Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 7, 2014 - 12:16pm PT
After years of lurking, I posted my first thread years ago, dealing with a Royal Robbins limerick. Now, after more years of lurking, I'm about to start another thread, and guess what? It's climbing related! Perhaps this has already been done, but I'm too lazy to search for it, so here goes.
Where did the phrase, "flaking the rope" come from? When you're done climbing, you coil the rope, not flake it. When you get ready to climb, you uncoil the rope, not flake it. What's up with this phrase anyway?
The way that I coil a rope, the skein coil (thanks Gaston Rebuffat), it uncoils in a non-kinked manner, hence, no need for further "staking" or "flaking". So where did "flaking" come from anyway? I mean, when the rope is properly prepared for climbing, it does not look like a pile of Corn Flakes, or Flaky dandruff!
Many of us never coil a rope except to carry it off a multi-pitch climb. I flake my rope onto a tarp then roll that up and put it into the bag. And if I do coil it is a mountaineers coil and really doesn't need to get flaked, just throw it on the bag, grab an end and climb.
Melissa, you accessed the OED via some hole in the paywall...
...I'll have to wait until tomorrow to look at work (assuming we have a subscription...)
in the print version we have at home:
Flakesb.⁶ 1626 CAPT. Smith, Accidence 27 Coyle your cables in small flakes [printed slakes]. 1891 H. L. Webb in Electr. in Daily Life, Making a Cable 178 The cable is arranged in flat coils . . each coil is technically known as a 'flake'.
Cable Laying Methodology - CESU Authentication Screen http://126.96.36.199/ps116/Cable_laying_methodlogy.pdf
14.1. Wherever it is not possible to lay of the entire cable drum length, the cable should be
cut and properly sealed and if it is necessary to remove the cable from the drum, it
should be properly flaked. Such cable lengths should be properly stored at site.