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 Split Tail 
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:24 pm
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Location: British Columbia
Post Split Tail
What's the advantage of using a split tail? Is it best used with a rope of the same diameter as your climbing line, or can a thinner rope be used (I'm thinking specifically an 8mm split tail on an 11mm fly).
I tried it out a while back, thanks to some great(!) instructions by Deitley, but still haven't really incorporated it into my climbing....


Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:28 am
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Location: Austin TX
Post Why Split Tails?
Hello Kristen
I have become adjusted to use the split tails on most of my climbs now after the initial basic set up learning curve.
There are many reasons (IMHO) to use this system versus the basic set up. The one that comes to mind is the fact of how easy it is to advance your TIP while doing multiple pitches up or to move across a tree without having to tie and untie the main rope Blake's knots. ( I climb using both ends of the rope so right from the ground I already have the second set up tied to the back of my saddle including a second friction saver installed on the rope.

Another advance is that while you are coming down your rope does not heat up and possibly get damaged by glazing since the split tail takes most of the heat and dissipates it. You can replace a split tail for a few bucks( Canadian Dollars too!) but cutting 10 feet off a damaged by heat climbing rope breaks my heart.

Many others have may other reason for using a split tail and they will probably chime in soon.
I recommend using a split tail be made of a rope slightly smaller than your climbing rope 8 to 10 mills will do the trick for me. The split tail can be about 10 feet long so you do not have a long piece hanging at the end of the safety knot.
You can order one from Sherrill's with an eye tied on the end for about $25 US or you can buy a piece of accessory cord for about 55 cents per foot and tie a figure -8 knot on end and you are ready to go. Very easy set up to use and to make from scratch. ( Prices are from the Sherrills catalog on pages 8 and 21) New Tribe also sells rope than can be used for this purpose) Hope this helps you.

I have a couple of Split tails that I made with Master Splicer Nick and they work great! :P

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Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:01 pm
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Post 
Oldtimer hit the main points well.

I've resisted split tails (for all their advantages) in the past because I hate having a tangle of biners hooked to my saddle, especially when double-crotching. There are ways around this, some use a rigging plate. My current strategy if I'm going to be using a Blake's is to tie the split tail directly to my NT harness pear screwlink. I leave a round plastic rope thimble on my pear for this purpose and tie the split tail around it. I also have a double split tail with a Butterfly knot in the middle capturing a thimble which I can install on my pear before the climb. Either way the amount of biners is reduced and I can still advance the rope to a new TIP without untying the friction hitch.

The so-called closed split tails or advanced hitches are a whole 'nother animal, the advantages in addition to being able to advance the TIP without undoing the hitch are improvements in climbing performance, ascending and descending. But they require modification of technique and are a different paradigm compared to Blake's Hitch climbing.
-moss


Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:05 pm
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:20 pm
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Post 
Kirsten--

I have been using a double split tail almost since I began climbing--very handy.

The multi-colored pattern of my split tail contrasts with my climbing rope, which is white (well, it used to be), and this allows me to easily differentiate between the two.

For my split tail, I use half-inch rope (with half-inch climbing line) simply because the Blake’s hitch normally is made “with the same rope.”

I haven’t tested it, but would recommend using the same diameter rope unless you want to tie closed hitches. Smith and Padgett recommend that the diameter of a Prusik cord be about 70% of the diameter of the climbing rope, so your 8mm/11mm sounds good.

Moss is correct about the extra hardware in the screw link. I use a large pear-shaped one, and it’s none too big.

Go visit Brad again and pay attention to what he says—the guy knows what he’s doing!


Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:53 pm
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Post 
Try that Palomar Knot with your double split tail moss, it's not very bulky.

I like to use split tails, but I also like a traditional system to get the rope "broken in" too.

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Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:47 am
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Post 
J~bird wrote:
Try that Palomar Knot with your double split tail moss, it's not very bulky.


But that's too easy and not as a pretty as a butterfly! I never knew the name of that, thought of it as an overhand on a bight. Thanks for the tip JB.
-moss


Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:03 am
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Post 
The palomar starts out as a overhand on a bight, but then you flip the bight over the carabiner and overhand, sorta like when you tie a bowline on a bight.

Kirsten, just about the only time I DON'T use split tail these days is when I take beginners climbing and they are just going up and down. As soon as someone will be advancing their line, or maybe going around branches and things like that...this is when it's time for a split tail. It is a lot faster to just unclip and reclip than it is to untie and retie.

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nick

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Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:03 pm
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Post 
Hey, Nick, I've been wanting to ask you a question about split tails. Double split tails, to be precise.

Although I usually use advanced hitches these days, I will sometimes climb with a double split tail made from climbing rope and tied with Blake's hitches. I've always preferred using an alpine butterfly knot to connect to the delta link (to minimize carabiner clutter), but now that I use a rigging plate, it's not so easy to tie in.

Do you remember some time ago when you posted about that hitch you invented? The modified girth hitch thingie with the half twist in the bight? My question is: do you see any reason why I shouldn't use your hitch to tie my double split tail to my rigging plate? It seems like it meets the requirement of being a viable termination knot, should it become necessary for any reason. What do you think?


Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:49 am
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Post Bull Hitch...
You mean http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlp4AROD65Y

You are talking about using this in a scenario where BOTH tails would be weighted, right? I THINK it would work, but it'd be worth some low and slow testing just to make sure. That hitch bites down pretty good on the 'biner.

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Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:30 am
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Post 
That's the one!

In the application I'm describing, both ends might not be always loaded together, but the end that bears no weight at the time will have a good backup in the form of a Blake's hitch which has its own backup. This hitch does bite well on the carabiner (or rigging plate), and it also bites down well on its own two legs. I have done some experimental climbing with this setup, alternately loading the two bridges, and I noticed zero slippage. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to spill the hitch just by loading one leg. In fact, I think that this hitch, well dressed and set, would actually function as an end knot to tie to a biner, ring, etc.


Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:36 am
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Post 
I don't normally use split tails, since a lot of my climbing is done in wilderness areas where even the extra couple of ounces of a split tail would feel like a pound or two after just a few miles. I am considering returning to split tails, though, for some of my climbing closer to home.

Although I have four kinds of rope, my personal favorite (and the one most often found in my backpack) is the Fly.

My question for those of you who regularly use split tails is this: What kind of rope is best for a split tail on my Fly?


Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:20 am
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Post 
WildBill wrote:
I don't normally use split tails, since a lot of my climbing is done in wilderness areas where even the extra couple of ounces of a split tail would feel like a pound or two after just a few miles. I am considering returning to split tails, though, for some of my climbing closer to home.

Although I have four kinds of rope, my personal favorite (and the one most often found in my backpack) is the Fly.

My question for those of you who regularly use split tails is this: What kind of rope is best for a split tail on my Fly?


Are you going to use a Blake's with your split tail? If so I'd recommend using the different color version of the Fly. The bright green Dragonfly would be good if you can get it by the foot. I've used Blaze as a split tail on Fly and it worked fine but I think the exact same diameter and rope construction would be best for a Blake's/split tail.
-moss


Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:21 pm
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Post 
I agree that Fly probably makes the best split tail on Fly, and a different colour is always nice. However, Blaze also works well, and I don't think the slight difference in size is even noticeable in performance. When I use a Blake's hitch style split tail on my Fly, I prefer Blaze to a piece of Fly so I have the different colour.

Bill, if you've got some short pieces of Sportline lying around, give it a try. It's been a while since I tried it, but I don't recall having a problem with it.


Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:38 pm
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Post Split Tail Material
I use split tails made of a smaller diameter rope than the main line. I usually buy 8 to 10 mill diameter (Polyester technora) rope from REI or NT and they work fine as split tails and they last a long time. I also have a couple of end-to-end pieces of High temp Bee-line (5/16 diameter)resistent rope that I use with a Distel a Michoacan or similar type of knot on the split tail for Closed system. 8)
I also have a couple that I spliced on one end made out of Blaze rope (with Nick Instructions) an they work Ok also.

I also have used one made out of Tenex Rope and they melt on descends ( even slowl ones) and I do not like those because of that problem but some arborists use that material maybe because it is cheap and easy to replace. :?

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Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:06 pm
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It was painful, very painful, but I finally got out the hot knife and sliced off a 10-foot piece of my last remaining sportline. This rope has served me well over the last four or five years, as my main backcountry climbing line in dry forests. Now it is -- sniff, sniff, snuffle, waaaah! -- only 140 feet long.

The good news, thanks to Dietley, is that it seems so far to be working very well with my Fly. Of course I've only made three climbs of any great distance (more than 60 feet or so) with it so far, but maybe I'll take it to Bocas del Toro, Panama next week and check it out in the rainforest. I did get a small amount of knot creep with a 5/3 Blake's for the first couple of feet, but it seemed to tighten itself very well without any adjustment on my part.

If I decide to continue with split-tail climbing I'll probably do as Oldtimer suggests and invest in a piece of 100 percent technora. Does anybody know the strength rating for 8mm and 10mm technora?


Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:28 am
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