/ When to change a rope

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Flinticus 06 Oct 2019

Rope about 10 yrs old. Used indoors only. Not taken many lead falls as its used with my wife and I climbing and she's on and off lead climbing over the years so use has been sporadic but has started to make good progress lately

 Stored indoors put of the sun etc.

Is it OK to keep using?

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Stefan Jacobsen 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

It is not about age. It is about history - use and abuse. If it looks and feels ok it most probably is. I suppose you know how to assess the state of a rope?

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brianjcooper 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

Read the manufacturer's recommendation. Mine say maximum 15 years (5 years in storage plus 10 years actual usage) assuming no serious damage to them. In my experience indoor wall usage can cause more wear to a rope due to constant 'dogging', falls etc.  

Remember. It's your insurance policy.  

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Flinticus 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Stefan Jacobsen:

> If it looks and feels ok it most probably is. I suppose you know how to assess the state of a rope?

I run it through my hands frequently at the wall. Not felt anything amiss: no slippage, lumps, tears, fraying, furring. Wondering more about the unseen core and its ageing.

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PaulW 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

If it looks and feels OK then it is probably fine.

There is a reason that there is a guide from the maker as to how long it should last before needing replacement. While conservative the maker is saying they are unsure that the rope will be fit for purpose beyond those dates.

For me it's peace of mind, £50 every 10 years isn't too bad a price to pay for that. Mind you I do the same thing with cycle helmets

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pass and peak 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

There's usually more than one stage in a rope's retirement, or at least if your as tight as me there is! Going from Lead rope to top rope only, to tying things on the roof rack rope etc. While it may still be fine for all of these things, you may find that the feel and confidence of climbing with a new rope increases you enjoyment and your grades! 

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Hooo 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

I'm pretty sure there is no record of a rope ever failing due to old age.

As long as it handles ok and has no damage I'd keep using it. Especially if you're only toproping. As others say though, if she's starting leading and wants a confidence boost then a new rope works wonders!

I don't get out much so my wall rope lasts a few years but my older half rope must be 10 years old by now. It still looks and handles fine so I have no plans to replace it.

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GrahamD 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Hooo:

>  if she's starting leading and wants a confidence boost then a new rope works wonders!

Not so sure about that ! Modern single ropes look disconcertingly thin and boingy.

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BrendanO 07 Oct 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

> Not so sure about that ! Modern single ropes look disconcertingly thin and boingy.

Well, the good news there is that you can buy a really cheap new rope, as they are thicker and feel a bit more solid. Added to that, for indoor wall you likely dont need a full-length rope, and you're laughing.For my home wall, 30m is fine, even niw it's 26.5 cos I cut a bit off. Somewhere like Ratho you do need 60m.

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krikoman 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

yes, so long as it's been looked after.

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krikoman 07 Oct 2019
In reply to brianjcooper:

> Read the manufacturer's recommendation. Mine say maximum 15 years (5 years in storage plus 10 years actual usage) assuming no serious damage to them. In my experience indoor wall usage can cause more wear to a rope due to constant 'dogging', falls etc.  

Didn't they say in the OP "Not taken many lead falls"

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jkarran 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

I always worked on the retire it when I start to think/worry about it basis. It works whether you're a worrier or not, even really battered abused ropes are reassuringly tough and from a reasonable person's perspective they look/feel nasty long before they get unsafe.

I expect your 10yo occasionally used, never abused rope (I have one like that) still looks and feels pretty good especially compared to one that's been really beaten up with a couple of years worth of twice weekly redpointing.

jk

Post edited at 09:42
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Baron Weasel 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

I've just retired a rope aged 20. I've had it from new, always stored correctly, little sign of wear and handling nicely until recently when it got shined doing fall training then some sheath damage when used for rigging a top rope. 

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Offwidth 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

Surprised no one has mentioned the key issue with 'old' ropes. They are elastic so that they absorb energy in a way that doesn't damage your body in a fall. 'Old' ropes don't break they just lose elasticity,  mainly from taking lots of big falls. If your rope feels fine along its full length, has no visible damage and has only taken a few falls well below FF1 it's almost certainly OK.

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brianjcooper 07 Oct 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> Didn't they say in the OP "Not taken many lead falls"

Indeed he did. I was just including falls along with other causes for rope wear and tear.

SA.

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Al Randall 07 Oct 2019
In reply to jkarran:

Agreed.  The thing is once the seeds of doubt have been planted, reasonable or otherwise, that's the time to change. I had a rope that was beginning to feel a little awkward to handle but I hung onto it because it was not that old and had not held any significant falls. I continued to climb on it but when I came up against making a move that would result in a quite a big fall if I got it wrong, the very first thought that came into my mind was that very seed of doubt previously planted.

Al

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Wiley Coyote2 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

I retire ropes every two or three years. I am sure this  is over-cautions but who wants to be the richest man in the cemetery?

To my mind when I am winding it out  above the last runner and looking at a thin move (Me? Winding it out? Who am I kidding?) the last thing I want to be thinking about is whether the rope is up to the job.  As far as I am concerned, as soon as I have a doubt, be it damage, wear or age, it gets relegated to an ab rope

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phizz4 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

Stored indoors, out of the sun, only used indoors (climbing wall), not dragged/lying in muck/grit etc at the base of a crag, not running over rough or sharp rock edges? I'd still use it, but that's just my opinion. If any doubts, junk it. Go Outdoors and Needle Sports doing great deals on ropes at the moment.

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andyman666999 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

I think that if you’re asking if it’s ok - then you already know your own answer to the question.

once you start to question it then you should just bin/upcycle it - as others have said. 

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UKB Shark 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

The 7 ages of a rope:

Shiny and new

Some use 

Noticeably grubby, vague doubts start

Sheath starting to become furry and handling less supple, finances examined

Major furring at both active ends, penknife sought

Cut the furred ends off and repeat with increasing frequency

Rope too short for any form of climbing

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Rog Wilko 08 Oct 2019
In reply to UKB Shark:

Not sure about the furriness issue. Is not all the strength in the core? Now furry slings, that's a different kettle of fish.

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Dan Arkle 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

The strength is indeed in the core. 

However the sheath can break or develop holes during use if allowed to go too furry.

Shark's description is accurate for frugal experienced climbers who fall on their ropes a lot, and don't worry about them snapping (they don't!). 

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ian caton 09 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

Pretty sure if you do some googling that uiaa says retire when you can see the core. 

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Flinticus 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

Thanks for the many replies. I think I'll hang onto it for another year - see how the lead climbing progresses.

I'm trying to keep a cap on stuff, i.e. buy or replace if necessary only.

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Jon Stewart 10 Oct 2019
In reply to jkarran:

> I always worked on the retire it when I start to think/worry about it basis.

I wait until other people start to refuse to climb with it.

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jkarran 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Mostly I lose mine before I lose faith but I have beaten a 30m sport/wall rope to death with a few hundred falls.

Jk

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