Reposting this from a Facebook discussion. It's a picture taken from a retail store where they have attached a pin-tag through the rope to prevent theft; a common practice at this location.

My gut reaction is to avoid it like the plague, but I have a tendency to treat the rope like it's sacred. Has anyone seen this elsewhere? Would you climb on it?

Rope in the Store

  • 5
    Core is strands so it is not as bad as it looks but I would look to purchase rope elsewhere. There has to be a better way to secure rope from theft.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 8, 2018 at 16:43
  • 2
    Shouldn't do any damage to the rope, unless there was a barb on the end of that pin. If it was me I'd make a stink to see if I could get the rope for cheaper, but in principle I'd probably shop elsewhere.
    – ShemSeger
    Apr 9, 2018 at 15:55
  • 4
    "Sorry, I don't want the display item - could you get me one still in its packaging, please?" Apr 10, 2018 at 14:33
  • 1
    If they put it through the end few inches of the rope, you wouldn't care. Apr 15, 2018 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


Ewww. I'm guessing they punch pin tags through $700 gore tex jackets as well? And condoms? Even if the amount of damage is minimal, it's still something I would rather not do to my rope. Some climbers do use a needle and thread/dental floss to make small whippings on the rope to indicate that the rope ends are approaching. However, there is a large difference between carefully easing a sharp needle through the rope and a retail worker, chugging along at minimum wage, shoving one of those generally ragged and burred pins through the rope.

As you mention, the amount of damage is probably not severe. Similarly, storing the ropes in a vat of motor oil or sewage would probably still be safe. This doesn't mean that any of those are best practices and speaks more to the great extent that manufactures go through to make sure their products are safe. Furthermore, I don't recall the UIAA having a rope testing category for standard falls with a security tag through the rope.

At the very least it shows a lack of respect for the end user (my making money is more important than your safety). There are so many other ways to prevent shoplifting a rope. For example:

  • Even moderately alert retail staff. Ever have someone walk by at the crag and stuff your rope into their pocket without you noticing? Neither have I. It isn't exactly an object that lends itself easily to shoplifting.
  • Using a cable-type security device through the center of the coil, such as one of these. While it would be possible to uncoil the entire rope and free the rope from the cable, it is mighty hard to imagine that someone wouldn't notice.
  • Using adhesive magnetic sensor tags on the packaging/hidden away inside the coils of the rope.
  • Keeping ropes inside a locked cabinet/display case or behind a counter.

If the establishment is unwilling to alter their practices, I would strongly urge you to contact the manufacturers of the ropes. Having worked specialty outdoor retail, this would be the sort of thing that a reputable manufacturer would drop a dealer for.

  • 1
    At the very least they could tag it at the end of the rope; the part that's not going to be anything but the tail end of a knot when the rope's being used.
    – ShemSeger
    Apr 9, 2018 at 15:50
  • @ShemSeger at the very least they could not do this and stop trying to kill their customers
    – erfink
    Apr 10, 2018 at 0:25
  • I wonder if the store will figure out the issue, remove or move the tags and leave the ropes on the shelf, to sell to buyers who will be unaware of the abuse? Apr 10, 2018 at 12:50
  • 1
    @erfink I highly doubt the integrity of the rope is compromised, a pin would pass right through the core without damaging it as long as it didn't have sharp barb on it or something. It just looks bad being skewered.
    – ShemSeger
    Apr 10, 2018 at 15:22
  • 3
    @oasisbob Cool. Find me data from EN or UIAA showing that a rope drop tests to full strength after being skewered with a security tag. Until then, I consider it reckless endangerment. And if it's a store brand, that makes it all the easier to sack the store management and responsible employees.
    – erfink
    Apr 12, 2018 at 23:33

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