Historically, climbers and mountaineers protected themselves using ropes woven from hemp or other natural fibers. While those ropes were strong, they were very rigid. A relatively short fall could result in a broken back. Kernmantle ropes have a fundamentally different design that is just as strong but also highly dynamic, to absorb those impacts and spring back. Because climbers could survive longer falls, they were free to take larger risks.

A Kernmantle Rope

Like ropes, risk management plans are most valuable when they are strong but flexible. The flexibility permits big risks to be taken while the strength assures that failed bets won’t sink the enterprise.