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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 10, 2013
So these days a lot of folks like to use a 70m rope to link pitches and save time, which is great. Question I have is, there are many longer routes where two ropes are required or at least preferred. On such routes, I use double 60's, but often a lot of pitch-linking strategies are based on having a 70.

I could picture a 70m tag line being used in this situation, so that every pitch you led with the single 70 could be rapped with the tag line and the single. But I could also picture that much rope being just insanely inconvenient a lot of the time. The second carrying the skinny line in a pack sounds like a drag. And trailing a 60m tag line on a 70m pitch sounds a little off, because you'd have to just let the trailing end of the 60 run free on the full 70m pitches, and risk it getting snagged somewhere off-route.

So I could also picture one last option being the most popular: bring the single 70, and find a way down that works with a single 70, but not every climb works that way.

What do you do?

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By heppnerd
Feb 10, 2013
buy 6 mil 70 meter static cord and use it as a pull down line. It packs down small and weighs about 3 to 4 lbs. Drawback you can't simil-rap.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Feb 10, 2013
David,

A tag line, carried by the second, has the advantage of much less weight than carrying two full-sized ropes. I occasionally use a tag line ("pull cord"), but only in areas where I don't anticipate a snagged rope when pulling after rappel. Your safety margin is reduced by using a super-skinny line (I have 6 mil) if the fat rope gets stuck. Imagine trying to ascend that 6 mil rope to get to the fat rope. Scary.

The pull cord works OK on smooth granite slabs, but I wouldn't consider it at Red Rocks, home of the snagfest.

I think skinny twin ropes are the best option, overall.

Edit: Use of the pull cord is where the Reepschnur comes in handy:

mountainproject.com/v/reepschn...

Note: Pulling a 6 mil cord is harder on the hands, too.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 10, 2013
FrankPS wrote:
David, A tag line, carried by the second, has the advantage of much less weight than carrying two full-sized ropes. I occasionally use a tag line ("pull cord"), but only in areas where I don't anticipate a snagged rope when pulling after rappel. Your safety margin is reduced by using a super-skinny line (I have 6 mil) if the fat rope gets stuck. Imagine trying to ascend that 6 mil rope to get to the fat rope. Scary. The pull cord works OK on smooth granite slabs, but I wouldn't consider it at Red Rocks, home of the snagfest. I think skinny twin ropes are the best option, overall. Edit: Use of the pull cord is where the Reepschnur comes in handy: mountainproject.com/v/reepschn... Note: Pulling a 6 mil cord is harder on the hands, too.


Wow, Frank, I must have been thinking very hard about my upcoming Red Rocks trip as I was writing that, you saw right through me!

The tag line I was thinking of was Ice Floss, a 7.7 twin. I was thinking that this had the advantage of being a real rope in the event that things went pear-shaped (aka lead rope lost or destroyed), could just twin it and do 115' pitches with it.

Double 70's (ie actual half ropes) would be an invitation to clusters, I would think? You are meaning double/twin 60's, right?

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Feb 10, 2013
Twin 70's would only be 20 extra yards of cluster over twin 60's! I don't know Red Rock well enough to say this with confidence (but I'll say it anyway) - twin 60's will get you down almost every climb.

Do you know of some climbs there where the raps are over 60 meters? I'd imagine it's pretty rare.

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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Feb 10, 2013
a 50 m tag line can be paired with a 70 m lead rope. In most cases you will not be rappelling more than 50 m so it's fine. In the few cases that you do need that last 10 m, you can just slip the lead rope through your belay device. Just understand that this can put extra wear on the ropes and the knot.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 10, 2013
FrankPS wrote:
Twin 70's would only be 20 extra yards of cluster over twin 60's! I don't know Red Rock well enough to say this with confidence (but I'll say it anyway) - twin 60's will get you down almost every climb. Do you know of some climbs there where the raps are over 60 meters? I'd imagine it's pretty rare.


I've certainly not climbed everything in RR, but I bet you are right on the double 60's being adequate for almost all descents. The issue is more one of how to do the 70m pitch-linking and still be able to do two-rope raps, while not coming up with a system that is really heavy?

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 10, 2013
Red Rock...with the exception of the Black Velvet Wall, you can get off just about every trade route with a single 70m. On the rare occasions I do need to take a tag line with me, I just take a 60m half rope up with me and a single 60m for leading.

Usually if the pitches are such that you need more than a 70m rope to rappel, they're long enough that you cannot link with a 70m or if you can, its not necessarily an advantage to. Or take a 60m tag line and a 70m lead line. If the rope does catch (which i've never actually experienced), the second can swing over and get it.

A pair of 70m lines is excessive- and frankly, the less rope you can carry in Red Rock, the better.

Finally, alot of people love to link pitches here, but frankly, its not always worth it due to the wandering nature of alot of the more moderate lines. In the case of trying to save time by leading huge pitches, you're often better off simul-climbing with a shorter rope or a 70m 9.2mm or something doubled over.

(On a side note, in an ideal world, I'd carry an 80m rope up the Velvet wall, as I know you can get off the wall with an 80m line.)

anyway, ymmv, thats just my experience here.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Feb 10, 2013
David Horgan wrote:
I've certainly not climbed everything in RR, but I bet you are right on the double 60's being adequate for almost all descents. The issue is more one of how to do the 70m pitch-linking and still be able to do two-rope raps, while not coming up with a system that is really heavy?


Your options are limited to: a) a skinny tag line b) twins or doubles c) do routes that have raps stations/anchors less than 35 meters apart (no second rope necessary)

You could also plan to do only climbs that have walk-offs!

Maybe there is another option I'm not thinking of?

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 10, 2013
DannyUncanny wrote:
a 50 m tag line can be paired with a 70 m lead rope. In most cases you will not be rappelling more than 50 m so it's fine. In the few cases that you do need that last 10 m, you can just slip the lead rope through your belay device. Just understand that this can put extra wear on the ropes and the knot.


So this tag line would be trailed by the leader, or packed by the second? If the former, what happens when the trailing end is just wandering across the rock on its own?

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 10, 2013
FrankPS wrote:
Your options are limited to: a) a skinny tag line b) twins or doubles c) do routes that have raps stations/anchors less than 35 meters apart (no second rope necessary) You could also plan to do only climbs that have walk-offs! Maybe there is another option I'm not thinking of?


I guess it's to have a tag that's shorter than the lead, as DannyUncanny suggests...

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 10, 2013
David Horgan wrote:
So this tag line would be trailed by the leader, or packed by the second? If the former, what happens when the trailing end is just wandering across the rock on its own?


Always trailed by the leader. Its just a PITA for the second unless you like 6mm or less cord, which is bound to get caught up and and tangled.

As to the second question- nothing. Its not a big deal. Its pulled up by the leader that way anyway, and if for some odd reason it does get caught, the second can deal with it. Again, in all my years climbing in red rock, the tag line has never gotten caught on anything when trailed by the leader.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 10, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard
In the past few years, with the increasing emphasis on linking pitches, I'm beginning to think a lot of climbers really hate climbing and can't wait to get away from an activity that makes them miserable. It's climbing, not a visit to the dentist, right?

Las Vegas isn't Chamonix, where there are quite a few climbs you might want to rush on. Not saying anyone should purposely go slow, but there is such a thing as savoring...

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By Superclimber
Feb 10, 2013
Sounds like you need to get yourself an 8.9mmm 70m Mammut Serenity like this one:) mountainproject.com/v/fs-70m-8...

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By Superclimber
Feb 10, 2013
I'm still gaining experience in long and backcountry climbs. But here's what I've learned from my experiences so far. If I can walk or scramble off without much risk of stuck rope issues then a single 60 is best. I really like my Beal Joker, it's small and light. If there are long raps or serious risk of stuck ropes then 60m half ropes. For trips, taking a skinny half rope and something like the joker is a good option.

If the 70m Serenity I have doesn't sell it will offer yet another option for me. But I really think that most of the time choosing between a 60m single or a half rope system is the way to go. Nevertheless, you should buy my brand new never been use Serenity;)

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 10, 2013
rgold wrote:
In the past few years, with the increasing emphasis on linking pitches, I'm beginning to think a lot of climbers really hate climbing and can't wait to get away from an activity that makes them miserable. It's climbing, not a visit to the dentist, right? Las Vegas isn't Chamonix, where there are quite a few climbs you might want to rush on. Not saying anyone should purposely go slow, but there is such a thing as savoring...


Rgold, your words are wise, as always, but when a route is 18 or 20 pitches, I need all the efficiency I can get! To me linking offers a way to get on bigger routes, or more routes in a day, not to get home sooner! Obviously the linking approach has limitations (bigger rack, longer falls for the second, potential for more drag, communication issues), but I think where it helps to motor up a big stretch of moderate rock, could be a nice option to have in the quiver.

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By bearbreeder
Feb 10, 2013
whats the point of belaying every short pitch, when you got 20 pitches to climb when you can do them in 12 linked

the less time you spend belaying on a long climb, the faster youll get down, the less chance of getting caught

the people here who belay every short easy pitch on the chief are the ones who are new and causing traffic jams on popular climbs ... youll get lapped. or youll jam several parties behind you

id rather spend more time climbing than belaying ;)

as for rapping ... tag lines work fine as long as they dont get stuck ... i usually trail up a half rope just in case i need to lead back up ... a single is better for taking repeated whips on IMO when yr climbing at your limit on multi ... and they cost much less, the tag line doesnt see much wear

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By The Ex-Engineer
From UK
Feb 16, 2013
It seems to be the perceived wisdom that long ropes and running pitches together saves time.

However, I have never been completely convinced of this and often take the opposite approach and take shorter than normal ropes on long classic routes where the original pitches were all relatively short.

Also, I have never seen any compelling evidence in the form of climbers publishing exact timings for completing routes using both the traditional pitches and then running them together.

My view is that competent, efficient climbers, operating below their limit, are able to climb quickly whatever length of rope they use and the whole issue of rope length and pitch length is fairly irrelevant. I would even go as far as to say that the supposed time savings from longer pitches don't actually exist. If people are climbing quicker, it is probably because they are better climbers or they are adopting additional time saving strategies like block leading.

That said, until people start getting stop-watches out on routes they climb multiple times each year and blogging about the results, I have no objective evidence to support my view but equally there is little real evidence to support the view that 70m ropes do consistently save time.

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By bearbreeder
Feb 17, 2013
the extra 6-8+ belays at a minimum of 5-10+ minutes apiece on an lower apron/upper apron/squamish buttress/butt face definitely takes extra time

they can easily add an extra hour to the climb which can put you climbing in the dark ... ive seen parties get benighted because they were following every belay in the guidebook ... honestly when youre on a 5.9/10c (depending on the variation) climb .. if you cant link 5.6/7 pitches you shouldnt be on that climb

no matter how you cut it, belays break your climbing rhythm on easier ground, and at the very minimum youll need to build an anchor, communicate to your belay, pull/flip the rope and transfer the gear ... i dont know many people who can do this faster than 5 minutes on a multi ...

its also insuring that you arrive at the harder pitches in fast time and have enough energy, or time for a short rest before jumping at a pitch more at your limit ...

one should also be aware that belaying every pitch on an easy multi can easily cause traffic jams, just like one slow driver or an accident ... all it takes is one party in front of you to belay out every 20m pitch for things to get stacked up quickly

if you ever climbed multi in squamish, you see this a every summer ...

naturally linking pitches does carry more risk and youll generally do it decently below your level ... youll also be running it out more of course ... however i can name several climbs here where linking saves quite a bit of time and doesnt take much more gear if you are a confident climber at that level ... remember that building an anchor generally takes 3 pieces if not more ...

personally i would not be climbing with a partner who did not have the ability to lead or follow me on the easy linked pitches ...

if you want to climb faster or more, minimize the time you DONT spend climbing ... which means belaying ...

if youre ever in squamish theres an easy test ... there a classic ultrasoft "5.8" climb out here that has 4 belays (even though its listed as 3 pitches) ... its so easy that you can hike it in your sneakers

you can try doing it in 4 pitches, or in 2 ... just run up the thing as fast as you can ... i guarantee you that one will be faster than the other

mountainproject.com/v/star-che...

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By The Ex-Engineer
From UK
Feb 20, 2013
If you are talking about 5-10 minutes per belay, that's one thing. I'd consider it bad form if it's taking me anything even remotely close to 5 minutes at obvious stances.

I have a fair bit of mountaineering and guiding experience in which 'short pitching' is a standard method for movement on 4th or easy 5th grade terrain (or Alpine AD or Scottish Winter grade II-III routes). When working I will routinely string 4-5 short pitches together over 20-30 minutes so I suppose I just don't see the whole process of taking a belay as amounting to something that appreciably slows down progress.

I'm very surprised you think belaying on easy ground breaks your rhythym. I generally consider the exact opposite. After flying up 30 metres of easy rock, a short rest at the belay is normally exactly what I want.

Equally, I just can't get my head around people who are happy to run things out (presumably on well-placed individual runners) but then get concerned about placing 3 or more anchors to belay on. If I need more than two at any belay, my first thought is always that I'm doing something wrong in selecting bomber placements.

I am happy to accept there are some straightforward routes where going from 4 to 2 pitches IS likely to slightly cut the time taken by skilled climbers. Equally I don't think the margin would be large.

However, if I was leading the same route with a relative novice seconding, I am pretty sure it would take roughly the same time regardless of which option I chose. When the climbing is 'hard' relative to ability, climbers tire well before covering 50metres, let alone 70metres which results on lost time. As such, short pitches provide natural breaks and sometimes a steadier rate of progress can be kept.

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By bearbreeder
Feb 20, 2013
well it depends on the climber ... but generally we dont take rests after 30m or even 60m of easy climbing ... i dont see many people short pitching up here on 5.7/8/9/10-

you simply keep on moving ... you rest after your linked pitch when yr belaying

of course as "training" for people who havent been up the chief, i insist that they can climb 12+ pitches of 5.8-5.10+ in a day cragging before ill take em up ...

as for the time it takes ... you still need to build an anchor, communicate with your belayer, pull up/flake the rope, put em on belay and communicate again ... if you do that i much less than 5 min, you are much faster than me or most people i know

as for 4th or low 5th ... just simul it

now not all pitches can or should be linked ... but many climbs up here have pitches that are fairly straight forward that can be easily linked

and the traffic jams in the summer are readily apparent when looking at those that dont link certain pitches ...

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