. In other words the right amount of rope for the drop.
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Postby NZcaver » Sep 28, 2005 3:44 pm

Ralph - I think you've only got half the story behind complaints of "the figure 8 twists the rope".

Forget about those little temporary loops that form where the rope touches the bottom - even if they are inconvenient when coiling and uncoiling the rope. The "problem" begins when the rope develops a permanent slow-twist helix from figure 8 descender use. Anyone ascending or descending a free drop will probably find themselves experiencing a slow spin. Does this happen on ropes that haven't had figure 8's on them? Sometimes - but it's not normally as bad. Does it weaken the rope or stress the knot? No. Is this really a "problem", or just a normal part of using your rope? That's a matter of personal opinion.

Personally, I don't hate the figure 8 - I just don't use one any more. I agree they're a popular choice, particularly for short drops, as long as you don't mind the minimal friction (on single rope), and a twist developing in the rope. The micro rack or bobbin would both be fine to use on the same drops too, even if they do weigh and cost a little more.

I like your comments about training beginners in ALL devices (although that's a pretty broad statement!) Staying open-minded and somewhat objective is a good way to be. :wink:
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