Rope Marking?

This is an open question to anyone who thinks they know an answer.

I'm thinking about ordering a New England 10.2 60 meter rope from REI that's only like $140. The only problem with the rope, besides the fact that it's ugly, is it has no middle markings.

Is it safe to use a Sharpie (or something like it) to mark the middle? I'd hate to somehow corrode the sheath and not realize I'd weakened it until I'm belaying you on that project you keep taking whippers on. What do rope makers use to mark the middle?

Thanks for any advice.


Here's some info from Stewart Green from his page here:

How do I mark the middle of my rope?

If your rope doesn’t have a middle mark, then you can use a black permanent marker to designate the mid-point. Look for a marker made specifically for your rope by checking the manufacturer’s website. Be aware that the UIAA Safety Commission did tests with felt-tipped permanent marker pens, including those made specifically for marking ropes, and found a decrease in the “energy absorption capacity of the rope.” They therefore warn against marking a rope with any marker or substance not specifically approved by the rope manufacturer. But they also say that the chances of a rope breaking where you marked it as “nearly zero.” So you take your chances.

Marking With Tape or Thread

Some climbers use a piece of tape—duct tape or electrical tape—wrapped around the middle of the rope. This works…for awhile, but after a few pulls through carabiners the tape is gone. An alternative is to use some bright sewing thread and stitch it through the middle of the rope for a dozen or so turns. This works too but if the rope gets dirty, than the thread gets dirty. Using thread or tape won’t harm the rope and both are easy to replace.

And another post from Traditional Mountaineering:

No manufacturer will condone the use of permanent marking ink on the middle mark of a climbing rope. This would require the chemical analysis of the ink (which might be different over time) by the rope manufacturer. Bluewater sells a (non-permanent) marking pen with a Ph only approved for their own ropes.

The option of marking the middle of a climbing rope with tape is also questionable.
How does the adhesive in the electrical or athletic tape react over time with the materials of the rope? One climbing rope wholesale representative states that the Ph of athletic tape may not damage the rope but points out that tape can come loose quickly and slide away from the original placement.

So, everything I found is kind of conflicting. Some sites claimed it wasn't a good idea to use a marker and that in some cases it weakened the rope by 50%. Then, in others it noted the weakness but said it wasn't really a problem. And tape can move and the chemicals can possibly harm the rope, too. And thread? Really? Maybe I'm crazy but it seems like the worst idea to actually pass a needle through the actual core of the rope!


The Dump

It's hard to believe that I spent 4 years at ASU and never went to the Dump (AKA Warpin Endorphin wall). I was just way too obsessed with bouldering, I guess. But thanks in large part to my many various and ongoing injuries, I'm not so obsessed with bouldering and have found renewed interest in sport climbing (where there are a lot less repetitious hard moves done in one day). It's crazy that it's been almost a year now since I tweaked my left shoulder and neck and it's still bothering me.

Anyway, Melissa and I went up on Sunday and the weather was perfect, though a little warm since the cliff is south facing. I had no idea that this crag is so popular, either. There was a constant flow of people all day, and I even had to ask some college kids to turn off the country music they were blasting from an iPod while Melissa attempted her first sport lead ever (she did great). It was so loud and they were so obnoxious that she couldn't concentrate.

We only had a few hours to spend at the crag, but it was fun and definitely worth going back to. I stayed on pretty easy terrain--a few 5.10s and 5.9s, but everything felt a few letter grades harder than the rating. There are definitely a few routes at the Dump in the 12+ range worth projecting, and most of them stay in the shade of the big roof a lot of the day, so I may head there a few more times this summer and try to get some strength back. The stiff grades combined with the fact that I haven't climbed in 3 weeks made me realize how freaking weak I'm getting, even though I've been working hard in the gym to counteract muscle imbalances. I guess the strength just doesn't translate. The good news is I have no pain in my shoulder today. Sweet. Hopefully all the non-climbing work is finally paying off.


This Commercial is Kinda F**

Panasonic released this commercial in an effort to appeal to climbers with their rugged waterproof camera. It's kinda funny, but kinda fucked up, too. See if it appeals to you: