Learning the Ropes

The word “Rope” is used in many different ways. It can mean various things such as:

1) A piece of material or equipment which may be tied into a knot to form a loop.

2) An object that serves the same purpose but with a longer length.

3) A type of rope made from hemp, cotton, silk, etc.

, used for making clothing and other items.

4) A rope used to tie up a person.

5) A piece of string used to fasten something together.

6) An instrument consisting of two pieces of wood joined at one end and having a sharpened point at the other end, used for cutting or splitting wood.

7) A device for tying up loose ends of cloth or similar materials.

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8) Any kind of cordage, including fishing line, parachute cords, etc.


9) A rope used to hang up a ladder.

10) An apparatus used to make a sound when struck, such as a drum. 11) A piece of string or thread used to sew garments together. 12) A rope used for attaching objects together.

13) The part of a tree that holds leaves and branches in place; the branch’s uppermost portion. 14) A series of steps or stepsister (a step sister). 15) A long piece of material used to make a fence. 16) A long, flexible stem that grows up from the ground and attaches to a plant in order to draw water and nutrients up from the ground.

AODESC is a program for numerical optimization of multi-dimensional systems of differential equations. It uses a combination of the Differential Evolution and the Simplex algorithms for searching the global optimum in a given function.

The Rope – The popular brand of a rope made from cotton or nylon.

Why do you need to know this?

If you are doing any mountaineering, rock climbing, caving, sailing or any other potentially dangerous activity then knowing the right type of rope and how to use it correctly could literally save your life.

How To Tie A Rope Around Your Ankle:

The general purpose of this is to either secure yourself from a potential fall, or to attach yourself to an anchor.

The Tail:

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This is the part of the rope that you initially hold in your hand. Depending on the type of knot you use here, the tail can either be considered a waste as it is with a bowline or a useful length of rope which is with the Figure Of Eight.

The Overhand Loop:

This is a very weak loop with little strength and should only be used in emergency situations or when you are swimming.

The Eye:

This loop has slightly more strength than the overhand loop because it is less prone to slipping, but it is still not very strong and should only really be used in an emergency situation.

The Bowline:

This is the strongest loop for securing yourself to an anchor or fixture that you can trust will not fail. The bowline is very secure and is unlikely to fail unless the material itself fails first.

The Clove Hitch:

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While this knot is not usually used in climbing, it can be useful if you need to temporarily fasten two ropes together end to end.

The Girth Hitch:

This is the most common knot to join two ropes end to end. It provides a very strong connection between the two and it also allows for easy separation of the ropes again later if required. It is a rather bulky knot however, and can sometimes be hard to untie after a few days of use.

The Prusik Knot:

This knot can be used to climb up a rope if the need should ever arise. It is a very useful knot to know, even if you do not practice climbing. It is very easy to tie and undo, but it is not something that you want to rely on for your life unless the situation demands it.

The Klemheist knot is similar to this one, but tends to slip more easily under load.

The Water Knot:

This is a knot that is designed to be used in quick drying ropes like Nylon or polypropylene where a more appropriate knot would take much longer to tighten properly. It is primarily used to connect 2 ropes of similar thickness together end to end and is not very secure when used for climbing purposes.

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The Bowline On A Bight:

This is a good alternative method of making a loop in the rope without the need for any extra materials. It has many of the advantages and disadvantages of the bowline and is not very suitable for climbing unless used in conjunction with a prusik.

The Fig Of Eight:

This loop is probably the second best loop to use for climbing after the bowline. It tends to slip more readily than a bowline however, and should only be used in situations where that is not a concern. It also has the dual purpose of being able to secure your rope to an anchor or piece of gear.

The Chain Bowline:

This is similar to the bowline in that it is a loop in the rope, but instead of just having an overhand loop. It also has an extra loop that links through the main loop which makes it much more secure than the bowline and ideal for climbing. It can be bulky to pack down and is harder to untie after use.

The Klemheist:

This knot is very similar to the prusik knot, however, it tends not to slip under load as readily and is a little easier to untie after use. It is a good knot to know even if you don’t use it very often as it can be used in climbing or as an emergency HMS safety line when abseiling.

The Munter Hitch:

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This is a very secure knot and is generally used to belay a second from the top as they clean the pitch. It can be used as an alternative to an HMS for a first anchor, but isn’t recommended since it is rather hard to untie after loading.

The Autoblock:

This knot provides a great deal of friction when loaded and is the method of choice for rappelling. It is used in abseiling, canyoneering and climbing. If you know how to tie it you are ahead of most people that explore and can save yourself the bother of carrying a belay device when canyoneering for instance.

It is a very safe knot when the rope is dry, however, it is not recommended for climbing because it can easily come loose when wet causing you to fall unexpectedly.

The Canadian Death Knot:

This knot is not suitable for climbing or any other purpose and should not be used under any circumstances. It is included here as an example of what not to do.

This concludes the knots section. You now have a good idea of the types of knots that you are likely to come across as a canyoneer and which ones you should or should not use in your chosen pursuit.

The next section will cover the various Ropes and tape measures that are available.

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Ropes and Tape measures:

A canyoneer needs two types of rope, one for lining canyons and one for climbing. The choice of rope is fairly involved so I will try to cover the basics here. Rope choice is very important as your life may one day depend on it, so let us begin.

The two ropes that a canyoneer will normally use are the climbing rope and the rope used for lining. There are many different types of climbing rope available so let us focus on those.

As a canyoner, you really only have three choices when it comes to climbing ropes, Nylon, Dynamic and Single Rope Technique (SRT).

Nylon ropes are by far the cheapest, but they are also the heaviest and least durable. They do come with the advantage of having several thinner strands that run the length of the rope, which helps when used for prusiking. They do have a tendency to wear on your protection especially if you are using hoops and slings.

You should only use Nylon ropes in emergencies or for casual canyoning where you are not going to be placing heavy abrasive wear on the rope.

The next type of rope is the Dynamic rope. These are a little thinner than Nylon ropes and lighter, but they also wear out faster. They can be used for canyoning, but they do not have the abrasion resistance to make them ideal.

They are however much nicer to handle in wet conditions and you will definitely notice the difference if you use them side by side with Nylon rope of the same thickness.

Your best choice is a Single Rope Technique (SRT) rope. These are the ‘state of the art’ when it comes to canyoning ropes. They are light, strong, wear well and handle well.

You definitely won’t regret buying one of these if you do a lot of canyoning or climbing.

Climbing ropes come on reels or in 1000 foot coils. The reels are nice as they keep the rope tidy and save you the trouble of winding it back up, but they tend to be heavier than the coil. This is not really a factor as the difference in weight is quite small (A 36kg reel is only 2kg heavier than a 35kg coil) and given that the reel is free it usually works out cheaper to buy the reel.

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If you are doing a lot of vertical canyoning, you might like to consider buying yourself an abseil/rappel device called an ATC. This is lighter and much easier to handle than a bowline. This device can also be used as a belay device, but it should not be used in any other capacity.

You should also have a selection of carabiners, these are vital for attaching yourself to your belay loop when rappelling and essential for prusiking. You will need various sizes for different rigging situations. At a minimum you should have 3-4 lockers and 1 standard.

Lockers are very important as they prevent the carabiner from opening under load and allow you to set up more reliable and safer rigging.

You also may want some other items such as slings, spare webbing and runners, gloves, spare chalk bag strings etc. This stuff isn’t essential but is very handy to have if you intend doing a lot of canyoning or climbing.

This concludes the basic gear section of this manual, you should now have all the information you need to get out there and start canyoning!

Before we discuss specific vertical canyons, let’s look at a few techniques that are used by most canyoneers when descending vertical drops.

These are not the only methods available, but they are the most commonly used and simplest ones for inexperienced canyoneers to learn.

The simplest descent is the ‘Free-hanging’ descent. This involves letting yourself down the rope by holding onto it with one hand and using your other hand to swing yourself around the circumference of the canyon. In this situation, you are unlikely to need any other type of pro.

The next method is the ‘Bottom’ Up’ descent. This technique involves rappelling down the wall from a high spot to a low spot and then walking down the canyon floor to the next high spot. In many canyons, the bottom up technique is used for the entire descent.

This technique is easier to learn than others and is quite safe, assuming you place adequate pro as you go.

You can also use the ‘mid-wall’ or ‘third-side’ descent techniques. This involves finding a place in the middle of one of the canyon walls, climbing up from the floor to this place and then making a Free-hanging Descent from there. These types of descents are more complex and involved than the others, but they can be necessary in some situations.

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Canyons often have potholes or pools at the bottom. These are deep holes that hold water and are a delight to swimmers in the middle of a hot day. Every canyoner should carry a swimming costume or shorts ‘just in case’.

It is also important to monitor the weather conditions. The best canyoning weather is clear skies with no wind, but most canyons experience strong winds or rain at some point. If it starts raining or blowing up outside, get out of the canyon as quickly as you can.

Don’t linger in a canyon when it’s raining, you don’t want to get caught in a flash flood. Heavy rain can cause streams and creeks to flood which may trap you in a canyon or wash you away. If caught in a flash flood in a canyon:

1. Retreat up stream immediately.

This will be easier than trying to go downstream.

2. Try to find a small cave, rock crevice, or overhang to take shelter under.

3. Climb as high as you can.

4. Get away from the river or creek bed.

5. Avoid walking through streams and creeks.

If you are trapped in a canyon during a flash flood, get to the highest point you can and put something solid over your head. Stay away from canyons, ravines, arroyos, and other flash flood prone areas until the storm has passed.

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Bouldering is a great outdoor activity that involves climbing short cliffs and large boulders with the simplest of gear. Canyons are great places to go bouldering, the rocks, especially if they are sandstone can be very good for climbing. There are two excellent bouldering spots in the Sydney area:

The first spot is the Waratah Rivulet Canyon , found near Liverpool. To get there, follow the highway towards town until you come to a roundabout. Take the road marked ‘Liverpool’ and continue until you see a shop right beside the road (on your right).

Park here, cross the road and enter the gully. Follow it upstream and look for the red arrows painted onto the rocks.

The second spot is just a bit further on from the first and is called ‘The Canyon’. To get there, continue past the roundabout towards town and look for a ‘Railway Parade’ road sign. Turn left into this road and follow it until you reach another roundabout.

Take the road marked ‘Kurmond’ and keep going until you see a footbridge over the river. Park here, cross the footbridge and follow the signs upstream.

The sites are very obvious, just look for the red arrows painted on rocks. The arrows will point the way and keep you from getting lost. Be careful of course, there are some cliffs and overhangs you could fall off or get stuck under if you’re climbing without care.

If you have any further questions you can contact me via email or phone. And remember, be safe and have fun!


Tom’s house is a large two-story mansion just outside town. He lives there with his father, a wealthy man who owns several coal mines in the area and cars to match. You leave your house early to meet Tom and walk with him to school.

“I’m telling you, the girl is weird,” says Tom as he walks.

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How so?”

you ask.

“Just… I dunno.

She’s quiet, I guess. She doesn’t talk much. Well, except to her teddies. She always has her teddy bear with her. Bear… I feel like that’s the name of a dog, not a bear. Then again, I don’t have much to compare it to. I’ve never had a teddy bear.”

You’ve never had a teddy bear?”

you ask, surprised.

Tom shakes his head. “Nah. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a friend who did, either.

What about you?”

“Not that I can remember.”

Tom nods. “Fair enough. You seem like a smart kid, I’m sure your parents bought you a lot of books instead.

Did they?”

You nod.

Ah, see?

Then you were lucky. Just wish I’d had some cool books.”

You nod again. “Better than a teddy bear.”

Tom laughs. “You got that right. Man, the things I could’ve done if I’d just had a book…

Well, at least there’s that one kid in our class.

You know which one I mean? Hayley? Heckin’?

That’s not how you spell it, but I can’t remember how to spell it, so I’m just going to call her Heckin’. She’s the only one who reads in our class. Heckin’ reads all the time. She’s the one who started reading Lord of the Flies in English last year. She even wrote her own sequel for fun. Pretty good one, too. I’ll have to get it from her and show it to you sometime.

Sources & references used in this article:

The games Black girls play: Learning the ropes from double-dutch to hip-hop by KD Gaunt – 2006 – books.google.com

Organizational rules on communicating: How employees are-and are not-learning the ropes by JW Gilsdorf – The Journal of Business Communication (1973 …, 1998 – journals.sagepub.com

Learning the ropes: How freshmen conduct course research once they enter college by A Head – Available at SSRN 2364080, 2013 – papers.ssrn.com

Learning the ropes alone: Socializing new teachers by TE Deal, RM Chatman – Action in Teacher Education, 1989 – Taylor & Francis

Learning the Ropes: The Social Construction of Work-Based Learning. by S Hart-Landsberg – 1992 – ERIC

Learning the ropes! Co-ops do it faster. by PD Gardner, SWJ Kozlowski – 1993 – ERIC

Learning the ROPES of instructional design: Guidelines for emerging interactive technologies by S Hooper, MJ Hannafin – Educational Technology, 1988 – JSTOR