Monday, June 21, 2010



It was sunny again today and the mud was drying up. Steven brought me hot chocolate in the tent again this morning! (Actually, he did that every morning this week!) What a nice guy...and what a lot of "brownie points" he's earning! For breakfast there was French toast, bacon, oatmeal, fruit salad, and milk or punch. Now that it's dry, most people brought their folding lawn chairs up to the eating area, then carried them along to use at the classes.

Today's classes started with a Ropes/Knot-tying class taught by Daniel. Before teaching us some knots he talked about ropes. He cut off the end of a couple ropes and showed us how to tell a good rope from a bad rope. A bad rope will have a fuzzy cord running down the center and you can pull the "guts" out of the rops. A good rope will have several cords inside and they won't pull out. A # 10 climbing rope is rated for 5,200 lbs., whereas a cheap rope of the same diameter is only rated at 300 lbs. Here he holds a rope while he talks:

A "Static" rope is one that doesn't stretch. That's not something you want to be tied in to, because if you fall, the jerk of the rope when you bottom out will snap your back, or worse. A "bite" is a turn in the rope, or loop. "Shorts" are the ends from the rope factories, and can be up to 30 meters in length. A quality rope is made from one piece, never spliced. Sterling Rope is a US company that makes very strong ropes.

The rescue ropes they use in Search & Rescue are rated at 4,000 lbs. They use a ratio of 10:1 safety rating. Meaning if they're going to be raising or lowering 400 lbs. (such as one rescuer, one victim), they want a rope rated for 4,000 lbs.

He started with an easy knot, the square knot:
There's a variation of this called the "Thieve's knot". Legend is that sailors used it to tie their gear. It looks like a square knot at first glance, but one of the ends comes out the other side of the loop. If someone messed with their gear, they'd re-tie it with a square knot. The sailors could tell before they untied it if it had been tampered with.

Next was a Figure-8 knot: Over, under, through. He said to keep the knots clean and untwisted. Minimum of 3" of rope sticking out from the knot. A bowline, which he taught us next, holds 70% of the rope's rated weight when tied right. Improperly tied it's 30% less strong.

Never put your hand in a bite (loop) of rope while tying a knot. If the load suddenly pulls the rope tight, you could injure or lose your hand or wrist.

I'd never known much more than the knot used to tie my shoes, so I found this class very helpful!

Steven and I shared a rope, and while I was waiting I practiced a knot Daniel taught us called a "Totline" with my shoelace:
To learn these and other knots go to:

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