Leaving cord in V threads versus going "naked"


Original Post
Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 615

How do you decide between leaving cord in your V thread (or A thread) anchors versus threading the rope through them directly?

It seems that if the ice is "dry" then it would make sense to simply thread your rope straight through, which leaves no trace. However, I would hate to have my rope freeze inside a thread.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,115

As you note it depends on the conditions. If the route is going to be descended by others afterwards I'll leave some tat behind regardless. If a one off and the conditions allow for it I'll thread the rope. More often on big hills I will be threading the rope.

When threading just the rope the one thing to do is to reset (floss) the rope after each person raps. That unsticks it and if it cold enough the rope will freeze up and not stick.

David Nelson · · Salt Lake City, Utah · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

This was beat to death last year. Ice tends to fracture horizontally, not vertically. "A" threads stronger, double "A" threads even stronger. By definition (or typical jargon/use), an "A" thread is using the rope (and not cord or webbing) threaded thru properly drilled holes (practice, esp. of using double "A's"), then pulled after party has successfully rappelled the pitch. Nothing left, even the holes heal over. If I have no choice, would never rappel on another's threads -- cannot see if they are properly placed, their condition, etc.

Tip: after drilling holes ("V" or my preferred "A"), 'floss' the holes by pulling rope back and forth to smooth out the sharp turns - makes pulling easier. Don't 'floss' all four holes at the same time; top thread first, bottom one second. Make sure knot is BELOW the bottom hole (if "A" thread).

Back up the thread with a screw & draw (above first hole) for the first person's rappel (heaviest person goes first), second cleans the back-up, joins the first. Have never had a rope freeze in thread holes of any ice quality (assuming one climbing day; if long trip, then can freeze but that's not the problem...if the whole rope is, THAT's a problem). Now you have "steel-ish" cable and can pole vault your way down the rappel.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 40

Check out this article by Will Gadd. I tried what he described the one time there wasn't threads already on the route. It was fun practicing so many V threads plus using them for anchors.

http://willgadd.com/simple-tricks-for-speed-on-multi-pitch-ice-routes/

David Nelson · · Salt Lake City, Utah · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Bill, have you tried constructing "A" threads (single and/or double). If you are good at "A" threads (which Will is), you can place them faster than "V's" because it's easier to line the holes up (can look up or down, not have to do the "sideways". Good to know both but when backing up threads, I think the "A" is better insofar ice fractures horizontally rather than vertically (tends to). It's a silly academic argument, actually.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 1,865
David Nelson wrote:This was beat to death last year. Ice tends to fracture horizontally, not vertically. "A" threads stronger, double "A" threads even stronger. By definition (or typical jargon/use), an "A" thread is using the rope (and not cord or webbing) threaded threw properly drilled holes (practice, esp. of using double "A's").
I'm having trouble picturing how to thread a rope (no cord/webbing involved) through a double A thread. Can someone sketch this for me?
Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 40
David Nelson wrote:Bill, have you tried constructing "A" threads (single and/or double). If you are good at "A" threads (which Will is), you can place them faster than "V's" because it's easier to line the holes up (can look up or down, not have to do the "sideways". Good to know both but when backing up threads, I think the "A" is better insofar ice fractures horizontally rather than vertically (tends to). It's a silly academic argument, actually.
I've only built V threads. I'm going to stick with Vs because I've practiced enough to do it right the first time.

Are you saying you build two threads side by side? For safety?

Wait a minute... I know you! Where you been at!? Still in SLC? I would ask if your coming east but I know the answer :)
Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 643
Gunkiemike wrote: I'm having trouble picturing how to thread a rope (no cord/webbing involved) through a double A thread. Can someone sketch this for me?
Great info here:

All you need to know about A threads

Thanks for all the great stuff Warbonnet!
David Nelson · · Salt Lake City, Utah · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0
Gunkiemike wrote: I'm having trouble picturing how to thread a rope (no cord/webbing involved) through a double A thread. Can someone sketch this for me?
Gunkiemike: Here you go (a bit crude) but I'll post it again. The link Jason refers to has this, more pics & drawings & plenty of discussion re: threads but does not focus on Nick's original good Q here in this forum. This drawing does not detail how to do it but the link does.

(Bill: Replies: 1) Correct - but I morphed; 2) Long African project; 3) Yes; 4) Would love to but....5) Good to see you...); 6) Need to convert you to "A's" (at least practice).

I'll add a few more comments tomorrow re: Nick's question about leaving cord. It's a good subject.

Double "A" threads, sometimes called "Stacked A's".
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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