Buying climbing gear is not normally a casual ordeal. There's a reason stores like REI don't have a drive-through — there is a lot of time, and especially $$money$$ that goes into getting gear, so climbers will definitely use their acquired gear to an inch of its expiration date. But when that old gear eventually does wear out, disposing of it feels like just casually throwing $20s into the garbage disposal. But old, worn climbing gear is not safe, so there's gotta be a way to retire old gear that doesn't put you in mortal danger or consist of just throwing it in a Dumpster, right?
HELL YEAH. Luckily the internet is a wonderful place filled with many crafty people, who have found the solution before you even asked the question. We scoured the internet, and found the best ways of recycling old climbing gear out there. So think of that old manky rope taking up valuable real estate in the back of your closet, and think of the sweet things it could become with a little bit of time and effort!
Best uses for rope:
This one is obvious, and the first thing anyone suggests when you inquire about uses for old ropes. Probably one of the easiest ways to repurpose an old rope, but you can only make so many rope rugs before your house looks Reimer's on a busy Saturday — a bunch of miscoiled and abandoned ropes laying around as far as the eye can see. This tutorial is for a pretty, intricate weave, but you can always do the simple spiral method, so you can continue to add on to your rug, until it's a 30 foot behemoth of the ghosts of climbing trips past!
Turn your old rope into a receptacle for your new one! It'll allow you to still take your trusty (but now unsafe!) old friend out on cragging days, or serve as a mortal reminder to your new rope to bring its A game, lest you turn into a giant sack. Try out this tutorial here, but we would recommend taking the core out of the rope first, so you don't need an industrial sewing machine to get through it.
An easy project that you can hang your books, plants, or action figure collection on! Tutorial here.
If your rope could hold you as you hurtles through the air, then it can probably contain your dog, no matter how crazy he is. A tutorial for a leash here, and we'd say any combination of knots and tennis balls would make a great chew toy.
Little odds n ends
Instead of converting your entire rope into something, you could split it up piece by piece until there's rope creations spread throughout your house. Glue strands on a picture frame that holds a shot from an especially memorable climbing trip, thread rope into drawers to make sweet drawer pulls, or coil and glue little chunks of rope together to make climber coasters. The possibilities are endless ... or at least 70m long.
Please your kids, or relive your childhood! There's a pretty simple tutorial here, but remember — if your old rope is dynamic, it is going to stretch quite a bit when weighted, so make sure you factor that in so you're not dragging your booty on the ground when you hop aboard your new swing.
Bracelets 4 dayz
So you and like, 75 of your friends can rock little pieces of your trusty old rope! Use a hot knife to cut a strip of rope, then pull the core out. Flatten the sheath, wrap around your wrist, carefully melt the ends together, and you've got a brand new bracelet/anklet/permanent belt! If you remember how to macramé, you can tie the core strands together into a sweet nautical looking bracelet.
Seriously — using and old tire, some plywood and a rope, you can make a pretty sweet ottoman, so you have something to put your remote on in between watching Reel Rock Tours and the new Point Break. Tutorial here!
Wrap that old rope around a post, glue it down and you've got something for your cat to take its tiny feline aggression out on!
Sell it on Craigslist for non-climbing purposes
Depending on the state of the rope, while it might not be safe to hold people, someone else might be able to repurpose it for something not climbing-related, like as a tow line, or to hang stuff up in their garage, or to refinish their old tire into an ottoman!
Send it off to be recycled
There are a handful of places in the U.S. that will take your manky old line and recycle it, like this spot here!
What to do with those old shoes?
If the shoes still have some life left in them and aren't totally thrashed, get the rubber resoled. There's a place in Houston that resoles, so you don't have to ship your shoes off to other resolers in Colorado.
Kids climbing programs are sometime looking for donated shoes, so do some research locally to see if anyone is collecting old shoes.
Mad Rock has a program where it will recycle your old Mad Rock shoes for you!
Maybe your old crash pad is totally shot?
There are places to purchase a frame for your crash pad couch, or you can pick up a futon frame on Craigslist and lay your old pad on it!
Step 1: Lay pad on ground. Step 2: Allow dog to lay on pad. Step 3: SUCCESS.
Is your old harness no longer usable?
Summit's very own member Jeline Guiles made this blog post on how to turn your old harness into a belt.
Leg Loop Yoga Mat Carrier
Detach the leg loops from the belt, and sling 'em around your yoga mat!
Sled Dog Harness?
Are you going to the Arctic anytime soon?
Carabiners lost their luster?
Your local scrapyard might pay you cash to recycle your old steel and aluminum biners!
Worst come to worst — if you're ever not sure what to do with old gear, a quick internet search can give you more insight into local recycling / resale / donation options!