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Fuzzy Ropes: Conflicting Opinions

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by darhawk, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. darhawk

    darhawk

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    In a recent post, Tom suggested throwing away fuzzy ropes:

    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/worn-out-ropes.25295/

    Last year, he pronounced a similarly fuzzy rope well-used, but definitely still usable:

    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/toms-diatribe-about-ropes-march-2017-edition.24510/#post-104368

    I've looked reasonably hard at the two photos and see virtually no difference between the usable one and the throw-away one.

    Can anyone enlighten me? Is there a difference? Or did you change your mind, Tom?

    To be sure, on last year's fuzzy rope you suggested you would use it "without concern, at least for short rappels." So perhaps fuzzy ropes could be used with judgment on shorter rappels or those with less abrasion?

    Bootboy suggested he raps on ropes that fuzzy. I do too. Ropes fuzz up pretty quickly in my experience. I feel like I might need a new rope every fifteen or twenty raps (say, 80-foot raps with a group of 6) if I start using fuzziness as a throw-away criteria. I had always been taught to look for more than fuzziness.

    Views on this issue?
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  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    When I get my test machine, I will try to nail down the difference here. Certainly Chris's fall was an eye-opener.

    Tom
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  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    A little fuzzy - no concern. A LOT fuzzy - no go. The question is how do you determine the diff between "little" and "LOT"?

    Will work on it when the tools are available.

    Tom
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  4. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    My opinion is that if you are in question of it, have someone with knowledge inspect it or get a new one. Ropes are not very expensive and longer fuzzy ropes make really good less fuzzy short ropes. It's amazing how many people I go with that don't have any short ropes. The value of these in canyons is often understated. My guess is that 75% of raps are 60' or less. In most cases, everyone in our group generally brings a rope, even if its only a 40 to 60' length. Working ropes for short raps, can tie together for pulls on longer ones if needed.
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  5. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    'Fuzzy' just one factor?
    Age
    Stiffness
    History of use
    Silt contamination...

    Sigh...guess ropes are like us old people
    Gotta retire us eventually
    :moses:
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  6. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    I think there is a noticeable difference - without splitting hairs.
    wellused rope-COLLAGE.2.
    Comparing the two images cited, examining the fiber count on top appears to be twice as many fibers severed in several weave sections as compared to the bottom image. Yes, they're both well worn, but there is a noticeable difference, IMO.

    Add to that age and use history as @Rapterman suggests and I think you have enough factors to make a decision you can live with.
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  7. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    Waitaminute. This post is all about splitting hairs! :)
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  8. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Nope, hairs are natural fibers, while these are synthetic.
  9. Larry Johnston

    Larry Johnston

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    The mantle or sheath of the rope contributes about 30% of the strength of the rope. It's main job is to protect the fibers of the core from sand, grit and IV light exposure that can cause damage to the fibers inside the sheath that is not visible for inspection. These ropes are designed to take a lot of sheath abrasion and still hold the 220 pounds of a single person load with a safety factor of well over 10 to 1. As long as there are no soft spots in the core, changes in diameter or noticably more acute bending at the fuzzy spots, I am not concerned about the fuzz on the sheet. Both the pictures shown here, I do not see any exposed core fibers. The sheath or mantle is doing it's job. I would consider both of these ropes strong enough to use as a single person load in a canyoneering activity.
    I would wager. as Koch as you want to loose that if we pull tested these ropes, both of them would not fail at less than 2200 pounds which would be 10 times the static force a single person load would put on the system.
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  10. Larry Johnston

    Larry Johnston

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    The last paragraph should have started, "I would wager, as much as you want to loose"
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  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I have only broken dynamic ropes.

    On a dynamic climbing rope, the sheath and the core break entirely separately. This makes sense as they have radically different stiffnesses. Sheath breaks first, then the core stretches more and breaks at a higher load, the ultimate strength of the rope. Thus the strength of the rope can be said to be 100% in the core.

    I suspect the same of static ropes, but I can see that, even with very different stretch moduluses, the sheath would be in tension when the core is in greater tension, and the load would be split between the two. In this case, perhaps the core would break first, then the sheath would stretch out and break at a lower load.

    The way to test this would be to break rope, and then separate a piece of core and sheath and break those separately.

    Yet another test to do once the frame gets set up.

    Tom
  12. Larry Johnston

    Larry Johnston

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    I would be interested to hear your results.
    The strengths I referred to related to references to static rope. I would say that most canyoneering ropes are static or low stretch ropes rather than dynamic. My main point in this post was to emphasize the fact that the sheath is just a minor part of the strength of the rope and as long as it is protecting the sheath, it is doing it's job, fuzz or no fuzz and the rope is plenty strong to rappel with.
  13. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Are you making a rig?
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    yeah but... as the photos above show, the fuzz part of the sheath is not-sheath and no longer protective.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
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  15. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    And "therein lies the rub" in this discussion, which was sparked by an accident in which a well-worn rope was cut. So rope strength is not the issue here. Not sure what to call it - residual cut resistance? Geriatric rope integrity?
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  16. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I thought canyoneering ropes didn't wear out, they just got shorter. :)
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