Mountain Project Logo

Sterling Marathon 10.1mm rope going spongy


Original Post
Nick Black · · Arcata, CA · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 220

I have a sterling marathon 10.1, used about 10 times, maybe one lead fall, but mostly TR. It is already getting really "spongy", meaning knots really get welded tight if weighted, anywhere along the length not just the end, and gets a bit flat when lowered through a grigri. I had a sterling velocity 9.8 before this and it took 3yrs of use before it got this soft! Anyone else have this experience with the marathon?

Paul Deger · · Colorado · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 35

I have a 11.2 marathon mega nd my buddy has a 9.8 velocity and I notice the mega is more supple and soft.

Brocky · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Hi Nick, sounds like there may be too much cover, you might try lightly milking it the entire length. Make sure the end you milk to has the cut off, if it's melted, to allow the core and cover to equalize.  Let it set for a while after milking in case you did it too hard, the cover may retract a little.  Cut off the extra and reseal.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

Generally I like to bend the rope over and see how it loops when it is new. Than I inspect it from time to time bending it over to see how small the loop is becoming. Once it gets to flat it is time to replace it.

Possible if it is really getting flat that fast you may want to talk to sterling about it and make sure there wasn't a recall on that rope due to some reason.

Jim Ewing · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 0

Hi Nick, Can you post a photo of the rope?
Also, can you estimate the number of top rope cycles that occurred in the 10 times of use?

Thanks!
Jim from Sterling Rope 

Matt Pierce · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2010 · Points: 289

Weird - I have 3 Sterling ropes currently and my Marathon Pro 10.1 has been a workhorse for probably 5 years now and I still don't have the issues you describe...

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

It's gotta be some bad reaction in the sheath from all those patchouli and hash oil soddened hands groping the rope at Karen Rock. 

Nick Black · · Arcata, CA · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 220

Jim, it's probably gotten about 5-10 pitches (climbs+lowers) per session. I will try and get a picture up this evening, It also has seemed to get dirty very quickly just from lowering, not the usual accumulation over time.

Nick Black · · Arcata, CA · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 220

Here are the pics, it looks pretty normal, the weird feel only starts to show up visibly under load, eg welded knots just after lowering w/o any falls, distinctly oval/rectangular after lowering thru a grigri, and over all a limp, uninspiring feel after a climbing day. I've had other sterlings, mammuts, blue waters, and maxims in the past, and none of them got so worryingly soft after so little use.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

Does seem a little soft for a rope that has not been climbed on that much. Question is though is that how it was when you got it or was it stiffer when you first bought it?

Nick Black · · Arcata, CA · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 220

It was definitely quite a bit stiffer at first.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

Why is the rope all discolored? How have you been storing it and what has it come in contact with. Is it just dirty and needs to be washed or is the color coming from something other than dirt?

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100

Ummm the discoloration is prob from lowering from aluminum biners.   Do you know how old the rope is ?  

Two to four years used monthly is the recommended retirement for a Sterling rope.  Sooner if used more often 

Sterling Rope fibers break down at ten years.  

You can donate your rope to an equestrian center.  They love to get ropes for leashes and the like

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

Maybe just get in touch with Sterling would be best. 

Nick Black · · Arcata, CA · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 220

Viperscale- the 'discoloration' is dirt, as I mention it seem to get dirty unusually quickly while lowering. Washed it once, dirt was back after one day at the crag. used a rope tarp.

A final update. Been in contact with Jim from sterling, he recommended milking(my word, not his) the extra sheath off as per Brocky's post. Did this, got about 20in of extra sheath of each end, close to 4ft total. Still feels soft, with all the same issues as before. Jim kindly gave me a 40% off coupon for their website to replace the rope, due to the very short life span and disappointing quality of this rope. My opinion of the problem is that something went wrong with the production of my rope, I generally get a good 2-3yrs of weekend use out of my cragging ropes. Not sure what the rest of the spool is like, but I am going to retire this as a dud. I know sterling ropes are generally quite soft and stretchy, the low impact force is why I buy them, but in my opinion this one is unacceptable soft for a lightly used rope. The pictures below are the excess sheath, and a figure 8 on a bite that I tightened by hand, and where the bite was clipped to a quick draw. You can draw your own conclusions from this, I always like to know how and why peeps gear is suspect, and the lines they draw for personal safety. I am going to go with a different rope company,  I know that some love sterling ropes, so if anyone want to purchase the coupon off me, PM me and we can work something out, otherwise it's going unused... but I guess if you read this forum you might not want it ;)

tape marks the end of the core

figure 8 on a bite tightened by hand

where the bite was clip to a draw during tightening.

Brocky · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Wow, that's a lot of excess cover!  Definitely something more wrong with that rope, judging by your other pictures, and the same problems after milking.

Sterling recently began making arborists ropes and there have been less than glowing reviews.

Matt Pierce · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2010 · Points: 289

Unacceptable! A 40% off coupon? Should have replaced the entire rope IMHO. I have a new 80m Sterling for the creek - hope it doesnt go to shit. My other 2 Sterling ropes have been great...Thanks for all the posts on this.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "Sterling Marathon 10.1mm rope going spongy"
in the Climbing Gear Discussion

Log In to Reply