Standard Test Requirements
Internationally accepted standards guarantee that only safe equipment is allowed to be sold. Naturally each of our ropes not only fulfils, but exceeds both the EU rope norm EN 892, and also the stricter UIAA standards. But what do the various standards and symbols stand for?
The Euro Norms have been especially tailored for products to be standardized. Therefore, a symbol is always accompanied by the number of the norm, (for dynamic ropes – EN 892; for static ropes EN 1891). Products which display the EU norm symbol fulfill the safety requirements and must have passed a production-sample test at a recognized test center.
This symbol shows that the manufacturer recognizes his own responsibility; it is not a quality symbol, but rather a type of passport for that product within the European Union. It means that the EN standards for product security are maintained. The number after the CE symbol (e.g. CE 1023) indicates the batch number or the standard/directive.
Products which display this symbol fulfill the requirement standards of the UIAA. The UIAA, the International Union of Alpine Associations, has for decades pioneered the development of practically oriented standards. Therefore, in most cases, the UIAA-standards are somewhat more stringent than the Euro standards. All Mammut ropes fulfill the most recent UIAA requirements
The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) combines the united world-wide national normative organizations. The ISO Norm 9001 defines overall process rules for Quality Management. They maintain the continuous quality of products and services. Certifying is conducted by an external body for example the B.S.I.
Rope diameter is measured under a 10 kg load. Under test, some ropes on the market clearly deviate from the manufacturer’s data.In practice the diameter has little meaning. Only the clamping effect of particular braking devices or belay devices with thin ropes should be controlled (with back up safety). The advantage of thinner ropes is normally reduced weight and friction.
Weight per Meter
Normal single ropes weigh 51 to 70 grams per meter, half ropes about 45 grams and twin ropes about 40 grams. Just two grams less weight per meter already reduces the pack weight of a 50-meter-rope by 100 grams.
The drop test is the point of most interest. It measures how many standard falls a rope will withstand. The standard fall with a fall factor of 1.75 is an extremely hard one, which very rarely occurs in practical use. A weight of 80 kg (with single and twin ropes) or 55 kg (with half ropes) falls on a single cord (single and half ropes) or doubled cord (twin ropes). Single and half ropes must withstand at least 5 standard falls, a doubled twin rope at least 12. Single ropes, which hold 5-9 standard falls, are designated as standard fall ropes, those with more than 9 falls are designated multifall ropes.The number of falls is a direct measurement of a rope’s safety reserve. No new rope can break from an impact load, assuming good conditions and good rope management. But the efficiency of a rope decreases: aging and wear reduce its strength. Moisture and particularly frost can reduce it by about one or two standard falls.
The impact force is the maximum force which affects the load in a standard fall, when the rope absorbs the fall energy by its elongation. It is the measurement for the «hardness» of the fall. Ropes with higher impact force, when holding the fall, produce a stronger «jolt» in the falling body and on the safety system. In standard tests the impact force for single and twin ropes may not exceed 1200 daN and for half ropes ‹ 800 daN (approx. 800 kp). The practical relevance of the impact force is relatively small because it is measured with the standard static fall test, i.e.: the fall rope is completely fixed. In practice, however, a fall is almost always caught dynamically. Belay devices (Munter, figure eight, ATC, etc.) have a certain rope path, and their attachment to a central point, or on the harness, brings a dynamic effect. Through dynamic belaying a large part of the fall’s energy is dissipated and so the impact force is reduced. Measurements by Mammut of typical sport climbing falls show, that with dynamic belaying the difference in impact force between two different ropes is barely discernable. It’s therefore important to provide a truly dynamic belay.
Working elongation indicates the elasticity of a rope with a static load. A piece of rope preloaded with 5 kg is loaded with 80 kg: elongation may not exceed 10% for single and twin ropes, and 12% for half ropes. Static working elongation mainly assesses comfort when top roping or hauling on big walls. In these cases, it’s annoying when energy is wasted through rope stretch, or if a difficult sequence has been climbed with a top rope and while resting this distance is lost. Elongation is more relevant to safety when falling (see below), because it determines whether the falling body will, for example, shock load a runner. Roughly speaking, a relationship exists between the two values for static and dynamic elongation.
First Fall Elongation
This parameter measures the elongation of the rope during the first standard fall. The maximum permissible elongation with this test is 40%. This dynamic fall elongation indicates the inertial properties of a rope better than the static value of working elongation. With greater elongation danger is increased, due to the fall impact on protection. All Mammut ropes already fulfill the requirements of the (not yet obligatory) EN standard. With values from 28-32% they fall well under the 40% permitted maximum.
For this test a two meter long piece of rope is drawn five times through a test device – a metal drum, with a zigzag shaped, offset rope guide. The sheath and core are then rigorously tested by the milling action of the drum. The sheath may be displaced by a maximum of 20mm If the sheath and core slip during use, the rope can bulge and get lumps. If the ends are carelessly welded the sheath or core can slip out of alignment. With modern climbing ropes sheath slippage hardly ever occurs.
An over hand knot is tightened with a force of 10 daN and then loosened at 1 daN. Afterwards the inside diameter of the knot is allowed to be a maximum of 1.1 times as large as the rope diameter.Knotability is a reference point for the stiffness of a rope: with stiff ropes the knot cannot be as tightly tied, compared with a more supple rope, and the path through the belay device is possibly made more difficult. However, too much value shouldn’t be placed on this measurement, as the suppleness of a rope is also determined by care and the weather.
UIAA water absorption test
The UIAA Safety Commission has been setting safety standards for mountaineering equipment for many years. The new UIAA water absorption test for ropes is the first test to measure and compare the water-repellent properties of ropes.
In a first step, the specimen is scoured with three new M14 nuts. This scouring simulates the wear on the rope as occurs during rock and ice climbing; the quality of the simulation guarantees reliable results. The dry specimen is then weighed.
In a second step, the specimen is soaked in water at a rate of two liters per minute for a period of 15 minutes. After a brief period to drip off, the wet sample is weighed again.
Finally, the difference in weight between the dry and wet samples is calculated as a percentage. Only ropes that increase in weight by 5 % or less can use the UIAA Water Repellent safety label.
Static Ropes according to EN 1891
This European standard defines the requirements for static ropes (low stretch kernmantel ropes)Within the EN 1891 we differentiate between the following rope types:
Ropes intended for use as safety ropes for working at heights (in combination with the relevant equipment) and as rescue ropes. Diameter 10 – 16 mm / Test weight dynamic test 100 kg.
Ropes of smaller diameter and lower strength than Type A. Test weight dynamic test 80 kg. Usually used in combination with specially developed abseiling equipment according to EN 341.
Static breaking strenght
Typ A: ≥ 22 kN
Typ B: ≥ 18 kN
End loop (figure of eight knot):
Typ A: ≥ 15 kN
Typ B: ≥ 12 kN
Rope Elongation at 150 kg
Typ A: ≤ 5%
Typ B: ≤ 5%
Impact Force - fall height 0,6m; fall factor 0,3
Typ A: ≥ 5 / 100 kg
Typ B: ≥ 5 / 80 kg
Falls held - fall height 2m;
fall factor 1
Typ A: ≥ 5 / 100kg
Typ B: ≥ 5 / 80kg
Typ A: 1,2 D
Typ B: 1,2 D
Typ A: ≤ 30mm
Typ B: ≤ 15mm