Care And Maintenance

The rope is a climber's lifeline. It must be cared for and used properly. These general guidelines should be used when handling ropes.

a. Do not step on or drag ropes on the ground unnecessarily. Small particles of dirt will be ground between the inner strands and will slowly cut them.

b. While in use, do not allow the rope to come into contact with sharp edges. Nylon rope is easily cut, particularly when under tension. If the rope must be used over a sharp edge, pad the edge for protection.

c. Always keep the rope as dry as possible. Should the rope become wet, hang it in large loops off the ground and allow it to dry. Never dry a rope with high heat or in direct sunlight.

d. Never leave a rope knotted or tightly stretched for longer than necessary. Over time it will reduce the strength and life of the rope.

e. Never allow one rope to continuously rub over or against another. Allowing rope-on-rope contact with nylon rope is extremely dangerous because the heat produced by the friction will cause the nylon to melt.

f. Inspect the rope before each use for frayed or cut spots, mildew or rot, or defects in construction (new rope).

g. The ends of the rope should be whipped or melted to prevent unraveling.

h. Do not splice ropes for use in mountaineering.

i. Do not mark ropes with paints or allow them to come in contact with oils or petroleum products. Some of these will weaken or deteriorate nylon.

j. Never use a mountaineering rope for any purpose except mountaineering.

k. Each rope should have a corresponding rope log (DA Form 5752-R, Rope History and Usage), which is also a safety record. It should annotate use, terrain, weather, application, number of falls, dates, and so on, and should be annotated each time the rope is used (Figure 4-1). DA Form 5752-R is authorized for local reproduction on 8 1/2- by 11-inch paper.

Example Cpompleted Form 3685
Figure 4-1. Example of completed DA Form 5752-R.

l. Never subject the rope to high heat or flame. This will significantly weaken it. m. All ropes should be washed periodically to remove dirt and grit, and rinsed thoroughly. Commercial rope washers are made from short pieces of modified pipe that connect to any faucet. Pinholes within the pipe force water to circulate around and scrub the rope as you slowly feed it through the washer. Another method is to machine wash, on a gentle cycle, in cold water with a nylon safe soap, never bleach or harsh cleansers. Ensure that only front loading washing machine are used to wash ropes.

n. Ultraviolet radiation (sunlight) tends to deteriorate nylon over long periods of time. This becomes important if rope installations are left in place over a number of months.

o. When not in use, ropes should be loosely coiled and hung on wooden pegs rather than nails or other metal objects. Storage areas should be relatively cool with low humidity levels to prevent mildew or rotting. Rope may also be loosely stacked and placed in a rope bag and stored on a shelf. Avoid storage in direct sunlight, as the ultraviolet radiation will deteriorate the nylon over long periods

Continue reading here: Inspection

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