How to Mark Climbing Ropes

How to Mark Climbing Ropes
A climbing rope is literally a climber's lifeline, one of the few items of a gear system that usually isn't redundant. When you life depends on a single piece of nylon--and certain substances have been shown to degrade nylon--who can blame climbers for being nearly paranoid about what touches their ropes? There are two commonly accepted ways of marking the middle point on a climbing rope: using a specially designed rope marker or marking the middle with dental floss or thread.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rope marker
  • Large sewing needle
  • Dental floss
Step 1
Hold the two ends of the rope together in your right hand. Wrap your left hand around both strands of rope.
Step 2
Pull both strands of rope evenly through your left hand until you reach the middle of the rope.
Step 3
Pinch the rope in one hand, just below the middle of the rope, while you color in a 1- or 2-inch wide portion of the rope sheath, all the way around the circumference of the rope, centered on the middle of the rope. Make sure you use a marker specially designed for marking climbing ropes.
Step 4
Mark the middle with dental floss if you'd rather not use a marker on your rope. Thread a large sewing needle with dental floss. Work the dental floss around the middle of the rope, threading it through the rope's sheath, not directly through the core, until you've created a mark that's large enough to easily spot.

Tips & Warnings

While the most common reason for marking a climbing rope is wanting to spot the middle easily, some climbers also like to mark the ends of their ropes a certain portion of the way up--say, 30 feet--so that they can easily gauge when their climbing partner has almost run out of rope.


Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.