I recently bought a 70 meter climbing rope from REI because it was a great price on the outlet. Last weekend I used it for the first time in the Texas hill country, where 99% of routes need a rope less than 35 meters. The rope is overkill for what I will be climbing in the foreseeable future.

My question-- is there any problem with taking the rope to REI and asking them to cut it in half (or even 30/40) so that I have two more manageable ropes? I'm specifically asking about safety considerations, but any practicality considerations would also be appreciated.

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    It is safe, yes. But don't do it yourself. Take it to a climbing gym, gear store, REI, or somewhere else that has done it before. They'll cut it and fix the ends so nothing comes unraveled later. Commented May 12, 2014 at 17:27
  • @theJollySin: As explained in jonny.milano's answer, there is nothing wrong with doing it yourself.
    – user2169
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 2:40
  • I would hope so... Cutting climbing ropes off large spindles is how they sell it, right? Commented May 24, 2018 at 17:14
  • If you do it yourself, consider reading How to cut a climbing rope? Commented May 22, 2019 at 15:35
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    So I know this is old, but I wouldn't cut a 70m rope for 35m climbs because 70m is enough to repel off them in one repel runs.
    – Joshua
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 20:34

4 Answers 4


You can take it back to REI or to another gear store that deals with climbing gear. Make sure they know the rope is indeed being used for climbing. They should be able to cut it and prepare the cut ends so there isn't any fraying/unraveling, etc.


It is safe to cut (while you are not using it). You can cut it yourself. I would use something sharp so that you get a clean cut. Healing (using a flame to melt) the cut ends and wrapping them in tape (like they come from the manufacture) will be needed.

Before you do that though, you might want to consider not cutting it at all. While a 70 meter rope is pretty long for most applications in climbing, it's certainly useful at times. A 30 or 40 meter rope is really pretty small for rock climbing. Keep in mind that will limit your rappels to 15-20 meters. Still, lightweight 30 meter ropes are made and used (usually in more alpine situations) and if you are going to use this shorter rope only for one area that has smaller crags then the decision is yours.

Just keep in mind, once you cut there is no going back on it and climbing ropes are expensive.

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    Fundamentally I also know how to cut a rope. Just like you said. I still wouldn't recommend to do that, the rope is maybe THE security element at all and I wouldn't like to run any risk on it. Of course anybody can decide for himself, just wanted to utter my doubts.
    – Wills
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 19:47
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    There's no concern or safety issue with cutting a climbing rope in half (while it is not in use) and using the cut portions in normal climbing applications. Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 20:15
  • Maybe you are right because you actually can check if you did something wrong. Still the guys in your local climbing store are more experienced doing stuff like this and they most likely will do it for free. If you google you will find some guys suggesting not to use a serrated knife, some heat their knife (which may not be good for the knife), some tape the rope and cut through the tape/rope and burn it afterwards, you could use a soldering iron. You could try on your retired ropes for the best results - in the end I would just stick to my local climbing store...
    – Wills
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 21:28
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    It's totally up to you what you do with your rope. It's a very important part of your kit so I understand your concerns. However, "Is it safe to cut a climbing rope in half?" The answer is, "Yes, it's safe." Some ropes come on spools (like the ropes at indoor climbing gyms) and sections are cut to desired lengths. I've had rock fall cut a rope right through almost all the way, leaving only a few strands of the core. The unaffected length of the rope was still usable. Personal opinion: I wouldn't cut it. If your climbing style changes - you never know, the extra length may come in handy. :) Commented Apr 19, 2014 at 5:00
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    Even if you do a terrible job cutting it, the ends are never under load, so it doesn't really matter anyway. Checking for fraying and other damage you should do regardless, so it makes no difference. Commented Apr 19, 2014 at 19:48

This is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. It's not uncommon for climbers to take a 60 or 70 meter rope and cut a few meters off the ends (since the ends of a rope take a lot of abuse). You can either take it to REI, as you suggested, and tell them you are cutting it for climbing or check out this how-to on Climbing.com.

A few things you need to consider before cutting your rope, though. If you are planning on climbing at other crags, I would check out what the height of the routes are there and make sure you'll have enough after you cut it. If you plan on climbing anywhere else in the country, I'd suggest having at least a 50m rope (and better yet, a 60m rope) to be on the safe side. I have a 70m rope and although I don't use more than maybe 50 meters of it at a time at my regular crags, it's been the difference between safely climbing a route and not when climbing at other crags. If it's a possiblity, you should look into buying a shorter rope. I say this only because I agree that it is annoying to use a rope that is on average twice the size of what you need, but nothing is more frustrating than realizing you don't have enough rope to climb a route.


Not rock climbing rope, admittedly, but as a tree surgeon, I've always cut the working end off climbing lines as it wears. After the first few feet it's often like new so I get a lot more use out of it like that.

I've also had a few times where a nearly new climbing rope has got a nick in it and I've cut it to make two shorter ropes. I like to tape it before cutting to stop any fraying, then melt the ends.

All my equipment is subject to UK loler regulations and has to be assessed every 6 months, my own cut lengths of rope have always passed inspection, provided I've transferred over the serial numbers so they're traceable. If it's good enough for the HSE it's good enough for me I say.

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