How to Repurpose a Climbing Rope

Carrick_mat_BrianettaWe’ve been talking about ropes these past couple of weeks. We’ve gone from choosing a rope to retiring rope, but we have haven’t talked about what to do with a rope once it’s decommissioned. Ropes aren’t cheap and it can feel like a waste of money to just toss it, not to mention a waste of material as well. There are plenty of ways to upcycle, recycle and repurpose an old climbing rope.

Use it as a rope – Using a rope as a rope? Downright genius. Just because a rope isn’t strong enough to withstand the kilonewtons of force you generate from a lead fall doesn’t mean it’s not strong enough for other applications. A retired climbing rope can be used as a guy line, gear line, clothes line, or any other kind of line.  A decommissioned climbing rope can even be used for rappelling if it’s still in good condition. Just be sure you clearly mark the rope as not being suitable for climbing.

If your rope is core-shot or beyond use, you can always upcycle it. Upcycling is basically like recycling except you’re making an old, useless object useful in a new way. You can repurpose a climbing rope to make all kinds of stuff.

The single simplest way to reuse an old climbing rope is to make a jump rope. This requires practically no effort. All you need is a knife, a lighter and a desire to hop some rope! Cut to the right length and seal the ends in a flame and you have your very own homemade schoolyard classic.

Dog leashes are another simple way to repurpose a climbing rope. This is just slightly more involved than making a jump rope, and probably way more useful. If you have sewing skills in your wheelhouse you just need to sew a couple of loops on both ends, attach a leash clasp to one of those ends and you’ve got a leash. However, if you aren’t into sewing you can create the loops with knots. Attach a carabiner to one of the loops and you’re good to go.

You can also upcycle climbing rope to make koozies, floor mats, chairs, couches, baskets, hammocks, bowls, and bags, but those are a little more involved. There are all kinds of how to guides and videos online if you want to get in touch with your inner arts and crafts side.

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