Rope too short: warning - danger! - Petzl Denmark

Rope too short: warning - danger!


  • Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
  • Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
  • We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.

Consider the following scenario: a climber attempts a 40 m route with a 70 m rope...

Rope too short: the cause of many lowering and rappelling accidents, yet it takes only a few simple precautions to avoid this type of accident.

First of all, whatever the activity: crag climbing, multi-pitch, mountaineering, ice, it is essential to have studied the topo and/or to have acquired the information necessary to go climbing with a rope of sufficient length. It can be useful to take a rope that is 5 m longer than the anticipated need.

Once on the route, you may discover that reality differs from description, and thus find yourself with a rope that is too short. The situation can become difficult if you don't take precautions...

So, once on the route, what habits should be adopted?

- For crag climbing, ALWAYS tie a knot in the end of the rope.

For crag climbing, ALWAYS tie a knot in the end of the rope.

- For rappelling, we recommend tying a knot in each rope end, mainly in the following cases: you are unsure of the next rappel length, visibility is poor, you are uncertain about the location of the next belay station...

For rappelling, we recommend tying a knot in each rope end.

And if you find yourself jammed against a knot at the end of the rope, it's obviously necessary to know enough about rope ascent techniques to get yourself out of this difficult situation (ascending a rope with the REVERSO).

- For multi-pitch climbing, before leaving the ground, discuss and establish communication rules for the climb. Consider the case where the leader runs out of rope before gaining the belay station. In this case, you might decide to simul-climb with a taut rope. To protect this phase, see our tip Progression with a taut rope using a TIBLOC.

Rope too short on a multi-pitch climb.