Climbing ropes are arguably the most important piece of gear a climber will ever purchase. Getting anything but the best climbing rope just doesn’t make sense.
A climbing rope is one of the only parts of a climbing system that does not have a redundancy (other than the belayer, which is equally important is most often the failure point…). Making sure you have a rope that works with your system and keeps you safe in the #1 priority. Getting a rope for a well-known supplier and that is certified by a UIAA is an absolute must.
If you have been shopping for a rope you probably have run into different options such as:
- Rope Diameter
- Rope Length
- Rope Treatment
- Static vs Dynamic
When you first start looking for ropes, all these factors can seem overwhelming, but it is really much more simple then it looks. Let’s try to decipher these rope characteristics.
Rope Diameter: This is the main quality you need to pay attention too. Rope diameter refers to the gauge of your rope, the larger the number the thicker the rope is. Although the thought that a thicker rope is stronger is true, the difference in a few mm in diameter is negligible. It will change whether you can lift an F150 with your road instead of a Prius. For climbing, you will want to get a rope in between 8.8mm and 11mm. This range is the sweet spot for general climbing activities. For extreme conditions, you might need to get a rope outside this range, although you should be an expert if you are attempting something like this.
Rope Length: This one is pretty simple, what’s the longest pitch you plan on climbing? Do you plan on doing some crazy runout stuff or just messing around on your short gym wall? As a general rule, decide how high you plan on climbing, multiply that by 2, then add 10m. This ensures that you won’t run out of rope (if you think adding 10m is too much, consider that most routes do not climb in a straight line). If you run out of rope on the decent your kind of screwed (and going to deck if your belayer didn’t knot the end of the rope!). That being said, on a long hike, you will feel every inch on that rope. Rope length is a balancing act, but this is your first rope longer is better (if you can afford it).
Rope Treatment: This is all about keeping the sheath and core of your rope dry. You will see the ropes say they have a “Dry” treatment if it has a water-repellent coating on it. This will help your rope last longer but isn’t necessary for most climbing activities. If you think your rope might get wet make sure you get a treated rope.
Static vs Dynamic: This is an import part, only buy a Dynamic rope for rock climbing! Dynamic ropes stretch when we fall and in turn, reduce the shock and forces on the body. Static ropes are made for repeller so they can easily ascend the rope without it stretching.
Weight: This is a more advanced function of a rope and is usually tied to the rope diameter. The idea is that when lead climbing, the lighter the rope is the easier it will be to climb above the bolt. This is more import on very long pitches due to the amount of rope that is being pulled upwards while climbing. If this is your first rope you can disregard this feature.
Best Climbing Ropes
The following ropes hand-picked to be the best of the best. If you have another rope you think should be mentioned please leave a comment below.
If you are looking for a general use rope that comes in 4 different lengths this is the one for you. The Edelrid Boa is the perfecting climbing rope for beginners. The 9.8mm diameter works great with most belay devices and has the durability to withstand hours of top roping.
This very reasonably priced rope is ready for your next climbing trip.
You should never abuse your ropes but the Eliminator Double Dry could handle it. If you like to climb in extreme condition or just looking for a rope that with outlast 90% of other ropes the Eliminator is for you!
The BlueWater rope has some premium features such as the bi-pattern stitching and double dry coating. This makes the Eliminator the best value rope on the market!
The Sterling Evolution Velocity rope is the perfect blend of performance and functionality. The 9.8mm rope works great with most belay devices and has a relativity lightweight. Oh ya, did we mention that this is Chris Sharma’s go to rope?
Perfect for anyone looking to upgrade there beginner rope or someone pushing their limit on their latest Sport Route. Available in 3 different lengths and multiple colors.
Looking for the extra little edge? You might want to check out the sleek and slender Petzl Arial. This rope is designed with one thing in mind, performance. The 9.5mm is super lightweight and ready to get you up that next level project.
A rope of this caliber isn’t for everyone if you can’t climb at least 5.12 you might want to get another option. Please don’t use a rope like this for top-roping…
If you want to climb hard and you can afford it you won’t be disappointed with this option.
Ever see someone absolutely crushing it at the crag? Good chance they were using a Mammut Infinity Rope. This rope is the overall best climbing rope due to it’s price to performance ratio.
This rope comes in multiple colors and treatments with the Mammut Infinity Dry being the best.
The search is over, this is the best climbing rope for the price!
Climbing is dangerous. Ropes let us climb places safely and securely. Please practice safe climbing techniques when using your new rope. If you need to, find a professional to teach you how to clip and rappel safely.
Enjoy and have fun crushing!