How To Store Climbing Rope

How To Store Climbing Rope

If you have a passion for the outdoors, you know you wish you could use your climbing rope every day. While adventure does not come knocking everyday, the task to store a quality climbing rope is on our minds.

Climbing gear is stored for weeks on end at times, and to ensure that we have properly stored all the items so that they last, we must consider factors such as where to store them, what kind of temperature is ideal, and whether exposing them to the slightest of chemicals could damage everything.

The same goes for a very important component, the climbing rope. Remember that a rope that has been driven to wear and tear before its time is dangerous for you to be using, especially if you believe that you never used it that much and therefore it must be in perfect condition.

When you notice changes in the shape of a climbing rope’s core, it means that there might be potentially fatal damage to it. Part of learning how to care for your rope, you must learn how to store climbing rope properly.

How To Flake A Climbing Rope

Flaking is part of the adequate storage of your rope. Most seasoned climbers have their own little tricks that they swear by when flaking ropes into different coils that make it easy when they are uncoiling it during a climb.

When it comes to storage, you should keep it simple. Flaking is primarily to leave your rope in an untidy bunch, but without any knots so that when pulled it reels out smoothly.

Some of the following ways on how to flake a climbing rope should make it easy for you to transfer the coiled rope to your backpack, you can also wrap the two ends of the climbing rope either around your waist or your shoulders.

That being said, no matter what method or style you choose, the primary purpose is for it to uncoil itself easily for use.

Butterfly Flake

The Butterfly Flake is hard to do when two coils are too big to hang on to. But do not let this dissuade you, a neat trick is to use your neck and hands to coil the bulk of the rope.

You might have come across a lot of climbers making the butterfly flake in only a single strand. This is common amongst climbers who do it purely for sport and are good enough to not require the rope to be coiled.

Mountaineer’s Coil

The mountaineer’s coil though seemingly easy and convenient to coil can get a bit messy if you do not uncoil it right. It has to be taken apart strand by strand or you risk knotting things up and making the bulk of it useless during a climb. Therefore it is usually used by people just for neat storage flaking.

You can flake the rope into a rope bag, the use of which is becoming increasingly popular. A good rope bag will keep your climbing rope from tight coil damage, and possible external damage.

How To Store Climbing Rope

Where To Store Climbing Rope When Canyoneering

When canyoneering ropes can get frayed or core shot pretty easily. The edges we encounter in some canyons make the best of us shift our eyes to the rope to check for sheath damage and tears.

The best place to store your rope when canyoneering is in your rope bag. Rope bags are simple as well as efficient. They are excellent for storage and transportation but the best thing about them is the commendable way they allow a climber to set things up without any hassle.

But before we can do that, we must first stuff it in the bag the right way. We have established where to store climbing rope when canyoneering, now let’s look at how to do it.

The first step is to tie the bottom part of the rope into the rope bag. You can do this through the grommet at the bottom by first tying the end of the rope to the strap. This is also helpful if you need part of the rope for anything else.

Make sure to prep your rope bag. Fold the drawcord rim backward and clip the webbing loop that is inside to your harness using a carabiner, this way the rope bag is now located right in front of you. Before you commence stuffing the rope in, run it through a carabiner on your person.

Make sure the rope is compact in the bag. If your rope has gotten wet, make sure that you don’t drag it in the dirt. This would make the rope’s surface rougher on the devices you use with it, such as the belay devices and your bare hands. You can ask another climber to pull it through a carabiner so that the wet rope never touches the dirt.

Remember to tie the top end in a knot or tie it to a strap so you can locate it fast.

Most climbers simply throw the rope bag to deploy the climbing rope, just make sure there are no people, streams, or trees below. 

Where To Store Climbing Rope At Home

The biggest factor you must consider when deciding where to store your climbing rope at home is the material it is made out of: nylon.

The best place to store your rope is in a dark and dry place. Storing your climbing rope in a plastic bag should be okay, as a nylon rope must be protected from acids, halogen compounds such as chlorine, fluorine, bleach, and heavy-duty soaps. Sometimes these are things that are likely to be around the outdoor gear storage area of a house.

Storing Wet Rope

Most people wonder how water can damage your rope, it cannot. So don’t keep yourself from cleaning it now and then. However, saltwater can do a number on your climbing gear. True, salt does not damage nylon, but when your rope is soaked in saltwater, once it dries it is harboring hundreds of sharp particles in the fibers, every time the rope moves it experiences tears.

The best way around it is to keep it drenched in the saltwater, and then transfer the wet rope into freshwater to rinse out the salt.

When it comes to determining the best area of your house to store your rope in, here are a few additional guidelines that should narrow it down for you.

Avoid Exposure To Sunlight

Climbing ropes do not like sunlight. Ultraviolet rays destroy nylon ropes in time. An opaque plastic bag should do the trick here, or the back of your storage cupboard. You can also store it in a sheltered area by hitching it up on a dowel or hook.

If you left your rope in the sun for a while, but you are unsure if it has worn out or whether it is safe to use; just check the color, if it has faded you need to replace the rope.

Avoid Exposure To Heat

If you choose to place it in a cupboard make sure it is not too hot, as extreme temperatures can ruin the fibers. The same goes for transporting it in the back of your vehicle.

Avoid Storing Dirty Rope

Finally, make sure that your rope is always clean. Every time you go out climbing, your rope gets dirty. Sure you tried your best to keep it from dragging in the sand but there is nothing wrong with cleaning the rope with mild soap to remove small debris with sharp edges that accumulate over time.

Remember that the real risk is your rope not being able to perform the way it was designed to. It  isn’t just whether or not it will break while you are climbing, but if it may no longer be able to absorb the shock of your fall as the fibers inside lose their elasticity.

If you are truly worried about where to store climbing rope at home so that it does not fail you in your adventures, make sure that you take a few minutes to inspect the rope before you flake it for storage. This will ease your mind.

Every time you experience a fall, there appears a kink in your climbing rope. All of these add up to a major tear which may not be visible directly. A smart idea is to regularly switch ends. This helps you prolong the time when you have to cut off the worn-out part of the climbing rope and shorten it.

Once you cut your rope it rarely stays long enough to be used for climbing. You can however, keep it for top roping, indoor climbing, and rigging.

One of the things a canyoneer must be careful of is how to take care of your climbing rope. With the right maintenance, you can make the rope last much longer. For instance in the very beginning, when you buy a new climbing rope you must always go through the manufacturer’s instructions on how to uncoil it. This helps prevent unruly knots and kinks in the rope. Once you know how to maintain your climbing rope and determine if it is no longer safe to use, you will save yourself a lot of money from messing up your ropes and even more importantly you will maintain safety in what ropes you use.

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