10 Ways to Creatively Repurpose Old Climbing Gear

What do you do once your climbing gear is past its best? The first option for getting rid of old gear would be to donate it to a charity or organisation that could still make good use of it. Old shoes can be resoled or given to climbing walls or clubs for use as hire shoes and old ropes can be donated to dog shelters, zoos, shipyards and even art students in need.

A pile of old gear...and Max © Natalie Berry
A pile of old gear...and Max
© Natalie Berry

If you've got some time on your hands and a growing hoard of old gear gathering dust, why not see what you can come up with? This article describes some creative ideas to reuse your climbing equipment in a fun and quirky way. A couple of these ideas verge on the ridiculous, but you can't say I didn't try...

1. Weave a Rope Mat

Grab an old rope and weave an intricate rope mat! Don't be fooled - it's trickier than it looks, but this article sets out the steps clearly.

#climbingropeart #weave #recycle #timelapse

A video posted by Mick Tresemer (@trickymesmer) on

Or if you're feeling particularly creative, take some inspiration from one of Micky Tresemer's more intricate designs:

Rocky Mountain Tetons #climbingropeart #climbingrope #mountains #tetons #art #nature

A photo posted by Mick Tresemer (@trickymesmer) on

Edelrid have also shared a handy video:

2. Knit with rope or accessory cord

For knitting fanatics, knit with accessory cord or get some jumbo needles and knit with rope! Thinner rope is easier to use - wash any chalk and grime out beforehand otherwise your hands will get filthy! A jumper might not be especially practical or comfotable, but a mat or some form of furniture like a hammock might be achieveable for a skilled and imaginative knitter.

Knitting with rope: Pay more attention to your tension... © Natalie Berry
Knitting with rope: Pay more attention to your tension...
© Natalie Berry

3. Make a dog lead

An easy but popular option. If you don't have a dog, get one or borrow one. Use an appropriate knot of your choice and an old karabiner and hey presto! A dog toy is also easily fashioned out of old rope.

Recycled rope dog lead © Natalie Berry
Recycled rope dog lead
© Natalie Berry

Max enjoying a walk with his rope lead © Natalie Berry
Max enjoying a walk with his rope lead
© Natalie Berry

4. Brighten up a dull chair

Make an ugly chair more beautiful and comfy by wrapping old rope round the base and back of the chair. It's easier than it looks!

A jazzed-up rope chair © Natalie Berry
A jazzed-up rope chair
© Natalie Berry

5. Make coasters and pot stands

​These are ridiculously simple to make. Bend the end of the rope in on itself and simply wind the rope around itself into a coil on a flat surface, keeping the tension. Use glue to keep it all held together.

Recycled rope coaster and potstand © Natalie Berry
Recycled rope coaster and potstand
© Natalie Berry

6. Use old chalkbags as wine/beer/beverage holders

Sack the wine rack and jazz-up the kitchen with some pre-loved chalkbags and old karabiners. Be sure to wash them beforehand. Nobody likes a chalky "bottoms up."

Chalkbag wine rack © Natalie Berry
Chalkbag wine rack
© Natalie Berry

7. Make a hanging helmet flower basket

A popular option for old cycling helmets, why not make use of your unwanted climbing helmets as hanging baskets? This example uses fake flowers, but the more green-fingered amongst you should have no problem covering the inside and filling it with soil, stones and flowers.

Hanging helmet flower basket © Natalie Berry
Hanging helmet flower basket
© Natalie Berry

8. Use an old harness waistband as a rack-tidy or bandolier

Once your harness is past its best, cut the belay loop and use the waistband to organise your gear. If you're not too broad-backed with a narrow waist, it may even fit across you diagonally like a bandolier.

Harness waistband bandolier. Also functions as a window decoration. © Natalie Berry
Harness waistband bandolier. Also functions as a window decoration.
© Natalie Berry

9. Create a spare loo-roll holder using old leg loops

A bit silly, perhaps, but the tongue-twister 'leg-loop loo-roll holder' just had to be coined. Use the leg-loops from the aforementioned old harness to store your bog-roll.

Harness leg loop loo roll holder © Natalie Berry
Harness leg loop loo roll holder
© Natalie Berry

10. Use an ice axe as a loo roll holder

For extreme moments of need... just mind your hand on the pick!

Ice axe loo roll holder... © Natalie Berry
Ice axe loo roll holder...
© Natalie Berry

  • Got some old climbing shoes or newer harnesses with some life left in them? Why not donate to Urban Uprising?
  • Want to do more for the environment? Pick up any litter that you spot at the crag, and use a flask or Nalgene-type water bottle rather than buying plastic-bottled water.


This post has been read 28,151 times

Return to Articles from 2018 or list other articles


15 Sep, 2016
Scavenger do a range of gear made from recycled things, pretty awesome
15 Sep, 2016
All very pretty :-) Now the skinflint bodger in me realises that so many things can be fixed for free with old climbing gear and stuff out of building site skips.
15 Sep, 2016
Didn't read the article just wanted a closer look at your dog.
15 Sep, 2016
Most of that retired gear looks much newer than my best kit.
15 Sep, 2016
Protip: Chalkbags can also carry beers before retirement, for a belay beverage. A beerlay, if you will.
More Comments