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Pull Cord For 300ft Rope

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Austin Farnworth, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

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    I recently purchased a 100 meter (328ft) rope and am wondering what everyone is using for pull cords on 300ft ropes?
  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Another 100 meter rope, same diameter. ;)
    ScottM and gajslk like this.
  3. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

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    Location:
    Mapleton, Utah
    Thanks, I figured that 6 or 7mm accessory cord wouldn't make the pull easy over 200ft but I was holding out hope that someone uses a thin light cord.

    Sent from my SM-G920T using Tapatalk
  4. CRNPRES

    CRNPRES

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    One of the high tenacity cords from Sterling. I like the 5.4mm V-TX

    But might cost more than you rope :cry:
    Austin Farnworth likes this.
  5. gajslk

    gajslk

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    A couple of 200s tied together. Maybe a 200 and a 100, depending.
    Austin Farnworth likes this.
  6. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    You don't want to wear out your 300' rope using it on shorter drops anyway, not to mention the hassle of deploying a big rope for minor drops so any canyon that has a long drop in it you'll have other working ropes with you to use as the pull for the 300'. The one exception is if you fiddle the big drop in which case you'll want as light of a pull cord as you can find. Most use a 3mm dyneema pull cord for fiddling long drops.
    ScottM and Austin Farnworth like this.
  7. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    +1 for the fiddle and a 3mm dyneema cord
  8. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    In these discussions, it can be helpful to distinguish between:
    • pull cord, a cord tied to the end of a rope, used for pulling the rope through a fixed anchor
    • release cord, a cord tied to a toggle or other release mechanism, used to release a retrievable anchor system (e.g. toggled rope, Water anchor, etc.)
    Toggle = Fiddlestick / Smooth Operator / etc.

    Most folks use pull cords of 6 mm or greater diameter, whereas a lightweight dyneema release cord can be much smaller in diameter (1/8" Samson Amsteel-Blue is commonly used). Note: this pull cord/release cord nomenclature is not in common usage, but here's hoping it (or something better) eventually catches on.

    Prior discussion:

    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/imlay-pullcord-two-thumbs-up.19234/#post-80659
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/accessory-cord-for-rope-retrieval.24003/
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/pull-cords.20057/
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/knot-peg-anchor-pull-cord-options.22092/
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  9. GLD

    GLD

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    Some quick thoughts here on multi-purpose and how the correct answer is situationally dependent. I do a lot of climbing (multi pitch trad, ice, alpine, some single pitch stuff) some some thoughts I have around rope selection are anchor building. When I'm climbing, not canyoning, I don't plan on leaving my own gear behind for anchors. I generally expect, bolts, tat, or something but I do bring stuff to leave behind a few. Somethings that's cutting the end of my pull cord (btw pull cords are not common in the climbing community though a few people do prefer a lead line and pull line vs. halfs (spelled weird) vs doubles). Sometimes though I make sure to bring leaver biners/rap rings and my own tat if I know the route isn't done frequently.

    Back to canyoning some considerations:
    After it gets stuck how much is left and how would/could you finish without it?
    That brings up risk acceptance. IF you know you can't finish if it gets stuck, you didn't bring a backup, and you told people where you are going I assumed you were prepared to wait out rescue.
    If you start getting desperate can you start cutting and leaving it as anchor material?
    multipurpose: what other uses can you do with whatever you bringing?
    Weight generally inversely proportional speed
    weight generally proportional to robustness multi-use
    How familiar are you with the techniques. I don't know Austin (OP) but a lot of people talked about 3mm with a fiddlestick/smooth operator, what if Austin doesn't know those techniques? That's not a useful suggestion for his knowledge base. He can expand his knowledge base or wait for a more appropriate answer.

    possible answers
    bring extra shorter ropes you will tie together
    bring another equal length rope
    bring something super skinny (never to be used as an anchor or to be rapped on)
    bring something skinny you can cut an leave as anchor material or rap on in emergencies. For example, I know how to rap on 6mm cord and have done it several times so a good tag line for me is about that diameter. If the second isn't climbing with a bag we can still throw it in a potshot and clip it to our harnesses.

    So my approach is to have a wide knowledge base, do my research on the canyon (if it's an exploratory or very little beta I might be going the heavyweight option), lots of gear tools and tricks, and have a plan. Sorry that's not a clear cut answer.
    ratagonia and Austin Farnworth like this.
  10. Steve Woodford

    Steve Woodford

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    550 lb Parachute cord works ok. Can be bought at Walmart, Home Depot etc...
  11. Sutitan

    Sutitan

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    Is Paracord your go to? I feel like the strength reduction with a knot, and its durability would worry me. I can already see myself putting all my body weight to pull what might be a stuck rope and snapping the paracord. I can maybe see it working on shorter pulls, but at that point id probably just use a double length rope. Maybe im just too paranoid.
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    or maybe you are smart.
  13. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I have a 200' 6mm pull cord that we use occasionally when weight is an issue. Generally its shorter ropes tied together unless a fiddle is being used then the 3mm Dynema is used as mentioned by others
  14. pyle762

    pyle762

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    I would not have much faith in paracord. Quick story about some paracord. My daughter had shot an elk and we were getting it cut up and hanging the different pieces in a tree to cool off. One of the back legs (60-70 lbs) was hanging from a branch from some 550 paracord. The paracord which is rated for 550 pounds snap in two under the weight of an elk leg. While trying to get the leg back up in the tree, the jostling caused another piece to break sending another leg to the ground.

    Since then, I no longer use paracord and now use climbing cord for my elk processing duties.
  15. Steve Woodford

    Steve Woodford

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    Thats strange. I just hung a 550 paracord from a fencepost and stood with my full weight (190lb) on it. No problem.
  16. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    I for one can't wait to order some of that 3mm dyneema pull cord from Atwood.

    Edit: Pardon me, Hank: release cord. ;)
  17. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    Paracord aka 550 cord is unsuitable for use as a pull cord or release cord in canyoneering.

    Why?

    The 550 cord you buy may or may not have been manufactured to any performace specification. Its popularity as material for "survival bracelets" means that the paracord market contains a mix of real and fake product. The real stuff is supposedly still manufactured to the original military paracord standard, MIL-C-5040H, which contains detailed material and performance specs. See attached for a copy of this standard fished from the internet. And the fake stuff - who knows?

    That said, let's assume you're working with the real thing. From MIL-C-5040H, we know that real 550 cord is made of nylon. That means it is relatively stretchy when dry, absorbs a fair amount of water, and when wet has lower tensile strength and abrasion/cut resistance, and is significantly stretchier than when dry. The MIL-SPEC calls for a minimum elongation of 30%, tested under dry conditions. That's already far too stretchy for a pull cord. Adding water makes that way, way, way too stretchy. Like a bungie cord.

    On strength: at best, we can assume the knotted breaking strength of dry, brand-new, undamaged 550 cord to be 225 lbs or less, assuming a minimum 50% strength loss from knotting. That's also assuming the cord does not contact the rock (or other abrasive/cutting surface) at any point. 225 lbs is already unacceptable. When we consider the cord running over rock edges, in wet conditions, etc. the strength becomes well below unacceptable.

    By contrast the gold standard of ultralight release cord, 3mm Samson AmSteel Blue 12-strand Dyneema, avoids all of the issues with paracord, is 4 times as strong, with an elongation of less than 1% under the same load that would break a piece of 550 cord. I have been in several situations where releasing a toggled rope required two people bouncing on the (3mm Dyneema) release cord with their bodyweight. Such a load applied to 550 cord would surely have resulted in the cord either breaking or being cut.

    Is it possible that 550 cord could successfully be used to complete a canyon? Perhaps in the right canyon, with perfect rigging, under ideal conditions, maybe. Me? I'd sooner rely on the infamous 007 shoelace Prusik.

    More info on paracord:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parachute_cord

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  18. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    550 paracord is great for lowering your overnight pack off 10 foot drops, but as a pull cord for a 300 foot rappel? To put it lightly, I don't think that would be a wise decision.
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  19. Steve Woodford

    Steve Woodford

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    I am talking milspec 550 cord. The pull on the W'anchor to empty the water is so easy, it can be done with 2 fingers. The RETRIEVAL rope for the W'anchor, is the rap rope. Different. See the Instructional videos...so I agree about not using 550 cord as a pull cord for retrieving a rap rope. This is for a completely different use.

  20. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Milk the kitty baby!

    Seriously though, I really hate using the dyneema for a 300 foot pull cord. It's stretchy and a real pain to keep from getting tangled. That said, I also really hate carrying an extra 300 feet of rope and I do worry a little (honestly very little once it is weighted) about hanging 300 feet of rope off a fiddlestick. So if I have the ropes and am going to pull the 300 through the anchor anyway (Heaps last drop) then I'd use rope. But otherwise, the dyneema does work. You just have to spend a while getting it back into its bag. You just can't use that dyneema for anything else. Even for a 100 foot drop you don't want that thing because it gets tangled so easily.
    ratagonia likes this.
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