ARC stands for Advanced Rope Control. It is a new concept developed by Edelweiss to help with the management of ropes whilst top roping or abseiling. By changing the Sheath design(colour/pattern) mid-point you can tell exactly when you have reached the middle of the rope.
Static ropes are given a Minimum Breaking Strength that is measured in kN (Kilo-Newton). A rope with knots becomes weakened so you will notice that two figures are usually given. One will be given based on the rope being knotted and the other un-knotted. The higher the number (in kN) the stronger the rope is. This figure is usually relational to the ropes diameter. The thicker the rope the stronger it becomes!
There are two main types of Climbing Rope, Static and Dynamic. Unlike a Static Rope, a Dynamic Climbing Rope will stretch when put under load. This means that the rope can absorb some of the shock when a climber falls. Less pressure is therefore put on the climber and their equipment/anchors. This is why it is imperative to use a Dynamic rope if you plan to go lead climbing.
Both dynamic and static ropes are given an elongation measurement which is given as a percentage. The percentage referrers to the amount the rope stretches when a weight is hung from it.
All Edelweiss ropes come treated with either Everdry or Super Everdry. The Everdry treatment developed by Edelweiss reduces water absorption by 50% and the Super Everdry by a further 25%. This has some huge advantages:
The thicker the rope, the stronger and more durable it becomes. Unfortunately it comes at a price (weight!). The thinner ropes are generally used for more technical climbing situations and Alpine use. Thicker ropes are generally preferred for the larger big wall routes. It is also worth noting that a thicker rope gives a bit more friction in your stitch plate. This can help if your partner is heavier than yourself or if you just prefer a more positive feel.
A few typical diameters are given below.
Half ropes (sometimes called Double Ropes) are to be used in pairs. The idea is that you can clip each rope independently. This has a few advantages:-
Firstly, if you have a route which meanders up the crag then you can use one rope to clip your left hand side protection and the other to clip the right. This means that each rope will run in a straighter line, reducing rope drag (friction).
Secondly, with two ropes you can share the load with your partner and also share the cost (if you buy one each).
Two ropes are safer than one. If your route is straight then you can clip both the ropes for added safety. Also you have double the amount of rope length to use in an emergency. Tying two ropes together will give you double the length to abseil on. Also having a spare rope if one gets damaged is always good!
These advantages make these ropes ideal for all year round mountain use. Especially on ice and large mountain routes where the terrain zigzags and there is a possibility that you may need to abseil.
Length is a very important consideration when choosing a rope. The most common lengths of rope are 50m, 55m and 60m. The most common rope length in the UK is 50m. It is suitable for most climbs found in the UK and is nice and light to carry. A 55m rope gives you a little more flexibility when you just need that extra bit of length!
If you plan to take a trip to the Alps then a 60m rope is advisable. Although it is heavier you will find that a lot of the routes require a full 60m length for both the climbs and the abseils. Don’t get caught short, you’ve been warned!
Yet another fantastic innovation from Edelweiss ropes. A Perdur coated rope increases the abrasion resistance by 33%. The diagram to the right shows the results from 2 ropes being pulled up and down over an abrasive rod. You can clearly see that the Perdur coated rope stands up to the test far better. A Perdur coated rope will have a longer life span and handle much better.
SEM stands for Special End and Middle Marking. As the name implies this rope has a middle marking like with the same advantages as the ARC system. The added advantage to this rope type is that it also indicates the end 6 Metres. This allows a warning to be passed to the leader when they are running out of rope.
The climbers rope is the critical part in the protection chain. This is why Edelweiss spends so much time developing new technologies such as ‘Edge Proofed’. Edelweiss “Edge Proofed” ropes have a special polyamide monofilament braid around the core elements which makes the rope less susceptible to failure when put under load on a sharp edge. When put to the test against it’s non-proofed rivals it is clear that Edelweiss ropes come out tops.
Single ropes are the most widely used type of Climbing Rope. They have been used for many years and are still popular because they are simple to use and are the cheapest type of rope on the market. A single rope is used on it’s own and is clipped into each piece of the climbers protection. This can cause a lot of rope drag (friction) if the route zigzags. That it why it is not the most suitable rope for large multi-pitch mountain routes. However, it is ideal for Sport Routes, Indoor Climbing, Low Grade Winter Climbing, reasonably short or straight outdoor routes and even some tough scrambles.
A static rope is most useful for hauling gear, abseiling and caving. It is not suitable for lead climbing where there is a risk of the rope being subjected to impacts (like falls!). A static rope does not stretch like a Dynamic Rope so a fall would cause a great shock to be placed on the climber and their equipment.
All Edelweiss static ropes are pre stretched. When you get your rope you must pre shrink it. To pre shrink a rope you simply wet it and allow it to dry before use.
Twin ropes are to be clipped in pairs. Twin ropes must not be clipped into protection independently like a half rope. The only advantage to Twin Ropes is that they are light to carry (shared between two) and they can be tied together for full length abseils. Twin Ropes are most commonly used in France where weight saving is paramount. It is very rare to see people using them in the UK.
The UIAA set tests to determine rope strength. The test involves a weight being attached to the end of a rope. The weight is then repeatedly dropped until the rope breaks. This then determines the number of falls held. Obviously the more falls a rope can hold the better. It is worth noting that the number of falls quoted for single and double ropes can not be compared as a different weight is used for each rope when testing.