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The perfect rope?


Original Post
Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365

Lets say you want a rope for glacier travel on relatively easy terrain (non-technical routes on Rainier and Baker for example), as well as a rope where you may have small glacier and snow travel paired with some exposed scrambling and ridge lines (may need a belay or simul-climbing scenario, think some climbs in the north cascades).  Now, if you were to recommend one rope to rule them all in these scenarios what would it be?  I understand that different ropes for different applications would be the simple answer.  I am just curious if anyone has a light weight single rope they use for all around alpine climbing?  Lets say I want to do Emmons glacier one week and a climb in the Pickets the next week, would there be 1 rope you would use for both excursions?


Thanks

Joe Lindberg · · an asshole · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 65

i've never owned one but the beal joker is a 9.1 mm.  It is available in dry coat.  It is the only rope that can be used as half, single, and twin rope.  It is on sale on backcountry https://www.backcountry.com/beal-joker-9.1mm-dry-cover-rope.  You can get it in 60 or 70m.

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365
Joe Lindberg wrote:

i've never owned one but the beal joker is a 9.1 mm.  It is available in dry coat.  It is the only rope that can be used as half, single, and twin rope.  It is on sale on backcountry https://www.backcountry.com/beal-joker-9.1mm-dry-cover-rope.  You can get it in 60 or 70m.

Thanks Joe.  There is also the Petzl Volta Guide that is 9.0 and also touts as a half, single and twin uses.  

Joe Lindberg · · an asshole · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 65
Dan Cooksey wrote:

Thanks Joe.  There is also the Petzl Volta Guide that is 9.0 and also touts as a half, single and twin uses.  

Your welcome.  I thought there was only one.  

Slogger · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 80
Mark Berenblum · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 105
Joe Lindberg wrote:

i've never owned one but the beal joker is a 9.1 mm.  It is available in dry coat.  It is the only rope that can be used as half, single, and twin rope.  It is on sale on backcountry https://www.backcountry.com/beal-joker-9.1mm-dry-cover-rope.  You can get it in 60 or 70m.

The Beal Opera can be used as a single, double, or twin and is 8.5mm and claims to be the lightest single rope available. I have one and would highly recommend it. I think it's available in both dry and untreated versions, so make sure to get the dry.

Keatan · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 20

Personally, I wouldn't drag a 60m around for simul-climbing, glacier travel, and short-pitching unless you need it for rappels. I would suggest looking at going with a 30m or 40m half rope. Maybe something like a Sterling Evolution Duetto or whatever else you can find in that ~8.5 diameter with shorter length availability. 

Edit: Looks like some companies make their super skinny singles in shorter lengths too, something to look at.

Taylor Lais · · Black Hills, SD · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 70

sterling nano 9.0

Single, twin, half

I've been really happy with this one!

Ryan Pfleger · · North Lake Tahoe, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 15

I have been pondering a similar question, and thinking about the Beal Opera, 50m, dry.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

A 9.0 mm rope seems like overkill for those applications. A 50 or 60 meter rope also seems like overkill. Too much rope to have to keep organized, too much unneeded weight.

I'd go with a 30 m or 40 m 8.0-8.5 mm rope. Basically, take as little rope weight as you can get away with. I have a 7.9 mm rope and have never felt like it was too skinny for belaying or simuling on scrambly alpine terrain. And the reduced weight sure is nice. I think that the need for a rope rated as a single is overrated in those scenarios. It's not like you are going to be taking multiple factor 2 falls on the thing (as per the single rope criteria).

The one scenario where you'd need more rope is if you expect to need to rappel. In that case, you could use a 60 meter 8.0 half rope. Or you can pair your 40 meter 8.0 do-everything rope (see above) with a super-light 5.0 mm pull-down cord if you only expect to do a rappel or two.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476
JCM wrote:

Keep in mind having enough rope for crevasse rescue on the glacier walk ups if you screw up. I had a partners ski take ride down toward the squak glacier in late spring. It had snowed earlier in the week and was warmer. We had a 30m twin I bring for glacier travel. Had my partner belay off a dead man while I walked out to see where the ski went, saw the crevasse it dropped into, then promptly plunged through a blank snowbridge. Had I of been injured and not able to self extract there wasn't enough rope to drop a bite to me for hauling. The rope cut so far into the lip there was no way in hell a z pulley could have worked either.

I totally agree with everything you said otherwise.

Another thing I would add is that you will wear off your dry coating on rock routes, you'll soak up a lot of water on glaciers afterward. We used my sterling nano for dorado needle, also ran up Eldorado in the afternoon on the way to bivy. It picked up enough water to be a bit heavier on the rock the next day. 

Ryan Pfleger · · North Lake Tahoe, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 15
Nick Drake wrote:

Another thing I would add is that you will wear off your dry coating on rock routes, you'll soak up a lot of water on glaciers afterward. We used my sterling nano for dorado needle, also ran up Eldorado in the afternoon on the way to bivy. It picked up enough water to be a bit heavier on the rock the next day. 

Dry ropes like Beal's Golden Dry and other ropes that pass the UIAA dry test should be able to maintain their "dry" quality even after some abrasion.

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Ryan Pfleger wrote:

Dry ropes like Beal's Golden Dry and other ropes that pass the UIAA dry test "SHOULD" be able to maintain their "dry" quality even after some abrasion.


Ben Stabley · · Portland, OR · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 167

Any of the triple rated ropes (beal opera, mammut serenity, etc) in 50-60m, or a 8-8.5mm half/twin rope rope in the same lengths. Definitely UIAA "dry" rated.

I agree with Nick Drake that for 2 person crevasse travel, you need more rope than you'd think. In my opinion, you need at least as much rope on each person as rescue coils as you have between you and your partner for haul systems or rappelling in to treat an injured partner--especially if you use stopper knots.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476
Ryan Pfleger wrote:

Dry ropes like Beal's Golden Dry and other ropes that pass the UIAA dry test should be able to maintain their "dry" quality even after some abrasion.

That new UIAA dry test is good, you know the core was treated properly also. I agree that they will perform much better (than the ropes which only had sheath treatment and were sold as "dry" in the past). We still iced up the sheath of a joker that had been seen a good amount of alpine rock. I'll still try to keep separate ropes for ice/glacier use. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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