Rope Courses

high rope course

Rope courses use twisted and braided cordage and related products in creating engineered climbing structures. Likely descended from obstacle courses used to train military forces thousands of years ago (and still used today), more modern types appeared in the early 20th century, and in the past fifty years they've become much more sophisticated. And as there are fewer places - especially in cities - for the types of climbing activities that used to be commonplace, these facilities have become much more popular. There are an estimated 7,500 operating in the United States alone, according to Wikipedia sources.

There are two basic kinds of courses - 'low' and 'high', and each of these has dozens of variations.

low rope course

Low courses are often portable. They use netting to create 'spider webs', as shown at right, as well as other barriers and climbers. Wooden platforms are built to simulate bridges and hills. And ropes and bungee cords create boundaries, ladders, and an assortment of swings, hangers, and leveraging and positioning devices.

A number of scouting projects were in fact 'low rope courses' even before the term became popular. Three strand Manila 'monkey bridges' - forty feet long and no more than five feet off the ground - as well as rope swings, ladders, and treehouses are good examples.

Manila rope is also used for pulling, swinging, and in obstacle courses for numerous camps, strength building programs, and training facilities and in indoor and outdoor exercise and endurance systems.

rope course slide

High rope courses can be much more involved - and dangerous - so they often use state-of-the-art mountain climbing gear. Safety harnesses for raising and lowering, highly specialized kernmantle and other synthetic fiber and wire ropes and cables hundreds of feet long (or high), and rope ladders are among the materials specified.

We do not supply these specialty products, lines or attachments. Our products are primarily for general construction and industrial use.

Rope bridges - other than the previously mentioned manila rope "monkey brdge" scouting projects - may use cargo netting, synthetic fiber or wire rope, or all three.

Whether a project is 'low' or 'high', only products certified to be as specified should be used. NFPA and ANSI are frequently rererenced in plans, and an industry group, the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCA) - there's a link to their website below - has developed standards which, in many cases, are required to be met.

Click her to visit the ACCA website

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