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Seven-year-old Sterling rope (never used) - okay to climb on?


Original Post
Shannon Osaka · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Safety question here.  I have a 9.8 mm Sterling Bi Velocity rope (70 m) which I received as a gift in January of 2011. Shortly after I got the rope, I developed a serious chronic pain condition that prevented me from rock climbing for the next six and a half years :'( .  After all that time I have finally made dramatic improvements and am starting to climb easy routes again.  For the past seven years the rope has been stored in a closet in my parent's house - it wasn't perfectly coiled (I would say half-coiled half messy heap), but was not exposed to any dramatic temperatures or anything else.  

I flaked it and it looks fine.  I've heard that the "low use" lifetime of a rope is around 10 years - should my rope be safe to climb on over the next year?  Anything in particular I should do besides a standard inspection while flaking it?  It's possible I used it one or two times before my chronic pain, but it's been so long that I don't  remember.

Mark Paulson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 95

Absolutely 100% fine.

apoet · · AZ · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 191

It's fine. 

ericontherocks · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 45

Sterling thinks you'll be okay too.  Up to 10 year lifespan if rarely used  

https://sterlingrope.com/journal/136-four-simple-rope-care-techniques

Tim Meehan · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 285
Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

No "yer gonna die!" Yet? Well then.... Yer gonna die!!

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 122

Does anyone know why companies even give these age-based requirement criteria? I don't know of any evidence of the common rope fibers degrading in reasonable storage over human lifetimes, and most forms of damage seem to be detectable via inspection. If you want to read something really dry, you can check out Fiber Rope Inspection and Retirement Criteria which talks about this in painful detail. There may be something I don't know, but it seems like educating on how to perform regular inspections would be more accurate and keep customers safer.

Maybe it's just to sell more ropes?

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
David Kerkeslager wrote:

Does anyone know why companies even give these age-based requirement criteria? I don't know of any evidence of the common rope fibers degrading in reasonable storage over human lifetimes, and most forms of damage seem to be detectable via inspection. If you want to read something really dry, you can check out Fiber Rope Inspection and Retirement Criteria which talks about this in painful detail. There may be something I don't know, but it seems like educating on how to perform regular inspections would be more accurate and keep customers safer.

Maybe it's just to sell more ropes?

It´s a requirement of the certification legislation to give an expected lifespan and climbing gear being what it is effectively we just pick a number from a hat. Somewhere on the internet there is a table of various companies ideas about how long it should be showing the considerable variation possible!

For the OP;- many of us are climbing on ropes that have been used for seven years or more.

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

As other's have said it will work just dandy....climb on brother, congrats on getting back in the game.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 122
Jim Titt wrote:

It´s a requirement of the certification legislation to give an expected lifespan and climbing gear being what it is effectively we just pick a number from a hat. Somewhere on the internet there is a table of various companies ideas about how long it should be showing the considerable variation possible!

"Certification legislation" meaning the law? Or standards set by climbing organizations? (I don't know how these rules are made/enforced, I'm curious.)

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
David Kerkeslager wrote:

"Certification legislation" meaning the law? Or standards set by climbing organizations? (I don't know how these rules are made/enforced, I'm curious.)

For sale in Europe all climbing equipment must be certified to legally required standards (the EN number) and to qualify for the UIAA Safety label the equipment must have also been certified to this.

B Owens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 60
Shannon Osaka wrote:

Safety question here.  I have a 9.8 mm Sterling Bi Velocity rope (70 m) which I received as a gift in January of 2011. Shortly after I got the rope, I developed a serious chronic pain condition that prevented me from rock climbing for the next six and a half years :'( .  After all that time I have finally made dramatic improvements and am starting to climb easy routes again.  For the past seven years the rope has been stored in a closet in my parent's house - it wasn't perfectly coiled (I would say half-coiled half messy heap), but was not exposed to any dramatic temperatures or anything else.  

I flaked it and it looks fine.  I've heard that the "low use" lifetime of a rope is around 10 years - should my rope be safe to climb on over the next year?  Anything in particular I should do besides a standard inspection while flaking it?  It's possible I used it one or two times before my chronic pain, but it's been so long that I don't  remember.

Welcome back to climbing! 

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
B Owens wrote:

Welcome back to climbing! 

+1 

I have back pain on and off for years from injury. Good to hear you feel up to climbing.

Daniel Hamilton · · Iron Range, MN · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

In the US it has to do with liability. Lawyers and insurance companies and such.

Isaac Christensen · · St. George UT · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 508

I would say it's totally fine to climb on!

Rudy Chavira · · Taylorsville. Ut · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

It's unsafe, please send to me quick 

Greg R · · Durango CO · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 0
David Kerkeslager wrote:

Does anyone know why companies even give these age-based requirement criteria? I don't know of any evidence of the common rope fibers degrading in reasonable storage over human lifetimes, and most forms of damage seem to be detectable via inspection. If you want to read something really dry, you can check out Fiber Rope Inspection and Retirement Criteria which talks about this in painful detail. There may be something I don't know, but it seems like educating on how to perform regular inspections would be more accurate and keep customers safer.

Maybe it's just to sell more ropes?

Rope fibers won't degrade in that 10 year period but the rope itself may lose some ability to stretch and absorb impact. So for toproping the shelf life may be quite longer but for lead climbing it may be an issue. 

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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