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Best Climbing Rope

last updated Sep 21, 2019

When done right, climbing is one of the safest extreme sports. However, properly protecting a climber requires knowledge and skill that must be learned, and if done wrong the consequences are disastrous. The system used to keep climbers safe typically involves two people attached to a single rope. The climber ties into one end of the rope referred to as the sharp end, and the belayer connects themselves further down the rope with a device that creates friction to hold the climber up if they happen to fall. Choosing a climbing rope can be a confusing process that involves a certain amount of knowledge of the sport. That is why we have created this guide to get you started on your research. Take a look at our top picks below.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research

icon
Sterling Slim Gym
96.8/100 our score
Use
98
Features
91
Size
99
Weight
98
Value
98
Sterling Slim Gym
Why is it better?

Cheap price

Great beginner rope

Thick diameter withstands wear and tear

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Sterling Slim Gym
Test Winner: Sterling Slim Gym
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
13
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.4k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Sami Kritz
By Sami Kritz:

This updated list of climbing ropes brings you the best of the best. Our newest addition to this list is the Mammut Eternity. The Eternity is supple, versatile, and offered in many different lengths. In addition, we have added Value as a criterion, added an expert tip, and expanded on some of the FAQ answers.

Sorting Options
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Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Use
98 %
Features
91 %
Size
99 %
Weight
98 %
Value
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$98.45
Backcountry Link
$100.95
See Deal
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Use
97 %
Features
96 %
Size
97 %
Weight
96 %
Value
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Use
96 %
Features
95 %
Size
95 %
Weight
95 %
Value
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$195.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Use
94 %
Features
93 %
Size
94 %
Weight
93 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$139.95
Backcountry Link
$220.00
See Deal
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Use
92 %
Features
91 %
Size
92 %
Weight
92 %
Value
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$234.95
Backcountry Link
$274.95
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Gear Coop
$299.95
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#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Use
91 %
Features
90 %
Size
91 %
Weight
90 %
Value
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Gear Coop
$172.46
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Amazon Link
$229.95
Backcountry Link
$229.95
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#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Use
89 %
Features
90 %
Size
89 %
Weight
88 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Use
88 %
Features
87 %
Size
86 %
Weight
88 %
Value
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Backcountry Link
$125.96
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Amazon Link
$241.95
Gear Coop
$255.95
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Use
87 %
Features
83 %
Size
87 %
Weight
88 %
Value
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.8
Use
78 %
Features
79 %
Size
79 %
Weight
78 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)

Top 10 Picks

1. Sterling Slim Gym

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Sterling Slim Gym Rope
Amazon Link
Use
98
Features
91
Size
99
Weight
98
Value
98
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$98.45
Backcountry Link
$100.95
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Pros:

Cheap price

Great beginner rope

Thick diameter withstands wear and tear

Cons:

For gym climbing only

The Sterling Slim Gym is a thick rope designed to be used in the gym. Coming in shorter lengths, this rope is easier to maneuver on indoor walls that don’t exceed 12 to 15 meters.

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Use
This is a single rope that is specifically designed for sport climbing in an indoor rock gym. This rope has a static elongation of 8.4% and a dynamic elongation of 35.3%. Its impact force is 8.6kN and it is rated to take 6 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope has no extra features.

Size
This rope is available for purchase at 25m, 30m, 100m, and 200m. Each of these lengths are specifically catered to gym climbing. The short lengths are for individuals who wish to pursue sport climbing on short gym walls. Double-check the length of the walls in your gym before purchasing either of these ropes.

Weight
At 30m, this rope weighs 4.2-pounds. The long lengths are made for gym owners, who wish to buy the rope in bulk to set up gym top ropes. The diameter of this rope is 10.1mm, which is thick for a single rope. The thickness of this rope is also ideal for gym climbing, as the thick rope moves less quickly through a belay device and therefore is great for less experienced belayers.

Value
This rope is much cheaper than the average price, however, it only comes at short lengths and doesn’t offer any extra features.

Summary
The Sterling Slim Gym is designed for beginner climbers who sport climb in a gym. The thick diameter will move more slowly through a belay device and is therefore ideal for unpracticed belayers. The thickness of this rope also withstands the stresses of top roping and elongated hangs better than a thin rope.

2. Sterling Evolution Velocity

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Sterling Evolution Velocity Rope
Amazon Link
Use
97
Features
96
Size
97
Weight
96
Value
97
best offer for today
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Pros:

Lightweight

Durable

Can be used for rock and ice climbing

Cons:

The 35mm doesn't have a middle marker and some didn't like this

The Sterling Evolution Velocity is a fantastic rope option for both beginner and novice climbers. Reviewers love the stiff feel and durability of this rope.

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Use
This is a sport and trad version. The impact force of this rope is 8.8kN. It has a static elongation of 8.6% and a dynamic elongation of 26.4%. The Velocity rope is rated to take 6 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope comes with a one year warranty, though we don't think that you will be wanting to return this item. This rope can take quite a beating which makes it ideal for beginners.

Size
The diameter of this rope is pretty standard at 9.8mm. It is only available in 60m or 70m.

Weight
Weighing in at only 62grams, this rope is perfect for climbs where weight and durability are key.

Value
With whichever length you choose, this rope is priced similarly to the other products on this list.

Summary
If you are looking for something lightweight and durable, the Sterling Evolution is a great choice. It's 9.8mm and usable for any long routes and onsighting. The Velocity has a robust, stiff feel to allow for easy clipping. The newly revamped rope has a core that features a sheath construction that is lightweight, but also very durable.

3. BlueWater Icon

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
BlueWater Icon Rope
Amazon Link
Use
96
Features
95
Size
95
Weight
95
Value
96
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$195.95
Pros:

Bicolor available

Dry treated

Very lightweight

Cons:

Not suitable for beginners

The BlueWater Icon is a skinny rope designed to be as lightweight as possible and perfect for advanced climbers. Coming in a variety of different colors, this rope won’t weigh you down as you go for the send on your project or hike deep into the backcountry looking for new cracks.

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Use
This is a single rope and is best used for sport climbing or trad climbing. Its thin diameter makes it a poor choice for top-roping. This rope has a static elongation of 7.2% and a dynamic elongation of 32.7%. Its impact force is 8.8kN and it is rated to take 5 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is available in bicolor options. It is also available as a double-dry treated rope, meaning the sheath and core both repel water.

Size
This rope is available at 60m, 70m, and 80m. It has a diameter of 9.1mm, which is very skinny for a single rope.

Weight
The skinny diameter means this rope is lightweight, but also that it is difficult to handle and requires an attentive and expert belay.

Value
This rope has a price point similar to most other ropes.

Summary
The BlueWater Icon is a great, super lightweight rope ideal for multi-pitch climbs. It also works well for sport climbing, however, due to its super thin diameter repeated falls and long hangs should be kept to a minimum.

4. Petzl Volta

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Petzl Volta Rope
Amazon Link
Use
94
Features
93
Size
94
Weight
93
Value
92
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$139.95
Backcountry Link
$220.00
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Pros:

Certified single, half, and twin rope

Middle mark

Dry treated

Cons:

Not suitable for beginners

The Petzl Volta is a thin, lightweight, all-terrain rope that can be used for basically any type of climbing. The thin diameter does require skill to handle, so this rope is recommended for experienced climbers only.

Read more

Use
This rope is certified as a single, half, or twin rope, making it ideal for basically any type of climbing. The skinny diameter does make it more prone to wear and tear, so try to avoid top roping or other types of climbing where you will hang on the rope repeatedly and for long periods of time. Each rope type that this rope is certified as has its own safety ratings. As a single rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.5%, a dynamic elongation of 33%, an impact force of 8.6kN, and can take 6 UIAA falls. As a half rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.5%, a dynamic elongation of 30%, an impact force of 6.8kN, and can take over 20 UIAA falls. Finally, as a twin rope, this rope has a static elongation of 6%, a dynamic elongation of 26%, an impact force of 10.5kN, and can take over 30 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope has a middle mark that alerts you once you have utilized over half the rope. It is dry treated, so it will repel water in wet conditions, making it a great choice for ice climbing, mountaineering, and multi-pitch climbing.

Size
This rope is available in 30m, 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m, and 100m.

Weight
It has a diameter of 9.2mm, which is lightweight but also makes it more difficult to handle.

Value
This rope is more expensive than most other climbing ropes.

Summary
The Petzl Volta can be used for sport climbing, trad climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering. Its lightweight means it works well on long approaches and multi-pitch climbs. The only areas where this rope is not an appropriate choice is for beginner climbers and top roping.

5. Sterling Fusion Nano IX

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Sterling Fusion Nano IX Rope
Amazon Link
Use
92
Features
91
Size
92
Weight
92
Value
91
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Amazon Link
$234.95
Backcountry Link
$274.95
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Gear Coop
$299.95
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Pros:

Certified single, half, and twin rope

Dry treated

Super lightweight

Cons:

Not recommended for beginners

The Sterling Fusion Nano is a versatile rope that is designed to work well for basically any type of climbing. With a skinny diameter, this rope can be hard to handle and is not recommended for beginners, top-roping, or projecting.

Read more

Use
This rope is certified as a single, half, or twin making it a great choice for ice climbing, multi-pitch trad climbing, and mountaineering. It can also work well for sport climbing and single pitch trad, however, one should avoid taking repeated falls or hanging on this rope for elongated periods of time. Each rope type of this rope is certified and as has its own safety ratings. As a single rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.0%, a dynamic elongation of 26.4%, an impact force of 8.5kN, and can take 6 UIAA falls. As a half rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.0%, a dynamic elongation of 27.6%, an impact force of 6.6kN, and can take over 15 UIAA falls. Finally, as a twin rope, this rope has a static elongation of 3.6%, a dynamic elongation of 25.3%, an impact force of 10.4kN, and can take over 20 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is a dry rope and is available for purchase with a DryCore technology, which treats the core but not the sheath, or DryXP technology, which treats the entire rope and guarantees less than 5% water absorption. This rope is also available as a bicolor rope, which means the pattern changes at the halfway mark, making it easy to tell exactly where you are on the rope.

Size
This rope is available in 30m, 40m, 50, 60m, 70m, and 80m. The bicolor version is only available at the lengths of 60m, 70m, and 80m.

Weight
This rope has a diameter of 9.0mm, which is very skinny and should only be handled by expert climbers.

Value
This rope is on the pricier side for climbing ropes.

Summary
The Sterling Fusion Nano is a multi-purpose rope that is a great choice for almost every kind of climbing. The very thin diameter makes it extremely lightweight, and its tripe rating makes it a great choice for ice climbing, multi-pitch climbs, and mountaineering.

6. Petzl Arial

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Petzl Arial Rope
Amazon Link
Use
91
Features
90
Size
91
Weight
90
Value
91
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Pros:

Dry treated

Has a middle mark

Lightweight

Cons:

Thin diameter makes it harder to handle

The Petzl Arial comes in two different colors so that you can pick the one that fits your style best. Bright orange will help you stand out at the crag, while a deep brown will stop the rope from showing dirt. Do be aware that dark-colored ropes tend to get hot in the sun, which can become a hassle for the belayer.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top-roping, and trad climbing. This rope has a static elongation of 7.6% and a dynamic elongation 32%. Its impact force is 8.8kN, and it is rated to withstand 7 UIAA drops.

Features
This rope is dry treated, and will, therefore, repel water if it gets wet. A middle mark at the center of the rope alerts the belayer when they have lowered past the halfway mark.

Size
This rope can be purchased at 60m, 70m, and 80m. Think carefully about the length you need before buying a rope, since extra length never hurts but not enough could mean you come off the end.

Weight
This rope has a diameter of 9.5mm, making it thinner than most ropes but also more lightweight.

Value
The price for this rope is average for what one should expect to pay for this type of product.

Summary
The thinner diameter on the Petzl Arial makes it a lighter weight rope. This is especially helpful if you plan to buy it at the length of 80m.

7. Mammut Infinity

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Mammut Infinity Rope
Amazon Link
Use
89
Features
90
Size
89
Weight
88
Value
90
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Pros:

Dry treated

Lightweight

Easy for beginners

Cons:

Thin diameter makes it harder to handle

The Mammut Infinity is an all-around great rope that can be used for a variety of climbing styles. With a diameter that is on the thin side, this rope is also lightweight and won’t weigh you down on a long approach.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope, which means it is best for sport climbing, top roping, and trad climbing. The static elongation on this rope is 6.5% and the dynamic elongation is 30%. The impact force of this rope is 8.4kN and it is rated to withstand 7 to 8 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is dry treated, meaning it will repel water when it gets wet. This makes it a good choice for ice climbers and multi-pitch climbers who prefer to use a single rope.

Size
This rope can be bought at the standard lengths of 60m, 70m, and 80m, meaning you can cater the length to your needs.

Weight
It has a diameter of 9.5mm, which makes it thinner than most other single ropes. This is an advantage if you are looking for a lightweight rope, but does mean that it will slide more quickly through a belay device.

Value
This rope is on the cheaper end for what one can expect to pay.

Summary
The Mammut Infinity is a great rope for sport climbing or single and multi-pitch trad. Although it will also work well for top-roping, its thin diameter means it will fray more quickly, and repeated hangs may compromise the rope after some time.

8. BlueWater Lightning Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
BlueWater Lightning Pro Rope
Amazon Link
Use
88
Features
87
Size
86
Weight
88
Value
89
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Amazon Link
$241.95
Backcountry Link
$125.96
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$255.95
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Pros:

Dry treated

Bicolor

A standard diameter for free climbing

Cons:

It doesn't come with a bag

The BlueWater Lightning Pro is a fantastic rope that comes with a plethora of great extra features. It can be purchased in multiple colors and at multiple lengths, so the rope can cater specifically to your style and needs.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top-roping, and trad climbing. This rope has a static elongation of 8.9% and a dynamic elongation of 32.2%. Its impact force is 7.8kN and it is rated to take 8 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is available for purchase with or without multiple extra features. It can be bought with a double-dry water-resistant coat that protects both the sheath and core from getting wet. The double-dry version is also available in a bicolor pattern, that shifts at the half-way mark.

Size
This rope is available for purchase at 60m and 70m.

Weight
It has a diameter of 9.7mm, which is average for sport ropes.

Value
The price for this rope is similar to that of other climbing ropes.

Summary
The BlueWater Lightning Pro is available with or without dry treatment or a bicolor pattern. This makes it very customizable to your needs and your budget.

9. Mammut Eternity

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Mammut Eternity Climbing Rope
Amazon Link
Use
87
Features
83
Size
87
Weight
88
Value
86
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Pros:

Many lengths available

Great and supple hand feel

Lifetime warranty

Versatile

Cons:

The rope kinks sometimes

Not dry treated

The Eternity will last you a lifetime, thanks to the lifetime guarantee and overall durability. It has a great hand-feel and is available in many different lengths. If style and color is something that is important to you, you'll be able to choose from violet and white or neon orange and violet.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope, but still quite versatile. Its best uses include sport, trad, gym, or an occasional multi-pitch climb. It has a static elongation of 5.5%, a dynamic elongation of 31%, and an impact force of 8.5kN. It is rated to withstand 8-9 UIAA falls.

Features
The flexibility of this rope is very impressive. It has been described by many as “supple” and provides secure braking when descending with a belay. The middle of the rope comes pre-marked, providing extra security when rappelling. This rope is not dry treated.

Size
Are you ready for this? We haven’t seen many ropes that are available in such a wide range of lengths. Depending on where you shop, you can find this rope in lengths of 40m-320m. Most popularly, you’ll find it offered in lengths of 40m, 50m, 60m, 70m, or 80m.

Weight
The diameter of this rope is 9.8mm. This is the most common and versatile size in the climbing world. As mentioned before, this rope is lighter than some of its competitors. It weighs 64-grams per meter.

Value
The price of this rope varies, depending on the length. However, it is priced quite averagely and also comes with a lifetime warranty from Mammut.

Summary
Whether you are a professional or a beginner, the Eternity is a great product to have in your arsenal of climbing gear. It has a great hand feel, is versatile, and comes with a lifetime warranty. While there have been slight issues with the rope kinking, it is not enough to keep us from loving this addition.

10. Edelrid Boa

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.8
Edelrid Boa Rope
Amazon Link
Use
78
Features
79
Size
79
Weight
78
Value
80
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Pros:

Has middle markers

A standard diameter for free climbing

Eco-friendly

Cons:

Unreliable colors

The Edelrid Boa 9.8 is a versatile and sturdy rope that comes in an assortment of multipatterned attractive colors. This rope has been called the "Rope of the year" and has been featured in UK's Climber magazine.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top-roping, and trad climbing. This rope has a static elongation of 9.3% and a dynamic elongation of 32%. Its impact force is 8.8kN and it has been rated to take 7 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is not dry treated, and therefore, is not recommended for snowy or rainy use. All lengths of this rope feature a middle marker with two black lines. All of Edelrid's ropes are finished with "thermo shield" treatment. This helps to maintain the integrity of the ropes and keeps them functioning like new with each use. If you are eco-conscious, you will also appreciate that this rope is Bluesign approved and manufactured with 89% less water and 63% fewer chemicals.

Size
This rope can be bought at 40m, 60m, 70m, and 200m. Only use the 40m rope for gym climbing, or if you are absolutely certain that the climb you are getting on is less than 15m in length.

Weight
The diameter of this rope is 9.8mm, which is the standard width for sport climbing ropes.

Value
This rope is priced on par with other similar products.

Summary
The Edelrid Boa is an amazing option. Users love the smooth feeling, diameter, and slack. The only complaint that we have dug up on this rope is the fact that the color you order may not be the same color that arrives on your doorstep. Each rope is made from recycled yarn and the color patterns will vary.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

There are three different types of rope that one can buy: single ropes, half ropes, and twin ropes. Although these types of rope look similar, each goes through a different process for being properly rated. Only use a rope in the style for which it has been intended and tested.

Single
Single ropes are the most common style of rope. The name ”single” indicates that these ropes are meant to be used on their own without any other ropes for protection. These ropes are most commonly used in sports climbing, trad climbing, big wall climbing, and top-roping. When using a single rope the climber ties into one rope and then attaches this rope to quickdraws, cams, or nuts as they climb. These ropes have a diameter of 9mm or larger and are denoted by a number “1” found at the end of the rope.

Half
Half ropes are meant to be used with another rope. When climbing with a twin rope the climber ties into two ropes and then alternates attaching each rope to their protection. Typically they will use one rope for protection that is located to their left and the other rope for protection that is located to their right. This style of rope is typically used for used for ice climbing and mountaineering to create redundancy in protection, and on wandering multi-pitch routes to decrease rope drag. These ropes have a diameter of 8 – 9mm and are denoted by a “1/2” symbol on each end.

Twin
Finally, twin ropes are used in tandem with another rope, hence the name “twin”. For this system, a climber again ties into two ropes, but unlike the half rope system, both ropes are placed in every piece of protection. These ropes can be even skinnier than half ropes, with some having a diameter of less than 8mm. Twin ropes are used in ice climbing, mountaineering, and on multi-pitch routes that do not wander. They are denoted by the infinity symbol on each end.

Features

A great extra feature that is becoming more common is dry treatment on ropes, which prevents a rope from taking on water if it becomes wet. Dry treatment is not especially important for sports climbers or single pitch trad climbers, who typically stop climbing if it begins to rain, but it integral for multi-pitch climbers and ice climbers.

Multi-pitch climbers can’t hide from the rain and therefore need a rope that won’t get soaked through when wet. Water doesn’t damage but will make it much heavier and more difficult to manage. This is even more important for ice climbers, who climb in freezing temperatures. If their rope takes on water there is the added danger that it will freeze, making it stiff and stopping it from functioning properly.

Size

The standard diameter is 9.8mm. This width strikes a good balance between ease of movement through your belay device but does not move so quickly that it can be hard to handle for inexperienced belayers. This width is also light enough that it will weigh the climber down as they climb, and knots are easy to tie.

In general, thicker ropes are easier to manage for beginners, while thinner ropes require more skill. When picking rope diameter, another consideration is the length of the approach and the length of the climb. If you are going to be walking a distance to get to your climb, a thinner lighter rope is desirable. This is also true if you will be doing multi-pitch climbs or mountaineering, where you will have to carry your rope up hundreds or thousands of feet of elevation gain.

Weight

Cutting down weight by choosing a thinner rope is also important since rope length is never an area where less is more. Choosing a rope that is long enough for the climbs you want to do is crucial, since a to short rope may cause a climber to repel off the end, or for the rope to slip out of the belay device, rendering the system useless and causing the climber to fall.

Before getting on a climb always remember that your rope must be two times as long as the climb – reaching the top may be the goal, but a rope is useless if it can’t get you safely back on the ground. For most climbs a 60m meter rope will be sufficient, however more and more longer routes are being put up these days.

If you can afford it, buy an 80m rope. With a rope of this length, you will be able to confidently get on almost any climb. Still, always double-check the length of a route. As an extra precaution always also tie a knot at the end of your rope, that way even if a mistake is made your climber won’t fall.

Value

As a climber, you know that all of this equipment can add up. For that reason, when we determined the value of each rope, we looked at more than just the price. We considered the versatility, durability, length, and overall feel of the rope. Nobody wants to invest in something that won’t last or simply isn’t worth the price.

A great way to keep your ropes in great shape is to protect them by investing in a rope bag. This type of bag will keep the ropes from accumulating dirt and grime, therefore extending their durability and overall value.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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expert tips icon
Rope Type

Half ropes and twin ropes systems require expertise to handle and are not appropriate for most free climbing endeavors. However, in ice climbing, mountaineering, and big wall climbs these systems provide more safety as there is a second rope that can work to catch your fall if an ice screw fails or a rock severs one of the ropes. These systems also allow for longer repels, since the two ropes can be tied together once the climber reaches the top. Some ropes are certified as single, half, and twin ropes. If this is the case, make sure to inspect the safety ratings carefully, as users will have been tested differently and therefore will have different numbers.

Standard or Dry Treated

Dry treated ropes are finished with a special treatment that makes them less absorbent. In turn, this increases their durability by making them water and dirt-resistant. Especially if you are climbing in the snow (or rain), dry treated ropes are important. However, if you do all or most of your climbing indoors, a standard rope will save you money and suit you just fine.

Other Factors to Consider

Safety Hazards

Every rope that is on the market is tested for safety in the same way. The governing body that administers these tests is the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme or the UIAA. The first test that they do is for static elongation. The percentage that appears on a rope is how much that rope stretches when an 80kg weight is placed at the end of the rope.

For single and twin ropes, static elongation may not exceed 10%, while for half ropes it may not exceed 12%. The second test is for dynamic elongation, which is the percentage a rope stretches after taking a fall. To achieve this number weights are dropped onto each type of rope. Single ropes are dropped with an 80kg weight, half ropes are dropped with a 55kg weight, and twin ropes are dropped with an 80kg weight on two strands. Dynamic elongation on a rope may not exceed 40% of the length of the rope.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What kinds of ropes are there?

a:

When choosing ropes, you have the option between single, half, twin, and static. Here is the rundown of each kind:

Single ropes are good for sport climbing, trad climbing, and big walls. This type of rope is called single, because it has been created to be used by itself (not with another rope). A large majority of climbers tend to use this kind of rope. To recognize a single rope, you will see a one on each end of it.

Half ropes tend to be utilized for mountaineering and ice climbing, as well as trad climbing on multi-pitch rock situations. Half ropes are used with another rope. The proper use of the half rope means that there will be a reduction in rope drag. This is useful for wandering routes.

Twin ropes are best for non-wandering multi-pitch routes and mountaineering and ice climbing. Twin ropes are used with another rope. When repelling, tie the two ropes together, and this will allow you to go further than a single rope would. These ropes tend to need a skilled climber who knows how to use them.

Static ropes are great for rescue climbs and caving. They can also be used for climbing fixed lines, hauling loads and ascenders. These ropes can be used in situations when you don’t want the rope to stretch. For example, if you are hauling a load up, or if you are lowering another climber, you would want a rope that doesn’t stretch, so this would be a good option.

q: What is the best diameter for your rope?

a:

8.9-9.55mm ropes are considered to be thin ropes, and they are good for situations where weight is critical, like steep sport climbs. These are usually favored for their lightweight, making them great for long multi-pitch climbs. However, thin ropes also have downsides. They tend to be less durable, less easy to grab, and have a lower UIAA fall rating. They also slide through belay devices much faster, meaning that you will need to have an experienced and concentrated partner when using a thin rope.

The most popular diameter of a single rope is 9.8mm. These ropes tend to be very versatile, decently durable, and easier to use. However, the thicker the rope, the easier it is to grab. For example, a 10.2-10.7mm rope will offer a quicker grip. Not to mention, a thicker rope is also easier to lock into your belay systems. Thick ropes are also known for being more durable than thin ropes.

This style is best suited for gym climbing or top-roping, which puts quite a strain on the ropes. You should always pay close attention to the wear and tear of your rope, no matter the thickness. On average, lead-climbing ropes range from about 9.8mm to 10.2mm in diameter. And you can’t really go wrong with a rope in this range, but finding the particular rope diameter that hits the comfort spot for you is a personal choice that takes some safe trial and error.

Now, most of this information applies to single ropes. The average diameter of half and twin ropes is different. A half rope typically has a diameter of 8 or 9mm, and a twin rope is most frequently seen with a diameter of 7 or 8mm thick. As you can see, these styles of ropes are thinner and will most likely wear out faster. However, they allow you to tackle more technical and wandering terrains.

q: What affects the price of a climbing rope?

a:

Prices are most readily affected by the length of the rope you choose. At times, as we all know, you also end up paying for the brand name that comes with a product. However, many of these big brands also offer warranties with their products, making them much more valuable.

Logically, the longer the rope that you buy is, the more it will cost. Prices also change depending on which extra features you purchase. For example, a rope with dry treatment and in a bicolor pattern will be much more expensive than the same rope that doesn’t include these features. Finally, skinnier ropes tend to be more specialized and therefore more expensive than thicker ropes.

q: What are some extra features to look into?

a:

There are a few extra features that can be found on climbing ropes that make a big deal in terms of safety and performance. First and foremost are middle marks, which are typically black lines in the center of the rope that alert the belayer once they have fed out over half the rope. Even better than this are bicolor ropes, which change the pattern of their design at the halfway mark. Both of these features allow the belayer to know if there will not be enough rope before it becomes a major problem. Some ropes also change patterns near both ends.

q: What type of safety precautions does this type of rope help with?

a:

Lower numbers for dynamic elongation are desirable if you wish to prevent a large fall. However, a longer fall means a softer catch since rope stretch slows you down before reaching the bottom of the fall. This also means the climber will experience less impact force. The lower the number is for impact force, the more comfortable a fall will be. Therefore, although it may seem like a good idea to buy a rope with as little dynamic elongation as possible, in reality, more dynamic elongation makes for safer makes for safer climbing.

Sources

  1. Ed Celesa, BEST CLIMBING ROPES OF 2019, Blog
  2. Robin Gilmore, 10 Best Climbing Ropes, Buying Guide
  3. Kate Sedrowski, BEST CLIMBING ROPES OF 2019, Outdoors Blog
  4. N/A, How to Choose Climbing Rope, Climbing Safety Site