A previous study has demonstrated the ease with which a climber could cut his or her rope using a handsaw (Kane et al. 2009). In a previously published effort, however, the authors did not examine the effect of two variables that presumably influence the ease with which a rope can be cut: rope tension and impact force of the blade. In the current study, two types of rope are cut using one type of blade, with varied rope tension (seven levels) and impact force (four levels) of the pendulum-mounted blade on the rope. Increases in impact force and rope tension increased the ease of cutting both ropes tested, but impact force was the dominant effect. At the greatest impact force, which was similar to the impact force a climber could exert using two hands on a handsaw, all but one rope was completely severed. The results are discussed in the context of climber safety.
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