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Climbing Equipment Ropes CLIMBING - EQUIPMENT - Rope

Climbing RopeThe 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 strain.

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 Ropes [q.v.].

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 [2] 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.

Rope Core DamageAlways 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].

Sheath DamageWhen 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 coiled.

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.


Disclaimer - 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.



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