How to extend the lifespan of your rope

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One of the most important gear you’ll own as a climber is climbing rope. The piece of equipment that keeps you from decking when you fall and brings you to the safety of solid ground when abseiling.

Knowing how to maintain and care for your rope can help to save you lots of money.

Everything you need to know about climbing rope

Regardless the type of climbing rope you have, you can extend the lifespan of your rope by doing the following.

Flake your rope

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Flake your rope after you finished climbing have a few advantages. Flaking rope will help to remove any kinks or knots in the rope. It can be a real pain and even dangerous if the belayer has to constantly deal with kinks or worst knots on the rope in the middle a belay. Flak to ensure that the rope is free of kinks and knots before keeping in your rope bag. Kinks and knots on ropes can cause the rope to be wiry and difficult to manage.

Use a rope bag or groundsheet

Always try to keep your rope off the rough and abrasive ground especially if you are climbing outdoor. When you are belaying a climber, the climbing rope will be on the ground. As you belay the rope will be drag across the ground where dirt can get adhere and trap on the rope. So always flake your rope onto a rope bag and belay next to it.

When you are done with climbing for the day, tie one end of your rope to the loop of the rope bag and flake your rope onto the rope bag. After flaking the entire rope, tie the other end to another loop on your rope bag before tying up the rope bag. It is not necessary to coil your climbing rope if you are using a rope bag.

Wash your rope

No matter how well you take care of your rope when climbing outdoor, your rope will get dirty. Dirty rope will feel stiff, making it difficult to belay. Dirt and debris stuck on your rope will increase wear on your gears especially your belay device and carabiners.

Washing rope to get rid of soil and dust deposit will help to reduce rope wear and improve the handling of your rope.

How to wash climbing rope

Switch lead end when climbing

The ends of the climbing rope are most commonly worn out first. This is because when climber takes a fall the impact of the fall is mainly at the rope end where the climber tied in to. So regularly switch between different ends for climbing.

Cut your rope (the damaged end)

As a climber cutting your rope is the last thing you’ll want to do. Climbing rope is commonly damaged at the ends. Hence to extend the life span of your role you can cut away the damaged section. You’ll need to inspect each end for wear and tear to determine how much to cut.

After cutting your rope, it is very important to measure the remaining length and tape a label at both ends of the rope to indicate the new length. Accidents can happen and had happened before where climbers climbed with a rope that is too short because they had forgotten the rope had been cut.

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