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Rope not allowed in carry on luggage?
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By Shawn C
From San Francisco, CA
Jan 17, 2013
Summit of Weavers Needle in the Superstition Mountains, AZ

I just arrived in Santiago today after flying from the States. My flight consisted of three legs, all three of which required (for a variety of reasons) to go through security. My carry on bags were fine and otherwise ignored by two of the airports, but in Hermosillo, Mexico the security agent pulled my bag aside, opened it up and told me I was not allowed to take my climbing rope inside carry on bags. He didn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish and we had a difficult time just ironing it out (at first I thought they were going to confiscate my brand new 60m dry rope - talk about an international incident). Ultimately, they let me run the bag over to the ticket counter and just check it for that leg of the journey to Mexico City. In Mexico City they didn't care and I took the bag on the plane with the rope inside and without any furhter problems.

Any ideas why they wouldn't want rope to be taken as carry on? Maybe if I spoke Spanish I could explain it was simply for climbing and not tying up people or anything weird.


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By DrunkenHaymitch
From Madison, WI
Jan 17, 2013

because you were planning to break in that new line by tying up the pilots and crew and hijacking the plane of course.


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By James Crump
Jan 17, 2013

I was flying to Austin from El Paso after climbing the PO wall with Mike Head in '81... Had a lot of gear, maxed my checked baggage,, and still had like 80 biners to get home...

I had them, including my pin rack, in my backpack carry on all clipped in a double biner chain 40 biners long... They said i could not check it because it was a chain, but if I unclipped them into single biner "strands" of no more than 5... I could take them.

They were surprised at how fast I unclipped them...


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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 17, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Back in the mid 90's, I hauled a propane stove and fuel in my carry on via SW or ATA to Vegas, and back. No problems back in the day.


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By Andrew Mayer
Jan 18, 2013
top of mt. lady washington - rmnp

I've never been bothered flying domestically carrying on a rope.


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By jeremy ward
From las vegas, nevada
Jan 18, 2013
me on the gt ledge

I was flying back to the states from Sydney and I wasn't allowed to carry on my rope. When I explained it was a climbing rope and questioned why, they said because I could tie everyone up in the plane and hold them hostage. True story


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By T Howes
From Bozeman, MT
Jan 18, 2013

It wasn't allowed because that particular security guy didn't allow it. I think it's mostly luck of the draw when going through airport security. No shit, they took a couple origami flowers from me when I flew a few weeks ago.


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By Devin Fin
From DURANGO
Jan 18, 2013
dream canyon fun!

i flew from Durango to Denver with a full rack nuts hex's cams all the way up to blue big bro bolt kit hand drill bits nut tool all on my carry on .. no problem with drill bits #6 camlot but my wall hammer they jacked me for ... sucked got up to MT evens an had to use a 16 oz framing hammer for my project.. lots of extra swingeing.. dam T.S.A


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By Graham Johnson
Jan 18, 2013

I had a rope pulled out of my carry-on many years ago (pre 9-11) and the reason being was that I could "rappel out of the plane" or "strangle the pilot" with it. There was no use arguing with that logic, but they let me check it.


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By Tim McCabe
Jan 18, 2013

In 86 I flew from Sioux Falls to Denver round trip carrying an 8 inch hunting knife.

Last year I flew home and my mom tried to give me a meat thermometer to take home, all I had was one small carry on. Sounded like a good way to get arrested to me.

I hate flying anymore, the security personnel act all important but strike me as a bunch of clueless twits.


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By Mike Belu
From Indianapolis, IN
Jan 18, 2013
Summit of Rainier.

Next time that happens in Mexico, fold $20 into a small square and give him the "Mexican handshake". You'll be allowed to take the rope on. There is a possible downside--if he happens to be one of the five honest enforcement officers in Mexico, you might end up being a gringo sex slave in a Mexican prison.


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By Dave Meyers
From Golden, CO
Jan 18, 2013

I just got back from Thailand, and traveled with nothing but carry-on. (draws, rope, harness, etc.). We had many lay-overs out there and back (Hong Kong, Bejing, Bangkok, Karabi, LA, Chicago) with no problems. Went to the Dolomites in N.Italy a couple of years back with same set up and again with no problems. I have heard of a few issues from fiends and other posts though; I think it may depend on who your security person is.


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By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Jan 18, 2013
Courtright Reservoir, September 2013

Tim McCabe wrote:
I hate flying anymore, the security personnel act all important but strike me as a bunch of clueless twits.


Yup. Lots of American terrorists out there flying from LAX to Oklahoma City and the like.


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By Fleetwood Matt
Jan 18, 2013
Jonah spraying about a sick on-sight

Oh man. You should have seen it when my climbing partner tried to take a whole rack of pins, replete with wall hammer, carry-on through airport security in Islamabad. We were just trying to get the hell outta Pakistan. Plane was scheduled to leave a half an hour ago. Said climbing partner Clint tries to use his limited Urdu language skills and lots of non-verbals tricks, like pointing frantically and hard-seam-nailing-charades, to convince a Pakistani military officer that an 'Angreshi' like himself should immediately be let onto the plane. Pakistani miltary officer is unimpressed, as is his machine gun. I make it through the checkpoint and look back to see Clint convulsing up and down pleading, looking like one of those weird wind-up monkeys banging cymbals together.

Clint at Islamabad security
Clint at Islamabad security

For a desperate minute or two, I thought for sure Clint was going to be pulled into the unremarkable door off to the side. Would I, or anyone, ever see him again? Shit! They would probably grab my Angreshi ass too! I thought for a split second that maybe I should quietly make my way toward the boarding gate alone. Then somehow, they decide to let Clint make the plane journey too, albeit clean aid style (hammerless). No less than a small miracle occurred as, when we settle into our seats on the Boeing, a gate agent runs on board and hands Clint a baggage claim. That little paper ticket will go on to represent his pin rack safely arriving home.
Remarkable. Perhaps all of the paranoia, fear, and, loathing in the security line was partly due to the previous night's Red Bull-vodkas and swimming pool antics at the late night rave in the French Embassy...


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By RockinOut
From NY, NY
Jan 18, 2013
Gear

Right after 9/11 I had checked my climbing gear and carried on my pack with clothes and some biners. When I landed and got my bag I opened it to check to make sure it was all there. Just inside the bag on top of everything was a TSA card to let me know they opened and searched my bag. There was a check list on the card with a bunch of prohibited items to check and then of course on the bottom was the infamous "other" with a place to write in whatever you wanted. Written after the "other" check was Parachute Paraphernalia. I guess they were worried about me high jacking the plane going below to find my bag and pulling out a parachute then jumping....


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jan 18, 2013
Stoked...

RockinOut wrote:
Right after 9/11 I had checked my climbing gear and carried on my pack with clothes and some biners. When I landed and got my bag I opened it to check to make sure it was all there. Just inside the bag on top of everything was a TSA card to let me know they opened and searched my bag. There was a check list on the card with a bunch of prohibited items to check and then of course on the bottom was the infamous "other" with a place to write in whatever you wanted. Written after the "other" check was Parachute Paraphernalia. I guess they were worried about me high jacking the plane going below to find my bag and pulling out a parachute then jumping....


I got one of those cards once... luckily they never found Molly hiding in the tent pocket. I usually carry my rack but not my rope on the plane.


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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Jan 18, 2013
South of Windy Peak

After several days on the Grand Teton, I was at the security checkpoint at the Jackson Hole Airport. Sure enough, my rope showed up on the X-ray of my carry-on baggage and it was pulled out by the TSA man. He told me that I was not allowed to carry my rope on the plane and that I needed to put it in checked baggage. He said that rope could be used "to tie up A LOT of people". I said "how am I going to convince people to let me tie them up?" There was a pause, and he basically told me tough shit, check the rope.


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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Jan 18, 2013
Axes glistening in the sun

Pre 9/11 I was flying from my home in NYC to the tetons. Had most of my climbing hear as carry on. Going through security the woman asks me why I have handcuffs in my bag. I gave a perplexed look and said "handcuffs??" oh no that's my climbing gear.

She had me dump my stuff out so she could go through it. In the process she asked me for my number. I told her I had a girlfriend. She said she didn't care!!! She asked me if my gf was white. I said yes again perplexed. She said well here's my number if you're interested, and "You know what they say? I said What? The darker the berry the sweeter the cherry!" My buddies were rolling. Funny, and flattering but we almost missed our damn flight!


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By Gunkswest
Jan 28, 2013

In 1983, while flying to Colombia to climb in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, we tried to carry-on ropes at LAX and were shut down by security. We were told even back then that the ropes could be used to tie up the crew and hijack the plane...

Working up the security supervisory chain didn't change the situation. Ended up having to frantically buy a box and check it (for a hefty extra bag fee) to make the flight. The good news is that we got to use the ropes on some great new routes!


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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 16, 2014

bumping this to say I'm on my way to potrero and really considering checking my rope.

also another stupid travel question:

anyone put their packs inside of a duffel when they check them so that nothing gets too fucked up? Had a friend give me that bit of advice after his strap was torn off of his 50liter


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Mar 16, 2014
At the matching crux

I always put my pack inside a duffel bag if I have to check. I always take my ropes carry on. I fly 5-6 times a year, sometimes more, and ALWAYS carry my rack, rope, harness, and 1 pair of shoes in my carry on bag (CCW Chernobyl 40L). I put my little knife and my nut tool in the checked bag though.


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By jonathan.lipkin
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 17, 2014

I hope they don't lose both of our bags, rob, or else we are going to be free soloing.


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By Ian Hanson
Mar 18, 2014
Cold day in Rjukan, Norway

I fly back and forth to europe all the time with ropes in my carry on. I have gotten a few weird looks in Paris a few times, but it has always worked itself out.


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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 18, 2014

Carried on my rope and sport rack (Potrero!). I caught a TSA guy clearly at the end of his shift, pulled my bag to search, asked what it was, then didn't bother unpacking it.


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By Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Mar 18, 2014
Stairway to Heaven

Rob Davis wrote:
anyone put their packs inside of a duffel when they check them so that nothing gets too fucked up? Had a friend give me that bit of advice after his strap was torn off of his 50liter


Another reason to put your pack in an innocuous-looking duffel is to avoid hassles from airline agents who single out climbers and backpackers for extra scrutiny. Air Canada used to be especially zealous about confiscating MSR fuel bottles - even if empty and washed with detergent (they may have changed their policy). Another time a customs agent in Calgary thought my ice-axe (in my checked bag) was a dangerous weapon that required special import clearance.


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