Instructables

Braided climbing rope

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Rope climbing is a great exercise and good fun, but you need a pretty thick rope to get sufficient grip and they aren't cheap - a thick manila climbing rope will set you back well over $100. This instructable will show you how to braid an old retired nylon climbing rope into a beautifully textured, funky-looking climbing rope for your backyard.

The rope is extremely strong, being made of eight strands of an 11 mm climbing rope, and is based on a military fast rope - developed by Marlow Ropes for getting soldiers out of a helicopter quickly. I stumbled on a video explaining how to braid such a rope on ITS Tactical - it's fairly simple but you definitely need two people to do it when using anything bigger than paracord. Luckily, my wife is a natural at this sort of thing; she watched about 30 seconds of the video and said "got it. Let's go". 
 
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Step 1: Materials

Buying the individual strands of rope to make this sort of climbing rope is not advised. Sure, it will be cheaper than a real fast rope (~$1000) but it will be more expensive than a manila climbing rope, so just buy the latter and be done with it. However, if you can lay your hands on some old climbing rope or similar, this is a fun project. I got given two retired 11 mm ropes from a climbing buddy - these ropes were past it, having arrested too many falls for safety - but braid eight of them together, and even this old rope is strong enough. In addition to plenty of 10-11 mm diameter rope, you'll need a carabiner, a method of securing the carabiner to a wall, some insulation tape, an assistant or two, patience, an Exacto knife and a BBQ lighter.
Scubajet1 year ago
Thanks for a great climbing rope tutorial. I made one last weekend for my daughter to help her with gymnastics. I used a 25KN Carabiner at the top and Gorilla tape at the bottom. 25 Feet when I started braiding, and 1 hr, 45 mins. later I had a 17.5 foot climbing rope. Total was about $35. Thanks again !!!
makijim1 year ago
Thanks for the great instructable! I just finished my climbing rope for my daughter. It's about half as long as yours. Boy my hands are tired from the braiding but its a good kind of tired. Thanks again for the great idea.
Gunny Guy1 year ago
I wouldn’t necessarily say that the carabiner is the weak link in the system as the one in the pic looks like a Petzl William HMS witch is rated at 25kN (Around 2.4 tonnes) so would happily hold at least 5 people without any deformation. The weak link would be what it is attached to i.e. a tree.
makendo (author)  Gunny Guy1 year ago
I had no idea they were that strong, good tip. Agreed, I wouldn't apply 25 kN to the tree!
How thick is the finished rope?

Thanks
Totally doin this
makendo (author)  Livefortheriver1 year ago
Good question, I will update the instructable; it's 40 mm / 1.5".
rfakhre2 years ago
I just really like that picture of the rope close up going all the way up to the tree.
makendo (author)  rfakhre2 years ago
Hey, thanks. I'm glad I didn't lie on the wet grass squinting up the rope in vain... :)
Best use of old rope I have seen - Well done!!!
makendo (author)  Kelticpaddler2 years ago
Thanks. Always fun to turn something marginal into something useful.
I use fire to seal the ends of my climbing rope (which I need to give some attention this summer, I haven't climbed since last summer... :\) but this is cool too, plus you still climb both. Thanks for the instructable!
MR.Geo2 years ago
I always get better results and neater ends when i use an old knife and heat it up with a blow torch to cut the ends. Then heat ends as you do to seal but when ends are near molten use greaseproof paper or new clothes tag (the glossy kind) and twist a rope in it folded over.
makendo (author)  MR.Geo2 years ago
Good idea; sounds like a cleaner solution (provided you have a blowtorch, of course...).
A camping stove also works well (something like this: http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/stoves/rapid-cooking/pocketrocket/product )
Jayefuu2 years ago
Great instructable! May I add a summary and link to this Instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Money-for-old-rope/
makendo (author)  Jayefuu2 years ago
Thanks - and yes, of course... and now I have some more ideas about what to do with that extra rope I have.