Kong Slyde

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Kong Slyde

Postby Rick Brinkman » Oct 7, 2005 3:46 pm

In another thread chh wrote:

chh wrote:Good info in the report. I too am wondering about different diameters of dynamic rope as I use thinner cord as well. However, I don't find the figure 8 knot in the middle cumbersome in the smaller diameters. I imagine it would be with 11mm.

NZ caver, I'd never seen a Kong Slyde before. Right now my cowstails are fixed (knotted) for my height. I was looking for a way to make one of them adjustable with the least amount of hardware possible. Thus far I've experimented with a smaller prussik cord cloved into the center knot. But I worry about the implications of that smaller (and static) line, should the worst case scenario be realized and I take a factored fall on my gear. From what I gather the Slyde is a small plate which acts with a simple friction lock. Can you rig it so that it holds in both directions, while maintaining its adjustability?

It seems as though in your set up you have one fixed length cowstail (to your top ascender) and one variable length equipped with the Slyde. My question is how you've rigged the slide. Does it have a free end that adjusts the length of the cowstail through the Slyde when it isn't weighted, or does the Slyde produce a loop in the cowstail that merely shortens or lengthens it depending on the size of the loop? If you have a "end" coming out of the Slyde, do you find that it gets in the way? Could you attach a locker to this free end and essentially end up with one fixed lenth cowstail (to ascender), and two lockers on a piece of cord that would be adjustable in relation to each other through the Slyde?

Sorry if I'm being thick. Maybe I'd be able to figure it out if I had one in front of me.....and had had a cup of coffee this morning :)

cave softly,

-chh


chh,

I also use the Kong Slyde and really like it. Here is a link to the Kong website showing how the Slyde can be rigged.
http://www.kong.it/doc408.htm

I rig mine a little different than the Kong diagram. I attach a carabiner into the hole with the RED arrow. The cord is tied directly to my 1/2 round(green arrow). This way carabiner can slide up and down the cord and keeps the excess away from my other gear. Another way to think of it is: rotate the Kong diagram 180 degrees.

Here is my setup:
http://img199.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... yde3as.jpg

<a href="http://img317.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kongslyde7ds.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://img317.imageshack.us/img317/1310/kongslyde7ds.th.jpg" border="0" /></a>

The last time I checked, the Slyde wasn't available in the US anymore.:evil: I'd like to have a second one for my extra Frog set-up.
Last edited by Rick Brinkman on Oct 7, 2005 4:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby NZcaver » Oct 7, 2005 4:26 pm

Snap! :wink: I just posted a reply about the Slyde back on the cowstail thread. Here's some of that post -

When you rig it normally (the official way) it only holds in one direction - like a pull-tight buckle on a pack strap. You pull on the free end when the cowstail is unweighted, and it shortens the length. I've used my Slyde for a couple of years now, and the free end (with stopper knot) has never got in the way. I wouldn't suggest rigging a carabiner on the free end, because when you clip in and apply weight the rope will just slide through the Slyde (no pun intended!)

And I saved the best news for last... I was talking to Alex at IMO recently, and he informed me that no-one in the US stocks the Slyde any more. Kong apparently still makes it, so you might be able to track one down from overseas. It's less weight to ship than most carabiners, and mine cost me about $10 (US) back when IMO did stock them.


>>> Rick - thanks for being the only other person I know (so far) that uses a similar setup to me. I'm not alone!! Now that you mention it, I see that Kong's website does show the upside-down version of my setup (and yours).

Unlike yours, I have mine threaded so the free end comes out on top of the Slyde (when the carabiner gate faces down). It seemed logical to do it that way, but it probably makes little difference. I also have a little rubber thingy called a Petzl String that I stretched over the top of the Slyde to keep the carabiner from flopping around. My stopper knot is a simple overhand (the most compact choice), which I tightened down before securing with a plastic cable tie through the knot.

If I had a website for uploading my pictures to, I could add a link so everyone could see what I'm babbling about. :cry:

Oh, funny you should mention wanting a second one. For some inexplicable reason, I actually bought a spare back when they were readily available... but I'm keeping it! :twisted:
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Postby NZcaver » Oct 7, 2005 5:52 pm

OK - I think I figured out how to post my cowstail and Kong Slyde pictures. Let's see if this works... :pray:

Image

Image
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Postby Rick Brinkman » Oct 7, 2005 6:39 pm

Looks like we rigged it just the opposite of each other. Both should work fine.

The only other person that I have seen use the Slyde, was a guy at a vertical practice in Colorado a few years ago. He was trying it out. I haven't seen another one in a cave.

(Looks like you got the "photo upload" figured out bette than I did. :D )
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Postby NZcaver » Oct 9, 2005 4:07 pm

For anyone interested in the Slyde adjustable cowstail, here's a little more information... :)

It's hard to see how it's threaded in the photos, so I borrowed the image off Kong's website and rotated it to look more like a cowstail setup.

Image

As Rick previously mentioned, the RED arrow is where you would attach your non-locking cowstail carabiner (or you could use a locking one if you prefer). Be aware that not all carabiners will fit through the hole.

The GREEN arrow end is tied directly into the seat harness screw link. To shorten the cowstail, pull on the GREEN KNOT. To lengthen it, grip the Slyde turning the plate parallel with your body (instead of in line with the cowstail as it would normally be) - and push it away from you.

Easy! :wink:
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Postby chh » Oct 10, 2005 8:34 am

Wow guys! Thanks for the responses. The pictures and diagrams definitely cleared things up. I'm surprised that such a simple device isn't used more often. Most of the time my fixed lengths work just fine, but occasionally I have been in situations where an adjustable one was nice, and while the prussik cord works, I don't like the loop it creates. (some people do).

I'm going to look around to see if I can find one and have it shipped. I'll also check Kong's website out to see if I can find the specs for the Slyde. Particularly, I'm interested in the material used to make it and the thickness of the plate itself. With access to a machine shop here at the University where I work, I was thinking about trying to make something similar, as long as I knew the material was sound. The only possible concern I can see from the Slyde would stem from the appropriate thickness of the plate. One could argue that in the event of a fall the plate would bend the rope too sharply over the plate. Are there kilonewton ratings for the Slyde? Is this a working load measurement or a maximum load? Could anyone see any theoretical rope management problems (adjustment issues) from a thicker plate material?

Once again, thanks for the posts guys.

-chh
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Postby chh » Oct 10, 2005 9:37 am

Ok, the listed strength for the Kong is 25kn. Should have checked that before I posted.

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Postby NZcaver » Oct 10, 2005 2:25 pm

I guess I should have mentioned the 25kN MBS before - since "KG.2500" is milled right into it! :doh: It also has "BREV." and "KONG ITALY" on it. If you do manage to subject yourself and your system to a 25kN impact force, I would think the Slyde failing would not be your biggest concern... :yikes:

The Slyde appears to be milled from aluminum plate, with a soft anodized coating. It is 9mm thick, with rounded edges. The thickness tapers down to 7mm at the top (carabiner) hole. That hole is 14mm in diameter, and the edges are just barely rounded off. The rope slot measures 12mm x 24mm, with rounded edges. The rope hole is 12mm in diameter, with rounded edges. The maximum dimensions for the plate are 63mm x 49mm.

I won't pass judgement one way or the other about making your own version of the Slyde. I'm sure it could be done with the right material and expertise, but it might be more cost effective to try sourcing one (or more) from overseas first - especially since they're small and cheap to ship.

Whether you get a real Slyde or make one up yourself, the rope type and diameter will be critical because of the bend radius. The Kong specs say to use 9mm rope. There's nothing about whether that rope should be static, dynamic, or accessory cord - and they each handle very differently! Of course, for a cowstail the best choice of rope is dynamic.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to have a very flexible (softer weave) 9mm dynamic cowstail threaded through my Slyde. That worked OK (and was never unsafe), but if I was hanging on it for a while the two ropes passing through the larger slot would wedge side-by-side instead of one-above-the-other. Hence it would lock up, and I would have to spend time (off rope) unthreading it.

My new rope is a firmer weave 9.7mm PMI dynamic. Initially I thought it would be too large, but once I wet it and worked it back and forth through the Slyde it seems to handle fine. I've hung on it with no problems, but I'm reluctant to do any real drop tests - especially since I would need to retire the cowstail and the Slyde afterwards... :wink:

[Just jumping off topic for a minute here...] I've found short lengths of dynamic rope (not to be confused with accessory cord) can be tough to buy in outdoor stores in the US. It's pretty common in other countries, so why not here? :roll: Who knows? Anyway, there are a couple of options. Buy a whole rope and cut it up, selling off pieces to fellow cavers. Or contact people like Alex at IMO who can sell you short lengths.

Enjoy! 8)
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Postby chh » Oct 10, 2005 3:03 pm

Those measurements make sense for a device built solely for 9mm rope. I'm going to try and source a Slyde, making my own was really only an experiment for fun:) It'd WOULD be more expensive because when I'm tinkering with making my own stuff I usually don't get it right on the first go, allthough the Slyde is a pretty simple thing. I think the hardest part would be getting it smooth enough.

As far as the thinner 9mm cord did it often stick in the Slyde? Did you have to get off rope to fix it or could you just wrestle with it a little bit?

As far as the short sections of dynamic climbing rope, I would check an indoor climbing wall. They purchase rope by the spool for their topropes so they can replace them as needed and there isn't any wasted length. Often the remainder of the spool is not long enough to use for a top rope and too short to lead on, but it WOULD make quite a few cowstails. If they're nice folks, they may just cut you off some for free. Often times 10mm or thicker is standard in a gym for insurance purposes, but I've been in gyms that use what looked like 9.7mm. Worth a shot if you don't mind a thicker cowstail - especially if you're just looking for a backup or using it for some other pupose. (The price is right) Otherwise, IMO is the only vendor that I know of off the top of my head that sells it by the meter.

best,

-chh
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Postby NZcaver » Oct 10, 2005 4:37 pm

The "looser weave" 9mm dynamic rope I used in the Slyde didn't jam up all that frequently. Just enough to be annoying. :(

But then I don't use my adjustable cowstail on every vertical trip. When I hung on it with full weight, I would need to move around repositioning myself before it would lock up. This is probably because I was applying slightly more force than just my body weight alone - which is just under 1kN with full gear, by the way.

Once the Slyde was jammed, it could not be freed while still on rope. I had to spend some time "massaging" the rope back out, usually after getting home. In the meantime, it still functioned OK as a regular fixed-length cowstail.

Experimenting with making a similar device for other rope diameters could be interesting. But I think Kong's 9mm choice makes good sense for cavers - any larger and your cowstail is a bit too bulky, and any smaller it will begin to compromise strength if there is a fall.

I never thought of getting short dynamic cowstails from a climbing gym - good suggestion! :kewl:
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Kong in stock

Postby Karen » Nov 5, 2005 1:56 pm

I was just doing a web search on the Kong Slyde and I came across your site. I noticed someone posted that they are no longer available in the US. Water Stone Outdoors in Fayetteville, WV has one w/ a cord in stock for $19.95. You can buy it over the phone and they will ship it to you. The number is 304-574-2425.

Happy caving,
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Postby NZcaver » Nov 5, 2005 2:40 pm

Hi Karen - thanks for the information. :grin:

I think the Slyde-and-cord combination is called a "Doble Longe". It's shown here on Gary Storrick's website:
http://storrick.cnchost.com/VerticalDev ... il698.html

Gary says it uses regular 9mm accessory cord, but it looks really thin in the picture. Thin cord has caused problems for my Slyde in the past by binding up under load - see my previous posts. I think I'd prefer to pay about $10 for just the Slyde (like I did), and provide my own piece of dynamic rope or dynamic accessory cord (see the thread on Cowstails). :wink:

I was told the Slyde is no longer supplied to retailers in the US, so the one at Water Stone Outdoors is probably old stock. Apparently Kong has reduced it's distribution here, and now only supplies mainstream commercial and climbing products. I guess the Slyde is too much of a fringe-dweller to make it worth marketing any more. :roll:
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