Methods of protecting in-situ ropes from unwanted usage

cap n chris

Well-known member
Any ideas on how best to have a cave left rigged but in such a way that the ropes don't get used (abused) by other groups visiting who decide against rigging their own and just using the stuff in-situ?

Obviously it's possible (e.g. padlocks in slip knots 3m down the pitch etc.), but I wonder if anyone has better solution(s).
 

Pete K

Well-known member
I think that the choice to leave in situ gear is made with the knowledge that it may be used by anyone. I can't see how you could secure it without it getting in the way of other cavers. Best idea I have is to strip it off the bolts, leave the knots and krabs in and stuff it into a tackle sac which could be left padlocked shut, attached to a bolt.
 

Gollum

New member
When i'm on holiday and i find a towel on the deck chair I just assume it's part of the all inclusive package. Same with ropes in caves. I just think it would be rud not to use them if someone has taken the time to take them in and rig them ;)
 

ah147

New member
I've got a cave rigged at the moment.

To discourage people from using the ropes, I've rigged them badly  :tease:

Seriously, whats the issue with people using pre-rigged ropes?
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Nice idea; I think a working compromise is to rig the ropes with at least a couple of knot passes in (granny knots should do it), one about 3 metres down and another about 5 metres further, on all the pitches. Should deter most people.
 

Simon Wilson

New member
ah147 said:
I've got a cave rigged at the moment.

To discourage people from using the ropes, I've rigged them badly  :tease:

Seriously, whats the issue with people using pre-rigged ropes?

They wear your ropes out that's what wrong with it. We have a cave rigged and have just replaced the ropes for the fourth time. That has added the cost of about 600m of rope to our project.

There are things you can do to passively deter usage and one that we have used is to leave the ropes in a very tatty condition; the tattiest you dare use. People started to complain about this one and I don't know what's wrong with them.

DSCN3548-001_zpssdmubfnu.jpg


However, I find that on the whole most people prefer to use their own rope. And I accept in good faith that I can't expect people to refrain from using ropes that have been left. Also I have found that word gets around the caving community and people are very likely to reciprocate good turns. As they most definitely have on this project, thanks guys.
 

ah147

New member
So its fair game to expect people to rig under your ropes the whole way down a 600m cave?

Nah, not buying it. If you rig it and leave it rigged, expect em to be used.
 
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Pitlamp

Well-known member
Pete K said:
I think that the choice to leave in situ gear is made with the knowledge that it may be used by anyone. I can't see how you could secure it without it getting in the way of other cavers. Best idea I have is to strip it off the bolts, leave the knots and krabs in and stuff it into a tackle sac which could be left padlocked shut, attached to a bolt.

Your second sentence makes a good point; is it fair to "hog" all the best anchor points when other cavers may want to do trips - and expect those other cavers not to use your ropes?

I've been involved in many projects over the years where pitches have had to remain rigged for extended periods. One answer - if the situation allows, is to arrange ropes away from the standard lines of descent, so other cavers can do their trip as planned with their own gear. If our ropes were occupying all the main anchor points, I don't think we could be too upset if other cavers made use of them.

I guess it all depends on the situation - usually, as long as common sense is applied, trips get done without too many problems.
 

Simon Wilson

New member
ah147 said:
So its fair game to expect people to rig under your ropes the whole way down a 600m cave?

Nah, not buying it. If you rig it and leave it rigged, expect em to be used.

Please read my post again.
 

ah147

New member
Simon Wilson said:
ah147 said:
So its fair game to expect people to rig under your ropes the whole way down a 600m cave?

Nah, not buying it. If you rig it and leave it rigged, expect em to be used.

Please read my post again.

Apologies


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Simon Wilson

New member
We're all more-or-less saying the same thing.

There are nuances though. A while back Rupert Skorupka suggested that people should show more respect when the ropes belong to the original explorers. I think he has a point but the problem is that not everybody knows who owns the rope.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Cable-tie a Tyvek or laminated note to the main belay points (or the bottom of the rope if upwards) explaining the situation and ask that folks treat them nicely if they use them? Then if folks do decide to use them instead of their own, they may take more care than usual.

I've got some upward ropes rigged for a dig where I've had to leave a note asking folks not to use them unless they contact us first, as it's an area that's not been rigged before, it's sketchy, it's definitely not friendly or necessarily kosher rigging in places, and I'd rather they didn't risk it without some additional info. Obviously they still could use it without asking, but my conscience is clean if it goes haywire afterwards. Once the project is complete, we can then decide if permanent rigging is suitable there, and a topo provided. It's a tricky one when you're doing upward explorations, as by definition, you have to leave the ropes in place until you're done, if pull-throughs aren't practical, which they rarely are. I've got quite a few dangling down from holes around and about now.
 

Fulk

Well-known member
Last night we went down Death's Head Hole, only to find that it had been left rigged. As we understand that some people are a bit touchy about other people using their ropes, and as we felt uncomfortable about using ropes that had been hanging there for heaven knows how long and not knowing what condition they’re in, we rigged our own rope over the in-situ one on the entrance pitch, which, needless to say, was a nuisance. Evidently derigging was ‘a bit of a nightmare’, as the two ropes got constantly tangled together.

So – what should one do in such a situation? Use the in-situ rope? Rig over it and use your own? Rig your own rope and pull out the in-situ one, and leave it hanging off the fence all nicely bagged up?
 

Ian Ball

Well-known member
I like Pete's suggestion of leaving the knots and connectors in and bagging it up each time but I suppose if you're carrying a few decakilos of kit that's probably unappealing.

Once at Centipede route in Lost John's I found it rigged so bombed down the pitches before realising the people who'd rigged it might leave before me, so I climbed back up and rigged my own ropes. Then got back down the big pitch to find them waiting for me and quite vocal about me being in their cave when they had the permit (not true, my club did though I wasn't 100% as they seemed so sure). So because I was a bit of a prick back then, I climbed back up really slowly derigged my ropes, pulled theirs up to 5m above the ground awaited about 5 minutes for them to get really irate, then dropped it ran for the car park.
 

Fjell

Member
On the other hand it’s slightly irritating to find the traditional route down Ireby left rigged. The rope on Pussy pitch needs replacing if that is the way forward because the rope is down to the core in the drilled thread, which has no room for another rope. Is this really necessary? It’s not exactly hard to rig, or to leave a rope in a bag if you insist on leaving it.

Although I have to say the outright winner for tat has to be the rope in Butterfields passage in County. Looks like it was put there decades ago and is not really in the very best condition, including the 80’s era alloy(?) hangers. I did use it as a foothold when climbing the pitch and it didn’t snap, so that’s a concrete data point.
 

afraidofthedank

New member
Just make them a bit dirty and leave a sign saying "these ropes are dangerous and prone to failure, do not use". That should scare them off. Of course, you then run the risk that some helpful person might decide to de-rig them!

On the whole I agree that its a risk you take if you leave them in. Personally if i've brought some rope in the cave then i'm using it. Err on the side of caution and try not to use ropes if you don't know what they've been through. The only time i'd make exceptions is for small climbs where its a known fixed aid (also one time in Bagshawe that i try not to think about).
 

JAA

Member
It’s an interesting question for sure. I’ve used ropes which have been left in situ and been involved in projects where caves have been left rigged, albeit a reasonably infrequently visited one.
I try to apply the rule of just being well, reasonable! Treat other peoples kit as if it was your own, don’t fiddle with the way it’s rigged if you can help it and if you do have to change it or notice problems try and contact the owner?
I have a project which would likely involve leaving a classic on the allotment rigged for winter and it’s partly this issue which is delaying me starting. Perhaps a nice sign attached to the first pitch to tell folk they’re welcome to use it in return for moving some kit towards the sump?… 🤔🙃
 

Fjell

Member
As an example, if people are going to leave something like Juniper Gulf rigged then maybe that needs a way of being stated on the permit system. I do not want to rig over in a cave like that, and I don’t want to use their rope.

Once you have long traverses and rebelays/deviations it gets annoying. Also I will be pulling ropes and bags up over someone's gear; if the ropes cross the static rope is possibly going to get hammered without me knowing. If I get there and find it rigged it’s thus a real pisser. I would say any cave in the CNCC system with topos and descriptions comes into this category.
 

JAA

Member
As an example, if people are going to leave something like Juniper Gulf rigged then maybe that needs a way of being stated on the permit system. I do not want to rig over in a cave like that, and I don’t want to use their rope.

Once you have long traverses and rebelays/deviations it gets annoying. Also I will be pulling ropes and bags up over someone's gear; if the ropes cross the static rope is possibly going to get hammered without me knowing. If I get there and find it rigged it’s thus a real pisser. I would say any cave in the CNCC system with topos and descriptions comes into this category.
Funnily enough that’s exactly where I was meaning.
 

Fjell

Member
Thought so.

Interestingly my uncle once dived that sump. The two of them rigged it on ladders and carried the gear in. Carrying rope was all too much so they didn’t bother with lifelines. Days of yore.
 
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