December 27, 2009
Lincoln Brigham spends about 15 bucks at the hardware store and braids his way to a 15-foot climbing rope.
Climbing a rope is a tremendously functional way to challenge the grip and pulling muscles, and ropes have long been a staple of CrossFit and military training programs.
Despite the obvious benefits of thick rope work, many CrossFit gyms do not have climbing ropes. In some gyms that do, I’ve heard complaints about the cost and reliability of the equipment. In many CrossFit affiliates, the owners have spliced their own ropes with mixed results. The main complaint with splicing the rope is that, besides the risk of an amateurish splice coming undone, the rope becomes increasingly thick at the top for an inconsistent and sometimes untenable gripping surface.
This article offers a cost-effective do-it-yourself (DIY) solution for making your own climbing rope—and we’ll avoid splicing altogether. The key to this project is taking readily available, inexpensive rope and braiding it into a thicker rope suitable for climbing. We’ll take four long strands of rope and use what is called an “eight-strand square braid.” The neat trick is that by doubling up the four strands, you create a loop at the top that can be used to secure the rope—no splice needed.