The byproduct of industry: Rock climbing is one of those sports that elicits both fear and awe for those climbing and for those watching. Acrophobia – the fear of heights – is a constant as the climbers have just a toe or a couple of fingertips gripping a crack sometimes on just a quarter-inch wall. At heights of hundreds, and sometimes over 1,000 feet, a fall is certain death. Enter the climber's lifeline … the climbing rope.

These climbing ropes are highly engineered pieces of rope designed to withstand incredible force.

The ropes are intended to be able to withstand a 200-lb person falling up to 100 feet. Imagine the force exerted on the rope when that person reaches the end of the rope.

These ropes are constructed to be “dynamic.” That means they have a bit of elasticity in them. While they aren’t like a rubber band, they are designed to stretch about 7 percent.

One outgrowth of outdoor rock climbing on sheer mountain faces is the manmade climbing walls that you see at festivals and climbing gyms. Because of the liability, these climbing wall operators have to change out ropes after they’ve been fallen on just a few times.


The repurpose:
While these decommissioned climbing ropes will always remain ropes, they get repurposed into all kinds of second-life applications.

The tree trimming industry likes them. Not to hold people, again, but to brace and lower down trimmed branches. They are popular with livestock folks for leads, reins, etc.

The most fun “repurpose” of an old climbing rope … hanging the wood swing from a tall oak tree for the kids. PD

Damon Carson is founder of Colorado-based Repurposed Materials, which has a diverse selection of “repurposed” products for sale. Click here to visit the website, click here to email Carson or call (303) 478-6193.

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