/ Single vs twin ropes
Thanks for the help.
By twin ropes you probably mean half/double ropes, as there is a difference. There is a short explanation of different rope types here
You could use you single as a double, but for short routes it may be more effort than its worth, especially if your climbing in the easier grades where there is plenty of good gear.
If the route looks like rope drag will be a problem due to runners being spaced either side of the climb then give it a go. The best way to tie in is to use a bowline on the bight at the mid point of the rope. This is safer than using a crab to clip in. If you have to use a crab, make sure it's the second who uses it, not the leader, but as I said, its better to tie in.
Less drag on wandering pitches.
Ability to make full length abseils.
Redundancy if one rope got severed.
Can increase impact force on gear.
More expensive (generally).
Much easier to use.
More resistant to running over edges.
Can have less impact force on gear.
Rope drag on wandering routes.
Heavier for one person to carry (you can take a double each to spread weight).
Can only abseil half rope lengths (or use a retrieval cord-faff IMHO).
If you run out of rope half way up a route, you can't get creative and get a vital few extra meters out of the system (not recommended or a regular problem).
Oh and yes it is safe to double up a single, but if you extend your gear, it's not all that necessary. We Brits have an abnormal fetish with doubles, personally I prefer a single, much less faff.
I'm a bit curious as to how doubles can increase impact forces on gear? I was under the impression that they stretch more during a fall so dissipate more energy. Is the difference in impact force figures purely down to the different tests for single and double ropes?
Sorry for going a bit off topic here.
Yeah I know, I really have no idea how that can possibly be. Just remember seeing it on Will Gadd's blog once (I'm guessing he knows what he's on about!), saying how he's gone back to using singles for ice, in part because of this reason.
I'll see if I can find the reference.
Or hopefully someone like Jim Titt will be along to let us know if I'm talking out my arse or not (a real possibility!).
Thanks for the link, makes for interesting reading.
Probably the two biggest advantages of double ropes are 1) less rope drag if used correctly and 2) more options re abseil retreat etc.
I've always found the impact force arguments a bit strange for reasons I can't be bothered with right now. But would still opt for double ropes 9/10.
But overall, I wouldn't let only having a single put you off from going climbing on loads of UK single pitch crags. In many parts of the world that's what everyone does. Where I live in Finland, except ice climbing in winter (and it's not even that common there) I can't remember the last time I saw people using double ropes - and our crags are similar to size to many UK single pitch crags. Do note though when you look at Americans climbing on singles, they often have a load of of 60 cms slings over their shoulders - there's a reason for that! Long pitches so plenty of need to extend runners.
The others are right about the impact forces as well - because the UIAA test is different for singles and doubles it's very hard to compare the two; but it does seem (see the Gadd link) that there probably isn't so much difference in impact force between the two classes. Modern ropes are just really good!
Take care and have fun which ever system you use.
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