Rope question(s)

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6 years 11 months ago #137165 by Monardo
Rope question(s) was created by Monardo
Hello

Bit of background:
I have been climbing for a while and of course I am not extremely experienced, but can say that not a total rookie. I have climbed exclusively SRT using either Texas (two ascenders) or Yo-yo (with GG2) methods. I always make a basal tie. All of these is purely recreational.

Question:
The biggest deviation from climbing standard is that I use Canyonero 9.2mm rope (5000 lbF). I read almost (most) of the threads here and I know that neither strength nor width of the rope are recommended. So my question is, if I continue using the rope, what are my risks? What are dangerous scenarios in which thicker/stronger rope would have better margin of safety?

I am not asking this to justify using the rope. Thing is that in the country where I live, I have extremely low choices of ropes, let alone arborist ropes. I am planning to get arborist one, but I have to order it from abroad, which takes very long and becomes expensive. So as meanwhile I will still be using my Canyonero I want to be prepared.

Note. The Canyonero works very well with ascenders and GG2. Has almost no stretch and resistant to abrasions.

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6 years 11 months ago #137168 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Rope question(s)
Moss said this:

moss wrote: For myself, I would not be happy using a toothed ascender on 9mm. In a shock load scenario, say a partial blowout on your TIP (this is not a rare occurrence), the cover will strip and you'll be hanging on the core wondering what to do next. Hopefully you wore diapers and are highly skilled at self-rescue off a stripped cover kernmantle rope!
-AJ


I don't know what any of this means, but it sounds terrifying. You can review the rest of the thread here .

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6 years 11 months ago #137173 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Rope question(s)
I'll take a stab at translating, because I think Moss said a lot of excellent stuff there!

Toothed ascenders are those mechanical devices you guys are using to climb SRT. They have a cam which pinches the rope, and the cam has angled teeth on it, so you can slide the ascender up, but it holds if you pull it down. The Petzl ascenders that I see folks using in many pictures have very sharp teeth. These were originally designed to bite through ice and into frozen ropes.

A shock load would be a situation where you take a fall which is stopped by your ascender grabbing the rope.

TIP (Tie In Point) is your anchor: the branch your rope passes over.

A partial blowout would be the following: your SRT rope goes over a number of branches. The upper-most branch breaks (blows out) and you fall until your rope lands on the next branch down. (Partial blow out. Followed by... you guessed it... shock load, as your rope stops you from falling.)

Remember those sharp teeth I mentioned?

Well, now those teeth bite into your rope, and Moss is saying they could actually cut the rope! Considering climbing ropes are actually two ropes, one inside the other (the core and the cover), he is saying that if you are lucky, you will only cut through the cover, leaving you hanging on the core. Maybe you're used to looking at a pretty color pattern on your rope, but all of a sudden you are looking at 12" of rope that has been stripped down to the bright-white core.

If the fall didn't scare you bad enough to crap your pants, the sight of that bare core will! (Or should!) Thus... the diapers.

If you're alone in the tree, do you know how to get down when you've got all that frayed and bunched-up cover in your way and it is also jammed into your ascender? If you have a buddy with you, do they know how to rescue you?

Anyway, I believe Moss is suggesting that this scenario is less likely on fatter ropes which have thicker cores and thicker covers.

New climbers like to get on the cutting edge, but are you sure you know the margins of safety and appropriate fallback plans? I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I'm just a huge pessimist who is worried about the safety of all my climbing buddies out there! I vote for attending climbing classes (basic climbing AND rescue classes) instead of attending the school of YouTube and hard knocks.
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6 years 11 months ago - 6 years 11 months ago #137174 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Rope question(s)

Tree-D wrote: I'll take a stab at translating, because I think Moss said a lot of excellent stuff there!

Toothed ascenders are those mechanical devices you guys are using to climb SRT. They have a cam which pinches the rope, and the cam has angled teeth on it, so you can slide the ascender up, but it holds if you pull it down. The Petzl ascenders that I see folks using in many pictures have very sharp teeth. These were originally designed to bite through ice and into frozen ropes.

A shock load would be a situation where you take a fall which is stopped by your ascender grabbing the rope.

TIP (Tie In Point) is your anchor: the branch your rope passes over.

A partial blowout would be the following: your SRT rope goes over a number of branches. The upper-most branch breaks (blows out) and you fall until your rope lands on the next branch down. (Partial blow out. Followed by... you guessed it... shock load, as your rope stops you from falling.)

Remember those sharp teeth I mentioned?

Well, now those teeth bite into your rope, and Moss is saying they could actually cut the rope! Considering climbing ropes are actually two ropes, one inside the other (the core and the cover), he is saying that if you are lucky, you will only cut through the cover, leaving you hanging on the core. Maybe you're used to looking at a pretty color pattern on your rope, but all of a sudden you are looking at 12" of rope that has been stripped down to the bright-white core.

If the fall didn't scare you bad enough to crap your pants, the sight of that bare core will! (Or should!) Thus... the diapers.

If you're alone in the tree, do you know how to get down when you've got all that frayed and bunched-up cover in your way and it is also jammed into your ascender? If you have a buddy with you, do they know how to rescue you?

Anyway, I believe Moss is suggesting that this scenario is less likely on fatter ropes which have thicker cores and thicker covers.

New climbers like to get on the cutting edge, but are you sure you know the margins of safety and appropriate fallback plans? I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I'm just a huge pessimist who is worried about the safety of all my climbing buddies out there! I vote for attending climbing classes (basic climbing AND rescue classes) instead of attending the school of YouTube and hard knocks.


That's a very clear explanation, thank you.

Although why would you want your TIP to go over multiple branches? That just seems awkward if you want to set up another climbing line further up, and it seems difficult to set up.

Slightly off-topic, but relevant: what ascenders would you suggest instead of Petzl stuff? Do you think it would be worth while to try to dull the points in the non-essentil Petzl gear (specifically the Pantin foot ascender)?
Last edit: 6 years 11 months ago by Bushwhacker.

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6 years 11 months ago - 6 years 11 months ago #137175 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Rope question(s)
Gah! Dear god, no! No filing down of anything, please. (Catching my breath... palms sweaty at the very thought. Such an idea should not even occur to you.)

Yes, there are other ascenders with less-pointy teeth, but you really need to learn the pros/cons of the different options. (I wrote and edited and deleted this paragraph about six times. I need to fall back to my education rant here, because this is making me very nervous now.)

Attention anyone in the present or future reading this post: this post is not an appropriate substitute for climbing classes! Honestly, as much as I love these forums, nothing on here is an appropriate substitute for climbing classes! If you're going to spend money on equipment, invest in learning to use it safely, please! I don't own a single piece of equipment that increases my safety--or my fun--in the trees more than the classes I have taken. ps: Watching YouTube is not a climbing class.

As for the foot ascender, don't worry about the teeth on that thing. Think about the forces involved in a fall: you would break many bones in your leg LONG before your leg could put enough force onto a foot ascender to strip the cover off any rope. The ascender that stops you in a fall is the one connecting your saddle to your rope. That's the ascender with the teeth that I'm talking about.

As for multiple-branch anchoring during SRT, do not choke around multiple branches... you could break the branches by squeezing them together. (Palms sweating again at the very idea.) I am talking about having your rope go up into the tree, pass over a branch, and come back down to anchor around the trunk at the base. All of the branches below your uppermost anchor are now backup anchors.

(Back to a brief rant... sorry...)
Why in the world new people want to climb SRT right out the gate is beyond me. It's heavier, it's more expensive, it's more dangerous, and it's less agile than DRT. You could take a DRT class (at least the At Home Basic Class) AND buy a full set of DRT gear, and still come out ahead financially, carry less weight, and be able to climb more dynamically than going straight for SRT.
Last edit: 6 years 11 months ago by Tree-D. Reason: fixed typo

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6 years 11 months ago #137176 by Monardo
Replied by Monardo on topic Rope question(s)
Thanks for replies.

Tree-D, Bushwalker, I have seen the post by Moss (and the whole discussion), which actually was the reason I started this thread. I took a mental note of the scenario of mantel tear and was wondering what are other similar "scary" situations, when 11mm is better then 9mm.

Back to the mantel tear, here are my thoughts:

1. The Moss's scenario (if I get it right) is mostly valid with base tie (see pic.).



If top branch breaks, you fall, but lower branch will hold you. In my opinion this scenario should be eliminated almost to 99.9999% before you even hang on rope. Considering that quite some SRT (cinched anchor) and all DRT climbers are hanging on one isolated branch, the branch with base tie should be as strong (actually even stronger considering double weight on the branch).

2. In the RADS technique (which I use), the GriGri is not toothed, so I doubt it can tear the mantle.

3. Nevertheless, this still can happen: one may stand on a branch and slip with a big slack between TIP and harness or there is always 0.0001% which happens according to Murphy's law. The feeling would be probably indeed horrible and diaper may or may not even help against soiling yourself, but... First of all, due to the fact that kern (core) threads run parallel, most probably the ascender teeth would not damage and significantly reduce strength of rope. Secondly the mantle would slide down, bunch-up and eventually would stop fall. Here is how I graphically imagine the rope and ascender.



In any case it is very "interesting" to discuss how to rescue yourself from above situation. Here is what I (probably) would do:
a) Don't panic... and therefore don't wiggle too much.
b) IF POSSIBLE without too much wiggling, lanyard to good branch or anything - twig, leaf, etc (half joking).
c) Tie inline loop (butterfly, fig8, etc) below tear. This would serve two purposes - reinforce the rope and create a loop to tie in.
d) Clip carabiner to join harness and newly created loop = the immediate redundancy/backup
e) If not too far, tie prussik above tear and clip to harness = second redundancy
f) Transition from hanging on ascender to hanging on "new" loop.
g) Attach rappel device, unclip from all back-ups and descend.

Probably some steps are unnecessary, but would calm me a bit.

What would you do?

P.S. Naturally filing the teeth of Jumar is out of question ;)

P.P.S I still would like to know what are other similar scenarios.

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6 years 11 months ago #137185 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Rope question(s)
99.9999% is a very high level of confidence in your anchor. Only one chance in one million that it will break? Considering the fact that I tripped going up some stairs at lunch today, I'm not sure I can walk up a stairway with that level of confidence, let alone have that level of confidence in a living tree branch that I have only seen from the ground.

Of course there are tradeoffs between a base anchor (where your rope goes up and over one or more branches as you have drawn) versus an arial choke (where your rope chokes just one branch).

Base anchor:
Pro- Your rope can pass over more than one branch, so if the top branch breaks, there are other branches to stop your fall. I like it when my rope comes down the back side of the tree so that it passes over lots of branches! I like it even better when my rope goes up into the tree and then goes around the trunk before it comes back down so that my weight is actually on the trunk, not the branches, this way the rope effectively passes over ALL the branches in the entire tree.
Con- When you anchor at the base, and your rope passes over a branch, that branch experiences a downward force equal to 2x your weight.

Arial choke:
Pro- the branch only experiences 1x your weight.
Con- if your anchor branch does break, your next stop is the ground.
(As with the base anchor, my favorite SRT arial choke is when my rope chokes the whole trunk of the tree instead of just a branch. It's not always possible, but it does make me more confident.)

There are other pros and cons as well, and different situations where you can only use one or the other.

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6 years 11 months ago #137186 by Monardo
Replied by Monardo on topic Rope question(s)

Tree-D wrote: my favorite SRT arial choke is when my rope chokes the whole trunk of the tree


How do you do this practically? Do you walk around the tree with throw-line or ...?

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6 years 11 months ago #137187 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Rope question(s)
You send your buddy up first, and ask them to bring your rope with them and set it up for you! (Or just have them route your throwline and then you can haul your rope up from the ground.)
:-)
Sometimes you have to return the favor, of course.

If the tree is on your property and you know you want to climb it again, then after you run your rope this way once, you can leave a throwline behind for next time, so that you can set it up from the ground. But you're right, the first time, someone has to climb up another way and do this by hand. Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention, and thought I would let you scratch your heads over that puzzle for a minute.

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6 years 11 months ago #137188 by yoyoman
Replied by yoyoman on topic Rope question(s)
Here are a couple of photos to consider when setting a TIP.


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6 years 11 months ago - 6 years 11 months ago #137196 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Rope question(s)
Just additional info on traditional kernmantle ropes (core/cover). They are designed to fail "safely", ie: the cover is not for strength, only for abrasion protection, all the strength is in the core. So if ascender teeth strip the cover, you're ok (if the dynamic loading on the fall didn't smash your body), the core will hold you. Need to be aware of that potential scenario if you're climbing on a kernmantle static rope, especially the smaller diameter ropes.

Note that ropes designed for tree climbing/arborist have a different architecture, the cover shares the load. Toothed ascenders can cut through the entire rope if there is severe dynamic loading.

As Yoyoman demonstrates in his photos, when you're setting a high TIP (tie-in/anchor), whether it's anchored on the ground and over branches or cinched in the tree there are many opportunities to place the rope over breakable branches that you can't see from the ground. These can create shock loading scenarios if they fail while you're ascending.

RADS is excellent in taking away the negative potential for ascender damage to the rope when there is accidental dynamic loading. That is when the ascender in the RADS is not tethered to the climber but is simply used as a redirect point to facilitate the RADS functionality. The down side of that is that for beginner climbers it's a good idea to tether the ascender to the climber's harness, it is protection against accidental descent if the climber does a panic or accidental grab on their Grigri handle.

As usual in technical tree climbing nothing is perfect and a climber is best served by knowing the limitations of their gear and their skills and climbing within those limits.
-AJ
Last edit: 6 years 11 months ago by moss.
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6 years 11 months ago - 6 years 11 months ago #137206 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Rope question(s)
To follow up on the common problem of ropes over unseen small branches here's a video I made during a climb. From minute 2:05 and on into the video you can see me arriving at the top of a ground anchored SRT pitch, the rope is pretty much over all the branches in the tree below it, the very top branch the rope is over is very small. It was impossible to see from the ground even with binocular inspection. This is very typical in woods conifers. On first ascent in such a situation I do a bounce test to determine there will be no immediate blowout but that does not guarantee there will not be a branch breaking. During any first ascent on an unknown woods tree I climb very gently so as not to create dynamic loading with my body movement. If I'm not ladder climbing (close together branches) using 3 points of contact with feet and hands as well as keeping my rope tight I'll often put a lanyard around the the trunk or place it it on limbs/branches during the ascent.

https://vimeo.com/62000188

-AJ
Last edit: 6 years 11 months ago by moss.

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