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General => Climbing Gear Q & A => Topic started by: michael on August 07, 2011, 02:02:20 pm

Title: new old rope
Post by: michael on August 07, 2011, 02:02:20 pm
i have a brand new 10.2 maxim climbing rope   still coiled and wrapped in the original bag      has been stored in a cool closet    but it is 10 years old    what can i do with it     lead    top rope    or cut down trees with it    thanks for your help
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: sneoh on August 07, 2011, 06:51:36 pm
Assuming the cool closet does not have anything funky chemicals in it, I *think* it should be OK to use as a TR or even a lead rope in a gym (where fall factors are usually quite low).  But, as always, use your best judgement.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: bennybrew on August 07, 2011, 07:03:30 pm
email maxim and ask them.

and please post their reply here.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: DLottmann on August 07, 2011, 11:08:50 pm
...or even a lead rope in a gym (where fall factors are usually quite low)....

Iím sure this rope probably would be fine for what youíve suggested but I would disagree that gym lead falls are ďusually quite lowĒ fall factor-wise. While bolts are usually closely spaced in a gym, you usually only have 30-40 feet of rope out, which means higher fall factors for your average 5-10 foot sport falls.  Combined with Gri-Gris and static ground anchors, gym climbing is much harder on ropes that trad climbing...

If it was me a 10 year old rope would be TR only... and Iíll tell you right now Maxim will say retire it... every manufacturer I know says 7 years MAX... but as I said Iíd still TR on it...
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: sneoh on August 07, 2011, 11:57:31 pm
DMan, you are correct.  I was mistaken.  My friends and I all weigh about the same so we do not anchor in and our catches are usually quite soft in the gym.  But this is probably more the exception than the norm.  Thanks for setting me straight.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: strandman on August 08, 2011, 09:59:01 am
Well it is a Maxim.. ;)  A mammut i would trust for tr for sure.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: tradmanclimbz on August 09, 2011, 06:29:45 am
Stored properly it is perfectly fine. I bet we all have slings and slung cams that we use for lead climbing every day with slings more than 10years old that have been used most of that time instead of stored in a dry clean closet......
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 09, 2011, 09:16:31 am
In my position as the U.S. (American Alpine Club) delegate to the UIAA Safety Commission from 1978-1999, it was made quite clear that the nylons in ropes, slings and harnesses gradually age and deteriorate, even if correctly stored. UIAA tests were done by European labs for Pit Schubert, the German delegate, and eventual President of the Commission, on used and unused ropes which had been stored for different lengths of time. According to my memory, at the time (in the 90s), a 10 year old UNUSED rope which had been properly stored and never uncoiled, held a single UIAA fall in the test. Other ropes, even one which had been only slightly used and had never suffered a serious fall, after such long storage, did not hold even one UIAA fall in the test. MY CONCLUSION (I'm pretty careful about what ropes I'll climb on) after seeing the results of these tests, has been to respect the manufacturers' recommendations and retire ropes regularly after 3-5 years MAX. I also keep very accurate regular rope logs re: hours of exposure, numbers of falls (if any), and I regularly carefully examine my cords for any apparent damage. I definitely replace my slings at least every 3 years. Having said all that, I would probably personally use the "new" 10 year old rope for top-roping only. I would definitely cut it into a length suitable for top roping on some of our shorter crags ( 100+ feet for example) so that its use couldn't be mistaken. Call me TOO careful if you wish, but I'm still here after more than 4 decades of active climbing and hope to continue for at least a couple more ;).

On another note, if you are actively using slings and other nylon sewn gear which is over 10 years old, my recommendation would be to loosen the purse strings a bit and replace them! Compare the expense to the price of neuro-surgery today :P  Just my opinion, of course. Jeff Lea
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: sneoh on August 09, 2011, 04:45:06 pm
Thanks for your informative post, Jeff.
I, for one, do not think you are being TOO careful.  You should do what you feel is right.  

I replace my lead rope every 3 to 4 years and my slings (incl dogbones) about every 5 years.  Just got a bunch of new nylon ones for $4 each (cheap compared to a rope).
I am also very careful about biners (esp on fixed/perma draws) these days; much more so after the rope-slicing incident down at RRG.
This is one danger in sport climbing that would be rare in trad.  :):)
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: tradmanclimbz on August 09, 2011, 05:19:48 pm
I just pulled a 60ft tall  birch tree about 15in in  diamater up over a  steep bank with a rope i retired 8 years ago. the butt end of that log got hung up and jammed. I streatched that rope untill the thing was micro seconds away from breaking, pushed in the clutch and it bunjeed my F150 back up the driveway.  I have a hard time believeing  that rope would have failed in any normal climbing situation that did not involve a sharp edge that would have sliced a new  or old rope...
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: DLottmann on August 09, 2011, 10:20:32 pm
I just pulled a 60ft tall  birch tree about 15in in  diamater up over a  steep bank with a rope i retired 8 years ago. the butt end of that log got hung up and jammed. I streatched that rope untill the thing was micro seconds away from breaking, pushed in the clutch and it bunjeed my F150 back up the driveway.  I have a hard time believeing  that rope would have failed in any normal climbing situation that did not involve a sharp edge that would have sliced a new  or old rope...

I gotta agree... Iíve also seen tests on bleached white nylon slings holding over 1000lbs. I still back up anything questionable, but climbing gear has a ton of redundancy and over engineering built into it. The forces involved in top-roping are such a small fraction of what these ropes are designed to handle I canít see a problem.

That said, do what makes YOU feel safe. Iíve added binerís to rap stations because for some reason I was nervous about a link. I also replace slings on a 3-4 year schedule... same as lead ropes...
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 10, 2011, 12:55:10 am
I just pulled a 60ft tall  birch tree about 15in in  diamater up over a  steep bank with a rope i retired 8 years ago. the butt end of that log got hung up and jammed. I streatched that rope untill the thing was micro seconds away from breaking, pushed in the clutch and it bunjeed my F150 back up the driveway.  I have a hard time believeing  that rope would have failed in any normal climbing situation that did not involve a sharp edge that would have sliced a new  or old rope...

I've done the same thing pulling stumps with my F150 van-- I even broke the rope in the interior of the double bowline knot (no surprise that it broke at the knot)-- In your case, as in mine the force was applied slowly-- the dynamics of a lead fall are different; if I'm the leader, I don't want to find out at the end of my fall that I was wrong about the number of falls the rope would withstand! Therefore, knowing what the tests showed about old ropes 15 + years ago, I wouldn't lead on the 10 year old rope in question,  but I would happily top rope on it---just my opinion, but based on a different rope test than pulling logs or stumps-- in that sport, my ass isn't on the line!
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: strandman on August 10, 2011, 10:01:51 am
I pulled down a log entry arch to a ranch the other day with an old Beal 11mm that is close to 25 yearss old, worked good.

I agree with D though, now matter what, if you don't feel safe, toss it.

I use a 10 year old mammut for tr all the time, but it's in great shape with no dings and stored well.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: pitonpat on August 14, 2011, 03:19:07 pm
Okay.  Let's continue the post with RETIRED rope stories.........  I still regularly use my old Edelrid 11mm rope (purchased in the fall of 1970) for tree work.  By the way Tradman- lots of laps at Deer Leap on this rope!   I have often tied it high in a tree which leaned away from the direction in which I wanted it to fall, re-directed the rope around another tree trunk base, and stretched it like a banjo string using my F250 pickup.  No damage to sheath or core.  I can't imagine coming close to that kind of stretch in a normal climbing situation.   I also use my old Goldline 7/16" laid (twisted) rope for stump pulling- again, no damage- although the knots are a bitch to undo afterwards!

I realize the scientific minded among you will inform us about the difference between climbing & work situations, but, I find it amazing that the rope(s) still hold up to this abuse after so long-  the Goldline is from the mid-60's by the way, and the Edelrid rope was well used prior to retirement. 
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: tradmanclimbz on August 14, 2011, 05:54:43 pm
My thoughts are that if you generate enough impact to  break an old rope that has no visible coreshots or dead spots then you most likly will have some consequences to deal with that a new rope may not be able to deal with any better than the old rope.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 15, 2011, 01:12:44 pm
Ropes BREAK during the UIAA tests after absorbing a certain # of EXTREME falls on the same segment over an edge at very close to the same spot on the rope; the failure is usually at the knot.  In ALL climbing rope failures (except some where acid or other chemical contamination was involved) which came to our attention during my 22 year tenure on the UIAA  Safety Commission, the ropes had not BROKEN, but had been CUT-- an important distinction. However, due to the testing on old ropes to which I referred earlier in this thread, I still retire mine to other than lead rope service after a maximum of 5 years use.

It is interesting to see the rope damage suffered in the 100' fall off of the Prow last week, reported elsewhere in this forum. The climber, Hans Bauer, is alive because the rope did not BREAK. I have spoken to a member of the rescue team about that rope and he said the sheath was completely missing from the core strands over about 3 feet of distance and that a number of strands of the core were damaged/severed.

Modern climbing ropes are good and we all know that their WORKING life is much longer than their CLIMBING life; I just want us to be careful not to imply that since 20+ year old ropes still work fine for getting trees to fall where we want them to, they must be still good for climbing-- newbies and young climbers as CHEAP as I once was also frequent this site  :P 8)
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: sneoh on August 15, 2011, 02:03:53 pm
Ropes BREAK during the UIAA tests after absorbing a certain # of EXTREME falls on the same segment over an edge at very close to the same spot on the rope; the failure is usually at the knot.
Wow, I did not know the failure is usually at the knot.  I would have thought the rope would usually be cut where it contacts the edge.  And if I remember right, the edge is fairly sharp, .i.e., small radius of curvature.  Jeff, do you happen to remember how sharp of an edge is used in the UIAA 80kg drop test for single rope?

Cutting a rope is scray; new (Sterling) rope was cut by a sharp biner in a 0.5 FF or a little hgher fall last year.  Climber survived because he was fairly low to the ground still.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 15, 2011, 02:59:10 pm
Yes Sneoh, the UIAA standard edge had an 11 mm radius when I was on the Commission and this edge was also adopted by the CE when the CE adopted the UIAA tests as the standard for PPE ("Personal Protection Equipment for falls from heights" for climbing gear). That was the standard radius in the UIAA Carabiner Standard of the day (I last served on the Commission in 1999-- however I don't believe these figures have changed).

It is true that some ropes failed at the edge during the tests; however the vast majority of ropes which passed the test eventually failed at the knot when tested to failure.

BTW sneoh, the edge is the same, whether testing single ropes with an 80 kg mass or half ropes (AKA double ropes) with a 50 kg mass; "twin ropes" which are meant to always be used and clipped together are tested with an 80kg mass, but together, again over the same edge in the test tower orifice!

A lot of testing was done to try and develop a "sharp edge" test over a sharper radius, but to date the testing difficulties have precluded adding such a test to the standard. These difficulties arise especially since rock edges can resemble a serrated knife blade, and a test edge must have a verifiable polished radius to guarantee consistent and comparable results; it proved easy to define an edge over which no rope would withstand even one drop, but extremely difficult to develop one over which the best ropes would withstand more than one test fall, while the "less good" ropes would fail, in some kind of repeatable and predictable pattern, which is the desired result of product testing.

Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: sneoh on August 15, 2011, 05:30:24 pm
Yes Sneoh, the UIAA standard edge had an 11 mm radius when I was on the Commission and this edge was also adopted by the CE when the CE adopted the UIAA tests as the standard for PPE ("Personal Protection Equipment for falls from heights" for climbing gear). That was the standard radius in the UIAA Carabiner Standard of the day (I last served on the Commission in 1999-- however I don't believe these figures have changed).

A lot of testing was done to try and develop a "sharp edge" test over a sharper radius, but to date the testing difficulties have precluded adding such a test to the standard. These difficulties arise especially since rock edges can resemble a serrated knife blade, and a test edge must have a verifiable polished radius to guarantee consistent and comparable results; it proved easy to define an edge over which no rope would withstand even one drop, but extremely difficult to develop one over which the best ropes would withstand more than one test fall, while the "less good" ropes would fail, in some kind of repeatable and predictable pattern, which is the desired result of product testing.

Thanks Jeff for aall this info.
I think, for the 80kg drop test, the radius might have been reduced to 5mm, http://www.theuiaa.org/upload_area/pictorial_files/UIAA101-Dynamic-Mountaineering-Ropes_1.jpg

This seems to make sense since I was playing around with some rather ridiculously light and small biners my friend had yesterday (decided they are not my cup of tea).

I read elsewhere that the UIAA "sharp edge" test is still in development, with argument, as you said, over the size of the 'edge' - 0.75mm, 0.50, even 0.25!!
All pretty interesting stuff to me.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: tradmanclimbz on August 15, 2011, 05:31:12 pm
The fatal fall from cut rope in seneca a few years ago was also a new rope. What jeff is trying to say about the sharp edge test is that they could not find any ropes that did not cut over a sharp edge and would have had to use a dull edge to do any kind of repetable  test. Run your rope over a sharp edge and you are going to DIE.  

 I have broken  shit ton of rope. While the scientific value of my tests is zero due to not haveing a lab and all kinds of geek shit to regulate and measure with  the real life common sense value of my tests is significant. I have done a boatload of shock load tests where I tie the rope to a BAT (Big Assed Tree) coil 20ft of rope loosely on the  ground, slip a loop over the ball hitch and mosh the hell out of that 300 straight six.   The rope Always breaks at the knott or a sharp edge. The booty Biners Never break and the rope you were too chicken to climb on is almost always totally bombproof..   Unless you have some kind of chemicle contamination the signs of potentual failure will be obvious.
 Any kind of core shot will  fail fairly easily popping away from that spot and slideing up the rope in both directions away from the  break very rapidly leaveing a huge section of core exposed. It is amazeing how strong even one strand of the core is. Enough to hold the weight of the truck on an incline.
 Last year I retired a 2yr old beal 10.2mm because it had a section that felt mushy to me. I posted some shots of that section of rope somewheres.  I did some logging with that rope last summer and broke that section of rope effortlessly.  Other sections of the same rope are pleanty strong and have pulled many big logs.
 I do have a very good feel for how much throttle it takes to break climbing rope. You can realy feel the truck work.  That suspect section broke like butter. almost no resistance.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: sneoh on August 15, 2011, 05:36:00 pm
Last year I retired a 2yr old beal 10.2mm because it had a section that felt mushy to me. I posted some shots of that section of rope somewheres.  I did some logging with that rope last summer and broke that section of rope effortlessly.  I do wish I had had a way to measure that one. I resistance. Other sections of the same rope are pleanty strong and have pulled many big logs.
Holy crap.  I too have a 10.2 Beal Edlinger II.  It is 4+ years old so I have mostly retired it to TR only.  Both ends have developed mushy sections.  I think I am going to cut the mushy sections off.  Time to go full time on my new 70m 9.9mm! :)
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: tradmanclimbz on August 15, 2011, 05:53:38 pm
Do the bend test. The section with the sharp bend felt soft and mushy to me. the rope should maintain a natural curve when you bend it. ocasionaly you should feel your entire rope bending it as you go. flat spots and mushy spots and places where the rope does not hold its curve when bending are the end of a rope for me.

This rope I retired instantly when I found this dead spot. I would climb on a 10 year old rope that looked and feel good as long as I know it has not had  contact with bad chemicles.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: tradmanclimbz on August 15, 2011, 07:26:47 pm
Additionaly. that suspect section of rope broke in the middle of the  line between the log and the truck. Not at a knott or sharp edge.  That is super rare and only seems to happen to rope that has been seriously abused and has damaged sections outside of the knots.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: sneoh on August 15, 2011, 08:36:28 pm
Thank you very much, Nick.  I will do the bend test on the Beal 10.2 before I go climbing with it again.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 16, 2011, 09:55:34 am

Thanks Jeff for aall this info.
I think, for the 80kg drop test, the radius might have been reduced to 5mm, http://www.theuiaa.org/upload_area/pictorial_files/UIAA101-Dynamic-Mountaineering-Ropes_1.jpg

This seems to make sense since I was playing around with some rather ridiculously light and small biners my friend had yesterday (decided they are not my cup of tea).

I read elsewhere that the UIAA "sharp edge" test is still in development, with argument, as you said, over the size of the 'edge' - 0.75mm, 0.50, even 0.25!!
All pretty interesting stuff to me.

Sneoh, of course you're right about the radius! It hasn't been changed-- I just misspoke from memory-- the edge was designed to represent a carabiner and the standard bar stock for carabiners was 10mm DIAMETER so the radius of the test edge was set at 5 mm. Now that lots of different shaped biners have been developed, with sections cut out to reduce mass in unnecessary areas, forged H shaped bars, etc, you'll note that they still take care to keep the rope bearing surface @ a 5 mm radius.

As for the "sharp edge" test still being in development, what you read about those tiny edges being discussed I remember well. The hunt will continue, but the properties of the yarns used in ropes, and the other parameters of weight, hand, knotability, etc. place such limitations on the development of a rope which won't cut, that I don't believe we'll see one while I'm still climbing.

 Perhaps you remember the short lived ad which appeared in all the climbing mags of the day back in the late 80s I believe. Edelweiss had a rope which they were touting as having passed an in house "sharp edge" test over a narrower radius than the UIAA standard-- unfortunately for them, an eager advertising department had produced a photo of the rope passing over a sharply acute angled and toothy granite edge which looked like a serrated knife: exactly what no climber would ever allow to happen to his/her rope if he/she could in any way avoid it. At our Commission meeting in Chamonix that year, the other rope manufacturers brought copies of the ad in question and asked that it be withdrawn as false advertising. Otherwise they offered to pay to have the test done as pictured. The penalties attached to European and British truth in advertising laws were  (undoubtedly still are) severe enough that apologies were offered, a zealous PR guy ignorant of real life climbing was blamed, and the ad was withdrawn immediately-- it did not appear in the mags even the next month.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 16, 2011, 10:07:44 am
Re: Nick's "bend test"-- I totally agree! I retired an 8.8mm half rope this summer which I have used on ice and rock for about 30 days over 3 years because I found a "mushy" spot as Nick describes at about the 80 foot mark; I don't know if it was damaged while rappelling over an edge (no sheath damage visible) was kicked too hard while ice climbing, or had something fall on it. I was running it through my hands to check it and felt the soft spot-- I did the bend test which Nick pictured in his photo, saw the same configuration and took it out of service. I then checked its  8.8mm partner and found it to have no "worry" areas, so I'll continue to use it as a 2nd rope when I want a rap line, but am climbing on a single rope.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: strandman on August 16, 2011, 10:19:02 am
Beal's still get mushy spots ??? They did years ago as well and fluffed up nice as well. 

As for edge cutting- at least we don't still have those terrible Stratos ropes anymore.
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 16, 2011, 04:13:48 pm
Ah yes, the Stratos-- that was the rope in the misleading sharp edge test ad! :P
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: tradmanclimbz on August 16, 2011, 05:11:51 pm
Metelious marketed a super safe rope about 10years ago? supposed to be cut resistant but they seem to have backed off on that?
Title: Re: new old rope
Post by: Jeff on August 16, 2011, 08:53:36 pm
I'm quite sure Metolious has never manufactured ropes-- I don't know which manufacturer was making them for them-- for a long while Black Diamond ropes were made by Beal, but I don't know who makes them at the moment. Cut resistant is the toughest parameter to achieve, esp. with the current tendency to move to thinner, lighter ropes-- less mass in the rope makes it easier to cut through, as one would expect. You must decide which trade off you are willing to accept, and place your protection accordingly. Avoiding sharp edges and flakes is key!