Single Rope Technique

Single Rope Technique or SRT is a family of methods to ascend and descend ropes. We use it to get in and out of caves and potholes.


In the past the club has had many members capable of teaching the next generation, the needed SRT techniques. As of 2008, the knowledge has passed out of the club and the way to learn is either through books or external groups such as the VSA. The books below are available in the La Trobe library and are probably the best sources of information.




The entire length of a rope should be checked regularly for frayed sheaths or "slack" patches where the internal fibers have broken. No-one should ever stand on a rop, so you should place extra rope to one side at the bottom of a pitch. Standing on ropes can cut the sheath on sharp rock, grind dirt into the rope, cause sand grains within the rope to cut the internal fibers, and sharp blows can cut the internal fibers without cutting the sheath.

Static ropes should be stored by "chaining" them and should never be coiled. Coiling a rope puts a twist in it and this will cause you to start spinning whilst doing a free-hanging abseil. This is also why you do not use Figure-8 style abseiling devices on static ropes; they will also put a twist in the rope. You must only use non-twisting type abseiling devices such as Rappel Racks, Whaletails, Petzl Stops, etc.

After every SRT caving trip the static ropes must be washed to remove the dirt and sand grains from within the rope and keep the rope flexible. To wash the bulk of the surface mud from the rope it is easiest to place two scrubbing brushes on either side of the rope and scrub while running water on to the brushes and having two people hold the rope taut. The best way to wash the rest of the rope is to "chain" the rope and place it in a washing machine (one that you don't have much respect for!) on cold water without any detergent. You will have to rinse the mud out of the machine afterwards by running it through another cycle empty.

A record should be kept for all the ropes, which details the purchase dates, lengths and any possible damage for each rope. That way you can make an informed decision on when to retire ropes from service and not wait for an accident to happen. This system would require that all ropes be marked in some way to identify them. A piece of transparent, colored, plastic shrink-wrap tubing could be placed on one end of the rope, with a piece of paper underneath noting the year of purchase and length.

SRT Gear

After every SRT caving trip the gear should be washed to keep it in good order. A build up of mud in the teeth of an ascending device will cause it to slip, and it could be quite a hairy ride to the bottom!

SRT gear should kept together in complete kits. There is nothing worse than driving down to Buchan with a box of bits only to find out that you dont have all the components to make a kit. Each kit should have a short safety rope from the harness screw-gate up to the upper ascender - this is to stop a caver flipping upside down and falling out of their foot-loops if their chest ascender was to become detached form the rope.


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