Footloop as 'spare' length of rope

JoshW

Active member
A few years back I did some SRT training with Nige Atkins, and I've seen a few threads on here mentioning having spare lengths of rope.

I'm starting to seriously look at what kit I take with me on group SRT trips to be able to get me/my pals out of the shit if required.

Is it as simple as having a footloop connected to you up to hand jammer with a knot, down to a bowline with a buggerload of stopper knots?

Cheers
Josh
 

underground

Member
I think it?s as simple as tying the knot where your jammer krab attaches using a bowline on the bight, so it?s easy to untie if you need to
 

Brains

Well-known member
Bowlines are the way to go as they can be untied easily after extreme load or tightening. I use bowlines for the actual footloop and the jammer attachment knot, with a half double fisherman's for the maillon to my harness. Using a large loop gives you more rope to play with. A pulley jammer/ Traxion type device is a good investment as well
 

MarkS

Moderator
I'd say if you want a spare length of rope, take a spare length of rope.

A footloop gets tightened probably more than any other rope that is used. Unless you untie them religiously, probably more frequently than simply between trips, the knots will just be solid.

If you are wanting to save on bulk etc., I'd suggest you go for a 3 mm dyneema footloop (ca. 1000 kg breaking strain, 5 g per m but not quite cheese-wire-thin) and take some skinny rope too.
 

topcat

Member
Yes, a length of spare rope is much more versatile.
I use 6m of 8mm.  And have used it quite a bit too, often for handlines for folk on climbs, and to extend the pitch rope.
And dynema for footloops: first rate :)
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
I take 15m of 8mm on a lot of non-SRT trip for unexpected handlines etc, but that's long enough to set up a sensible belay or assisted handline in a lot of cases, and 8mm packs down pretty well.

Caveat: I have never had to use any of my 'SRT rescue kit' in anger (except once to help haul someone up an awkward pitch head they had gotten stuck on)
For SRT stuff I normally have 5m of 5mm dyneema which takes up very little space but is long enough for a bit of jiggery-pokery. Generally though I assume that on an SRT trip I will normally have a bag full of spare rope, except for the last pitch of course, so I don't tend to bring any spare rope.
 

JoshW

Active member
I'll generally take a landline on non-set trips, was mostly thinking for SRT getting people out the shit.

Think I'm gonna try tying my footloop with a bowline on the bight as it's connector to the hand jammer and then that's immediately a couple of metres of spare rope to be able to use to counter balance etc.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
I would also suggest actually having a play with it somewhere. Just setting up a little 3:1 haul uses a surprising amount of rope/cord - I have a vague memory of my 5m dyneema being barely sufficient for something when playing around in the YSS.

I've never really liked the 'disassemble your SRT kit to rescue someone' approach for a number of reasons:
1) you now don't have a complete SRT kit, so you are also potentially stuck
2) rope footloops are inferior to dyneema footloops, so compromising something you use a lot for something you will hopefully never use seems bad
3) 5m of dyneema cord takes up little to no space anyway (probably the combination of dyneema footloop and spare 5m cord is smaller than a rope footloop anyway, and is better/longer...)
 

Rhys

Moderator
Also, footloops tend to get heavily abraded and trashed in use. I wouldn't trust a set that I've used for a bit in a safety critical task. Just carry a spare bit of cord.
 

underground

Member
Isn’t it the case that it’s primarily for a rescuer to use the rescuees foot loop like this? I only have vague recollections of Nige explaining it but I think it was along those lines as a possible option hence making the knots easy to untie in the event
 

JoshW

Active member
For completeness, this weekend I bought a new shiny footloop out of 8mm semi-static rope, and also bought a length of dyneema to clip onto me. The weight and size of the length of dyneema once it was in my hand was so minimal that I thought bugger it, I don't mind just carrying this on me somewhere. It's about a 4m length as that's all a certain mobile caving salesman had left, so I'll gradually have a little play with it, and if it's not long enough, I'll just use it to replace my cowstail rope :devilish:
 

Hammy

Member
The idea of the footloop is only if you've run out of everything else
This hits the nail on the head.

The more versatile your rig, by virtue of carefully considering the knots and attachments, the better.

Worst case scenario is that you have nothing else with you bar your own SRT setup.

So my footloop setup is -

Krab clipped to harness loop - barrel knot - (can be untied though probably won't need to be given that you need to attach the rope to something in order to be able to use it) - bowline on the bight with very short loops (can be untied even after heavy loading) - a second bowline on the bight for the actual bit you put your foot in. This gives two loops if required so you can put both feet in for a heavy push. It also gives a whole lot of extra rope when all knots untied so you can build a jigger for short hauling requirements. This is a last resort, but all it takes is choosing knots wisely so why not!

IMHO this setup gives the maximum benefit for the least kit requirement. Of course carry a bit of dyneema if you can so you don't have to dismantle your own SRT kit but remember we are talking last resort here. I'm not particularly a pessimist but it's a pretty simple setup for maximum versatility. I hope I've described it well enough.

The comment from Rhys above about trashed footloops - probably best to not go caving on trashed gear!! Check your kit every time you go out.
 

JoshW

Active member
For full completeness, having spent some time faffing on a CNCC rigging training course yesterday. I've now got my length of Dyneema (about 4m ish) attached to a carabiner (that fits through the top hole of a roll) with a barrel knot.

The Dyneema works with the teeth on a micro-traxion and croll for enacting counter balance stuff, and worked really well for traverse line rescues. It's long enough that I can tie a footloop in the end of it to further help with counter balancing.

My 'rescue' kit is now looking like dyneema + crab, 2x pulleys plus oval crabs, traxion plus crab, and feel that with that this kit I could problem solve most things.
 

badger

Member
Josh if really want to know what to carry, try doing the CIC training, after which you will have a very clear idea of what you need to get yourself and your mates out of the shit. and by far the easiest way, but not necessarily the lightest or bulk way is to have a spare srt rope with you. but dyneema and a micro traction is also a good idea, if you know the techniques involved.
 

al

Member
I've generally carry 6m of 7mm - and it has been used on several occasions, most notably when a the rope I was rigging Titan with turned out to be a few metres short (it was a club trip, and we had a bit of a re-measuring excercise afterwards). I ended up with the rope-end knot in my hand looking down at the slope at the foot of the shaft - very tempting to jump it, but I knew that once off the main rope it would contract out of reach. We were up against the clock too, as there was a concert in the Entrance cavern and we needed to be out of Peak before 4pm. The 6m of spare cord did the trick.
 

Ian P

Active member
Josh if really want to know what to carry, try doing the CIC training, after which you will have a very clear idea of what you need to get yourself and your mates out of the shit. and by far the easiest way, but not necessarily the lightest or bulk way is to have a spare srt rope with you. but dyneema and a micro traction is also a good idea, if you know the techniques involved.
CIC training is certainly one avenue to learn rescue skills.
However the CNCC workshop’s (which Josh mentions) provide a wealth of knowledge at a very affordable price.
The workshops are aimed at “peer to peer” rescues as apposed to “instructor to client” rescues and aim to give the “recreational caver” a comprehensive “tool box” of skills.

Obviously I am biased 😀.
 

JoshW

Active member
for the 25 quid it cost, the CNCC workshop I attended was unreal value. Ian's summary above is bang on I think regarding peer to peer rescues as opposed to instructor to client rescues.

Can highly recommend them. Now to make sure I'm available for the next geology one that comes out as I was stupid and missed this one..
 

JoshW

Active member
for the 25 quid it cost, the CNCC workshop I attended was unreal value. Ian's summary above is bang on I think regarding peer to peer rescues as opposed to instructor to client rescues.

Can highly recommend them. Now to make sure I'm available for the next geology one that comes out as I was stupid and missed this one..
That's not to say that a lot of the skills aren't transferrable between peer to peer and instructor to client, but a lot of the issues that might crop up will be different and the way to solve them may therefore be different
 

Steve Clark

Active member
I did the CNCC 1 day rescue workshop yesterday. Exceptionally good value. Wide variety of people with different personal setups. Lots of knowledge sharing and tips, along with some core principles well explained.

I was genuinely surprised about how much could be done in a peer-peer situation without needing to get 2 people on the pitch rope doing intimate manoeuvres.

Even a 2m length of 8mm with your usual srt kit solves lots of problems. It’s only like carrying an extra deviation cord and a no-brainier for me now.
 
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