Mountain Project Logo

Two topes tied together for long rapel

Original Post
Joe Z. · · Prairie du Sac, WI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 120

What are the general thoughts for using two ropes to rapel?  Do they need to be the same diameter?

Thanks

Daniel Kay · · Boulder, CO · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 30

1. It’s a useful tool to have in your arsenal for certain situations.
2. No.

Matt Castelli · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 245

Extreme diameter differences require particular knots tho

Shawn Adrian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 101

European Death Knot. Learn to love it.

Sam Rumel · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

EDK til I die. 

Rob warden The space lizard · · Now...where? · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 0
F loyd wrote: I usually sew them together with a small sew kit I keep in my chalk bag, then cut them when I need two seperate ropes again. Knots are prone to failure and have been proven to weaken a rope's strength! Don't trust your life to a weakened rope, sew it up and rap safely.

This...is bad trolling... 

Jeff B · · San Diego · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

If you are worried about the knot slipping or the ropes feeding differently, set it up like a tag line and then the different diameters doesn’t matter.

https://youtu.be/dlKPQ_0f6aI

clint helander · · anchorage, alaska · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 611

EDK or double fisherman knot and then tie the butterfly to isolate the two knots. This will allow you to easily clip into the bight of the butterfly when passing the knot.

See the yellow and blue rope example below.

Chris K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 56

OP, which case are you considering? Need more details.

If you need to rappel 50m and a single 70m won’t won’t let you do that so you tie two 60m ropes together at the rap station to do a double rope rappel.

OR

If you need to rappel 120 meters and you tie two 60m ropes together to do a long single rope rappel

Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 521
Joe Z. wrote: What are the general thoughts for using two ropes to rapel?  Do they need to be the same diameter?

Thanks

In Wisconsin? Totally unnecessary. Maybe useful on Nightfall, but I can’t think of a single other climb up there that requires more than a 70 meter rope to rappel.

But if you travel at all, it’s a basic part of the climbing toolkit.
Joe Z. · · Prairie du Sac, WI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 120
Dylan B. wrote:

In Wisconsin? Totally unnecessary. Maybe useful on Nightfall, but I can’t think of a single other climb up there that requires more than a 70 meter rope to rappel.

But if you travel at all, it’s a basic part of the climbing toolkit.

Headed to Utah next month.  I have several ropes 70m x 9.7mm, 60mx 10.1mm, etc and just looking for input on if they needed to be the same diameter or within a few tenths.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,425
Joe Z. wrote:

Headed to Utah next month.  I have several ropes 70m x 9.7mm, 60mx 10.1mm, etc and just looking for input on if they needed to be the same diameter or within a few tenths.

No, they don't, many people will bring along a super thin tag line to tie to their lead line to get down, just be aware that the two different diameter ropes will stretch at different rates, so even though they may start out the same length, they won't be the same length when you are rapping so make sure you knot the ends of the ropes so you don't end up rapping off what ends up being the shorter rope.

Xi Yin · · Cambridge, MA/traveling · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 145
Joe Z. wrote:

Headed to Utah next month.  I have several ropes 70m x 9.7mm, 60mx 10.1mm, etc and just looking for input on if they needed to be the same diameter or within a few tenths.

Leading with two ropes that thick would be a pain. Much better to lead with double 8mm rope, or bring a thin and lightweight tag line.

With double rope rappel, the knot can get caught easily on certain terrains (low angle, chicken head, cracks), so watch out when pulling the rope to avoid epic.
Chris Jones · · Winston-Salem · Joined May 2018 · Points: 90
Xi Yin wrote:

.

With double rope rappel, the knot can get caught easily on certain terrains (low angle, chicken head, cracks), so watch out when pulling the rope to avoid epic.

Stuck rope can happen on a single rope rappel too. I carry a 7.5 x 70 on remote Alpine routes in my pack. Having a second thinner rope in your pack can help you continue descending or climb back up and retrieve your stuck rope.

F Loyd · · Kennewick, WA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 486
Rob warden The space lizard wrote:

This...is bad trolling... 

I thought it was pretty good. 

Cam Hook · · Portland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 95

I've tied a 7mm line with ropes as thick as a 9.8 many times and I have no reason to believe that an even thicker lead line would be an issue. I typically use a 7mm/65m static tag line. Thin tag lines work best on steeper terrain with easier pulls. You should be fine with your two fat ropes but I would look to get some skinnier ropes and save some weight.

EDIT: Tie your ropes together with a well dressed "flat overhand" (aka EDK). The tails on the flat overhand should be at least 12 inches and preferably a little longer but not long enough to mistake them for the ends of the rope you are going to rappel on...

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 15,739
Joe Z. wrote:

Headed to Utah next month.  I have several ropes 70m x 9.7mm, 60mx 10.1mm, etc and just looking for input on if they needed to be the same diameter or within a few tenths.

Where in Utah?  Multi pitch or just long, single pitches?

Just to clarify...you're talking about using the full length of a rope for a rappel, rather than a shorter route where you just double a single rope over for a rappel, right?  So, the extra rope for a pitch that's as long (or nearly as long) as the length of your lead rope?

I think the diameter differences would have to be huge to make a difference.  I've rapp'd on 10mm tied together with a 6mm and rappelled both strands with no issues.  Only thing I'd caution you to consider is that if the diameter difference is at all significant (like a 10 to a 6, or 7) is that the skinnier cord will have less friction and depending on which side of an anchor your knot is, could move at the anchor and end up being shorter on one side at the end of the rappel.  Which, might be a bummer if you're off the ground a ways and pop off one side of your double rope rappel.  Was a fatality in Zion years ago that folks figure was caused by this.

Remember to "pull skinny" and you'll place the knot at the anchor on the skinny side of the anchor.  Not as easy to pull with a smaller diameter rope, but, the knot and ropes won't migrate due to the less friction on rappel and you won't have to worry as much about uneven rope ends.

Edit to add:  if you're at all worried about the ropes moving at the rappel, make sure the EDK knot is well bigger than the rappel anchor ring or chain end.  I've had a knot pop through a large ring on rappel and it would have shortened one side of my double rope rappel but I managed both rope ends independently to account for their difference in friction in my ATC.  Just something to consider. 

I use an EDK as my primary knot for joining two ropes together regardless of the diameter difference.  Sometimes I'll stack another EDK on top of the first one, or, just snug an overhand knot in the smaller diameter tail next to the primary EDK especially if I think I'm going to be moving around a bit on rappel (weighting and unweighting the EDK knot - cyclic action tends to loosen that knot).

If you've never used a tag line, I wouldn't suggest that for your first trip outside your normal area with longer routes requiring two rope.  Although you might practice the technique a bit first prior to trip launch.
Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 15,739
David Appelhans · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 410
Chris Jones wrote:

Stuck rope can happen on a single rope rappel too. I carry a 7.5 x 70 on remote Alpine routes in my pack. Having a second thinner rope in your pack can help you continue descending or climb back up and retrieve your stuck rope.

Have you thought about a backup to the backup in case that one gets stuck too? A nice 6 mm x 80m stuffed into your sock?

Alain Aleksandro De la Tejera · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 125

Great information found on here! Thank you, guys. If I may ask as well, would an EDK work just fine with a 7mm static and a 9.8 dynamic? Thank you in advance.

Cam Hook · · Portland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 95
Alain Aleksandro De la Tejera wrote: Great information found on here! Thank you, guys. If I may ask as well, would an EDK work just fine with a 7mm static and a 9.8 dynamic? Thank you in advance.

Yes. No issue at all. I’ve used that exact combo many times. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
Post a Reply to "Two topes tied together for long rapel"

Log In to Reply