/ Half Ropes

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chrisholl24 on 29 Nov 2012
Can anyone explain (in words of less than 2 syllables for an "idyut"):

1. the pros & cons of half rope vs single rope? When can /can't use etc...
2. when/if OK to use on scottish II & III in winter? Any issues/ limitations to be beware of?

Thanks
RichardP - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to chrisholl24:

> 1. the pros & cons of half rope vs single rope? When can /can't use etc...

ok here goes,
advantages of two half ropes over one full rope:
*)If thw route includes a traverse the leader can be protected better and more easially with two half ropes.
*)rope drag can be reduce with two half ropes (all the gear is not clipped on one rope)
*) if you need to retreat from a route, you can do less abseils and so retreat faster using half ropes.
*)If two people are building a rack between two people it is less hassel and easier if each person buys one half rope each as most climber have half ropes (I have a half and a full rope)
*)two half ropes can be carried by two people so 1 person doesn't have to carry all the weight

Advantages of one full rope over two half ropes:
*)On shorter route (single pitch) which don't include a travrese it's easier and less hassel to use one full rope.
*)over all weight one full rope is lighter than two half ropes (especially if they get wet)
*)Pro rata one full rope is cheaper than one full rope

> 2. when/if OK to use on scottish II & III in winter? Any issues/ limitations to be beware of?

regarding scotish II/III routes I think it's subjective depending on each route.
for winter there is an issue with ropes freezing paying the extra and buy dry ropes would be a good idea.
Personally I have a 50 meter 8.5mm dry half rope (dry treated) and I have a 60 meter 10.5dry full rope.

I'm sure I've missed things here and someone will point out any errors I have made.

Richard
deanr - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to chrisholl24:

this link might be useful:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2737
Jonny2vests - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Richard Phelan:

Good summary. One rope, if you know where you're going and need speed, is less faff. Halfs are better for unknown territory as you have more options.
tlm - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Richard Phelan)
>
> Good summary. One rope, if you know where you're going and need speed, is less faff

unless the gear is spread all over the place, the route is wandering, you are climbing as a 3 or you need to do a 50 metre ab.

> Halfs are better for unknown territory as you have more options.

Unless the unknown territory is short, straight and bolted.

Jonny2vests - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm:

Well yes, obviously there are lots of trade offs, Richard already made those points. I was trying to make the point that if speed is really important, and you know the territory, then wandering around for gear tends to be less of an issue as you place less and extend more. And the context was Scottish winter.
The Ex-Engineer - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to chrisholl24: I generally do not use half ropes on grade II & III terrain as it is never steep and sustained enough to fully warrant it, they are heavier, more faff and will ultimately slow you down.

I'd also recommend others don't either, but I completely understand that for those who have less confidence and Winter experience, they may feel happier using half ropes as it gives them the perception of having a larger margin of safety if they find the climbing harder than expected or if retreat is needed.
lithos on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to jonny2vests)
> [...]
>
> unless the gear is spread all over the place, the route is wandering, you are climbing as a 3 or you need to do a 50 metre ab.
>

yep like what he said


> [...]
>
> Unless the unknown territory is short, straight and bolted.

not very unknown then is it !

needvert on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Richard Phelan:
...
> *)If thw route includes a traverse the leader can be protected better and more easially with two half ropes.
...

Hmm, why is that?
Jonny2vests - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to needvert:

If you know in advance that the next stance is above an initial traverse, the leader can lead on one of the halfs, leaving the other unclipped. For the second, this can feel like they're doing the traverse on a top rope, they have a rope following the traverse and the other going upward. The best example of this being useful I can think of is Valkyrie (Roaches).
needvert on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to jonny2vests:

That is a good idea.
Jonny2vests - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to needvert:

I thought that when I invented it. Ahem.
chrisholl24 on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to chrisholl24:

Thanks for all the advice. Another stupid qn - are half ropes generally weaker than full ropes - and thus cant use single half ropes? Thanks
Bruce Hooker - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to chrisholl24:
> (In reply to chrisholl24)
>
> Thanks for all the advice. Another stupid qn - are half ropes generally weaker than full ropes - and thus cant use single half ropes? Thanks

Yes, although a lot of people use just one rope "half rope" on easy ground.
The Ex-Engineer - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to chrisholl24:
> are half ropes generally weaker than full ropes - and thus cant use single half ropes?

It is greatly simplifying things but 10mm single ropes are about THREE times more resilient than 8.5mm half-ropes when it comes to holding the biggest falls. There is a much, much bigger impact than the 1.5mm difference in diameters might initially suggest.

On one level, it is a bit of a moot point as ropes never actually break, they tend to only fail due to being loaded over sharp edges or due to rockfall. However on another level the extra safety margins directly translate into greatly increased durability when the ropes are exposed to repeated smaller falls such as when sport climbing or climbing indoors. That matters in that old ropes are less able to absorb energy and are more likely to result in runners ripping out with potentially catastrophic consequences.

So, on easier terrain where there is a low risk of rock fall, few sharp edge and you are unlikely to fall in the first place, using a half rope as a single may pose little risk.

Conversely, if you take even small falls regularly on a half-rope you will end up with a trashed (and potentially dangerous) rope far, far more rapidly than compared with using a single.

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