Can you lead on a static rope if you place protection close together, thus reducing the potential distance you’d fall?
—Adrian, via rockandice.com
Closely spacing protection can shorten falls, but leading on a static
rope is as ill-conceived as the time you drank a quart of Wild Turkey
and thought it would be cool to BASE jump with your tent fly. Outside
the imaginative concepts found in the bottom of a bottle, I can’t dream
of a situation where you’d be tempted to lead on a static. Static ropes
are only for jugging, rappelling and occasionally toproping as long as
you keep the rope snug to prevent a crippling shock load. Static ropes
don’t stretch and aren’t meant to catch lead falls. Even a two-foot fall
on a static rope can break carabiners and churn your insides into
pudding. The danger of mixing up a static and dynamic rope is so great
that rope makers all color their static ropes with one solid color, and
give dynamic ropes multi-colored, patterned sheaths. Beware. Gear Guy
This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 193 (April 2011).