When checking out TradGirl's site and many, many others; here is the general standard that rope companies and the UIAA have determined the time frame to be to retire rope...
- 6 months to 1 year if used heavily (guiding or lead climbing almost daily)
- Up to 2 years if used on a semi-regular basis (every weekend or every other weekend)
- Up to 4 years if used only occasionally (every few months/several times a year)
Here is a checklist of things to do before using your rope for the season...
1. Inspect rope for fraying and tearing.
2. Check your daily-use log to make sure you are not over-using the rope. Checking if it has suffered from any big falls, fast rappels, or too much time in a hot place is critical because all of these factors alone can substantially weaken the rope, not to mention all together.
3. Check for thinning spots in the rope. If one part of the rope feels a little softer than other parts or has an hourglass shape to it, it might be time to retire.
4. Check for hardening spots in the rope. Yes, check for this as well as thin spots. Hardened spots indicate that the rope has been in the sun for too long.
5. Check the age of the rope. Even if it is a rope that sits in storage for 5 years, it will lose it's elasticity and durability.
Remember if you are at all in doubt of the condition of your rope DON'T CLIMB ON IT. Your life is worth way more than $200.