The Edelrid rope book – advice and expertise in a handy format
As climbers, our ropes are more than just a means to an end. We trust them with our lives, whether in the mountains or at the local climbing wall. There are as many different types of ropes as there are climbers. At our production facilities in Isny im Allgäu, the EDELRID team is passionate about making climbing ropes. This fascination is what motivates us to produce top-quality ropes, here in Germany. However, to get the best out of your rope, it pays to make sure that you use it properly and look after it carefully. We've put together this rope book to share our fascination for ropes and ropemaking and to promote awareness of how to use them properly.
Who's the rope book aimed at?
This rope book is intended to be a reference tool and source of inspiration for all climbers and mountaineers. In particular, dedicated climbers will find that it provides important information for prolonging the lifespan of their climbing ropes. This rope book is aimed at every climber who wants to know more about how ropes are developed, manufactured and tested – and about the different types of ropes available.
What's in the rope book?
Im ersten Teil der Seilfibel vermitteln wir in kompakter Form einen Einblick hinter die Kulissen unserer Seilproduktion in Isny. Sie erfahren wie aus der Faser in vielen Schritten das fertige Kletterseil entsteht. Dabei wird auch auf Nachhaltigkeitsthemen und Veredelungen im Zuge der Produktion eingegangen. Die Fibel gibt einen Überblick über alle wichtigen Parameter normierter Tests und erklärt deren Funktion. Im zweiten Teil des Booklets werden die existierenden Seiltypen vorgestellt und deren Anwendungsbereiche und Handhabung erklärt. Die Seilfibel enthält außerdem nützliche Hilfestellungen für die Wahl und den Kauf des richtigen Kletterseils je nach Einsatzbereich. Es werden wichtige Tipps und Tricks für die Seilpflege gegeben und vor allem Gefahren für Bergseile und absolute Tabus im Umgang mit dem Seil dargestellt. In den letzten Kapiteln der Seilfibel präsentieren wir interessante Fakten und Pro Tipps sowie nachhaltige Verwendungen für ausgemusterte Kletterseile.
As climbers, we trust our ropes with our lives. This is why EDELRID guarantees maximum quality and greatest possible care when manufacturing its ropes. Our ropes benefit from over 150 years of expertise, experience and passion. CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY is our credo – we apply it to our ropes to make versatile products that meet and exceed the highest quality standards. We understand how modern climbing ropes have to cope with a wide range of different uses. Our ropes are known for their optimal combination of different characteristics. This does not mean that we make compromises. On the contrary, we are constantly seeking to ensure maximum performance. All our ropes are designed, tested and continuously improved at our production facilities in Allgäu, Germany. Our designers, who are all passionate climbers, work together with professional athletes to produce innovative products that constantly set new standards. Their designs are transformed into reality using carefully selected, high-quality raw materials and rigorous production standards. Quality Made in Germany.
To be able to climb freely, you need to be able to completely trust in your equipment. In order to warrant this trust, we have a strict testing and quality management system. The quality attributes of our products are displayed on the labelling . EDELRID has its own, state-of-the-art testing laboratory and its own drop tower. As with all laboratory equipment, the drop tower is built in accordance with the relevant standards and is regularly inspected by external agencies. Here is an overview of the main tests and information displayed on our packaging.
This long number is a rope's specific identity number. It shows exactly which batch it was in and when it was produced. This is why it's important to keep the packaging, or at least the label with this special number, for the entire lifespan of the rope as it makes it possible to trace its exact origins if necessary. The batch number on EDELRID ropes is displayed on the packaging label. It's made up of a combination of numbers and letters.
Number of Falls
The drop test is one of the most important tests for testing ropes. At our drop tower testing facility we determine how many standard falls a rope will withstand. A standard fall is an extremely hard fall. The hardness of a fall is determined by the fall factor. This is calculated by dividing the length of the fall, by the amount of rope paid out. The standard fall for testing purposes is predefined: a free fall of 4.8 metres with 2.8 metres of rope paid out. This produces a high fall factor of approx. 1.7. Falls this hard very rarely occur when climbing. This therefore allows us to provide large safety reserves. Single and twin ropes are tested in the drop tower by letting a weight of 80 kg fall and half ropes by letting a weight of 55 kg fall for as many times as it takes until the rope breaks. Single and half ropes are tested on their own, while twin ropes are tested as a pair. Single and half ropes must withstand at least five standard falls; a doubled twin rope has to withstand at least twelve standard falls.
In conjunction with the drop test, we also measure impact force. The impact force is the maximum force on the load in a standard fall. It is greatly influenced by the ability of the rope to absorb fall energy through elongation. The higher the impact force, the harder the fall and the greater the force transmitted via the rope to the falling climber, the protection and the belay (safety chain) . The impact force for single and twin ropes may not exceed 12 kN (1200 kg). For half ropes the impact force may not exceed 8 kN (800 kg). In practise, impact force is not that relevant. This is because during testing in the laboratory, the rope is statically fixed. This is very different to a real-life situation. Climbing falls are generally caught and absorbed dynamically. The small amount of rope that runs through the belay device (e.g. a tuber) at the moment of impact and shock absorption by the harness and other protection points in the safety chain is enough to absorb a large part of the fall energy. In addition, dynamic belaying can also absorb a significant amount of fall energy. By an active forwards and upwards movement towards the wall at the moment of impact, the belayer can arrest a fall more gradually, making the impact softer on the climber, runners and belay.
Dynamic and Static Elongation
Elasticity and elongation are important attributes of a climbing rope. It's important that a rope provides an optimally balanced elongation performance. As you will see from the labelling on our ropes, there are two different types of elongation.
Static elongation is often aptly referred to as working elongation. It indicates the elasticity of a rope with a static load. Static elongation applies in particular to scenarios such as top-roping or hauling on big walls, etc. Here's how it's measured and tested. A rope is first loaded with 80 kg, then the weight is removed. After a brief pause, the rope is loaded again, this time with 5 kg and a 100cm length is marked. Then the rope is loaded a further time, once more with 80 kg. The deviation of the 100 cm length is the elongation, which is expressed as a percentage. For single and twin ropes, static elongation may not exceed 10 %. For half ropes, it may not exceed 12 %. This type of elongation is particularly noticeable when you are top-roping. Many of us will be familiar with having struggled to complete the crux on a route, only to stop, sit on the rope and then find ourselves back underneath it. This is (thankfully) due to static elongation.
When it comes to safety when climbing, dynamic elongation is more important than static elon-gation. In particular, dynamic elongation tells us more about the braking performance of a rope than static elongation. The dynamic elongation of a rope is measured by testing its first standard fall. It describes the amount of change in a rope's length (as a percentage) at the moment of the fall. Climbing ropes may not exceed a maximum permissible elongation of 40%. The importance of dynamic elongation should not be underestimated.
The dynamic elongation of a rope reflects its ability to withstand impact force and its static elongation. The greater the impact force value of a rope, the less elongation it provides – and vice versa. A rope with a higher impact force value has less dynamic elongation and consequently less static elongation. A lower impact force value indicates that a rope has greater dynamic elongation. The relationship between impact force and elongation is one of the most important features of a rope.
EDELRID ensures that these characteristics are optimally balanced and long lasting in its ropes by shrinking the fibres in an autoclave and via its Thermo Shield treatment. EDELRID ropes have a low homogeneous, dynamic elongation of 27 % to 34 %, which represents a good balance of ability to withstand impact force and provide elongation. The dynamic characteristics of a rope decrease as it gets older. Frequent falls reduce the elasticity of the fibres. At some point the rope will have lost its elasticity and should be retired.
Weight per Meter
The weight of a rope is important, particularly for performance-orientated climbers and mountaineers. Rope weight is always indicated in grams per meter (g/m). Both weight and diameter are tested by preloading a rope and then measuring it. EDELRID is pioneering the development of ever lighter and simultaneously more robust ropes. Our single ropes weigh from 51 to 69 grams per meter. Our half ropes weigh in at 42 to 52 grams per meter. Our lightest rope is the Flycatcher. This ultra-light twin rope weighs just 35 grams per meter.
When choosing a rope, diameter is an important factor according to which activities you intend to use it for. Rope diameter is not always easy to measure, as not all ropes are perfectly round – some of them have a more oval cross section. To ensure consistency and provide reproducible values, a length of rope is loaded with weights and then measured. Interestingly, certain ropes on the market clearly deviate from their manufacturer's information and are often thicker than claimed. This is because they have too much air between the yarns. In practice they are soft and spongy. By contrast, the compact and material-intensive structure of EDELRID ropes leaves little room for such abnormalities.
This parameter has a direct impact on the handling characteristics of a rope. To test sheath slippage a ca. two-metre length of rope is pulled though a test device. By applying weights and using a defined mechanism the sheath and core are kneaded and twisted against each other. During this test, the axial displacement of the sheath may not exceed 20 mm. If the sheath and core of a rope slip, then it will bulge and get lumpy. Thanks to our effective manufacturing processes, EDELRID ropes only experience sheath slippage if they are used improperly. New EDELRID ropes show zero sheath slippage when tested; this is therefore indicated as 0 mm.
Knotability is not part of any specified standard for ropes. However, it provides a practical indication of how easy a rope is to use. It is primarily stated with static ropes and determined using the following test. A simple overhand knot is tied in a rope. The rope is then loaded with 10 kg in weight. Once the load is removed, the inner diameter of the knot is measured. The knot should be so tight that the inside width, i.e. the opening in the middle, is less than 1.1 times the rope's diameter. However, we recommend not placing too much value on this measurement. In practice the knotability or suppleness of a rope is determined to a large extent by its condition and/or how well it has been looked after. A really dirty rope will generally be harder to tie a knot in than a new rope, no matter how supple it is.
The UIAA water-repellent test is a new standard and test developed by the UIAA to measure the water repellency of ropes. During the test, a rope sample is first subjected to mechanical surface abrasion over its entire length. This simulates the wear a rope is subjected to in practice on rock and ice. In a standardized procedure, the rope sample is then fixed to a slanted table and subjected to a defined water flow (2l/min) for 15 minutes. The rope sample is weighed before and after the water flow. Finally the difference between these two values is calculated and expressed as a percentage. The amount of absorbed water must not be greater than 5 % of the rope sample's weight. Ropes that meet these requirements may be labeled as UIAA water-repellent.
Norms and Standards
As you will see from the labels and hang tags on ropes and other Personal and Protective Equipment (PPE), our products do more than just meet high internal standards; they also have to comply with a range of external standards and quality management systems. EDELRID ropes not only fulfill, but also exceed these standards. Here's what the different standards and symbols stand for.
This symbol shows that the manufacturer confirms that a product meets all the relevant European Union requirements. It is a type of technical passport and is required before a product can be sold within the European Union. The CE-Conformity Symbol means that a product complies with all the relevant requirements and is officially certified. The number after the CE symbol, indicates the certification body, e.g. CE 0123 stands for the TÜV SÜD Product Service GmbH.
ISO 9001 is an internationally-recognised quality management system certification. This standard is used to define, establish, and maintain effective quality manufacturing processes in order to assure the quality of a product.
The European Standards (European Norms EN) are technical rules and definitions that have been especially tailored for products and product groups to be standardized. European standards ensure uniform standardisation across Europe. An EN symbol is always indicated with the number of the standard. The applicable standard for mountaineering and climbing dynamic ropes is EN 892. Products with an EN standard fulfil prescribed safety standards and have passed a type examination conducted by a testing institute.
This symbol shows that a product fulfils the requirements of the International Union of Alpine Associations (UIAA) standard. It is a special standard for climbing and mountaineering products. The UIAA has been developing practically oriented standards for decades. The UIAA standards conform with the EN standards .