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cynicalwoodsman

Rope life

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I have a 10.2 mm rope. I'm quite certain I've surpassed the number of falls the rope is s'pose to take.

 

But really, is my cord actually gonna fail strictly from a lead fall?

Or is it maufacturer liability 'n all that?

 

I take pretty good care of it and wash it at least once every 3-4 trips out. The sheath still handles pretty good and it's not slipping over the core or too stiff yet.

 

I'm going to continue leading (and most likely... falling) on it. But it'd be reassuring to know the odds.

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the way it's been explained to me is that the rope, so long as it passes visual and feeler inspection- no mush in the core, no serious sheath separation or fraying or cuts, etc... the rope is not going to just break. instead, it'll absorb less and less fall energy every fall, leaving your hips to absorb the balance. how much can your body take?

 

i haven't yet worn out a climbing rope.. so i can't speak from personal experience.

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IMO, retire ropes early and often. Just one of those maintenance costs. In hindsight, the ropes will seem cheap.

 

N

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Unless you are taking giant whippers on your rope you probably aren't coming close to creating the forces neccessary to break it. The fall rating is determined by a standardized test which replicates extreme falls. When kernmantle ropes were being developed one manufacturer gave climbers new ropes and asked them to log the number of falls. John Stoddard reportedly took something like 187 falls on the same rope.

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I think that wear and tear on ropes over sharp edges, ropes getting hung up and cranked on when you pull them, jugging ropes, these are all things that contribute to wearing a rope out. Taking falls maybe not so much. I think shorter falls where the rope doesn't get to stretch much and absorb the fall(ie sport climbing) is harder on the rope then longer falls but its what the rope is made for. But thats just my personal opinion. also, washing the rope seems to fuzz it up over time, so i wouldn't really wash it much personally, just use a rope bag on a regular basis when belaying in the dirt.

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I don't even climb every 3-4 months.

 

Do moths like rope?

 

THink of all the life left in all those rope rugs.

Such a waste!

 

By the way, is a product like nikwax (tx-direct I think its called if they still make it) wash-in DWR a good way to make my rope "dry" again?

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I have a 10.2 mm rope. I'm quite certain I've surpassed the number of falls the rope is s'pose to take.

 

Sorry dude but your rope is total shit at this point. You better send it to me so that I can destroy it for you.

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I take pretty good care of it and wash it at least once every 3-4 trips out.

 

I've never even heard of someone washing a rope so much. :shock:

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The manufacturer has specifications that you should follow based on the amount of usage and age of the rope. follow those.

 

oh yea -- a modern single rated climbing rope that passes visual and physical inspection has never failed due to a climbing fall. failed due to cutting, yes. failed due to external damage such as acid, yes. but pulled to failure, nope.

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I take pretty good care of it and wash it at least once every 3-4 trips out.

 

I've never even heard of someone washing a rope so much. :shock:

I guess it does sound crazy, but the last 4 times I used my rope covers about the last 2 years. It was really filthy last time I brought it home from climbing.

I've had it for 6 yrs and have washed it maybe 4 times.

 

Are you flaming me?

Thought I'd be safe from that in here.

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Check the search function here on rope life and other reputable sources (Long's anchor book, FOTH, etc).

 

If you've had your lead line for 6 years, as I recall it, just on a time basis, it's getting time to replace it. I thought it was something like 5 or so years, then retire to a "top rope only" status.

 

In any event, that you're asking the question indicates that you might have some level of doubt in your mind (be it a real doubt or not). That in and of itself is good enough reason to replace it.

 

As said above "IMO, retire ropes early and often. Just one of those maintenance costs. In hindsight, the ropes will seem cheap." Sound words.

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I've got some dirt bag friends that push their ropes long past the point where I would retire them.

 

When I buy a rope at rei, I take it out to the car and flake it out, looking for the slightest flaw. I return one rope for everyone I buy this way. They are very likely to have snags, lumps, or outright sheath errors when brand new. And I don't just mean the flat spots from hanging on the wooden hook in the store.

 

I think we should force the rope makers to sell perfect ropes, at least when new. Then they have a much better chance of lasting long enough to get that nice fleecy feel where the worn hairs begin protecting them.

 

 

Since 1977, I've bought a new rope about every 3 years, but I only climb 2+ weekends a month. I don't like them when they get super furry, and have big furball sheath flaws from getting stuck in cracks, and hooked on cactus on the hike out. But my dirtbag friends climb and fall on them for years after I would get rid of them.

 

In my travels around the west coast, I have noticed a correlation between the skill of the climber, and the shabbiness of the gear. (worn out gear = time on rock)

 

It's the old: "Do you have confidence in your (rope, cam, wired stopper, bolt). If not, replace it, tempered by your finances.

Really depends on your budget I guess.

 

The lead ropes at our gym are mushy, lumpy, and not inspiring at all, but people take whippers on them all the time. I try to bring my own. YMMV

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The best climbers get 5 free ropes a year.

 

If you sport climb you'll wear out ropes real fast. Fat ropes (10mm+) last longer but they aren't much fun to climb on.

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Check the search function here on rope life and other reputable sources (Long's anchor book, FOTH, etc).

 

If you've had your lead line for 6 years, as I recall it, just on a time basis, it's getting time to replace it. I thought it was something like 5 or so years, then retire to a "top rope only" status.

 

In any event, that you're asking the question indicates that you might have some level of doubt in your mind (be it a real doubt or not). That in and of itself is good enough reason to replace it.

 

As said above "IMO, retire ropes early and often. Just one of those maintenance costs. In hindsight, the ropes will seem cheap." Sound words.

 

What happens over time? If I bought a brand new rope and just stuck in in my closet for 5 or 6 years... what happens to it? And will there be anything about it at that point that one can see or feel?

Is there a manufacturer's policy limiting the length of time a rope should sit on the shelf (hook)?

 

I really just wanted to know about the fall-rating.

My rope's not furry, lumpy, or any of the things you folks mention. And I would only loosely consider it to be a lead line anymore. Then again, I only loosely consdider myself to be a climber anymore. I've climbed on my rope only 3 times in the last year. It would suck to have to retire my rope after only using it so little. They're not cheap. And there's no pro-deal in my near future. I'm still confident in it.

A new rope is not an option. Sometimes 3 meals a day is not an option. Times is tuff.

 

Jens, why is a fatter rope less fun to climb on? Weight? Or is it that it's not fun to deal with it once its old 'n furry?

 

I wash my rope cuz it makes it like new and keeps it handling nicely. But if washing it when it gets dirty is a bad idea I'll stop washing it. I always thought it looked and felt so good after so long simply because I wash it when it gets dirty.

Many climbers don't wash 'em at all.

Is washing it bad?

 

 

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There is nothing wrong with fat ropes. One of my buddies has one of the new 9.somethings and loves it. But it feels like dental floss to me. I've led on it, and carried it and it was nice and light. But to say you can't have fun on 10mm ropes is just not true.

 

I started on 11's and had tons of fun climbing on them. I've watched technology drive them thinner, and that's cool. Despite the logic, there is something inside me that just likes thick cords better, regardless of technology.

 

Back in the early nineties I was poor, I had two trashed out 10.6 ropes, couldn't afford a new one...led a bunch of 10's at Dog Dome up the icicle on double 10.6's. I knew two of them together wouldn't break. Took long sliders on some bolts that way.

 

I know, too much force on the bolt, not enough stretch with double lines...but I was poor, and stupid.

 

I have enough trouble with my lead head without worrying about my cord. I keep 'em nice, and buy 'em thick. You young guys are welcome to your dental floss.

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Your rope is probably fine! It's hard not to give conservative advice via the internet, though.

 

As a side note, this equation came to me. When you meet a new partner...

 

Inspiring confidence = showing up with your most well-worn set of cams, nuts, or pins

Striking fear = showing up with you most well-worn cordalette

 

 

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you aren't going by the UIAA falls rating, are you? probably 6-8? your rope can take WAAAAY more falls than that.

 

the UIAA falls rating is based on some crazy fall factor where they put WAY too much weight on the rope and drop it from way too high. don't ask me how exactly, or why... i guess all that info is available on the UIAA website.. i've never been curious enough to look. i just know the UIAA falls rating does not, and is not intended to, give you any idea how many real life lead falls your rope can take.

Edited by bkb0000

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THANK YOU!!!

This is really good stuff.

I REALLY appreciate it.

I had always figured my cord had more life in it than the tag reads.

It's just hard to know. Afterall... I never discount factory-supplied beta on gear, and given that it's my lifeline, I wanted more info.

And you guys ROCK!

I look forward to unundating you all with more questions and tapping the seemingly infinite range of knowlege and experience that exists in here.

This website has provided me with a lot of much-needed stoke over the years.

And it's gettin' me thru some hard times right now.

Good stuff.

Goin' to check the vids out soon.

 

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What bkb0000 said. Note that the "fall rating" for a rope is the number of fall factor 2 drops at exactly the same place a rope will take to the failure point. As a quick newb deal the fall factor is a ratio of how long of a fall to how much rope. Ie a 10' fall caught with 5' of rope is a ff of 2, a 5' fall caught on 10' of rope is a ff of .5. I would be wiling to bet that your falls are all in the way small end of the list. What I do is track my falls, I only trad lead on stuff that is really new. If I take a fall that approaches ff of 1 (30 foot whipper caught with 30' rope :shock:) I will swap my rope end for end. Another ff1 on the other end moves the line to sport lead only (probably more reliable anchors can take a bigger hit). Another couple ff1's move the rope to non lead use. That way I get more use and don[t risk the big falls to old rope.

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I'm familiar with the fall-factor, but my mind doesn't work well on the quantitative side of things, so I never added it up. My self-medicating on the sweet leaf doesn't help me remember a all falls I've taken on it.

 

I've taken a 30-footer at Smith on probably 60-feet of that rope. I popped a screamer on ice with ~100' of rope out. Some short, probably factor 2 falls, one I can remember for sure. I've fallen on a lot of other people's ropes, so I have a hard time knowing for sure how many of them were on mine. My first nice fall was on Loose Lady on Hauser buttress at j-tree. But that was before I bought mine. And I peeled, scraped, and bounced a bit on a L'worth climb last spring. I'm pretty sure that was on my rope, but I can't be positive. I was swimming in stupid meds that trip!

 

I just know Its been on my mind for a season or two. It had a lot of abuse at Smith when I first bought it. But that's sorta why I started washing it early. It's got way too much stretch left for retiring it to TR-only status. It's probably time to start tying into the other end. I'll have to hack ~3m off cuz there's one prominant fray where it got poked with a pick on a follow. Even if I could afford a new cord, I'd probably hold off. Especially after what I've read here.

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