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Tech Tip: Question Rope Marking

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Yellow Dart, Sep 26, 2017.

?

How do you mark your rope?

  1. Felt Marker

    40.0%
  2. Special TEC Felt marker

    5.0%
  3. Beal Rope Marker / Similiar Ink Roller

    30.0%
  4. Sewing Fishing Line

    5.0%
  5. Athletic Tape

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Deliberate Decision to Not Mark Rope

    30.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

    Messages:
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    Location:
    La Verkin
    Has been covered by previous threads, but they are 7, 11, and 12 years old; and since they're archived, I don't have the privileges necessary to bump them.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I posted this recently:
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/englestead-fatality.24884/page-2#post-107655

    Brian in SLC said:
    "-Use a backup auto block on the rope anytime you’re worried about rockfall, the ends not reaching, wind blowing the rope all over hell, etc. I like a Sterling AutoBlok; it slides down the rope much easier than a prussic, but locks up well. In my personal climbing I very rarely use an auto-blok, but when I do it’s for one of the reasons just listed. The reason I don’t like ‘em in general is that they cause more problems than they fix. But when things start getting weird (night, wind, etc) the backup goes on.
    Click to expand..."

    To that point, this happened in Coral Hollow couple years back; guy on rope was using it as backup on only an 80' rap on brand-new canyonfire - melted the prussic to the rope 20' off the deck - had to pitch another line and rap down to cut him free.
    DSC01292.JPG
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To wit, @ratagonia replied: "Is that Beal-Rope-Marker marked place on the rope? It makes the rope a bit stiffer and stickier where applied."

    And yes, it was a Beal-Rope-Marker purchased from Tom.

    Having read the old 3 threads on it, here's what was gleaned:
    1) Pen-markers in general can harm rope, maybe, possibly
    2) Special TEC pen-markers are safe, but expensive
    3) All pen-markers fade after a handful of canyons
    4) Beal last a long time, but is $$ and makes rope incredibly stiff and somewhat stickier
    5) Some people thread fishing line to mark rope
    6) Ankle tape was suggested, but I can't imagine it stays around very long, and likely stiffens/stickies like Beal's ink

    ALL that said, has someone figured a better way/product to mark ropes since those 7, 11, and 12 year old threads were brought about?
  2. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    I use either sharpie or black leather dye. I’ve never lost a minute of sleep worrying about it effecting the performance or strength of my ropes.

    One awesome thing about polyester, which most canyoneering rope is made of, is its excellent chemical resistance, particularly to common organic solvents. Once the solvent has evaporated, the rope is basically unaffected.


    Marking a rope means it’s going to fade over time and should be accepted as unavoidable. It’s not a big deal to have to touch it up once a year.

    Some of my ropes aren’t even marked. Depending on your style of canyoneering and the techniques you use. A mark may not even be useful/necessary.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  3. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I've marked my climbing ropes and find it useful and lasts a while. I've marked canyoneering ropes and don't find it useful and find it doesn't last very long with all the mud, sand, and water.

    The beal thing works well but is messy. Sharpies are quick and relatively easy but don't seem to last as long.

    I don't worry much about marker on my rope given Bootboy's propensity to walk all over them. It can't possibly be doing any more damage than the canyon is doing to the rope.
    Kuenn and Bootboy like this.
  4. Sandstoned

    Sandstoned

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    Sharpie..works great and lasts a while
  5. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Location:
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    Leather dye, that's a new one. Anecdotally, how long does it last vs Beal or Sharpie?
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Thanks Yellow. I'm surprised my favorite quip about this did not come to the surface, to wit:

    Use Techniques that do not require a center mark.

    When canyoneering, I don't use center marks on the rope because they are not useful. There are a few exceptions - for Heaps I put a mark at 210 feet on my 300'er for the 2nd rappel, and a center mark if we expect to use it for the 2nd to last rap.

    There are quite a few accidents where people double the rope over and rappel double strand, and go off the end of one or both ends. The Center Mark may or may not be at the right point and the rope can shift as you rappel double strand. Rappelling double strand is simple and... well, like most techniques, it works until it doesn't. Better to improve your game and have more options.

    Tom
    Bootboy likes this.
  7. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    I mark all my ropes, but not for center lines. The end is marked with a series of fat and thin lines to designate the ropes length. The very few times I wanted to know the center of a rope, did it the old fashion way... much more prefer SRT, but will do DRT when it feels right/efficient.

    That said, when marking, I mark with a sharpie. Lasts long enough. For long ropes, e.g. 500+, I typically mark every hundred feet. 1 stripe about 3/4' wide for each hundred, i.e. 3 stripes=300'. Comes in handy sometimes when you're in the dark, regardless of the direction you're headed.

    Marking does change the dynamics/stiffness of a rope, have experienced it many times on long rappels. You could definitely tell when you are passing a marked area.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
    jesseahouser likes this.
  8. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Much better than sharpie.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    +1

    The ropes I mark are typically my short ropes (under 120’)

    It’s mainly for a reference mark and not used for actually determining the half mark.

    I mark the ends on short ropes that are too short to bag so they are easy to spot for coiling or tying knots to anchor implements when ghosting


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
    ratagonia likes this.
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