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Multipitch stuff: What's in your bag (of tricks)? (Read 17175 times)

SA Chris

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In fact I donít think Iíve ever clipped a bolt on European limestone.

Unprecedented in the modern game.

petejh

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There is apparently some new evidence that it is in practice very hard to hold falls on thin half ropes clipped into every other screw in ice climbing scenarios, unless using break assistance devices.

I can well believe this.

Two winters ago I was leading a mixed pitch in Adelboden in Switzerland. The route was traddy so we were climbing on 2 ropes - a skinny sport rope and a beal iceline 8.1mm (aka bungee cord). I had the ropes alternately clipped. Just as I reached the belay ledge my tools popped and I fell. There was a bolt about a metre below my feet. So it was a surprise when I went two-thirds down the length of the 20+m pitch. Icelines are the 'psychological protection only' of the rope world..   
« Last Edit: March 30, 2023, 09:23:34 pm by petejh »

Johnny Brown

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 :lol: Iíve climbed on almost nothing but Icelines, summer and winter, for nearly twenty years. Although I recently upgraded my winter ropes to Beal Gullys  :'( still waiting for a chance to use them four years later.

andy moles

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:lol: Iíve climbed on almost nothing but Icelines, summer and winter, for nearly twenty years.

Do you have some reassuring tales of falling on them and not going miles? I'm on the brink of buying a new pair of 8.0mm half/twins, which will probably mainly be used as halfs, which is skinnier than I've gone before, and I do fall off sometimes...

Fultonius

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I'd just scraped my way up one of the hardest winter pitches I'd lead, in spantiks, at 3300m on the Dru Couloir Direct. Past all the hard climbing and just moving out left to the belay on slightly shooogly hooks, one of my crampons skittered and I was off. I was around 2m above a sling but went 10-12m, pinballing off the sides of the couloir. We weren't on icelines, but maybe 8mm half's if my memory serves.

Fortunate just to have a few bruises, and very glad the next (crux) pitch was G's lead!  I think that was all on stretch rather than any slippage. I don't like climbing on icelines, summer or winter. They just don't inspire enough confidence. I'm also 80kg so the weight penalty of a few gramms of rope vs the psychological penalty of fear of the skinny means I stick with thicker ropes....

That said, we had way too chunky a single rope for the bugs last year and damn that was hard work belaying on a reverso....

Duncan campbell

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When I was at uni, a friend of mine had been given some Rediculously skinny ice climbing ropes by his sponsor. He was using them for rock climbing and fell off a route at the grochan (I think quantum jump but not 100%) the one he had most of his kit on got caught in a crack and cut causing him to deck out! Luckily he wasnít too high and was George Ullrich so was a lucky bastard and missed some massive flakes to land on some grass. Think he stopped using them after thatÖ

andy moles

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Between Ally and Duncan I think I may have been convinced to stick with my modus operandi of slightly heavier but more reassuring ropes  :-\

Johnny Brown

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Quote
Do you have some reassuring tales of falling on them and not going miles?

Not really, but on the sort of terrain I use them I don't tend to fall off and neither do my partners. Switched to them for the Lotus Flower and haven't given it much thought since tbh. Plus I don't sport climb much so perhaps am less accustomed to a quick catch. But note both the stories above involve falls right at the end of the pitch; I certainly wouldn't be expecting a quick catch in those circumstances. I do choose my belay devices carefully, until the more recent devices came out with V-slots I always used thin rope specific devices like the Reversino or Bugette, to the extent of carrying two in case my partner was an ATC type. And let your partner know if you are sketching.

The benefit of reduced weight and particularly drag, coupled with intelligent use of extender slings with revolver biners, is a game changer especially when trying to lead long pitches fast. In the Bugs we did a lot of 'stretch pitches' where you swing leads on 60s but do a ~100m pitch with 40m of moving together, stopping only at really good ledges or when you run out of gear (shorter pitches for 5.10+ obvs). I guess a lot of people do it on stuff like the top section of Point 5, but not many seem to apply it to rock.

Paul B

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Do you have some reassuring tales of falling on them and not going miles? I'm on the brink of buying a new pair of 8.0mm half/twins, which will probably mainly be used as halfs, which is skinnier than I've gone before, and I do fall off sometimes...

When we were in Madagascar pre-pandemic, I'd been attacked by a dog and needed Rabies treatment which wasn't straightforward. On one of the routes, the grass that grows out of the granite provided a perfect perch for some kind of falcon. To get there I'd gone through some atypically loose terrain but I didn't fancy another trip for medical treatment so lowered off. Pulling the ropes scared the bird so I quickly retied and took a more carefree approach to the pitch (I mean, the white bits had held me once hadn't they?). Of course I ripped a flake off and I went a LONG way. I was actually on one of the steepest pitches I'd climbed when I was there so it wasn't horrendous, down some of the lower angled, very rough slabs but I found it eye-opening. As a result I semi-recently settled on a pair of Mammut ~8mm half ropes rather than the skinnier 7.5mms I had previously.

duncan

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Iíve used Mammut Phoenix 8.1mms as my trad. ropes for a few years and taken a few falls on them. Stretchy but not stupidly so in my view. I think the current equivalent is the Alpine 8.0mm. Mammut mm always seem bigger than Beal mm though. The Alpine 8.0 has a ďdynamic elongationĒ of 30% whereas it is 37% for Ice Lines.

I think the UIAA dynamic elongation test is an 80kg weight (a tooled-up Pete?) undergoing a 1.6 factor fall. Are half ropes tested in the same way JB? The maximum permitted is 40% so Ice Lines are approaching bungee status.

The Ice Lines have a 4.9kN impact force whereas its  9.2kN for the Alpines. This might make a difference if youíre falling onto the proverbial RP2 and have avoided hitting the ledge on rope stretch.

Johnny Brown

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I think the UIAA dynamic elongation test is an 80kg weight (a tooled-up Pete?) undergoing a 1.6 factor fall. Are half ropes tested in the same way JB?

Not that familiar with UIAA. EN 892 uses a 55kg mass. UIAA refers to 892 for the dynamic test apparatus but load seems to be 100kg, object is however 'Energy absorbed before rupture'; I can't find a reference to 'dynamic elongation'.

Personally I'd always go for low impact force vs low stretch. The corollary is obviously greater clearance required, but remember the force on the runner is (almost) doubled vs the published impact force. I.e. I'd rather deck on stretch than rip the piece.

petejh

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I think there are sweet spots with ropes between impact force and stretch (and to a lesser degree handling, weight per mete, resistance to cutting). I think the sweet spot changes depending what medium you're climbing and what the protection usually consists of. I think I remember when Icelines first came out, and all the ice-climbers thought it was great because of the low impact force on screws. Times have change a little bit though with more research and greater general knowledge of the holding strength of screws in good ice. Also the development of better screws. Not that I've ever considered a screw as being akin to a bolt.. but the fear of ripping screws in a fall (which should virtually never happen on pure ice anyway) is lessened compared to say 15-20 years ago. But yeah for ice, icelines make sense for the combination of a slightly dubious medium and very low likelihood of actually lead falling onto them. Countered by the long stretchy falls if you do, and the risk increasing of fucking your ankle the further you fall wearing crampons.

Move to mixed and the protection is often rock gear or bolts, with some ice screws too. Different sweet spot between stretch and impact force. Depending on rock quality obvs - shitty swiss limestone versus bomber granite.

For rock-climbing where there's a 'very slim' chance of falling, or on rock where there's a greater than very slim chance of falling AND the gear is marginal holding strength then I can see icelines might make sense. For rock where the chance of falling is anything greater than 'very slim' BUT the gear is better than marginal holding strength, icelines don't make sense to me due to their excessive stretch. The sweet spot imo is more like the Mammut rope Duncan linked to.

For sport climbing, Icelines obv make zero sense except I wonder if they could be a good way to minimise rope weight and drag on a very long endurance redpoint at the limit, by climbing on a single iceline... Bobbins told me he did Liquid Ambar on a single skinny double rope for this reason. Perhaps Ondra will use an iceline on his 1000m jumbo-mega-proj at Flatanger.

Just imo.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2023, 02:01:31 pm by petejh »

T_B

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I had a period of trad climbing on Icelines as for long pitches the weight saving was noticeable (less pumped = less likely to fall off). I was recently looking at the Petzl Rumba which is 8mm for the same reason. Iíd never considered impact force and dynamic elongation.

If youíre worrying about that kind of detail my guess is youíre going to be operating well within your comfort zone and are unlikely to fall off? Iím not being dickish (I wear a helmet) but with trad/ice how much of the potential risk is really tied up in the stretchiness of your rope?! I suspect there are way more important factors.

Paul B

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Iíve used Mammut Phoenix 8.1mms as my trad. ropes for a few years and taken a few falls on them. Stretchy but not stupidly so in my view.

I think that's the same decision I came to. Some Googling would suggest the previous choice (bought in Squamish as I'd wrecked its predecessor and was just about to do lots of walking with ropes) was a Twilight:

https://www.outside.co.uk/mammut-twilight-7-5mm-dry-half-twin-rope.html

andy moles

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All interesting input, thanks.

The ropes I was considering (owing to availability of a good deal) are DMM Couloirs, which have an impact force of 6.6kN, so a bit less stretchy than icelines anyway.

galpinos

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Bit late to the party but a few random thoughts:

Dynamic Elongation(Duncan)
UIAA 101 and EN-892 are very similar, with all the tests being the same with a few extra bits added by UIAA 101. Dynamic elongation is defined in EN-892 section 4.4 Dynamic Elongation, "Where tested in accordance with 5.6, the dynamic elongation shall not exceed 40% during the first drop of each sample". 5.6 is the Drop test for determination of peak force, dynamic elongation and number of drops, shown here on this nice UIAA pictogram:



Dynamic elongation IS information that has to be supplied by the manufacturer, it is 37% for an iceline for reference.

Impact Force

Beal have ALWAYS had the lowest impact forces of any equivalent rope, the the extent that Michel Beal has had accusations leveled at him re his results. As yet, the secret to his magic sheath weave/application of fairy dust is unknown.

The bigger question is does the rope impact force matter? As petejh alluded to above, it depends! Petzl have actually done a load of good work on this to get some real world values for forces at the belayer, top piece and the climber.

A brief summary of what they found:
  • Humans are a lot softer than a rigid mass - peak force at an anchor was 70% higher with a rigid falling mass than a person!
  • Belay device makes more of a difference (Increase in forces) at higher fall factors* when comparing a grigri to a reverso.
  • Rope drag makes a massive difference (and something MOST climbers forget/don't understand). The force on the climber remains constant but the more rope drag, the higher percentage of the force is felt at the top piece than the belayer - it  reduces the length of rope that if absorbing the energy of the fall, effectively increasing "fall factor".

So would the rope impact force make a difference - yes
Would it matter for a 0.3 factor fall on a free running rope - no
Would it matter on a bigger fall on a winding route with moderate rope dag and the last piece being a rubbish rp...... I think so!

Now we've all decided that skinny halves with low impact forces are the way to go, we realise that only time ropes actually "fail" is when they are cut........ Now where's that Edelrid Protect catalogue?

*I hate "fall factor" but it seem to continue to be used and it gives most people an ideal of the severity of the fall so I have used it too, even if I can't forgive myself.


Johnny Brown

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Word. I was perhaps more easily influenced as a younger guy but working with Beal I was only too happy to drink the low impact force Kool-aid. Not been convinced otherwise yet.

jwi

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Belaying the second with a micro traxion is even more convenient than with a guide plate, but I think this should be left for low angle terrain where you never have to lower a second. This is a bad habit that has spread from lazy mountain guides in the alps to the general climbing population. IMHO, of course.

I revisit this thread as I was speaking to someone who was doing his rock climbing exams for guiding the other day. My interlocutor was claiming that this practice was now officially sanctioned as Petzl has made tests that shows it is safe.

I must say that I am still a bit sceptical so I went and looked on Petzls website where it doesn't get the most enthusiastic of endorsements
https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/Belaying-the-second-with-a-MICRO-TRAXION--beware-of-any-fall?ActivityName=Multi-pitch-climbing

OK, now I have some small experience of this. Holy moly. I don't care if the rope gets fuzzy. For long pitches with loads of drag it is just clearly superior to other belay techniques. As soon as my finances recover from the current chock of buying an apartment I'll buy a nano-traxion for the tag line and will use the micro to belay the second.

We just recently shared some belays with a French couple who were slightly weaker free climbers than us but kept on our heels all day on the fairly long route Baraka (685 m) in Gorge de Taghia thanks to faster systems. Like us, they were also climbing with doubles and had shoes, water and windbreaker clipped to the harness. He worked for PGHM and belayed his better half with two micro traxions: one on each rope. I was so jealous.

Obviously it's a pain if the second would like to be lowered to work a section, but it is not that hard to switch to a reverso if you have one installed on the master point already (for belaying pitches which ends with a traverse close to the belay)
« Last Edit: May 26, 2023, 12:22:24 pm by jwi »

duncan

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Belaying the second with a micro traxion is even more convenient than with a guide plate, but I think this should be left for low angle terrain where you never have to lower a second. This is a bad habit that has spread from lazy mountain guides in the alps to the general climbing population. IMHO, of course.

I revisit this thread as I was speaking to someone who was doing his rock climbing exams for guiding the other day. My interlocutor was claiming that this practice was now officially sanctioned as Petzl has made tests that shows it is safe.

I must say that I am still a bit sceptical so I went and looked on Petzls website where it doesn't get the most enthusiastic of endorsements
https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/Belaying-the-second-with-a-MICRO-TRAXION--beware-of-any-fall?ActivityName=Multi-pitch-climbing

OK, now I have some small experience of this. Holy moly. I don't care if the rope gets fuzzy. For long pitches with loads of drag it is just clearly superior to other belay techniques. As soon as my finances recover from the current chock of buying an apartment I'll buy a nano-traxion for the tag line and will use the micro to belay the second.

We just recently shared some belays with a French couple who were slightly weaker free climbers than us but kept on our heels all day on the fairly long route Baraka (685 m) in Gorge de Taghia thanks to faster systems. Like us, they were also climbing with doubles and had shoes, water and windbreaker clipped to the harness. He worked for PGHM and belayed his better half with two micro traxions: one on each rope. I was so jealous.

Obviously it's a pain if the second would like to be lowered to work a section, but it is not that hard to switch to a reverso if you have one installed on the master point already (for belaying pitches which ends with a traverse close to the belay)

Thanks for this. I'd be interested to give it try, single rope version first probably.

I thought you were a convert to single ropes for this kind of route? Horses for courses I guess.

jwi

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I thought you were a convert to single ropes for this kind of route? Horses for courses I guess.

Yeah, the latter part of Baraka (10 pitches) is a mountain route. It weaves up a prow, always finding the easiest or most protected part. For this stuff doubles make sense. I had to admit that I just ran it out and clipped them as twins.... :D

 

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