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Things to consider when tying two ropes together?


Original Post
Nick S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

So I'm dead set on climbing these 45m sport routes in my area. Now that I know a 2 rope rappel is necessary, I'm off to get a second rope. Only thing is can any two ropes be tied together for optimal performance? Shouldn't they be similar ropes, i.e same diameter same stats? Obviously you wouldn't want to tie a static rope to a non static rope. Any other considerations? 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Nick, do you have any partners with more experience than you? Nothing wrong with asking questions, but these are pretty basic. Sounds like you're trying to learn over the Internet.  It would help you if you had a mentor or spent a day with a guide.

Mark Verosky · · Columbus, Ohio · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 20

I second FrankPS. But you can learn this anywhere so I'll at least give some advice. Just tie in to both as if you were using twin ropes (assuming you are using singles from the sound of it). Clip protection as you would prefer and if any of the routes wander, this will help reduce rope drag. When you tie the ropes together just make a mental note of what side your knot is on. As for the knot I use a Flemish bend and that's overkill but it's my life on the line. Safe climbing and try to meet people with more expierence!

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 330
Nick S wrote:

So I'm dead set on climbing these 45m sport routes in my area. Now that I know a 2 rope rappel is necessary, I'm off to get a second rope. Only thing is can any two ropes be tied together for optimal performance? Shouldn't they be similar ropes, i.e same diameter same stats? Obviously you wouldn't want to tie a static rope to a non static rope. Any other considerations? 

Why? Climbers do this all the time. No need for similar diameters either. 

Mike Wallraff · · VAN(currently) · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 10
GTS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 0

Nick S,

As I pointed out in the other thread, you don't need two ropes. You can walk off or use the News Wall rap with a 60m rope. 

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

If you are using an EDK and different diameter ropes, there are, I think, better and worse ways to tie the knot.  The worse way is

The better way is

In order to choke of any possibility of rolling, I like to add an extra overhand (but only in one strand so has to keep thinks compact):

WARNING: The tails have been left short for purposes of the photo.  They should be forearm-length.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

Minor clarification: a dual-strand rappel (weighting both strands) isn't necessary, but you'll want a second strand to retrieve the rappel strand. This covers three basic techniques of single-strand rappel with a retrieval strand (the first diagram is what not to do):

https://www.climbing.com/gear/rappelling-on-a-single-line-with-assisted-braking-belay-devices/

I think you're right to be concerned about tying different ropes together, but that can be avoided with the second technique (third diagram), since both ropes are tied to the carabiner rather than to each other. In this case it would be reasonable (recommended, even) to use a thin static line for the retrieval cord, as it's not load-bearing.

Robert Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 156

Nick, I'm posting this on both your threads. I live near Austin and have climbed at Enchanted Rock several times. In my opinion, if you're thinking of getting a second rope just to do long rappels on the backside sport routes, it's not worth the money and the hassle. Just top out on one of the multi-pitch routes and walk off, or, if you're doing other routes, just walk a short way to the News Wall anchors, where you can rappel with a 60m rope.

If you do get a second rope, find someone experienced who can show you safe ways to join two ropes. There are some secure ways, and there are some bad ones that have gotten people killed.

Instead of getting a second long rope, you're probably better off with a single 60 and the options above and then buying a 30 or 40, which will cover you for just about anything at Reimers or the Greenbelt with much less rope to carry and manage.

Consider joining the Austin climbing group on Facebook. It is an active group with a lot of friendly people, and you should have no trouble finding experienced people to go out to the rock with you. I'm out of town until about July 4, but if you are looking for E-Rock partners later, feel free to PM me.

Nick S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0
Robert Michael wrote:

 Just top out on one of the multi-pitch routes and walk off, or, if you're doing other routes, just walk a short way to the News Wall anchors, where you can rappel with a 60m rope.

Consider joining the Austin climbing group on Facebook. It is an active group with a lot of friendly people, and you should have no trouble finding experienced people to go out to the rock with you. I'm out of town until about July 4, but if you are looking for E-Rock partners later, feel free to PM me.

Robert, 

I understand that I can get down other ways, but how would I get all of my gear back if I'm not rappelling straight back down on the route I just climbed? 

Also I believe I have joined the Austin Climbing group! I also joined a "meetup" group based in Austin and I believe these may be one and the same? The only issue is I live in San Antonio so it is very difficult for me to make most events, but I will be out for something soon.

Also I would love to go climbing with you or any other group. I have done a few outdoor classes with professional guides but it started to get super expensive! I'll PM you my contact, just shoot me a message whenever you're heading out. I've been going almost every weekend. 

GTS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 0

Is your belayer not following the route? Then yes, rap and clean. Otherwise, belay from the top and have your second clean.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162
Nick S wrote:

Obviously you wouldn't want to tie a static rope to a non static rope.

I mean no disrespect, but if this is "obvious" to you, then you need to seek qualified instruction, or at the very least buy and read an instructional book instead of soliciting specific options online.  You will probably get good answers to your specific question here, but climbing safety is a holistic thing and, based on your comment above, you are not yet ready to make the range of required judgements to keep yourself safe.  Tying a dynamic rope to a static rope is totally, completely fine and safe, and is very common (tag lines are "static" in the context of climbing ropes, and are very commonly used with a dynamic lead rope).

With regard to tying two ropes together, this is a very standard practice for rappelling.  Use a flat overhand (Euro death knot) with sufficient tails.  FYI, this topic has been discussed ad nauseum both here and elsewhere, and you should be able to find significant helpful resources by Googling.  Here are the first good quality hits in a search for "how to rappel on 2 ropes":

https://www.climbing.com/skills/preferred-knots-for-rappelling/

https://www.sportiva.com/blog/climbing-tips-joining-two-ropes/

https://blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/qc-lab-what-is-the-best-rappel-knot.html

http://stephdavis.co/blog/whats-the-best-knot-for-tying-rappel-ropes/

Nick S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0
Kyle Tarry wrote:

I mean no disrespect, but if this is "obvious" to you, then you need to seek qualified instruction, or at the very least buy and read an instructional book instead of soliciting specific options online.  You will probably get good answers to your specific question here, but climbing safety is a holistic thing and, based on your comment above, you are not yet ready to make the range of required judgements to keep yourself safe.  Tying a dynamic rope to a static rope is totally, completely fine and safe, and is very common (tag lines are "static" in the context of climbing ropes, and are very commonly used with a dynamic lead rope).

I'm beginning to realize that climbing is very much so a holistic thing. Thank you for your kind concern. I do have a book, "Rock climbing Mastering Basic Skills" by Craig Luebben and Topher Donahue, working my way through it. Let me know if you recommend any other guides. 

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 145

Nick S -  Don't be dissuaded by the judgment police "you are not yet ready to make the range of required judgements to keep yourself safe" crap.   The only way to learn is to try stuff.  Tying two ropes together and rappelling is a great thing to learn.  You will use this forever.  And it's so simple a 10-year old could do it.   The closer the 2 ropes are in diameter, the better they will "hold" together.  As they get more disparate, you have to be more cautious of slippage.   Bottom line is, tie an overhand, leave lots of tail (especially on the smaller diameter rope, because it would be the one to slide), but most importantly DRESS THE KNOT..... Tie it like you mean it, snug it tight, --- then give it a good test while still on your safety.... You will know intuitively by looking at it, whether you are good to go.   

Trust yourself.  This is the most vital skill in climbing.

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 9,455

I agree with Russ. Do your research, ask questions here and elsewhere, and practice (or don't, I think you know the risks). I'm curious as to why you thought it is obvious that a static and dynamic rope can't be tied together? A good rule of thumb if the ropes are not the same diameter is to use a double fisherman.

I think you've received plenty of help from the other replies. The only thing I would add is that I don't usually use the EDK all that much. The reason I don't is because I'm used to do tying a double fisherman, I'm also used to checking it. The roll over of an EDK irks me as well.

I like to learn things on my own by just going and doing it. I read what I need to read. I talk to who I need to talk to. I practice what I need to practice. Then I go do it. Go get it buddy! 

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Just go climb it. If youre set on two ropes then get two ropes. Tie your second rope to the back of your harness when you climb. Then use a euro death knot, or a fishermans to rappel. 

Jef Anstey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 152
Mark Verosky wrote:

I second FrankPS. But you can learn this anywhere so I'll at least give some advice. Just tie in to both as if you were using twin ropes (assuming you are using singles from the sound of it). Clip protection as you would prefer and if any of the routes wander, this will help reduce rope drag. When you tie the ropes together just make a mental note of what side your knot is on. As for the knot I use a Flemish bend and that's overkill but it's my life on the line. Safe climbing and try to meet people with more expierence!

isn't this a bad practice? wont large falls put WAY more impact into both the climber and any protection (trad) due to the fact that there is two SINGLE ropes catching you (single ropes don't have the same capacities as twin ropes...)

the corollary to why you wouldn't climb on a twin rope "single style"

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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