In early 2020, the Coronavirus situation surprised the world. In March, we presented the results of a previous study concerning the impact of disinfection on ropes. In this study, semi-static polyamide (i.e. Nylon) ropes were disinfected with a mix of Isopropyl (70%) and tested for their residual strength. This was a one-time test. No significant change in the ropes’ characteristics (diameter, weight, strength, elongation) occurred in these tests. Please find the results below.
This also coincides with the statements made by our fiber suppliers who confirm that, Polyamide fibers are satisfactory resistant to Isopropyl alcohol and disinfection of ropes based on mentioned chemical should not have any negative impact on the ropes.
Later in the year, in the interest of customer safety and as a result of new Covid-19 regulations, climbing gyms around the world were forced to disinfect ropes, holds and equipment at a far more frequent rate, some even after each climber. Gym owners began questioning the impact of all that disinfection on the performance of the ropes. Many of them reached out to us directly for the answer.
In order to answer this question, and to be able to give an official manufacturer’s recommendation concerning frequent disinfection of ropes and its impact on the ropes’ handling, we conducted a second, more specific study. We are ecstatic to be able to share with you the testing procedures and results of that study.
60 climbing simulations and 6 disinfections (after each cycle of 10 climbing simulations) were executed during one day
180 climb/lower simulations and 18 disinfections (after each cycle of 10 simulations) were executed each day during 3 days. The sample dried overnight.
The results of the study showed, that there is NO significant difference in the tested values (impact force at first fall, dynamic elongation, total falls) or in handling characteristics between the new rope and the two disinfected rope samples. Based on these results and the statement of the fiber suppliers, from a manufacturer’s point of view it is acceptable to disinfect a rope multiple times following the instructions below:
The Corona Virus and the Covid-19 disease caused by it are spreading all over the world and bring restrictions in all areas of life. The general recommendations include an avoidance of social contacts by self-quarantine and increased hand hygienic to slow down contagion. MAXIM supports this measures and asks partners and customers to do the same.
Nevertheless, we got some questions, if a disinfection of ropes might be sensible and possible in these times. As we already did some tests on this in the past, we want to share that information with you. But please keep in mind that disinfectants are scarce at the moment and are more urgently needed in other places than for the disinfection of ropes. #stayhome #staysafe
In 2015, MAXIM Climbing Ropes and its parent company, the global rope manufacturer TEUFELBERGER, conducted a study on the “Deliberate Damage of Ropes”. In this study, we tested the impact of different kinds of soiling, washing and abrasion on the rope’s breaking strength. In the arborist business, for example, it is a normal course of business to disinfect the equipment after working in pest-infested regions. Should climbing gyms be doing something similar? Therefore, as part of the study, the impact of disinfecting was also tested. In light of the recent developments, we would like to recall these results and share them with you.
In the study we tested numerous types of ropes and fibers, but to keep the results simple and applicable to climbing gyms we will focus on Nylon kernmantle ropes. The ropes were disinfected one time by being submerged in a solutions of 70% Isopropanol and 30% Distilled Water for 3 minutes and then left to air dry naturally for 48 hours before being tested for their residual strength.
The results show, that there is only a 2-4% decrease in residual strength. However, we did note that the hand and flexibility of the rope does deteriorate after the disinfection.
Based on these results, from MAXIM and TEUFELBERGER’s perspective, it is acceptable to disinfect your climbing ropes in this manner.
We recommend the following when disinfection ropes:
This Data applies to the disinfection of the ropes themselves and does not make any recommendations as to any other procedures or policies for preventing infection in other areas of the gym. You will need to consult gym and climbing gym experts for further recommendations.
Since the impact of Covid-19 is still being studied and further understood, this study represents a point in time test. We are continuing to test and will update this document as new data becomes available.
Please find the PDF of this information here to download: