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Tech Tip: Question Rope vs Webbing for anchoring

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Christian Lupercio, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Christian Lupercio

    Christian Lupercio

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    El Cajon, California
    Webbing has always been what I use for making anchors in canyons. The reason I bring up this discussion is because of a recent first decent. Long story short, I had some miscellaneous gear that I put to good use for this canyon.

    I had a 300' 8mm Imlay rope that due to core shots I had to cut down to 200'
    I had a 200' 9.2mm Imlay Canyonero that due to the same I had to cut in half.

    Each of these ropes had plenty of lengths that did not have core shots, so usable for sure. We made anchors with these lengths for several drops, which prompts me to ask you guys, is there a big difference between webbing and rope for making anchors?

    I am not concerned about the breaking strength, but more about the durability to the weather. Webbing tends to be nylon, and in my case the rope was 100% polyester, so how do these materials differ on weather exposure?

    If you see an anchor with rope instead of webbing, would you be inclined to replace it with webbing?
  2. Canyonbug

    Canyonbug Outdoor Junkie!

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    Good question! I have used short pieces of rope for anchors as well in the past. Doesn't bother me to recycle the gear as much as possible in this regard. As far as the material and degradation of it vs. webbing in the weather, that's a good question. Tom?
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The traditional wisdom on this issue is that tubular webbing goes across sharp edges much better than round goods. If you lay tubular webbing across an edge and load and unload it, you can see that the stretch is made by the outer layer moving over the inner layer, and the inner layer staying put on the rock. If you lay a rope across an edge, the stress is concentrated on the edge which is the inside of a bend.

    Perhaps this issue is more important when looking at the higher loads produced in climbing, rather than the lower loads produced in canyoneering.

    Webbing is also considerably less expensive, being easier to make than rope. On my store, 1" tubular webbing is $0.45 per foot, while my 8mm rope is $0.83 per foot (and is about the least expensive rope for rappelling you can buy). However, hunks of rope you already have are even less expensive.

    To more directly answer your question: No Problemo. There is not a significant problem with using real rope for rigging anchors. A bit unusual. It has the advantage that the UV will hit the sheath, but at least for a few years will not get to the strength-bearing core of the rope.

    Nylon and Polyester have similar properties in regard to weathering. They are degraded by long-term exposure to UV. Nylon has a greater tendency to mildew than Polyester. Otherwise, both are very durable to being left out in the environment, especially in canyons where they would not get lots of UV exposure, usually.

    Tom
  4. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    I have seen a rope anchor or two where even just when the weight is placed on the anchor, even though it (the rope) is theoretically static, does create a little rope grove if done over a sandstone edge. Webbing seems to spread the load out more and not cut the rock as rope does. Curious if others have observed this at all.
  5. Christian Lupercio

    Christian Lupercio

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    I have. I would go ahead and say that the same would apply to say, a tree. I think rope will dig in more into the bark than a well-placed flat piece of webbing.
  6. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    this question is almost at the heart of why you would chose either the Fiddlestick or Buckle when looking at rigging a releasable anchor in otherwise similar situations: Rope vs Webbing. Kind of a coincidence all these related questions all came up at once on this forum..
    Dan Ransom likes this.
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