I will hopefully be doing more grade 2 ridges this winter season, and as I will likely be on my own on some of them (I enjoy the solitude), I was thinking a 20 metre single rope might work best if I ever need ab off to avoid a nasty downclimb. The extra weight to my pack is obviously a consideration.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
20-30m of half-rope would be fine and save a bit of weight. Probably take a couple of slings too.
20m only gives you a 10m retrievable abseil. I'd want 30 of 1/2 rope if I wasn't planning on using a rope. And a few m of nylon tape.
Do you have rope or are you buying some? I take a 50m half as I have one and 10m of tat and a knife and a few old snap gates. If I was buying I think I would get 30m of 8mm static. make sure your belay device will work with your rope diameter.
Thanks Tim. I hope not to be confronted with a 10 metre downclimb this winter but anything is possible. So yep, longer would be better.
If OP wanted per metre on 8mm semi static, https://www.inglesport.com/product/beal-antipodes-8mm-semi-static-rope/
and it could be used to help rig top ropes also (doubled up if 8mm was unnerving)
I'd be inclined to take 20m of 8mm static line (or scrounge a bit of someone's old rope) together with 20m of 6mm static line. Use the two to make a retrievable abseil. Plus a bit of spare tat and some throw-way krabs, of course).
I've tried it with 5mm line but that was harder to hold and stretched a bit. Hence the recommendation to use 6mm.
I would look at a 40m triple rated scrambling rope, not too heavy, long enough to get you out of trouble, useful enough to shortpitch scrambling terrain when your get a chance to climb with others.
I have an edelrid rap line for such situations. Only 6mm and believe it or not is actually rated for a couple of falls. If not carrying a harness I imagine it would be extremely uncomfortable using it for a trad or south African abseil, but then an 8mm half rope wouldn't exactly be the height of comfort either. I've never actually needed to retreat on it so can't comment.
If it was just for abseils, I would probably take a Petzl RAD LINE which is a 6mm static. It's pretty specialised so make sure you read up on it's uses and limitations.
I use 3 strand 8mm polypropylene rope for this purpose. Mine is 36m purely because I read the ab off the Inn Pinn is 18m! IIRC mine has a breaking strength of over 900kg (sometimes a lower max working load is quoted instead, leaving a big safety margin). It is much lighter than 8mm static and dynamic climbing ropes and absorbs negligible amounts of water. Years ago thicker polypropylene ropes were almost universal for bottom roping on southern sandstone. It seems fine for both single and double for retrieval with any ab method that one would expect from 8mm climbing rope inc classic, krab and sitsling, and belay plate. The low weight and ability to use normal methods (unlike the thin Rad lines etc) might suit your requirements.
I got mine cut to length from Timko Ltd but there are many sources inc B and Q!
Years ago, people used hemp ropes. Just because it was a good idea in the past doesn’t mean we should use it now.
Just buy a sensible rope from a reputable outdoor shop.
I wouldn't use a rope unless it had a high enough max working load or breaking strength. In fact such ropes are used in industry and have just as much need to have reliable specs as climbing ropes, eg preventing bound items collapsing on workers. This isn't a beginner's forum so polypropylene might be worth consideration,I didn't intend to imply that we should use it just because it was used in the past....that was only to illustrate that it could be safe. I wouldn't suggest hemp!
Polypropylene is light And thick enough to abseil easily with; the alternatives are more of a compromise between both those requirements, though polypropylene is obviously more bulky than thinner lines. So as far I was concerned I was buying a sensible rope for my requirements which wouldn't mean possibly sketchy abseils on a line. Incidentally it is very cheap in comparison though that shouldn't be a reason for choosing it.
Thank you everyone for your knowledge, I really appreciate everyone's views and advice. Fantastic.
I forgot I have some money left on a decathlon gift voucher. Would this simond rope be okay? I like that it's only 7.5mm.
Yes I have that as a winter short rope. You need to be mindful of how you abseil ie extra krab, maybe differing device and/or increasing friction by wrapping round leg. Also that it has less abrasion/cut resistance than a thicker rope.
20m this, 30m that... 2 x 20m of different diameters, tat, tape. What a load of horse.....
Just take 50m of full rope, they are graded routes, you can shorten it by both taking in a few coils, run long pitches, ab 25m... no point messing around with short bits of string.
It's for use while on my own in very remote locations, so fast and light feels necessary.
> It's for use while on my own in very remote locations, so fast and light feels necessary.
if a person wishes to go fast and light on graded terrain, solo, in remote locations, one might expect them to have sufficient previous experience to not need to ask a rope question at all?
That isn't the question being asked, however I fully agree that if you're going to be doing anything other than an abseil, a skinny single rope is definitely the right choice.
In reply to oldie suggesting 3 strand rope: You can't say this isn't a beginners forum. Plenty of new climbers read UKC and haven't got a clue about what gear to buy and what's safe. I think suggesting that a DIY shop rope is suitable for rock climbing is bad news.
Yes, you are correct that many ropes not certified for climbing may well be strong enough for a 75kg person to use as an abseil rope. But we shouldn't be suggesting that you can use any old rope when there are clearly better, purpose designed and manufactured options out there which will be safe for the intended use. Climbing rope is (comparatively) cheap, let's keep on track with sensible, safe suggestions.
TL;DR, don't buy junk ropes from DIY shops, visit your local climbing store and buy from a reputable manufacturer.
> Who rattled your cage?
Just lots of frankly several stupid and slightly dangerous comments, taking 20 or 30m of skinny rope isn't going to help this complete novice when they get crag fast. If you are on a ridge by it's nature the terrain either side is steeper and often more than 10-15m before you have any hope of abseiling into an easier grade I Gully. They likely have no gear to put in the rock to ab off, nor anchor rigging experience etc etc
I have to agree with Exiled Scot. In the nicest possible way, if you are proposing to solo grade 2 ridges you should be able to comfortably lead at least grade 3 climbing as equals with a partner (ie not guided/on a course) , and would by then have the experience to answer your own question.
I think you're exaggerating a bit.
> In reply to oldie suggesting 3 strand rope: You can't say this isn't a beginners forum. Plenty of new climbers read UKC and haven't got a clue about what gear to buy and what's safe. I think suggesting that a DIY shop rope is suitable for rock climbing is bad news. <
There is a separate beginner's forum and while you have a point that beginners will read it there is ample opportunity for objective discussion. I said (with exclamation mark) that it was possible to buy polypropylene rope at B and Q, with respect to occasional short abseil retreat and did not mean to imply that a DIY shop rope is suitable for actual rock climbing.
> Yes, you are correct that many ropes not certified for climbing may well be strong enough for a 75kg person to use as an abseil rope. But we shouldn't be suggesting that you can use any old rope when there are clearly better, purpose designed and manufactured options out there which will be safe for the intended use. Climbing rope is (comparatively) cheap, let's keep on track with sensible, safe suggestions. <
I did not suggest "any old rope" but a specific type and diameter of rope with specified strength (never mentioned 75kg, only much higher breaking stengths and max workink loads) . Its only better than 8mm climbing rope in that is light, which is important to the OP. I'm satisfied that for my application such rope is safe ,fit for purpose and thus sensible. I haven't died and don't consider I've ever put myself at risk using this rope. Personally I decided I preferred a rope that gave greater friction compared to one of the thinner lines In this respect it might well be preferable to thin line. There hasn't been much discussion here of exactly why the properties of the rope might be unsuitable.
> TL;DR, don't buy junk ropes from DIY shops, visit your local climbing store and buy from a reputable manufacturer. <
Its not junk rope, it doesn't have to come from a DIY shop (I gave an example of a supplier), its commonly used in industry and obviously should only be bought with specified strength and used for a particular purpose (short abs here).
I agree that a dynamic climbing climbing rope is safe and much more versatile. However the OP was interested in a low weight rope for short abseils.
Sorry, just to clarify- I do have experience of abbing and leading. Not loads. But enough. My first real winter outing (after the obligatory march up Broad Gully SCNL) was a poor weather anti-clockwise traverse over the Horns of Alligin which, despite it's downclimbs and steep drops in high wind, caused me no mental or physical tension whatsoever. It was brutal and I enjoyed it immensely. Since then I've enjoyed a few more winter trips and gained some experience such as a detached crampon on the steep top section of a gully in the Cairngorms.
I was just looking for a little friendly advice on the optimal winter-specific rope for escaping *some grade 2 ridges as efficiently as possible, for when the daylight has run out, or I've taken a wrong line etc. Happens to the best of them I hear.
(*I wouldn't solo all grade 2 ridges)
I hope everyone enjoys the winter.
8mm Polyprop had a rating of 7.61kn and a safe working load of 0.634kn (factor 12). Sometimes Polyprop is used in the things like ropes course construction, but the diameter is much thicker (16mm+ rated to 24kn).
If you want to use it personally that's fine, but recommending it to someone asking for advice is either naive or negligent.
Any 30m+ walking rope will be fine, things like the Petzl rad line are more specialist but still also appropriate.
My issue with using PP rope would be its low melting temperature. You could quite easily melt it when abbing, and unlike a climbing rope it doesn't have a sheath to protect the core.
V bad idea IMHO.
No worries. If it helps, I'm looking at soloing things like the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach, and the East Ridge of Beinn a' Chaorainn.
I've never been on a course or had a guide. And I've safely solo'd, lead, seconded, abseiled, and intend on doing more of the same in amazing places.
I opted for the 30m Simond Rando 7.5mm as I had £15 left on a Decathlon gift card.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the winter.
As others have quite rightly pointed out, using a polyprop rope for any kind of rock climbing application is a moronic suggestion and that's putting it mildly! You have to also consider abrasion resistance, the lifespan of the rope, resistance to UV etc, melting point and of course it's compatibility with other equipment such as a belay device. Suitable climbing ropes pass rigorous testing standards and are designed to work with other safety rated equipment. Oldie what are you thinking giving out dodgy advice like that on a public forum that could be read by anyone?
I use a bit of cheap nylon braided rope for winter, the blue stuff from B&Q. That way if I need to leave it when I ab, I don't give a toss.
I'm struggling to think of any grade 2 that might require an abseil......? As in no alternative.
I have the Decathlon 30m ski touring rope as an emergency line that I bought for my ML course. Works perfectly well, just be aware that as its a skinny rope you do need a decent amount of friction to abseil with it.
Winter grade II I think rather than summer grade 2.
Another issue with skinny ropes in winter is that they cut through snow bollards pretty easily.
You're right. I originally recommended 30m (15*2) of 1/2 rope (higher up the thread) because I'd misread it as scrambling grade 2.
Reading the original post again the context is Winter II. I apologise and retract my original advice. ExiledScot is right. Get yourself 50m of 1/2 or triple rated or don't bother. Also I'd recommend and a few metres of tape as tat, but you probably would need more than that,
If it's soloing Winter II ridges, then if you need to ask... Don't do it.
No need to over apologise!! I'm right for novices needing a rope that gives them maximum choices, for those of use with mileage we can visualise many scottish ridges and know exactly where we can short ab, or just zig zag, or down climb and confidently hit a grade 1 Gully we've likely also been up and down multiple times. Plus a rope is an investment, I'd always encourage new starts to buy a rope that will do everything and anything, even if it means you have extra kilo to drag around. As they gain experience and knowledge, they can then buy half, twins, shorter full, or scary dangerous b&q Charlie band....
> Winter grade II I think rather than summer grade 2.
> Another issue with skinny ropes in winter is that they cut through snow bollards pretty easily.
Yes, understood. My observation still stands.
> As others have quite rightly pointed out, using a polyprop rope for any kind of rock climbing application is a moronic suggestion and that's putting it mildly! You have to also consider abrasion resistance, the lifespan of the rope, resistance to UV etc, melting point and of course it's compatibility with other equipment such as a belay device. Suitable climbing ropes pass rigorous testing standards and are designed to work with other safety rated equipment. Oldie what are you thinking giving out dodgy advice like that on a public forum that could be read by anyone? <
Thanks for the comments and I do take note of "naive or negligent" and "moronic" with regard to my post. Obviously my views differ from yours but I hope I've been fairly objective in my replies. Posts can give bad advice but in open forums you can at least give your opinions if you disagree and have done so. I certainly don't imagine DizzyVision will consider using PP. In hindsight I should have not have made the flippant comment about being able to buy from a DIY store. Also I should be more aware of the original poster, and if mentioning PP in future I'll try and remember to point out that many strongly disagree.
I find 8mm PP useful myself, its light enough to take to avoid an unexpected downclimb and if I want to minimise weight on a long day
FWIW Before using PP rope for abseiling I did try out several techniques from tree branches and also spent a couple of hours practising on a small buttress, and I have had no problems during its infrequent use. IMHO I do not think there is any danger through melting the rope in normal use (based partly on bottom roping on sandstone in the the 60s), neither is catastrophic abrasion likely, and while PP is very susceptible to UV I don't see any problem because the rope is stored away from sun and is mostly in a rucksack outdoors. Wear is obviously more rapid and affects strength more than a sheathed rope, but none of these should cause unexpected breakage as, even more than some other gear, its worth examining it after use.
This sounds sensible, I'd prefer to be safe, rather than worry about a few extra grams of weight at this grade.
It's a bit like worrying about getting hit by an asteroid, and then getting run over by a bus...
> It's a bit like worrying about getting hit by an asteroid, and then getting run over by a bus...
major worries on a scramble 😒
> I'm struggling to think of any grade 2 that might require an abseil......? As in no alternative.
Given the right (or wrong) conditions, I'd say some grade 2 ridges could require an abseil to reach safety (think injury, kit failure, etc). I try to be as self sufficient on the hill as I can. I take a bothy bag, fist aid kit, map, compass, extra food, extra water, extra layers, and walking poles- not to reduce wear on the limbs, but to limp out should I become injured. A rope would provide some peace of mind. Plus the option to enjoy a nice little abseil, even when one is not required. I was hoping for some good suggestions for a rope for the job and that's exactly what I got. I am really greatful to all who have contributed to this thread. Thank you 🙂 👍
Couple of examples which are often abseiled in winter include the descent of Am Bodach on the Aonach Eagach and the "Bad Step" on the Forcan Ridge. Some downclimb, some choose to abseil.
> A rope would provide some peace of mind. Plus the option to enjoy a nice little abseil, even when one is not required.
No one abseils in the mountains for fun, it's almost always slower than walking/scrambling/climbing down, far more importantly it's the single most dangerous thing anyone does and the cause of so many accidents. It's all your eggs in one basket, with a lot of variables to go wrong. An unplanned abseil in the mountains is a world away from a little slide down a rope at a very benign pre assessed little crag.
Sorry for not being clearer. I wouldn't abseil down anything I couldn't comfortably downclimb. But a short section somewhere, purely for the purpose of practice, much like you would do at your local quarry, just to brush up on the skills, is basically what I was getting at. A safe abseil- where I could climb up or down at any point during the practice.
I also don't want to wear through kit unnecessarily. I'm married with a child, and I pay my correct, morally/quasilegally obligated share of tax to the treasury, so the costs involved are usually a challenge for me. Every penny's a prisoner.
> Sorry for not being clearer. I wouldn't abseil down anything I couldn't comfortably downclimb. But a short section somewhere, purely for the purpose of practice, much like you would do at your local quarry, just to brush up on the skills, is basically what I was getting at.
You've got that back to front.
Solo on a big hill in winter is not the place to be practising abseiling. Do that somewhere with lower risk then only do it in the big hills if you really need to. If you can downclimb comfortably then do that.
Apart from anything else if you rig an uneccessary ab you'll probably need to leave kit or climb back up, collect it, then climb down
No worries Dave, I was meaning more the lower sections, like if the opportunity was there on the approach to a route, the lower section of great gully buttress for instance, where you can basically walk up or down a slope. It would obviously have to be dry- free of snow and ice, and above a flat platform section.
Before heading up a gully or a steep slope in winter I might do some ice axe arrests, just to tune into that skill and mindset. So basically the same principle, but with a rope.
Rope arrived today- the Simond 7.5mm 30 metre rando dry. The forecast is looking crap so I'll take the opportunity to practice safe-abbing. Not sure where yet, maybe the innpinn 😉 Or just the local quarry, who knows. Thank you very much to all who posted positively, it means a lot 🙂