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Retiring a rope
5:19:43 PM

I've never actually retired a rope (formally) but I'm at that stage now where I've taken enough falls on my current one in the gym (i get a particular enjoyment from lobbing off in the gym ,keep it clean!!, who bothers with the last clip anyway!!) that I should start to think about it at some point. Admittedly fall factors in the gym aren't that comparable to the fall factor 2 tests but surely they all add up, and if the core's going then the sheath is only going to hide it.

TBH the rope I use at the moment (Beal Top Gun) probably has A LOT of life left in it especially if you go by the manufacturers recommendations (it's only a year old, used roughly twice a week, indoors and out) but the big issue is - there's no backup to a single rope. I'd rather be having this conversation too early than too late, push it too far, even once, and, well, its probably not worth thinking about the options.

I try to inspect my rope regularly, the sheaths relatively good, its not too spongy, but who's to say the next whipper in the gym isn;t going to be one whipper too many.

Thoughts/experiences? Any hints trips and tips for checking a rope?

Winston Smith
6:54:20 PM
Give it to Mike Law. If he uses it then it was OK, but you'll need to buy a new rope.
Give it to Mike Law. If he turns it into a doormat then you've made a wise decision, but you'll need to buy a new rope.
7:07:38 PM
If there is no observable problems either excessive sheath wear or soft spots then there is no obvious pressing issue to retire the rope. Small falls like in the gym likely stay within the ropes elastic region thus leave negligible permanent damage on the rope. Rope failure is extraordinarily rare and pretty much there is always specific cause found.

That said only you can decide when to retire your rope. If you do decide to retire it I'll take it and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. (After testing it for the next three years.)

10:31:46 PM
I think it's key to remember that the rating the manufacturers give ropes, is how many falls it can take in a row, without time for the rope to relax.

Someone wise once told me, if you doubt your gear, replace it!
11:07:16 PM
On 14/06/2011 BoulderBaby wrote:
>I think it's key to remember that the rating the manufacturers give ropes,
>is how many falls it can take in a row, without time for the rope to relax.

Humph... This sort of information is freely available on the net, so there isn't an excuse about guessing about it. (

I'd happily take 20 regular gym falls in quick succession knowing my rope won't break. However short gym falls are very gentle on the rope. In comparison factor 2 (1.77 in the test) falls are extreme. You'd be retiring the rope pretty damn quickly with one of them.

The test are consecutive high factor falls all on the sample point on the rope. This is practically impossible in a real life situation.
8:33:19 AM
Feel it for any Bulges, Thinspots...If they are there it's Bug**red.
I have only had core damage twice: one from a Couple of fall's in a row at the gym but I could feel it and cut that section off, The second from getting tangled in a tree on descent.
If you retire it make a rug!

10:39:59 AM
The best advice is when in doubt replace it. However from the sounds of things i think you might be being overly cautious (that said I don't know to what extent you lobbing off on it each time).
Perhaps a good strategy would be to minimise unnecessary falls and/or keep it for indoor use?

10:51:56 AM
Speaking from experience - its a bit scary when you fall on a rope and the sheath tears and splits from the core and strips down the rope in a big bunch. I've had this happen twice with older ropes when the sheath was a little worn. Quite scary looking up to see a bunch of spaghetti white strands holding you rather than the usual colourful outer sheath. If a sheath looks dodgy then its only a matter of time before this will happen.

11:00:25 AM
p.s. ropes don't just snap. The only way you'll get catastrophic failure is if they get cut over a sharp edge. A good way of inspiring confidence in a climbing ropes strength is to tow a car with a (retired) climbing rope. The stretch is incredible before it breaks - its like an elastic band.

11:02:30 AM
On 15/06/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>p.s. ropes don't just snap.

Unless they've been chemically damaged:

While I'm linking to things on BD's site, here's KP's article about retiring ropes:
11:09:23 PM
If you can fold it in half easily with no gap in the bight its had it for that section on any sort of edge as the core is probably degraded, and it's your life. Holes in sheath etc the same. Cut off the bad bit and its your gym, South Central rope ; )
12:48:53 PM

Ajf - that BD link is gold - thanks.6KN's holy cr#p!!!!!!!!!

Neil - surely pulling a car with a rope is a bit different to the 'shock' load the rope would get from a fall. Appreciate it would instill a fair bit of confidence though.

Everyone else - bloody awesome, thanks for the input - exactly what I was after. I hadn't considered chopping ends off!!!

1:00:03 PM
On 16/06/2011 HumphreyG wrote:
>Neil - surely pulling a car with a rope is a bit different to the 'shock'
>load the rope would get from a fall. Appreciate it would instill a fair
>bit of confidence though.

I should have mentioned I was trying to get a car out of a bog - so it involved the snap-strap method where you get a few metres run up in the towing car before the rope goes tight. Quite a lot of force is generated when connecting two multi tonne vehicles at speed! The only point I was making is that a rope stretches a lot before it breaks.

There are 13 messages in this topic.


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