/ First trad rope

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daftdazza - on 04 May 2013
Hi,

I am starting out trad climbing, slowly building up my first rack. I am now looking at my first rope. Can't decide on a single or double? What length? And should it be dry treated?

I live in the Glasgow area and will be hitting local west coast crags over the next few months, any idea which type of rope will best suit me?
FrJ on 04 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza:
I started with 50m of Galaxy (10mm). (Single, dry treated). Has served me well for mountaineering and climbing up to HS. Even if I had doubles there are enough occasions (leading indoors, moving together on alpine type territory) where I would want a Single that I would want one as part of my kit.
Might be useful to others to know whether you might also do some winter mountaineering or climbing, sport climbing or indoor leading. For example, if intending to do lots of VS+ trad then might be worth doubles.
hun - on 04 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza: for trad I'd recommend a pair of half ropes (8.5-9mm diameter as 8 is a little too thin and stretchy) normal length 50m.

If you're looking to do sport as well, you could get a modern thin single rope around 80m and double it up. (Tie onto both ends and your second ties to the middle) this way you can use it as a single rope when needed.

Just been to Decathlon, they do a Simond 9.5 single rope (80m) for 129 that could be an idea to get started...
needvert on 04 May 2013
I just got a pair of Mammut 60m 8.3mm meteors.

Would have went dry treated but they were in stock and on sale.

Though I'm used to a 10.5mm rope, trying into two 8.3mm strands felt like overkill. I'd have rather gone with the thinner 8mm phoenix.

That said, to me ropes are disposable, and I don't intend on keeping them for a long time.
Jamie B - on 04 May 2013
In reply to hun:

> If you're looking to do sport as well, you could get a modern thin single rope around 80m and double it up.

"Skinny" singles don't take the wear-and-tear of sport climbing all that well...

On easy outcrop routes a single will usually be fine, half-ropes only really become advantageous when you're placing more gear and meandering around. But if you want to get onto mountain crags you really need halfs.
sarahjk - on 05 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza: I just got a pair of 50m Edlrids from Cotswold for 127. With BMC discount. My friend got same pair last year and they have stood up well. Highly recommend them
stoneback - on 05 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza: I started wwith a single but as soon as I got halfs the single has stayed at home. Sooner or later you'll wish you had halves so I would say go straight for halves.
Jamie B - on 05 May 2013
In reply to stoneback:

> I started with a single but as soon as I got halfs the single has stayed at home. Sooner or later you'll wish you had halves

Same with me when I started out, although I often wished I had shorter halves for outcrop use. But the single did remain useful, for sport, indoor, easy mountaineering, sea-cliff abs. And lasted much longer than the halves!
GridNorth - on 05 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza: 50 metre half ropes are the best and most cost effective option for trad climbing in the UK and also good enough for many places abroad. You only need dry treatment if you intend to ice climb with them or climb in the rain. I have never come across a a route in the UK that could not be done easily on 50 metres. There may be one or two abseils around where 60 metres would be useful but not enough in my opinion to warrant the additional cost, weight and faff. It's usual for a pair of climbers to provide a rope each.
JLS on 05 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza:

2x 50m Mammut Genius 8.5 super dry is what you need.

Cheaper compromises are available but at some point you'll wish you'd splashed the cash.
tlm - on 13 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza:

You might find this helpful?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=376

Doubles are generally more versatile if you can afford them - do you have a regular climbing partner? Could you get a half rope each?
Pero - on 14 May 2013
In reply to hun: I've never been too keen on using a single rope like this, as both "ropes" are the same colour and it makes ropework more difficult. Especially for multi-pitch, I'd rather have a normal single rope or a pair of half ropes than a single 80m rope.
mikebarter387 - on 14 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza:

here is a video about what you are asking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_cZHbuLcoY

and here is another

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNfd5zzsalM
Jonny2vests - on 16 May 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to stoneback)
>
> [...]
>
> Same with me when I started out, although I often wished I had shorter halves for outcrop use. But the single did remain useful, for sport, indoor, easy mountaineering, sea-cliff abs. And lasted much longer than the halves!

If you have 60m halves, then you can do most routes on grit with one folded in half.
Jamie B - on 16 May 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

> If you have 60m halves, then you can do most routes on grit with one folded in half.

Indeed, and a "skinny" single is perfect for this. Even better though is a pair of 30/35m halfs - I cut down an old pair and they are ideal for outcrops.

I think the "holy trinity" of ropes, which every all-rounder should own is:

1 x skinny half. Your mate brings the other one.
1 x skinny single. Use it as a single or a half, if your mate hasn't got one.
1 x chunky single. Wall, sport, sea-cliff abseils.

Lengths of these is however a further discussion!
More-On - on 16 May 2013
In reply to Jamie B: As I have only ever used 8.5 halves, how skinny is skinny with regard to the half? I'm asking with regard to multi-pitch rock routes. And go on - how long...?
jkarran - on 16 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza:

If all you plan to do is uk trad then a cheap, no dry 60m half rope would be a good bet. It can be folded in half and used alone or paired with a partner's.

If you think you might use it in winter, get a dry one.

If you think you might do some sport get a thin full rope instead (fold it and use it as halves when you think it'll help). 60m is generally ok in England and popular holiday destinations (never done any Scotish sport), 50m is a bit short on holiday, 70+ while handy gets nasty heavy for anything but short walk-in sport. Same deal with using it in winter, get dry.

If all you really plan to do is potter around the local quarries and climbing walls then ~30m of 10mm is cheap and generally good enough for occasional forays into the hills with a bit of thought/care. The upside is it's disposably cheap so not too upsetting when you or your mate accidentally rubs through it with bad rigging early in your career (most of us I suspect have been there at some point).

jk
iccy - on 16 May 2013
In reply to jkarran:

I started with a 60m 10.5mm single. After a year or so I bought a pair of 8mm half ropes (also 60m). The half ropes have seen very little action, while the single gets used most weeks.

I only use the half ropes when I'm climbing meandering multipitch routes. Were I to start again I'd definitely go with the single first (indoor and cragging stuff) and later (very low on the priority list) I'd look at a pair of 8.5mm 50m ropes.
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza: Using a shorter rope doubled is not particularly convenient. How do you differentiate when you want slack on one and tight on another. In 50 years of climbing I've tried every rope system known to man and remain convinced that the most useful, versatile and adaptable system is the half rope one used in the UK. Yes a pain in the butt on a 10 metre grit climb but that's not really a "route" is it. :-)
jkarran - on 16 May 2013
In reply to iccy:

> I started with a 60m 10.5mm single. After a year or so I bought a pair of 8mm half ropes (also 60m). The half ropes have seen very little action, while the single gets used most weeks.

Me too but that reflects what I climb and which ropes live in the car/cupboard as much as which are most versatile.

> I only use the half ropes when I'm climbing meandering multipitch routes. Were I to start again I'd definitely go with the single first (indoor and cragging stuff) and later (very low on the priority list) I'd look at a pair of 8.5mm 50m ropes.

The reality is you use what you like and have. I have a full set of ropes, long and short singles and halves. Mostly I use a disposable 30m 10mm job because it's cheap to replace and light weight. The others have their uses and they all have their limitations.

jk
jkarran - on 16 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

> Using a shorter rope doubled is not particularly convenient. How do you differentiate when you want slack on one and tight on another.

"Slack right, tight left"

If it goes wrong:

"The other right!!"

It works perfectly while you can communicate, after that you're belaying by feel mostly anyway. Anyway, it works for me.
jk
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to GridNorth)
>
> [...]
>
> "Slack right, tight left"
>
It's not always obvious which is right and left.
>
> "The other right!!"
>
By then it may be too late. :-)
iccy - on 16 May 2013
In reply to jkarran:

Totally agree, but for a first rope I think a single is the only choice for the versatility it gives you. You can use a single for everything, even if it isnt the optimial solution. There are quite a lot of things you cant use half ropes for.
Jonny2vests - on 16 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to daftdazza) In 50 years of climbing I've tried every rope system known to man and remain convinced that the most useful, versatile and adaptable system is the half rope one used in the UK. Yes a pain in the butt on a 10 metre grit climb but that's not really a "route" is it. :-)

So for short stuff, you faff with 100m of rope every time? Nah, you're doing it wrong :-) The fact that the routes are so short means you're belayer can easily tell you if you're about to cross clip, but in practice, it rarely seems to happen anyway. Dual stitch ropes help. And that's why a halved 60 is better, you'd run out on a lot of grit with a 50. And you effectively half the wear and tear, because you can alternate.
tlm - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

> I think the "holy trinity" of ropes, which every all-rounder should own is:
>
> 1 x skinny half. Your mate brings the other one.
> 1 x skinny single. Use it as a single or a half, if your mate hasn't got one.
> 1 x chunky single. Wall, sport, sea-cliff abseils.

I disagree. I would say:

2 x 50m halves. Most UK trad
1 x 60m single. Continental sports. Your old one can be retired to wall climbing and abbing...
tlm - on 17 May 2013
In reply to iccy:
> There are quite a lot of things you cant use half ropes for.

Like what???!!!

GridNorth - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: No I have ropes to suit every situation including 30 metre half ropes but that is nothing to do with what I was saying. I was just offering an opinion that the half rope system is the most versatile.
iccy - on 17 May 2013
In reply to tlm:

Indoor and sport. I only really use my halves on multipitch routes - for most cragging stuff I use a single.
GridNorth - on 17 May 2013
In reply to iccy: There are quite a few grit routes where a pair of half ropes are useful. One problem with single ropes and the necessity to sometimes extend runners is that in some cases you could end up a little too near the ground for comfort if you fell.
tlm - on 17 May 2013
In reply to iccy:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> Indoor and sport. I only really use my halves on multipitch routes - for most cragging stuff I use a single.

You can use half ropes for both indoor and sport. It just wouldn't be most people's choice. What on earth makes you think that you couldn't?

ads.ukclimbing.com
Baron Weasel - on 17 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza: If I could only have one rope for trad cragging I would get this: http://www.bananafingers.co.uk/beal-joker-unicore-91mm-50m-p-464.html

BW
iccy - on 17 May 2013
In reply to tlm:

Nothing, it would just be really inconvenient.
The Ex-Engineer - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> 1 x skinny half. Your mate brings the other one.
> 1 x skinny single. Use it as a single or a half, if your mate hasn't got one.
> 1 x chunky single. Wall, sport, sea-cliff abseils.
>
> Lengths of these is however a further discussion!

Assuming your 'chunky single' was 30m-35m of 9.7mm-10mm I'd have to pretty much agree with you.

I am a massive fan of 'short' singles. First they are CHEAP. Second, on loads of UK crags and routes, especially when not pushing your limits, they are just so much quicker and easier to climb with than doubles or a long single.
Jonny2vests - on 17 May 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Jamie B)
>
> [...]
>
> I disagree. I would say:
>
> 2 x 50m halves. Most UK trad

But you can do so much more with that extra 10m on your halves (especially in the Peak), and significantly extend their life. It's a no brainer.
Jonny2vests - on 17 May 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
> (In reply to Jamie B)
> [...]
>
> Assuming your 'chunky single' was 30m-35m of 9.7mm-10mm I'd have to pretty much agree with you.
>
> I am a massive fan of 'short' singles. First they are CHEAP. Second, on loads of UK crags and routes, especially when not pushing your limits, they are just so much quicker and easier to climb with than doubles or a long single.

Yes, but we're straying into specialisation here, the guy is starting out and I assume he wants a general, cost effective solution that doesn't involve buying 5 different ropes.
The Ex-Engineer - on 18 May 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> Yes, but we're straying into specialisation here, the guy is starting out and I assume he wants a general, cost effective solution that doesn't involve buying 5 different ropes.

The point, which I have made repeatedly over the years, is that I feel that over the longer term a 'short single' is an essential part of any "cost effective solution" for a UK climber undertaking a normal variety of climbing.

As such, I think it is often perfectly sensible to suggest a 30-35m single as a 'first trad rope'. For UK climbers who will initially climb predominantly at traditional UK single pitch venues like the Peak, Yorkshire, Northumberland etc. as opposed to mountain crag or sea cliff venues it makes far more sense than other options.
duncanandthemachine - on 18 May 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: Agreed!
tlm - on 19 May 2013
In reply to iccy:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> Nothing, it would just be really inconvenient.

Being inconvenient isn't the same as not actually being able to use them. You try using a single rope to ab down a 50 metre pitch and see how inconvenient that is!

Jonny2vests - on 21 May 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> [...]
>
> The point, which I have made repeatedly over the years, is that I feel that over the longer term a 'short single' is an essential part of any "cost effective solution" for a UK climber undertaking a normal variety of climbing.
>
> As such, I think it is often perfectly sensible to suggest a 30-35m single as a 'first trad rope'. For UK climbers who will initially climb predominantly at traditional UK single pitch venues like the Peak, Yorkshire, Northumberland etc. as opposed to mountain crag or sea cliff venues it makes far more sense than other options.

Completely disagree. When I was starting out, I had very little interest in the Peak etc, I wanted big easy stuff. So I guess it depends what the OP is up for.
deacondeacon - on 21 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza:
Eventually, if you stick with climbing you're going to end up with a load of ropes, but which one you get first is down to you.

If you're predominantly lead climbing indoors with a little bit of single pitch cragging get a 60m single. You can fold it to use as halfs if the need arises and I found the thicker rope reassuring as a beginner.

If you're only going to be using it outdoors, get a pair of 60m halfs, use them together when multi pitching or just use one folded when cragging.

If you're climbing mostly on sport routes get an 80m skinny single.you don't want to find yourself having to buy a new rope just because you've decided to do some routes in Europe.

Can't remember who mentioned using halfs indoors but its not a great idea. Nothing inherantly wrong with it but I wouldn't be surprised if you we're told you weren't allowed.
needvert on 21 May 2013
In reply to deacondeacon:

Interesting about the halves indoor. Quite a few halfs are rated as twins so perhaps if half rope technique was disallowed twin would be allowed.
tlm - on 21 May 2013
In reply to deacondeacon:

> Can't remember who mentioned using halfs indoors but its not a great idea. Nothing inherantly wrong with it but I wouldn't be surprised if you we're told you weren't allowed.

Why isn't it a good idea? Where doesn't allow it?

You're just making this stuff up, aren't you?

tlm - on 21 May 2013
In reply to daftdazza:

Overall, I think that peak centric climbers, indoor climbers and sports climbers tend to go with the idea of a single rope as a first rope.

Adventurous, multipitch, multivenue, seacliff, abseiling in type climbers tend to go more with the idea of two half ropes.
deacondeacon - on 21 May 2013
In reply to needvert: I'd be perfectly happy to use halves or twins indoors, although it would be a little annoying. Problem is it's quite likely that the wall staff wouldn't like it.
tlm - on 21 May 2013
In reply to deacondeacon:
> Problem is it's quite likely that the wall staff wouldn't like it.

I've never heard of staff anywhere not liking it, but then that might be because so few people would do it.

Ramblin dave - on 21 May 2013
In reply to tlm:
Easy-mountain-trad-as-an-extension-of-hillwalking types probably go for singles first as well, I think. On that sort of stuff you're normally looking at pitches where you can belay more or less anywhere and don't need to put loads of gear in anyway, and halves feel like technical overkill.

That's mostly what I do when I'm not indoors or peak-centric, so I got a single to start with.

And given the choice I'd go for a 60m single and 50m halves.
RomTheBear - on 05 Jun 2013
In reply to daftdazza: My first trad rope was a Beal Edlinger, which has a very low impact force, thick enough to take quite a lof of abuse, and also is dead cheap for such a good quality great handling rope, would defo recommend it.
tommypops - on 10 Jun 2013
Stuid question maybe but kinda noob on the trad front; is it not ok to use a single 10mm 60m for multi pitch? I'm aware it creates extra rope drag but its less fiddly and so long as you're handy with your placements its less cluttered, no?
Pero - on 10 Jun 2013
In reply to tommypops: It's like Ramblin Dave says above - some easier climbs are more direct and can be done on a single. But, a lot of MP climbs have significant traverses within a pitch. E.g. the first pitch on Great Slab at Cloggy goes up 10 metres, then 5m across and down, then up 20m. With a single, you'd have to split this pitch.
tommypops - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to daftdazza: Shows my bouldering and sport climbing roots, if I'm going up, I'm going straight up! Still got a lot to learn! :)
jkarran - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to tommypops:

> Stuid question maybe but kinda noob on the trad front; is it not ok to use a single 10mm 60m for multi pitch? I'm aware it creates extra rope drag but its less fiddly and so long as you're handy with your placements its less cluttered, no?

Not a stupid question at all. Generally it's fine though some routes require a bit more thought when placing and extending gear especially if you like long pitches. Personally I hate long pitches so I'd tend to fold it and use both ends giving the best of both worlds, a sturdy simple rope, and easier clipping.

One thing worth mentioning is keeping one eye on your retreat to make sure you can do it in <30m sections. 30m is plenty but having an efficient plan comes in handy when caught out by the rain.

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