5 tips to make your climbing or mountaineering rope last

Did you spend all summer climbing and now your rope needs a little TLC? 

5 tips to make your climbing or mountaineering rope last

Thibault, rope engineer, and Camille Marot, SIMOND team athlete and trainer of the French National Mountaineering Excellence Team, share their top tips on how to prolong the life of your rope. Let's go!

Check the ends 

Start by checking the ends of your rope. If they look like little cauliflowers, with the core exposed and the sheath all damaged, they need cutting and joining back together. In the workshop, Thibault has a special hot knife that cuts and seals at the same time. At home, you can use scissors or a knife, then carefully heat the end with a lighter to melt the core and sheath of your rope back together.

5 tips to make your climbing or mountaineering rope last
5 tips to make your climbing or mountaineering rope last

Check for damage

Then, go over the rest of the rope. Simply hold it between your index finger and thumb and run it through your hand. Your fingers will be able to detect any defects in your rope. If the rope is damaged near the end, you can cut it to remove the damaged section. Then hold a lighter to the cut end to melt the core and the sheath back together. If your rope is too damaged and you can no longer climb with it, see if you can recycle it!  

Important: if you have made your rope shorter, don't forget to measure it and write down its new length somewhere so that you can choose your routes accordingly! Also remember to mark the new middle point of the rope, so that it is not misleading when belaying.

Wash it 

A rope used intensively collects dust and dirt without you necessarily being able to see it. Now is the time to get rid of it to avoid damaging your rope or making it stiff. There are two ways of doing this:

Dry it

Once you have washed your rope using either of our techniques, you will now need to let it dry.  Drying should always be done away from direct sunlight or other heat sources. To encourage air to flow through the rope and to take up less space, you can daisy chain your rope. This allows it to dry evenly. And daisy chains are very easy to undo once the rope has dried. 

5 tips to make your climbing or mountaineering rope last
5 tips to make your climbing or mountaineering rope last

Store it correctly

Once your rope is dry, consider storing it in a rope bag to keep it clean for longer.
If you want to store it until next season, keep it in a cool, dry place at no more than 25°C and out of direct sunlight.
Importantly, avoid keeping it in the boot of your car as much as possible in both summer and winter, because extreme temperatures can damage it.

Those were our top tips on how to maintain your rope and keep it in tip-top condition before you go climbing again! If you have any other tips to share with us, let us know in the comments.