CLIMBING - EQUIPMENT
climbing Rope is a complex area and
this is only an overview and you are advice to seek
further information from the specialists outlets.
The climbing rope is the most important piece of safety
equipment that the climber will use. The rope must be
respected and treated with care and used in the correct
way. The rope you must use, are the ones that have been
specifically made for climbing. These ropes are known
as Dynamic in which they stretch slightly
when under load and this helps the rope to absorb the
shock of the fall and helps to increase the breaking
The rope developed from the original hemp or the manila
ropes which had little strength and were heavy, via
hawser-laid nylon ropes and offered little protection
to the climber.
Today the rope that is used is known as the Kernmantel
climbing rope and invented by Edelrid. The rope has
a core of elastic fibres that is protected by a tightly
woven protective sheath, then bundles of nylon, perlon
or similar polyamide fibres are woven into varying patterns
and each fibre is continuous for the entire length of
the rope. Each visible fibre consists of thousands of
intertwined single-chained molecules and each rope has
an elongation property which results from the construction
of the nylon, and the weave, this then gives the rope
its shock absorption property if there is a fall.
If the rope did not have the shock absorption property,
the jolt in a fall could break the climbers back, even
in short falls.
Kernmantel ropes are the only ones covered by the Union
International des Associations d'Alpineisme [UIAA] and
the European Standard [EN] for Dynamic Mountaineering
In rock climbing you use either a single 11mm or a
double 9mm [thickness] rope. Using a double 9mm rope
helps to reduce drag as it passes through the runners
especially on a route that is zigzagging across the
rock face by using alternate runners, whenever possible,
you also have the opportunity of a longer abseils by
joining the two  ropes together with a double fisherman's
knot. A 11mm rope is used for a straight forward route
and where there will be less drag on the rock face.
Never use a 9mm rope on its own.
A 11mm ropes are required to hold a minimum of 5 UIAA
falls without breaking using an 80kg falling mass. The
9mm rope is required to hold a minimum of 5 UIAA falls
without breaking using an 55kg falling mass.
The most common lengths are 45m [150ft] and 50m [165ft].
When purchasing a climbing rope visit the various specialist
outlets and ask for advice concerning different ropes,
compare various manufactures and explain the type of
climbing you will be doing and also make sure it meets
the correct guidelines and standards.
check your rope before you climb for core damage [lumps
or bulges in the rope and no visible sheath damage]
or sheath damage [where the sheath has come away and
the core can be seen]. In both cases discard.
There are a number of reasons why the rope can be damaged
from dragging over sharp edges, abrasion over rocks,
falls, rock falls, grit or dirt, heat [rope to rope,
use a karabiner in between to prevent] and chemicals
[if in contact discard].
to retire a rope comes with experience and common sense
and will varies depending on the above factors and the
amount of time it has been used.
Always try to avoid sharp edges, least amount of abrasion
from lowering off by going to fast [heat build up] and
running over rough edges [place something under the
rope, old T shirt], try to avoid a lot of dirt and grit,
rest the rope between falls, alternate the ends of the
rope from climb to climb [sport climbing and climbing
walls] and wash by hand in cool water with a mild soap
and rinsed thoroughly and dry by hanging loose and not
Static ropes are also available but
these are used mainly for abseiling, caving or ascending,
they are made from a different type of nylon and braided
differently for a tighter weave, generally the static
ropes are white with a coloured identification stripes.
- Climbing, Fell Walking,
Mountaineering, Cycling, Mountain Biking, Watersports
and other Activities can be extremely dangerous
and can result in permanent disability or even
loss of life. Participants in these activities
should be aware of and accept these risks and
be responsible for their own involvement and
Lake District Let's Go can not be held responsible.
Always seek advice and information.