The RopeNet - Das HochSeilNest

Short Abstract

Josella Simone Playton

I understand that there might be some people who do not understand the German language. So I try to give a short summary of the text describng my RopeNet-activities in English. English readers, please be patient with my innovative use of your language!

This is a introductory text about a potential dangerous activity. Everybody is advised to use further sources about the subjects of relevancy, such as the art of knot-tying, mountaineering, or properties of ropes. Everybody is advised to think twice before doing anything remotely alike the things I describe in here. There is no excuse for negligence. I cannot be sued for any damage to property, health or life of any reader. Also, I'm not rich, so suing me serves no purpose.

Also, I sue back. :-)

I describe a method of building a sort of cot or hammock, starting with the most basic ingredients, namely ropes made out of Sisal-hemp, and later a sort of synthetic hemp. The difference to what one visualizes with the words cot or hammock is the size of those nets, which are much larger, the strength and the tension of the used ropes which keeps the thing quite flat and suitable for many persons, and the height above the ground, which adds to traces of fascination as well as vertigo. In fact, my rope-nets are castles afloat between the trees, and in a more moderate climate, one could easily live on them.

The idea took shape gradually. I try to find out how to archive maximal result for minimal effort. As for now, a RopeNet is nothing which you can build in minutes in order to spend the night on it. Rather, the effort required can only be justified if you spend a few days and nights at the place in question, and if one has good reason to stay away from the ground (swamp, insects, snakes etc.).

The full text also describes some difficulties one encounters when building nets from natural rope material. Sisal-hemp reacts strongly on immersion in water - the ropes shorten forcefully. That is quite an engineering challenge which I did not yet master fully. Also, sisal hemp rots in moist conditions.

I did not make experiments with synthetic ropes in the first place, for ecological and financial reasons, although synthetic ropes are stronger by an order of magnitude. However, late in October 1996, I switched over to synthetic hemp ropes because engineering challenges high up in the trees could not be met otherwise and because of safety considerations.

I found out that it is advisory to use ropes with a diameter of at least 5 millimeter, otherwise, too much money and time is wasted. For the strongest ropes, a diameter of 10 millimeter is quite enough, in rare cases, a diameter of 12 mm is used.

It is recommendable to familiarize oneself with the art of knotting. Only a few basic knots are needed, but one needs to tye thousands of them. Most times, one needs knots which are made for the lifetime of the rope, and preference is given to 'meagre' knots, because voluminous knots keep rainwater longer and rot faster. I give a few knot-links below.

Last ot least, Josella tells you about some dangers involved when doing construction work in high altitude, and be asured, ropes and trees and forests and also the wheather can kill if you are stupid enough! - Familiarize yourself with some basic mountaineering skills. Legal issues as I mention them do only apply in Germany - I am not familiar with the law in other countries.

Again and again, one is also confronted with forestry- and farming issues when doing such work, and one is given a peek into such professions as farmers and forestry-commissioneers. The contrast of this to my own everyday work (programming) is an enrichment of life in itself. Likewise one is likely to get some intimacy with meteorology (that is, fully drenched now and then), and one may learn to read the signs of clouds and winds in order to predict those times when the rain will get you.

Pity to those who wish to repeat my experience and are compelled to life downtown in a huge city!

I continue to try to make safe rope-nets higher and higher above the forest ground, although static calculations tell you that there must be a limit. Also, a sizeable rope-net can eat your monthly pay-check. But I got sort of addicted, and any summer night spent afloat between the treetops tell me its worth it ...

The story in full length is presented only in German - note some of the modifications I made with the orthography, for experimental reasons, in some parts of the text!

The recent reformation of German orthography is consistently ignored - my own orthography is creative enough.

A word of nomenclature: I forged the German word 'HochSeilNest' for this thing which would translate into English as 'HighRopeNest' - however, the latter sounds sort of clumsy to me, and so I stick with 'RopeNet' in all English texts, for the time being. Anyone fully familiar with the English language is invited to tell me his/her opinion about this issue!

Yet later addendum: I now maintain also a collection of a few pictures which is under construction. You see a few VGA-pics of the HSN there.

© 1997 .. 1999 Josella Simone Playton 99-07-02 13:00:00 MEST

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