BCRA/BCA Drop Test Results


My google foo seems weak - cant find any results online anywhere.

Are there any results published online..

Its in an answer to the following posted on a climbing forum regarding lower offs/belays at the top of routes - usually round a tree/boulder -

What is the evidence of static rope (nylon kernmantle) decaying in this way?
Obviously sharp edges pose problematic for fabric ropes but nylon kernmantle ropes are very, very durable with respect to UV, water (in static situations), etc., etc.
Generally mould or rot will occur on organic matter that has got into in-situ fabrics but I've not seen evidence that this will meaningfully damage a 10mm static.

Which is a bit of an alarming post if people have this impression.  Or maybe they're right.
Though to be fair they backed it up with..

My post was a "call for evidence". Preferably not hear-say.
UIAA standard 101 / Ropes states: "It is sensible to avoid strong light and extended exposure to UV rays, although there are no known
instances of a rope failing due to UV degradation, since the core is protected from UV by the sheath."

Would be good to point them in the direction of some results that old static rope, thats been in the dark for years, away from organic matter, can still snap at low loads.  (or not).



Further more - are there any comments from the high access boys - Wardy/Mark etc about static left 'insitu' and UV degradation etc.

Bob Mehew

Active member
There has been some testing on used ropes and yes they do degrade when left underground.  Some of the work was put up on the web but it has now been lost following the loss of the web sites.  (The Way Back machine will show up one piece of work from the previous BCA web site as on 11/8/20.)  Simple conclusion - caving deteriorates rope much faster than climbing.  (My thought was it was due to washing out the oils in the rope.)  Worked has ceased since:
        a) I resigned from the post of BCA Rope Test Officer early this year,
        b) the mobile rig is back with BCA, and
        c) regrettably the Bradford rig was demolished when they took down their old garage.  :cautious:

PS - anyone want to take the topic over?


Active member
Modern ropes that are left in the sun don't tend to:
I took a piece of rope used as a sling off a cliff facing directly into the sun in Sicily placed 28 years earlier on the FA. It was completely white (inside the knot it was original orange) and you could rub the sheath off with your fingers. On the tester tied as a loop it failed at 1860kg.
The 1" tubular tape from the same route (it was littered with junk) wasn't strong enough to hold the strain guage which weighs 5kg



Most of the problems in caves / mines are due to the chemicals dissolved in the water. However, more fixed ropes snap in the US due to rodents chewing them in the darker recesses...
Although not answering your question, be aware that there is overlap with this and others' anecdotal testing on "The Internet" such as