leading on static rope

Home Forums Accidents, near-misses and mishaps leading on static rope

This topic contains 14 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  John Knight 13 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #2273 Reply


    This message is being posted in order to PREVENT a serious accident. I was chatting with someone the other day who mentioned that they were going to buy a static rope for leading. I gave this person a good earful about the dangers but if others could chime in, it would be great.

    I assume that we all ‘know’ not to lead on static ropes- but if no-one ever tells you, why would you know??

    So jump in with more comments, please!

    #2274 Reply


    ouch…the dangers of those who have a little infomation..enough to know names of different rope types but not about appropriate uses….

    if your thinking about getting into climbing…go and research your topic first..read as much as you can and then join a course or group of experienced climber until you know what you are doing…

    #2275 Reply


    Hi to anyone who wants to lead on a static rope. Please don’t do it around me. I don’t want to pick up the bits of you. A big enough fall can generate enough kinetic energy that you will go through your harness in pieces. Beauty. That’s if your gear holds. A stretchy rope does more than give you a softer catch. It absorbs kinetic energy you have been generating through gravitational acceleration while falling. That kinetic energy if not dissipated by your dynamic rope, will overload your gear, your body, your harness, your belayers hands and belay device. A dynamic rope really is a necessary part of a lead climbing system. A static rope will kill you very easily if used for leading. Don’t do it.



    #2276 Reply

    John Knight

    Diane was talking about me. Thankfully I’m the proud owner of a new dynamic, but I could have been a case in hospital if this grand girl didn’t have words to me!

    Like Diane said, it’s more or less assumed knowledge, to which I said, we all know what they say about assumptions! Over and over again, various points about climbing safety are emphasised, don’t climb alone, tie-in, not just clip, tie in stopper knots, etc. But this rather important bit of info seems to have slipped on the wayside.

    I was under the impression that it was okay for just slab or vertical, oh how wrong I was and oh the state of my guts later on. Although I probably threw a lot of dignity and street cred out just there (leave me alone, I’m young lol), for anyone around here that writes articles and guidebooks about climbing, please include this rather important info.

    Good to still be here,


    #2277 Reply

    John Knight

    Just looking over my last post there, I’m very tired and easily missing things which I should’ve included last post….

    I’ve never lead climbed on static, only lead climbed with others and at the Hangout, but never once has anyone mentioned the actual dangers of leading on static (not to me anyway).

    Not in training at the gym, not in rock climbing guides, not in magazines, nowhere. Unless somehow I’ve just skimmed over every page that existed about the subject, PEOPLE ARE NOT INCLUDING IT. Sure, the differences are explained about what’s different between static and dynamic. Articles are even mentioning how the ropes are made and you read it about what consists of a static and dynamic rope early on in books like “How to Rock Climb” and other climbing ‘bibles’ of its ilk.

    But like I said, the actual danger of leading on static hasn’t been mentioned. The luxuries of dynamic and uses for it are always mentioned, but don’t think you’ll get away with just mentioning this and get away with from me! 😉

    Hopefully I don’t look like too much of a prat from all of this, I’m usually the most safety conscious climber around, and always try and research what’s needed and then some. Whenever mates are doing something I can see that’s unsafe, I’m usually the first to give ’em an earful, so hopefully I can still retain a dignified reputation with you guys. 🙂

    However, never assume knowledge, if I missed this despite years of reading about safety equipment and always trying to do things the proper way, obviously we’re missing something people!

    #2278 Reply

    John Knight

    ” oh how wrong I was and oh the state of my guts later on.”

    That should have been…

    ” oh how wrong I was and oh how the state of my guts could’ve been later on!”

    I’m gonna get some sleep! 😉

    #2279 Reply



    You’ve got a hell of a lot more ‘street cred’ than someone who doesn’t ask or completely ignores advice! Congrats on the new dynamic and hope to see you out at the crags sometime- in one piece! 🙂


    #2280 Reply

    John Knight


    Cheers dude, or dudette in this case. 😉

    #2281 Reply


    In the old days people climbed on hemp rope – which has similar elasticity to static…..The key is in the belaying (and not falling).

    a story:

    One day we attempted a series of climbs using “traditional” climbing methods.

    ie no harnesses, no climbing shoes, no helment and only nuts (no cams), body belay. Perhaps I should write a story on what it was like….

    #2282 Reply


    With all respect to you John, the dynamic rope saga is the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot that seems straightforward in regards to belaying technique, rigging, gear choice, but is really not common sense knowledge.

    Although they can be expensive. Before you use your new equipment, you should think about investing in some professional tuition. It may seem like an optional extra but it really isnt. I think that without the climbing course instruction I took before taking the rocks has saved me from developing a lot of unsafe habits or worse.

    Just something to think about…

    #2283 Reply

    John Knight

    Couldn’t agree with you more, mate. The idea of setting up a lead on a nicely bolted route doesn’t seem too daunting, but even that has plenty of perils (before everyone says “you can get in real danger”, I’m aknowledging it right there). And there’s no way I’d set up a top-rope without good instruction.

    Probably another article in there, who’s available for tuition, and the perils without it, etc, etc.

    #2284 Reply


    I’d just like to add my admiration for john who to his credit owned up to the fact that it was him diane chatted to….and used this forum to further saftey issues…he could have just let it pass and hidden away embarrassed…

    good on ya john for being so forward..

    #2285 Reply

    John Knight

    “My modesty is second to none!” hehe, I love that joke (think it was in Calvin and Hobbes)! Ah, cheers Jamie! 🙂

    #2286 Reply


    Hey John,

    Hey man i love reasding your posts, i am still learning about climbing myself and i appreciate the learning i get from posts such as this.

    #2287 Reply

    John Knight

    Good to know I’m not annoying *everyone*! 😉 Have I met you at the Hangout once?

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