Many people enjoy climbing because of the thrill it brings and sometimes the adrenaline rush. For some, they enjoy climbing because of the satisfaction they get from climbing such heights.
While climbing is a good sport for a test of self-esteem, it is also laden with many dangers that can lead to accidents that sometimes claim life.
With the knowledge of the many dangers involved in climbing, some people have taken out time to come up with safety measures to reduce the accidents that occur during climbing to the barest minimum. It is in the light of this that the concept of climbing ropes was birthed.
Even with the initiation of climbing ropes, there are still records of accidents that go against the number one rule of climbing which is: DO NOT FALL.
Why do climbers fall even with the use of climbing ropes? It is because they make use of non-elastic climbing ropes that tend to break.
This brings us back to the main question, why are nylon ropes used in climbing?
Reasons why Nylon ropes are used in rock climbing
Nylon ropes are used in rock climbing for different reasons among which are:
The Nylon’s elasticity reduces the chances of a fall in the sense that it can pull up the climber when they fall. This is possible because of the materials that nylon is made of. Nylon is made out of synthetic fiber which consists mainly of units of amides.
The main reason why it is used for making rock climbing ropes is that it is strong, lightweight, and tough. Also, despite its elasticity, it still causes friction when gripped thereby reducing the chances of it slipping out of your hands.
2. Its tensile strength
Rock climbing ropes are one of the gears that guarantee safety during climbing. This means that the rope has to be in the most perfect condition before it can be used. Perfection is emphasized here because a bad climbing rope can be easily replayed but a lost life cannot. Over time, nylon ropes have proven to be the best for climbing because of their tensile strength.
It is designed in such a way that it can withstand several falls without tearing or breaking.
Nylon ropes are only susceptible to breaking after they have been used for a long time and are weak.
But professionals have come up with a way to manage damage to the nylon rope apart from replacing it. To keep your nylon climbing rope in the best condition, avoid stretching the rope along a sharp edge. Because a sharp edge coupled with the force of a falling body is enough to deal damage to the rope which consequently causes an accident.
Although the nylon rope proves to be strong, you should replace it when you notice any of these:
- When the rope has been affected by chemicals.
- When it’s so dirty and cannot be clean even after washing.
- When it has been exposed to sun or heat repeatedly.
- When it has withheld many falls. Too many falls decrease its elasticity which automatically increases the chances of a fall.
These telltale signs must be duly watched out for as any accident or mishap cannot be blamed on the rope but the lack of proper maintenance and care.
3. Easy maintenance
This is another reason why nylon ropes are used in rock climbing. Below are some tips to guide you when maintaining a nylon climbing rope.
- As much as possible, the rope should not come in direct contact with the ground or dust. To achieve this, a rope bag, a tarp or a piece of fabric can come in handy. There should be a form of separation between the rope and the bare ground if you want the rope to last for longer. Also, keep the rope away from sharp edges.
- Avoid stepping directly on the rope. This can wreck damage to the rope because the action can create an avenue for breakage.
- To prolong the lifespan of the rope, ensure that it is not exposed to chemicals or acids. This should be given utmost attention because chemicals cause internal damage that is not visible to the physical eye.
- Store in a cool dry place. This is very essential because the place of storage is a significant contributor to the long lifespan of the rope. The best place to store a nylon rope is a rope bag.
- Wash the rope from time to time. The nylon rope can either be hand washed or machine washed. After washing, do not forget that direct sunlight can cause damage to the rope and so dry it in the air.
- Endeavor to even out the falls and stress of climbing on both ends of the rope. Distributing them equally contributes significantly to the long lifespan of the rope.
Nylon ropes are highly recommended as the best climbing rope because of their elasticity and strength. They reduce the chances of fatal falls and they’re easily maintained.
Interestingly, there’s hardly any record of a nylon rope breaking except if it’s not properly maintained.
As stated earlier, there are different ways to maintain a nylon rope but the most essential seems to be to avoid stretching them on a sharp edge. This doesn’t in any way undermine the other tips in maintaining a nylon rope. All maintenance tips are as essential as the other and they have to be adhered to strictly for utmost benefits and long lifespan.
In addition, for the best climbing experience, the length and thickness should also be put into proper consideration. You wouldn’t want a situation where there’s a fall because the rope can’t hold your weight or it’s too short to give you the best landing.
Nylon ropes are undoubtedly one of the best safety gear when it comes to climbing. And a good climbing rope should not be compromised under any situation because remember that a climbing rope is replaceable but human life is not.