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Rock Climbing Photo: Dylan on Peter's Project 10-31-10.
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By Zachary Zanzinger
Apr 24, 2013
Hey I'm a new leader and I'm curious about your double rope technique, I see pictures of you leading just about every climb at DL. Are you using two singles (obviously the same rope used in a giant bight) like a twin rope? Do you leave one side with a few more feet of slack than the other when belaying? I would think that doubled up singles would put too high (doubled) impact force on your pro should you fall... Have you fallen in this configuration? Sorry to bug you, I'm just intrigued by the added mental safety factor of having two ropes to rely on.
By Burt Lindquist
From: Madison, WI
Apr 24, 2013
I kind of liked this guys explanation from a few years ago on Hope he doesn't mind I am borrowing his words.

By "Canada" Eric Ruljancich
From Tucson, AZ / Vancouver, BC
Jan 12, 2010
From an earlier post of mine:

"Technically both twin and half ropes are double rope systems. For clarity twin ropes necessitate the clipping of both ropes into every piece of protection. Half ropes (commonly erroneously called double ropes) are designed to be alternatively clipped to each piece of protection.

Twin ropes are individually designed with a low impact rating and therefore a quite stretchy, needing to be used together to provide the correct amount of energy absorption. They are also not rated for falls on an individual strand. Bottom line if you use twins as half ropes you may take a very long ride.

Half ropes have higher impact ratings, given that they are essentially operating as a single line during a fall. If they are clipped together as twin rope system they can create a much higher level of impact, potentially ripping out your gear.

Thus, twin ropes should not be used in a half ropes, and half ropes should should not be used as twins.

With all that said, several manufactures now make ropes that are rated both as half and twins - a bit of compromise on both ends. I own such a system, the 7.8 Monster from Meteolius and highly recommend it, having the best of both worlds. The PMI Verglas is also another option."


To be truthfull though, I don't think alot of the time folks (atleast the ones in the photos I have taken of lead climbers at DL) are taking into account these important aspects of using either Twin or Half rope systems... they are just using on the lead whatever type of rope they have at the moment for the lead... and hopefully in the correct manner.

By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Apr 24, 2013
Zach, you're right. Two single ropes (or one single rope "doubled" via a bight as you've described) would put far too much force into the system in the case of a fall. Whenever I use two single ropes I'm only climbing on one of those ropes (only one rope is in the belayers belay device) and the other is usually a tag line for rappelling. Burt has described the use of twin and half ropes accurately. The more you know...
By Burt Lindquist
From: Madison, WI
Apr 24, 2013
To attempt to answer Zachery's question about leaving slack in one line when using a Twin rope system. Not really. The belayer would feed out slack to line the lead climber is currently pulling up to clip into the latest protection piece in the alternating sequence. Just like any other situation for a climber belaying a lead climber he or she would feed rope out when the leader pulls it up (helps reduce rope drag- makes the lead line less heavy.. etc).
By Doug Hemken
From: Madison, WI
Apr 24, 2013
That is a half rope. Seems like that might have been a Marathon Day, and they were using the half in order to have less rope to pull up at the end of each pitch (it adds up when you're doing 15-20 pitches in a day!).

I'm happy twinning a half rope if the gear is bomber and the route is straight, but if the gear is faintly suspect it is better to use half-rope technique. Be aware that there is more stretch with a half than a single.

Half rope technique is only marginally of value on "Peter's." Much more appropriate to "Brinton's" or "Berkeley."
By Tradiban
Apr 24, 2013
I have often used double rope technique at DL and elsewhere. Typically I use two skinny "single" rated ropes as either twins or halfs. As to what technique I use depends on the route and circumstances. I might go with twin style if I need two ropes for rappel for example. I might go with half style if the route wanders alot or has sketchy pro. I have also used two ropes to belay two followers at the same time, clipping one rope most of the time except in cases where I need to protect the first follower (the second follower cleans the gear) from a traverse and then I add a second runner for the second rope on the piece in the traverse.
At DL specifically, with the sketchy pro, it's probably best to use real half rated ropes for that technique to allow a little more stretch in the system and hopefully less force on the gear but I have only found this necessary on a handful of harder headpoints. Damn, I have even used one "half" rope along with a gym rope (less stretch) so that the gym rope wouldn't stretch too much and put me on the ground.
The important point is that there's alot off differing opinions as to how to utilize "double" ropes and technique might vary from place to place, so find the facts from the manufacturer and use your brain to figure out the rest. Happy thinking!
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Dylan on Peter's Project 10-31-10.

Submitted By: Burt Lindquist on Nov 1, 2010
On this route:
Peter's Project (5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b )
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