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Getting the Second Rope Up the Climb - Multi Pitch
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By Chris Massey
Mar 3, 2014
Interested in hearing preferred ways to get the second rope up multi-pitch routes when two ropes are required for rappel. I generally let the follower trail the second rope behind him. Also have used a small diameter tag line and can coil that and put it in a bullet pack that the second carries. I actually prefer that. Mostly use these methods for 3-4 pitch routes in NC.

I am asking because planning my first trip to Red Rocks in the spring. Don't plan on using the tag line because I want two lines I can lead on in the event of a stuck rope and the need to re-lead a pitch. Had to re-lead a pitch at Moores on a 8mm static tag line and dont want to do that again. Concerned about having the follower trailing the second line as it might get stuck coming up. Never had that problem in NC, but I hear RR cracks and features eat ropes. Do you as the leader ever tie into both lines and just clip one, bringing them both up on lead? Not crazy about the extra weight, but maybe worth it. I wont be using doubles/halfs. Looking at the classic moderates with rap decents like Crimson Chrysalis, Dream of Wild Turkeys, etc. Wont be an issue on the walk offs like Epinephrine obviously.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Mar 3, 2014
Your best option is to climb on twins. Tied in to both, belaying on both, clipping pro to both. Twin 60's.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Mar 3, 2014
This topic has been heavily covered in the forums already, but I'll bite anyway since I'm sort-of working and am waiting for a large file to process. Someone will, presumably, soon post a link to one of the many other threads on the topic. Or you can do a search. Anyway, my opinions:

First, what not to do:

-Don't take 2 ropes if you don't have to. There are tons of routes in Red Rocks that you might think you need two ropes for, but that you don't. You can often sneak by and do the raps with a single rope. Having to do an extra couple of raps, or a little swinging around, is often worth not carrying that second cord. Having a 70 m (or an 80!) gives you more options for getting down with one rope. Just remember to knot the ends.

- Don't take two single ropes. Two full leads lines is just...not...worth...it. You might think it is a reasonable idea, but you are wrong. Really. Dragging around two full size single will make you slow, heavy, and miserable. Figure out a better 2 rope system, or find routes that you can rap with 1 rope.

-Don't have the second trail a rope. It is heavy, it is liable to snag or tangle (especially if windy), and if there is a party behind you they will hate you.

Second, what is a good idea to do:

-Climb routes that you can walk off from or can rap with 1 70 m rope.

-Use a double or twin rope system There are many additional advantages to this, especially with doubles. Not to difficult to use once you are used to it. You say "I wont be using doubles/halfs." Why not?

-Climb with a single and a skinny tag line. The tag line should generally be trailed by the leader, off the haul loop. It can also be used to haul the pack, which is nice. If you are nervous about stuck ropes, get a haul line that you can lead on in an emergency situation (like a very thin twin rope...they make them down to like 6.9 mm now...it probably won't break...)

(If you absolutely have to climb with two single ropes, have the leader tie in to it or trail it off of his haul loop...if sucks for the leader pulling up both these ropes, but this is better than trailing it behind the second)

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 3, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
Whatever...if all's you got is two single ropes, use two single ropes. Have the leader tie into both if you're worried about the trailing rope getting stuck on something. Sure there are better options...twins/doubles, a tag line etc., but sometimes you just have to use what you got. Not optimal, but it works fine.

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By Ryan Huetter
From Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 3, 2014
From Mountain Magazine (Bruce Carson's first clean...
One easy way that I get around the tag line conundrum is to set up the rap with the knot on the single side of the rope (with the tag line, preferable a twin or something dynamic that you could double over and lead on if absolutely necessary but whatever you have…).

No, in most circumstances you don't want the knot on that side because the skinnier rope will go through the device faster and the knot can migrate causing the ropes to become uneven at the bottom, but if your partner either holds the knot or you put a friction hitch around both strands below the knot connecting the two ropes, the knot will not migrate, you can rap down to the next anchor with no problem, and then he/she can release the hitch once you are down holding both strands using a fireman's belay or tie off a bight and clip it off to the anchor. Either way you get to pull the single rope and get to use it if you have to reclimb the pitch to retrieve a stuck rope.

Lots of ways to skin a cat, but I use this method a lot when using my 6mm esprit tag line. Don't even think of using the Reepschnur method in RR. Lots of stuff to get caught on...

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By Ryan Huetter
From Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 3, 2014
From Mountain Magazine (Bruce Carson's first clean...
And just like above poster said, either a) the leader climbs with both ropes on, and it is way easier to clip both ropes into most pieces so it doesn't snag off the line or b) it goes in the pack. Never have the follower trail a line, that is just asking for trouble.

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By Ryan Watts
From Bishop, CA
Mar 3, 2014
Flatirons
As mentioned, do NOT have the second trail the rope. Having two lead lines actually isn't a bad idea -- there are plenty of places to get ropes stuck when rapping in RR and you very well may end up re-leading a pitch (happened to me on Solar Slab).

So your options pretty much boil down to:

1) Leader trails the rope. Assuming you're climbing below your limit this isn't that much of a cluster. People do this all the time.

2) Coil the rope and have your second backpack it. If you're leading at/near your limit and you don't want to trail a rope, you can do this. Obviously easier for the leader, but a bit less desirable for the second.

That being said...

...use doubles. Seriously.

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By Maurice Chaunders
Mar 3, 2014
Colombian Crack
I've done a bunch of multipitch at RR with two 9.8 70m. We'd lead on one and the other was attached to the pack that the follower carried. It was like a bullet pack or something and it was a tight coil and then tied to the pack. We might have even worn it backpack style, wrapped and tied securely. The leader carried a small camelback with shoes in it and had all the gear on gear loops on the harness. Why not climb on twins/halfs? Uh, don't climb on what you don't got. RR can eat ropes, particularly dream of wild turkeys (don't lower your rope, coil a throw or rap with ends on rope on your person, using a backup/prussik somehow in the system). The second rope never seemed to bother us, but if we had to do twice as many raps, we might have remembered that.

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By limpingcrab
From Visalia, CA
Mar 3, 2014
Huge invisible muscles
It's funny how many people said to use twins/doubles when you said in the OP that you don't have them.

If it's not too hard have the leader trail it. If it tough have the follower pack it (unless there's OW or a chimney, then having a rope on your back sucks even more than a backpack)

Both ways work fine and aren't that big of a deal unless you're the kind of person who counts ounces.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 4, 2014
having had to manage other parties ropes for them when their second was trailing the line, i would urge you not to do this. its super rude on crowded routes to eat up belay stances with your rope after you've left the stance, and its asking to get the rope stuck and now your entire party is above the line.

the two best options are:

1) the leader trails the line on their haul loop. I do this, as I prefer it to packing the line.

2) the second wears it as a backpack coil and climbs with it.

with a super skinny tag line, you can keep it in a pack as well- i know alot of folks who do this.

fwiw- with many routes in red rock, a single 70m with suffice. DoWT requires two ropes (or a single 80m), but Crimson can easily be rappelled with a single 70m line. if you do use two ropes, tie an EDK or you will get your rope stuck.

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By Maurice Chaunders
Mar 4, 2014
Colombian Crack
Dude above me meant to say "tie an EDK AND your rope will get stuck"

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Mar 4, 2014
mike seaman wrote:
Dude above me meant to say "tie an EDK AND your rope will get stuck"


Do you have a better proposal?

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Mar 4, 2014
OTL
eff the second - if they're not leading they can handle the weight of a rope. A single 60m fits fine in an REI Flash sized pack and is more comfortable than backpack coiled ropes and won't get caught on something.

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By Pontoon
From Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mar 4, 2014
I was wondering a similar thing. I plan to go to Yosemite where some climbs require two ropes to rap down. I have a 60m and my gf has a 60m. I don't mind getting a double/twin rope if needed. If I do get one, does that mean I have to pack the double/twin rope as well as the 60m rope and use the 60m for more general climbing?

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By Mark Hudon
Mar 4, 2014
On the North America Wall in 1977.
I'd rather drag a thin line and pull up a pack than climb with my approach shoes and/or a light pack any day.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 4, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
Mark Hudon wrote:
I'd rather drag a thin line and pull up a pack than climb with my approach shoes and/or a light pack any day.

Mark, in general I agree with you, but I'm sure you know as well as anyone that sometimes that just isn't practical. I can't imagine how pulling a pack up the chimney pitches of the RNWFHD would be, or on Epiniphrine. ALthough in those situations, it is impossible for me to wear the pack, it is still having off my harness so it still sucks! Plus, if the 2nd is climbing and not jugging, pulling up the pack is wasted time when the 2nd is not on belay (maybe you have a better way of dealing with that?). IF the climbing is hard for me though, I'll do almost anything to not wear a pack.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 4, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
Pontoon wrote:
I was wondering a similar thing. I plan to go to Yosemite where some climbs require two ropes to rap down. I have a 60m and my gf has a 60m. I don't mind getting a double/twin rope if needed. If I do get one, does that mean I have to pack the double/twin rope as well as the 60m rope and use the 60m for more general climbing?

If you only buy one double/twin, you'll need to climb on your single and tow the skinny rope along. More often than not, trail it with the leader. Occasionally on slab routes, I'll have the 2nd tow the skinny rope since there is nothing for it to get hung up on, but that is rare. IF you're going to buy one skinny rope, you'd be better off springing for two and just leading on twins/doubles.

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By Pontoon
From Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mar 4, 2014
Yeah I could buy two. Then do I still pack the normal 60m rope? I would still be interested in top roping and sport climbing. I haven't seen people so TR or sport on doubles/twins.

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By john strand
From southern colo
Mar 4, 2014
Mark Hudon wrote:
I'd rather drag a thin line and pull up a pack than climb with my approach shoes and/or a light pack any day.


Agree..esp in windy conditions (like RR in spring) you don't want a rope swinging around either from the leader or the second.

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By James Hicks
From Denver, CO
Mar 4, 2014
Rapping off of South Six Shooter.
JCM wrote:
Do you have a better proposal?



I am curious as well as to what knot is less likely to get stuck than an EDK...

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 4, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
Pontoon wrote:
Yeah I could buy two. Then do I still pack the normal 60m rope? I would still be interested in top roping and sport climbing. I haven't seen people so TR or sport on doubles/twins.

For a trip to Yosemite? I know there's some sport and TR in Yosemite, but from what I've seen of Yosemite that's not where you'll spend most of your time. If it were me, I'd just bring a pair of twins/doubles and leave the single at home. But, if you really are going to do multi pitch (w/ raps), sport, and TR (more likely at RR) and are packing for a plane trip, then I'd pack a single rope plus a skinny rope for raps.

Disclaimer: I'm not a Yos or RR expert. I've been to each place about a dozen times, so locals might have a different opinion.

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By wivanoff
Mar 4, 2014
High Exposure
Pontoon wrote:
Yeah I could buy two. Then do I still pack the normal 60m rope? I would still be interested in top roping and sport climbing. I haven't seen people so TR or sport on doubles/twins.


Why not bring your 'normal' 60m rope and one double 60m rope? Heavier than just doubles but you have some options:

Use your single rope for TR.

Lead on your single rope and either trail your double or have the second pack it or leave it at the base, depending on the route.

Use your single and the double for DRT (just don't clip both ropes into a single piece). Although I prefer doubles, I've done this many times.

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By Mark Hudon
Mar 4, 2014
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Max and I used to drag a pack all the time, maybe we just had good luck with it, I can't remember having a problem with it. Although, yes, on some routes its not worth it.

I'm certainly not advocating a heavy pack, certainly no more that both pair of approach shoes, rain gear water and a bar or two.

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By David Coley
From UK
Mar 4, 2014
To NCTRAD,
As you don't want to use half ropes to climb with, climb on a single and let the leader to carry a coiled half rope on his/her shoulders and the second the pack.

If moving fast, don't bring a sack and let the second carry the rope.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 4, 2014
James Hicks wrote:
I am curious as well as to what knot is less likely to get stuck than an EDK...


There isn't one, to my knowledge.

I climb alot in Red Rock (obviously)- done alot of rappelling too, and while there is a bit more to the art of pulling ropes than just which knot you use (which side of the anchor you put the knot matters, for instance), the EDK does do a better job rolling over obstacles than the fisherman.

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By john strand
From southern colo
Mar 4, 2014
David Coley wrote:
To NCTRAD, As you don't want to use half ropes to climb with, climb on a single and let the leader to carry a coiled half rope on his/her shoulders and the second the pack. If moving fast, don't bring a sack and let the second carry the rope.


Your kidding / Right ? Let the leader carry a coiled rope...

Yosemite must have changed quite a bit.. I rarely recall double ropes being used much.

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