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How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

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How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Josh Lewis » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:55 pm

I've dealt with several ropes now that are not marked in the middle. In fact most ropes I use now days are not marked. So this makes finding the middle take more time. I had a mini conversation with a guy at a store called "Bent Gate" which he said that marking the rope with a marker can reduce it' strength over time or something like that. I admit I don't quite understand why. So this leads to the question of how one would go about doing it?
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby MoapaPk » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:05 pm

Different rope companies recommend different products; Bluewater used to recommend the Sharpie Rub-a-Dub "LAUNDRY MARKER." I mark about a 6" swath. I've seen Rub-a-Dub markers at the local grocery store, at Office Depot, and so on. I've also seen tests that show normal sharpies (NOT laundry markers) may reduce rope strength, but the rope tends to break at some other weak point (like a water knot) anyway. You'll find lots of suggestions on the web for wrapping dental floss, or threading orange nylon through the outer sheath, etc. All that other stuff has to be done carefully to keep the rope from hanging up during a pull.

http://www.bluewaterropes.com/home/FAQ.asp
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Andrew Rankine » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:33 pm

Ways to mark the middle of your rope:

1. Sharpie Laundry Marker. I use this method.
2. Beal makes a rope marker (expensive).
3. Dental floss through sheath.
4. Duct tape, electrical tape (will come off after a few times through a belay device).
5. Bi-pattern rope (expensive).
5. Cut the rope in half. Repeat as necessary.
6. Spill sardines on the middle. You'll never forget where it is then, even if you want to!

Edit: said Sharpie is the "rub a dub" marker... Sharpie bought it and is using their brand on it.
Last edited by Andrew Rankine on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby CClaude » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:30 am

<Blue Water used to make a rope marketr also.

Sharpies (standard) USED to be ok in the tests, but the problem is, is that manufacturers of pens can and will change the carrier solvent without disclosing it to the general population, since for 99.9999% of the people, it won't affect them. The markers that are good today (using a benign carrier solvent) may become a bad choice in the near future.

Personally, I just carve a notch in my rope at the middle point.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby MoapaPk » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:25 am

http://www.theofficepoint.com/Products/ ... 101PP.aspx

Me! me! me!

"Rub a dub" is often described as "solvent-free," but the product simply uses a solvent that is designed not to degrade cloth-- which includes nylon and polyester.

If you are super paranoid, you can look at the solvents listed on the MSDS:
http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cg ... d=19036029

By law, the current MSDS has to be accurate. Note the carriers are alcohols.

The current msds for the non-laundry marker sharpie also lists just alcohols for the carriers, but adds ethanol.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:57 pm

I've sewn contrasting color nylon thread through the sheath, and then wrapped it up a few times. Makes a very small mark, relative to, say, Beal's dipped black rope mark, but you can feel it when you can't see it all.

I think I'm probably going to switch to a Rub-a-Dub for future ropes... I'm way too lazy to sew shit.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Buz Groshong » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:42 pm

MoapaPk wrote:By law, the current MSDS has to be accurate.


But it only has to list hazardous materials, and it can list them as "trade secret."
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:56 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:
MoapaPk wrote:By law, the current MSDS has to be accurate.


But it only has to list hazardous materials, and it can list them as "trade secret."


The only unspecified substances for Rub a Dub are the dyes, which likely are trade secrets; but the manufacturer still has to convince the regulator those don't need to be disclosed, to get the 0 health rating.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby CClaude » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:31 am

The dyes could have an adverse affect on rope strength. Dyes that are phenolic in nature can strongly interact, and disrupt, the hydrogen bonds of nylon ( which gives the nylon its strength). This is how p-cresol (a phenolic solvent) dissolves nylon-6,6. Disruption of hydrogen bonds is how LiCl aid in the dissolution of polyaramides ( Ie:Kevlar) which are a class of aromatic nylons which are more difficult to dissolve then the aliphatic nylons.

Why be hyper-cheap? An "expensive" pen will always be cheaper then a body bag.

And half the MSDS's i go through are the biggest joke.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Buz Groshong » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:23 pm

CClaude wrote:The dyes could have an adverse affect on rope strength. Dyes that are phenolic in nature can strongly interact, and disrupt, the hydrogen bonds of nylon ( which gives the nylon its strength). This is how p-cresol (a phenolic solvent) dissolves nylon-6,6. Disruption of hydrogen bonds is how LiCl aid in the dissolution of polyaramides ( Ie:Kevlar) which are a class of aromatic nylons which are more difficult to dissolve then the aliphatic nylons.

Why be hyper-cheap? An "expensive" pen will always be cheaper then a body bag.

And half the MSDS's i go through are the biggest joke.


Bingo!
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Kahuna » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:42 pm

CClaude wrote:The dyes could have an adverse affect on rope strength. Dyes that are phenolic in nature can strongly interact, and disrupt, the hydrogen bonds of nylon ( which gives the nylon its strength). This is how p-cresol (a phenolic solvent) dissolves nylon-6,6. Disruption of hydrogen bonds is how LiCl aid in the dissolution of polyaramides ( Ie:Kevlar) which are a class of aromatic nylons which are more difficult to dissolve then the aliphatic nylons.

Why be hyper-cheap? An "expensive" pen will always be cheaper then a body bag.

And half the MSDS's i go through are the biggest joke.


I have yet to read about or see any incident of complete rope failure in the last oh lets say 30 years of climbing, from an improperly marked rope.

As anything else in this climbing community, we seem to dwell on certain issues yet keep hush hush about those that are in fact killing people.

First ones that come to mind, complacency, over zealousness and total ignorance of the basics.



Just saying.....
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:18 pm

I agree completely with A5RP above. This is a fantastic example of placing way too much energy in a minute detail of likely inconsequential significance. There are so many other overriding things that will outweigh what was done to mark a rope in any real life situation. Statistically is does not matter.

It is like driving... does not matter if it is safer to drive with your windows open or closed... what matters is if you stop at the red light. You aren't going to fall to your death because you drew on a rope with a magic marker.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Burchey » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:43 pm

mrchad9 wrote: You aren't going to fall to your death because you drew on a rope with a magic marker.


Not true, I just did. Now I'm a ghost - watched you jerk off to the HD Jerry Maguire Trailer on youtube this morning.

Seriously, thin piece of climbing tape tightly wrapped around a couple times works like a charm. Next question.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:07 pm

I'm sure that Bluewater is recommending Rub a Dub based on a reasoning process (see the link I posted in the first response). And the various web arguments about the bad nature of pens focused on the solvents. Notice that laundry pens have non-bleeding dyes, and are formulated NOT to deteriorate fabrics, including synthetics like nylon and polyester. Bluewater is unlikely to recommend something that will "significantly" degrade their ropes.

Even tests with regular sharpies found that unless exceptional measures were taken to stress the marked area, the rope system always broke at another weak point, typically a knot. The tester's conclusion was "big deal."

Simply getting a rope wet can reduce its strength by 15%. And even that is debated. http://www.itrsonline.org/PapersFolder/ ... SPaper.pdf ;
http://www.sterlingrope.com/media/docum ... manual.pdf

Sewing another thread through the sheath will affect the properties of the rope as well. I bet that if you do strength tests on ropes marked by these other methods, you will also find the rope breaking near the altered part. And if you are not damned careful, you will catch the changed part of the rope up in a belay device, which could have a more dramatic effect on your life expectancy. If you do use the thread trick, keep it minimal, and expect to "feel" as much as see the center: http://content.backcountry.com/images/i ... ET0193.jpg


The original 2002 UIAA tests that showed a possible 50% strength loss for ropes masked with felt tip pens, are briefly summarized in this document:
http://www.sterlingrope.com/media/docum ... manual.pdf READ THE ENTIRE ssction with the caveat by Pit Shubert, of UIAA.

Note the above documents also claims up to 70% loss of strength in a rope that is merely wet.

A less controlled test found 12% reduction for Rub-a-Dub, with rather extreme marking.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/threa ... id=1342794

It's important to remember how the UIAA comes up with their strength reductions -- it's based on the number of falls the rope holds, vs the unaltered rope. Think about what that means in practice, if you mark the middle of a 200' rope.
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Re: How to Mark the Middle of the Rope?

Postby Kahuna » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:25 pm

MoapaPk wrote:I'm sure that Bluewater is recommending Rub a Dub based on a reasoning process (see the link I posted in the first response). And the various web arguments about the bad nature of pens focused on the solvents. Notice that laundry pens have non-bleeding dyes, and are formulated NOT to deteriorate fabrics, including synthetics like nylon and polyester. Bluewater is unlikely to recommend something that will degrade their ropes.


For anyone that has been around a while, one will have known about or even utilized the original BW marking utensil. It was manu'd by, Sharpie.
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