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Using Paracord as emergency escape rope...

Discussion in 'General EDC Discussion' started by Bogus, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. jsmith008

    jsmith008 Loaded Pockets

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    Bluewater ropes make Assaultline, its 7/16 static line. It is used by the military. It is also in use by the climbing and caving community. REI and some similar stores will stock it during the summer months. While not saying it is impossible, most climbers, arborists, and cavers I have interacted with have said that thin techcord, etc, could be used, but really is an accessory cord. These high tech cords do not seem to be favored because these cords do not hold knots well and are difficult to work with. Keep in mind, most of the tech cords are around 5mm simply to maintain ANY sort of usability, particularly with braking devices. The common run of the mill climbing accessory cord of 6mm will have a break strength of between 1,500lbs and 2,000lbs. This is significantly stronger than 550 cord. Regular accessory cord costs significantly less than the boutique tech cords, and while having about half the strength, 2,000lbs is nothing to sneeze at. Aside from the difficulty in use, I also understand that one reason traditional climbing ropes of both the static and dynamic variety are as thick as they are to withstand use over time, exposure to the elements and abrasion, and impact from a fall. Just my thoughts....kind of a soap box speech....sorry fellas.

    P.S. I am nothing more than a dabbler in the climbing arena, however I have the good fortune to have several friends whose lively hoods, and lives, depend on their knowledge of this type of equipment.
     
  2. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Loaded Pockets

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    As someone who is trained in both Single Rope Technique and Double Rope Technique, Emergency Egress, High Angle Rope etc, i'm gonna comment harshly on this thought of usig paracord for a LIFELINE.

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!! :brickwall:

    Paracord might be "rated" for "550" lbs load, but that is when the cord is NEW, and it is a STATIC load with ZERO shockloads (shockloads like a person lowering themselves out a window). Put a bend in the cord (ie window ledge) or a knot and you reduce the load rating to half or less. Add in a few movements of the load (you) and you are dead. wrap it around a carabiner a bunch of times and you have ZERO load rating and FRICTION, which rapidly degrades the CORD

    It is a highly stupid and idiotic thing to even consider doing. Please Dont!

    get yourself a bail out Kit, form a reputable maker. It will have a web harness, two biners, anchor webbing and a 15:1 safety factor 8mm or thicker Kernmantle construction rope DESIGNED FOR LIVE LOADS.

    i'm not going to comment any further on the idea of 550 cord for a LIFELINE. Trying to keep it civil and without swear words.

    :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall:
     
  3. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Loaded Pockets

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    He used BlueWater ASSAULT LINE 11mm SEMI-Static kermantle rope. Most tree climbers use 1/2" to 9/16" specialty tree ropes.
     
  4. spaceconvoy

    spaceconvoy Loaded Pockets

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    Good to know - thanks for clarifying :knuppel2: (<---I imagine that's a judge banging his gavel, sentencing this case dismissed)
     
  5. Mark123

    Mark123 Empty Pockets

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    I don't doubt anything you are saying, but I'm still waiting for someone to do a backyard fieldtest. ;D
     
  6. mr.hauser

    mr.hauser Loaded Pockets

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    heh, ive done it. ;)

    im 150 lbs, and i constructed a rappel device with a similar design to the new england ropes micro rappel device and used paracord attached to my home made climbing wall with a figure eight knot. I proceeded to rappel down for about 6 ft.

    Now, i really would not ever condone using it for a real life line, but as a test of concept it worked fine.
     
  7. Mark123

    Mark123 Empty Pockets

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    Exactly-I weigh more than you but I think in a pinch, it would work!
     
  8. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Loaded Pockets

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    :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall:
     
  9. dewildeman

    dewildeman Loaded Pockets

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    Plainly stated, if you use paracord, working load about 150 lbs, to reppel, you will be a an example of Darwin in action.

    Mods, can we lock this thread?
     
  10. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Loaded Pockets

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    NO, let the Darwins of this earth figure it out for themselves. REST OF POST EDITED, family forum and all.
     
  11. mahler9

    mahler9 Banned

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    Listen - unless you weigh more than 550 lbs (I bet some of you are approaching this weight, but you're fine), it's OK to use paracord for repelling down building walls. Heh, they don't call it 550 cord for nothing! I double mine up lines up (just in case!) and use it in conjunction with this:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. dewildeman

    dewildeman Loaded Pockets

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    No, it's not. But if you want, go ahead.
     
  13. objective_guy

    objective_guy Empty Pockets

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    I think people are missing the intent of the original post.  It says "paracord as an emergency escape rope."  It doesn't say "hey, I want to go rappelling this weekend, is it okay to use paracord?"  I can't speak to the matter specifically as I don't have any personal experience doing something like that with paracord.  I know paracord will hold you up.  Not sure how well it would deal with shock forces put on it and it is so thin and gets very hot with friction so it will burn through easily.  And of course you would need gloves.  And you could braid it too.

    But as a last ditch effort to save my life or someone else's would I consider using it to get down from a second or third story window?  Maybe, if it's all I had available.  Hell the mythbusters used rope they fabbed from toilet paper lol.
     
  14. spaceconvoy

    spaceconvoy Loaded Pockets

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    I wanted to expand on this... people need to realize that a knot is a bend, and unless you can anchor the rope without a knot, the paracord's load is automatically reduced by half. It's only able to take 550lbs in a tug-of-war type situation where it's being loaded straight from end to end. Not to mention the rope needs to be brand new without any kinks (like the ones caused by winding it tightly and leaving it sitting at the bottom of your bag for a while).

    The only concievable situation this would be safe is if you ran the cord through a large-diameter pulley bolted to the building, and lowered yourself very gradually with the loose end. Note that you would have to have amazing upper body strength to lower yourself without causing any shock loads, and a grip of steel to hold the rope without twisting it around your hand. And you have to have the pulley...

    So in an emergency situation you'd be better off jumping - at least you'll be able to control your fall and could try to land in a bush or something. With the paracord it WILL snap, and you will fall without expecting it.
     
  15. yam350

    yam350 Loaded Pockets

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    For ALL of those who would consider using 550 in an emergency situation, LISTEN to Space Convoy and others who say no. IF you are going to use it as an aid for say 10 or 15 feet, well maybe you will get away with light injuries but for any higher you wioll get a Darwin Lifetime's Award ( that is to say you will have had your lifetime) All the ingenuity you are wasting on this idea would be better spent figuring out a GOOD way of getting down from a burning building. :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall: :brickwall:parachute cord is for....... PARACHUTES ( lots of it goes into holding up one parachute). Climbing rope is for, amazingly enough, climbing.
     
  16. Medic7158

    Medic7158 Empty Pockets

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    True 7 stranded kernmantle 550 cord has what is termed a minimum breaking strength (MBS) of 550lbs. That doesn't mean it can support 550lbs for climbing.

    First off, like spaceconvoy said, a knot is a series of bends that reduce the MBS of your rope by anywhere from a 1/3 - 1/2 (I've seen different figures on this, but we err on the side of caution and say 1/2). A knot can create a guillotine effect on your rope as it tightens, severing your lifeline. So now you're down to 225lbs.

    Other forces known as dynamic loading have to be factored. Anytime a load is moved (lifted, lowered, swung, dropped) it is creating dynamic force. If a load falls, depending on the weight of the load and the distance it falls, it can create forces that are exponential to the static load. If a 176lb climber falls one foot and shock loads his rope, he exerts 634lbs of force at stop. You just broke your lifeline and went :thumbsdown:.

    Do the math.


    This doesn't even consider other forces like vectoring that can also multiply the force applied.

    To put it in perspective, the rescue squad I train with uses a minimum of 1/2in (12.7mm) kernmantle. This stuff has an MBS of 10,000lbs, but it has a Working Load Limit (WLL) of 600lbs, meaning we never load it with more than 600lbs.

    I personally wouldn't put my butt on anything smaller than about 10mm as a single rope and that would be just as an escape line. The guys that are considered crazy use 8mm as a single rope instead of double rope and that stuff has an MBS of like 16kN (3600lbs)!!

    My advise is to take a rope class. They will teach you about anchors, repelling, harnesses, knots, and most importantly, the proper rope to use.

    Then maybe you could consider a length of 8mm kernmantle, some 1in flat webbing for a harness and an anchor, maybe a rated carabiner or two as a last ditch bailout rig.
     
  17. Medic7158

    Medic7158 Empty Pockets

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    Upon review of my earlier post I realize that it comes off as a bit pretentious and long winded.

    I still advocate the ropes class. But here is what i use as an emergency bail out rig.

    First learn to build a radium release hitch

    Then learn to make hasty harness with 1in flat webbing. Keep in mind, this thing is going to really suck when you put all your weight in it, but it may save your life.

    You'll need to tie a solid anchor to something structurally sound like banisters, pipelines, railings anything that is attached to a solid portion of frame work of the building.

    If you wanted to do just a single line without the radium release hitch, you could use a prussic hitch as handholds. They will slide along the axis of the rope if you grab the twisted portion and pull, but they will lock in place if you grab the ends of the knots. You will still need a harness and anchor.

    I know it sounds like a lot of stuff, but i fit a rig like this in the cargo pocket of my climbing pants.

    I don't advise anyone to try this without some decent training (my disclaimer).

    Oh, one other to add. If you are using this to escape a burning building. Consider that ALL ropes will burn if exposed to direct flame for long enough. They do make some ropes that will withstand longer flame impingement like Kevlar, but they will burn eventually. As for 550 cord, ever lit the end with a lighter?
     
  18. objective_guy

    objective_guy Empty Pockets

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    The more and more I read this thread and think about this, I want to try it out lol.  Honestly I think it can be done.

    Rappelling is out of the question.  Some kind of lowering system is out of the question because it involves more than one person.  That leaves some kind of ladder device.

    If you had a decently round or close to round anchor point (the rounder the better, the less it will weaken cord), you could use a bunch of round turns secured with half hitches.  This tensionless knot reduces the strength of the rope very little.  Along the length of the cord tie Alpine Butterfly Loops as hand and foot holds.  This knot reduces the strength of the cord very little compared to other knots.  Throw the ladder out and climb down.

    The problems with this technique I see: A) There will be a bend in the cord where it exits the building (ie the window ledge).  You would have to pad this or round this off really well.  B) The climber would probably have a hard time balancing and stabilizing himself.  And the cord would tear up his hands.  I think the cord would be able to support him though.  I would be really leery about doing this any higher than like 30 ft or so.

    lol there are no guarantees but empirical evidence is always better than theoretical.  Can I get a volunteer?  :lolhammer:
     
  19. Medic7158

    Medic7158 Empty Pockets

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    Why not use dental floss instead?
     
  20. objective_guy

    objective_guy Empty Pockets

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    lol...sounds like a challenge!! Sorry, I know you guys are dead set against this "paracord as an emergency escape rope" thing and rightfully so. Admittedly the chances of it actually working are slim to nil but whenever I'm presented with a situation I tend to think "how can I make it work" not "no way it will never work!" This is how people invent things and come up with new ideas!! But trust me, you won't see me climbing down a paracord ladder out a 3rd story window anytime soon and I don't recommend others try it either! :D