Rated Rope for Critical Uplines


I'm a huge advocate for using rated rope for uplines. To read more about specific materials I recommend, check out this page. In some sections of the bondage community, using rated rope for uplines is the default and almost a given (in some spaces, it is part of the suspension rules or guidelines); in other areas, I've found that people have never heard of the concept of rated uplines, nor thought twice about using whatever rope they prefer for harnesses as uplines, too.

Self-suspension (and suspension in general) has many unavoidable risks... and also some risks that are imminently avoidable. Weak uplink material seems to me to fit squarely into the "avoidable risk" category.

Suspending yourself with a unrated uplines gives you a very small margin for error. Many factors – inattention to rope wear, lack of maintenance, using tie-off techniques that put extra strain on the rope, or just being a larger-bodied person – can chip away even more at that small margin. If you erode away at a tiny safety margin bit by bit, it doesn’t take much before your margin is entirely gone and something tragic happens.

Yes, in most cases your jute upline will not break, and there are ways to make using unrated uplines less risky (avoiding “burning the bight,” carefully checking your rope before each use, hanging tranquillity in the rope rather than tossing around, etc). But, do you want to spend your mental energy in scene nurturing and fussing over the small margin for error provided by your 5mm jute uplines? Or would that mental space perhaps be better used elsewhere?

Personally, I prefer to have a large, forgiving margin for error, rather than playing a high-stakes game with no room for miscalculation. I don’t do peaceful scenes where I’m floating quietly in rope, I do ridiculous circus shit where I'm flipping around imposing shock loads… and I weigh quite a bit more than the Japanese bondage models for whom jute uplines are a popular choice.

You can think of risk as something you budget for. Risk is never going to be completely eliminated, so you decide what risks are worth it to you, and how much total risk you’re willing to tolerate. I tend to be on the conservative end of the risks tolerance spectrum, and I can only offer information based on what seems reasonable and responsible from my point of view.

Shay, photo by The_Silence, taken at  Twisted Windows

Shay, photo by The_Silence, taken at Twisted Windows