How strong is your rope?

How strong is your rope?


So, the other day I got my first real core shot (the sheath is damaged so the core is visible) while climbing in Skevik. I’ve read about how easily (if not often) it can happen but kinda thought “Naw, that’s not gonna happen”. But it did, and thankfully I had an awesome belayer (thank you Niclas) who saw the damage before I could continue climbing.

It turned out that even part of the core had been cut as well. This happened from just one fall on a worn but previously undamaged part of the rope.I started thinking, what if I had continued climbing with a damaged rope? What if I took a fall? Would I be sitting on a comfortable couch now or lying in a hospital bed?


Curious I asked Robin Dahlberg if he would help me test the strength of the damaged rope. As always he leaped at the chance to pull something apart and we took it to his quality control lab in Klättercentret Akalla. The damaged rope broke at about 9,2kN, a force that would normally not be generated at a single pitch climb. It is however about half as much as is required for a new climbing rope (18 kN, EN1891) showing that it was severely weakened.

It would be interesting to try an undamaged part of the rope to see how much weaker it has become from standard wear. As you see below the sun has had quite an impact.

So if I get another core shot I’ll choose safety first even if the rope could potentially hold a fall. It’s just not worth the risk. A good reason to learn some basic self-rescue techniques!

That’s my two cents, now I’m off climbing!