As Kolin Powick, Black Diamond Equipment's quality assurance manager, discovered in the article "Retiring Old Ropes," worn-out climbing ropes can potentially break from the force generated by a falling climber. Retire climbing ropes at the right time to prevent this.
Tips & Warnings
If your climbing rope comes in contact with abrasive substances such as bleach, harsh chemicals like battery acid, or gasoline, retire it instantly.
Repeated and/or large lead falls diminish a rope's performance and integrity. Keeping a written log of what you've put your rope through can help determine when to retire the rope due to falls. Even one fall of significant impact can reduce a rope's efficacy.
If the rope feels less dynamic than it once was when you take a climbing fall, retire the rope.
Even if you only use your climbing rope occasionally, retire it after four years.
Do not attempt to use a climbing rope without receiving safety instruction from a qualified professional.
Never purchase a used climbing rope for rock-climbing purposes.
Never use a climbing rope without inspecting it first.
Article Written By Alli Rainey
A professional writer since 1997, Harvard graduate Alli Rainey has written several books, including "Wyoming: An Explorer's Guide." Her articles have appeared in "Climbing Magazine," "Rock & Ice," and "Men's Fitness," among many others.