UKC

/ Scottish Winter, rope choices?

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Wildabeast - on 08 Jan 2018
So... we are looking to climb Cairngorms grade II/III possible an IV if we found something good.

We have a 10mm 50 meter rope or two 8.6mm 60m double ropes. The 50 meter says "Standard finish for water and abrasion resistance" the 60 meters have nothing on them about any water resistance.

In the alps we usually carry one of the 60m's doubled over, this is in the summer.

Are these suitable? Or would something else be more advisable?

Thank you
Mountain Llama on 08 Jan 2018
Wildabeast - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Mountain Llama:

Ive seen this before and never thought it was a legitimate solution! Would you carry both 60s on these graded routes?

thanks for the tip!
The Ex-Engineer - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Wildabeast:

Since you feel the need to ask, the sensible option is probably to climb on the double 60s.

Despite most Scottish Winter routes, especially in the Cairngorms, being short by Alpine standards, benightment due to limited daylight or retreat due to deteriorating weather or poor snow/ice conditions can be surprising common, so the ability make full length abseils is extremely useful.

I'd be more likely to climb on just one rope, in settled conditions late season (Mid-March or April) but in December or January I'd definitely prefer doubles even on more moderately graded routes.
Wildabeast - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Thank you, in the past we have carried the other sixty in the pack in case of retreat and its not much heavier.
Cloverleaf - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Wildabeast:

The retreat is much quicker on the pair of 60's, but you'll also probably find that on III and into IV the line of protection will wander a lot and drag will be significant on a single rope, whereas twins will allow you to get a smoother rope run. Also, not to be underestimated is the potential to run pitches out a little more to find a belay when everything's absolutely buried. Nothing worse than just being one or two metres short of that bomber crack.

The Nikwax rope treatment is pretty effective, it did revive my old twin ropes enough to get another winter out of them, but they were used dry outers rather than uncoated so I'm not sure how much of the effectiveness was down to the Nikwax stuff, or the rejuvenation of existing coatings. It is cheap though, and it definitely won't make them worse so go for it and see what happens.
teh_mark on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Cloverleaf:

> drag will be significant on a single rope, whereas twins will allow you to get a smoother rope run.

You mean half ropes; twins used correctly won't gain you any rope drag advantages at all.

(I realise that's massively pedantic, I'm sorry, but I think accuracy is important when talking about this sort of thing lest an anonymous novice read the thread and buy a pair of twins)
nufkin - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> I realise that's massively pedantic

There is a time and place; this is one of them
Big Lee - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

I thought exactly the same thing reading the original post. Does 'double' mean half or twin?

To the OP, I'd say it depends on the route. Straight up gully type route, the single will probably be fine. Just take loads of slings to keep the rope running as straight as possible and be aware that your gear is going to be more prone to side pull. Eg if plugging both sides of a gully alternately with gear - more critical in winter since cracks can become icy.

Routes that wonder around, better to use the half ropes, despite no dry treatment. Less drag. Just be prepared for them icing up and becoming hard to handle.

Wouldn't say half ropes are critical for abseil descent in the Norries as the routes aren't long enough to add more than probably a couple of abs. Buttresses over 300m, half ropes are potentially going to save you a lot of time should you need to bail. Other option is to carry a second skinny rope in addition to the single rope just for abseiling. The likes of Will Gadd advocate this approach but it really depends on the route characteristics (he's mainly climbing ice and bolted mixed, where it's much easier to keep the rope running straight).

If you're finding that you're doing enough routes that justify the half ropes but the set you have are becoming a nightmare to handle then you have a good reason to buy some dry half ropes. I'd stick with what you've got though until you've demonstrated a need for another set of ropes. You might prefer the single. Easier to handle one rope for example. Personally I prefer halves on all but straight up ice.
teh_mark on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

> I thought exactly the same thing reading the original post. Does 'double' mean half or twin?

I personally use 'half' to refer to the type of rope, and 'double' to the technique of using half ropes - ie double rope technique. I don't know where I picked that up, but it's stuck with me. I see 'double ropes' as being synonymous with 'half ropes'.
jonny.greenwood - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

From the BMC Rope Guide PDF... "Half ropes, also referred to as Double ropes, are designed to be used in pairs as part of a double rope system..." etc.

Personally, I stick to the terms half and twin, but it must be a common term to make it into a guide.
Big Lee - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to jonny.greenwood:

Guess so! I stand corrected.
Wildabeast - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

thanks everyone for all of this, suitably clued up on rope terminology now!

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