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What is your Alpine Rope?

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What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Gafoto » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:50 am

I know this is a can of worms as evidenced by the thread less than a year ago in the California forum which explored the same topic. I recently climbed North Palisade with a friend and we opted to climb the 4th class crack/face just west of the chimney. My friend brought a 8mm rope of some kind, twin or double, and a very thin rack. He led way off route and we ended up zig-zagging all over fifth class terrain. As he was belaying the rope nearly sideways from me while I traversed an overhanging block with a pendulum fall as a consequence I wasn't feeling too confident about this line. We never fell so it was a moot point but I have to wonder what peoples experiences are with using thinner twin/half ropes. Has anyone fallen on one as a leader or a second when it was used as a single rope? Ever damaged or cut through one while in the mountains?

What kind of rope do you climb on in the alpine? I've had a 60m Beal Joker rope that I intended for climbing mountains for the past year but it has yet to see any action at all. I'm curious as to what benefit a pair of 30m twin ropes would give me over the Joker. Wouldn't they weigh just a bit less, rap the same distance and limit a pitch to 30m?
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:34 am

where am i going... and why am i in this handbasket?
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby mattyj » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:38 am

Experience falling on one? No. But I've done similar in the past. Keep in mind that a half rope should be fine holding a factor 1 fall. Although twins are tested differently, they're also okay for low fall factors.

For me it isn't so much a question of how likely I am to fall, but rather what that fall would look like. In blocky/ledgy/traversing terrain, I'm not going to take a factor 2 fall. The rope is either there to protect me from a fall off a ridgeline traverse, or a low angle tumble on lead. As long as there's some sort of intermediate protection, the odds of even a factor 1 fall should be low.

Incorporating the post above, it's there to save my life. Especially given that pro will be widely spaced, I agree it probably won't stop me from hitting a ledge and suffering a leg/ankle injury.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:04 am

Yep.. a rope in the alpine serves a different purpose than one on a low-alt rock route... it's there to keep your mangled, bloodied, broken body from plummeting into the bowels of the mountain, in the hopes that a fall will require rescue, rather than recovery.

Therefor, I generally climb on a singular twin, either 60 or 30, depending on the need.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Jake » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:13 am

It depends on the route. For alpine conditions I would go with Beal Joker Golden Dry.
Also check this out:

http://bealplanet.com/sport/anglais/rope-guide4.php
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Kahuna » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:44 pm

He led way off route and we ended up zig-zagging all over fifth class terrain.


I recommend that one stay on route or well within ones capabilities and that of the rope that one brings ("Single" Half rope). I do not say this only for the sake of the rope. Rather for the sake of the team. Fking up in the BC can be very costly especially if this is their venture on a particular route.




I use a Mammut Serenity 8.9 Dry (Single rated) 60 in all my BC adventures unless I am working a new FA that will entail some fall potential. Then I bring an additional Phoenix 8.0 60 and I will double them up on a pitch that may find me or my partner potentially taking some whips.

When guiding I use an 8.6 Genesis Dry 60 or 30, depending on the route. EF or EB of Whitney, Fishook Arete, N-Pal Standard Route etc. I do not deviate from the established route, never and I use the 60 in order to climb the route accordingly. I incorporate a Direct Belay in all the cases in which a fall potential exists (due to their abilities or lack of) for my client/partner on those very moderate.


Winter Alpine Ice I will either bring my Serenity single or the two Phoenix/Genesis and double them up. Depends on the route.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:53 pm

Edelweiss 50 meter, 8.5 mm, Sharp, Everdry. Used singly for easy routes and routes that I know I will be walking down, used with its mate on harder routes and routes where a rappel descent is obligatory.

The 'sharp' rating makes me feel warm and fuzzy when rock climbing. Only very occasionally do I wish I had a longer rope and I always appreciate the weight savings and easier rope management of 50s. I find it telling that Vince Anderson and Steve House used a single 50 meter half rope for their route on the Rupal Face, the largest on the planet.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Gafoto » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:56 am

A5RP wrote:
He led way off route and we ended up zig-zagging all over fifth class terrain.


I recommend that one stay on route or well within ones capabilities and that of the rope that one brings ("Single" Half rope). I do not say this only for the sake of the rope. Rather for the sake of the team. Fking up in the BC can be very costly especially if this is their venture on a particular route.


Certainly didn't mean to get off route, my partner just ended up taking a slight deviation for the first pitch. Nothing we couldn't handle in terms of climbing but the whole situation with the rope didn't make me feel great.

My partner led fairly short pitches and even with that minimal distance between us communication was tricky. Seeing how windy the routes are in the sierra it seems like a 50m would be a better choice.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Kahuna » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:18 pm

What does wind have to do with length of a rope? Never heard of that as a reason. 15' never made a difference when the wind was howling. The rope is gonna fly on throw or pull whether it has two strands of 85' or 100'.

I have found over the past 30 or so years putting up routes in the BC of the Sierra (as all my anchors are placed at 100') and doing some of the more technical lines (Bartlett, Clevenger, Nettle, Croft and Lella etc) stuff that are now up there, that a 60 is more advantageous to bailing when the more prominent adverse TS weather decides to quickly develop. Most of those lines are set at 100' intervals as well. That extra 15 feet or so has made the difference between standing on a ledge or hanging in my harness. My nuts have appreciated it more.

As noted, it depends on what you are doing.


E-Boy: Ueli uses a 60 on his recent Himalaya speed gigs btw. He finds it more advantageous. So, another example of each individual has there preference.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Gafoto » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:09 am

Windy as in winding, not windblown. Probably could have phrased that better.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Kahuna » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:17 am

Gafoto wrote:Windy as in winding, not windblown.


In 40 plus years of playing this game, I have never heard of such a thing. Please explain.


Do you completely uncoil then cleanly flake out your rope each time you start a route?
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:30 am

Wandering, more like. Wandering route.

But why would a 50m be better for a wandering route?
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:27 am

Extending your slings would be better for a wandering route. I think what kind of rope I use depends on a situation. I like 9.4 blue water denominator bipattern 70m for alpine climbs. Allows to link a lot of pitches. Talking about sustained climbing. It's light weight for a single as well. Nice rope.
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Blair » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:49 am

I use a 8.2 (i think) PMI Verglas for all easy stuff that I shouldnt fall on but want a rope. I use it for north ridge lone pine peak OR tenaya peak kinda stuff. Makes a great tag line as well for routes that need two rope rap offs
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Re: What is your Alpine Rope?

Postby Gafoto » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:32 am

Ben B. wrote:Wandering, more like. Wandering route.

But why would a 50m be better for a wandering route?


The second pitch my friend led wrapped around a mini-ridge making communication a pain in the ass. Amazing how difficult hearing someone becomes when you aren't climbing at the local crag.

I appreciate the replies everyone! Seems like there's a huge range in what people are hauling up for alpine routes.
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