/ Rope Wear Question

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Rob Exile Ward 09 Feb 2020

I have a rope from Decathlon (I think it was probably their own brand, Simond, 35m, 10mm (approx.) that I've had from about 3 or 4 years. In that time it has NOT been used extensively, or had any traumas (I can guarantee that!), just occasional use (maybe once a week) on an indoor wall.

Most of it looks pretty much like new, maybe a bit stiffer than I would like … but there is a 2 metre section in the middle which feels very different, very soft indeed. Feels like a different rope.

My questions are these: a) How has that happened? Is that a manufacturing fault, or is it something I could have done (although not been aware of)? b) Is the rope still safe? c) If not, I.e. the rope has become unsafe due to a manufacturing fault, isn't this a bit dodgy - maybe Decathlon should be told?

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Rick Graham 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

How high is your local wall?

The stiffer sections may be the only lengths  that get stressed over the lower offs.

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Route Adjuster 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I would suggest that once a week use for 3 or 4 years is extensive use for a rope.  I replace my climbing wall ropes every 18 months or so and I go once a week during winter months, so probably 30 visits a year.  Each visit would be 10 routes perhaps, very few falls but lots of use on the rope and they get 'fluffy' and worn quite quickly.

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Rob Exile Ward 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Route Adjuster:

I'm probably overstating - considerably - the amount of use the rope has had! It barely gets used in the summer for instance.

The wall - Boulders in Cardiff - isn't very high, so you may be correct, the middle bit may not be stressed through the lower offs very often. Next question: is the soft bit still strong? Can I use it for another year or two? Ropes don't fail, do they...  

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bpmclimb 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yes, not that old, but it's had a fair bit of use by the sound of it, and it was a budget rope to begin with. For what it's worth, I would retire it (chop out the dodgy section and keep the good bits for rigging, towrope, whatever), and get a nice new one, for peace of mind and better handling 

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wbo2 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Route Adjuster: That's quite interesting as I'd suggest that's quite low usage and wear , especially as you aren't taking falls, yet the rope sounds pretty beat up?

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kingborris 09 Feb 2020
In reply to wbo2:

IME spongy bits in the middle are pretty much exclusively caused by pulling the rope out of the belay device after each climb. Depending on the height of the wall and the length of the rope you may end up with two areas or just one rally bad one

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gilesf 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I've had my rope for a couple of years now, I use it at the wall probably 3 times a week, often between three of us, which is quite a bit according to some opinions. It has varying textures along it's length and the sheath is furry in places, however, I'm happy with it and I'm not asking others if its OK to use.

My point here is, once you've asked, the seed of doubt is clearly in your mind and you're never going to fully trust it. Take the advice, chop it up for rigging as suggested and buy a new one.

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Blanche DuBois 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Route Adjuster:

> I would suggest that once a week use for 3 or 4 years is extensive use for a rope.  I replace my climbing wall ropes every 18 months or so and I go once a week during winter months, so probably 30 visits a year.  Each visit would be 10 routes perhaps, very few falls but lots of use on the rope and they get 'fluffy' and worn quite quickly.

I'd suggest the opposite.  Do you own shares in a rope manufacturer by any chance?

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john arran 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I once (some time ago) had a rope in which a short (30cm?) section in the middle went completely floppy, which was quite worrying as the rest of the rope was quite stiff and in this section it really seemed like there was little or nothing in the sheath. Clearly I could no longer trust it so I cut that section out. Turned out that the core in theat section had simple loosened; rather than being in a tight twist/braid it was all lying pretty much flat but there was no visible damage to any nylon strand. Presumably the strength would still have been pretty good, with perhaps a small reduction for lack of elasticity.

So my advice would be to keep using your rope as long as you feel you are able to trust it. Beyond that point it would be a mug's game.

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mountain.martin 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

It can be replaced with new from decathlon for £45. That's not bad for 3 or 4 years of use.  Obviously would have been good to get a few more years out of it, but I get quite scared leading anyway, any reason to doubt my equipment as opposed to just my ability and I would be getting my debit card out.

I guess this is being used by two people? And you can still use the old rope for something less crucial so the cost per person per climb must be measured in pence and be negligible compared to the cost of wall entry.

  

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nniff 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I may be completely wrong in this regard, but if I compare the use that my 'indoor' rope gets with the outdoor ones get a tougher time.  The outdoor ones are rarely weighted, whereas the indoor one get a right caning - lower off at one end, then the other and repeat.  It rarely gets run all the way through and so the inevitably its characteristics change.  The weave gets compressed towards the ends and the middle is rarely troubled much.  From time to time, I ab from two tied ends towards the middle to try and even it out a bit, but they're not going to last years and years

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SteveSBlake 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

In relative terms ropes are cheap as chips. It wasn’t always so....... 

Retire it or, cut and reuse.... and buy a new one.

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Rob Exile Ward 10 Feb 2020
In reply to SteveSBlake:

It's not the money, I just don't like buying new stuff when there's life in the old. Carbon footprint and all that.

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jkarran 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Isn't it just the bit that never gets used? On a short wall it probably never even runs through the plate let alone over the top. You've probably been working the sheath gradually and incrementally toward the centre making it feel softer, less well consolidated than the rest. Tie in short for a while, work the soft spot out to one end or other or fold it and ab, middle to ends to work the sheath out from the middle. Or live with it.

jk

Post edited at 09:16
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