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36

Tying knots is actually a bit of an art. Depending on what you need it for, there are knots that slide, create loops, tighten under load, and do tons of other things. Here are some backcountry essentials: Bowline Knot: Use this when you need a knot that absolutely, positively will not slip (unless loaded wrong). When I was in camp, we'd use these when ...


18

The most important knots you'll ever need to know are the taut-line hitch and the bowline. For instance, on your bear bag, you would tie a bowline through a handle or other loop the bag, and then the taut-line on the other side. The best thing about a bowline is that no matter how much force you've put on it, you can crack it easily to take it apart.


15

If you have some credible people saying not to be roped up, I'd love to see it, because that sounds completely insane to me. Here's why: If you are traveling on a glacier without being roped up, there is a very, very, very good chance that you will die if you fall in a crevasse. This isn't because you vanish into nowhere, but because you will get what we ...


14

Although I am not a lab technician it is important to understand the dynamics at play in these tests. Below is the best example I have read on the subject. For the full article please read below. Alpine Exposures - Climbing ropes explained UIAA Wikipedia NOTE: Also included is the section on "impact force", which is a factor of the fall height, weight ...


14

The following references from a few major rope manufacturers cover rope care thoroughly. Please see the bottom of this answer for a summary. From Bluewater Ropes: Avoid stepping on your rope. Beside the potential of cutting, stepping on a rope will grind dirt into the core and increase the possibility of internal abrasion. Protect your rope from ...


12

Failure by cutting is a primary concern. In terms of safety (rather than e.g. rope life) laboratory (UIAA) fall testing may not be the most important concern. Even a new, thick rope can be cut in a single fall across a sharp edge. This also applies to so-called "edge resistant" (defunct UIAA 108 standard) ropes. See this Yellow Spur fatality report. ...


10

Paracord Better strength*/diameter ratio. 550lb paracord is 5/32" (4mm) in diameter generally. Twisted poly of a comparable strength is around 3/16" (4.75mm). So the paracord will pack smaller. More versatile. You can easily divide it into multiple ropes. Its form also makes it much easier to braid than twisted poly if you need to make a stronger ...


10

It means the rope is rated for X falls where the fall factor is 1.77 and the weight is 80kg. In layman's terms it's a pretty big fall with a pretty big guy, the sort of fall that if you took you most likely wouldn't want to climb again for the rest of the day! You may well never have such a big fall at all (in fact I'd hope you wouldn't!) That said, the ...


9

For hanging packs, you can use vines. Find a vine you than can bend almost double (the shape of those ribbon campaign ribbons) without it breaking. You can use those as is, until they dry out. If you need more weight, you can braid them. If you can't find vines, you can use new green bark off of smaller plants. If you can peel at least 12" of bark, you ...


8

Some of it may well be historical - while there are a lot of generic hardware store type things that "do the job" out there now, I'm willing to bet that a few decades ago this wasn't the case. However, I'd still say that unless you're just doing light hiking / camping where it's never going to be stretched much, it's still worth getting: Overall, it's ...


8

If you didn't bring rope with you on purpose, you may still have shoelaces. You could use them in a bowdrill to make a fire in an emergency (but you better know how to make and use a bowdrill well beforehand). Two plants that make good cordage here in the Pacific Northwest are Stinging Nettle and Fireweed. You can use it fresh and green, but if you properly ...


8

You cannot tell by simple observation if a cord is as strong as it should be. Even if the cord was originally manufactured to the correct specification it may become invisibly damaged by chemical exposure. See this report for an analysis of such a case that fortunately did not result in serious injury. Do not trust cord unless you know both its source and ...


8

This is a bad plan for several reasons. YakTrax are not well suited for this situation. YakTrax are more specialized for people who want to go running on city streets in places with cold winters. For mountaineering, they're basically useless. They don't give enough extra traction. Microspikes or crampons would be more appropriate. Roping up is a ...


7

@Shawn has already answered the question, but I would like to add that it whilst it may be useful in some situations, it can be a bad habit to get into, and dangerous in certain situations. As you can see in this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auj4T1PYSRI - it involves getting your arm very tangled into the rope. If the rope was to suddenly be ...


7

Most survival experts recommend parachute cord. From Wikipedia: Parachute cord (also paracord or 550 cord) is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Once in the field, paratroopers found this cord useful for many other tasks. It is now used as a general purpose utility cord by ...


7

Plainly speaking, it makes sense to keep your rope away from any chemicals at all - battery acid, grease, oil, bleach, etc. Same goes for any objects that might harm it, chemically (car batteries) or physically (anything sharp or jagged that may dig in.) Take care of it, keep it dry, well coiled and well away from anything that might harm it. Yes, it may be ...


7

Suppose I get to the top of a sport route ... and I want to ... end up with a top-rope setup. "Top-rope setup" implies that someone else is going to climb the same route after you get down, right? Can anyone lay out all the typical steps...? Hang a locking karabiner (or a pair of non-locking quickdraws) on the anchor Clip your rope into it ...


6

What Rory Alsop posted is great info that is "internet safe" and a great rule of thumb. Many companies, however, will rate their ropes down to 9mm as single rope safe. In areas where rope protectors are often used, climbers safely go down to 8mm. I regularly climb with a Mammut Infinity 9.5mm. Compare that to Petzl Xion 10.1mm Mammut ...


6

Perhaps manufacturers advise on how much strain their ropes could take before retirement? Yup, they do. The rating is given in terms of UIAA falls, which are pretty "major" falls. A UIAA fall is one with a fall factor of 1.77 and the weight is 80kg - or typically a pretty big fall with a pretty big guy. This related question may also provide some ...


6

In general it sounds you're not doing anything obviously stupid and you just need more practice. I generally rack some 'draws on both sides - sometimes it can be handy to avoid reaching across. And you can often avoid the 'draw falling into the crack by resting it on a hold, across your wrist or something like that. Try not to place/clip gear far above ...


6

The manufacturer of your rope says: Time in use : The potential lifetime of BEAL PPE in use is up to a maximum of 10 years. The lifetime of the rope in use must never exceed 10 years. The rope must be retired immediately: if it has held a major fall, approaching fall factor 2 if inspection reveals or even indicates damage to the ...


6

What you're talking about is called Cleaning Cleaning This video covers the process in detail. But in short: Attach your self to the top anchor with a spare clip draw (or two), or better yet a sling attached to your harness using a larks foot and a locking biner. Inform your belayer that you're safe (but not off belay) Tie a figure of eight on the bight ...


5

I recommend highly reflective line. Many manufacturer's make this. I have had excellent results with Kelty Triptease. One 50' line cuts down to easily make 4 guylines for a tent. It is highly reflective and even a little light will make it really stand out at night. You may also consider reflective markers like these made by MSR. These will also make ...


5

As Mr. Wizard mentioned, you cannot tell if it can be trusted or not. This is why its good to keep an equipment log noting when important stuff like rope that you depend on is used and anything that happens to it. However, if you are given some paracord sealed from a manufacturer and you are curious if it is the Mil-spec stuff or not then there are a few ...


5

There are several factors you should considering when judging the severity of a fall. The most important is the fall factor. That's the distance of the fall (where the climbers started minus where they ended up) divided by the amount of rope between the climber and belayer. In most climbing situations, fall factors are relatively small. A fall factor of ...


4

I pack it like you do, and rarely ever have trouble. I think the important steps are what you do when you go to use it and what you use it for. First when I go to use it I remove the cross wrap completely. I hold it by the loop at the top or bottom. Once the cross wrap is undone I pull the mid section apart and lay it on the ground so it is in a complete ...


4

One of my tents has fluorescent paracord - it doesn't glow in the dark, but is incredibly bright and can easily be seen. We also attach some of it as guidelines when pitched in wilder areas to help the kids find their way to the tents in the dark. It works well - typically the only people who trip over them are adults...if they have had one two many glasses ...


4

What is your intended use for those joined ropes? If your life depends on it (you tagged your question with "safety"), I would not recommend using drastically different sized ropes in the first place and I would recommend something that has been well tested by the rock-climbing community. Most rock climbers either join their ropes with the double fisherman's ...


4

Cordelettes are an American obsession. In the UK and Europe most people climb multipitch on double ropes. In this case, and if one is swapping leads, then an anchor with up to four pieces with the rope is trivially easy. Clove hitch to first piece, little loop of slack, clove hitch to second piece, tie rope back to locker krab on harness. Repeat with second ...


4

Roping up would be a bad idea. A good rule of thumb is that you should only rope up if you can place protection between climbers (i.e. attach the rope to something). Glaciers are a different story, but that's not where you're going. Many accidents have occurred when one rope mate falls and takes all the others with them. As far as using YaxTrax , that is ...



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