UKC

Flat Spots in Ropes

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 JendeHoxar 24 May 2022

Hoping for some wisdom on flat spots in ropes...Is the "keyhole" test the best way to know when to retire a rope? (Where you fold the rope back on itself and see if it can be pinched into a V or leaves a keyhole shaped loop). Or is there some more reliable way to know if the rope core is okay or if it's damaged?

 Kevster 24 May 2022
In reply to JendeHoxar:

Do you still have confidence and trust your life in that rope?

Rope is cheap as far as safety equipment goes. Imo its an easy decision, but I have a few quid spare on occasion so maybe less of an issue to chop the offending areas, buy a new longer one and carry on. 

I also find belay device choice can affect rope flattening.  

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OP JendeHoxar 24 May 2022
In reply to Kevster:

Interesting what you say about belay device - what kind do you find flattens the rope? 

 C Witter 25 May 2022
In reply to JendeHoxar:

Just run it through your hands, paying attention for severe sheath damage, irregularities and flat spots, e.g. as you mention, with a v bend instead of a keyhole shape being a warning sign. It is a reliable method. If you find something of concern, cut it out of the rope.

Rather than retire a whole rope, I tend to remove the knackered bits, which leaves me either with a useful short rope or a useful bit of tat. Damage tends to accumulate toward the ends of the rope unless some particularly traumatic snag/fall occurs.

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In reply to JendeHoxar:

How fuzzy is too fuzzy, how "flat" when squeezed is too flat

youtube.com/watch?v=UWy91q77zpw&

All you asked and more. Enjoy...

Post edited at 12:45
 PaulJepson 25 May 2022
In reply to JendeHoxar:

Some assisted-braking devices are known to. The Mammut Smart, for example. 

 Sean Kelly 25 May 2022
In reply to JendeHoxar:

I've noticed this flattening more so recently at the climbing wall, and always suspected the use of gri-gris was the problem  especially with older top-ropes.

 jkarran 25 May 2022
In reply to JendeHoxar:

Of the various soft/flatspots I've cut into over the years I've never seen any core damage, in my experience at least it's just a slight excess of sheath cause by slippage.

Hard not to wonder about them though when you have one between you, your failing arms and the scree below!

Jk

Post edited at 13:07
OP JendeHoxar 25 May 2022
In reply to JendeHoxar:

Thanks all for the advice, particularly the video link. I think the overall message is it's probably okay, but "probably" is a bit worrying when it comes to ropes! Since the damaged spot is right in the middle, I've invested in a new rope.


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