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Sheath Stretch Bluewater Canyon Extreme

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by james_au, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. james_au


    Hi all, first post.

    I recently became the proud owned of 65m of 8mm Bluewater Canyon Extreme rope and over the past 2 weekends finally had a chance to take it out to my local canyoning area in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Overall my experiences with this rope have been less than ideal as it is experiencing a a fair amount of sheath stretch over the end of the core at each end. I am trying to determine the cause for this and any advice would be appreciated.

    At each end of the rope about 20cm (~8inches) one end and 40cm on the other (~16 inches) of sheath has stretched over the core. I noticed this happening in the final canyon of the two weekends and on one of the rope ends and avoided use of that end only to have it occur on the other end too on the final abseil (this abseil was wetter and longer than all others). I estimate the rope has experienced around 50 abseil descents with wear focused on both ends due to fiddlestick or biner block setups on mostly short abseils (10-20m). Once the sheath has slipped over the core the Bluewater factory binding quickly detached from the sheath (I suspect because of the reduced diameter without a core). I can take some photos later if this is super important.

    Talking to a friend he pointed out it is likely to be the use of ATC belay devices for abseiling which I made the decision to allow as many of my group had devices that did not offer much friction in their typical configuration (single rope canyoning rigging is not common in Australia). I knew ATCs were generally avoided canyoning and I thought this was due to the small surface area relative to their size and greater friction causing heat issues and burning rope. With the Technora sheath being quite heat-resistant I thought this would be less than ideal but still fine. I saw some relevant discussion of some factors here on this forum. I would say about half of the abseils were on ATCs and the other half on a mixture of Hydrobot and SQWUREL descenders.

    I am trying to figure out if:
    • My use of the rope, specifically ATCs is wildly inappropriate and the sole cause of extensive sheath stretch?
    • I am experiencing some kind of batch issue with my rope?
    • If I cut and rebind the ends my rope is still safe to use?
    Thoughts and advice appreciated.

    Edit: added additional information about mixed descenders
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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