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Knot for Lead Climbing A Ladder Without Carabiners


Original Post
James Harris · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 0

Hi all.

I need to climb a 100 feet ladder that is attached to a structure. I want to use a safety rope just in case.

Here is what I would like to do.

I tie the rope off at the bottom of the ladder. I carry the rope with me, possibly in a backpack. I tie to the rope with a friction hitch, like a Blake's Hitch.

As I go up, every 6-8 feet or so, I tie the rope to ladder rungs with some kind of a knot. Ladder rungs may be too thick to accept a carabiner. And sometimes I may find myself without carabiners.

I am not sure what would be a good knot for this.

Thanks.

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

Why don't you wear a harness with two runners or two PAS's on it? Then, if a carabiner won't fit around a rung, you could basket or girth hitch each rung with your runner. This way, you are always attached with one runner.  No rope necessary. I haven't done via ferrata, but I think that's the general idea.

Ryan Swanson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50

You can get giant carabiners

It’s a ladder. That’s 5.2 tops. 

James Harris · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 0

Yeah, I think this is how most people would do this.
I was just thinking, if I find myself without much equipment, if all I had was a safety belt without any runners, and rope, what could I do?

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

Why would you "find yourself" with a harness and rope but no slings or carabiners? You can basket hitch a sling around a ladder rung and use a single carabiner on the rope side.

Do a search for fall arrest protection. You can get a Y tether with a screamer and large connectors that are meant to go around larger diameter points like ladder rungs. (Like a via ferrata setup but made for working at height). You always have one clipped at a time as you climb. Smaller and easier to carry than a rope.

ETA: I'm not saying the ladder you have in mind has rungs strong enough to safely fall on. Just suggestions on ways to connect yourself to them if that's your plan. 

ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

All you need to do is take a biner and use them to tie the rope around the rungs not clipping the biner into the rung. Not the best image but maybe it is enough for you to understand the biner is behind the rung and the rope stays on the side you are climbing but is pinched around the rung with the biner.

Suburban Roadside · · Abovetraffic on Hudson · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 1,464
ViperScale . wrote: All you need to do is take a biner and use them to tie the rope around the rungs not clipping the biner into the rung. Not the best image but maybe it is enough for you to understand the biner is behind the rung and the rope stays on the side you are climbing but is pinched around the rung with the biner.

Good Man 'Scaley"

Please everyone, when responding to a new  member, someone who has just joined our little fracas here, to think  is this a rock  climber or another type-climber. before posting.

As a matter of concern The OP has not provided enough info to respond . Is the ladder dead vert? how is it connected? & to what is it connected?

and
I entice no one to say "it",
 "It"  being the good 'ole YGD,  maybe I should ?

Back to what Arborists who climb but are not rock climbers, not thinking of the multiplication of forces, that we as climbers who take falls, struggle with but do, understand.

. They stay safe, use harnesses & some climbing gear, but avoid the risk of Factor falls, by remaining Top Rope supported, same with widow washers etc.

. There are many many you tube videos, as well as Arborists info-blogs
as well as High rise and high angle workers info.

A ladder has all sorts of funky 'play to it. . . .  a loose connection needs to not be forced to take on extra forces,
 there are a few more - big what ifs - & what thens
 Then there is the issue of what is the goal? how long is the work going to take? , will you be hanging off this rig?
all this makes a case for the fact that it sounds like the OP is a thinking person, it is impressive that he has joined up & asked for help.

tape/slings, short pre- tied loops of cord that get girth hitched to the rungs to provide protection , And A Second person to give a belay..........
Spencer Ringwood · · Somerville, MA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0
Fred Dibnah Ladders a Chimney

On a serious note, have you considered a Via Feratta tether with a BIG hook? Climb a bit and attach it to a rung (assuming they're strong enough to hold a fall) to rest, remove to climb again. Using a tether that dissipates energy is critical- if you use a something that doesn't stretch, climb above the rung it's attached to and fall, it could cause severe injury or even break.

If you want to rappel from the top, then trail the rope behind you and pull up the rest when you want to come down. Attaching the rope to the ladder as you move up is probably more trouble than it's worth, assuming you're taking a lot of gear with you. You could also tie your tool bag to the rope and haul it up once you arrive at your work area.

Be sure anything you connect yourself to is intended to hold a fall.
adeadhead · · Baltimore, MD · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 30

I think the important thing here is to make sure that the ladder is secured. Doesn't matter how easily you can stay attached to the ladder if you ladder falls

fallingmonkey · · The West · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

Dude, if you're going to rob a bank and least cut us in.

t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

So you want to rope solo a ladder? You’re gonna want more than a Blake’s hitch...

Kyle Elliott · · Everett, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 565

have a partner put you on belay, then just weave in between the rungs like a tree python. you'll only fall to the last rung you weaved thru.

Ģnöfudør Ðrænk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 2
Kyle Elliott wrote: have a partner put you on belay, then just weave in between the rungs like a tree python. you'll only fall to the last rung you weaved thru.

Actually you might have something there.  As a minor alternative, you basically weave the rope using two tie-in points that you alternate attaching and weaving.  

Specifically:

  • Prepare:
  1. Put a knot on byte in the rope end and attach to belay loop with locker (First).
  2. one yard back in rope, add another knot on byte and attach to belay loop with second locker (Second).
  • Climb:
  1. After a few rungs, detach First and weave behind rung and reattach First to harness.
  2. Detach Second from harness, and climb past rung so that second knot passes rung and reattach second to harness.
Rinse and Repeat.
ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240
Ģnöfudør Ðrænk wrote:

Actually you might have something there.  As a minor alternative, you basically weave the rope using two tie-in points that you alternate attaching and weaving.  

Specifically:

  • Prepare:
  1. Put a knot on byte in the rope end and attach to belay loop with locker (First).
  2. one yard back in rope, add another knot on byte and attach to belay loop with second locker (Second).
  • Climb:
  1. After a few rungs, detach First and weave behind rung and reattach First to harness.
  2. Detach Second from harness, and climb past rung so that second knot passes rung and reattach second to harness.
Rinse and Repeat.

Hmm you know this means everytime he wants to weave a new rung he has the risk of falling right? This would be like rock climbing and everytime you get to a bolt you go off belay and clip the bolt than go back on belay which is stupid and dangerous.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

Ladders are aid

Ģnöfudør Ðrænk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 2
ViperScale . wrote:

Hmm you know this means everytime he wants to weave a new rung he has the risk of falling right? This would be like rock climbing and everytime you get to a bolt you go off belay and clip the bolt than go back on belay which is

"Two tie-ins".  One is always attached to harness.

ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

I can't read my bad.

Ryan Swanson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50

There is probably a huge risk of falling off a ladder if you spend every other rung fiddle fucking around tying in, weaving, hitching, clipping, and snaking.  If it is a 100 foot ladder without a cage or in-situ cable to attach a tether to, call OSHA and let them throw fines at the owner/boss until it does.  If this is for fun, you are weird as hell.

A J · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Hey OP, what you describe is a bad idea because every time you fix the rope to the ladder you're now setting yourself up for a factor 2 fall when you go above the knot. This is different from clipping the rope to a carabiner, as in that case the entire rope can stretch to catch your fall, as the rope can move through a carabiner.

What you're trying to set up is a lead solo system, which is an expert level rope system. You should not attempt this unless you have extensive experience with rope systems. As I see it your options are:

(a) ask your employer to provide a safe system to climb this ladder
(b) buy the big-ass carabiners they use in the industry. you climb without protection but have the option to rest whenever you want by clipping in. practice this at the base of the ladder.
(c) ask for a lead belay from someone, basket hitch slings as described above.

Lothian Buss · · Albany, NY · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 15

It's a ladder, dude! Just climb it!

James Harris · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 0

Sorry for the delay. The forum says I am making too many posts for a new member.

Thank you for all your replies. There is no lack of sense of humor here. Nice.

I have the gear you describe and I would use it whenever possible. I can have two shock absorbing lanyards with big hooks and a full body harness. No problem.

Sometimes we cannot anticipate what we will have to do on a given day and we cannot carry everything with us. And we might just happen to have rope with us or we can buy it locally, and not much else.

In fact the harness/belt might have to be made out of rope as well in a pinch. But my question is not about that right now.

Sometimes we might not have a partner for belay. So I am definitely trying to come up with a lead solo system.

On rare occasions it might come down to climbing without any protection at all (it's a ladder, dude, just climb it!), or using something like what I described, which I think is a big improvement over no protection, provided there exists a suitable knot to attach the rope mid-length to ladder rungs, tree branches, beams, etc. My interest in this system is more general than just climbing a ladder.

I would have to anchor the rope fairly often, as this would be static rope and I do not want to fall far. As well as I would not want to overload the ladder if I fall. So probably every 5-6 feet or so.

The rig is only to prevent a fall, I will not be hanging off it.

The best I can think of right now is make a bight in the rope, go around the rung, go around the main rope and tie a buntline hitch or some other hitch. It would be a fairly bulky knot, probably use up 2-3 feet of rope, and I am not sure how secure it would be.

Another idea I had was to use short lengths of cord/rope, if carabiners are not available, to tie the main rope to the rungs. But that would be 100'/6' = 16 pieces of rope (or 16 carabiners). I would sooner not make these if I did not have to, or carry 16 carabiners with me, and just tie the main rope to the ladder directly. Hence the need for a good knot.

Any knot ideas?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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