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  1. #1
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    Skinny <6mm ropes for glacier travel and recue

    How practical are the <6mm ropes for roping-up and rescue on glaciers? There's lots of spancered reviews but I haven't seen them used in the field. Usually I travel with 1 maybe 2 other partners. Light and fast is the priority.

    Seems like the ultra-static lines are ok for arresting a fall in a crevasse.
    But what about rescue? Prepping the lip would be more finicky and absolutely need something that can take the extra abrasion. How is it to pull on?
    Hollowblocks seem to work reliably on thin cord. Any issues using hollowblocks on such rope?

    I am looking at 3 ropes

    Beal back-up. 21g/m, not dry treated, very good price. Not dry treated, but the rad line is not dry treated either
    Mammut 6mm Glacier Cord. 25g/m, dry treated, expensive.
    Elderid rap line. 29g/m, dry treated, ok price. This is more of an option if the beal lack of dry treatment is an issue.

    Is dry treatment necessary? Rad line isn't. If performing self rescue on the primary rope, there might be an issue with ascenders on frozen or wet wet rope . There's still the shoulder loop on the second person which should stay dry.

    For progress capture I am eyeing the beal tract up. Excellent price and two of those should make a very quick and easy rescue system.


    Right now I travel with a mammut 8.0 alpine dry. Can't complain about it other than it weights 42g/m. I used all the time for rescue practice while everyone with the rad line squirms away from actually using it.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocximus View Post
    Right now I travel with a mammut 8.0 alpine dry. Can't complain about it other than it weights 42g/m. I used all the time for rescue practice while everyone with the rad line squirms away from actually using it.
    I think you just hit the nail on the head. How often are you planning on using this 6mm line, and what sorts of conditions will you be using it in? It looks like the weight savings are (at most) around 20oz (600g) for a 30m rope

    I'm all for weight savings, but the handling characteristics of any rope sub 7mm are pretty dismal; I also use the same Mammut 8mm rope and I love it.

    How does the Tract Up do on a frozen line? I've always used tibloc/microtrax which I find to be the best system on the market, though the microtrax is expensive.

  3. #3
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    i can't speak to the it for glacier applications, but i have the mammut glacier cord that i use as my personal rope for general sar work that has served me well over the last few months. i have rapped and hauled a body on it without issue, though it has made for some sketchy descents. a rope that thin doesn't exactly instill great confidence.
    hollow blocks work fine but i would advise against using tract ups on 6mm rope. i used the edelrid spoc as my pgp/ascender for awhile but eventually switched to a microtraction, which is recommended for use with 8-11mm ropes but mammut tested it in conjunction with the glacier line and gave the OK. it can also be used with a tibloc.
    "With Hitler, the more I learn about the guy, the more I don't care for him." -Norm Macdonald

  4. #4
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    Microtrax has sharp teeth, tract up looks like it has a dull cam.

    I carry 40m even for two. ~800 grams. I think a bigger advantage would be the beal packability. My Scott avalanche bag doesn't really like having the 40m mammut 8.0 strapped to it.

    I would use it fairly often as I usually ski glaciers. Most of the time I don't carry a rope as the snowpack is deep and supportive. I take the mammut when conditions are known to be dangerous and on traverses. I probably should have a rope more times than I want to take the mammut.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealurface831 View Post
    i can't speak to the it for glacier applications, but i have the mammut glacier cord that i use as my personal rope for general sar work that has served me well over the last few months. i have rapped and hauled a body on it without issue, though it has made for some sketchy descents. a rope that thin doesn't exactly instill great confidence.
    hollow blocks work fine but i would advise against using tract ups on 6mm rope. i used the edelrid spoc as my pgp/ascender for awhile but eventually switched to a microtraction, which is recommended for use with 8-11mm ropes but mammut tested it in conjunction with the glacier line and gave the OK. it can also be used with a tibloc.
    Why do you advise against it? Beal actually sells two tract ups and the back-up line as their glacier kit.

  6. #6
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    I have a 30m Petzl Rad line that I've used to rappel, rope up on glaciers and practice crevasse rescue. They're great for these purposes, save weight and a lot of space in your pack.
    Being skilled at building haul systems is probably more important than what kind of rope you have for a rescue. I used to think I had an ok understanding of what works but joined a technical rescue team and learned that you really need a well rounded set of skills as each situation requires a different approach. Being able to assess the need and build a system quickly will be a lot more effective than farting around for an hour while someone is hanging on the rope waiting for me to get my haul system figured out.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocximus View Post
    Why do you advise against it? Beal actually sells two tract ups and the back-up line as their glacier kit.
    the only reason i say that is that they use a knurled cam rather than a toothed cam. while a knurled cam is probably more secure when using a 9mm rope, i would be hesitant to use one with 6mm.
    "With Hitler, the more I learn about the guy, the more I don't care for him." -Norm Macdonald

  8. #8
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    I have a rad line and 40m 8mm dynamic glacier rope. If roping up with more than one other person, I always bring the 40m as it is way more versatile.

    The benefit of the rad line to me is the weight and size (obviously). But it means that both my partner and I can carry a rope without significant weight penalty. If skiing unroped on glaciers, this a huge benefit in terms of being able to stage a rescue. Granted, I mostly ski on Hood where there are few areas of very deep crevasses. In Washington Cascades/BC/Alaska, itís a totally different calculus with deeper/ wider crevasses.

    In terms of hauling with a 6mm line, Iíve found itís not much different or worse than a standard glacier rope. You just need to make sure your partner has rescue gear that is compatible with a narrow rope.

    At the end of the day itís like any UL gear. You lose some versatility in favor of reduced size and weight. Your margin for error is slimmer. YMMV.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2014
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    Rad line works, but a bit finicky with hollowblocks. Nice feel to that line though, and the philosophy of the rad line kit is pretty good.

  10. #10
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    The Microtraxion is expensive relative to other similar devices but it is a really great progress capture pulley and the pulley is more efficient than a lot of others somewhat similar devices (i.e the Beal Tract Up does not have a sealed bearing pulley, nor Climbing Technology Roll N Lock). I use mine for climbing applications (TR solo, hauling packs, emergency ascender, etc) but it is really fantastic. A microtraxion and tibloc make for a pretty versatile set of tools for hauling or ascending a rope and it's a light compact combo. I never worry about toothed devices and they certainly grab ice/wet ropes better. I haven't noticed any wear on my fat ropes as a result of repeated TR solo on 2 microtraxions. Cam style device are not necessarily safer than toothed, just look at the different versions of Wild Country Ropeman: the cam version (large horizontal teeth) cuts the rope, the small tooth version does not.

    If you're self-rescuing the Microtrax on your harness and Tibloc as the upper ascender works really well. It shouldn't be a problem on a wet or icy rope as you are setting the tibloc onto the rope manually each time you index it upwards. I say go for the Beal static line and the money saved on the line is better spent on the best progress capture devices.

  11. #11
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    Very good point about efficiency and why teeth might work better.

    Some efficiency number I found:
    Petzl micro traxion 91 % (ball bearing)
    Elderid spock 92% (ball bearing)
    Rollnlock 85% (fixed pulley)
    Beal tract up I could not find a number but it's safe to assume it's similar to rollnlock

  12. #12
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    I've spent a bit of time practicing crevasse rescue and snow travel with a RAD line and have been carrying a Mammut 6.0mm glacier cord when appropriate. They are both nice lines to carry for glacier skiing and I made my choice based on what was most easily available to me when I bought it. If I were to replace it I'd consider one of the other lines that can catch a lead fall when you have no other choice but to lead on it.

    If you are using one of these thin lines be sure you practice with a method to add some friction to your rappel technique, it could be a double munter hitch, threading a single strand through both sides of your ATC, or adding carabiners. These thin lines, especially if rapping on a single strand, can be very low friction. That said, they can be really sweet for skiing when combined with a Beal Escaper. It makes for a really light kit that can get you into some cool lines.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason4 View Post
    I've spent a bit of time practicing crevasse rescue and snow travel with a RAD line and have been carrying a Mammut 6.0mm glacier cord when appropriate. They are both nice lines to carry for glacier skiing and I made my choice based on what was most easily available to me when I bought it. If I were to replace it I'd consider one of the other lines that can catch a lead fall when you have no other choice but to lead on it.

    If you are using one of these thin lines be sure you practice with a method to add some friction to your rappel technique, it could be a double munter hitch, threading a single strand through both sides of your ATC, or adding carabiners. These thin lines, especially if rapping on a single strand, can be very low friction. That said, they can be really sweet for skiing when combined with a Beal Escaper. It makes for a really light kit that can get you into some cool lines.
    Someone please explain this to me.

    Some suggested I use a twin rope as a single glacier rope. Something like the black diamond 7.0. It's fairly cheap, works with most belay devices, easy to pack, and can be used for snow bellays.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocximus View Post
    Someone please explain this to me.

    Some suggested I use a twin rope as a single glacier rope. Something like the black diamond 7.0. It's fairly cheap, works with most belay devices, easy to pack, and can be used for snow bellays.
    i imagine this would look like threading the first ear into one side of the atc as normal and then threading a second ear through the other side with the ground end. i have never heard of this and can't find anything but i imagine you would get lots of friction.
    if using a reverso-style device (ie has friction grooves), you will be fine using 2 of the same biners. if using just a tubular device, i would go with a z rig.
    "With Hitler, the more I learn about the guy, the more I don't care for him." -Norm Macdonald

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocximus View Post
    Someone please explain this to me.
    Sorry, it's been a while since I checked Tech Talk.

    If you're using a Reverso or similar ATC-type device with a 6mm cord thread the cord through the left slot in your device as you would normally, take what would typically be your brake strand from the left side and thread that into the right slot as the "climber's strand". This leaves you with one strand for the final brake strand and extra friction from crossing the divider between slots. I'm not at home to set this up and take a picture but it should be apparent once you try it. I learned this technique from Larry Goldie and Jeff Ward.

  16. #16
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    I am having a hard time finding the beal back-up in 40m at a decent price with shipping.

    Anyone have some info about the BD 6.0 accessory cord? Kernmantel construction. 23.5g/m. No published data on rope strength and sheath strength.

  17. #17
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    Jan 2014
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    In the same vein, saw this this spring and couldnt help to experiment:

    https://www.sebastien-constant.com/s...ystem/?lang=en

    used a relatively new RAD line, some sterling hollowblocks instead of the dyneema cord for prusiks, and a petzl microtrax in the traditional manner. Rad line + hollowblocks is sketchy when both are newish.

    It definitely works, 7:1 is great, perhaps more fiddly in a situation where you dont want to be fiddling but it is *extremely* light.

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