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Cut resistant ropes

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 tmawer 02 Jul 2024

After a somewhat exciting incident at the weekend I have developed an interest in these ropes. I note that the information from Edelrid says they aren't suitable for top roping or working routes. Has anyone got experience with these new ropes, how they use them and how they are getting on with them would be of interest. 

Thanks

 Robbo1 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

No personal experience but I enjoyed the Hard is Easy youtube video called the last unsolved problem of climbing ropes, which discussed the new Mammut rope offering.

 DaveHK 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

Is this something different from Beal Unicore?

 ledburyjosh 02 Jul 2024
In reply to DaveHK:

Yes, it has a tough fabric woven into it also which has a good cut resistance 

 jezb1 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

I’ve been using a Mammut Core Protect 9.5 for the last few weeks, it seems great so far.

Feels just like a regular rope, handles well and is a nice bright yellow! (I've fallen off on it a lot and it's not noticeably any different to falling on any other rope).

Post edited at 20:19
 John Kelly 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

Been using the Edelrid starling protect pro 8.2, aramid reinforced sheath.

https://edelrid.com/gb-en/sport/ropes/starling-protect-pro-dry-8-2mm?varian...

Found it tangled and has a high impact force (never tested this so entirely theoretical), the tangling was bad.

Bought for alpine climbing in a 3 but rapping was tricky with the tangle issue.

Interested in the new mammut offer, the aramid is like an separate layer loosely woven around core.  

https://www.mammut.com/uk/en/products/2010-04600/9-5-alpine-core-protect-dr...

Sheath, Aramid weave, Core

It got fairly high impact force again I think

Edit to add hard is easy video mention by others

https://youtu.be/3r5wVbevjq4?si=iQEU4PRO61uENZlg

Post edited at 20:28
 Maximusf 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

The mammut option of having a loosely woven extra aramid sheath seems like a better solution than weaving aramid into the sheath. The video on YouTube from hard is easy is well worth a watch as mentioned by others in this thread.

OP tmawer 03 Jul 2024
In reply to jezb1:

Do yo think the advice not to work routes or top rope using these type of ropes is around them being a little less dynamic and so giving a harder catch, which may be uncomfortable if done repeatedly, or for some reason I haven't considered?

 Alex Riley 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

It's probably diameter. Lots of thinner triple rated ropes say not to use them for top roping in the instructions.

 Toerag 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

Harder catches on topropes aren't really an issue though.  I'd suggest it's to stop people thinking the rope is invulnerable and hammering it.

 jezb1 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

I’d guess it’s to do with them being skinny ropes, I don’t think my 9.5 makes any reference to not using it in that way.

I’ve been working some routes on mine and couldn’t tell you any difference in feel when I’m lobbing off on it.

 galpinos 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

This is a topic that fascinates me. For information, I’m the BMC Technical Committee delegate on the UIAA Safety Commission* and have been nominated/volunteered to lead the UIAA working group on rope cutting/sharp edge test.

Firstly, the Hard is Easy video is excellent. youtube.com/watch?v=x3PMT6K0_Gg&

It is a great watch to understand how ropes fail and what Mammut are doing to combat it.

Secondly, the UIAA are working on a test to add to UIAA 101. As referenced in the video, the issue is repeatability and reproducibility, i.e. the certifying lab need to get consistent results between tests and different labs need to get consistent tests with each other. This is more challenging than one might imagine but as demonstrated in the video, there are so many variables in a dynamic sliding test over and abrasive surface. This working group contains brands, national delegates, researchers etc (Arno and Tommaso from the video are in the WG, as are Edelrid, Sterling, Beal etc and the author of the paper referenced). The aim is come up with a test that will give the purchaser meaningful information as to the cut/abrasion resistance of the rope. We have a lot of work to do!

Thirdly, there are two brands with “cut resistant” ropes, Mammut and Edelrid. Edelrid were the first with their “Protect” ropes. These have Aramid fibres woven into the sheath, improving the sheath’s cut resistance. They tend to have higher impact forces than their “non-protect” versions due to the lack of elasticity of the aramid in the sheath. They also, potentially, allow the aramid to be exposed to UV though I have no idea if the aramid is coated in anyway. Mammut have recently followed with their “loosely woven aramid sheath” between the classic outer sheath and the core, as explained in the video. This appears to have resulted in a method that allows more cut resistance with a slightly lower impact force, though I have seen no data as to which approach is the most “cut resistant”.

Finally, the big take away is load on the rope is the key factor!

Should anyone have questions, feel free to get in touch.

*And the BMC/BSI UK Representative on CEN TC136/WG5 but that’s not really relevant to this discussion.

1
 Toerag 03 Jul 2024
In reply to galpinos:

Can you suggest that the manufacturers use completely different colours for different sheaths so users can tell easily if they're damaged. Mammut's yellow outer sheath over a yellow inner sheath is a bit daft.

OP tmawer 03 Jul 2024
In reply to jezb1:

That's interesting; the Edelrid Swift Protect says "When used as a single rope not suitable for top-rope or workout climbing". Perhaps the Mammut  rope has this important (to me) difference. Thanks.

 galpinos 03 Jul 2024
In reply to Toerag:

Do you mean the colour of the "classic outer sheath" and the "inner aramid sheath" on the Mammut ropes and if so, is this because you can identify the outer sheath damage as easily with the pale yellow aramid sheath as it has less contrast than a normal "white core" which would be more visible?

I can certainly tell Mammut and raise it to all manufacturers at the next working group meeting.

 Toerag 03 Jul 2024
In reply to galpinos:

> Do you mean the colour of the "classic outer sheath" and the "inner aramid sheath" on the Mammut ropes

Yes.

> and if so, is this because you can identify the outer sheath damage as easily with the pale yellow aramid sheath as it has less contrast than a normal "white core" which would be more visible?

Yes. Which basically means they can't make yellow ropes as aramid (Kevlar) is inherently yellowy in colour. That shouldn't be too tricky.  Being able to tell when gear is damaged is half the battle of using it safely.

> I can certainly tell Mammut and raise it to all manufacturers at the next working group meeting.

That would be great .

Once they've finished with these cut-proof ropes you could ask them to invent 'cored' slings next whereby some of the strands are kept away from surface abrasion and UV.  It must be possible to invent a tape with 3 layers of sorts.

Post edited at 15:17
 galpinos 03 Jul 2024
In reply to Toerag:

> That would be great .

No problem. It's a great point so I'm happy to raise it!

> Once they've finished with these cut-proof ropes you could ask them to invent 'cored' slings next whereby some of the strands are kept away from surface abrasion and UV.  It must be possible to invent a tape with 3 layers of sorts.

Do you mean like a sling version of the Blue Ice Alpine Runners:

https://uk.blueice.com/products/alpine-runner

I got a couple to replace some knackered skinny slings on my alpine draws. They are very nifty.

 Toerag 03 Jul 2024
In reply to galpinos:

> Do you mean like a sling version of the Blue Ice Alpine Runners:

Kind-of, but more 'tapey' - the problem with those 'ropey' ones is that they can roll off things, whereas tape won't.

 AlanLittle 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

> the Edelrid Swift Protect says "When used as a single rope not suitable for top-rope or workout climbing"

To me "workout climbing" implies something completely different from "working routes".  "Working routes" means projecting where you're taking lots of small falls, hanging a lot on the same bit of rope etc. Whereas I'd read "workout climbing" as meaning doing mileage, up-down-ups etc. at the wall: a completely different activity.

Although we might be looking at a translation issue from the author's (presumably) native German

2
 ScraggyGoat 03 Jul 2024
In reply to galpinos:

Hi Galpinos, the BMC has come up for alot of stick lately,  but hopefully I’m not speaking out of turn, many thanks for volunteers such as yourself working under the BMC umbrella for the benefit of us all; members and non members, sport, trad and alpine. 
The climbing masses probably rarely say thanks, but it is appreciated.

Post edited at 23:09
 Stopsy 05 Jul 2024
In reply to Toerag:

I'd suggest the mammoth magic sling. Multiple strands inside an outer wrap / sheath. Certainly more tape like than the aramid cords. I've used one for a year or so now and quite impressed with it.

 galpinos 05 Jul 2024
In reply to Stopsy:

I'd forgotten the Magic Sling, looks ideal.

 alibrightman 13 Jul 2024
In reply to Stopsy:

> I'd suggest the mammoth magic sling..,..

Too magic for me! I bought one a few years ago and it just sits unused in the garage, because I haven't figured out what's holding it together. 

("Mammut"?)

 midgen 14 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

I've been using an Edelrid Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 for a couple of years. I save it for mountain trad where the relative lightness and durability is worthwhile. It is good if you value those qualities. 

It is quite pricey, less stretchy and higher impact force though, so I stick to cheapo more dynamic ropes for single pitch, indoors etc. 

 Frank R. 14 Jul 2024
In reply to galpinos:

> This is a topic that fascinates me. For information, I’m the BMC Technical Committee delegate on the UIAA Safety Commission* and have been nominated/volunteered to lead the UIAA working group on rope cutting/sharp edge test.

> Firstly, the Hard is Easy video is excellent. youtube.com/watch?v=x3PMT6K0_Gg&

> It is a great watch to understand how ropes fail and what Mammut are doing to combat it.

> Secondly, the UIAA are working on a test to add to UIAA 101. As referenced in the video, the issue is repeatability and reproducibility, i.e. the certifying lab need to get consistent results between tests and different labs need to get consistent tests with each other. This is more challenging than one might imagine but as demonstrated in the video, there are so many variables in a dynamic sliding test over and abrasive surface. This working group contains brands, national delegates, researchers etc (Arno and Tommaso from the video are in the WG, as are Edelrid, Sterling, Beal etc and the author of the paper referenced). The aim is come up with a test that will give the purchaser meaningful information as to the cut/abrasion resistance of the rope. We have a lot of work to do!

> Thirdly, there are two brands with “cut resistant” ropes, Mammut and Edelrid. Edelrid were the first with their “Protect” ropes. These have Aramid fibres woven into the sheath, improving the sheath’s cut resistance. They tend to have higher impact forces than their “non-protect” versions due to the lack of elasticity of the aramid in the sheath. They also, potentially, allow the aramid to be exposed to UV though I have no idea if the aramid is coated in anyway. Mammut have recently followed with their “loosely woven aramid sheath” between the classic outer sheath and the core, as explained in the video. This appears to have resulted in a method that allows more cut resistance with a slightly lower impact force, though I have seen no data as to which approach is the most “cut resistant”.

> Finally, the big take away is load on the rope is the key factor!

> Should anyone have questions, feel free to get in touch.

> *And the BMC/BSI UK Representative on CEN TC136/WG5 but that’s not really relevant to this discussion.

Makes me wonder if you could use statistical methods to get around the "ideal sharp edge simulator" conundrum.

I get it, you really can't get a 100% effective simulator of a sharp edge test among several testing companies and testing bodies, as getting the testing edge to the exact same nanometre level is just downright impossible.

But how about having multiple sharp edges for certified testing, where each one is different, but using some statistical methods to ascertain how it would keep the rope from cutting on the average?

Like having a wider range of UIAA test surfaces that go from sharp to less sharp on random, and just testing a lot of ropes against them? I'd guess that might help.

Basically downrating your base truth, but doing a lot more tests against it, and analysing all of them for flukes. Would that help? No idea...

Could be a lot more expensive of course, as you'd need a lot more tests now...

Post edited at 21:42
 MischaHY 15 Jul 2024
In reply to tmawer:

> That's interesting; the Edelrid Swift Protect says "When used as a single rope not suitable for top-rope or workout climbing". Perhaps the Mammut  rope has this important (to me) difference. Thanks.

Just to clear this up I can confirm this is something stated with skinnier ropes in order to avoid the typical warranty case of customer buying a skinny rope, thrashing it on topropes and projects and then moaning when it obviously gets worn out fast or sheath slippage etc. It's got nothing to do with impact force or anything like that. 

The most annoying thing about the Edelrid aramid ropes is they get fluffy sheaths quickly which is a bit shit on ice. The Mammut tech solves this issue so probably a better shout if you care about the added cut resistance and plan on using it in winter or high alpine. 

Post edited at 12:01
 galpinos 15 Jul 2024
In reply to Frank R.:

Hi Frank, quick lunch break response.

We (the “royal we” with my UIAA Safety Commission hat on) aren’t trying to get an exact value or simulator.

What we want to do is give the buyer an idea on the cut/abrasion resistance of a rope when purchasing. We are attempting to firstly, ensure that the gear you can purchase is safe, but secondly also to ensure that the buyer has the required information to make an informed choice, as things like cut/abrasion resistance can come with compromises, e.g. impact force. We will probably arrive at a “comparative” unitless value, not for example a distance over which it takes to cut a rope. This will allow the buyer to compare ropes, but not give a false impression of their performance over a sharp edge.

However, despite this value being comparative, it still needs to be based on a test that is “real world applicable” enough for it to be meaningful, which is where are efforts currently lie, devising a test that does give a good idea of that real world abrasion resistance whilst being controlled enough to meet the repeatability and reproducibility requirements.

It’s probably worth noting that we are also keen to avoid stifling innovation in our testing. We have two differing approaches from Edelrid and Mammut* and no doubt there are other companies considering their options too, so the test needs to be as futureproof to innovation as possible.

You are right to consider costs too. One of the issues with the Edelrid machine is it is so expensive, the Notified Bodies/labs balked at the cost and declined to get involved as the equipment outlay was too much compared to the possible return made on conducting the tests. There is also the manufacturers to consider, as making the testing too onerous, and therefore expensive might mean they decline to do it at all!

Right, back to the day job!

*you also have Beal’s Unicore which though not directly comparable, does leave a core shot rope a lot more usable than a non-unicore core shot rope.

In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> Hi Galpinos, the BMC has come up for alot of stick lately,  but hopefully I’m not speaking out of turn, many thanks for volunteers such as yourself working under the BMC umbrella for the benefit of us all; members and non members, sport, trad and alpine. 

> The climbing masses probably rarely say thanks, but it is appreciated.

Thanks ScraggyGoat (and huge thanks to Galpinos and the rest of the Technical Committee) - unsung heroes putting in a real shift for the benefit of the wider climbing community.

Great work! Cheers, Dom 


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