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CAVING forces - how much force does rappelling put on ropes???

Rachel (@PetzlPrincess) took me pit bouncing in a cave and we measured the forces on the rappel and ascending of a Petzl PUSH 9.0 Semi-Static rope in free hang. The super static 11mm Pit Rope with extra extra sheath attached to the tree was just to get us to the first free hanging rappel. Rachel at 130lbs (with gear) puts no more than 256lbf on the line or 1.14kn. It doesn't perfectly equalize between 2 bolts when there are two but is roughly half the force on each one. When I ascended up with my 160lb ass, I put a peak force of 362lbf (or 1.61kn). Based on this, a 250lb dude would put a max force of 500-600lbf (2.5kn-ish) and bolts in caves should hold about 20kn or 4,500lbf if not more. Other than the 20 ways you can get hurt in a cave, I feel great about the numbers!

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Edutainment has been a great way to help people understand their gear, and know the true limitations of it.  Watching HOW gear fails is more important than the force itself, as almost all gear is super good enough.  It's more important to share information on how to stay safe than it is to have a paywall.  We hope our stoke is contagious.

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