How to Coil a Climbing Rope

How to Coil a Climbing Rope
Keeping your climbing rope neatly coiled is more than a tidy habit. It also helps keep the rope tangle free so you don't have to spend time untangling it before your next climb, and it helps you store it neatly away from harmful sunlight and other possible damage, including sharp objects and chemical contaminants like battery acid. While there are several ways to coil your rope, the butterfly coil--sometimes also called the backpack coil--is one of the most useful, since it provides an easy way to secure your rope on your back or to the outside of a pack.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Locate one end of the rope. Grasp this end in both hands, then separate your hands, with one hand still grasping the rope end and the other running down the rope until it's a double arm length away from the end. Drop the end of the rope, then stack the rope a little way down from this so that it doesn't cover the rope end.
Step 2
Grasp the other end of the rope in one hand, then recover the first end you dealt with from the bottom of the stack. Hold the two ends together in one hand and run your other hand down the rope, pulling two double arm lengths of rope and dropping them at your side.
Step 3
Drape the next double arm length of rope evenly across the back of your neck. The rope should come to the front of your shoulders on either side of your neck. Continue pulling the double strand of rope through your hands, to ensure it's tangle free, as you drape each successive double arm length across your shoulders. The shape of the coiled rope should resemble a horseshoe, with the open end pointing down in front of you.
Step 4
Continue this until you reach the end of the double coil, which is actually the bent middle point of the rope. Adjust the length of the last few coils, as necessary, so that they lay relatively even.
Step 5
Pull the rope coils off your shoulders, grasping them by the middle portion that was behind your neck. Recover the two double arm lengths of rope you left loose in Step 2. Wrap this three or four times tightly around the other coils below your hand, forming a small loop at the midpoint of the coils.
Step 6
Reach through the loop you created in Step 5 and pull a loop of the loose rope through. Spread this loop out and pull the midpoint of the coils through it--another way of thinking about this is pulling the loop down over the top of the midpoint of the coiled rope.
Step 7
Pull the loose double ends of the rope through the loop you just pulled down over the rope and pull them tight. You can now use the loose double ends, which are cinched tight against the coil so it won't unravel, to tie the rope onto your back or onto a backpack.

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.

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