Forum Index » GEAR » Guyline as emergency rope?


Display Avatars Sort By:
JT Kelty
(WanderingWolf) - F
Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/20/2006 15:34:47 MDT Print View

I'm a newbie both here and with backpacking, so I apologize in advance if this question has been asked before.

I've gone out several times with friends, and we tend to enjoy going up the rocky trails. Well, as you can imagine, there've been times when one of us has slipped, and we used the AirCore Pro Dyneema guyline (which has a break strength of 560lbs) as a makeshift rope to pull whoever up. It worked OK, and I started thinking that I should include a 50' length in my pack as an "emergency" rope.

Anyone have any opinions about whether this is a good idea or whether I should spring for a real climbing rope just in case someone gets stuck again? They're much more expensive and heavier than the AirCore, however, and we're not really into mountain climbing, so I'm not really sure it's worth it.

If you have time, let me know what you think.

Thanks!

J R
(RavenUL) - F
Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/20/2006 18:51:06 MDT Print View

If your going to make this a habit, you really should consider picking up a rope more suited to the purpose.

I wouldnt recommend this for someone else, but what *I* do if I think I *might* encounter trail requiring tying into others, is to carry a 35' length of genuine 7-strand military parachute cord.

It doesnt weigh much, and its extremely strong.

JT Kelty
(WanderingWolf) - F
Thanks! on 10/21/2006 01:24:33 MDT Print View

Thanks, JR! I appreciate the response and the info!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/21/2006 02:55:21 MDT Print View

> I've gone out several times with friends, and we tend to enjoy going up the rocky trails. Well, as you can imagine, there've been times when one of us has slipped, and we used the AirCore Pro Dyneema guyline (which has a break strength of 560lbs) as a makeshift rope to pull whoever up. It worked OK, and I started thinking that I should include a 50' length in my pack as an "emergency" rope.

After a couple of nearly-fatal incidents, I ALWAYS carry at least 10 m of 4 mm kernmantle. (Sometimes it is more like 40 m of 6 mm, but that's when we KNOW we are going to need it.) It has since saved my wife and myself from serious 'embarrassment' several times. It fits between my two cupped hands.

The main problem with Spectra, Dyneema and similar over nylon is that they are very slippery. You may have trouble holding onto the stuff. I would have used a coil of Vectran I have instead, except for this problem. (They make space-suit tethers with Vectran!)

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/21/2006 09:39:40 MDT Print View

Any kind of rope is going to work better then none, Roger is correct about slickness, you can tie overhand or figure eight knots for better hand grip but slick ropes don't take knots well, maybe your group should invest in a randonee rope and share carrying it. It can be used to tow someone up as well as belaying down or simple rappels.
Whatever you do decide on chose something with a sheath like that kermantle to protect from abrasion and get in the habit of running your fingers down the sheath to "feel" any damage. Good luck.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/21/2006 10:38:23 MDT Print View

It is hard to see how this is more than a psychological protection ploy.

560 pound test might sound like a lot, but most knots you might tie in that rope might reduce the strength by fifty percent or so, and shock loading the rope (I cringe calling something that thin "rope", string is more appropriate) would also greatly increase the load on the rope -- even a little bit of slack would greatly increase the effective loading on the rope if someone were to slip.

Any rope, when under stress, will cut nearly instantly if it is near or over a sharp edge. A thin cord without a lot of safety factor could produce a catastrophe eve more quickly.

Airecore 2 isn't stretchy at all, and is thin enough that I think it would be tricky to handle safely as a hand-line.

I'd also keep in mind that the 560lb "breaking strength" is probably for cord fresh from the factory. After your piece of string has been in the pack for a season or two and used and abused golly knows how many times it won't be getting any stronger, if you know what I mean.

If you really think you need a rope for pulling people up when they slip, I'd get a short length (maybe ten or fifteen meters) of 4mm or 6mm kernmantle rope, that climbers often use for prussiks or slings. That will be much, much stronger and much more durable and much, much safer.

Also, if you think you need something like this, you probably also ought to get some instruction in how to handle and use it safely. Having a friend who is a climber and is willing to show you a few knots and rope-handling techniques and practicing with the rope a bit in your backyard is probably adequate. Book learning alone probably isn't.

Edited by david_bonn on 10/21/2006 10:41:41 MDT.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/21/2006 18:21:19 MDT Print View

JT,
Listen to D.Bonn and Roger Chaffin.

I would add an additional caution. Any use of light line in climbing needs to be done very carefully. Even 6mm kermantle can fail under shock loads. Don't rappel with it unless you know how to do it gently. Don't subject it to friction under the load of a climber. Treat it as if any unnecessary tug will break it.

The safe working strength of line is far less than the rated tensile strength. Divide the rating by 4 to be safe. That 550# line is suddenly down to around 140#. Use nothing less than good kermantle - braided sheath line from a climbing supply store. You can get Dyneema/Spectra kermantle accessory line these days. For the kind of emergency line you are describing, small accessory line is the minimum. 4mm is as small as you should go safely. 6mm would be much better. 4mm will cut or burn through your hands and other valued appendages. It will go through synthetic fabrics like a cheese wire through butter when rapelling with it.

You can use this as your bear line so it isn't wasted weight. Using it to haul up a bear bag will reduce its ultimate strength, but 6mm will have a lot more residual strength than the Aircore evern starts with. And it won't cut limbs.

Edited by vickrhines on 10/21/2006 18:25:17 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/22/2006 02:20:38 MDT Print View

Rappeling: DON't use a figure of 8. They twist the inside of the rope up something awful. We use a Black Diamond ATC on the 6 mm kernmantel with a locking alloy crab. On the 4 mm ... we use a hat or glove and slither rather than rappel. The 4 mm is NOT an abseil rope!

Care & maintenance: if the rope/line/string is used AT ALL, I uncoil it at home, brush any dirt etc off it, and run it through my hands carefully, checking every inch of it. EVERY time.

Burning: I still have a scar on my neck from doing a classical rappel on the 6 mm line without adequate care. And I have been rock climbing since the '60s.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/22/2006 11:24:31 MDT Print View

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd...the more I consider this the more I've come to believe that giving advise about rope management without advising someone to seek out a basic rock/mountaineering course is poor policy. It always amazed me what someone can get up before they needed a rescue, having pulled people off aid routes they were free climbing I'm suprised how quick I dole out information. Oddly enough it is what Roger said about doing a dulfersitz on a small diameter rope that made it click in the melon shaped object I sometimes use for a head. Everyone should go out and do even a low angle body rappel on a standard 11mm rope then return here to document the experience. harpier cries:--"tis time,tis time"
Please go get some basic instruction,share with your local supplier what your needs are, and ,as Roger sez, lose the figure eight.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Re: Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/23/2006 11:23:18 MDT Print View

Yeah, LS, you're right. No substitute for training. That should be the first advice. And I'm trying to imagine a situation where aircore would have worked to "pull" someone up where they would not be safer without such assistance.

Edited by vickrhines on 10/23/2006 11:25:03 MDT.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/25/2006 08:58:51 MDT Print View

None of the rope suggestions made are dynamic
ropes, that is, made to limit the forces in a fall.

If you are talking about using some cord in place
of a hand up or reaching with a long stick, that is
one thing, but in any situation where a injurious
fall may occur, you will want a dynamic rope. These start at about 8 mm and go up to 12 mm.

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/25/2006 14:52:15 MDT Print View

I hope I don't sound abrassive here, and my post is not a direct reply to any one question/thread or replier in particular, but using any small line (or pushing limits of light climbing gear) in a technical/vertical situtation requires a deep climbing knowledge of the VAST multitude of "dirt nap" scenarios possible to judge the real risk. I've done body recoveries on falls as short as 20'( too young man died of multiple open skull fractures while we worked on him) and seen pretty terrible injuries/death from other 'wing it techniques' on short to med length falls. If you carry climbing gear or travel on any 5th class terrain, then please get expert training on how to use it safely. That info is impossible to get from a forum. A basic/inter/advanced climbing course would be a good experience for any backpacker.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/25/2006 16:13:07 MDT Print View

I'm kind of glad this guy asked the question. I'll bet there are a few dozen lurkers who didn't ask who are hopefully rethinking things. Hopefully they manage to rethink things before heinous death or vicious injury.

Whenever questions like this come up, my first reaction that it is a lot like asking the price of something sold a Neiman-Marcus: if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.

J R
(RavenUL) - F
Re: Re: Guyline as emergency rope? on 10/25/2006 17:02:39 MDT Print View

I think it all comes down to personal responsibility and honest risk assessment. If everyone in the party agrees to carrying some aircore as their emergency line, have at it.

The results of failure are no worse than for many other outdoor endeavors. You run the risk of death or injury regardless.

Yes, absolutly use appropriate equipment, get training on how to use it, and be smart about its use... but be realistic as well. Risk exists no matter what you do and everything comes with a price. If you and your group are well informed about the pros and cons of XYZ product, and you decide to use it, I hope you made the right choice FOR YOU. Best of luck. Buyer beware, use at own risk, you reap what you sow, etc etc etc.

You are your own responsibility

Edited by RavenUL on 10/25/2006 17:05:19 MDT.