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Old but Never been used rope
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By 757wakeboarder
Sep 23, 2013

I'm looking for some advice about some climbing rope I was recently given. A close friend of mine that I have known for about 10 years and is my next door neighbor had a spool that had 600 feet of climbing rope on it. He gave it to me, it has NEVER been used, however he purchased it in 1998. He bought it and put it on a shelf located at the front of his garage and ended up not using it. He had intentions of using it due to being Special Forces but didn't. His garage is a relatively clean environment but I went ahead and removed the first layer of rope (about 130 feet) because he does have motorcycles that he very occasionally starts up in the garage. Should I ever use this rope to climb? I do mostly top roping. Rope is 7/16 blue water, very nice stuff. Even feels brand new, for sure has never been taken off the spool and I made sure that it's never gotten wet or been exposed to anything obviously bad (he is familiar enough with it that he knows it's never been damaged).


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By climbamt
Sep 23, 2013

From the Bluewater site- How long will my rope last?

The answer to this is the same for a new car. You can total it right off the lot or you can get years of service from it. It all depends upon the user. Our recommendation is 5 years max for dynamic ropes and 10 years max for low elongation/ static ropes. The fact it is measured as 7/16 means it is probably a static rope. Dynamics are generally measured in MM.

I personally would not use it in a situation where my life or bodily injury was on the line...


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Sep 23, 2013
...

It's a common known fact that after five years ALL dynamic ropes MELT and become useless.


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By Mark Pilate
Sep 23, 2013

Based on your post name, I'm going to recommned you pre-soak that rope in a mixture of powdered glass and H2SO4 prior to rapping off a tall cliff....(I am one who only uses the center pylon, if you get my drift)

Assuming you do not take me up on my advice however, you are good to go. I have (had) the same spool from my days in the Army and my spool is older. Don't worry about it. Although I assume you will use it for rapps and anchors, not climbing on.

And just stay off the freakin water at least in the early mornings and late evenings! :)


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By Airwoolf
Sep 23, 2013

As long s we are on the subject of old ropes.

I have a 10.5 mm Sterling rope that is like brand new. I've
used it for toproping outdoor in the Midwest
maybe
20 times. Since then I have taken a 10 year hiatus.
So the rope is about 11 years old and has been stored in a container.
I've checked and it is still like brand new. To me it looks and feels safe.
I have checked it thoroughly.
Is there a shelf life on dynamic ropes?
Or could it still be used for toproping or leading
Sport climbs.

Sorry for being a thread thief.


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By Mark Pilate
Sep 23, 2013

Man, how often does this question come up??

Old ropes are best used for auto-erotic strangulation.
(PM Sir Chips-a lot for rigging instructions)



but otherwise you can TR on them as long as they pass "inspection"


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By Chris D
From the couch
Sep 25, 2013
Sign near the Third Flatiron

Considering that you can usually find a fine new climbing rope on sale for a little over $100, why not just drop the coin and not worry about it?

Perhaps the manufacturer is erring on the side of caution to avoid litigation with their 5yr/10yr recommendation for retiring rope, but what's peace of mind worth?

That rope is at least 15 years old, right? Might be totally safe to climb on, who knows? But that's the point.

You can start the clock on the rope you buy today as soon as you buy it. In five years, it'll be beat up enough that you'll be ready to retire it anyway...or you're not climbing enough.


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By Taylor J
From new mexico, new england
Sep 26, 2013
My home project.... <br /> <br /><em>Eds. It may be called "The Compactor".</em>

I would never buy or use and old or used rope I knew nothing about... Why risk it when you can get pretty good deals online....


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By Taylor J
From new mexico, new england
Sep 26, 2013
My home project.... <br /> <br /><em>Eds. It may be called "The Compactor".</em>

oh and yes they have a shelf life... even if the rope has just sat they say after 5 or 6 years it looses its elasticity and cant absorb the impact from a fall, thus breaking far easier.... Just buy a rope


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By bearbreeder
Sep 26, 2013

taylor januskiewiecz wrote:
oh and yes they have a shelf life... even if the rope has just sat they say after 5 or 6 years it looses its elasticity and cant absorb the impact from a fall, thus breaking far easier.... Just buy a rope


mmmmmm

www.theuiaa.org/upload_area/files/1/About_Ageing_of_Climbing>>>

;)


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By Woodchuck ATC
Sep 26, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008



haven't we seen and discussed this article before? It is 13 years old and maybe there is some new research out by now on the shelf life of ropes. I still believe the rope companies just want to cover their ass and sell more ropes. Believe a well stored rope has a very long rope life, much more than just 3-4 years.


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By 5.samadhi
Sep 27, 2013
me

I've taken whippers on 10+ year old ropes and they are soft. They are all somewhat short though being around 50m or less since the ends have been chopped off multiple times (where most of the wear occurs).

Watch the ends when lowering!


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By md3
Sep 27, 2013

I came into two very old (at least 15 years old) but never used ropes. They are both much stretchier than what I am used to and I have been using ropes from many differnent manufacturers. I don't know if the stretchiness is from age or if thats just the way they were made. I haven't used either for leading yet and I am not sure I will.


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By 757wakeboarder
Sep 27, 2013

I know all of the ropes history...I just gave it to you above. Like I said, the guy I got it from is one of my best friends. Spent 10 years in Special Forces and bought it for that but never used it. I've known and lived next to him for about 10 years and have personally seen that it has never left the shelf in the garage. Forgive me, I'm new to this site, I found this specifically for the purpose of asking this question. I'm trying to pay my way through college, no way I can afford a rope. It's a dynamic rope.


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By Mark Pilate
Sep 27, 2013

Wakeboarder - Just to double check, how do you know its a dynamic rope? Like I said, I likely have same 600 ft spool of Bluewater rope for similar reasons. Mine was black 7/16" static line. I did a fair amount of military climbing but my dynamics were never off a spool.

If you've read the label, specs, etc and know 100% then OK. I don't mean to imply you're a dumbass, just that you said you are new to this site thus might be relatively new to climbing as well.


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By bearbreeder
Sep 27, 2013

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
haven't we seen and discussed this article before? It is 13 years old and maybe there is some new research out by now on the shelf life of ropes. I still believe the rope companies just want to cover their ass and sell more ropes. Believe a well stored rope has a very long rope life, much more than just 3-4 years.



if anything ropes are getting "better" all the time ... which is why all these skinny singles are so popular these days

as long the rope feels good, has no unusual wear/soft spots, and hasnt been exposed to chemicals or long term UV ... itll be fine for TRing

of course for leading usage leads to loss of elasticity which can pose other problems

heres an old accident report by the swedish climbing association



several possible causes
- the rope was inelastic ... due to age/use
- the rope wrapped around the belayers arm and gave a "static belay" ... i guess they mean - that there wasnt any real slippage through the device
- poor piece placement or walking

of course thats al theory and guessing

www.klatterforbundet.se/pdf/sakerhet/VantageReport20040530.p>>>


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By George Bracksieck
Sep 27, 2013

To protect their butts and sell more ropes, rope manufacturers spew short recommended life spans. Blue Water's recommended life span of 5 years for a dynamic and 10 years for a static is assuming "normal use," whatever that is. If you don't take big falls or lots of little falls on the same end of the rope or expose it to acid or organic solvents a rope could be safe to use for a lot longer. Storage in a cool, dark, dry, airtight place would be the best and could make a rope be useful for decades depending on how it is used while climbing. I quit using mine, or cut off the damaged section, when the core starts to show, or if there's a really flat spot. Your 7/16" rope should be a lot more durable than any of the skinny singles in use nowadays.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 27, 2013
At the BRC

757wakeboarder wrote:
I know all of the ropes history...I just gave it to you above. Like I said, the guy I got it from is one of my best friends. Spent 10 years in Special Forces and bought it for that but never used it. I've known and lived next to him for about 10 years and have personally seen that it has never left the shelf in the garage. Forgive me, I'm new to this site, I found this specifically for the purpose of asking this question. I'm trying to pay my way through college, no way I can afford a rope. It's a dynamic rope.


I wouldn't take any of these replies personally. Stick around a while and you'll see that everyone gets a hard time about everything.

The old rope question comes up often. Many of us old timers would be happy to use an old rope like yours (assuming no chemical damage) and many folks won't. There's no definitive answer.

I do agree with Mark P that the static/dynamic distinction is crucial. Dynamic rope on a spool is a little unusual but not unheard of. Personally I wouldn't want to use static even for toproping, much less leading.


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By Airwoolf
Sep 27, 2013

Thanks folks. I felt personally that I should replace the
Rope because it has been so long.
On the other hand my wife keeps giving me intimidating looks
Everytime a new package arrives in the mail.
Oh well.
A new rope it is.


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By Mark Pilate
Sep 27, 2013

I have found that wives are a greater risk to your personal well being than climbing on an old rope


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By 5.samadhi
Sep 27, 2013
me

Mark Pilate wrote:
Wakeboarder - Just to double check, how do you know its a dynamic rope? Like I said, I likely have same 600 ft spool of Bluewater rope for similar reasons. Mine was black 7/16" static line. I did a fair amount of military climbing but my dynamics were never off a spool. If you've read the label, specs, etc and know 100% then OK. I don't mean to imply you're a dumbass, just that you said you are new to this site thus might be relatively new to climbing as well.

have you ever held a dynamic rope? Have you ever held a static rope? Its not that hard to find out which it is!


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By 5.samadhi
Sep 27, 2013
me

Airwoolf wrote:
Thanks folks. I felt personally that I should replace the Rope because it has been so long. On the other hand my wife keeps giving me intimidating looks Everytime a new package arrives in the mail. Oh well. A new rope it is.

It will get less dynamic over time but it will not snap spontaneously because its 10 years old.


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By doak
From boulder, co
Sep 28, 2013
Drinking with Moses

I would use it for top roping and rapping, but not for leading.

Static lines still stretch a few percent, and the fall factors in top ropes are so *much* lower than they ever are in leading. A ropes course that I instructed for in grad school used static lines exclusively for the top ropes due to their ability to stand up to abuse.

Climbers (myself included) use 6mil and 7mil tag lines for rapping. Or, they take big whippers on skinny ropes after having taken a few whippers already. Or, gym ropes get the snot kicked out of them before they are retired. Compare that to the aged strength of a new 7/16 line, and it's still a huge margin of safety.

On top of all that, consider the POS ropes that the 80's lycra climbers used.


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By Mark Pilate
Sep 28, 2013

Sweet...send the spool to 5.Samadhi and he can confirm whether it's static or dynamic. The talented folks you meet on MP!


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By jt512
Administrator
Sep 28, 2013
Jay Tanzman redpointing Lethal Weapon. <br />Photo by Hillary Davis.

757wakeboarder wrote:
I'm looking for some advice about some climbing rope I was recently given. A close friend of mine that I have known for about 10 years and is my next door neighbor had a spool that had 600 feet of climbing rope on it.


What makes you think that a rope that comes in 600-foot spools is actually a climbing rope?


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By 5.samadhi
Sep 28, 2013
me

Mark Pilate wrote:
Sweet...send the spool to 5.Samadhi and he can confirm whether it's static or dynamic. The talented folks you meet on MP!

Wait what's your point?:)


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