Lyon Equipment has been showing the BMC's Dan Middleton the latest developments in ropes at a recent seminar held at their impressive new facilities at Tebay in Cumbria. Dan joined other experts for a series of presentations and demonstrations from the Lyon team and rope manufacturer Beal.
The day was full of useful insights into the way ropes are made, and how this affects their properties. New technology is now enabling production of very slick and supple ropes.
This allows thicker, more secure ropes to perform as well as a thinner, lighter rope but without the drawbacks such as more difficult belaying and reduced cutting resistance. It will be interesting to see if this reverses the recent trend in ever thinner ropes!
A vast amount of ground was covered, including an explanation of the manufacturing processes that makes ropes either dynamic or static. The yarn used for dynamic ropes is heat treated in a steam oven. This reduces the strength but increases the elasticity.
The seminar also revealed that fall factors in outdoor climbing are much higher than the theoretical fall factor would suggest. Friction through carabiners and against the rock reduce the amount of rope that is available to stretch. The result is higher impact forces on the top runner whilst the belayer often feels nothing.
This causes more damage to the rope, less comfortable falls for the climber, and can result in trad gear pulling out or failing! The solution? Keep the rope running free, and avoid zig-zags by using longer extenders and careful runner placement.
Thanks to Lyon Equipment and Beal for the event.
This article has been read
Click on the tags to explore more