The UIAA says that you should retire your gear after a major fall is a fall with fall factor > 1.77.

Now I was wondering if this criterion is the same for all kinds of material ?

  • Dynamic ropes
  • Semi-dynamic ropes
  • Static ropes (or slings)
  • Your metal gear

I've read the tips for protecting your equipment on the Petzl site and they don't seem to make a distinction between the above.

  • 4
    You don't want to fall on a static rope at all, not if your appreciate the use of your lower limbs. :)
    – user2766
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 9:18
  • @Liam, I was just going to say that in a comment :p. A fall factor 1.77 in a static rope will leave you completely broken :p. But of course If you do a fall factor of 1.77 in a combined system, this might be a relevant issue?
    – Nick
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 9:19
  • What's your thinking behind this? I'm not sure what your getting at? Fall factors are only relevant on dynamic ropes, the gear is involved but isn't directly relevant. Are you talking about when to retire gear/ropes?
    – user2766
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 9:22
  • 1
    @Liam, it's indeed about the retireing ;). See edit
    – Nick
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 9:28
  • 1
    Yeah, that's true. I derived one yesterday using the "simple harmonic oscillator"-model (which yields an overestimation). But I tought that the UIAA had standardised tests at f=1.77 which was the limit. Or am I wrong in this ?
    – Nick
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


A dynamic rope that sustains a fall factor that high should definitely be retired, even if it doesn't show any immediate signs of damage. A dynamic rope is designed to elongate (dynamic elongation of 30-40%) in order to adsorb the shock of such a high-force fall. By doing so it lowers the forces applied to your gear and your body (keeping gear from ripping out and body from serious injury).

Static ropes have essentially zero dynamic elongation ability. A factor 1.77 fall on a static rope would almost certainly rip gear, and cause severe bodily harm either in the catch or the corresponding fall. This is why you should never lead on a static rope.

As far as slings go, it's pretty cheap to replace the sling that caught the fall. You can easily re-sling cams and hexes. In my book it's worth the ease of mind for the next time I'm above that piece of gear.


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