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Topic - Rope melting rope through friction

John_Hat - on 23 Oct 2013
Hiya. Question for the floor.

There was an incident at the wall tonight where a climber was seconding a route I led which was basically vertical - roof - vertical. Where the rope went thought the roof, the rope was horizontal before heading up a headwall to the lower off.

Another climber was leading an adjacant route which crossed mine at the roof, and decided to move my rope (i.e. the one the second was attached to) and climb through the quickdraws it was attached to and behind the rope itself.

This meant that if that climber fell, their (moving, as they fell) rope would cross, and load with body weight directly across my rope and continue moving until their climber came to a halt.

i.e. loop one rope around another, load it with with body weight, and then accelerate the top rope at 9.8ms2.

My understanding is that this would melt the non-moving rope in short order - perhaps as litte as 3-5m of movement.


and this:

support my view (the first mentioned 3-4m of movement), but I was wondering if anyone had done any tests on climbing rope to see how quickly a rope will melt through if another rope - loaded with body weight - is accelerated at gravity either across it or looped around it (the latter obviously being more critical).

As it happened I shouted at the person seconding (i.e. the person I was belaying) to stop climbing and shouted a lot of things, some of which were printable, at the person about to cross behind my rope to stop them doing so. The potential for disaster was therefore averted.

However it has got me thinking - we avoid nylon to nylon contact as we all know that a moving rope can melt though a static rope it crosses - but has anyone done any tests to determine how much rope-on-rope friction can be withstood by your average climbing rope when the moving rop is either loaded with body weight or unloaded?

Comments welcome. If they concern the behaviour of the other climber then trust me, he got the message ;-) Even his belayer apologised and said she didn't realise what he was doing until I started shouting, but if she had realised she would have stopped him.

I would be really interested in a response from rope manufacturers or simlar who I would imagine have actually done this kind of test.
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