/ How long should a rope last?

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stingray_tara - on 04 Nov 2013
While climbing indoors yesterday, I managed to damage the core of my Mammut rope.

I have brought it a year ago. It has been climbed on a lot (only indoors). Only recently have I overcome my fear of falling, and as such, the rope has only recently started to receive some 'heavier' use.

Happy to check and salvage the rest of the rope, but wanted to get some thoughts on whether this seems like appropriate time scales for the core damaging on a Mammut rope?


earlsdonwhu - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara: How do you know the core is damaged? How damaged indoors?
drolex - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara: It depends on the usage you make of it... If you never fall I would expect a rope to last a few years (5 maybe?) Most ropes are guaranteed against around 10 falls (8-9 for the Mammut vertex), but in reality will take a lot more before being really damaged (but they will lose some elasticity before)...

I understand from my own experience and climbers around me that 1 to 2 years for a workhorse rope is a reasonable expectation. I wouldn't be mad to have a rope damaged after 1 year if I take a lot of falls. It has probably already exceeded the abuse it was designed to take anyway!
jkarran - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:

> While climbing indoors yesterday, I managed to damage the core of my Mammut rope.

How did you do that? What has actually happened to it?

> Happy to check and salvage the rest of the rope, but wanted to get some thoughts on whether this seems like appropriate time scales for the core damaging on a Mammut rope?

Don't be too rash slicing it up, it's very unlikely you've seriously damaged it taking a few falls indoors.

Mine typically last a couple of indoor seasons, generally once a week use, maybe 10-20 falls per session. I guess that's about 50 fairly hard sessions. I could then trim the ends but since they're also used outdoors they tend to be pretty dog-eared generally by that point.

jk
climbwhenready - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex:

As I understand it, that's not quite what the "no. of falls" specification that comes with the rope actually means. I understand it to be the number of successive (5 mins apart) factor 1.77/80kg falls that the rope took during testing before breaking. But the rope will probably not have fully recovered its dynamic properties in that time.

But ropes aren't "guaranteed" against any number of falls - they're just tested.....
GridNorth - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara: It depends on how much falling and lowering it has to accommodate. My trad ropes will last me a minimum of 5 years, my sports rope perhaps a couple of years less but I don't really do falling. Indoor ropes on the other hand get the most abuse and if I climb 3 days a week I would consider myself lucky if I got 18 months out of them.
Jonny2vests - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:

How often do you use it?

A year is at the bottom end of expectations, even for heavy use. I've had indoor ropes that I've lobbed on with gay abandon 3-4 times a week and they generally get chucked after 2 years. I've never damaged a core with only indoor use though, generally they just become v dirty, furred and annoying to use, I would shorten yours, or retire it. Whereas my usual criteria for binning is usually 'is it annoying to belay with yet?'. The number of falls statistic mentioned above seems to be just a distraction with modern ropes, and not a useful metric for anything that I've come across yet.
alooker - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex: It's not a guarantee against 10 falls, the ropes during testing would have had to have taken at least that many of UIAA test falls. These are harsh falls and nothing like the typical fall.

Ropes can last from 1 day to 5+ years! Outdoors sharp edges are the enemy, as is mud/sand. Indoors and sport climbing the enemy is plain old overuse! The wear and tear is typically a few meters from the knot, you can cut this off and seal the ends safely, but make sure you remember and consider where the middle of the rope now lies.

Best thing to do is to feel it for flat spots, look for abrasion (bit of fluffiness is no problem, showing the core definitely is), and generally feel how much it still stretches/how wiry it seems.

I expect my indoor rope to last 12-18months and trad doubles 3 years or so. It all depends, though!
muppetfilter - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara: When you say damaged the Core of the rope you mean the inner strands, you can confirm this by running the suspect part of the rope through your hand. If you feel a flat spot or lump then bend the rope back on itself to form a loop, roll the rope backwards and forwards . If the rope forms a steady radius then this doesn't indicate damage, if however as you roll past the suspect part and the rope folds they you have core damage.

It is extremely foolish to buy into an idea that rope has a given lifespan, its good until its damaged and it can be damaged in under a second.
drolex - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to climbwhenready: Yes of course the rope is not really guaranteed but the number of falls it is tested against gives a lower threshold for what it is supposed to withstand. The real-life conditions will certainly be very different from the testing conditions but the number gives you an idea of what you can expect from your rope. Well this how I see things at least...
Jonny2vests - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex:

The number of falls thing is almost entirely useless.
Ali.B - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:
It sounds like your able to cut a piece off your rope and carry on using it(?) which is fine, if stating the obvious, it is still long enough.

My indoor ropes get trashed in about 12-18months, during which i cut off 2metres each end as that is where they wear first (for me).
Scott_vzr on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to drolex)
>
> The number of falls thing is almost entirely useless.

Post of the week, yes I know it's only monday.
Fraser on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:

A couple of years for an indoor / working rope, 1.5-2 years more for a trad or skinny redpointing rope if lucky.
stingray_tara - on 04 Nov 2013
Hi All. Thanks for all your responses, a few questions to come back on.

With regard to the core being damaged - when coming off the wall yesterday I heard a funny sound, didn't think much of it. Then when taking a rest between routes, noticed the rope looked a bit odd, on closer inspection, the rope has become completely flat in one section and bends in half (like a piece of paper) and doesn't have the usual 'curve' you'd expect. I am positive it's damaged.

With regard to cutting it - It's a 40m rope - so can get away with chopping a few metres off the end that it damaged and use indoors.

The rest of the rope is in good condition and hasn't got to the 'furry and annoying stage' yet...

Middle marker - on this occasion - luckily there is no middle marker.. so no issue with the middle not being the middle anymore.

Usage - when I purchased the rope, it was probably getting about 3 sessions a week use.. this has gone up to about 5 sessions a week... so, I guess despite only more recently properly falling on it, it's been getting a fair work out re: lowering etc.

Looking at the feedback - the ropes probably served fairly well, despite not taking massive lobs on it. Always good to gauge against other peoples experiences though.
needvert on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:

Mammut has an opinion on this:
http://www.mammut.ch/en/ropes_handling_lifespan.html
Jonny2vests - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to needvert:

Reasonable bit of common sense. And no mention whatsoever of the number of falls statistic.
Wiley Coyote - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:
Interesting table but what's the difference between 'several times a month' which gives up to 3 years life and every week (ie four times a month) which only gives up to a year?
stingray_tara - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to needvert:

Thanks for this post - i did have a look at the website, but didn't spot this.

Useful information!

** On a positive note ** According to this, I now need to buy a snazzy new harness as well... I'm not going to complain! :)
stingray_tara - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:
Any excuse for shiny new kit!!
jkarran - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to stingray_tara:

> With regard to the core being damaged - when coming off the wall yesterday I heard a funny sound, didn't think much of it. Then when taking a rest between routes, noticed the rope looked a bit odd, on closer inspection, the rope has become completely flat in one section and bends in half (like a piece of paper) and doesn't have the usual 'curve' you'd expect. I am positive it's damaged.

Once you've trimmed the flat spot off carefully open it up to check the core. Chances are it'll be completely intact and it's just the sheath slipping a few mm.

Soft spots like that are disconcerting!

jk
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alooker - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to drolex: you either never fall off or go through a lot of ropes, then!

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