Rope Inspection: When You Need to Replace Your Gear

Why is rope inspection important?

Ropes are a very crucial part of many life activities as well as business operations, especially for the rope access industries. When the integrity of the rope is good, it allows for a very safe and productive environment for whatever the rope’s main use is.

When the rope’s integrity is compromised, it can lead to a plethora of unfortunate events. Most activities that require a rope are high risk, so it is very important to make sure the rope is in good shape at all times.

Rope inspection frequency

Rope inspection should be a continuous process of observation before, during and after each use. In synthetic fiber ropes, the amount of strength loss due to abrasion and/or flexing is directly related to the amount of broken fiber in the rope cross section.

Before use, look and feel along every inch of the rope length, inspecting for any damages. Please also download our Rope Inspection Log that helps keep written records of rope inspection. 

How to check if your rope is damaged?

Checking the quality of a rope is fairly straightforward. However, it is necessary to know what to look for. If the rope fibers have tears in them, it is best for you to replace it. Also, if the rope is melted in any way from heat damage or friction, you must invest in another.

NOTE: The following cases are extreme examples provided for illustration purposes only.

Rope Inspection

* 10% is cause for removal from service
**Don’t confuse compression with heat damage.

Another thing to look for is the buildup of grime or fungus from the rope weathering due to the elements. If the rope has bad discoloration or things growing on it, it would be wise to replace it.

Inconsistent Diameter - 
Inspect for flat areas, bumps or lumps. This can indicate core or internal damage from overloading or shock loads and is usually a sufficient reason to replace the rope.

Discoloration - 
With use, all ropes get dirty. Pay attention to the areas of discoloration which could be caused by chemical contamination. Determine the cause of the discoloration and replace the rope if it is brittle or stiff.

Pulled Strand -
This is caused by snagging on equipment or surfaces. It is not a permanent condition and can be corrected by working the pulled strand back into the rope, if it is not cut or damaged.

Cut Strands - 
The result of exposure to damaging surfaces or edges, abrasion, or cyclic tension wear.

Compression -
Rope shows fiber-set from compression. A slight sheen is visible. This is not a permanent condition and can be eliminated by flexing the rope. This condition should not be confused with glazed or melted fiber. (See Melting).

Melting or Glazing -
Damage depicted is caused by excessive heat which melted and fused the fibers. This area will be extremely stiff. Unlike fiber compression, melting damage cannot be mitigated by flexing the rope. Melted areas must be cut out and the rope re-spliced or retired.

Your Rope's Still OK

If the rope looks flattened from pressure, this may not necessarily need to be replaced. Try pushing the rope back to shape with your hand. If the rope goes back to shape with no tears, you are in good shape and should not need to replace it immediately.

Also, if the rope is stretched out from getting snagged on something, it is usually ok. You would just need to pull the rope and push the snagged part of the rope back into the weave, and you should be fine.

It is also important to use cautious judgment. If you feel the rope’s integrity is compromised in any way, you should replace it immediately for safety purposes. To ensure safety, always inspect your rope and other rope access gear before use. Keep track of your rope inspection with a rope inspection log.

Quality rope replacement

There are many different types of ropes, including static rope and dynamic rope, and MTN Shop has them all! The MTN Shop offers every type of rope from recreational to industrial, for climbers and arborists. MTN Shop offers ropes from the most trusted brands in the industry such as Petzl and PMI to ensure maximum quality and performance.





If you are not sure what rope you need, MTN Shop has specific filters to ensure you will find the perfect rope for all your rope access needs.

Rope access remains the safest and most versatile, efficient, and cost-effective means to solve a variety of vertical access problems, but only if your rope access gear is up to the task. So, if your rope is not up to par with inspection, upgrade with MTN Shop because we have been providing the toughest and safest gear since 1979!