Lifelines are pretty self-explanatory. They are your lifeline when working at height. Lifelines are typically either 3-Strand rope or Kernmantle rope because the properties of both of these ropes uniquely suit them for lifeline applications.
3-strand ropes usually have a lower breaking strength than double braid or kernmantle rope. This means that a larger diameter is required to achieve the same strength. Because of the way the rope is constructed, 3-strand ropes tend to rotate under loads and provide less abrasion resistance.
Kernmantle rope consists of twisted parallel fibers (the kern) surrounded by a tightly braided sheath (the mantle). The core fibers provide the majority (about 70%) of the rope’s strength. The sheath is tightly braided providing significantly higher abrasion resistance. There are two distinct types of kernmantle: dynamic and static. Dynamic is used for recreational climbing due to its high shock absorption capabilities. Static kernmantle has very low stretch and works well for industrial applications. Due to its construction, it remains round through descent devices and allows minimal twist on the rope. The properties of static kernmantle make it ideal for use as a lifeline or descent line.
When sourcing rope, once you have determined what rope you will use, the next thing to determine is what diameter you need. Diameter is typically based on rope strength and compatibility with rope accessories. For more information about the different types of ropes used in at-height, details about diameter, and information about proper rope care click here to check out our rope buying guide.
For more information on our selection of lifelines or if you have questions, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.