Tow Rope as Anchor Material?


Original Post
Joseph Epley · · Keego Harbor, MI · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

This will probably read as me being cheap and trying to get out of buying more webbing (and that's probably true), but I was wondering about using this tow rope I found in my trunk (unused) for an anchor off a tree that's a little ways away from the edge. It's rated for 4500 lbf, which is about what tubular webbing is rated for. But it's not SPECIFICALLY made for climbing. What do you think? Still kosher? Btw, I'm posting in this forum because I'm asking this as an inexperienced climber (inexperienced in outdoor climbing in particular).

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 204

it's ok

Connor McCarthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Buy a static rope and have it for years. I wouldn't trust knots in this -- these sort of ropes tend to be slick.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

Are you too cheap to buy webbing or cord? How old is the rope? Are you sure it hasn't been exposed to any chemicals in the trunk or elsewhere?

Edit: It was made in China.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,500

Nope. Anchor material is cheap. 

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 204

It's freaking 16mm that stuff is not going anywhere. Safer than 1" tubular running over some edge.

Matt Zia · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 66

There's a reason people stopped using Goldline rope in about 1970. Tow ropes are essentially the same construction, just a nylon core with no sheath. Nothing about using it as a climbing anchor is a good idea.

1" tubular webbing is $0.45 per foot at REI. You probably need about 50' of it to set up your anchors. 50' x $0.45/foot = $22.50.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

1. Why did people stop using Goldline?  Do you know?

2. Isn't tubular webbing "just a nylon core with no sheath?"

If the rope is really as advertised, then it would be fine, although the extremely loose and open weave suggests that it will deteriorate in a hurry, and you have no idea how long that will take.  But much worse is, in the absence of any kind of certification, (or long usage history like 1" tubular webbing) that you have no idea what you've got.

So the answer is that theoretically it might be good for a few uses, but practically you should use something known to  be more reliable.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136

You will probably be fine but you'd be much better off with some static cord or webbing, either of which are fine, although people will endlessly debate their personal preference. If you've got the money to spare, get some static cord or webbing. If you can't afford it right this second, use the tow rope for now but start saving up for some webbing or static cord.

Matt Zia · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 66

re: rgold - I was under the impression that people stopped using Goldline because it was heavy, stiff, and tried to untwist itself any chance it could, all issues that the introduction of kernmantle ropes addressed. Isn't a braided truck rope not entirely dissimilar from that, maybe minus the twisting factor? If I'm incorrect with that history, I'd love to hear a better account, though that's perhaps a rabbit hole for a different forum or a PM.

For top-accessed TR anchors off natural features, what's the argument for not using 1" webbing, besides the personal preference of a static rope? Webbing won't roll on an edge, is easy to knot, and is inexpensive. What obvious thing is my 2am brain missing?

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100

Goldline was a laid rope, the rope pictured in the OP is a braided rope and a loosely braided one at that as rgold points out. 

There really isn't a comparison between milspec webbing to either the sheath or core of a kermantle rope.

[ USUAL WARNING: Beginning and intermediate climbers shouldn't try to 'reinvent' climbing or attempt to use novel materials in lieu of those considered 'standard'  in climbing. ]

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 1,875

I would rather use a piece of old 7/16" Goldline (that sh:t was indestructible) for a TR anchor than a piece of (newer) Made-in-China, tow rope out of a car trunk.  But I'm with rgold; it would probably do the job.  Just make sure everything is redundant JUST IN CASE one strand/knot lets go.

Joseph Epley · · Keego Harbor, MI · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

Wow! Thanks for all the feedback!

I definitely don't plan on making this my go to equipment. I just bought a bunch of other equipment and wanted to get out there before I had to spend ANOTHER $20 on misc webbing and such. If weather doesn't permit me to go out there in the next couple weeks, then I'll just make another trip out to REI.

Blakevan · · Dallas, TX · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 0

Let's see - I can trust my life to material that has been tested and certified by outside Standards Bodies or I can go with strangers opinion from the inter-webs.  

Inter-webs for the win Alex.

No offense to Rgold or others that have a crap ton of knowledge and are great resources.  Just in general I don't trust a stranger with access to a keyboard.  :) 

Dave Kos · · Temecula, CA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 50

One of the best reasons to avoid using unconventional gear or techniques for anchors is that you won't have to argue with people about whether your unconventional gear or technique is safe.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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