/ What's generally the distance between bolted Alps abseils?

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jhw - on 16 Apr 2012
Do they generally assume you've got a single 60m rope, or something different? We are looking at AD routes in the East and West Valais FAOD
billy no-mates - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw:

Unfortunately about 40m, though I wouldn't always rely on it!
Al Randall on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw: I always take either twin or half ropes to the alps so that I can take advantage of the longer abseils and get down quicker. 30 metre abseils would take forever. With twin and half ropes you know you can always get back down the way you came if necessary. This may not always be possible with a 60 metre single. The only time I would take a single would be on very easy routes that I know I can walk off or down climb and snow plods.

Al
jhw - on 16 Apr 2012
Thanks, just to make sure - would the appropriate setup then be to move together with one 60m rope, and keep another 60m rope in the bag to be used in reserve for abseils if you have to retreat?

This is for stuff at about AD-level like the Zinal Rothorn, Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Cheilon-Ruinette traverse
billy no-mates - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw:

Depends on confidence. For me, I'd have a half rope on someones back, have coils taken in the other half rope to leave about 15-30m between you (depends on gear,) and move together. If you need to pitch it, then choose whether (based on difficulty you know or think it is,) you need one or both ropes and whether you can do it without chucking coils off. (Faster.)
shantaram - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw: For AD routes like you are planning a 50m single rope is sufficient. I have done the N ridge of the Zinal Rothorn, Hornli on Matterhorn, the south ridge of Dent Blanche and a 50m single was more than enough for all of them. The weight of carrying another rope for abs would cause more of a problem than it would solve for the occasional ab you have to do on each of those routes. On all of those routes there are a few obligatory abseils on descent, but they are all short and there are plenty of anchors to use.

If you are planning on doing long Alpine rock routes, then it's another story and I always use double 60m ropes. That extra 10m of rope gives piece of mind on abseils.
Robert Durran - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw:
> This is for stuff at about AD-level like the Zinal Rothorn, Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Cheilon-Ruinette traverse.

A single 50m or 60m would be standard and adequate on that sort of thing.

Cellinski - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

For the 4000ers quoted above, I would suggest a single 30m or at most 40m. And yes, I've been on all of them, using my old sport climbing rope with cut ends, about 33m long.
alpinist63 - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw: double ropes , even twin ropes are heavy to carry ( if one half stays in the pack all day) and will slow you down...and on that sort of terrain you're not going to do a lot of abseils. also a single 60m will prevent the knott getting jammed in cracks which is going to happen on long abseils down PD/AD ground. a single 9.1 (?) mm Joker is what I'm using, strong enough , light and durable, and not too skinny for belaying, abseiling and prusiks. most brands now have a rope like that .
Robert Durran - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Cellinski:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> For the 4000ers quoted above, I would suggest a single 30m or at most 40m. And yes, I've been on all of them, using my old sport climbing rope with cut ends, about 33m long.

And I'm sure it's not "best practice" but a half rope is lighter.

LakesWinter on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw: I've done a reasonable number of classic AD routes like those you mention and we used a 50m half rope. You could take a 60m half rope but 2 ropes on that sort of AD ground is normally overkill
jon on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw:

As Rob says a single is fine for those routes. On that sort of AD ground you can generally climb down most things. Abseils may make things a bit easier, that's all. Also beware of trying to save time by doing longer abseils than necessary as you're far more likely to get the rope snagged when you pull it.
jhw - on 16 Apr 2012
Great tips - thanks for all the help

I'm sure I'll be posting more questions about this in the near future - the main thing is whether anyone can recommend a guidebook more recent than the Alpine Club ones, for the Saas and Herens valleys including the Dent Blanche - taking into account glacial retreat etc.
Simon4 - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw:

> I'm sure I'll be posting more questions about this in the near future - the main thing is whether anyone can recommend a guidebook more recent than the Alpine Club ones, for the Saas and Herens valleys including the Dent Blanche - taking into account glacial retreat etc.

Martin Moran - the 4000m peaks of the Alps

It does unsurprisingly only provide limited information about non-4000m peaks.

jhw - on 17 Apr 2012
Thanks, that's the thing - many of the objectives we're looking at are good climbs, but just below 4,000
Simon4 - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw: Then the most up-to-date guide will almost certainly be Swiss - how is your German? (At least it should not be written in Switzer-Deutsche!).
adnix - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to jhw)
>
> Also beware of trying to save time by doing longer abseils than necessary as you're far more likely to get the rope snagged when you pull it.

I was about to say the same. If the route has broken terrain a single half rope of 60 meters will be better than two 50m.

Of course, sometimes the anchors are too far apart and you may have to leave some slings but in the long run having stuck ropes is much worse.
graham F - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw: Morning jhw! You can do all those routes with a 40m rope. 30m is enough for the Cheilon-Ruinette, 40 makes the Matterhorn and Dent Blanche easier to descend.
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw:

On the specific subject of distance between abb points on steep rock I've always found that the normal distance is set up for people using 50m double ropes, so just a little less to allow for knots and so one, but very often there are less adequate but usable ones between. The latter cannot be relied on. When a 60m abseil is required this is generally mentioned in the guide book.

There may be local exceptions to this, of course.
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jhw - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw:

Thanks Graham and others - really helpful!

Very much looking forward to coming out again in July, hopefully catch up when I'm there. Currently planning to head straight up to the Bertol hut on our first evening and have a little play on the various ridges around there

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