Alpine trad: What do you carry to ascend rope in emergency?


Original Post
Ney Grant · · Pollock Pines, CA · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 1,005

I recently realized that I often leave the cordellette behind now and that was my source for cord to make an emergency prussik out of.  I used to carry Tiblocs (lightweight ascenders) but don't any longer.  Does Dyneema work as a prussik on modern skinny climbing ropes?

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 650

I always carry a micro trax and a hollow block, I plan to use those if necessary. The microtrax has so many uses that it is easy to justify the tiny weight penalty.  I personally would not use dyneema as a prusik.  

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

my set of massive sculpted guns are all that would be required

ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50

I carry a 5.5mm spectra core cordalette.   Same thought process as Sweeney with the tibloc, if it costs you a few ounces but makes up for it in versatility, try it out.   The cord is good for funky anchors, looping blocks, rescue, *REPLACING* rap tat, and other general funny business needed.   I wouldn't really rely on Dyneema as my go to for prusiking due to the lack of abrasion resistance.   It would work in a pinch, just be careful and loosen/tighten it as you move up.  Nylon would be a little bit better choice, but you lose the weight savings.

**Side Note/Seperate Thread:  I try to do this when I have the time/resources.  If you're going to add tat, take the old shitty sunbleached stuff with you.  There doesn't really need to be 7 loops of tat around a block when only 2 or 3 of them look acceptable.   

Kyle Elliott · · Everett, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 375

There is usually a shared grigri2/vergo and an ATC between my partner and I, the grigri2/vergo is used to belay the leader, meaning if I am following, I have it. many times, I also have a microtraxion as well, and as Nick mentioned, is super versatile and weighs nothing. If your partner needs an extended break after leading, they can fix you to the anchors and you can TR solo on the microtrax, as well 

curt86iroc · · Golden, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 63
Ney Grant wrote:

Does Dyneema work as a prussik on modern skinny climbing ropes?

tied as a prussik? No.  tied as a klemheist? Yes. I regularly use a sewn dyneema runner (tied in a klemheist) to ascend 9mm static line

Edit: in terms of what i carry, i have a cordalette to make a foot loop, another sling/cord to make a prussik and an ATC guide.  that's more than enough... 

Ney Grant · · Pollock Pines, CA · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 1,005

tied as a prussik? No.  tied as a klemheist? Yes. I regularly use a sewn dyneema runner (tied in a klemheist) to ascend 9mm static line

That is helpful, thanks.

Robert Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 116

Microcender.

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

I recently realized that I often leave the cordellette behind now and that was my source for cord to make an emergency prussik out of.  I used to carry Tiblocs (lightweight ascenders) but don't any longer.  Does Dyneema work as a prussik on modern skinny climbing ropes?

The fact that you're asking suggests that you need to get out there and do some PRACTICE.

climb 2 smile · · Sandy, UT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 135

Nothing extra required.

I use my rappel backup (6 or 7 MM over the shoulder length tied cord) with another sling for your foot (or just grab the cord as a hand hold for one or two pulls) and belay / rap device in guide mode for the waist.  Just attach the anchor point of the ATC guide to your belay loop.

+1 on the klemheist with a sling.

Learn how to use what you normally carry and what you are comfortable with so you don't get stuck without a critical piece of gear or using something you rarely use.  It's an emergency right?  You need to respond fast and with confidence.

MP77 Phaneuf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 5

I carry a hollow block, (may  have my grigri on me, depending on what I'm doing) but also carry my chalk bag tied with a belt made of 6mm cord that can be tied in a prussik if needed. 

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 40

5 m of 6.5 mm prussik cord - I find the 5 mm spectra stuff does not grab reliably due to stiffness on modern thin ropes (especially dry-treated), and a hollow-block.

ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50
FosterK wrote:

5 m of 6.5 mm prussik cord - I find the 5 mm spectra stuff does not grab reliably due to stiffness on modern thin ropes (especially dry-treated), and a hollow-block.

Use a klemheist or auto block, you can add an extra wrap or two and get the right amount of friction with the skinnier spectra

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 40
ze dirtbag wrote:

Use a klemheist or auto block, you can add an extra wrap or two and get the right amount of friction with the skinnier spectra

Yup, done that. Still prone (again, due to stiffness) to keeping itself open when unweighted and not reliably acting as friction hitch - i.e. a prussik backup during glacier travel or rappelling. YMMV. Since weight savings are minimal (22 v. 23 g per m) I'll take the reliable cord.

Brandon.Phillips · · Alabama · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

Hollow block + cord.  I usually carry the cordalette for gear anchors anyway.  If not carrying cord for anchors, I use a chalkbag with 5mm cord as the waist belt.  

ze dirtbag · · Tahoe · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 50
FosterK wrote:

Yup, done that. Still prone (again, due to stiffness) to keeping itself open when unweighted and not reliably acting as friction hitch - i.e. a prussik backup during glacier travel or rappelling. YMMV. Since weight savings are minimal (22 v. 23 g per m) I'll take the reliable cord.

Fair enough, I've never tried it in prusik cord sizes, just as a cordalette.  Maybe mine has just softened up enough over time to bite on 8mm-9.1mm ropes pretty well.    Does anyone know off hand how many manufacturers are making the tech cord?   

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175
Robert Michael wrote:

Microcender.

climbing friend,

microaggression

RandyLee · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

I just picked up a micro traxion for top rope solo that might make its way on to the alpine trad rack. Otherwise, as mentioned, slings and a prusik cord are plenty. The prusik cord never leaves my harness, so that's easy, and in a pinch that plus an alpine clutch will get you up a rope. No fancy extra gear needed. The thing that you do need is to practice with your system. Maybe pick up a copy of Climbing Self Rescue or something similar, and practice, practice, practice. Go out with your climbing partners and spend half a day on rescue techniques before or after climbing. 

tallguy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 0

You mean, in addition to your shoelaces?  I am not sure i understand the question unless you only climb in velcro shoes.

Use real 6-7mm cord for your chalkbag attachment system for sure.  

tallguy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 0

Also, if you carry a tiny little $2 knife in your chalkbag, you generally are also carrying 200-400' of prussik suitable materials with you.

tallguy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 0

So, to summarize, i make sure i dont forget my chalkbag and shoes.  :-)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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