/ Washing a new static rope.

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mountain.martin - on 12 Jul 2017
Just purchased a new static rope for abseiling into routes in pembrokeshire. I see in the instruction manual it says I should soak the rope and allow it to dry slowly, and that during this process it will shrink by about 5%.
It doesn't say why you should do this or what will happen if I don't.
I don't remember reading this last time I purchased a static rope, but that was quite a few years ago. I certainly didn't do it before.

Anyone actually done this or know why you should?
Stuart (aka brt) - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to mountain.martin:

You'll not die if you don't.

Having it preshrunk is helpful in certain applications (caving, rope access) in that you know that the 50m preshrunk rope is 50m and not about to shrink on its first outing and leave you short.

It can also wash away some of the substances used in the manufacturing process.

Jenny C on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to mountain.martin:

Used a new static rope without washing and it was very slippy due to the coating - now it's been washed long abseils are slightly less scary.

Also as said above, it means you don't get a nasty surprise if/when the rope shrinks in use (also I suspect a rope shrinking where you have tied knots rigging in a wet cave could pose problems with them over tightening).
Adam Long - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to mountain.martin:

It washes the lubricants used in manufacture out, and shrinks the sheath onto the core. It makes it a bit stiffer at first but should mean it lasts longer.
earlsdonwhu - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Adam Long:

Just seems odd that the manufacturer doesn't do the washing process too.
mountain.martin - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to mountain.martin:

Thanks to everybody for taking the time to reply, looks like i should soak it then. Does seem a bit strange to me that they don't do this at the factory though.
Adam Long - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Not really surprising, it adds a fairly slow process which makes the rope less pleasant to handle, and often to look at (the dye often runs a bit). A lot of folk prefer a more supple rope at the expense of longevity.
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