Using old dynamic rope in lieu of static rope for toprope anchors (plus anchoring question)


Original Post
Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 60

I don't toprope much but now that my three-year-old daughter is getting a little more interested in climbing I may do it once every few months. I went out once with her recently to the Ramapo Powerlinez and realized I didn't really have adequate webbing or static line for some of the anchors, though in some cases using gear in lieu of trees simplifies things. 

Meanwhile I have a 6-year-old 10mm 60m dynamic rope that has been sitting in a bin in the basement for several years. Some light fraying of the sheath but otherwise seems fine and only took a few short falls. Fine to chop up and use in lieu of buying a static line?

On the subject of top-rope anchors, let's say I throw caution to the wind and decide one big tree a decent ways off from the cliff edge is adequate for an anchor and am using a long static line, anyone have a preferred method for anchoring so the rope is redundant? Would it be crazy to connect the two strands of rope to form a sling with a double fisherman's and then just do an overhand or figure 8 knot like one would do with a cordelette in a normal trad anchoring setting?

Tim Maas · · Isla Vista, California · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 15

The argument against using dynamic rope as a top rope anchor is that it stretches when fallen on. If the rope runs over rock it could get cut or abraded over several falls.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Tim Maas wrote:

The argument against using dynamic rope as a top rope anchor is that it stretches when fallen on. If the rope runs over rock it could get cut or abraded over several falls.

Two strands of 10mm rope and a three year old daughter, I doubt stretch will be an issue.

Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 60

Thanks! My wife or another adult could end up taking a lap on the climbs we set up so certainly worth at least considering the stretch/abrasion factor. 

simplyput · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 60

Go buy some webbing. 

Unless you're living in boxes, I would assume, since you're raising a kid Brooklyn, you can afford the $15.

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 123

Your old dynamic rope is fine. As a general habit to be in, ensure you always have at least 2 independent full-strength anchor legs which join at a knotted masterpoint and pad the rock edge to protect your anchor. And inspect your anchor material (and your rope, if it rubbed at all) after every session. None of this is specific to anchoring with dynamic rope, just general best practices.

Paul Hutton · · Dirtbaggin' western US · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 701

Protect the rope and/or edges with a pliable material. Problem solved. Enjoy. 

Watch out when setting the length of your rope anchor. The carabiners at the master point should be hanging out away from rock in the air. 

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6
Logan Schiff wrote:

On the subject of top-rope anchors, let's say I throw caution to the wind and decide one big tree a decent ways off from the cliff edge is adequate for an anchor ...

A big, solidly-root LIVE tree is generally considered absolutely bomber for an anchor.  The debate generally comes as to how big is big.  Minimum sizes are generally thought of as in the 9-12" range for absolutely bomber.

Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 60

Thanks all! I may spring for some webbing, certainly not a cost prohibitive issue just thinking about being efficient with what I have.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

The only issue with using the dynamic is that it will abrade quicker because of a sawing action as it stretches. Make sure to pad any sharp edges and you'll be fine, just know that it will wear faster and need to be replaced sooner than if you used static. 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740
Logan Schiff wrote:

On the subject of top-rope anchors, let's say I throw caution to the wind and decide one big tree a decent ways off from the cliff edge is adequate for an anchor and am using a long static line, anyone have a preferred method for anchoring so the rope is redundant? Would it be crazy to connect the two strands of rope to form a sling with a double fisherman's and then just do an overhand or figure 8 knot like one would do with a cordelette in a normal trad anchoring setting?

Don't make a loop out of the rope.  Just use two parallel, independent strands of it back to the bomber tree.  Tie each end to the tree with a bowline, retraced Fig8, or tensionless hitch.  Tie a BFK for the powerpoint over the edge.  There are more elegant ways to set things up, including using part of your anchoring rope as a tether to protect yourself while working around the edge (critical if the edge slopes down; much less of a concern at a flat-topped place like Peterskill), but these are beyond the scope of an internet post.

Back to the main point - if I were you, I'd use your older rope for the toprope (save wear and tear on your current lead rope).  It's still in the prime of its life, use-wise.  The current thinking being that age alone - and let's be clear, your "old" rope isn't that old - is no reason to retire a rope.  It's all about wear and tear and abuse.  As others have said, invest in 50-60' of 9 or 10mm static rope.  It'll last a LONG time and you'll be glad you have it as your kids get hooked on climbing (you hope!) and you're TRing with them several times a month.

Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 60

Thanks Mike and others. I'll pick up some static line at Rock and Snow next time I'm at the gunks - you've convinced me.

I am a bit of a gear junkie and have several ropes, so this one is unlikely to see much action (and there is a good amount of sheath fraying, likely from poor anchor decisions), but you never know.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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