/ 50 or 60m ropes

Glovin - on 08 May 2019

Looking to by some new ropes but can't decide, lead up to VS currently looking to potential HVS this summer. Is the extra 10m worth weight/cost....climb Wales lakes peaks and Scotland 

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Cheese Monkey - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

50

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DaveHK - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

If it's just summer use then 50m.

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JoshOvki on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

Sounds like you are just planning to use it for trad climbing, 50 will do the job, be a very long 60 pitch otherwise. If you plan on sunning yourself on some lovely Spanish sport could be worth the extra 10 (or just buy a rope should that come up)

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Deadeye - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

50 unless your usual partner has 60.

Actually 50 even then and make them cut 10m off theirs.

50.

Did I mention 50?

Post edited at 08:02
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DubyaJamesDubya - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

As a general rule 50 is enough...

Although there are some crags where the ab off can be easier with 60s and no matter how long your ropes there will always be an occasion where you wish you had a bit more

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oldie - on 08 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Absolutely agree. And of course there are often ways of getting that extra bit of rope on those rare instances including second untying from some of anchors or even starting to climb simultaneously if they are competent, a fall is unlikely and there are plenty of good runners. 

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kingholmesy - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

I vote 60m.

Admittedly you don’t often need the extra 10m, but I have done a few mega 50m plus pitches where they’ve been needed.

Plus on grit etc you can almost always use one 60m doubled, whereas sometimes it would be a bit tight doubling a 50m.

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Jon Stewart - on 08 May 2019
In reply to kingholmesy:

> I vote 60m.

> Admittedly you don’t often need the extra 10m, but I have done a few mega 50m plus pitches where they’ve been needed.

> Plus on grit etc you can almost always use one 60m doubled, whereas sometimes it would be a bit tight doubling a 50m.

This.

Here in the Lakes I'm forever linking pitches together into 50m mega-pitches and then I need to make a belay. Guidebook writers seem to take a special pleasure in belaying in stupid places that take up time, make things scary, and are uncomfortable, when the alternative is just to enjoy the climbing and belay on the ground in a totally relaxed way (but still watching the leader when they start whining). Then there's the grit thing where you use just one. Then there's abbing. 60s, 60s, 60s. 

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scott titt - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

I very recently left my pair of sixties in storage in Morocco, I have a pair of fifties for here in the UK.

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GridNorth - on 08 May 2019
In reply to kingholmesy:

I have climbed extensively in the UK and indeed around the world.  I have never found 50 metre ropes inadequate on any UK climb.  Would you care to name the "few mega plus pitches" where 60 metres were needed.  I'm genuinely interested to know which routes these are. Personally and IMO the odd occasion where a 60 would be handy is outweighed by the numerous other times you have to cope with the excess.

To the OP: Of course there will be times when 60 would be more convenient than 50 but then if you use 60 there will be times when 70 would be more convenient.  For UK trad 50 metres is the most CONVENIENT length and a good balance between weight and use.

Al

Post edited at 10:11
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DubyaJamesDubya - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think it is Dinas Mot East wing that needs 60s to ab (there must be many others but that comes immediately to mind)

Post edited at 10:08
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oldie - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  Then there's abbing. 60s, 60s, 60s. <

Or a Beal Escaper. 

Post edited at 12:08
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Jon Stewart - on 08 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I'd rather climb on Gogarth Main with 60s for starters. Multiple belays up the steep grass? Piss off!

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GridNorth - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Well that's your opinion and I would not presume to say you are wrong.  The question was however:

Is the extra 10m worth weight/cost....climb Wales lakes peaks and Scotland 

In reality it's another 20m, 10 m per rope which is not insignificant. I'm in no way saying to the OP do NOT buy 60m, merely pointing out the downsides and illustrating that I personally with a great deal of experience have found 50 m sufficient.  I've climbed most of the routes on Gogarth Main Cliff but it was so long ago that I cannot remember the specifics other than we managed perfectly well with 2 x 50m ropes.

Al

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Jon Stewart - on 08 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Well that's so reasonable it's hardly in the spirit of UKC.

My view is that I see no disadvantage in carrying the extra 10m of rope (I don't carry both!), I just don't think I've ever noticed. But I've either been pissed off with 50s or glad of 60s on loads of occasions, basically to speed things up by having less constraints on belays. So for me it's notable advantage over negligible cost and therefore a no brainer.

Post edited at 20:41
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bpmclimb on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

Swings and roundabouts .....  50 will get you there fine, the extra 10m of 60s has pros: more scope for stringing pitches together, longer abseils, and you can chop out a damaged section if near one end and still have a useable length; and cons: weight (can be offset a bit by buying skinnier ropes), and having to manage more rope at stances.

FWIW I have both: skinny 60s (Beal Ice Lines) and thicker 50s (currently, pair of Beal Jokers). I use the 50s more, but the Ice Lines are great for some places (e.g. Lofoten last summer).

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Kevster - on 08 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I like 60m,  and have 70m half ropes too. I've run out of rope quite a few times. Don't let gritstone boulders talk you into short ropes. However, I like a good adventure, and a short rope makes a day of one.

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johncook - on 08 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Did we not manage quite well on 120ft ropes, and then 45m ropes back in the day Al? 

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tom_in_edinburgh - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

A 60m rope is a 60m rope for a year and then a 50m rope for another year.  That's worth an extra tenner.

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Mark Eddy - on 08 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

For the Lakes and N. Wales 50's are plenty long enough. Always trying to go light I often take half 40's and for most routes / crags they work a treat and speed things up.

Unless you plan to climb extra long pitches, or need to abseil more than 50m in one go, 60's will just be a faff.

Pitches can often be 20m / 30m, with 60's that's a lot of rope you'll be pulling up after every pitch. 

All that said, I'm currently in the market for a new pair of 60's - but that's for a few specific routes on the continent and they have big abseils.

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James Oswald - on 09 May 2019
In reply to Mark Eddy:

Another vote for 60s.

As Jon Stewart says you don't have to make annoying on grass at gogarth. You can also abseil directly to the floor after doing the main pitches to give you time to do another. They're great for doubling over on the grit. And when one gets damaged you might still be lucky to have a 50m rope. In my view the enormous benefit of occasionally needing them is way better than pulling more rope in sometimes/ a fractionally heavier bag.

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GridNorth - on 09 May 2019
In reply to Kevster:

What UK trad routes have you run out of rope on?  A few people have said this but no one has come back on my request to name the routes.  And as for cutting the last 10 m off due to wear, that's a sport climbing thing not a UK trad habit.  Anyone, what are the specific routes where 50 m is not enough?

Al

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Max factor - on 09 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

50m

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jbrom - on 09 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I have no opinion either way on 50m vs 60m but Zawn Corner (S) is an example of a 50m pitch where I was only just able to top out, having to untie, and then take apart the ab and use the ab rope to build the belay.

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Hazie on 09 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

60m ropes very handy for Diabeg, OM of Stoer and OM of Hoy

Or tie into middle for cragging.

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teh_mark on 09 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

60m. Why? While I've never even come close to running out of rope on UK trad, it means I can use the same ropes for:

  • Trad single or multipitch.
  • Grit on a single half.
  • Sport climbing on routes which would otherwise require a longer rope, by abbing off.
  • Winter climbing.
  • Alpine climbing.

All of my ropes are 60m apart from a 30m skinny half (glaciers, ski touring, easy snowy stuff) and a 35m single (indoors, grit and other short outcrops). Can't say I've ever been too bothered about the weight of the extra 10m.

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James Oswald - on 09 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I cut the last 10m off my 60s recently. 

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fred99 - on 09 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> What UK trad routes have you run out of rope on?  A few people have said this but no one has come back on my request to name the routes.  And as for cutting the last 10 m off due to wear, that's a sport climbing thing not a UK trad habit.  Anyone, what are the specific routes where 50 m is not enough?

> Al


Wyndcliff. The climbing may only need a 50M rope, but the trees at the edge are now dead or rotten, so you need that extra length to reach the decent ones for a belay.

I've found a few other crags where the belay is a fair bit back (e.g. sea cliffs), and the extra length has turned out very useful (or necessary !)

The added advantage of 60M is that you can run pitches together a lot more often (when appropriate), or use 1 rope doubled on grit.

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GridNorth - on 09 May 2019
In reply to James Oswald:

I assume that's a contradiction to my statement that this is a sport thing which I still maintain is in the main true.  Sports ropes are fallen on a lot and the end that is fallen on suffers as a result.  I do not believe that is true of trad ropes and if it were it would be to a much lesser extent.

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galpinos on 09 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

There's an intermediate ab point (I got down on my 45s in two).

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GridNorth - on 09 May 2019
In reply to fred99:

OK fair comment.  I've climbed more or less everything there and it was all done on 50 m. I don't fully buy into the running pitches together argument unless out of necessity.  I like to climb multi pitch specifically because it's multi pitch, I enjoy taking belays mid route. On the downside if you are in the habit of doing so you must have to carry more runners presumably.

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keith sanders - on 10 May 2019
In reply to johncook:

Don't defend Al John, Jokingly,

No not on The Strand when 45m or 150ft rope made for a poor belay rather than 50m made for a better belay and 60m made a better ab off.

keith s

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Alex@home - on 10 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

The Icarus Gun (E3)

Granted it's not in the OP's list of areas, but there are some

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Mike505 on 10 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

We generaly use 60 half ropes, more often than not the extra 10m isn't needed but on quite a few occasions that 10m has allowed me to link 2 or sometimes 3 pitches. Its also allowed for an easier abseil from time to time (cleaning Darius the first time I tried and failed on it). 

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L 88Dan - on 10 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

In the past I have had 50 and 60 meter ropes for use indoors, single pitch trad and a few longer sport routes. When I bought myself a new rope recently I went with the 70m because the difference in brice between the 60 and 70 (at the time) was an extra £10 so I couldn't really say no. If I had the choice again I would probably go for the 60, not because of weight or cost but simply because I can't fit anything else in my bag. I can just about get my harness and chalk bag in my DMM classic rope bag and that's it. My rack is currently in a different bag along with whichever guidebook I take with me. Maybe at a later date I will buy a bigger rope bag that will fit everything in. It's worth bearing that in mind maybe.

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spenser - on 10 May 2019
In reply to Glovin:

I found 60s useful on Lundy as well as climbing in Bregaglia last summer. If looking at going I've climbing in places like Cogne they are very useful as I was often stretching the ropes getting to belays! I have also needed them for a belay at Meikle Ross and while climbing in the Anti-Atlas.

Either way pulling one up and using that to build a belay if your second is happy climbing on one rope will dig you out of the poo sometimes, even using 60s!

So if the OP plans on sticking to regular venues and not expanding to more adventurous places there is little point in 60s, if going to weird and wonderful places they will come in very helpful!

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kingholmesy - on 11 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

>  Would you care to name the "few mega plus pitches" where 60 metres were needed.  I'm genuinely interested to know which routes these are.

A couple that I’ve done which spring to mind  are Switchblade Romance (E6) (60m ropes absolutely essential if you want to do the route in one pitch) and Sunset Boulevard (E5 6a) (60m needed unless you want to pre-place a third rope to belay off).

Post edited at 00:52
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bpmclimb on 12 May 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> I don't fully buy into the running pitches together argument unless out of necessity.  I like to climb multi pitch specifically because it's multi pitch, I enjoy taking belays mid route. On the downside if you are in the habit of doing so you must have to carry more runners presumably.

But aren't some stances are a downright pain? Put there by FAs or guidebook writers for (arguably) misguided reasons and subsequently assumed to be an inviolable part of the route. Generally, I'm with you regarding stances being part of the charm of multi pitch, but I can think of some which I love just leading past (Demo Route  Demo Route (HS 4b) springs to mind).

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fred99 - on 13 May 2019
In reply to bpmclimb:

> But aren't some stances are a downright pain?

I always put the last two pitches of Bottle Buttress (VD) on Wintours Leap together. This is because after the traverse there is a belay in a very restricted corner that is totally reliant on 2 (rather old) cemented in pegs, and any fall (either by a following second or an ongoing leader) would put the entire weight onto said pegs - and it's a damn long way down. With 60M ropes I can make the top belay, and don't have to spend time in a cold sweat wondering just how good  ( ? ) those pegs are.

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Dave Cundy - on 13 May 2019
In reply to johncook:

I'm with you on this, my first rope was 45m.  I think having both a 45 and a 60m rope will cover most situations and you can make an informed decision beforehand on which to take.

Several of my friends only have 60m half ropes and they are just a pain in the arse for routes with 30m pitches. 60m ropes are worth it for more 'adventurous' areas.

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