The climbing rope is one of the most important pieces of equipment for those of us that love to see the beauty of nature from a higher altitude. It makes our dreams of getting to the peak of that rocky Mountain in safety a reality.
After some time of having fun along the rocky mountains and tall trees with your rope, the stress of holding your weight for so long can take its toll on the rope. The rope may begin to show signs of the fray, especially at both ends.
The fraying is facilitated by the friction between your carabiner and the rope. This is why the first part that you may likely spot a sign of damage is at the end.
And for this reason, cutting the rope becomes essential for your safety. Ignoring those signs of fray will increase your likelihood of realizing that the rope is too weak to carry your weight when you are having a fall.
All you need to do is cut off the frayed ends of the rope and your rope is as good as new again. And ready to support your full weight
Even if you don’t notice any sign of fraying, a climbing rope should be cut about 3cm – 5cm at both ends after several heavy falls. Because the stress is always more at both ends during a fall.
The Right Way of Cutting a Climbing Rope
After spotting those signs of the fray, the next step is to cut off the damaged part of the rope and leave the rest of the rope that is still in good shape for your climbing adventures. In other to make sure that your rope is properly cut and not increase its chances of getting damage through the cutting point, the following procedures should be followed:
Mark and Tape Your Climbing Rope
For this step, you need a marker or pen, measuring tape, and cable tape, or any other type that can get the job done. Locate an area about 30cm from the damaged spot and mark it.
Tape the marked spot to cover about 5cm, make sure that the taping is very tight. The tight taping will hold the sheaths together when you cut.
Increase the Tension on the Rope
For this step, you need a friend or anyone that can come to the rescue. Tell the person to hold one end of the rope. If there is no one around, tie one end of the rope to a tree or pole and pull the other part of the rope in order to increase the tension on the rope.
You can also put it under your right foot and bend over. Pull the rope with your left hand to increase the tension on the rope. This position is most favorable for those that are right-handed. Although being left-handed is not an issue, you can always change your hand and foot.
Cut through the Right Point
Now, you need that sharp knife. At an angle of about 50°, cut through the marked point. Make sure that your knife is sharp because a blunt knife will not only make the work harder but also make the sheath get scattered.
You can also make sure that the cut is very neat and easy by heating the knife. When the knife is red-hot, it melts its way through the rope and leaves you with a very neat job.
The only disadvantage of using a hot knife is that it will most likely leave the knife stained. This is bad especially if you use the knife for cutting foods. To ensure that nothing gets damaged or disfigured, keep a special knife for a work like this.
Burn the End of the Rope
After cutting, the next step is to burn the end of the rope. You can do this with the help of a lighter and little water in a cup or bowl, for wetting your fingers. When the tip melts, use your wetted fingers to press the sheaths together. This will keep the sheaths together to avoid having loose strands at the ends.
Find the New Mid-point
Every climbing rope comes with markings to indicate the middle of the rope. But cutting off a portion of the rope automatically changes the midpoint. Take your time to measure the length you cut off and find the new midpoint.
Doing this will also make you aware of the new length and get you ready for your next climbing adventure. You sure don’t want to get to that mountain or tree with all the excitement and find out that the rope has become too short for your planned adventure.
When to Dispose of Your Old Climbing Rope
After cutting your climbing rope several times, it may get too short for your normal routine. This is very common with climbers that are always having a fall. At this point, getting a new climbing rope will be a good idea
When you notice that you have had several falls with the rope, changing the rope will not be a bad idea. As each fall puts lots of stress on the rope, instead of chopping off the ends every time, make plans for a new climbing rope.
If for any reason, your climbing rope gets In contact with corrosive chemicals like acids. It will be best to get a new one as the chemical may affect the materials used in manufacturing the climbing rope.
When you notice that your climbing rope is showing signs of fray all through the length. Consider getting a new one because if you decide to cut off all the frayed parts, you may end up with a very short rope.
How Often Should I Change Myto Climbing Rope?
As an expert climber, I would advise anyone not to use a rope 10 years from the manufacturing date. Nothing is built to last forever, even if you don’t make use of the rope, the years will tell on the rope. But if you make use of it once every month, your climbing rope can serve you for 5 years and should be changed afterward.
If you make use of it 1 – 3 times every week, it is advisable to change your climbing rope every 3 years. For those of us that make use of our climbing ropes almost every day, changing the climbing rope every year is the least we can do to ensure a safe climbing adventure all through the year.