/ 40m doubles..?

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Jamie Wakeham 05 Jun 2019

My trusty Beal Icelines are coming to the end of their life, and I'm trying to decide what to replace them with.  Apologies for a long and rambling post!

I've used, for the last few years, a 35m single for shorter grit routes, and have really enjoyed the fact that it's 30% shorter than the 50m single that would otherwise have been my default - I really value the fact that it's lighter, faster to take in, easier to coil.  So I've started to think - do I really need 50m long doubles?

I certainly want doubles for mountain routes.  But I'm looking back over the last few years and I'm really struggling to think of a time when I actually needed the last ten metres.  I've climbed a lot of 25m and 30m pitches, and a few 35m pitches, but I genuinely struggle to think of a 40+m pitch. 

What these ropes will get used for is almost exclusively sub-VS routes with (often) two seconds in North Wales/Lakes/Cornwall/Pembroke.  I've just been flicking through guidebooks; I see there are 50m pitches listed on Grooved Arete, for example, but I don't remember running an entire rope length out on that route... did I use intermediate stances, I wonder?

So, question 1: am I completely mad for thinking of getting 40m doubles?  It's worth mentioning that I will always have the option of borrowing 50m or 60m ropes when I know I'll need them.

Question 2: is there a good way to achieve this without buying 50m ropes and cutting them down?  Annoyingly I can't find anyone selling 80m versions of the ropes I'm thinking of, so cutting one in half isn't an option.  I could get something like Mammut Phoenix in 70m and cut it but I think 35m is really too short.  Or I could get an 80m Joker to make two 40m lengths, but that's a bit heavier than I'd really want to go. 

And question 3 (which is actually quite a separate discussion): if my priorities are, in order, lightweight, non-tangly and supple, tough, not too fussed about cost, am I right in thining that Mammut Phoenix, Beal Iceline, or Petzl Rumba are probably my best bets?

DubyaJamesDubya 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Reasons to stick with 50s: Darius, Colossus. Routes at Pembroke short but stakes often set a long way back. Running pitches together.  See other recent thread which seemed to favour a pair of 60s in the end...

Post edited at 12:57
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I don't know of any firm that makes 40m or 80m half ropes. You could get an 80m Mammut Serenity 8.7mm and chop it, but both ropes would be the same colour. But Mammut Phoenix Classics are very good value at just over £70 each for 50m - I'd go for those and chop them if you must.

acrkirby 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

My shout would be to go for the halfed Joker, or Opera which is slightly lighter i believe.

I came to this pretty accidentally when i got a horrible tear almost exactly in the middle of my 60m joker in Morocco and decided the two 30m's i now had were useless. 

About a month ago i went bouldering but took the 30m rope and some gear with, just in case. It was awesome, for most grit there's no reason to have more than 30, the time saved hauling rope through is unbeatable, i've not used my 50m alves since though will when i go to the lakes. You dont notice the extra weight of the jokers because your carrying 20m less of rope so yeah I'd vote for the Joker.

charlie.wilkinson 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Stephen Reid - Needle Sports:

Edelrid Apus half ropes are available in 40m lengths

https://www.edelrid.de/en/sports/dynamic-ropes/apus-pro-dry-7-9mm.html

Jamie Wakeham 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Thanks, all!

Yes, my main fear is about having enough to get to far-off belays.  On sea cliffs, if I know I might come up short, I can always pre-place a 10m static rope... that's not so helpful on a mountain route where I'm at the end of my ropes and I can see the stance 5m away!

Stephen, the colour issue is one that had bothered me.  I'd wondered if I might find someone else daft enough to think this is a good idea and go halves (har har) on two 80m in different colours... While I agree that 50m Phoenix Classic are ridiculously good value I'd probably want at least their Protect finish (probably not bothered about the highest Dry finish), but that's still sensibly priced.

Ah - the Beal Opera is a good suggestion - I'd not spotted it came in 80m.  And 40m of 48g/m is less than 50m of 42g/m.  Hmm...

d888veh 05 Jun 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Re: Darius.

I reclimbed Darius this year with a 50 and a 60! Turned into an eventful belay!

From the ground the  50 did not reach the top of the crag! The 60 didn't reach the trees!

There are good nuts available but unfortunately when you have used up all your gear in the route they are just a reminder to take more gear or leave an extension rope at the top of High Tor.

Generally though, apart from gritstone, and short sports routes I would always opt for longer ropes. Plus cut down larger diameter ropes work perfectly on grit where drag is not normally an issue.

DubyaJamesDubya 05 Jun 2019
In reply to acrkirby:

> My shout would be to go for the halfed Joker, or Opera which is slightly lighter i believe.

> I came to this pretty accidentally when i got a horrible tear almost exactly in the middle of my 60m joker in Morocco and decided the two 30m's i now had were useless. 

> About a month ago i went bouldering but took the 30m rope and some gear with, just in case. It was awesome, for most grit there's no reason to have more than 30, the time saved hauling rope through is unbeatable, i've not used my 50m alves since though will when i go to the lakes. You dont notice the extra weight of the jokers because your carrying 20m less of rope so yeah I'd vote for the Joker.

Great for grit but you still want a pair of 50s (60s?) as well

DubyaJamesDubya 05 Jun 2019
In reply to d888veh:

> Re: Darius.

> I reclimbed Darius this year with a 50 and a 60! Turned into an eventful belay!

> From the ground the  50 did not reach the top of the crag! The 60 didn't reach the trees!

> There are good nuts available but unfortunately when you have used up all your gear in the route they are just a reminder to take more gear or leave an extension rope at the top of High Tor.

> Generally though, apart from gritstone, and short sports routes I would always opt for longer ropes. Plus cut down larger diameter ropes work perfectly on grit where drag is not normally an issue.

That does sound exciting. I guess you could get your second to climb up the 4c bit at the start and move together (if you trust them not to fall off that bit)

Mark Stevenson 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

No, No and possibly No...

1) - You're not mad, it's a great idea. I've currently got one 40m Mammut 8.7mm Serenity and I'm absolutely kicking myself for not buying a second one when there was one going cheap. A pair of 40m ropes, especially really skinny singles (ideal if ever climbing as a three), would be absolutely ace for general UK cragging

2) - Unfortunately no really cheap way to do it, at least that I've found. The Serenity's are AMAZING ropes and available as 40s but they do cost £££. I've seen some good prices currently on 80m versions if you don't mind two ropes the same colour - although I'd hate that!

3) - I'm not sure if anything exists that ticks all your requirements. The Mammut Phoenix are probably everything except supple - which they are the exact opposite of. Ice Lines tangle and IMO they stretch a bit too much for rock use anyway. Haven't used the Petzl ones though...

acrkirby 05 Jun 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Yes, I'll give you that anywhere outside grit its not too useful. But if you only climb on grit or spend the majority of your time on it and can borrow longer ropes for bigger objectives its probably worth it.

Depends on where you climb/having enough money for two sets of ropes i guess

lithos 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I've got and used a pair of  8.3 x 30m for ages, they are brilliant for cragging.  I might think of something a bit heavier for multipitch. I often use a 40m single for classic easy routes in the mountains - 95% of time its fine - occasionally little short if running pitches  together. When i started ropes were 45m (i guess 150ft).

2 or 3 pairs of friends have split pairs of 60s, so you maybe able find someone to split some 80s if you can find the right rope.

cdpej 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

no you arent mad.  in the old days the standard ropes were 150ft werent they? (45 metres). 

Jamie Wakeham 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Hmm.  This is difficult.  I think I am pretty well persuaded I want a pair of 40m now - if I ever fancy doing a 50m E3 on the slate (!) I'll make sure I bring a different rope.

To go for an 80m triple-rated rope and cut it, it would rather look like the Beal Opera 8.5mm is my best bet.  It can be had for £180, and at 48g/m a pair of 40m would be 3.8kg.  It's fully dry treated.  But the colour thing would drive me mad so I would need to find someone else who wanted the same, and buy a pair to split.

Or I could get a pair of 50m and trim them.  I think my four favourite options (which are all between £170 and £200) are:

  • Beal Iceline 8.1 (lightest at 3.1kg, golden dry, a bit tangle prone and stretchy, not terribly hard wearing, but unicore)
  • Edelrid Apus 7.9 (these would be actual 40m, again a full dry treatment, questionable longevity?)
  • Mammut Phoenix 8.0 (only a sheath treatment, not fully dry, probably the toughest of the four, not that supple)
  • Petzl Rumba 8.0 (heaviest at 3.5kg, cheapest, apparently great handling once the dry treatment has worn off)

I did think about heavier half ropes, eg Genesis and Cobra - but it'd be cheaper and lighter to get the Opera.

Choices, choices...

Post edited at 18:55
Paul16 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I have a pair of Opera's and even at 50m they are no hassle due to their handling characteristics and weight. As they are triple rated I can use one for most grit routes. I don't have access to another pair of 50's though so would rather have the extra available.

Not sure that answers your questions!

Mark Eddy 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I have a pair of Mammut 40's and so wish I'd bought a few pairs when I had the chance and they were going cheap. They are the perfect length for loads of routes. Light, quicker to coil/uncoil, more efficient.

Have used them extensively in the Lakes, N. Wales, and a few trips to Cornwall. Can't remember ever having an issue with running out of rope.

Does limit your abseil options though

Jamie Wakeham 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Paul16:

Paul, how is the Opera shaping up for toughness, especially given you're using one on the grit?

AndyRoss 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I'm after a 40m triple rated rope, but needs to be full dry treatment, and I think the Opera is probably a bit too lightweight for my needs (Alps). Probably worth noting that (as I understand it) triple rated ropes have a thinner sheath than the same size double, because they need more core to meet all the ratings - this means they are in general prone to wearing quicker. But if you're taking two seconds then arguably it's better for them to be on singles.

AndyRoss 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Oh, and another solution to the colour problem is to buy a rope that changes pattern/colour in the middle, e.g. the Edelrid Swift Pro Dry ColorTec.

lithos 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

gooutdoors are advertising (ie they may not have them where you are) some stupidly cheap deals on beal and edelrid

beal 8.9mm single 61g  40m 40 quid

edelrid 8.3 half rope dry  47g 50m 55 quid, 2 colours

jayjackson 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

One thing to remember is that part of the reason for having longer ropes is so you can lower off again...

In reality it doesn’t happen much of course, but if you take a lead fall high up on a 30m route and incapacitate yourself, your belayer is going to have a significantly more difficult time helping you if you're using 40m ropes.

It is a non-issue until you need to be lowered off of course, but the rare occasions you do need to be lowered off are usually the ones where you really don’t need the additional issues of ropes not being long enough!

gravy 05 Jun 2019

I've currently got a pair of 40m ropes for grit - they were originally 50 but got chopped.

They are 20% better for grit than 50m ropes, less weight, less faff. Compared with my 60m ropes the less faff is a big bonus.

becauseitsthere 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Also keen to have pair of 40s.

I'd be interested in pairing up with someone to cut 80's. Would just need to agree ropes and decide who buys what. Posting etc. But worth that extra bit of hassle.

Feel free to get in touch if interested. 

Jamie Wakeham 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Andy - that's a really interesting point.  I have wondered about what compromises must be made to get a rope triple rated and that thin, so I've just spent five minutes looking at data. 

The Opera is 39% sheath, so as it's 8.5mm that implies 3.3mm of sheath.  It's rated to hold 5 UIAA falls as a single and 18 as a double (I'm not going to bother with twin ratings).  Doing that for all my candidates gives:

  • Opera: 39%, 3.3mm, 18 falls as double
  • Iceline: 41%, 3.3mm, 6 falls
  • Apus: 33%, 2.6mm, 9 falls
  • Phoenix: 42%, 3.4mm, 9 falls
  • Rumba: 41%, 3.3mm, 7 falls
  • Genesis (for comparison): 45%, 3.8mm, 12 falls

So it looks to me like absolute sheath thickness isn't correlated well with number of falls.  It's much more obvious that weight is correlated with number of falls:

  • Opera: 48g/m, 18 falls as double
  • Iceline: 39g/m, 6 falls
  • Apus: 42g/m, 9 falls
  • Phoenix: 42g/m, 9 falls
  • Rumba: 44g/m, 7 falls
  • Genesis (for comparison): 47g/m, 12 falls

The Rumba suddenly stands out as quite poor on this metric.  But what all this suggests to me is that making a rope tougher doesn't neccessarily mean making it thicker, just heavier. I'm obviously using 'number of UIAA falls' as a proxy for 'toughness', though, and that might not be the best way to think about this...

Jamie Wakeham 06 Jun 2019
In reply to becauseitsthere:

If I do decide to go for the Opera I'll give you a shout!  Where are you based (I'm in Oxford)?

Jamie Wakeham 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Holy crap.  I've just measured and weighed my old Icelines.  48m, 2.99kg.  That's 62g/m!!

I mean, I knew ropes had come on in the last decade, and I guess they are carrying a certain amount of crap in the now rather furry sheath, but I am genuinely astonished.  Does anyone have the official specs for the first generation Icelines to hand?

Post edited at 09:33
Ned 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Is there an advantage to be had by cutting an 80m rope? I'm asking because I've been thinking of buying one and tying into the middle most of the time. That way I'd still have a long rope if I end up in Kalymnos or somewhere, and abseiling would be less hassle, but I'm trying to think if there would be any obvious downsides. 

lithos 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

the weights are bollox.  I bought a new Roca rope and it was way over spec, there's a thread on here about it after I whinged. It's a bit like car emissions testing, someone had sone info on it.

mind you that's crazy heavy.

Jamie Wakeham 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Ned:

What I'd do would be to swap with someone else who'd done the same with a differently coloured one so we each had two different colours of 40m - I do find that a significant advantage.  If Beal made a bi-patterned Opera I'd be thinking along your lines though!

I now find myself wondering what the lightest triple-rated bi-patterned rope is...

Jamie Wakeham 06 Jun 2019
In reply to lithos:

Your 2015 thread is indeed enlightening!  I think you're right - these numbers are more like car mpg ratings - not actually applicable to 'real world' results, but at least standardised and allowing comparisons between products.

Even if these ropes come out to be 10% heavier than their quoted weights, I'm still going to see an enormous saving compared to the old ones!

pass and peak 06 Jun 2019
In reply to jayjackson:

> One thing to remember is that part of the reason for having longer ropes is so you can lower off again...

> In reality it doesn’t happen much of course, but if you take a lead fall high up on a 30m route and incapacitate yourself, your belayer is going to have a significantly more difficult time helping you if you're using 40m ropes.

Exactly this!!! To the OP: On sub VS routes there's more of a chance you'll hit some protrusion in a lead fall and want lowered to the ground/stance. So OK if your climbing in say Northumberland or the Peak, but outside of those areas? Also its surprising how much rope you need when forced to make a traditional belay with out of reach anchors. If your still set on 40m halfs though, I'm sure you used to be able to get "Beal Verdon" cut to length from a coil, cracking rope btw!

Mark

spenser 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

The reason that sheath thickness bears little relation to the number of UIAA Test falls (factor 1.77) is that the sheath doesn't carry much of the load when a rope is under tension, that is all done by the core.

The sheath's purpose is to prevent the core from being abraded/ cut (although it is still possible to cut through the sheath on a rope in a single fall, as a result of one such fall one of my gritstone half ropes is only 26m long).

Jamie Wakeham 06 Jun 2019
In reply to pass and peak:

True.  But this is going to be a factor regardless of how long your ropes are.  My 40m doubles mean I'll be able to lower off if I fall and become incapacitated no more than 20m up (ignoring rope stretch etc).  Reverting to the standard 50m ropes only extends that 'safe' zone by 5m, and 60m still only saves me from 30m or less.  It's not as if we always make sure our ropes are more than twice the pitch length to ensure we can always lower off; if so, Collossus and Darius would need 95m ropes.

I do take your point, though.  If I was pushing my grade a lot I would agree and get longer ones.  But if I'm honest I'm a low grade bimbly coward who's fallen on the lead three times in 20 years!

Any rope length is going to be a compromise, I think that as long as I keep in mind that these are shorter than standard it'll work out.

In reply to spenser:

I'd imagined that, in the UIAA tests, more sheath protected the core for longer, so it took more falls to cause failure.  But maybe it's not really like that, and the UIAA figure is more a proxy for 'how strong is the core' rather than 'how tough is the sheath'.  That woud make sense; it would explain how the Apus is rated for more UIAA falls than the Iceline and Rumba - it's because it's got more core in there to hold out.

I had been veering towards the Apus, as they seem a good compromise between the lightest (Iceline), and toughest (probably Opera), with apparently good handling qualities.  And environmentally they'd be a good call because Edelrid are Bluesign accredited, and I wouldn't need to cut any rope off.  But now I'm wondering if their significantly lower sheath thickness means they'll be less long-lived... and maybe the Phoenix is the best compromise instead...

PaulJepson 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Get a 80m Mammut Serenity. At 8.7mm it's not too fat to be used as doubles.

Triple rated, so can be used as an 80m single rope if you ever needed to go do anything big or alpine on the continent, or if it's a short straight route that you don't want to cart 2 ends up. 

Currently £167.53 at Dicks Climbing and a bargain at that.

I can think of a few routes I've done where 40m would not have been enough, and I mostly climb VS or below. Having the option to run pitches together is also a good option to have.

Ned 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I just had a quick look around and there's the Edelrid ColorTec which is 8.9mm and 52 g / metre 

becauseitsthere 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Inverness so there would be postage involved.

Off to peruse ropes 

AndyRoss 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> The Opera is 39% sheath, so as it's 8.5mm that implies 3.3mm of sheath. 

Isn't the 39% essentially by cross section, or maybe weight? Plausibly 22mm^2 of sheath? Or around a 0.8mm thick band of it?

Paul16 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

They are new ropes (3 months or so so old), socan't really comment on that just yet! Holding up fine at the moment.

Jamie Wakeham 06 Jun 2019
In reply to AndyRoss:

I had assumed it was % by diameter... because I don't think rope manufacturers can be bothered to do the much harder maths to work it out by area!  I'm not so sure that it's a very useful stat anyway, as toughness is as much to do with material and treatment as it is to do with amount of sheath.

I'm going to go for a set of Edelrid Apus.  They seem like the best compromise to me, except for the concerns about longevity - but I kept a pair of Icelines going for 12 years, so I'm clearly not that tough on my ropes!  And the Apus has been around for a while now, and I don't see anyone saying they wear out super quickly. 

Thanks to all for their advice, and apologies to becauseitsthere for not going halves on a set of Opera with you!  Hope you can find someone else to split them with.

Jamie Wakeham 11 Jun 2019
In reply to lithos:

Just for interest, having taken delivery of the Apus today: actual length 41.4m, actual weight 1850g, so they're 44.7g/m.  That's 6.4% higher than the claimed 42g/m.  But if they measure the length at a gentle static elongation then it is probably more or less accurate.

I'm just delighted that my mountain ropes bag has gone from a real world 6kg to 3.7kg!  I will report back about their toughness in a year or so.


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