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Choada_Boy

Retiring ropes due to age, not wear?

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I a have a few ropes that are a number of years old and are in good shape wear wise. When is a good time to retire a rope due to just its age alone? Imagine a new rope in a dark bag. What's its expiration date?

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I think a lot of it depends on its use and history, and how comfortable you are with that. Also, consider some type of semi-retirement, limited or future use. Jason is about right if it's well taken care of, and is to be used for some serious lead climbing, then 10 years may be about right, or less. I actually had to retire a rope after 2-3 years after some heavy use.You can also see this discussion on the rope makers, ie; BD and Pretzel sites.

But if you were to give it some low use on low commitment climbs - in my honest opinion, no big deal. If that bothers one knowing it's history - then chop it or tow the car with it.

UV or long term desert climbing would obviously be harsh compared to being in the closet a few years here in the PNW.

So - there is IMHO no absolute good answer, and in surfing this site and the web, you will get a lot of opinions. So, IMHO there is not an "age" only retirement determination.

One of my favorite answers is like the one on "anchors" - when asked " do you think that will hold? ". And my answer is usually - "Looks OK to me , just don't fall on it!".

:yoda:

 

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I can't find the links at the moment but generally an unused rope does not weaken much with age. It's impact force does however slowly rise as it ages. Basically it becomes less dynamic.

 

This is a big deal, IMO so i generally rotate my ropes from trad, to sport, to top roping. I have a think alpine rope that I just rotated out of use for trad climbing due to age.

 

I'll top rope on pretty much any nylon rope of any age or condition. :)

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your alpine rope can be any age you like 'cuz yer not allowed to fall on them anyway :)

 

i'm always in the market for junk ropes to use as fixed lines god knows where....

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I've been leading quite a bit this year on a single half rope with a mild core shot 5 meters from one end, so I say as long as the sheath is intact you should be fine.

 

I vaguely remember reading something long ago about testing a rope that had a crampon point hammered completely through, resulting in the most horrifying core shot imaginable. The aforementioned rope pull tested to something like 70% of it's undamaged strength. Basically the gist was that ropes are incredibly strong. I would have zero concerns climbing on a rope that had spent a decade sitting in a closet if it was otherwise in good shape.

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I've been leading quite a bit this year on a single half rope with a mild core shot 5 meters from one end.

i used to climb on my ropes till they were well past time for retirement. One day I was belaying my wife up next to a guide who pointed out 3 core shots and called me a cheap bastard & told me to replace my ropes. I took it to heart... Ropes aren't that expensive. Buy a new one.

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I have taken lead falls on a 20 yr old rope, but it was a 11mm x 50m Edelrid. I doubt a 9.something modern rope would last that long.

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So, it appears that there is no defined "expiration date". Kinda like current discussion I see on the news about "food" end date, sell by, etc. Hah,some of us always have a good pub story about using sketchy ropes.

:brew:

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It's incredibly hard to load a kernmantle climbing rope to failure without exposing it to cutting forces.

 

Whenever I have fears of climbing rope strength, I like to visualize a 10 mm climbing rope suspending two subaru foresters in the air, something it's entirely capable of doing.

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have any modern climbing accidents involved a dynamic rope of any age breaking due to strain, not cutting?

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have any modern climbing accidents involved a dynamic rope of any age breaking due to strain, not cutting?

 

Nope

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