Leaving a fixed rope on route while being safe and courteous


Original Post
John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20

Hi guys...

I'm looking for creative ideas that solve the following problem: there is a very runout route here in Colorado in a semi-popular area.  The route has chains at the anchor, which are about 80' off the ground.

I'd like to do rope-solo laps on TR on this route, but getting the rope fixed is a challenge: you cannot walk around to the top easily (you'd have to rap 300' from the top to get to the anchor) and a rope-solo lead is too dicey for me given the grade and the lack of pro.  Last week I did manage to talk a partner into doing the route with me, but of course I didn't want to leave a rope on the route since (1) ropes are expensive and might get taken and (2) it's a blight to leave ropes hanging around at a popular crag.  But I would have loved to have left a rope so I could come back solo and do laps.

Question: any ideas how to leave this route fixed in light of (1) and (2) above?

My only idea is this: buy 160' of rock-colored twine (for $5) and leave it looped through the chains.  If someone takes it, oh well.  If not, I can fix a climbing rope by taping a rope to one end of the twine and pulling the rope through the chains.  I hate putting tape on my climbing rope (because of tape scum) but a knot would (obviously) not pass through the chains.

Ben Williams · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 30

I don't have any good answers, only a quick insight. for tape if you use gaffers tape you can avoid the tape scum problem. 

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Are you talking about leaving this route fixed for a weekend or the season? How popular is the route?

bheller · · SL UT · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 928

I think you should use your creative skills to find a route better suited for your rope-solo needs. Perhaps something less popular that you can conveniently hike or scramble to the top of to drop your line. If you leave a fixed line or a tag line you are just asking for someone to emotionally overreact and or steal it- I've experienced it myself. Ounce of prevention saves a pound of pain right? I like to call it selfish belaying and I've enjoyed many days of it myself:) You live in CO- I'm sure you can find another suitable route.

John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20

Answers to the questions above: I'm talking about leaving the route fixed for a few days at most.  The twine would be pulled to one side on to an area of rock that has no routes, and therefore would probably not be noticed BUT of course it would be noticed at the anchor.  The route is semi-popular and probably is done once every 2 weeks?!  I've never seen anyone else on it, but it does get done.

@bheller: perhaps you're right.  I get obsessed with certain climbs and it's hard to let it go, but yeah... I don't much care of $5 worth of twine is taken, honestly, but I don't want to deal with hissy-fits directed at me if I can help it.

Dave Holliday · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 1,331

What route are we talking about?

rkrum · · Colorado or somewhere else · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 15

If you're not ruining anyone else's experience, I'd say you're fine. Might come down to how popular "semi popular" is, but I don't see why it would cause real issues. If someone gets offended because they have to see someone else's pull cord when they get to the top of a route, I think they have bigger problems.

Rob Dillon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 710

Let it go and find a better candidate.

ABB · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 0

Capable of multiple TR laps? Do one, focused lap on lead - your head will thank you. Thanks for not leaving a dangling a rope.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

One way to look at it, imagine if hundreds of people did this up and down the front range. This would be a cluster F. So, what makes it OK for one or two people to do it? 

John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20
Greg D wrote:

One way to look at it, imagine if hundreds of people did this up and down the front range. This would be a cluster F. So, what makes it OK for one or two people to do it? 

Imagine if every inch of wilderness had a tent pitched on it.  Just oceans of tents everywhere.  It would be awful.  So what makes it OK for one or two people to go camping?

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

Why don't you just put up a sign claiming to be shooting a film project?

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Since peeps are giving you hard time for even considering leaving fixed rope, do you have any objections to stick clipping your way to the top?

John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20
amarius wrote:

Since peeps are giving you hard time for even considering leaving fixed rope, do you have any objections to stick clipping your way to the top?

No, no objections at all, and this is a good idea, but...

it's a gear route and the pro is pretty sketch.  And pretty far apart.  I actually took a stick clip to the base but I was too shy to actually start placing gear with it because once that shitty cam is 20' over my head, I'm in a bad situation: (1) it's way too sketchy to climb on but (2) I can't get it back out.  So I just lost $80.

This is an R route in the guidebook, and it's definitely justified imho.

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 875

I feel like it really depends on the route and the area.  What route are we talking about?

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 93

I know.  Leave some mono-filament which will be almost invisible and is unlikely to be noticed.  Then use the mono-filament to pull some para-cord through the anchor, then use the para-cord to pull the climbing rope.  When you are finished for the day, just reverse the process...  Bwhahahaha.

John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20
cyclestupor wrote:

I know.  Leave some mono-filament which will be almost invisible and is unlikely to be noticed.  Then use the mono-filament to pull some para-cord through the anchor, then use the para-cord to pull the climbing rope.  When you are finished for the day, just reverse the process...  Bwhahahaha.

This is actually a really clever idea (and I guess high-liners do this kind of thing to set up lines!).

Monofilament would be nearly invisible from the ground. It would only be noticed by a party at the anchor (who would then remove if they were offended or just ignore it and move on).

---

I won't be naming the route, sorry.  I've been on MP long enough to know that the thread would immediately combust if I did.

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 875
John RB wrote:

I won't be naming the route, sorry.  I've been on MP long enough to know that the thread would immediately combust if I did.

You're no fun

 :)

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 290

There was a long thread a couple years ago about a crag (in Hawaii maybe?) where there strings hanging from each anchor in order to easily set up top ropes.  If I remember right, It works there because of mutual agreement within the local community.  This will be tough in CO.  So many climbers here, from all over, with a wide range of ethics;  mutual agreement doesn't seem possible.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497

Ok, so the route will not be named.

Is leaving something for a few days ok with the land managers?

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

I left a twine once several years ago on an after-work-only line.  Daylight was in short supply and not having to hike around to the top bought us a coiuple more laps before dark.  It was on a route that no one would ever see let along climb, however.  I would never leave a climbing rope on any route anywhere; boorish, unsightly and theft- and anger-bait.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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