Rope – Don’t leave home without it!

Dyneema®, the world's strongest fibre.
Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fibre.


ROPE: Sam Gamgee was right, ‘What about a bit of rope? You’ll want it, if you haven’t got it,’ he opined, and you would be foolish if you didn’t agree. Some cordage is an essential on the trail: You need thread and needle for those torn trousers or wounds. I always have dental floss (a self-threading needle fits in the container with it – and it is sterile). It has enabled numerous essential repairs over the years, even though I am certainly not the seamstress Della is.

For heavier cordage ALWAYS choose (UV resistant) dyneema or spectra cord which are stronger and lighter than any other kind. You will want a lighter length of this (1-1.5mm diameter) for replacing guys, clotheslines, hanging bags out of reach of predators, snares, or making a spare pair of SHOES (See etc.

On our trip across the bottom of Tasmania I had 80-100 metres of 2-3mm Spectra cord (nearly 100 grams!) which became a life-saver on the penultimate day. Finally at the end of the sixth day we came to a stream (the South Cape Rivulet – hah! What a cheating name!) This stream is tidal and the tide was high, as was the stream! It was chest deep already and swept by episodic nearly metre high waves. There was a neat sign enjoining people to study it carefully for at least 15 minutes before attempting to cross. There was nowhere to camp on the departing side and only (!) six days back (to an unmanned aerodrome!) if we could not (and ONE onwards to a bus stop at Cockle Creek if we could!) No helicopter would come to rescue us (I called).

So out from the pack came the trusty Spectra. I tied one end to a tree (there was none on the far side) and with Della and Kerri playing out rope I was able to get across without a pack between waves. Then I was able to make a large enough bight to stand in and tension it whilst Della and Kerri crossed holding onto it. Even then Della was nearly swept away. With Della and Kerri standing in the bight I was able to cross back over a number of times to retrieve the packs AND THE ROPE! It was a COLD camp that night as we were all utterly soaked and chilled by the frigid water, believe me. ROPE, DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!

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