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Damaged climbing rope... What to do with it?

What does everyone do with damaged ropes? Whether it's obviously damaged or you just know it caught one too many, too hard, falls... Do you just immediately throw it in the garbage? Mark it somehow so you'll never use it climbing again but keep it for other uses? Is there some way to recycle it?

Has the need for disposal options (other than the landfill) been seriously discussed in the climbing community?


11 Replies

Reach out to your local fire department (esp. if a volunteer dept) for knot training use. It wouldn't get used to people, but would allow them to set up rigging without worrying about damaging they real rope.

I keep some around for use at the campsite to hang things, or secure things if needed. No life safety stuff of course, but it's still handy to have around.

Finally finding time to have adventures instead of waiting for time.

Wonderful idea. I will do this!!


recycle as mooring lines for small vessels - the elasticity is perfect.  Also, in reasonably short lengths  - as vehicle tow ropes, but be very careful!

Once I saw members of a local fire unit using static rope in  a lead climbing situation, fortunately low fifth class, but I would not let a defective climb rope anywhere near aa situation where it might be mistakenly used for life support.  Most technical rescue situation do much better with static ropes  anyway.

Don't trust a non climber to know the difference!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@DaveBaldwin - I'll admit I've had a core-shot rope in the back of my car for too long, so this is a good reminder to put it to good use! 

In the past, friends and I have made them into welcome mats and dog leashes, though @hikermor and @Kb9nbd's suggestions of donating them to local rescue organizations are amazing ideas as well!

Let us know what you end up doing with yours. I'm sure with some creativity the possibilities are endless!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-CarterC It seems like REI could collect used ropes and redistribute them, maybe even setting up an operation to make leashes, door mats, etc out of them and sell them in REI stores.

They could even create jobs for people with few skills.



Thanks for sharing this idea, @DaveBaldwin! I will pass it along to the appropriate team for consideration.  

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I keep my old ones  in the garage, they become around the yard 'utility ropes'

REI Member Since 1979

Or…they can become trophies…


REI Member Since 1979

I have cut it into smaller pieces and used it for practicing clipping at home.  I've also seen people weave it into a welcome mat and I've even seen them marked and used to tow cars.  ha.