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Aid Climbing with Twin/Half Ropes
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Apr 12, 2013
I was pondering the system you would use to aid climb with twin/Half ropes.

I figure the sequence of things for the leader will be the same.

But what about the follower. I couldnt find anything online about ascending on two ropes....just seems scary.

Anyone have any experience/ideas about this?

For both these styles:
Rock Climbing Photo: Twin Rope System
Twin Rope System

Rock Climbing Photo: Half Rope System
Half Rope System
Joined Apr 22, 2010
391 points
Apr 12, 2013
No, People don't do that (at least not in Yosemite). Many many problems with it. Some I can think of:

1) Ascenders work best on thicker ropes, >10mm in most cases (although the manufacturers say they can be used down to 8mm). Twins tend to be very skinny, often less than 9mm. Lightweight, skinny rope won't feed through the ascenders very well

2) Ascending two seperate lines that are angled in different directions (going to two separate pieces) would probably be a pain in the ass at best and potentially dangerously unsafe. If the two weighted ropes are more than a foot apart (which they very could be if the leader alternated clips) than things are going to get real weird real quick for the follower.

I'd be very curious to find out if others use such a system when aiding in other places (maybe places with more rockfall?)
aaron hope
From Walnut Creek, CA
Joined Nov 15, 2009
332 points
Apr 12, 2013
Yah thats what I thought. Figured it was more risky than getting the advantages of the twin rope system WadeM
Joined Apr 22, 2010
391 points
Apr 12, 2013
Skinny ropes while aid climbing just seem like a bad idea. Sure they can help with rope drag and may provide some redundancy from cut ropes, but jugging fixed skinny ropes doesn't sound appealing to me. When alpine climbing, doubles are a light combination, and generally protect against more "random" (for lack of a better word) rope damage; ie rock fall, crampons, axes...things I would think are less likely to cut both ropes at the same place at the same time. If jugging fixed doubles, this would not be the case. If the ropes were rubbing then they would probably rub at the same place at the same time. And given that they are skinny, more prone to core shots than a fat rope. If you're aid climbing, it's probably already not "fast and light" so just bring the fat rope.

However, in the context of alpine climbing, this is done. I have used friction hitches around both fixed lines (helps greatly if clipped as twins). I suppose you could also do something like use your ascenders on one rope while tying into the other as a backup (pure theory as I've never tried it), but then you'd be ascending a single stretchy rope. Scary!
From Davis, CA
Joined Dec 3, 2009
354 points
Apr 12, 2013
Also sounds like a recipe for a cluster fuck at belays. erik kapec
From prescott, az
Joined Mar 3, 2010
221 points
Apr 12, 2013
Yeah, you don't want to be jugging skinny half ropes if they are rubbing over edges. We do jug on skinny static ropes underground, but the rope MUST be padded or rebelayed, it simply cannot touch the rock or you will end up dead. It has nearly happened to me caving a couple times, not funny to be jugging a 9mm rope and finding a core shot!

I have occasionally used two ropes to lead aid, but only where there was a penji or lower-out and I wanted pro after instead of backcleaning. This was on two 11mm dynamic wall ropes. It is no problem to clean a pitch this way, and it offers numerous advantages over cleaning a lower-out point off of a single lead rope. You can have a toprope on one side while you take out the lower-out point on the other side. Sometimes this can result in booty. {wink}
"Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Joined Dec 8, 2007
645 points
Apr 12, 2013
One thing I like about doubles is if you're 2nding and being belayed with a guide style device, you can ascend one rope and be belayed one the other. This is nice if you fall and are free hanging, or can't get up a section your rope gun put up.

That being said, I would never choose to aid on a double rope system.
From Granby, CT
Joined Mar 9, 2010
3 points
Apr 12, 2013
It is not unfathomable for an alpine climber using half or twin ropes to encounter a pitch of aid, especially on a new route or dire straits.

In this scenario, the second could ascend the twin ropes using old school methods (using a prussic - not a mechanical ascender); or, they could ascend a single half rope using mechanical ascenders (they probably wouldn't have these with them though) or more likely a prussic, while being belayed on the 2nd half rope.

The main problem with ascending a single half rope is the sketch factor of jugging on a single 7.7-8.5 cord; hence, the backup belay.

my 2c
From Bellingham, WA
Joined Feb 4, 2007
85 points

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