rope question and falls

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rope question and falls

Post by Santa1234567 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:22 am


We've been climbing for 7 months now and trying to climb once to every second weekend
I think we have been on a max of 14 climbs in total and never had any major falls.

Our rope was new when we started new and is really looked after-- it rests on a ground sheet while climbing and is packed away in a bag.. so all good there... its a beal 60m 10.2mm

few weeks ago we was climbing at lakeside pinnacle and my partner took about a 1 meter fall then the rope caught him and it stretched as it does. He was attached onto the second bolt . I caught him on the belay and lightly lifted off the ground.

After that fall the rope seamed to become really twisted... but it wasn't before.
so we took the twist out then continued to climb......

My questions are..

1)Why did it become twisted.. is it because the rope had not strtetched like that before?

2)What is classed as a fall that damages the rope so you throw it in the bin?

3)How long should rope last?

Thanks for your advice.


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Re: rope question and falls

Post by M@ » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:35 am

Hey santa... i often have the same thoughts...
According to the beal website a single rope should hold at least 5 UIAA falls, where a UIAA fall is one of factor 1.77.
if you are unfamiliar with fall factor look here: ... te&lang=us

1.77 is quite a serious fall, most sport climbers wont really achieve this.
Your friends 1 metre fall probably produced about factor 0.2, assuming there was about 5m of rope out to the second bolt and he fell 1metre.

The most severe fall is factor 2. For this to occur, the climber must fall a full pendulum past his belayer, ie no clips or protection between climber and belayer.

Beal recommends "The rope must be retired earlier: - if it has held a major fall, approaching fall factor 2"
so there you go.

Have a look here for lifetime expectancy of your rope: ... ie&lang=us

The twisting is normal, it depends on your belay device, storage of the rope (coiled/ not coiled) etc...

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Re: rope question and falls

Post by noki » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:15 am

Hi Santa

Beal has two 10.2mm ropes. One is the Flyer, which is their top quality line, and the other is the Edlinger, which is a slightly lower quality line. Having said that, I'm climbing with an Edlinger at the moment, and I think it is better value for money than the Flyer (which is very expensive)--its specs compare well with the specs of top 10.2s from other manufacturers--and that just shows how good a rope the Flyer is. I suspect you have an Edlinger too.
Now, the kinking is normal. Dynamic ropes can stretch up to 40% when holding a dynamic fall, and they do this by literally untwisting the braids inside the rope and then springing back (think slinky spring). Manufacturers recommend allowing your rope 5 mins of unweighted rest between falls which stretch the rope quite a bit (i.e., lower down, take a break, and then do all that climbing again). Understandably, most climbers don't do that, and so ropes do tend to develop kinks over time. Bad rap chains exacerbate the problem. One thing you can try is to lay the rope out in a straight line and then feed it into a rope bag. This allows the end to rotate, and sorts out a lot of the kinks. The problem, of course, is finding a clean 60m stretch to lay the rope out on. I sometimes let the rope hang over a high cliff and then pull it up again.
As for retiring the rope. Most new climbers tend to get too stressed up about their rope's condition, and most old climbers tend to be too relaxed about it (go figure). Try to be one of those climbers who take the middle road here. Let's take it one issue at a time.
How long should your rope last? That depends on what it's exposed to, and how much you climb. I have seen brand new ropes trashed on day 1, and I have just recently retired a 12 year old line (OK, my climbing buddies have been complaining about it for a long time, but eventually I started getting worried too--see my comment above...). Generally about 5 years is a good bet. But attaching a time frame is always spurious, so rather go for checking the condition of the rope, which I will get to below. But once you have retired you rope, cut a piece off and use it to tow cars and pull down trees, and other such abuse, and you will soon see how strong even an old rope still is. (Note, pulling cars is not considered scientific testing). Beal has a nifty video on their site showing you how to inspect a rope. I'm lazier than M@, so I won't supply you with the link, you can go find it yourself.

OK, so when do you retire the rope? Here are some ideas:
1) When it becomes unmanageable. Some ropes get so stiff or the sheath slips around so much that you cannnot work them properly. If you cannot manage the rope properly in your belay device, it becomes dangerous. You either have a crap belay device (which do exist) or your rope is tired. Consider replacing the crap belay device or the rope, depending on which scenario is relevant.
2) When the core starts poking out the sheath. This means that the integrity of the sheath has been compromised, and the sheath is there to ensure the integrity of the core, so this is always problematic. If you have a 60m line, you could cut off the 10m showing this wear and end up with a useable 50m line. The reason for this is that most climbing ropes exposed to normal use will show most wear in the first 5m or so of the rope (it's quite logical if you sit down and think about it). So when the core starts poking out, it's normally within the first few metres of rope.
3) When the rope is exposed to severe abuse. This will include things like sharp rocks faling onto the rope and cutting it, stepping on your rope with crampons, accidentally spilling acid or petrol or benzine or other such harmful sumbstances on your rope, or factor 2 falls. For the harmful substances bit, here I wouldn't take chances. My ignorance of chemistry tells me that it's better to play it safe. So somebody says leaving your rope in a bath of coke for a day will do nothing to it (OK, I know that's a bit far-fetched), but I would rather play it safe. Maybe someone says benzine does nothing to nylon (not that anyone has told me that yet), but all I know is its a solvent, and I wouldn't like it on my rope, thank you. And so on... For the factor 2 bit, see the link that M@ (Matt?) gave on Factor 2s. If you aren't multi-pitching, you cannot take factor two falls, and if you are doing multi-pitch sport routes, you should, through your own protection techniques, always prevent yourself from being exposed to factor 2 falls (note, I did not say "always be able to prevent", but "always prevent"). If you have no idea what I am talking about, contact your local MCSA and get apprenticed by someone who knows, or find and MDT instructor to teach you. In the Cape, you try to get hold of Ross Suter. (Disclaimer here: Yes, I am a member of both, and am shamelessly punting my organisations, not without cause, I believe. Oh, and by the way, I don't get paid by Beal for my comments on their ropes, etc.).

OK. Sorry for the long essay. In closing, I have seen ropes kink a lot, but I have yet to retire a rope because of kinking. I have retired ropes because of (1) and (2), but never (3)--I generally try to avoid those situations.


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Re: rope question and falls

Post by Santa1234567 » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:36 pm

Wow.... thanks guys for the advice.. feeling much happer now....

You guys rule.

Enjoy your climbing..


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Re: rope question and falls

Post by XMod » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:02 pm

Hi, Beal ropes just do this when they are new, they get very twisty and kinked after a fall or two or after consistent lowering using an ATC.

Work the kinks out of the rope by whipping it backwards and forwards until the rope goes limp, start at one end and work your way down the rope in this fashion until the kinks are worked right off the other end of the rope. The rope should then be soft and pliable throughout its length. You will probably only have to do this a few times until the rope is broken in and starts to behave.

If you do not climb often consider coiling the rope between uses and hanging it in a cupboard (dark ventilated space) rather than leaving it lying in a bag. Use the mountaineers method by taking both ends and laying it over your hand first a loop over the thumb side then a loop over the pinky side, the loops being formed by stretching your hands apart, one holding the coils the other running down the two strands of rope gathering it and laying it into the other hand. If this sounds confusing ask on old trad climber to show you how. Dont coil it round and round over your head as this will simply put the twists straight back into the rope.

There is no way that small fall could possibly harm your rope (unless its visibly cut or there is an obvious flat spot). My ropes will typically handle scores of such falls before they grow old.

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