"New-style" cows tails – comments/criticism/remarks welcome

Fulk

Well-known member
I like my short cows tail to be really short, as I find that this helps when crossing a rebelay going down; however, it has the disadvantage that in some situations it is not long enough to reach, say, a traverse line. On such occasions I resort to the somewhat unsatisfactory method of clipping an extra karabiner (or krabs) onto the safety cord . . . not an ideal solution.

So I wonder if the following would work – instead of having a very short cows tail, having a 'normal-length' one but with a second krab tied into an in-line figure-of-eight knot, so I'd have a 'two-in-one' cows tail – see photo.

What do you reckon?
 

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LadyMud

Active member
Hmm, that doesn't look a good idea. Doesn't tying a knot reduce the strength of a rope?

Have you seen the method of tying each cowstail independently to your Omni/maillon, with a short loop linking the two knots?
Then you could clip a krab into this loop, to create a very short "cowstail".
 
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JasonC

Well-known member
Interesting... I could see this working. A bit like the arrangement with two overhand knots (or similar) on the D-ring, giving a 3rd krab on a very short loop - but your short loop is a more useful length. The only (minor) drawback is that it doesn't have a barrel knot so won't stay in position so easily. Or even drop off if the loop wasn't tied a bit tighter.
 

thehungrytroglobite

Well-known member
I like my short cows tail to be really short, as I find that this helps when crossing a rebelay going down;
Not sure I understand this... if it's too short (ie. 'really short'), doesn't that mean you can't stand up in the loop to get your weight off? Unless you are really tall or cave with miniature humans?
however, it has the disadvantage that in some situations it is not long enough to reach, say, a traverse line. On such occasions I resort to the somewhat unsatisfactory method of clipping an extra karabiner (or krabs) onto the safety cord . . . not an ideal solution.
Not sure I understand this either... can't you just use the krab that is already on the safety cord? And leave your hand jammer hanging on it. I do this sometimes when I need a 'third' cows tail
So I wonder if the following would work – instead of having a very short cows tail, having a 'normal-length' one but with a second krab tied into an in-line figure-of-eight knot, so I'd have a 'two-in-one' cows tail – see photo.

What do you reckon?
what about trying a Petzl connect adjust? It allows you to change the length of your cowstails. Never used one myself mind
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
How does the strength of the suggested figure-of-eight knot compare with an Alpine butterfly in that situation?

Fulk know a lot more about SRT than me (he used to teach it!) but I thought the butterfly might stronger if you were to shock load the double cow's tail when clipped in using the longer option.
 

JoshW

Well-known member
My view with relative strengths of knots has been if you’re needing the extra 5% strength of a knot you’re doing something wrong.

Knots should be chosen based on
- ease of tying (and untying if required)
- convenience of adjusting (if required)
- other factors (holding a carabiner in a fixed position)

My view on the original set up is: sure, if it works for you 🤷🏼‍♂️

Personally I’ve transitioned to evolv adjust lanyards (dual Petzl connect adjusts basically) and so can have whatever length cowstail I want
 

JoshW

Well-known member
I think you are missing a zero. Typical impact of a knot on the strength of a rope is around 50%.
I was meaning when comparing the different types of knots and their relative strengths, thought that was clear from the context.

Why would I be comparing the idea of a knot vs no knot when it comes to cowstails 🤦🏼‍♂️
 

mikem

Well-known member
A third knot could well give you more shock absorption.

I would like to see some research into which knots have better shock absorption at the D ring.

If you need a shorter cowstail you can always clip the krab back into D ring and use another krab in loop.
 

Fulk

Well-known member
Well, thanks for all the feed-back so far . . . but it's late at night and I'll have a god look at it tomorrow. Bob – I tried to access Speleology 11 but it took me to a BCRA page . . . would it be possible to provide a short précis of it?
 

topcat

Active member
My short is shorter than many, but not super short. Even so, I sometimes struggle with high traverse lines. But rebelays are a easy:)
The best solution is to do the rigging yourself so that alpine Y hangs are kept to the bare minimum.....ie hardly ever.
Traverse lines that run to the Y hang are much easier to access.
I have noticed a tendency for riggers to use only alpine Y these days. It's almost like it is the only hang they know. Having made the 'error' they then try and correct it with extraneous and random loops all over the place. One of my clubs is becoming famous about the apple yards for cluster f*** rigging.......KISS is the answer to most things. But a kiss often leads to problems;).
 

Ian Ball

Well-known member
Do you mean using a multi loop knot when you say it's easier to access a y hang that the traverse line runs to?
You could be on for a few replies if you start that debate ;-)
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
I have noticed a tendency for riggers to use only alpine Y these days. It's almost like it is the only hang they know.
Dave can rig. Be like Dave.
 

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caving_fox

Active member
Having got quite long arms and legs I do something similar. I buy 2 sets of cow's tail lengths, use most of 1 as a long, and then then other as a short and medium. Yes I have an extra knot on the D-ring, it's never been a problem. (and it does mean that I am not on a single point of failure because I'm using 2 separate ropes).

Would agree with points above that you do want a barrel knot against the krab to hold it in position rather than risk it rolling across the gate.
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
I don't think it would have to be a barrel knot, just anything that is tight round the krab. Is there any reason why you can just tie an overhand knot and clip the krab through the middle of it? It will tighten hard on the krab once you load from the primary krab.
 
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