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Light, cheap ropes. What do you use?

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Kristoffer, Jan 3, 2023.

  1. Kristoffer

    Kristoffer

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    I am on a perpetual quest to find the best rope for remote canyons and long approaches. I don't see them discussed much on here, but I've recently become a huge fan of the CE4Y Slick Line (6mm vectran sheath/dyneema core, 23g/m, $0.89/ft) and Sick Line (8.7mm dyneema sheath/dyneema core, 42 g/m, $1.01/ft). I'm curious if anyone else here uses them and what your thoughts are, or what else you use when you need a light, small rope for a long day in a canyon.

    Matthias (CE4Y owner) discourages use of the Sick Line on dry rappels over 200', and while I have used mine on plenty of 190-200' drops with no sign of damage and I am sure you could push it further, I'm not willing to try. But for a wet canyon or a rap under 200', its by far the lightest and cheapest "real" rope I've ever used. Mine has been on several trips through Zion, Death Valley and various places in SoCal and has at least 200 rappels on it. That's not very many in terms of a rope's life, but its still in excellent shape and I'm very pleased with how its wearing.

    The Slick Line is advertised as a pull cord, or for use as adouble strand rappelling rope. Its plenty strong (4500 lb breaking strength), but the small diameter increases the contact pressure on sharp edges. Higher pressure and smaller diameter obviously equals faster cutting of the rope. That said, used double strand it has MORE contact area and thus experiences lower pressures than a 9mm rope used single strand. Mine is a 300' with about 100 rappels on it, all double strand, and has no visually perceptible wear. There's a couple inches of sheath slippage at both ends, but I didn't soak the rope or do any kind of break-in prior to just rapping on it repeatedly and the slippage seems to have mostly stopped. I'll refinish the ends someday and update if there is any more slippage.
    I've done a few test rappels off of my crane using it single strand, and at 180 lbs the sqwurel in behemoth mode provides plenty of friction. With a small team of skilled canyoneers, good edge protection and proper rappelling technique I would definitely be comfortable using it single strand in a canyon, but I likely wouldn't let a dozen boy scouts use it to bounce down Pine Creek.

    Both are relatively fast ropes (Sick Line due to the slippery dyneema sheath and Slick Line due to the small size) but with proper rap devices everyone on my team from a 120 lb woman to a 200 lb guy have been able to find friction settings that work for them.

    In the photo attachments, the Sick Line is the orange sheath with the blue tracer and the Slick Line has the white tracer. I tried to get pictures of the most worn areas of each rope to show how they look after the use described above. The 300' Slick Line is also pictured next to a 200' blue CanyonPrime (8.5mm) for a size comparison.

    Disclosure: I'm not affiliated with CE4Y in any way. I'm just a very happy customer.

    I used to use C-IV, but its more expensive and bulkier and heavier than both the CE4Y ropes. I don't have enough trips on the CE4Y stuff to say for sure, but so far it seems to be wearing at least as well as C-IV. I haven't been able to get ahold of Atwood Grand (out of stock everywhere) and I'm not yet willing to pry open my wallet for Imlay Slyther or BW Extreme, so I can't compare to those, but I'd love to hear from someone who uses them.

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2023
  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I haven't used those ropes (I don't like fast ropes being the main reason), but I don't think there are any cheap ropes that are good for canyoneering. I definitely wouldn't call $1.01 a foot to be cheap.
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I think you are getting a pro deal on that Kriss... Adventure Plus is one of the few dealers in the USA, and they offer it at $ 1.55 a foot.

    Tom
  4. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Is 6mm a rope now and no longer a pull cord? I'm not sure I even have a device that could use that safely.
  5. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    When I look for a rope, I put the most important factors in this order:

    1) Durability (if it can't survive a week in hard canyons (200 rappels and other ropework), it's not worth buying no matter what else is good about it)
    2) Weight
    3) Handling
    4) Price

    I spend more getting to a canyon than I would on a full length rope so the last thing I'm looking for when I buy one is "cheap". Like I've told @ratagonia and @Bootboy, make me good stuff and I'll pay you full price for it. I want you still in business when I need to replace that item in a few years.

    At any rate, I've used C4 (and hauled 300 feet of it) and Grand (and hauled 200 feet of it) but not Slyther or this CE4Y stuff.

    While nobody wants to carry any extra weight at any time, it really takes a special trip to need the very lightest possible rope you can use. Think 2-3 person, huge hike, long rappel kind of scenario. I just don't do those very often.
    Kristoffer, Dave Melton and ratagonia like this.
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    An old joke (or truism) in many different forms, but applies to ropes:

    Light, Inexpensive, Durable: pick any two.

    My grid looks like:

    Light and Durable: Imlay Slyther (or Sterling CIV, or BW Canyon Pro 8mm 1/2 technora sheath)

    Inexpensive and Durable: Imlay Canyon Fire (Canyonero if over 15 Stone)

    Light and Inexpensive: Atwood Grand.
  7. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Currently in discussion with my braider to make some improvements to durability without too much of a price increase.

    This may see the hybridization of the core and sheath to achieve a better balance of features.

    Standby


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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