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Best Climbing Rope

last updated Jun 03, 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
98.5/100 our score
Features
98
Size
99
Weight
99
Safety Hazards
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
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Researched Sources
13
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.4k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Melissa Coleiro
By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for climbing ropes has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products to help keep your safe while climbing. A great climbing rope to keep your eye on is the Sterling Slim Gym. We love this climbing rope because it is known for being a great beginner rope and having a thick diameter which helps withstand wear and tear as you climb.

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#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.5
Features
98 %
Size
99 %
Weight
99 %
Safety Hazards
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$98.45
Backcountry Link
$100.95
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#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Features
97 %
Size
96 %
Weight
97 %
Safety Hazards
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Gear Coop
$173.95
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$199.95
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$234.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.3
Features
96 %
Size
95 %
Weight
95 %
Safety Hazards
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Backcountry Link
$169.95
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$195.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
Features
94 %
Size
93 %
Weight
94 %
Safety Hazards
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Backcountry Link
$130.00
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$139.95
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Features
92 %
Size
91 %
Safety Hazards
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
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$234.95
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$234.95
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$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.
90.5
Features
91 %
Size
90 %
Weight
91 %
Safety Hazards
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
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$229.95
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$229.95
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$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
Features
89 %
Size
90 %
Weight
89 %
Safety Hazards
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Backcountry Link
$109.95
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$199.95
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$199.95
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#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Features
88 %
Size
87 %
Weight
86 %
Safety Hazards
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Backcountry Link
$167.95
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$241.95
Gear Coop
$255.95
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#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Features
82 %
Size
83 %
Weight
82 %
Safety Hazards
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$156.97
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Features
78 %
Size
79 %
Weight
79 %
Safety Hazards
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Backcountry Link
$109.95
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Amazon Link
$179.95

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.
98.5
Sterling Slim Gym
Amazon Link
Features
98
Size
99
Weight
99
Safety Hazards
98
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$98.45
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$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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Rope Type

This is a single rope that is specifically designed for sport climbing in an indoor rock gym.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

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.

The long lengths are made for gym owners, who wish to buy 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 thick rope moves less quickly through a belay device and therefore is great for less experienced belayers.

Extra Features

This rope has no extra features.

Price

This rope is much cheaper than the average price for climbing ropes, 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.
96.5
Sterling Evolution Velocity
Amazon Link
Features
97
Size
96
Weight
97
Safety Hazards
96
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$234.95
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$173.95
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$199.95
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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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Rope Type

This is a sport and trad climbing rope.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

The diameter of this rope is pretty standard at 9.8mm. It is only available in 60m or 70m. Weighing in at only 62grams, this rope is perfect for climbs where weight and durability are key.

Extra 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.

Price

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.
95.3
BlueWater Icon
Amazon Link
Features
96
Size
95
Weight
95
Safety Hazards
95
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$195.95
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$169.95
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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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Rope Type

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.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

This rope is available at 60m, 70m, and 80m. It has a diameter of 9.1mm, which is very skinny for a single rope. The skinny diameter means this rope is lightweight, but also that it is difficult to handle and requires an attentive and expert belay.

Extra 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.

Price

This rope has a price point similar to most other climbing 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.
93.5
Petzl Volta
Amazon Link
Features
94
Size
93
Weight
94
Safety Hazards
93
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$139.95
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$130.00
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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.

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Rope Type

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.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

This rope is available in 30m, 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m, and 100m. It has a diameter of 9.2mm, which is lightweight but also makes it more difficult to handle.

Extra 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.

Price

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.
91.7
Sterling Fusion Nano IX
Amazon Link
Features
92
Size
91
Safety Hazards
92
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$234.95
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$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

Rope Type

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.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

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

Extra 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.

Price

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.
90.5
Petzl Arial
Amazon Link
Features
91
Size
90
Weight
91
Safety Hazards
90
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$229.95
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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

Rope Type

This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top roping, and trad climbing.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

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

Extra 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.

Price

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
Mammut Infinity
Amazon Link
Features
89
Size
90
Weight
89
Safety Hazards
88
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$199.95
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$109.95
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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.

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Rope Type

This is a single rope, which means it is best for sport climbing, top roping, and trad climbing.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

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

Extra 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.

Price

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

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.
87.3
BlueWater Lightning Pro
Amazon Link
Features
88
Size
87
Weight
86
Safety Hazards
88
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$241.95
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$167.95
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Pros:

Dry treated

Bicolor

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.

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Rope Type

This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top roping, and trad climbing.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

This rope is available for purchase at 60m and 70m. It has a diameter of 9.7mm, which is average for sport climbing ropes.

Extra 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.

Price

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. Beal Booster III

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Beal Booster III
Amazon Link
Features
82
Size
83
Weight
82
Safety Hazards
81
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$156.97
Pros:

Dry treated

Low price< Standard diameter for free climbing

Cons:

Only comes in one length

The Beal Booster III is an economical choice for a climbing rope. The lower price does not mean that you are sacrificing anything in terms of weight, safety, or features though.

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Rope Type

This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top roping, and trad climbing.

Safety Rating

This rope has a dynamic elongation of 38% and a static elongation of 9.7%. The impact force on this rope is 7.3kN and it is rated to withstand 7 to 8 UAII falls.

Diameter and Length

This rope can be bought at the length of 70m, which will get you up most sport climbs with plenty of room to spare. It has a diameter of 9.7mm, which is within the average for lightweight single ropes.

Extra Features

The sheath on this rope is dry treated, meaning it will repel water keeping the rope dry even in the rain. This makes it a good choice for multi-pitch climbs.

Price

This rope comes at a low price compared to similar products.

Summary

With a standard diameter for free climbing and a great price, the Beal Booster III makes for a great rope for someone just starting to climb outside. High dynamic elongation creates soft falls, and the thickness also makes this rope a decent choice for top roping.

10. Edelrid Boa

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Edelrid Boa
Amazon Link
Features
78
Size
79
Weight
79
Safety Hazards
78
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Pros:

Has middle markers

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

Rope Type

This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top roping, and trad climbing.

Safety Rating

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.

Diameter and Length

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

Extra 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.

Price

This rope is priced on par with other similar products.

Summary

The Edelrid Boa is an amazing climbing rope. 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

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 for most climbing ropes 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 rout. 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.

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 ropes length.

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Types of ropes

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.

Other Factors to Consider

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 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 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 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.

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 symbol “?” on each end.

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:

Thicker ropes tend to be easier to grab, so, 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, and they are also more durable than thinner ropes.

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.

On average, lead-climbing ropes range from about 9.8mm to 10.2mm in diameter. And you can’t really go too 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.

q: What affects the price of a climbing rope?

a:

Prices for climbing ropes are most readily affected by the length of the rope you choose. 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 the climbing 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 climbing.

Sources

  1. Ed Celesa, BEST CLIMBING ROPES OF 2019, Blog