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Parachute cord for tag lines
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By cheifitj
From Boulder, Colorado
Mar 30, 2013
Casual Route Pitch 3  <br />Photo by Mark Cushman

Hi Team,
Has anyone had success using parachute cord or some other very light line as a tagline? Seems like it could really tangle up and knot easily.

I know that most like 6/7/8 mil or one half of a set of double/twins.

Really just curious if folks are having luck or anyone is trying it out.

-Jon


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By Bryan Ferguson
From Castle Rock
Mar 30, 2013
Marvin and Greg scoping Crow's Heads Spires - snowed out on fall 1982 attempt

4 and 5 mm accessory cord work good as tag lines for retrievable anchors common in canyoneering. P-cord is too stretchy for bigger raps but would work, I think, on short (50 to 60 foot) raps.

Avoid tangles (could be epic) by using a stuff bag like a rope bag.


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By Steven Groetken
From Tucson, AZ
Mar 31, 2013
On top of Hitchcock Pinnacle.

I'd be real careful about putting weight on 550 cord. If its genuine, it's only rated to ~2Kn ( in good shape without a knot). As far as the real 550 cord goes, most commercial p cord is not rated to this strength. Genuine mil-spec type III 550 cord should contain 7 yarns inside the sheathe each with 3 strands making them up. If its not the real stuff, it's rated to usually around 300 lbs, which is an easy weight to achieve if bouncing around on rappel even if most weight is on your actual rope. Also, while I was in the Army, using 550 cord for EVERYTHING, we frequently snapped it (it has an extremely short life span).


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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Mar 31, 2013
11th hour of the Sundial

I wouldn't do it personally. With longer raps you'd be lucky to get your rope back. I don't like going less than 7mm just knowing how hard it is to pull and anything smaller only gets harder to really grab. I have some friends that like the 5mm Titan chord and think its easy to pull from being static. Another thing to think about with use on a tag line, in the event of having to do an epic bail you can start cutting the tail off the tag line to leave for the anchors, no way I would use parachord as an emergency anchor.


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By jdberndt
From Seatte, WA
Mar 31, 2013

Tried it many years ago when I was a broke student. Rapped into the pool of Neon Canyon and couldn't retrieve my rope. It was a weekday but luckily another dude came down behind us and was able to help retrieve the cord. I haven't used that setup since.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Mar 31, 2013
...

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By Ryan Hill
From Oakland, CA
Mar 31, 2013

cheifitj wrote:
Hi Team, Has anyone had success using parachute cord or some other very light line as a tagline? Seems like it could really tangle up and knot easily. I know that most like 6/7/8 mil or one half of a set of double/twins. Really just curious if folks are having luck or anyone is trying it out. -Jon


Easy to break and a pain in the ass to keep free of knots. We used to use it for setting up tarp shelters at work, changing to a 5.5mm Bluewater cord made a huge difference in strength, tensioning, and ease of getting knots undone. It is also rated high enough to be used as an anchor.

I personally use double ropes if I know I have to do long rappels off of a route. When a knot gets stuck and the end of your climbing rope is out of reach you certainly don't want to be jugging/leading with a piece of p-cord or even a 6mm accessory cord. In this case the "yer gonna die" picture might actually be relevant.


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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Apr 1, 2013
Thanks Hank Caylor!

Locker wrote:

+1


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By Groch
Apr 1, 2013

I tried using a 3mm static cord as a tag line and would not recommend it. It's difficult to get a good hold of without feeling like it's cutting into your hand, it stretches a lot, gets caught on everything, and tangles easily.

I tried using it for a full length rappel down a slab route and was unable to pull the rope. As a result it took a very long time to get down and I was cursing my 3mm cord.


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By The Ex-Engineer
From UK
Apr 2, 2013

If you find a decent chandlers they should stock dyneema cored cord down to 4mm as used by sailors for light rigging, halyards etc.. That would be my recommendation as the lightest option I would ever consider.


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