/ Abseil rope - advice please

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kp64zl - on 24 Feb 2014

I would like some advice about abseil rope please.

I am looking for a 100 metre rope for an upcoming trip to the isle of Pabbay.

I understand that the rock there is *very* abrasive, and I read reports of people trashing their ropes on day 1! I will get rope protectors & use them as much as possible.

Does anyone know whether there is any difference between different brands of abseil rope? Particularly in terms of abrasion resistance and general robustness.

Is there a difference between static and semi-static?

thanks.
Post edited at 11:09
CurlyStevo - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to kp64zl:

I thought all static was actually semi static.

One tip is to soak your rope in water and let it dry prior to use as it shrinks and binds the sheath better to the core.
andy_e on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to kp64zl:

Static rope tends to have a higher proportion of sheath to core in it's construction. Repeated loading over an edge should not have such of a damaging effect due to the reducing rope stretch and it's sawing motion.

Even static rope will stretch a little bit with a person on it, but it is more like 1 to 3% of it's length, compared to like 10% for a dynamic rope.
kp64zl - on 24 Feb 2014

Dear andy_e and CurlyStevo,

Thanks for your replies.

Do you know if there is any important difference in construction quality and abrasion resistance between different brands of static/semi-static rope?
Post edited at 11:31
crayefish - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to kp64zl:

I doubt there is a great deal of variation between brands. Though it's worth noting that generally, thicker ropes have a thicker sheath. Though if you get a very chunk rope, then it's really fluffed you might have to ab down on an Italian hitch when you can't get the damn thing in your belay plate :)
andy_e on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to kp64zl:

Nylon and Polyester ropes have a slighty better abrasion resistance than polypropylene. Although polypropylene is typically found in rope sheaths that are designed to float on water, and is not common in typical ropes.

Like previously mentioned, look for a 11 or maybe 12mm rope if you want the most abrasion resistance. Perhaps a search of some caving forums would be of more help as static rope is more commonly used.

Another thing to think about is how the abseil rope is rigged. Is it possible to redirect / rebelay it past a sharp edge, can the abseil be rigged from a high branch of a large tree to allow it to bypass the edge of the crag completely? If neither is possible then a rope protector could be used, I find that a slit cut along the length of suitable diameter hose pipe makes a good rope protector that can be passed on abseil with relative ease, a bit of thin cord to act as a prussic to hold it in place, and some duct tape to help hold it closed can work work well. Or a carpet square / car mat can help pad out edges.
CurlyStevo - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to kp64zl:
There is a difference in durability of static rope (or more correctly semi static rope). Beal for example make a cheaper one (contract) and a more robust more expensive version (antipodes). One of the reasons the antipodes is more durable is down to the higher sheath percentage over the contract - so worth comparing this figure between ropes IMO.

I wouldn't get an ab rope thicker than 10.5 mm myself (and certainly no thicker than 11mm if you can buy it) as you may find problems with some peoples belay devices.
Post edited at 12:17
CurlyStevo - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to andy_e:
> Static rope tends to have a higher proportion of sheath to core in it's construction. Repeated loading over an edge should not have such of a damaging effect due to the reducing rope stretch and it's sawing motion.

> Even static rope will stretch a little bit with a person on it, but it is more like 1 to 3% of it's length, compared to like 10% for a dynamic rope.

The OP was comparing semi static and static NOT static and dynamic. As pointed out in general the static rope we use for abseil purposes in climbing is actually semi static.
Post edited at 12:12
kp64zl - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to andy_e:

No trees on Pabbay!
CurlyStevo - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to kp64zl:

another factor (other than sheath percentage) that affects durability in ropes is how tight the sheath is woven on to the core. The tighter the more durable, however this will make the rope less nice to handle.
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kp64zl - on 24 Feb 2014
andy_e, I took your advice and posted the question on a caving forum -- & got some some very interesting replies.

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=16274.0

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