There are a lot of things you can do with an old climbing rope you can upcycle or recycle. You can use loose ends for tying off gear, get crafty and make rugs or doormats along with anything else you can creatively think off.
Climbing Rope DIY Projects
1# Climbing Rope Rug/Mat
One of the classics uses for rope after it’s been retired is furniture. In a couple of short hours, you can weave your rope into a rug or mat. All you need to get started is your retired rope and a lighter. Sierra offers a great guide on how to do all this so check out the video here.
2# Climbing Keychain
A climbing key chain is a great small gift for your partner or loved one it doesn’t take much rope to create and the image made by Kris Everaet a YouTuber who creates small animals with paracord/rope. Kris is able to use his rope weaving skills to create all sorts of animals so I would recommend checking out his channel where he shows you step by step how to make the different animals. Most videos take around 30 minutes and are a great way to get rid of old rope.
3# Rope Wine Bottle Holder
It’s no secret that climbers like to have a beer or a glass of wine after a long day pulling and grunting down at the crag. I use the excuse that it numbs the finger pain. A wine bottle holder made of rope is the perfect companion for this after climbing activity. Its easily made by coiling your rope and securing it in place with a glue gun.
4# Rope Chalk Bag
Chalk is one of the lifelines of climbing and helps those with sweaty mitts to stay on the wall. One good use for an old rope is to convert it to a chalk bag not only will it help you save money but its also fun to make.
If you are looking where to get started Climbing.com has a great guide that will help you make the bag. While not specifically for a rope chalk bag it will at least get you started.
5# Climbing Rope Coaster
One of the more simple options available is just a regular drinks coaster. These are usually the easiest to make and works best with skinny ropes.
If you are looking to make your own you can find a simple and easy to follow the guide here.
6# Old Climbing Rope Beer koozies
Sierra Offer a great video guide on how you can turn your old useless rope into a beer koozie. Great for camping trips or outdoor BBQs or even after a day at the crag.
7# Dog Leash
A lot of people are seeing success in turning old climbing rope into a dog lead as climbing rope needs to withstand falls its already an incredibly durable material which makes it perfect for a dog leash. You can check out a simple guide here
8# Dog Toy
While we are on the topic of dogs you can also turn your used or old rope into a toy for your little furry pal. These make great tug of war toys for your good boys/girls and can easily be made yourself. If you are looking for ideas or just want to purchase one a company called Chews on Belay offers a range of recycled rope toys.
I think this is one of the better ways to use up your old rope as these toys tend to last a long time and are much cheaper than the store.
9# Rope Furniture
Rope furniture requires a little more work along with dedication and usually a fair bit more rope than the other options, but it can leave with you a unique and stylish new couch.
Along with couches people have made all sorts of crazy furniture including stools, benches, hammocks, and beds.
10# Rope Ladders
If you are looking for something more adventurous to make then a rope ladder might be perfect. You can use it to scale cliffs, trees, or pretty much anything you can think of. It’s probably best if you combine your climbing skills to ensure you climb the ladder when top-roped as shown In the image remember safety third.
If you are looking for a guide on how to make your own ladder you can find one here
#11 Rope Bag
This one requires a little more sewing skills than the previous options as it requires you to pull out the core of the rope and sew the ropes sheaths together. It does create however a fashionable bag that can be handy for walks hikes or just a trip to the supermarket. You may need to buy a buckle or two to finish the design off.
12# Jump Rope
For climbers who are only dedicated to training a jump rope can make a good warmup or warm down tool. Fairly simple to make and something that could help your climbing, it’s a great choice to turn your old rope into. All you need to do is cut the rope to length, burn and tape the ends and then attach some handles.
13# Climbing Rope Shelf
If you are looking for somewhere to store your climbing gear then you could make a rope shelf. Rope shelves are an incredibly useful way to get rid of your old rope and Lemon Thistle wrote an easy to follow guide with step by step instructions on how to do it.
Perfect for making a gear rack or just somewhere to store bits and bobs. It fits great in the office or bathroom.
This one might take you a little longer than the others and you may need some hooks and some wooden shelves.
#14 Picture Frame
I’m sure we all have tons of action shots of ourselves climbing that we would love to display and what better way than a climbing rope picture frame.
As this takes up such little rope it can be used as an additional extra or something you use any leftover rope ends for.
#15 Donate Your Old Climbing Rope
If you are not the crafty type or up to some DIY you can always donate your rope to a good cause. If you check with your local climbing gym or mountaineering groups its likely they already have a charity set up.
Alternatively, company’s like Patagonia and Sterling Rope offer recycling programs, you can send your rope to them and they will grind or melt the rope into nylon pellets that can then be used to make a variety of different products such as carpet fiber, fleece, telephones, skateboards, and dog toys to name a few.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with an old climbing rope?
You can turn the old climbing rope into various different items such as a dog leash or maybe a rug? Your creativity is the limit.
How do you make cool things with a rope?
You can check out the guides in this post to come up with some ideas for cool items you can make from your old rope.
Does climbing rope expire?
Most ropes have a life of 10 years even if not used so its important to check your regularly for any damage.
How do you harden a rope?
Stiffing rope can be useful when turning you rope into something more useful after its not longer safe to climb on. You can stiffen your rope by using cornstarch and water and soaking the rope in this thick mixture.