What do you do with your used climbing rope?

Do you have tons of used rope that is stacked in your basement and you do not know what else to do with it? Why throw it away when it’s still good enough for other purposes?

Ropes used for climbing wears out usually at both ends, if used frequently for lead climbing. All you usually do is to cut off the worn off ends and use the rest of it. You can do this repeatedly with an 80m rope, and bear in mind that you’ll have to be extra carefull the next time you lower off your partner in a long route. Ok, so when it gets too short for all your routes your rope has finally reach the end of it’s life cycle and sets to retire. Right?

Think again of all the great things you can still do with your used climbing rope …

Instead of throwing your used rope away why not upcycle it:

  • use it for your next trip mountaineering across glaciers in alpine regions.
  • what about the next Via Ferrata excursion with little kids. Use 20m to double secure them and prevent dangerous falls.
  • donate your rope to the local climbing gym. They would be happy to take all ropes thats still in good condition.
  • use it to tow your car. But remember, climbing ropes are elastic, and are not static ropes. You may want to leave a little more distance and take extra care when the car suddenly bounces to the front after the tug.
  • make a rope ladder for your training cellar. Together with old wooden curtain sticks and 2 old carabiners, it’s really all what you need.
  • the rope used to rappel/access to your favourite climbing spot is all worn out? Replace it with a newer, safer one. Of course, make sure that your new rope has secure knots in it and it is safe for the others to use it.
  • make a colourful rug carpet, with the skills you learnt in the macrame lessons in school.
  • make furnitures out it, just like Angelika did! Seilfaktur.de in Rosenheim collects old ropes and turns them into creative little lamps, couches, seaters, etc, and even made it to one of the top favourites in the Recycling Designpreis 2012.
  • make a wallet out of it. Or buy chalkbags, handbags made out of retired rope. At Felsliebe.de, you could also order them in their online shop.
  • Have a dog? Make a dog leash for him!
  • Tired belaying? Make your own chair out of ropes.  Works great on old chairs that need refurbishing. Marcelo made a good job here:
  • Sterling Rope also has a recycling initiative for retired dynamic rope. Hopefully, more manufacterers will offer such a similiar programme too.
  • Make a net wall out of rope for your little kids in the garden. They will be sooo happy!
  • What about a curtain for your door to keep the flies out.
  • Make a trip to Frankenjura. Hang your rope in one of the routes there and let everyone else toprope it for the rest of the day. ­čśë (pun intended!) And then be surprised that the retirement came at the end of the day. Most of the routes there are really short, so it’s ok to bring this along. Nevertheless, do have a spare > 60m rope just in case. (Caution! Only if you’re very sure that your rope is at least twice as long as your route. Otherwise, always use a minimum of 60m rope outdoors!)
  •  Make a rope rug yourself. Here’s a nice video from Edelrid

I’ve collected more ideas of what you can do with rope upcycling. Take a look at my PINs at my pinterest account.

So you see, there’re many things and way to make use of them. If you have more ideas, share it.  Someone may just come up with another brilliant idea. Keep the ropes out of the landfill and make them usefull! ­čÖé

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