10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing – Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

  • Last updatedLast updated: Jun 24, 2020
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Climbing has become an increasingly popular sport and social activity in recent years with many citing the social interaction and appreciation of the great outdoors as real draws to the activity. With this growth of climbing, has also seen the development of a market for climbing ropes. You may be surprised to learn there is a great variety of climbing ropes and we’re here to help you choose the best rope for climbing.

In this article, we have reviewed 10 different climbing rope products for you to consider. They range across different rope types and climbing styles to give you great insight into the types of climbing ropes currently available. Our Editor’s Choice for the best overall rope for climbing is the Mammut Infinity Classic which has a global reputation for its durability and resistance. This high caliber product will perform wonders both indoors and outdoors while also being pretty lightweight.

Top 10 Ropes for Climbing Review 2020

Our buying guide outlines various factors we consider important when purchasing a rope for climbing. These include diameter and lengths, weight, dry treatment and return policy. This article begins with a comparison table, followed by 10 in-depth product reviews. The reviews are followed by a buying guide that outlines all the essential information you need to know to help you find the best rope for climbing. There is also a short FAQ section to answer all of your burning questions. The conclusion ranks our top three choices for the best climbing ropes currently available to purchase.

Editor’s Choice

High-quality climbing rope with 8.4 kN impact force, it is dry treated and has a low static elongation percent

Read Our Review
9.8
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best Dynamic

This strong climbing rope is 9.8 mm in diameter, comes in various sizes from 50 to 80 meters

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9.6
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best Static

Static rope for climbing with thread weight of 89 g/m, it has polyester sheath and is UIAA certified

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9.5
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best for Ice Climbing

Dry-treated rope for climbing with 8.1 percent static elongation and 9.6 mm diameter

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9.3
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best for Sport Climbing

Great sport climbing rope 11 mm thick, UL certified and comes 30 meters long

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9.2
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best for Alpine Climbing

Suited for all weather conditions climbing rope with EverFlex treatment and 3-year limited warranty

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9.1
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best for Tree Climbing

Great for tree-climbing 12.7 mm thick rope with 13 pound of total weight and made of nylon

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9.0
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best for Rock Climbing

Fit for hardest of rock climbing routes dry-treated rope that is 10.5 mm thick

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8.9
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Best for Beginners

Durable rope for climbing fit for beginners’ first routes, weighs up to 10 pounds with lengths varying from 30 to 60 meters

Read Our Review
8.8
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
Budget Pick

Moderately priced rope for climbing with reflective threads, comes with climbing carabinets

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8.6
OScoreTM
?
OScore is a unique scoring system designed by our editors and experts. With the help of it, we can combine all the rankings based on product’s characteristics, statistics, and even feedback about the manufacturer’s customer service into one, all-encompassing score.
1.

Mammut Infinity ClassicEditor’s Choice

Features
  • Diameter: 9.5 mm
  • Lengths: 40-80 m
  • Weight: 59 g/m
  • Dry treatment: yes
  • Return policy: 30-day

More features: 6.5% static elongation, 8.4 kN impact force, single rope, 7-8 UIAA falls

The Mammut Infinity Classic is one of the best-selling ropes for climbing that are currently available to purchase. With impressive global sales figures, this rope has become so popular because of its one-size-fits-all option. Similar to all other ropes in the Mammut Infinity Series, the Classic has the perfect spot at 9.5mm, guaranteeing strong and reliable performance.

In addition to world-leading performance, the Mammut Infinity Classic is also renowned for its impressive durability. The dry core treatment of the rope, a common feature across the Mammut range, has an impressive level of UIAA falls at 8-9 which is very impressive for a skinny rope. To put into context, the majority of ropes that have a similar diameter only have 7 UIAA falls, which demonstrates the Mammut Infinity Classic superior durability.

Where some may be discouraged from purchasing the Mammut Infinity Classic is the price point. It is considerably more expensive than rival products. The size of your budget is purely a personal preference that should be based on your finances and how often you go climbing. The Mammut Infinity Classic is probably best suited to experienced or regular climbers to get the maximum benefits from the superior construction.

Another crucial aspect of any climbing rope is resistance. Strong resistance levels are essential for giving climbers that extra reassurance when climbing. The Mammut Infinity Classic delivers this with a 40% sheath. This strong sheath level provides climbers with very strong initial support to the strong rope abrasions that occur throughout the climb.

Pros
  • Excellent durability
  • Highly resistant to abrasions
  • Global reputation
  • Best suited for challenging routes
  • Dry treatment
Cons
  • Premium price
2.

Sterling VelocityBest Dynamic

Features
  • Diameter: 9.8 mm
  • Lengths: 50-80 m
  • Weight: 62 g/m
  • Dry treatment: yes
  • Return policy: 30-day

More features: single rope, 6 UIAA falls, 8.8 kN impact force, 26.4% dynamic elongation

The Sterling Velocity is known for being one of the most dynamic ropes currently available to purchase. Suitable for both rock and ice climbing, this rope is one of the flagship Sterling range and is famous for its versatility. Delivering a lightweight feel, strong durability and secure handling, the Sterling Velocity is ideal for any crag pack.

Although some climbers are fussy when it comes to lines below 10mm, at 9.8mm the Sterling Velocity is an incredibly trustworthy workhorse model. Opting for a skinnier rope has become increasingly popular among climbers who prefer to reduce the weight burden commonly associated with thicker ropes. Thanks to updates in rope technology such as DryXP and UIAA Water Repellant, the performance of the Sterling Velocity is highly regarded.

A bonus of purchasing the Sterling Velocity is consumer protection with a 30-day return policy. This can be particularly useful for new climbers who are unsure about different rope types. This policy allows you to try out the rope on a variety of different surfaces and climb types to test its strength and versatility.

At 26.4% dynamic elongation, the Sterling Velocity performs very well in terms of dynamism. This minimizes abrasions when the rope is resisting tension, ensuring the overall climbing experience is considerably more comfortable. The length of the rope measures between 50-80m which gives a strong range of lengths to suit all climbing occasions. The design and construction of the Sterling Velocity are all geared towards offering climbers a variety of secure climbing options.

Pros
  • Versatile for all climbing needs
  • 30-day return
  • Skinny rope
  • Dry treatment
Cons
  • Thickness
3.

BlueWater Ropes BWII+Best Static

Features
  • Diameter: 11.4 mm
  • Lengths: 50-180 m
  • Weight: 89 g/m
  • Dry treatment: yes
  • Return policy: 30-day

More features: polyester 53% sheath mass, 35.3 kN breaking strength, UIAA and UL Classified

The BlueWater Ropes BWII is widely regarded for being one of the best static ropes currently available to purchase. The rope is particularly well-known for those who go caving or need static ropes for emergence use. The reason why this rope is particularly highly regarded is because of the double twist cabled sheath strands in addition to the double twisted cable core strands.

Having double twisted sheath and cable provides sufficient strength to allow the BlueWater Ropes BWII to be very strong in static and low elongation circumstances. At 35.3 kN breaking strength, the BlueWater Ropes BWII also performs very strongly compared to the breaking points of other climbing ropes. The rope easily meets all of the required US standards such as UIAA and UL, ensuring it qualifies as a rope for technical use.

Constructed from a polyester sheath and nylon core, the materials used to ensure the BlueWater Ropes BWII gives great balance to climbers. By purchasing the rope, you will be investing in Blue Water’s industry-leading technology that has seen a family business of six generations be pioneers in the climbing rope market. The company’s commitment to innovation and hand-crafted ropes, provide reassurance that you are purchasing from a highly reputable brand.

The BlueWater Ropes BWII has a 30-day return policy which gives you a great deal of purchasing protection. It allows you to try the rope in a variety of different climbing contexts before committing to the purchase.

Pros
  • Twisted sheath and cable core for superior strength
  • Essential for emergency use
  • Meets all US standards
Cons
  • Must use over the unicender when descending
4.

EDELRID Tommy Caldwell DT Climbing RopeBest for Ice Climbing

Features
  • Diameter: 9.6 mm
  • Lengths: 60-80 m
  • Weight: 61 g/m
  • Dry treatment: yes
  • Return policy: 90-day

More features: 8.1% static elongation, 8.9 kN impact force, 33% dynamic elongation, 9 UIAA falls, thermal treatment

The EDELRID Tommy Caldwell DT Climbing Rope is known for being one of the best ice-climbing ropes currently available to purchase. Although it is best suited to ice surfaces, this rope is an all-rounder – at 9.6mm it is not so thin that it is only restricted to project pitches while also being not too thick that you wouldn’t consider using it for single pitch routes. The rope is perfectly sized to give maximum climbing options.

The EDELRID Tommy Caldwell DT Climbing Rope has a very high sheath proportion which makes it perfectly suited to climbing big walls and ice-climbing routes. The 33% dynamic elongation performs very well against other ropes of a similar price range as well as the 8.1% static elongation.

Another appeal of the EDELRID Tommy Caldwell DT Climbing Rope is the use of 3D lap coiling technology which ensures the rope can be used straight away after purchase without any of the annoying tangling or kinking that many other ropes endure when they are first used. This gives an even greater level of convenience to all-purpose climbers.

Crucial to ice climbing, the EDELRID Tommy Caldwell DT Climbing Rope passes the UIAA Water Repellent Test with water absorption of less than 2%. This gives greater reassurance to outdoor climbers who need ropes that can handle potentially wet or icy weather conditions. The ProDryDT technology is essential for keeping the rope dry as well as being free from dirt. The 90-day return policy is another bonus and gives one of the best purchasing protection offers across the climbing rope market.

Pros
  • Strong water and dirt resistance
  • All-purpose rope
  • 90-day return policy
Cons
  • Very lightweight
5.

OmniProGear ATARBest for Sport Climbing

Features
  • Diameter: 11 mm
  • Lengths: 30 m
  • Weight: 88.25 g/m
  • Dry treatment: none
  • Return policy: 14-day

More features: UL certified, 33.3 kN breaking strength, 2.2% static elongation, polyester/nylon core

The OmniProGear ATAR is a thick rope that has a reputation for being one of the best sport climbing ropes in the market. This ATAR (Advanced Tactical And Rescue Rope) has all the design features of a static kernmantle rope that can give climbers reliable and durable performance over so of the toughest climbing environments.

The OmniProGear ATAR is fully certified to all the relevant rope regulations and specifications such as the UL Life Safety, NFPA and ANSI, leaving you in no doubt that this rope meets all the required safety standards. At 11.mm, the diameter is above the 10mm threshold and is regarded as a thick rope. Thicker ropes ensure more durable performance and stronger weight capacity. The reduction in size from 11.5mm to 11mm responds to the needs of climbing equipment which has seen devices get increasingly smaller.

The technology used to build the OmniProGear ATAR is designed to preserve the 11mm thickness of the rope even when it is under tension, besieged by water or humidity and if it is overloaded with dirt. At 2.2% static elongation, this rope is specifically designed for sports climbers and is not suited to rescue operations that require a more elastic feel.

At 30m, the OmniProGear ATAR is also considerably shorter than many other climbing ropes. This means it is specifically made for smaller sports climbs that do not require excessive rope length. The smaller rope also reduces the weight burden for sports climbers who are primarily interested in speed. For those wanting solid and secure sports climbing a rope that will deliver speed and strength, the OmniProGear ATAR is the most obvious choice.

Pros
  • 11mm thickness that is consistent
  • Resistant to water and humidity
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Not suited to emergencies
  • No dry treatment reduces elasticity
6.

PETZL Push RopeBest for Alpine Climbing

Features
  • Diameter: 9 mm
  • Lengths: 40-70, 200 m
  • Weight: 56 g/m
  • Dry treatment: yes
  • Return policy: 15-day

More features: EverFlex treatment, UIAA certified, 22 kN breaking strength, 3.5% static elongation, 4 kN impact force, 3-year limited warranty

The PETZL Push Rope is regarded as being one of the best ropes for coping with alpine climbing conditions. This semi-static rope which measures 9mm in diameter is perfectly suited to coping with the jagged edges of caves and canyons that are commonly associated with alpine climbing.

One of the most prominent features of the PETZL Push Rope is the excellent weight to durability ratio, which allows climbers of all sizes and weights to feel reassured of the ropes strength when attempting potentially difficult climbs. The PETZL Push Rope is also available in a variety of lengths, ranging from 40m to 200m – this means the rope can perfectly cater for the ranging distances associated with outdoor alpine climbing.

The key advantages of purchasing the PETZL Push Rope is the superior flexibility and handling that the rope provides. The PETZL Push Rope is treated with EverFlex treatment which is carefully weaved to improve the consistency of the rope. Greater consistency in the rope also improves the rope grip, making it far easier to manipulate the rope during challenging outdoor conditions.

Another advantage of purchasing the PETZL Push Rope is the addition of the ClimbReady coil which ensures the rope is ready to be used straight after the purchase with no kinking or tangling of the rope – saving you a lot of potentially wasted time. The PETZL Push Rope comes with a 3-year limited warranty agreement giving you strong purchasing protection. Make sure you read the terms and conditions to know what you are covered for.

Pros
  • Superior flexibility and handling
  • Range of rope lengths
  • Impressive weight to durability ratio
Cons
  • Harder in the hand – feels less supple
7.

Arbor-Care Tree Climbing RopeBest for Tree Climbing

Features
  • Diameter: 12.7 mm
  • Lengths: 45 m
  • Weight: 13 lb total
  • Dry treatment: none
  • Return policy: not specified

More features: 16-strand braided nylon rope, static

The Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope is a 16-strand braided Polyester thick rope that is perfectly suited for tree climbing. Containing a parallel stranded Nylon core, the Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope is very resistant to any abrasion, sunlight and twisting – all common causes of rope damage.

A great advantage of purchasing the Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope is its incredible strength when operating in wet weather conditions. The rope can easily tie knots in these conditions, ensuring superior grip in wet conditions with 6000lb minimum tensile strength. The tensile strength is set for new ropes but will always reduce after repeated use. The advantage of the Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope is its ability to maintain strong tensile strength for a long period.

The Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope is available to purchase in either blue, white or red color – leaving you with a great range of colors to choose from. At 12.7mm diameter, the rope is classed as a thick rope. Thick ropes have the advantage of superior strength and grip but can add a significant amount of weight especially when used for outdoor climbing or rigging ventures.

The Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope is a fantastic choice for tree climbing because of the rope strength and durability for outdoor conditions. This rope which is reasonably priced can be used by climbers of all levels of experience. Although there is no specified warranty agreement, the majority will find the Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope more than adequately serves their tree climbing needs.

Pros
  • Super strong thick rope
  • Strong performance in wet conditions
  • Variety of color choices
Cons
  • Limited durability
8.

MudFog Kernmantle Static RopeBest for Rock Climbing

Features
  • Diameter: 10.5 mm
  • Lengths: 45-90 m
  • Weight: not specified
  • Dry treatment: yes
  • Return policy: not specified

More features: nylon rope, CE certified

The MudFog Kernmantle Static Rope is widely regarded as one of the best ropes for rock climbing that are currently available to purchase. This static rope which measures at 150 feet in length is suited to both indoor and outdoor climbing and is certified by the ICMF (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation).

Necessary for all rock climbers is a rope that is lightweight and durable to cope with various physical and environmental demands. The MudFog Kernmantle Static Rope delivers this in abundance. Commonly used for rock climbing, abseiling, caving and boating, the MudFog Kernmantle Static Rope is a catch-all rope that delivers in a variety of different contexts.

The MudFog Kernmantle Static Rope is 100% nylon and measures 10.5mm which provides the perfect balance between thickness, weight and durability. Particularly for outdoor climbers who are likely to be carrying ropes while trekking, having a climbing rope that is light to carry is essential to making the whole expedition more comfortable. The addition of 48 bobbins allows the rope to resist water absorption in all conditions, giving that extra reassurance of the rope’s strength.

The MudFog Kernmantle Static Rope is available to purchase in three different colors including red, black and orange and can also be purchased a 150, 200 and 300 feet. The MudFog Kernmantle Static Rope offers fantastic value for money for rock climbers who are looking for a versatile climbing rope as well as high functioning.

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Resists all water absorption
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor rock climbing
Cons
  • Slow delivery service
9.

Blue Ox Rope Arborist Climbing RopeBest for Beginners

Features
  • Diameter: 12.7 mm
  • Lengths: 30-60 m
  • Weight: 10 lb total
  • Dry treatment: none
  • Return policy: not specified

More features: 7000 lb tensile strength, abrasion-resistant, 12-strand polyester

The Blue Ox Rope Arborist Climbing Rope is the perfect choice for beginner climbers who want a good performing and affordable climbing rope. Made in the USA, this rope is constructed from 12-strand polyester and is well-suited to performing on indoor climbing walls and outdoor tree surfaces.

One of the advantages of the Blue Ox Rope Arborist Climbing Rope is its high tensile strength at 8000 lbs. Although tensile strength slowly reduces after repeated use, the higher the figure often results in longer-lasting climbing ropes. A word of caution is that repeated knots or kinks in the rope will radically decrease the tensile strength. To ensure the rope lasts for longer periods, look after it well. This, combined with excellent handling qualities thanks to low stretch and solid knot retention, makes the Blue Ox Rope Arborist Climbing Rope an appealing choice for beginners.

The Blue Ox Rope Arborist Climbing Rope is available in 4 different sizes (100, 120, 150 and 200 feet long). You must select the right rope size to match your climbing needs. A good rule of thumb is to always go for more rope than you think you need to give yourself that extra insurance.

Measuring at 12.7mm, the Blue Ox Rope Arborist Climbing Rope is a thick rope that provides extra grip and handling stability for inexperienced climbers. The addition of an affordable price and range rope lengths, make this a very appealing purchase for beginner climbers.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Suited to beginners
  • Large tensile strength
Cons
  • Needs careful maintenance
  • Limited long-term durability
Features
  • Diameter: 10 mm
  • Lengths: 30 m
  • Weight: 6 lb in total
  • Dry treatment: yes
  • Return policy: not specified

More features: 23.26 kN tensile strength, reflective threads, 13 inner cores, carabiners included

The FireFit Sports and Outdoors Static Reflective Outdoor Rock-Climbing Rope has considered one of the best budget picks for climbing ropes. Despite its affordable price, this rope delivers in terms of power, strength, safety and flexibility – giving climbers a fantastic array of climbing options.

The size of the FireFit Sports and Outdoors Static Reflective Outdoor Rock-Climbing Rope which measures at 10mm offers the perfect balance between a thick rope and a skinny rope. Nicknamed the FireRope, it provides truly powerful performance giving you the best of both worlds. No matter whether you want to use the rope on a mountain top or into the great beyond, the FireRope will deliver results.

The FireRope contains 13 inner cores and thick outer shell to ensure superior rope safety. The tensile strength of 5225 lbs also compares well to other products on the market and to put into context, has sufficient strength to carry around 25 baby elephants – now that is some strength. Safety and convenience is also a hugely important consideration in the rope design. In addition to being lightweight which makes it easy to carry, the FireRope has 2 silver reflective strips on the outside so that you can easily locate your rope when light is limited.

The FireRope is also remarkably versatile for a rope of such a bargain price. No matter whether you want to go climbing, fishing, hauling, abseiling or roofing – to name a few – the FireRope has sufficient credentials to perform well. Offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you will also be reassured by the fantastic customer service on offer.

Pros
  • Bargain price
  • Versatile
  • Powerful and convenient
Cons
  • No comfortable when used with an unrated carabiner

Buying Guide

The buying guide below provides you with all the essential information that you need to know when looking to purchase the best rope for climbing. Take your time to absorb all the relevant information to guide you in the purchasing process.

Safe and reliable – why to choose the climbing rope carefully

10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing - Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

Climbing would be great if you could simply turn up, completely unaided, and start climbing. While this is, of course, possible (bouldering), it is only advised for experienced climbers. The majority need the security blanket of a climbing rope to ensure you can have maximum climbing fun without risking your life or serious injury.

As the rope is your lifeline, it makes sense to invest in a secure and reliable one to guarantee climbing safety. Before choosing the best rope, there are four main considerations you have to follow to help you in the selection process:

Rope type: There is a choice you need to make between static, single, half and twin ropes. Your decision should be dictated by the type of climbing you will be doing.

Diameter and length: These two aspects are crucial to ensuring best use while climbing. The diameter and length both majorly affect the durability and weight of the rope.

Rope features: Climbing ropes have various specific features which affect how you use the rope in different contexts. Examples of features include dry treatments and middle marks.

Safety ratings: Safety is the most important aspect. You must seek guidance on the safety ratings for specific ropes. Some may only be suited to indoor climbs while others can handle adverse weather conditions.

Remember – Your safety while climbing is your responsibility. If you are not expert you must seek instructions from experts before starting your climb.

 

Useful tips – how to tie knots with a climbing rope

The video below provides a short and simple explanation of 5 different knots that are suitable for climbing. Knots are essential to providing security and stability while climbing.

To ensure that you are safe, give the video below a watch

Follow the prices

The growth in popularity of climbing in recent years has simultaneously seen staggering growth in the market for climbing ropes. This market increase has increased the price ranges of – offering something for everyone.

The cheapest good quality ropes that are currently on the market have the lowest price of $50, while professional standard ropes can fetch somewhere between $400-$500. Premium ropes are a considerable investment and should be probably only be purchased if you are an experienced or regular climber.

Choose the best rope for climbing by the following features

If you are new to climbing, you may not know where to start when it comes to finding the best rope type to suit your climbing needs. This section will outline in greater depth the various factors that you need to consider.

Firstly, the most common type of climbing rope is dynamic climbing ropes. It is generally advisable that you choose a dynamic rope for climbing. Dynamic ropes offer an elastic stretch when you fall which can absorb much of the impact from the falling body.

Static ropes can also be used for climbing but they do not stretch when the climber falls – resulting in potentially serious injury. These ropes should not be used for top-rope or lead climbing.

10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing - Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

Single ropes are the most commonly used for climbing. A single rope is used much as you’d expect – you do not need another rope to assist when climbing. This can also be very convenient as you will not have to carry as much rope.

Alternatives such as twin and half ropes can also be useful for certain climbing types such as ice climbing and mountaineering. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to stick to single ropes.

You do not purchase a climbing rope for single use. It is an investment which means you need it to be durable to various weather conditions and types of use.

Climbing type

The two main types of rope are known as dynamic and static. The key difference between the two rope types is stretch-ability.

Dynamic ropes, as expected, can stretch to absorb the impact of a climber when they fall. While static ropes do not stretch and can, therefore, be quite difficult to use in emergencies such as trying to lower an injured climber from the climbing surface.

Rope type

Ropes differ between single, half and twin ropes. The advantages and disadvantages of different rope types are examined below:

  1. Single Ropes

Single ropes are best used for the most popular climbing types such as big-wall climbing, tread climbing, top-roping and sport climbing.

The ‘single’ means that the rope is used by itself without the assistance of any other ropes.

There is a huge market for single ropes and they are available to purchase in a variety of different lengths and diameters, allowing them to be well-suited across multiple climbing disciplines. Single ropes are generally considered far easier to handle compared to two-rope setups.

To identify a single rope, look out for the circled 1 at each rope end.

  1. Half Ropes

10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing - Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

Half ropes are best suited to more advanced climbing expeditions such as mountaineering, ice climbing and rock routes with multiple pitches.

When using half ropes, you use two separate ropes. While you are ascending, you need to clip one of the ropes for protection on the left and the other on the right. Provided this is executed smoothly, the climber will easily be able to climb parallel as well as up and down. This technique also reduces drag when doing complex wandering routes.

Some half ropes are designed to be also used as twin ropes, allowing you to benefit from both techniques. There also some half ropes which have triple use as a single rope as well. These ropes are ideal for those who like to vary their climbing technique.

Half ropes can be easily identified with a circled ½ symbol located on each end of the rope.

There are a few clear advantages and disadvantages when using half ropes:

Advantages

Drag is significantly reduced on wandering routes.

Connecting the ropes with a secure allows you to go twice as far as what would be possible with a single rope, thereby extending your capacity to explore.

With two ropes you always have a back-up option in case one of them gets damaged by falling rocks or weather conditions.

Disadvantages

Climbing with half ropes does require significantly more skill compared to single ropes. It is therefore only advisable for experienced climbers.

Two ropes mean twice the weight. If you are carrying these ropes yourself, it means there is an increased burden on your workload by having to carry that extra weight. This can be helped by having a climbing partner to share the workload.

It is not advisable to use ropes from different brands. If you prefer this rope type you should purchase them together from the same brand as they have been specifically designed to be used as a matching pair.

  1. Twin Ropes

Similar to half ropes, twin ropes are also best used in challenging ice climbing and mountaineering climbing routes.

10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing - Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

Twin ropes also use a two-rope system however they differ from half ropes by needing to always have both strands clipped into each protection piece. Compared to half ropes, this adds considerably more drag to the climbing experience. That said, twin ropes are generally thinner and lighter, thereby reducing the weight burden and bulk.

Some advantages and disadvantages of these rope types include:

Advantages

Connecting both ropes allows you to explore further distances compared to a single rope.

Having two ropes gives climbers a great insurance policy against damage to one of the ropes by rockfall.

Disadvantages

Using twin ropes is more complex than single ropes. As you are climbing, you are having to simultaneously manage belaying two separate ropes which is twice the work of climbing with a single rope.

Using two ropes is heavier than using one rope. Although, twin ropes tend to be lighter than half ropes so the weight burden is less.

Similar to half ropes, twin ropes should only be used as a matching pair from the same brand. It is strongly advised to not mix and match as twin ropes are twins – coming from the same creator. It would be wrong to separate them.

To identify twin ropes, simply look out for the circled infinity symbol (∞) located at each end of each rope.

Diameter and length

10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing - Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

Diameters and lengths differ across different rope types. Getting the correct diameter and rope length is crucial to the success of the climbing experience.

A general rule to follow is that the skinnier the diameter, the lighter the rope. While lightness may be convenient, skinnier ropes can also have reduced durability and be more vulnerable to rockfall or extreme weather conditions.

Thicker ropes with larger diameters can be advantageous as they strong abrasion resistance and are more likely to last a long time.

For those who are top-roping on rocks and caves, having a rope with a larger diameter is more advisable. While those who are hiking and will be completely multiple pitch climbs, skinnier ropes are better.

Single Ropes

The diameter of single ropes is generally between 9-10mm. Ropes that sit on or below 9.4mm in this range tend to be lightweight and make them best suited to multiple pitch climbs. A word of caution is that skinny ropes will move very quickly when you are belaying and you may need some expert guidance before use.

Single ropes that have diameters between 9.5mm-10mm are suitable for all-round use which includes trad and sport climbing. These ropes tend to offer great lightness as well as sufficient durability to handle complex climbing conditions.

There also many single ropes that exceed the 10mm diameter. These rope types are generally best suited to gym climbing or big-wall climbing. These climbing styles add stronger forces onto the rope and need a thicker design to come with the added force.

Half and Twin Ropes

Half ropes tend to have a diameter somewhere between 8-9mm, whole twin ropes range between 7-8mm. As previously discussed, these rope types tend to be skinnier to ensure they are easier to handle and less weighty.

Static Ropes

Static ropes are generally thicker in diameter, typically ranging between 9-13mm in diameter.

Climbing ropes come in a variety of lengths and you need to understand which length is most suitable for your climbing experience.

If you are climbing in a gym, the typical length of rope required will somewhere between 30m to 35m. You can check at your local gym to see if they have this kind of rope available.

10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing - Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

Outdoor climbing requires a significantly longer length of rope. The current standard lies somewhere between 60m to 70m. Factors to consider when determining the length may be the type of rope you are using and how much weight you can afford to carry. Dynamic ropes can extend up to and exceeding 80m.

You can refer to Mountain Project as a useful guide for relevant rope lengths for outdoor climbs.

Dry treatment

Many ropes such as the EDELRID Tommy Caldwell DT Climbing Rope are treated with a water repellant to prevent the rope from absorbing any form of water. If a rope absorbs water it becomes heavier and weaker – increasing the chances of potential damage and catastrophe. Having dry treatment is likely to increase the durability of the rope, making it last longer.

If you are likely to use your rope outdoors in mountaineering or ice climbing, having a dry treatment is essential. For indoor-only climbers, this is not as necessary.

Core and sheath

It is good to know this terminology. The core refers to the inner part of the rope, while the sheath is the outer section of the rope that protects the core. Generally, the higher the number of strands protecting the core such as the 16-strand Arbor-Care Tree Climbing Rope, the stronger the rope.

Rope weight

A general rule to follow is that the thicker a rope is and the longer the rope is, the heavier it is. However, some ropes may use a very light construction material that may make a thicker rope lighter. Lighter ropes are desired for multi-pitch climbs with substantial approaches.

Return policy and guarantee

If you are new to purchasing a climbing rope, purchasing a product that has purchasing protection in the form of a return or guarantee policy is very important. Products such as the BlueWater Ropes BWII+ have a 30-day return policy that can be very helpful.

Warranty agreements can last up to three years as is the case with the PETZL Push Rope. Seeking products with such protection measures could save you a lot of bother.

Bi-pattern

10 Impressive Ropes for Climbing - Safe Equipment for Most Difficult Routes

Ropes with a bi-pattern are those that change color or pattern somewhere across the length of the rope, commonly in the middle. These can be helpful in knowing how much of the rope you have used by giving a marker point.

Static or dynamic?

Dynamic ropes stretch during a fall whereas static ropes do not stretch.

Certification

The leading certifying body for climbing ropes is the UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme).

It is good to check if the product is UIAA certified before purchasing to give that extra reassurance as a paying customer. The UIAA falls rate that most ropes should be is between 6-8 for single ropes, with a score of 8-10 being a particularly high standard.

How to care for your climbing rope

If you need some helpful advice on how to maintain your rope, follow these basic rules:

  • Get used to washing your rope after each climbing experience – this procedure removes abrasive particles that can shorten your rope’s life and lead to a slow destruction of a sheath. It won’t take much time either: put the rope in a large mesh bag and run a washing machine cycle. Don’t use hot water or detergent for this procedure. When the machine is done, dry the rope in a cool dark place.
  • To preserve the rope and not to get it wet or dirty before the climbing starts – use a rope bag. The more convenient your bag is to carry around – the better.
  • While on a climbing route – pay attention to switching the rope ends after each falling. Thus it will stretch evenly and serve you longer.
  • Never step on your rope. The worst thing’s worst – you’ll cut the sheath and will be left with a useless piece of climbing equipment.
  • Avoid sharp edges and corners. Try to let your rope run as freely as possible, and think over your climbing routes accordingly.

FAQ

Whether it’s your first or hundredth time climbing, the answers to these frequently-asked questions can help you out:

Rope management is crucial for any climber to ensure your rope is safe to use as well as improving the chances of it lasting a long time. The video below by REI outlines the various ways in which you can coil your rope. The following video shall help you:

The standard length of a climbing rope is 60 meters which are about 197 feet. Do not buy a rope shorter than this except for special use. Most sport-route anchors are designed so that you just make it down using a 60-meter rope, shorter ropes have led to various lowering accidents.

Ropes are made of polyamide (Nylon) fibers and they break down slowly over time. Most brands that make ropes recommend 10 years as the rope’s retirement even though you have not used it at all. No manufacturer has suggested that their ropes last more than 10 years when using it.

You do not need a pen and a clipboard to inspect your rope for safety and it doesn’t have to take long. You just need a little extra time to inspect your rope before climbing as you remove it from storage and after each climb when you want to store it. When checking to take note if you see or feel any inconsistencies in your rope and check the area after the climb. The simple habit of knowing the condition of your rope can save your life. Watch the following video for visual instructions:

Since static ropes stretch very little, they are suitable for situations such as hauling a load up, ascending a rope and lowering a climber who is injured. But even slow stretching means that every rope strain over time and that’s why it can’t be used longer than 10 years at best.

Our Verdict

Hopefully, this article has given you all the essential information you need to know to help you purchase the best rope for climbing.

The Mammut Infinity Classic finishes top of our rankings because of the global brand reputation, superb durability and resistance to abrasions.

The Sterling Velocity comes second because of its lightweight feel, 30-day return policy and versatility to all climbing types.

The BlueWater Ropes BWII+ comes third in our rankings because of its superior core and sheath strength and ability to be used in emergencies.

To find the best rope for climbing, you must take your time to research online and read customer reviews to give you the best chance of purchasing a great value climbing rope. This will allow you to climb safely and securely for a long time.

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