/ talking climbing ropes

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mathorn - on 05 Dec 2012
can anyone give me information on talking climbing ropes which came out around the 1960's/70's I think. This was where rock climbers could talk to each other through a wire in the rope or did I dream that such ropes existed?
Al Evans on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn: They did exist, but never got any popularity, radios were better, so were discontinued I think.
obi-wan nick b - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn: I think they were a bit later than '60s/70s probably early 80s?? I remember seeing them advertised in the mags and saw one in a shop once (expensive) but never saw one in use
Simon Caldwell - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn:
I think they were invented by an ex member of our club. I can enquire if you'd like.
rocky57 - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn:

As I recall they were low stretch, almost static in construction. The main use was in caving (caving rescue), were radio signals don't travel to well. They were usually a bright colour, somthing like orange, as that stood out better in a cave.

Perhaps I just dreamt about it as well.
Iain Peters - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn:
I seem to remember that they featured on Tomorrow's World as an aid to climbing for the blind.
Jim at Work on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn:
I understand that they are being developed by TomTom with full beta: 'go left at the overlap, reach up 2' for a blind crimp, move your left foot higher...' etc.
deanr - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Jim at Work: "like"
pebbles - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Jim at Work:
> (In reply to mathorn)
> I understand that they are being developed by TomTom with full beta....

fantastic, where can I buy one? can they install the software into my chalkbag too, for bouldering?
The Ivanator - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Jim at Work:
It'd be worrying when they started insistently telling you "Make a U turn, make a U turn" Or perhaps they would develop a cruel sense of humour "I told you to extend that runner under the overlap, you're not going anywhere now!" ...if you are climbing on double talking ropes they might even start arguing amongst themselves "Bear left into the groove" "No, go straight up the wall" - in frustration you might just end up untying and soloing!
Michael Hood - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn: I used one on Malbogies in September 1980 - was owned by a guy called Ray Dring (who would be about 80 now if he's still with us) and I think he bought it in that year.

You basically had a battery pack on a lanyard and a microphone/earpiece that velcroed to the inside of your helmet. This plugged into the end of the rope through the middle of which was a tightly coiled cable so that it could "stretch" with the rope in the event of a fall - this was "tested" by Ray.

The rope was orange if I remember correctly and felt pretty much like a normal 11mm.

On Malbogies it was great as you could easily hear each other over the noise of the traffic. Ray had also used it on sea cliffs.
Ian Parsons - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Michael Hood:

Yes; it was made by the German rope company Elite, who I think were based in Fussen. They were taken over a long time ago - best bet/recollection is by Mammut. As you say the rope was a full weight (or to be pedantic, extra full weight) 11mm, or possibly 11.5mm. The Tomorrow's World thing was shot at The Roaches, probably on the easier route just right of The Sloth; I think people from Jo Royle's were involved. As a point of interest one of Ray's sons - Ian Dring, I think - was one of the first Brits, or possibly THE first, to do Pacific Ocean on El Cap (in about 1981).
Michael Hood - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Ian Parsons: Would definitely have been Ian, I think Craig would have been too young in 1981 to go off to Yosemite.
Ian Parsons - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Michael Hood:

From what I recall Ray said he did Mescalito as well, which would have been a pretty big deal back then.
duncan - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> (As a point of interest one of Ray's sons - Ian Dring, I think - was one of the first Brits, or possibly THE first, to do Pacific Ocean on El Cap (in about 1981).

I'm pretty sure 'Crusher' Bartlett pipped Ian... http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q280/crusherbartlett/PObed.jpg

...and some other punter made it up before both of them. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=60799

Ian Parsons - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to duncan:

Ah Duncan; I'd forgotten about you! Did you do both in 1982? I thought that Miss Bradey had done Mescalito around that time, and I thought it was with Mr Monks. Didn't know - or more likely forgotten - that she'd done PO as well. Have further searched my memory. Ray told me what Ian had been up to in the course of a January CC skiing trip; I was thinking it was 1982 and he was referring to the previous year, but it was actually 1983 - so 1982 Yosemite. When did Mr Bartlett do PO? And with whom? (I recall reading some account or extract, but can't remember the details.)
Dawnwall - on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn: I have the very talking rope that was used on Malbogies in my attic - a very heavy orange 11 mm. Ray is sadly no longer with us. Also I'm pretty sure that Duncan was first Brit to climb PO in 81....
OwenM - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn: Ray died only two weeks ago, he was 84. I think Roger and Beryl Turner imported them at one time.
mathorn - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to Dawnwall: many thanks for the info. any chance of obtaining a photograph for my book and for Mountain Heritage Trust Archives please?
mathorn
cumbria
mathorn - on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to mathorn: many thanks for all your input. Quite clearly age has crept up on me and settled in the cranium - me thinking it was the 60's early 70's! anyway, the replies have sorted out my quandry about the biography I am writing as the incident I was trying to trace could not have been with one of these talking ropes - too early as it was a route on Donkey'Ears on Shepherds Crag in Borrowdale that the outside broadcast was carried out on and have just been informed by BBC Radio 4 that they used head phones attached to climbing helmets and dragged the cable up or at least the second climber did and when he got to the crux, the drag was so much he could not get over the crux so discarded the cable ending abruptly the live 'rock climbing' broadcast. Thanks anyway for all your info. Now all I need is a copy of the interrupted broadcast!!!
wivanov - on 25 Dec 2012

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