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Old 03-15-2008, 04:13 AM
ticker ticker is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: London
Posts: 1,975
Firstly, as Gbro said, solo climbing is a niche activity and doesn't normally use rope. Part of the thrill is the all-or-nothing sense of danger.

For regular two-climber rock climbing the procedure is as follows. Each climber ties one end of the climbing rope to their harness. One climber, the second, ties him/her self to something solid known as a belay. The lead climber then starts up with the second paying out the rope. Obviously if the lead falls at this point they will crash to the ground so at opportune moments the leader will attach 'runners' along the route. A runner is something wedged or hammered into cracks in the rock with a snap link attached through which the rope is threaded. If the leader now falls from 10 feet above the last runner they will only fall 10 feet past it until the rope tightens (assuming the runner holds and the second is paying attention!). Once the leader reaches the either end of the climb or end of the available rope, they find their own belay to tie in to so they can bring up the second. The second takes out the runners as they come up.

When rappelling/abseiling you can retrieve the rope by the simple expedient of using two ropes tied together and looped through the anchor point so you are descending a double thickness of rope. When you get to the end you can tug on one rope to pull the other one through.