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Ropes Tested in Sharp Hangers

Climbing hangers feel sharp and seem obvious they would be bad for a rope, but for some reason, some people have done this. We test dynamic and static ropes in sharp hangers and hangers that are designed to have curved edges so ropes could be threaded inside of them. In our recent VIDEO of the "Texas Rope Trick," many people asked why not just put the rope directly in the hangers if you had an emergency rappel of bolts not intended for it. Hopefully, this video answers that question.

Context: Compared to a sketchy trick we showed assuming all your gear was dropped

Our Ropes

Static rope after being pulled to 12kN

Dynamic and static ropes may act differently since they are built for different purposes. Dynamic ropes are stretchy and can take bends and edges easier because flex is fine, but they aren't always as strong as a static. Static doesn't like to be bent but is more abrasion resistant. The dynamic rope in this was are 9.8mm, and was made of 100% nylon. The static was 100% polyester and is the 2020 Imlay Canyonero, a 9.2mm rope (not 9.8 like I said in video).

Knots in Hangers

Tied to a sharp hanger with a figure 8

What if you fix a rope to a hanger? This is where you would tie the rope directly to it not expecting to retrieve it. We tested that 2x each with the dynamic and the static rope. 3 of our 4 tests broke in the knot which means the knot was worse for the rope than the hanger. BUT this is for one "pull to destruction" test. If this was left up long-term, the hanger would definitely cause more damage.

Pulled on a rounded metolius hanger set up as a rappel

Rappelling on Hangers

What if you double-strand rappel off a hanger? The rope in a U shape is going to be double the strength, in theory. More often than not, we will get 180% when we do things that should double the force. The dynamic rope did TERRIBLE on the sharp hanger and the static was not too bad as this one was built for abrasion. If we put the rope through different hangers that have softer edges meant for ropes, we consistently got super safe enough results. However, when we tested around the shackle pin which is a bigger diameter, we were maximizing the rope strength since sometimes it was breaking in the knots, instead of the pin, at almost double what we got on the sharp hanger in the same configuration.

Our Results

Case Study of Why NOT to do this

Now this doesn't seem like a common problem but mid-edit, @labajaclimbing sent me his most recent post where someone actually tried this which is crazy because there were 2 perfectly good RAPPEL rings on the hangers. He had to help them free their rope, not just once but for the next two rappels. I'm not saying we should give Darwin his two week notice, but the more we can share this information the better.

If you do this, AND you can pull your rope down, it will wear your rope out so much faster and risk getting core shots where the core, or inside of the rope, is damaged. Of course, like you see here, you may get your rope stuck which is an entire other problem you want to avoid.

Dynamic on sharp hanger: This reduced it to less than half the strength if you use a rounder surface

What's Next

Check out what rappel rings break at, even when worn.


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