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Is a 70m rope useful? (Seneca, NRG, other DC-area crags)
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By Timothy Mark
Mar 19, 2011
I live near Washington DC, and I'm contemplating a new rope. My heavy 10.5 rope has served me well for local top-roping and some trad following, but as I get into leading I want something lighter - probably in the 9.8 - 10.2 range.

Is there any benefit to a 70m rope at any of the local areas? Seneca Rocks will be my most frequent destination, with occasional trips to NRG, Shenandoah, the Gunks, etc.

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By Evan1984
Mar 19, 2011
Tim,

I think the answer to your question lies in the answer to the question, "Have you ever felt or feel you WILL need a 70meter for some specific purpose?" If not, then I'd say that you probably don't want one.

Alot depends on the type of climbing and areas you climb. I let a sport climber friend of mine talk me into a 70m, but I ended up cutting it down becuase the extra length was not worth the extra rope management and weight at belays.

Anyway, I think its important to remember that 50meter was standard for a long while. There is a point where the extra length gives diminishing returns. You can only climb so much before you run out of gear and rope drag becomes a problem.

Although I might be in the minority, I think that a 70 is usually unecesary, especially for an new/intermmediate leader. They are just more rope management and weight to deal with. Most new leaders will not be doing rope stretching pitches often. You can take your second rope to rappel if you need to.

Evan

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By Couloirman
From Providence, RI
Mar 19, 2011
speedriding vail pass
I say yes to a 70m no matter what. The ends may need to be cut at some point since they get the most wear and tear and if you need a 60m and only started with a 60m once you chop off a bit from each end (to keep the middle mark in the middle if there is one) it isn't long enough anymore.

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By James Anderson
From Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mar 19, 2011
On Jaspers dihedral.
I agree with evan, the only time a 70m rope would be an advantage for an average climber if you where doing slightly longer sport leads and didnt want to worry about trailing a rope for the longer than half a 60m rope rappel. go with the 60 and save yourself with a lot of hassle and weight that comes with the longer rope.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 19, 2011
El Chorro
If you are in the habit of working routes, falling, hanging, etc, then get a 70 for sure. You can chop the ends when you get to the core and and you'll still have a 65m. You can do this 2 or 3 times per end before it will get to short for outdoor use, at which point you cut it in half and then you have two gym ropes.

If you don't like to fall and you don't know of any routes or rappels that you'll be doing often that require a 70m, then get a 60.

FWIW I can't think of any routes at the New where you'd need a 70 but I think some of the rappels DO require a 70. I don't remember.

EDITED to add that a 70m is becoming the standard at most sport areas, and all Euro sport areas.

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By kevin fox
From parker
Mar 19, 2011
cody
70's rock! as far as cost 70 meter ropes are comparable to the cost of 60's check it out. you can catch a good 70 on sale at or below 200 bucks.and are you really concerned with weight? is that what is holding your climbing back? and a 70 is no harder to manage than a 60. for example, this video is me rapping with 2 60's. length has nothing to do with management. it is the operator.

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By Davis13au
Mar 23, 2011
Only a few moves with an awkward top out.
I have a 60 and a 70 and climb at Seneca. I've never gotten in a jam with the 60 at Seneca but there are some routes where a 70 makes it easier to skip a belay and link two pitches together. Prune is one that I can think of. The first two pitches are often linked and with a 60 you can just make it but with a 70 there is no problem. I haven't tried skipping rappel stations yet on any of the common rappels but you might be able to with a 70. I missed a rap station once at Seneca in a rain storm and a 70 would have made it easier. A 70 will give you a little more length to work with in an emergency as well like if you have to lower an injured lead. Since getting to Seneca is not a long slog I think carrying a 70 there is worth it. Just skip going up the stairmaster with it by climbing Ecstacy Junior.

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By PTR
From GA
Mar 23, 2011
Not sure on the 60 v. 70 question. I'm still getting used to a 60 -- having climbed on 50s at Seneca for decades.

As to diameter, Seneca is full of sharp flakes -- and at least one recent fatality was attributed to the rope being cut on a flake. So you have to think about whether the weight savings are worth it to go down to 9.8.

For falling on steep faces and beefy bolts at the NRG, though, I would probably be okay with a skinnier rope.

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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 23, 2011
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on st...
Couloirman wrote:
I say yes to a 70m no matter what. The ends may need to be cut at some point since they get the most wear and tear and if you need a 60m and only started with a 60m once you chop off a bit from each end (to keep the middle mark in the middle if there is one) it isn't long enough anymore.


+1 - the ability to trim the ends is a big plus.

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By Eric D
From Gnarnia
Mar 23, 2011
Born again on the last move of the Red Dihedral, h...
That comes down to the question of how often you see yourself linking pitches.

Doing so may not be especially important or beneficial at a place like Seneca.

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By Wannabe
Mar 23, 2011
As to diameter, Seneca is full of sharp flakes -- and at least one recent fatality was attributed to the rope being cut on a flake. So you have to think about whether the weight savings are worth it to go down to 9.8.

+1 from me on that. Because I plan on leading regularly at Seneca at some point in the next couple years and I want to climb alpine stuff I just bought a set of doubles. Long rappels and more redundancy with those sharp flakes. Granted I'd probably be laughed off a sport route if somebody saw me clipping bolts with them. :)

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 23, 2011
El Chorro
Wannabe wrote:
As to diameter, Seneca is full of sharp flakes -- and at least one recent fatality was attributed to the rope being cut on a flake. So you have to think about whether the weight savings are worth it to go down to 9.8. +1 from me on that. Because I plan on leading regularly at Seneca at some point in the next couple years and I want to climb alpine stuff I just bought a set of doubles. Long rappels and more redundancy with those sharp flakes. Granted I'd probably be laughed off a sport route if somebody saw me clipping bolts with them. :)


Probably, but who gives a fuck?

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By Chris Clarke
From La Paz, BO
Mar 23, 2011
There are a couple of places where a 70m is useful at Seneca.

You can get off of Marshall's/Crack of Dawn with one 70m, for example. Same for for the first two pitches of Muscle Beach. A 70m will give you a little more comfort coming off High Test but it is not necessary. I think also Cottonmouth/Venom but I am not sure about that one.

So you get a little convenience on some routes but mostly just carry around extra rope.

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By Sam Stephens
Mar 24, 2011
Top half of Melifluous
Lots of times I've been happy to have my 70. A 60 will get you down from almost everything at the NRG though.

But, on bigger routes it's nice to be able to string out pitches and like someone else pointed out you can get more life out of a 70m rope by cutting the ends down when they start wearing out. Start cutting down a 60m rope and you start to limit yourself a lot more.

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