What Does Fall Rating Really Mean?
A higher fall rating does not equal a better rope.
As you shop for your next climbing rope, you may come across the specs for "Fall Rating" on the labels. We'd like to help clarify what this specification actually means. Per the UIAA definition, the fall rating is the number of falls the rope held during the certification tests.
This is NOT the number of falls the rope can hold in the real world.
The UIAA Certification test is absurdly severe and not representative of the real world. The test routinely produces forces on the rope well above what we see in practice. In the real world we almost never see forces above 5kN. The impact force we see in the tests typically begin around 9kN on the very first drop and well over 12kN on later drops (remember the drops happen every 5 minutes until the rope fails).
Sterling builds ropes for real-world performance, not to achieve the highest numbers on a test. Our ropes are designed to offer optimal handling, catch and durability all while meeting UIAA standards.
When assessing a rope for retirement and replacement, please follow the rope care guidelines that came with your rope.
Barring any sharp edges or other objective hazards, your rope can and will hold dozens if not hundreds of falls in its lifetime.
For more information about UIAA Safety Standards and what the requirements entail, please visit http://www.theuiaa.org/safety-standards/