My Cart

COMMON ROPES COURSE TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

ACCT –  The Association for Challenge Course Technology; The largest and oldest trade association serving the challenge / ropes course community. ACCT writes and publishes standards for installation, inspection, operation, training and certification of facilitators and challenge course managers.

AEE – The Association for Experiential Education; The mission of AEE is to develop and promote experiential education worldwide.

ATC – Air Traffic Controller; A trade name for a specific belay device manufactured by Black Diamond (the industry model belay device)

Accident  - Any incident which does or could result or could have resulted in personal injury or damage to property.

Autobelay – Autobelays eliminate the need for a human belayer by automating the belay process through an engineered system. Two commercial examples include the Redpoint Descender (manufactured by MSA/Rose) and the Belay in the Box manufactured by Extreme Engineering).

Bail -  The U-portion of a strand vise

Belay Device – A commercial or manufactured device used to assist in the control of the belay rope during the belay process.

Belaying – The act of taking up the slack in the rope (or lifeline) of a climber and assisting in the prevention of a fall by restricting the flow of the rope.

Belay Cable – A belay cable is a horizontal lifeline typically constructed from 3/8” 7x19 galvanized aircraft cable for the support of human loads on a ropes course element.

Belay Loop - Sewn loop that connects the leg loops and waist belt of a harness. Used to attach a Belay Device.

Brake Block  - The brake block is a device used as part of slowing down a zipper on some styles of zip line installations.

Cable or wire rope -  Most cable used in the construction of challenge courses and ropes courses is  ⅜”  7 x 19 flexible, galvanized aircraft cable with a tensile strength of 14,400 pounds.

Cable Clamps -  Cable clamps  sometimes referred to as wire rope clips or U-Bolt clamps are typically  ⅜” dropped forged, galvanized or stainless steel for use on challenge courses and ropes courses.  They are usually applied in pairs or groups of threes for securing cable to cable. 

Carabiners – A type of connector that can be made from aluminum, steel or stainless steel. Varieties of carabiners include non-locking, screw-gate locking, auto-locking and three-stage locking. Carabiners used on ropes courses and challenge courses should have a minimum breaking strength of 22.2kn to meet current industry standards.

CEN - The European Committee for Standardization, was founded in 1961 by the national standards bodies in theEuropean Economic Community and EFTA countries.

Chest Harnesses - To be used in conjunction with a sit harness sometimes supplementing the need for a full-body harness.

Crux - The hardest move or sequence on any given route.

Descenders - A device for controlled descent on a rope such as a figure eight descender. Some belay devices may be used as descenders (ATC, Tuber, etc).

Direct Supervision - A situation whereby an instructor is in close enough proximity to physically intervene.

Double Coil Spring Lock Washer – Double coil lock washers have  a spring action to keep pressure on nuts to prevent loosening.

Dynamic Belay – A type of belay system where the belayer is typically below the climber assisting in the process of preventing a fall by taking up the slack in the belay rope.

Dynamic Rope – A type of rope used in belay systems that has approximately 4% to 8% stretch when loaded.

Emergency Takedown - The action taken by an instructor to get a ropes course participant to the ground safely when they are unable to do so themselves.

Etrier -  A short ladder made of webbing used in rescue situations on static ropes courses.

Fist Grip or Twin Base Clamp  -  A type of cable clamp that balances the pressure placed on the cable leaving the cable undamaged when properly installed.

General Supervision - A situation in which an instructor can clearly see the participant but due to distance only intervene verbally.

Gri Gri – A type of auto-locking belay device. A trade name for an auto-locking belay device manufactured by Petzl.

Guy Guards -  Bright plastic tubes  put around guy cable to increase visibility.

High Elements - A set of elements up in the air that present individual or group challenges, events must be belayed for safety.

Incident – An incident is any situation in which a participant, as a result of contact with an object or another person is unable to continue an activity at the same level as was possible before the situation occurred.

Initiatives – Low ropes course team building elements usually close to the ground and requiring spotting to help minimize the risk.

Knot - A fastening made by tying a rope webbing or two ropes or webbing together.

Landing Surface - Area in which a participant exiting an element can land.

Lobster Claw – A type of lanyard used in static belay ropes courses such as a participant lanyard or instructor lanyard.

Low Elements - A set of built initiatives or challenge initiatives that require spotting.

Machine Bolt -  Machine bolts  have square heads and are typically ⅝” in diameter.  They are hot dip galvanized.  Their tensile strength is 12,400 pounds.

Maillon Rapide  - A trade name for a rapid link with tensile strength rating printed on the side.

Multiline II -  A trade name three strand combination rope in which each of the three strands consists of a polypropylene core securely wrapped with 100% polyester cover yarns made of blended staple and filament fibers.  Excellent UV resistance.  Renders well around sheaves and winches. Manufactured by new England Ropes

Near Miss - Any incident in which there is no actual injury, but if conditions were varied even slightly an accident would have occurs. NOTE e.g. tree branch falling within the vicinity of a group.

Nut Eye Bolt (NEB) -  Nut eyebolts are typically ⅝” drop forged galvanized steel eyebolts. Their tensile strength is 17,500 pounds.

Oval Eye Bolt (OEB) -  Oval eyebolts are typically  ⅝”  drop forged, galvanized steel bolts with 12,400 rated tensile strength.

Pole Installation Depth -Normal pole installation minimum depth is ten percent of the pole’s length plus two feet or four feet minimum.

PRCA- Professional Ropes Course Association

Pulleys - A pulley typically consist of a grooved wheel on a shaft with side plates for carrying a rope. Pulleys used on challenge courses should be made of study corrosion resistant materials with a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds.

PPE - Personal Protective Equipment (helmets, eye-ware, harness, etc.)

Rapid Link -  a very strong oval shaped steel connector also referred to as a Quick Links.

Sag – The deflection designed into a horizontal belay cable.

Safe Work Load (SWL) -  Generally 1/5 or 20% of the tensile strength of the  material.

Serving Sleeve – Serving sleeves are used to hold down the loose end of cable after it has been fastened with cable clamps. The 7/16” size is typically what is used on 3/8” wire rope.

Shock Load – The load resulting from a constant applied force or load.

Splice - To join lengths of rope together by interweaving the strands of the rope; to join together two pieces of cable by using multiple swage sleeves or cable clamps.

Spotting – Spotting is a type of fall protection used on low initiative elements where a group of individuals act as support to the participant in preventing a fall. A particular stance and hand positions is used for different types of elements.

Staples – Staples typically installed on ropes courses are made from ½” drop forged galvanized steel. Typical lengths are 6” and 8”  Staples are installed as steps on utility poles to facilitate climbing and should not be used as fall protection.

Static Rope – A type of climbing rope that has minimal stretch or low elongation. Static rope is not to be used on challenge course elements that require jumping or regularly receive significant shock loading.

Strand Vise -  A  cable-connecting device that employs a one-way camming action by an internal serrated jaw mechanism.  It holds approximately  90% of the ⅜ cable strength. StrandVice is a trade name belonging to MacLean Power Systems. StrandVices used on challenge courses must be from the 5200 series and be backed up in all applications.

Swage (Swage sleeve) – An copper or aluminum oval shaped tube compressed onto wire rope to make a connection typically rated at 100% cable strength. Copper or zinc plated copper must be used on all critical terminations and lifelines in pairs.

Thimble -  A tear drop shaped piece of curved metal that can be applied into the eye of rope or cable to protect wear and increase the life of the rope or cable.

Thimble Eye Bolt (TEB) – Thimble eyebolts  are  typically ⅝” in diameter and are hot dipped and galvanized with the thimble configuration cast into the eye portion of the bolt.  The tensile strength is 12,4000 pounds.  Angle thimble eyebolts have the same characteristics of the thimble except that the eye of the bole is offset 45º.

Three Strand Rope - Typically, a three strand laid rope is called a plain or hawser-laid rope. Three strand rope used in challenge course applications is usually made from Poly-Dacron (low stretch) or nylon (more stretch). Multiline II is a trade name of a three strand rope manufactured by New England Ropes

Traverse  - To climb horizontally rather than vertically.

Turn Buckle -  A turnbuckle is a device for adjusting the tension of ropes and cables. It normally consists of two threaded eyelets, one screwed into each end of a small metal loop, one with a left-hand thread and the other with a right-hand thread.

Tying in - To attach yourself to your harness with a rope by a prescribed knot normally a figure of 8 or bowline.

UIAA – Union of International Alpine Associations, sets European standard for climbing equipment.

Ultimate Load – The average load of force at which the product fails or no longer supports the load.

Universal – Challenge course events that can be utilized by both able body and individuals with disabilities.

Utility Poles -  Poles used on a Ropes/Challenge Course must be decay resistant.  CCA (Chromium Copper Arsenate) is the preferred chemical treatment.  Utility poles are rated by circumference size at the top and butt and are divided into classes.  Class 2 is generally preferred pole for most typical challenge course designs.

Vertical Life Lines - Vertical cables designed to facilitate easy and safe accessing by instructors. Attachment to the cable is by means of an industrial ascending device (cable grab or rope grab). 

Wind Load - A force or lateral pressure in pounds per square foot that is applied to a member due to wind blowing from any direction.

Working Load Limit – The maximum mass or force at which the product is authorized to support a particular service.

Zip Pulley – A two wheeled pulley used to equalize the weight, decrease friction and increase the speed of participants on zip lines