Moldy Rope

Discuss vertical caving, equipment, & techniques. Also visit the NSS Vertical Section.

Moderator: Tim White

Moldy Rope

Postby gindling » Jun 8, 2013 9:39 am

So here is a picture of some PMI Pit Rope that was left rigged in a cave and when we returned two months later this is what it looked like.


Image

Image

So someone said that rope manufacturers used to use an organic lubricant when making the rope and this would happen (this is older rope) and that they changed to a non organic one. But then I got some new PMI webbing and after one month in the cave it also looked like this. The cave is pretty dry and around mid 40 something degrees. Anyone have a similar experience? None of my project ropes or any other pre-rigged project ropes I have seen in this cave or any other have ever had this growth.
User avatar
gindling
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 17, 2008 3:40 pm
Location: Montana
NSS #: 53629
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto
  

Re: Moldy Rope

Postby Scott McCrea » Jun 8, 2013 9:51 am

I'm no mold expert, but I believe mold only grows on something it can eat. Were you eating tacos while rigging that rope?

I doubt there is any structural damage to the rope, but it is nasty. I would bag it, take it out and clean it.

Cool pics, too!
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
User avatar
Scott McCrea
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:07 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA
NSS #: 40839RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flittermouse Grotto
  

Re: Moldy Rope

Postby gindling » Jun 8, 2013 8:30 pm

I'm more of the Chinese buffet caver, so maybe some General Tsao's on that trip, but alas I remember I forgot all my food the day I left the webbing, and the rope was left by another survey team. And its all over the rope, not just on the knot where it would have been handled predominately. We could leave it in there to spook the new cavers with.
User avatar
gindling
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 17, 2008 3:40 pm
Location: Montana
NSS #: 53629
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto
  

Re: Moldy Rope

Postby hunter » Jun 10, 2013 7:27 pm

I have seen this sort of behavior on numerous ropes and pieces of flagging tape, both recently and on ropes that have been in cave for close to 20 years. My understanding is that the mold likes one of the lubricants used in the manufacturing process and that washing the rope before hand mostly alleviates this problem.
hunter
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sep 9, 2005 9:47 am
Location: New Mexico
  

Re: Moldy Rope

Postby glen » Feb 7, 2014 5:16 pm

I realize this is an old thread but to me that looks more like bacteria than it does mold, and lots of bacteria produce acid of one sort or another. I guess as long as the rope isn't bearing any real weight it should be okay, if a little nasty. Just don't get any on your weight-bearing nylon.

For those that have ropes or webbing in caves that look like this, collect a good bit of the goop in a clean glass container and test the pH. If the pH is super low then it most likely is acid-producing bacteria. Or, if you're in the field and have a hammer, you could just powder some dry limestone (very fine powder works best) and then put the goop on it. If it is acidic then the limestone powder will fizz a little.
glen
New Poster
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 7, 2014 4:58 pm
  

Re: Moldy Rope

Postby gindling » Feb 13, 2014 10:08 am

That is something I'll have to try. Thanks for the idea Glen.
User avatar
gindling
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 17, 2008 3:40 pm
Location: Montana
NSS #: 53629
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto
  


Return to On Rope!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users