The possibilities are endless! I love it. It seems to open up so many different ways of doing stuff and you begin to realise that nothing is impossible. Hmmm I think we need a gallery and maybe a Wiki thing to explain different types of kit:)
I had a good chat about ropework with a few guys in London last month. It's something you can either ignore and shun, or embrace and learn. I bought my first harness and rope to do a UE job, which simply was not possible any other way. This was back in 2004, and only 15 minutes ago I was discussing a fairly big adventure I have planned that'll use that same rope. Or in other words, ropework has proved more than useful, and the Â£80 I spent on the rope has more than re-paid itself.
True, some will say that climbing a chimney or a difficult rooftop isn't 'UE', but should that be enough to constrain us? When I did the descent in 2004, I didn't even know that 'UE' as a movement existed. So, if something you personally want to achieve is difficult or impossible without ropework, get on and find out about it. There are plenty of examples, one of which is Snowhill station - that would have been nigh impossible without ropes, and was a buzz like no other. Abseilling down onto a live railway??
Dweeb - we'll sort out that outing you asked me about, and you can learn how to do a multi-pitch lead climb. It's easy.
Fuck 'Urban Exploring' anyway. It's a stupid phrase. Do what you want to and use whatever tools you feel are necessary to get there.
As Scott says, it's a useful thing to know and people only hate it because they can't do it. It's not hard to do, it's just a case of bothering to learn it, which I guess most people don't want to do. Similarly to Snappel my main motivation in learning these skills was for reaching certain things whilst exploring I wouldn't have the confidence to do without the safety there. Now I'm down at the bouldering wall whenever I can squeeze it in, my hands are constantly scraped and rough. If I could find a new climbing partner I'd be up the proper walls every rainy day too. It's something that's always been there. I did a bit of climbing when I was younger but didn't stick at it, now I've got back into it and I absolutely love it.
What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that half the time we only have that rope there to protect ourselves. I could probably have done a lot of stuff without a harness and rope and have been fine but there is always that one time where something can go wrong. I know, because it's happened to me before.There is also the fact that some places couldn't realisitically have been done without the use of rope. Caving for example can sometimes require the use of rope as it's the only way in, and more importantly, out.
What I say to everyone who ever asks about it is that if you can afford it, learn it and get the kit. It'll earn it's keep pretty quickly. For the casual asylum photographer it's probably not really going to be of much use, but if you are wanting to push yourself and bring into question what you percieved as being within reach, then go learn some rope tricks!
SRT is just a tool and an over-rated one at that.
It is very useful in some circumstances but a lot of people who use it tend to become over reliant on it and stop looking for alternative methods of getting places.
One of its big drawbacks is that it's slow. If you have a pitch that takes say 20 minutes (ok that would be quite big but not unusual) and a group of four people, the last has waited an hour before he gets on the pitch and the 1st will be waiting for an hour at the top. Another drawback is the amount of rope and kit you must carry.
A lot of the kit is poorly made crap, kit failure or miss use is far more common than it should be.
It works and has its uses but it is far fom the only option, your typical SRT kit is aroundÂ£150 plus rope and doesn't have an infinite lifespan.
Funnily enough most people who get into SRT seem to like SRT for the sake of it and make a sport out of it.
Zerocool and I go to the local indoor climbing center to brush up on our climbing skills and that was an offshoot from our exploring because when we started we were so underprepared for being able to climb it wasnt funny.
We have got harnesses, decenders and a few binas between us and are looking to be buying a dynamic rope and quickdraws for when we get round to using the leadwall. Down side is the place dosent to SRT which is a bummer as I feel its something we are missing out on though the bouldering is good for strength and stamina.
The guy at our climbing centre let us set up a pitch and only told us to take it down when it got busy-I can't see any climbing centre having a problem with it as long as you show that you're competent. Bouldering rocks
1stly rock climbing and SRT are in fact two different things and just because you can rock climb doesn't mean you can SRT (In terms of equipment or skills). SRT is about progression on the rope, not rock climbing because YOU HAVE NO FALL FACTOR ON STATIC ROPE! Ok a bit dramatic but if you fall on static rope just a bit it will hurt. The kit is different for many reasons. The harness for example its different for (lets be simple and pick 2 reasons)
1. a caving harness is designed for the harsh environment of caving; water, dirt, abrasion, requirement for being tight fitting.
2. A lower Centre of attachment to aid prussic-ing.
Figure 8's - Oh how I dislike these, because, everyone thinks they are cool and fast which is ok in the movies but people have moved on to much 'better' equipment now with more control. Plus on a freehang using a figure 8 you will rotate because its twists the rope. SO what should you use, for long drops a rack (no autolock) for most things and infact the 'standard' descender use the petzl STOP which requires TRAINING to mitigate the 'Clutch and Plummet' situation.
The rope! Static - Yeah go on try prussicing up a dynamic rope its a giggle while you bounce like a bouncy thing and cant get a rhythm going.
Anyway lots of answers and questions in them links I posted. As for training all you need is the kit and a tree! Browns folly tower is rather handy for straight up and down. Then you got to learn changeovers, deviations, re-belays, proper rigging... etc etc..blah blah...
You might ask "why do I have to learn changovers, rebelays, etc when all I want to do is go up to get in and come down when I wanna leave?" Well the answer is its all about problem solving, you never know when something might change or go wrong or be adapted so you need the skills and confidence with having these additional skills, while your learning rebelays your learning how to use cowstails, your footloop maybe, how to rise yourself up while freehanging your just simply learning how to hang X-meters off the deck and solve a problem without being flustered.
Your welcome to copy the text. Keep the link as I am trying to update everything and the wiki page has links to further explain the bits plus I just started an SRT FAQ page. However I am NO expert on this matter so I highly recommend reading the further reading section I am going to add...soon.
I descended as fast as I could - limited by the amount of heat generated by my Stop. What water I could rub off the shaft wall flashed into steam; I burnt my chin at the rebelay when twisting around to untangle from the other rope; for one horrifying moment the temperature got just TOO high and I suddenly dropped 50cm on molten plastic, causing me to desperately slap the shaft wall for water + hope that the rope wouldn't burn through.