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Yes 1000
(mamamia) - F
Rope for Scrambling on 02/09/2013 18:01:46 MST Print View

Folks, I'm going on a trip where there is some scrambling/Class 4 climbing. Can someone tell me what kind of rope/length and some other minimal accessories I need? Also any technics how to use them? I am not planning to mountaineer, just pass some tricky trail with a heavy backpack on my back.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/09/2013 18:13:07 MST Print View

Don't take this the wrong way, but if you have to ask this sort of question, you probably have no business being on Class 4 terrain.

--B.G.--

Yes 1000
(mamamia) - F
Still... on 02/09/2013 18:19:19 MST Print View

BG, Thanks for your answer. But it still doesn't addresses my question and the help I'm seeking from the forum members :-). I will have 2 more partners on this trip and many have done this route without a rope, but I just want to me more cautious (got myself a helmet).

Andrew Zajac
(AZajac)

Locale: South West
static rope probably on 02/09/2013 18:35:42 MST Print View

I guess it depends on what you are expecting to do with them.

There are two types of rope: dynamic and static. Dynamic ropes are used for rock climbing and are used because they absorb the shock of a fall by being slightly elastic. Static ropes are used for rappelling and ascending because they do not stretch. If you take a fall on a static rope, large forces will be placed on you and your anchor and could end up breaking both.

Beyond rope type, I would invest in a book about basic climbing skills.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/09/2013 19:00:27 MST Print View

If you're going by yourself or another partner who's inexperienced...a rope can become more of a liability than a safety factor. If you're both tied in and don't know how to properly belay, then IF one of you should fall, you'll just pull your partner off the trail too and it's better to have one healthy person to get/give help than two injured hikers.

That said you can use them for tyroleans (string the rope between two difficult sections and pass gear/people along it) or for rappelling. Since your intended use is similar to glacier travel any 30m dynamic rope should get you through your trip. The beal rando 8mm is a pretty standard rope for the occasional scrambling over difficult terrain where you want some extra protection.

Just read up on hip/body belays and practice in a park a little before going out.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Still... on 02/09/2013 19:19:09 MST Print View

"I will have 2 more partners on this trip and many have done this route without a rope, but I just want to me more cautious (got myself a helmet)."

Then ask your partners what kind of climbing gear they are taking.

There's little point in you being equipped for everything if they are equipped for nothing.

--B.G.--

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/09/2013 19:51:15 MST Print View

I have been climbing for 25 years including tons of alpine routes from class 3 to 5.11.
I have watched two people die because they did not know how to set up a proper belay anchor, and they were only climbing 5.3

I agree with what Bob said.

Edited by asandh on 02/09/2013 19:53:49 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/09/2013 19:58:28 MST Print View

I don't know what Class 4 means - I do not live in America.
Sue & I carry 38 m of 6 mm climbing rope on many of our walking trips in the cliff/canyon country near us. Very useful.

However, two things.
Sue and I have both led and taught rock climbing up to extreme levels. We have some idea of what we are doing. And we are very cautious these days.
I agree with Bob G about needed skills: if you haven't got them you should hesitate about any of this, or go with someone who is definitely experienced.

Easy to discuss this from home via a keyboard. It's a bit different when you are standing on a square inch of rock above an embarrassingly long fall. Can I suggest you should sometimes let fear be your guide?

Cheers

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/09/2013 20:05:16 MST Print View

"Don't take this the wrong way, but if you have to ask this sort of question, you probably have no business being on Class 4 terrain."

+1

For Roger, class 4 means the holds are all there and obvious, but if you fall you die. For most people that means roping up, AND knowing how to use the rope and other bits and pieces that go with it.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
club on 02/09/2013 22:13:31 MST Print View

theres usually a local alpine club you can join

climbing gear and safety is not something thats learned off the intraweb forums

David Gardner
(GardnerOutdoorLD) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/09/2013 22:18:24 MST Print View

You need:

1. A rock climbing class, for basic physical skills and knowledge of how properly use a rope, set a belay, rappel, set & remove protection pieces

2. 30-50 m of 8-10 mm dynamic rope

3. Appropriate protection pieces, which depends on the routes you will be on

4. Climbing harness

5. An experienced climbing partner

6. Practice

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Don't follow the crowd on 02/09/2013 22:52:54 MST Print View

I'll just add that I've seen some people do royally stupid things in the mountains. Just because some else did the route doesn't mean you should (with or without a rope).

A discussion to have BEFORE you get there is under what conditions you bail out. You don't want peer pressure to make you do things you really aren't comfortable doing.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Don't forget the hardward on 02/10/2013 09:11:56 MST Print View

As David noted--a rope without the harness and hardware is just added weight. And if you don't know what kind of hardware you'll need, go with someone who does.

That doesn't seem to include your current partners.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Use the forums appropriately. on 02/10/2013 09:20:51 MST Print View

I'm with Bob Gross here. If you want to know how to stay warm, build a shelter, improve your comfort, and buy the right gear, the forums are awesome.

If you want to learn a new skill, this is likely not the place. I make it a point to never ask about first aid skills, and climbing skills are in a similar vein because they're VERY important, VERY specific, and require hands-on demonstration and practice before they can be relied upon in the field.

If climbing legend John "Verm' Sherman himself typed you five paragraphs of explanation, you would still not have the necessary prerequisites to be safe. Could you manage it? possibly, but it's a bad idea.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Don't forget the hardware on 02/10/2013 14:43:51 MST Print View

> a rope without the harness and hardware is just added weight
Yes, but at times it is very useful added weight.

I have lost count of the number of times something as minimal as a 10 m length of 5 mm climbing cord has got us SAFELY out of an awkward situation. A hand line down a difficult drop, a means for pack-hauling, a top rope for someone who is capable but a bit nervous - the list goes on.

None of these situations required a full harness or extra hardware. For that matter, when we first learnt to go rock climbing, harnesses hadn't been invented (well, if they had we hadn't seen them) - and yet we managed some high-grade climbs.

But the advice to learn from someone with experience - yes, very wise.

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Don't forget the hardware on 02/10/2013 14:53:44 MST Print View

"10 m length of 5 mm climbing cord"

On one annual snow peak climb, I used to carry 50 feet of 5mm climbing cord. If we had some emergency (like friends on the same peak did), the cord would have been very handy.

If you get to some nasty spot, one person can take off his backpack, scramble up the nasty area, then drop one end of a 5mm cord down. If you have a tree or similar anchor, that is nice, but you can do a lot with a simple human anchor.

--B.G.--

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Re: Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/10/2013 16:02:22 MST Print View

"You need:

1. A rock climbing class, for basic physical skills and knowledge of how properly use a rope, set a belay, rappel, set & remove protection pieces

2. 30-50 m of 8-10 mm dynamic rope

3. Appropriate protection pieces, which depends on the routes you will be on

4. Climbing harness

5. An experienced climbing partner

6. Practice"

This is good advice all round. The issue isn't the rope, it's how it's being used and what it's attached to.

Class 4 rock is nasty stuff. In the PNW, it often involves a lot of loose rock. Down climbing it can be tricky and very exposed and often a rappel is a better option. I would recommend an 8mm rope only and depending on what you're doing and how sustained the 4th class rock is, I'd go either 30 or 50/60 m. I use a 60m Petzl Dragonfly for mountaineering.

As everyone else has mentioned, this is not something to be taken lightly. I'd go buy the book "Mountaineering - Freedom of the Hills" and once you've devoured that [it's a fantastic book and the climbing "bible" in North America], take a one day basic rockclimbing skills course - it'll serve you well for years.

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/10/2013 23:04:15 MST Print View

Class 4 is a climb where you are expected to have to use you hands, but no technical gear is required. Why are we getting all worked up about all the right gear. As some have suggested, a bit of rope, and training, to provide some minor assistance and or to haul gear where climbing with it is to scary is a great idea. But, I must confess my first thought was to suggest playing around on some rocks before you go to build some confidence so you don't have to worry so much. With my experience, over timid climbers can be as dangerous as over confident ones.

David Gardner
(GardnerOutdoorLD) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Rope for Scrambling on 02/11/2013 00:32:24 MST Print View

There are several rating systems for climbing. The most common here in the US are the Yosemite Decimal System and the National Climbing Classification System. From the way the original question was asked, I understand "Class 4" to mean a degree of difficulty rated by the YDS.

According to the YDS, Class 4 is beyond scrambling and is actually climbing, often with exposure. A rope is often used. A fall on Class 4 rock could be fatal. Typically, natural protection can be easily found.

A rope is technical gear, and you have to know how to use it. Natural protection is great, but again, you have to know how to use it.

As was aptly stated in an earlier comment, Class 4 is "you fall, you die" type climbing. For me, personally, I get all worked up about the right gear and the right skills when a life depends on it. "A bit of rope and a bit of training" and "playing around on some rocks" is simply not enough. It is how people get killed.

If we were talking about a Class 4 bouldering problem a couple of feet off the ground and with ready access to emergency services I might agree with you. From the way the original question was asked, I understand the situation to have significant exposure in a remote area.

Sorry to be so emphatic, but having seen an untrained and unroped climber fall and die six feet from me on Class 4 rock (while I was putting on my harness and flaking out my rope at the base of the same climb) I can't help it.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
gear on 02/11/2013 01:54:24 MST Print View

your biggest protection on easy climbing is to NOT FALL

i dont care how much fancy gear you have, or how many knot tying/rescue/etc skills you may know

if you arent a confident climber on easy terrain, practice cragging till you are

because if you fall on "class 4" terrain even with a rope and a triple rack ... you are getting hurt .. a rope can provide the ILLUSION of safety on easy ground ...

as i suggested prior .... find an alpine club

its that simple ;)