/ Rope sheath cut indoors

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SFrancis on 12 Jun 2017
I bought a dedicated 30m rope for indoor climbing, and used it for about 4 weeks maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Probably fallen on at least 5 times a session.

I took a lob off the last move on a climb and lowered off, my partner tied in same end (i know thats not best practice) and headed off up the route at about 3rd clip I noticed the sheath was cut through and the white inners were sticking out. Lowered the climber immediately and retired the rope. Was pretty shocked as in my eyes it was basically new, and i tend to go through indoor ropes every 4-6 months after really heavy usuage but have never seen the sheath go through indoors.

The rope was kept in a bag since it was bought, and only ever used indoors. I was shocked but thought it may have caught on a hold at some point.

I just wondered if anyone has ever had anything similar indoors?
snoop6060 - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:
Shocked a rope that has taken at least 60 falls needs chopping? Probably not actually a lot really, but it is not what I call basically new .
Post edited at 14:01
SFrancis on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to snoop6060:

Ok, fair enough. I suppose it just happened a lot quicker than normal, and i have only seen a sheath go through outdoors.
john arran - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

I would bring this to the attention of the wall/walls in question with a view to them checking the in-situ quickdraws; with use they can sometimes develop sharp edges on the rope-end krab, which could cause or accelerate this kind of damage.
trouserburp - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

I wouldn't expect sheath damage with any amount of falls until it scrapes on something. Unusual for a rope to run over an edge indoors except maybe the belay device. Have you/partner got something a bit grippy?

gejones - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to john arran:
Illustrates the point, but I'd hope not to find a crab this worn indoors!
Luke Brooks - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

The sheath near the ends of the rope do wear out surprisingly quickly when you take regular falls. I keep an eye on the sheath, especially on my wall rope, and when it looks tired I chop it. It's usually only a metre or two. It's worth buying a 40m wall rope so you get a decent life out of it.

At 4 weeks with that much use I'd expect to see quite a lot of wear, but possibly not so much that the sheath failed.

Something I avoid doing is letting go/jumping off from the chains without getting my belayer to take in. It's good for your head, but it wears the rope in the same spot each time and I find it hammers the sheath. It's better to take falls of different sizes throughout the session.

zmv - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:
My indoor ropes wear the end out in about 6 months while taking lobs basically every session.They wear out quite quicker if I don't change ends to let the rope reckover. I've seen the sheath indoors before after heavy falling.

What I do at the moment is take the lob once maybe twice and then if I am still falling I'd just clip the next draw from a jug to reduce gear wear.

However even if you completely ignored the above I wouldn't bet on going through the sheath after only 4 weeks! What was the diameter of the rope? Always worth getting a longer one and then cutting bits of it.
Post edited at 18:21
Greasy Prusiks on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

Keep hold of the rope. If it turns out that it needs some investigation it'll be vital.
SFrancis on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to All.

i've still got the rope, I will mention it to the wall just to be cautious. I think it could just as easily be caught on hold as have a sharp carabiner, but better to be safe.

I never get the belayer to take in before i fall off, one I'm usually falling off rather than jumping off, or secondly if its a planned jump from the chains i dont fancy getting smashed into the wall. So hopefully its different points on the rope. I also usually climb with a partner who is over 10kg lighter.

The rope was 10mm diameter. I guess I'll be a bit more disciplined about tying into the other end after falling to give the rope a rest.
Trangia on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

I think you can often get a lot of rough abrasive edges on protruding features and holds themselves at indoor climbing gyms, sometimes more so than on "real rock" which cumulatively increase rope wear. It's the same with the soles of your climbing shoes, I find they wear a lot more at climbing gyms than on "real" rock.

The one outdoor exception I can think of is some of that razor sharp limestone you find in some areas. The worst I've climbed on has been in the Boquer Valley in Majorca where some of the edges are more like Samurai sword blades which will slice through a falling blossom petal........
Deadeye - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

I suspect one or a combination of three things:
- Poorly dressed knots that then tighten sharply
- A tendency to always hang a fairly standard distance from a bolt (perhaps just a few inches of rope away from the bolt) when working out moves/resting
- A burr or sharp edge on a clip or rubbing against a hold (particularly if you fail on an overhang or bulge with the rope clipped overhead)

Solutions to each pretty obvious!
jkarran - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

I've never split the sheath of a rope climbing indoors and my approach was much like yours, lots of falls per session. Generally ropes would last a season or two before getting generally shabby with flat spots but never nicked or cut.

I'd guess either it's been in a krab with a second rope which has sawed into it (a reliable rope killer) or snagged on something sharp, a bolt-hanger, screwhead or the edge of a metal rubbing strip or even a badly worn krab (often the first).
Aly - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:
Where had you gone through the sheath? Was it 2-3m from the end? It's pretty common to wear through ropes there if you are sport climbing a lot, especially if you have been working or dogging some routes. I wouldn't be surprised at all to do that to rope after 60-odd falls. What did the sheath look like 20cm either side of the break, a bit faded and worn?

It would be worth having a look at the route to check there are no sharp edges on the in situ draws, or things to snag but I *suspect* it may be simple wear and tear. If the rest of the rope is fine and it's near the end then just cut the affected portion off. Also check the same spot on the other end of the rope, and bear in mind that as it's a short rope it might now be too short to lower off longer indoor routes.

Obviously if you have concerns then just bin the rope. Often people will buy a 40 or 50m wall rope so that they can go through several cycles of chopping the ends off when they get knackered and still have a long enough rope. Perhaps something to consider if you are buying a replacement.
Post edited at 12:20
Bristoldave - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:
A single fall onto a rope that is stuck in the gate of a carabiner can damage the sheath- I've seen that before. What I mean is that instead of being clipped in properly to the quickdraw, the rope is holding open the gate. Some biners have sharpish bits on them in the gate.
Post edited at 21:19
MischaHY - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

You go through ropes every four months? O.O What thickness of ropes are you buying, and what belay device are you using? If you're not already, a 10.5mm should be on the list. Also, buy a longer rope that can be chopped as necessary.
Matt Vigg - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

Sounds strange, I've only ever used "retired" sport climbing ropes indoors and take multiple falls every session, occasionally chopping the ends when they get frayed.
SFrancis on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to MischaHY:

I would say that i have had a couple that of definitely gone through in 4 months but I haven't chopped the ends off. My first indoor rope lasted 2/3 years, but was barely ever fallen on. Then a bit of a culture shift to never saying "take" indoors. Still 4 weeks is a record...

The one in question, was a 10mm Edelweiss rope used with a gri gri, I think i'll be buying longer ropes that can be chopped in future. I noticed the sheath had gone through as it reached the grigri at the point the climber went to clip the third clip.

Usually gone on cost for indoor ropes, and one thing I have noticed is price isn't always proportional to length. The two ropes before this one were Tendon and Mammut at least 10mm, and I wouldnt say i'm being overcautious, one of the ropes was commented on by the wall staff as not fit for purpose.
RockSteady on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

I would say this is unusual. I have worn a rope through to the white inner once but that was after 2-3 years of indoor use.

We usually buy a 60m rope, cut it in half. Take multiple falls every indoor session, 2-3 times a week most of the year. Ropes usually last about a year before needing to be chopped at the ends, then another few months after this.

Check the quickdraw for a worn edge. And maybe check your grigri? I can imagine if that's got dirt or grit in it this could be contributing to excessive rope wear?
Toerag - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to SFrancis:

With reference to saving money by using a longer rope and chopping it, if the 'rest of' the rope is still in good nick when it gets too short to use then you should be using a longer rope to get more wear out of the 'rest of' the rope.
Buy 1x 80m rope and cut it into 2x 40s when new. Chop each down over time to 30m and throw away 2x 30m of good rope.
Buy 1x 80m rope and chop it down over time to 30m and only throw away 30m of worn rope.

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