Spring Cleaning: Climbing Rope Care

A strong climbing rope is essential to climbing! To keep you safe, here are a few tips for care and maintenance. Don’t let a dirty climbing rope get you down.

Did you know that besides the act of climbing and belaying, nothing wears out ropes faster than stepping on them?  Sand and other particles from the ground are particularly hard on ropes.  Rocks underfoot can cut the sheath (colorful outside) and compromise the core (white inside).  And dirt and dust can also work their way into the core, making the length of life of the rock climbing rope much shorter.


A simple fix is to remind your rock climber friends to stay off the climbing rope and to use a rope bag. (We like the Black Diamond Super Chute Rope Bag).

Another factor that affects rope wear is placement. Make sure the climbing rope runs freely whenever possible.  If you’re leading a pitch, use slings that are appropriate length to decrease rope drag and keep the rope away from the cliff face. If you’re top-rope climbing, make sure your master point is extended over the edge of the cliff. Also remember that a fall onto a sharp edge can seriously damage or slice through a climbing rope.  Finally, at the end of the day, while enjoying time socializing in the parking lot, keep the rope off the pavement. Oil, battery acid, and Freon that has leaked onto the asphalt can destroy climbing ropes.

At Apex Adventure Alliance, we wash our ropes frequently.  Washing ropes increases their life by getting the dirt and grime and aluminum oxide (from the carabiners) off.  If you want to wash your ropes, it is best done on a cloudy, windy day to protect the rope from harmful UV rays. First daisy chain (See Here) the ropes and stick it in the washer with cold water.  We use Woolite, but you can use a special rope detergent.  Hang to dry and your ropes will be like new!

Now get out and climb!