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The Ness Loop

Author: Travis Lott
Date: April 15, 2005
Brad “Dietley” Dietrich mentioned the placement of “Ness Loops” on his climbing ropes and some of you were wondering just what is a “Ness Loop”. I first saw the Ness Loop described on the TCI message board in a message from Tom Ness himself. Credit for this belongs to Tom Ness, but in the absence of any other visually descriptive photograph I offer my own.

Dietley gave a good description, as follows:

“Ness loops? These are something I learned about from a post on the old TCI forum by Tom Ness, whom all tree climbers should know because he's one of the founding fathers of our chosen pastime. I wish I could save a thousand words by posting a diagram, but I don't know how, so you'll have to settle for a convoluted and detailed explanation instead. Take a piece of parachute cord about 3 or 4 inches long. Any cord that flattens out will do; you could pull the core out of some kernmantle, or maybe use a narrow piece of webbing. On the end of your rope (apparently, one that has already been milked is best), glue a loop of cord with epoxy. The best way I can think of to describe this is to get you to imagine that your rope end is a very thin and deep bucket, and the cord you are fastening on is like the handle of the bucket, standing up vertical. Does that make it clear? There should be about an inch of cord glued on opposite sides of the rope, in line with the axis of the rope, with a loop over the end of the rope maybe 1/2 or 3/4 inch long. Once the epoxy has set, whip the end of the rope as usual, covering the parts of the cord glued to the rope. Finally, "paint" over the whipping (but not the exposed cord loop) with more epoxy, so the turns of twine are all bonded together like a smooth plastic sleeve. This is the exact method Tom explains, as far as memory serves. It works so well that I have never tried anything different.”

The only thing that I do differently with mine is to add a sheath of shrinkwrap electrical wire cover over the whipping to make the whole thing neater.

The photo shows, at the top, the rope with a bit of parachute cord ready to be glued in place to form a loop. I use quick-setting glue for this. Once the glue has set and the parachute cord is in place I will add a whipping of monofilament fishing line as shown in the piece of rope at the lower part of the photo. Next the whipped portion of rope is coated with epoxy, allowed to set up, and then the shrinkwrap sheath is added.

I’ve been using these for over a year now and have never had one pull off even though there have been times when I have had to do some extreme pulling in order to get a rope to pass over a rough limb or past those little sucker limbs that are always in the way.

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