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kbone

When to Retire a Rope and Slings

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I have a rope and a bunch of slings that are approx. 5 years old. All have been used for less than 40 days of top roping and seem to be in excellent condition (no soft spots, abrasions, lead falls, ill expsures, etc). All have been stored in plastic bins in a climate controled environment.

 

It seems that the rope should still be safe but I have read that any rope looses elasticity after that amount of time and that it should be replaced. Thoughts?

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I have read something about measuring the elongation and comparing how much it has streched to the original 60m. dont remember what the cutoff is, but after a certain % elongation it has lost too much elasticity. just one way.

 

 

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kbone -How many bones are running around on this site anyway? :crosseye:

 

I think you use your judgment. I mean, I own an 18 fall full sized 11mil rope thats only 50meters long and used primarily for rapping to clean and toproping, it gets pressed into service as a lead line if a route gets cleaned and it's the rope sitting there - and I own a 9.2mm 5-fall Beal Joker that has a significantly shorter shelf life. I store them all in rope bags on a shelf in my basement.

 

They're all different. The last 11mil I owned, I used it for 8 or 9 years for toproping, but retired some primarily lead ropes during that time which progressed from being lead ropes/topropes, to being only topropes, to being cut up for use as hand lines, tow lines and slings for topropes.

 

"When in doubt......throw it out" is the rule.

 

Even not knowing the size, I don't think I'd have an issue climbing on your rope for toproping as long as you've kept it in a ropebag off the battery acid on the ground, and the sheath still looks good and not too furred.

 

BTW, recent posts from the president of the German alpine association has suggested that you don't have to worry about older ropes...but the testing and reports have some gaping holes IMO. Toproping use, which tears a rope up more than most other uses, was one of them.

 

 

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If you're questioning the rope's integrity, you already know the answer.

 

I wouldn't say I am questioning the rope's integrity as much as I am questioning the veracity of the statement that 5 year old ropes should be retired. If I hadn't read that I would have never given it a second thought to head out to the crag and top rope on it.

 

I am really wondering how much damage time does compared to usage.

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If you're questioning the rope's integrity, you already know the answer.

 

I wouldn't say I am questioning the rope's integrity as much as I am questioning the veracity of the statement that 5 year old ropes should be retired. If I hadn't read that I would have never given it a second thought to head out to the crag and top rope on it.

 

I am really wondering how much damage time does compared to usage.

 

The President of the German Alpine club seems to say the same thing here. It's all about USE, not years.

 

Check this out: UIAA artical on the aging of climbing ropes

 

 

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It's interesting that this article only talks about ropes breaking. I thought a bigger issue was that the lack of elasticity made for bigger loading on pro. You almost never hear about ropes breaking, but falling on what approaches static line would cause a much higher impact force on the pro, as well as on YOU when you hit the end of the rope.

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I once went climbing with a fella who was using an 11mil rope someone has given him used, and at that time he had racked up over 200 lead falls on the thing. Not a UIAA lead fall, but going up 100 feet and falling with the pro at you knee kind of fall. He was freeing top end (now called trad) standards at the time.

 

Ropes have gotten somewhat better, abiet thinner now. Someone on this site I still occasional go out with had bought one of his lead lines used off of ebay. Rope looks pretty good too.

 

I tend to be over protective and climb within the Mfg recommended time frame, give or take a couple of years.

 

According to the artical there, which seems to not make mention of true lead falls, if it the looks good, shrug your shoulders and soldier on. If the rock is share however, it might be prudent to use double rope technique, or just spend the $ and get a new rope, which is the safe and smart way to go IMO if you have the money.

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