It’s a load of old rope!
As part of its ongoing renewal programme to ensure that all the crag rescue equipment is in tip top condition, Buxton Mountain Rescue Team has just spent over £400 on new rope and tape slings.
Replacing crag equipment is a rolling process so that renewing used or time expired rope does not all have to be done at the same time. Whilst some of the rescue equipment comes courtesy of Mountain Rescue (England & Wales), the central supplies are not sufficient for all the team’s needs and local purchases are necessary.
The team chooses Edelrid Superstatic 11mm rope which is pre-stretched to take the bounce out of lowering a stretcher. Classic climbing rope is manufactured to stretch and reduce the chance of it snapping when it takes a sudden load. This elasticity also softens the shock which may be transferred to the falling climber causing as much injury as hitting the floor. Climbing rope is therefore not suitable for rescue work which needs a rope with a greater breaking strength than climbing rope and has limited stretch. Conversely rescue rope must not be used for rock climbing as it is not designed to take the great shock load of arresting a falling body.
When rescue rope is retired the question arises of what to do with it. Whilst it may appear mean, the team does not give away or sell surplus rope because of fears it may eventually end up being used for the wrong task. Besides, the rope has come to the end of its servicable life – we don’t retire it without good cause!
Much of the old rope is cut up and used for knot tying practice or indoor training but one team member has hit on a new idea. Honorary team member, Elaine Weston, has taken up a new hobby following an article found on the web: making mats from old rope!
“You need quite a lot of rope, 50 metres for the three strand version and sixty metres for the four strand version” says Elaine, but the results are stunningly unusual. Elaine, as a retired team First Aid Officer, has had plenty of practice tying knots in triangular bandages and husband Ken is a mountaineering instructor and a retired team Training Officer so there should be no mistakes. So why knot try it? Visit here
Photo: Bottom – Elaine receiving her Honorary Team Membership in 2008.