Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

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Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Kuhr » Thu 02 Jul, 2020 7:41 pm

Hello Everyone

Some time ago (6 months) I purchased 20m of 25mm tubular tape as it is highly suggested by the bushwalking club I am a member of 'just in case'. But I have never ended up needing it, so it has been stored unused.

This weekend I am going on a walk with different people (to Spicer's Peak), I have done the walk before and I did not need it then. However I am considering taking the tape in case someone gets nervous.

Can it be used anchored above a scramble (perhaps on a tree) to assist anyone scrambling up, or is this unfeasible without a proper harness?

I am also not real knowledgeable on knots, but fortunately one of the people coming is a rock climber, so I will probably lean on them for that.

Otherwise I would prefer not to take the climbing tape, and tell anyone who baulks at the scrambles to turn back.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby CBee » Thu 02 Jul, 2020 7:57 pm

Best use of tape is pack hauling. Or assisting a short descent/climb over not so steep terrain for the not so confident scrambler. Definitely not to be used in conjunction with a belay device and harness for belaying purposes, for that you need a rope and you also need to be anchored properly. If you have a rock climber in the party, leave it to him.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 02 Jul, 2020 8:01 pm

When you say tubular tape do you mean standard nylon climbing tape? Or are you referring to tape that is sewn into links so it resembles a chain? If the latter then be aware that the sewn 'links' are not nearly as strong as a normal length of tape. So not sure if I'd want people putting their entire weight on a sewn 'link'.

If it's just normal tape then yes just loop it around a solid tree and use it to aid climbing and descending when scrambling. People use tape for short tricky bits.

No harnesses required however tape is only a aid not a safety device, it won't stop a fall. It helps if those using the tape wear gloves. Easier on the hands and assists with grip.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Neo » Thu 02 Jul, 2020 8:39 pm

I have heard or read that tape is easy to hold. However I have only used it to wrap around a tree or other to create an anchor point.

For bushwalking, a handline is ideal. A 6-8mm rated climbing rope is great, say 20m.

Ascending, first person up can secure it then those following can hold on like a handrail.
Descending, last person un-does it and goes without unless it is double the length of the traverse, in that case it can be looped at the midpoint without knots then pulled down last.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Kuhr » Thu 02 Jul, 2020 8:48 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice.

It is solid (flat) 25mm wide climbing tape, not the chain linked type.

None of these scrambles are sheer vertical, or sustained climbing. Mostly short scrambles up rocky chutes or cliff breaks, but some have real exposure with real consequences - there was a fatality here many years ago.

I especially appreciate the comment about the tape just being an aid rather than protection. With that in mind, it is probably best to not use the tape, and turn back anyone too nervous to continue at the first real scramble.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Neo » Thu 02 Jul, 2020 9:28 pm

Not a good idea for someone (unsure of a scramble) to be sent back on their own.
One in all in.
I would suggest taking the tape and consider a better plan B also.

Have suitable equipment and a supportive attitude.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Aardvark » Fri 03 Jul, 2020 4:39 am

I've done the walk up Spicers dozens of times over the last 35 years or more and led a considerable number of people, club walks included.
There is only one spot where you're likely to utilise the tape to assist others and the tape will do just fine. You won't be shock loading it enough for it to risk breaking and it is not old enough to have degraded enough. Most of the time there is sufficient enough natural features to assist with holds.
I would be interested to get feedback on the short traverse westward just under the summit rocks into the rainforested bit. A large rock or two had dislodged a while back and made it a challenge for some to skip around. It's been a couple of years now since my last visit.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby FatCanyoner » Fri 03 Jul, 2020 1:35 pm

Tubular tape is excellent as a handline. It's much easier to grip and softer on the hands than rope. I do a lot of canyoning, so usually have ropes with me, but will still generally set up a tape if we need a handline, rather than using rope.

20m is quite a good length. For any drop under 10m in length, just wrap it around a tree / boulder etc and throw both ends down. No knot tying needed. I also find it easier to grip two strands rather than one. For longer drops where you need to tie it off at one end, just use a water knot (a rethreaded overhand knot). See: https://www.animatedknots.com/water-knot

25mm tube tape generally has a rated breaking strength of about 15kn (approximately 1500kg) so will be more than strong enough for people to pull themselves up on.

As other have mentioned, it is not designed to belay people. That is not what it is designed for and there are a range of reasons why this is an unsafe practice. If you intend to set up a top belay, take an actual rope (properly rated climbing or abseiling rope) and a belay device.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 03 Jul, 2020 2:01 pm

Flat tape [ what the OP says they have a couple of posts down] "It is solid (flat) 25mm wide climbing tape" is generally a bit harder to grab hold of and usually not as strong but it is cost effective.
Just something to keep in mind as there is a difference
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby FatCanyoner » Fri 03 Jul, 2020 2:18 pm

Yes, good clarification. Tubular tape, as the name implies, is a tube shape (with a hole through the middle). That is what I'd recommend using. Flat tape could be any number of things (usually used for making straps on packs etc). It is not usually something with a rated strength. As Moondog rightly says, it's also much stiffer and harder to grip. I would not use it as a handline.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Mark F » Fri 03 Jul, 2020 5:40 pm

While tubular tape is preferable my usage is quite rare. I find the Grunt 25mm polyester tape from Bunnings (680Kg breaking force) and under $7 for 10 metres works fine for pack hauling and the occasional hand line. ... and it comes in colours :D
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Sat 04 Jul, 2020 2:35 pm

FatCanyoner wrote:Tubular tape is excellent as a handline. It's much easier to grip and softer on the hands than rope. I do a lot of canyoning, so usually have ropes with me, but will still generally set up a tape if we need a handline, rather than using rope.

20m is quite a good length. For any drop under 10m in length, just wrap it around a tree / boulder etc and throw both ends down. No knot tying needed. I also find it easier to grip two strands rather than one.

^^^All of this. Tube tape makes great handline. I keep a bowline on each end and a crab on one to quickly loop on trees etc. for lowering (with the crab/join at the bottom so can quickly disconnect and retrieve the tape), but I'm sure different people have different preferred configs. As an aside you can make a proper seat harness using two lengths of proper tube tape (and some hundred mile tape to protect/tidy knots) but that's best left to regular climbing types.



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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Kuhr » Sat 04 Jul, 2020 8:29 pm

Thanks everyone. I did take the what I now think is 20m of flat 25mm of tape with me to Spicer's Peak. It did help some more nervous members of our group at one scramble on the way up.

However on the way down from West Peak we came across a nasty sheer rocky drop none of us could find a way to detour around, and everyone had to do a mini-abseil down the tape. Some (like me) rather apprehensively (I am not in the photo)

Image

I also noted (since someone mentioned) that before the push to East Peak there is a section I remember from last time, sidling around a rock, over a vegetated gully. Well this area has changed. I think one of the rocks that used to be there is missing, also the vegetation below has been burnt out. Our group descended to the loose dirt and rock slope where the vegetation used to be, and passed underneath the section I mentioned above, then pushed back up to the rainforest, which is shortly before East Peak.

Eventually I imagine that vegetation will grow back, and some other way will need to be found.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Neo » Sat 04 Jul, 2020 8:38 pm

Nice tape!

These bits make a walk more fun.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby CBee » Mon 06 Jul, 2020 3:56 pm

I would be interested to get feedback on the short traverse westward just under the summit rocks into the rainforested bit. A large rock or two had dislodged a while back and made it a challenge for some to skip around. It's been a couple of years now since my last visit

Nothing particularly hard to report apart some loose soil to negotiate. Looks like traffic has made a new track just below the land slide.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby commando » Sat 29 Aug, 2020 1:55 pm

Myself i would definitely NOT use tape as knots are always weak and do slip open
8 mm static line will do most work including abseil for a lightweight option
you can make a prussik loop which slides along the rope and locks under tension
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Mark F » Sat 29 Aug, 2020 5:57 pm

commando wrote:Myself i would definitely NOT use tape as knots are always weak and do slip open
8 mm static line will do most work including abseil for a lightweight option
you can make a prussik loop which slides along the rope and locks under tension

25mm tubular tape and 8mm line have pretty much the same tensile strength, the tape a bit better but partly brand dependent.
Knots weaken both tape and cord. 50% loss is a good guide for knots in rope. I expect tape is similar.
Tape holds knots hold very well I have never had a problem with bowlines or tape knots.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Huntsman247 » Sat 29 Aug, 2020 9:49 pm

commando wrote:Myself i would definitely NOT use tape as knots are always weak and do slip open
8 mm static line will do most work including abseil for a lightweight option
you can make a prussik loop which slides along the rope and locks under tension


Knots in tape hold very well. Just depends on the knot and maybe the person tying the knot. If you dress it well with the right knot you'll have no probs.
I used to use an 8mm static line with a prussik loop but unless I'm expecting some serious pack hauling I find the tape much much better for scrabbling. Especially short lengths of a few meters only that can be joined for a longer length when needed.
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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Sat 29 Aug, 2020 10:10 pm

Huntsman247 wrote:Knots in tape hold very well. Just depends on the knot and maybe the person tying the knot..

Exactly. Certain knot types are better suited to tape than others.

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Re: Tubular Tape for protected scrambling

Postby Neo » Sat 29 Aug, 2020 10:25 pm

I've only tied overhand knots in tube tape.

The alpine butterfly knot is a good one for making handholds along a rope

https://www.ropelab.com.au/the-awesome- ... butterfly/
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