Rock climbing, whether indoors or outdoors, is an engaging sport. You want to experience the most difficult rocks and cliffs, but you also know safety is a top priority, and a climbing rope is essential to that safety. This process is where the fine line between mobility, grip, and technical prowess come into play. You also need a rope that's durable and sturdy to keep you safe. You don't want something that'll weigh you down or get in the way when climbing. That's especially true when engaging in an elaborate leap or difficult motions during your climb.
Just your luck! Improvements in technology and design eliminate many of these issues when buying a new climbing rope. So, pack your bags climbing shoes for your next trip. The best climbing rope will fit in a compact area and won't weigh you down when traversing cliffs.
How to Choose the Best Rock Climbing Rope
It is important to compare several varieties when choosing a climbing rope. Weight, material finish, and rope treatment are some features climbers desire. No matter what experience level you possess, the right rock climbing rope will help enhance your climbing experience. And, it will keep you safe on any challenging rock climb.
Dynamic and Static Climbing Ropes
There are two varieties of rock climbing ropes. Climbers can select a dynamic climbing rope or a static rope. Dynamic ropes stretch if a climber falls. This feature minimizes the impact your body takes if it hits a rough surface. It also helps reduce the potential for significant injuries when climbing dangerous cliffs or peaks. The dynamic elongation is typically 30 percent to 40 percent for most dynamic ropes.
A static climbing rope hauls loads and completes rescue tasks or other forms of heavy lifting. The elongation is typically less than 5 percent to 10 percent. These ropes aren't for climbing and aren't safe for most climbers to utilize.
Climbing with One or Two Ropes
Another question climbers must ask when choosing a climbing rope is whether to use one or two ropes. Today, most climbers only need one climbing rope. In addition to the length and durability, new technologies also ensure climbers are safe. Quality materials and design also make the rope durable, for even the most challenging climbing conditions. Half ropes, or double ropes, are thinner. These ropes are for ice climbing.
Twin ropes are similar to half ropes. They are also for ice climbing or mountaineering. The ropes are thin, usually between 7mm to 8mm in thickness. Climbers will use a twin rope technique to clip them into place. This aspect of the ropes is the primary difference between these and half ropes.
Climbing Rope Safety: UIAA Fall Rating
Of course, climbers should only purchase a climbing rope that is safe for climbing anywhere. The Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) is in charge of rating and evaluating safety standards. Standards including the sheat slippage, elongation, and impact force, must meet UIAA standards. As long as a climbing rope has a UIAA stamp/seal, it is safe for outdoor and indoor climbing purposes.
When comparing climbing ropes, climbers must understand the UIAA's fall rating test. Testers apply an 80kg weight to the sample rope. They drop the rope multiple times to determine how many falls it can handle, before breaking. Although the test is a "worst case scenario" it is a good indicator to gauge a rope's durability. The ropes which last for more falls without snapping are the most durable ropes available.
Climbing Rope Specifications
Both indoor and outdoor climbers should understand a rope's specifications. The proper length and diameter, and whether or not the rope has treatment, are a few factors to consider.
The weight capacity of a climbing rope must meet UIAA standards. The capacity refers to the amount of weight the rope can safely hold, to keep climbers safe. The UIAA fall test is the test which indicates the rope's tensile capacity and strength. Climbers must compare several ropes, to find the climbing rope which has a satisfactory rating, based on their weight.
Most climbing ropes today fall between a range of 60 meters to 70 meters. A 60-meter rope is standard in many areas, and for various types of climbs. Many climbing areas with anchor establishments are typically higher areas for climbers to reach the pinnacle. In these areas, the rope length many climbers use is the 70-meter length.
The skinnier a rope is, the less forgiving it is. For new climbers, choosing a rope which is thick, between 10 meters to 10.5 meters, is a safe choice. These thicker ropes can resist falls, pullover edges, and will last longer than narrower ropes. For climbers who have more experience, a narrower rope is suitable and should keep you safe. These ropes typically fall within 8mm to 9mm in thickness. Climbers should feel comfortable with their climbing rope. So, it is also essential to select one that feels comfortable to grip, especially for longer climbing excursions.
Dry Treated or Standard Rope
Another factor climbers need to consider is if they should buy a standard or rope that has dry treatment. Manufacturers usually apply a dry coating to the sheath and coat of climbing ropes. Ropes with dry treatment last longer than standard ropes. That's because they don't absorb water and swell up. The treatment also prevents dirt from working into the rope's fibers. For climbers who use the ropes for ice climbing a rope with treatment is imperative.
Image via Pexels
The Best Climbing Ropes Available
When choosing a climbing rope, customers should compare several brands and styles. These are a few of the best climbing ropes available, for climbers of all skill levels.
[amazon link=”B01M6WXLFJ” title=”Black Diamond ” /]
The Black Diamond rope is for year-round climbing and features a thick diameter, perfect for beginners. The single rope style is available in lengths of 35 meters, 60 meters, or 70 meters in length. The width is 9.9mm, ensuring a long-lasting, durable design finish.
The weight is 64 grams per meter, and the rope doesn't have a dry treatment finish.
[amazon link=”B07CCZJ14D” title=”Aoneky ” /]
This rope has a certification rating for half rope and twin rope climbing. The rope length is 30 meters. The 8 mm diameter thickness, makes it ideal for novice to advanced climbers. The narrowness of the rope is exceptional for those with high levels of experience, who want to minimize weight.
The rope is perfect for running belays and short rappels on technical terrains. The dry treatment makes it ideal for use in icy climbing conditions as well. The rope is a little short at 30 meters in length. For those who don't have much experience, this significantly limits the usability of the rope.
[amazon link=”B072SKRKJL” title=”Syiswei” /]
The 7.8 mm dry rope has a treatment on the sheath, making it perfect for icy or glacier climbing excursions. It is 70 meters in length. This size is great for climbers traversing higher cliffs and peaks. It has a 33 percent dynamic elongation.
The rope is narrow at 7.8mm, making it perfect for advanced climbers. It also has a rating of 41 grams per meter weight.
[amazon link=”B01N6JJT26″ title=”EDELDRID ” /]
The silky smooth sheath eliminates abrasion and sliding when using this climbing rope. The rope is lightweight and durable. It is perfect for rock climbing, indoor climbing, and multi-pitch climbing.
The 9.8mm thickness and 60-meter length are standard with most climbing ropes available today.
[amazon link=”B00SKRHMCY” title=”Sterling Rope ” /]
The rope is durable, lightweight, and has a 38 percent sheath proportion rating. The 64 grams per meter weight and seven UIAA fall rating, ensures durability and excellent performance, for all climbers.
The rope has a 9.1 percent static elongation and 0 sheath slippage rating. The rope does not have a dry treatment application, meaning it isn't for icy climbs.
[amazon link=”B01HOQSGYO” title=”Xben” /]
The diameter of the rope is 9mm and has a 52 grams per meter weight capacity. The rope also features an excellent balance for most climbers. It features a dynamic elongation of 33.1 percent for a 60-meter rope. The dynamic impact force is 8.5 kilonewtons for the 60-meter rope.
The rope has a triple certification. Proper handling and an effective dry treatment on the sheath also makes this skinny rope excellent for many climbers.
[amazon link=”B07L2YLM83″ title=”Mophorn” /]
The classic single dynamic rope is 9.5mm in thickness, which is perfect for new and advanced climbers alike. It features a 6.5 static elongation percentage. The dynamic elongation is also 31 percent.
The rope's impact force is 8.4 kilonewtons. The rope's sheath slippage is 0, and the UIAA fall rating is six to seven impact forces. These aspects also ensure the highest standards of safety for climbers.
[amazon link=”B071NQ2KJR” title=”Beal ” /]
The rope has no chemical treatment to the exterior and is 9.8mm in diameter. It has a relatively high fall rating, and is lightweight, making it easy to mobilize when climbing. It features an 8 percent static elongation and 34 percent sheath mass.
The weight is 61 grams per meter and features a 7.5-kilonewton impact force. The rope is also excellent for both indoor gym climbing as well as outdoor climbing excursions.
When choosing a climbing rope, climbers must decide where they'll be climbing. Additionally, they should determine the overall dimensions which are appropriate for their climbing style. Beginners will like the Edelrid Python 10mm climbing rope. It is thicker than the other ropes, allowing beginners to perfect their grip when climbing. These features are exceptional for beginners who aren't sure of their grounding when climbing.
For an advanced climber, the Sterling Rope Evolution is a climbing rope with a high rating. It is durable and also features a dry treatment. From multi-pitch climbing to ice climbing or indoor climbing, it is suitable for any terrain that climbers want to tackle. The 9.8mm thickness and 60-meter length are standard with most professional ropes. Sturdy design, dry treatment, and a reputable brand-name are some features climbers can appreciate.