The Best Rope for Climbing: A Comprehensive Guide
When you are looking for the best rope for climbing, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. The climbing you will be doing, the rope’s length and the rope’s diameter are all important factors. This comprehensive guide will explore the numerous types of ropes available and help you choose the perfect one for your needs!
What to Look for in a High-Quality Climbing Rope
The following are the essential factors to consider before purchasing a new climbing rope.
1. Type of Climbing Rope
- Single: Dynamic ropes come in many forms, with single ropes being the most prevalent. When you use a quality climbing harness in tandem with a single rope, lead falls can be caught without any extra gear. For most climbs that only span one or multiple pitches, a single rope will do just fine.
- Twin: If you're into ice climbing or alpine climbing, then you've probably heard of twin ropes. These are two ropes that are used together as one, and both rope ends are clipped into gear pieces. Twin ropes offer a few advantages over traditional single rope systems: they allow for long rappels, and they can lessen the impact force when screwing in ice anchors.
- Half: If you know your route is going to be really winding, then using half ropes may be your best choice. Half ropes are two twin ropes which are each clipped into different gear pieces. Twin ropes are rated as a pair, but half ropes are each rated separately, with their own fall rating. Even though they require more rope management, sometimes they can be the best option (like when climbing with a group of three people).
2. Dry Treatment
If you're willing to spend more money, a dry-treated rope is a good investment. Dry-treated ropes repel moisture and water, and they also resist dirt and grime. If you only climb indoors, you may not need a dry-treated rope, but if you do any outdoor climbing, you'll definitely appreciate the benefits. Dry-treated ropes last longer because they don't absorb water and get heavy when wet; they're also more resistant to abrasions.
When looking for a dry treated rope, be aware of what part of the rope is actually treated. Sometimes only the sheath is treated and not the core. If you see a "double dry" rope, that means both the sheath and core are treated. This type of rope is typically used by mountaineers as well as alpine and ice climbers.
3. Middle Marks and Bi-patterns
Middle marks are helpful references. These marks let you know where the middle of the rope is, so you can be sure your ends are even when repelling, how far your leader has climbed, and if it is safe to lower someone to the ground.
Instead of a middle mark, some ropes have a bi-patterned weave. This means that the pattern on the rope changes in the middle. For some climbers this system works better because it is often easier to see the pattern change than trying to identify a middle marker. Bi-pattern ropes are more expensive, so you'll want to think about whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs.
4. Dynamic vs. Static
Dynamic ropes have more stretch than static ropes. Static ropes are not good for lead climbing because the impact force on you and your gear can be high. Dynamic ropes reduce this impact force.
Static ropes provide a minimal amount of stretch. Static ropes are typically used to haul gear or repelling. You can also use them for top-roping and rigging top-ropes.
5. UIAA Fall Rating
The UIAA fall rating is a measure of how well a rope can resist wear and tear. The higher the rating, the better the rope will perform. A rating of six to eight is good for single ropes, while eight to ten is excellent. The higher the number, the thicker and heavier the rope will be.
Different types of ropes have different ratings and diameters. This can be confusing, but it is important to choose the right rope for the type of climbing you will be doing. There are different ropes for different purposes, but in the end it is up to you to choose what is most convenient.
For alpine climbing, multi-pitch, and redpointing, a rope in the 8.5 – 9.2 millimeter range is usually the best choice because it is light and very dynamic.
Medium diameter ropes typically range from 9.2 – 9.9 millimeters and are versatile for many different climbing applications. If you want more durability and aren't as concerned about weight, then you don't need a skinny rope. Many climbers believe that medium diameter ropes can do it all, everything from multi-pitches to cragging and top-roping.
Anything over 10 millimeters will be bulky and heavy, but it will also be the cheapest and most durable. This type of rope is good for beginner climbers and those who like to top-rope.
People argue about the standard length of ropes. Some people say 60 meters is the standard, while others say 70 meters is better. Unless you have a specific climb in mind, it is best to use a 70-meter rope. If you do have specific climbs in mind, you probably know what rope length will work best for those climbs.
There are certain cases where having a specific rope length is beneficial. For example, if you're only climbing at the gym, then a rope length of 40 meters will likely be good enough. If you're doing certain climbs that have walk-offs rather than reppels, then a rope length of 60 meters will be more convenient.
Best Climbing Rope Reviews
Here are the best climbing ropes on the market right now, now that you know what to look for:
1. Mammut Infinity Dry 70m
When you combine durability and weight, the Mammut Infinity one of the greatest climbing ropes on the market is dry rope. This rope will assist you in your movement whether you are trad, sport, or ice climbing. Because of its tiny yet robust sheath, the Mammut Infinity is wear-resistant and has a long lifespan. It does have a new dry treatment that lubricates the rope’s fibers and decreases friction, allowing you to take more falls before it flattens.
The diameter of the Mammut Infinity Dry 70-meter rope is 9.5 millimeters. It is treated with special heat treatments to increase its tenacity. The black-dye marker in the center of the rope will help you stay secure when lowering or rappelling.
2. Edelrid Swift Pro Dry 70m
The Edelrid Swift Pro Dry 70-meter is a thin, single rope that is great for sport climbing. It has a diameter of 8.9 millimeters and can be used as a half rope for icy ascents or paired with another rope to create an ultralong multi-pitch. It has a fall rating of five as a single and 22 as a half or twin and weighs 52 grams per meter.
The Edelrid Swift Pro Dry is a popular climbing rope. It has extra finishes that make it better. The Thermo Shield treatment makes it easier to handle, the Pro Shield offers great performance, and the Dry Shield helps keep it clean and dry. There are three lengths to choose from 70 meters, 60 meters, and 80 meters.
3. Sterling Evolution Velocity Dry Core 70m
The Sterling Evolution Velocity Dry Core is one of the best rock climbing ropes available. It is a 9.8-millimeter dry rope used for ice or rock climbing. It has perfect stiffness so that it won’t flop during critical clips.
The Sterling Evolution Velocity Dry Core rope is a lightweight (62 grams per meter), easy-to-handle, and durable rope that is perfect for various activities. This rope can withstand abrasions and dirt/water exposure thanks to its silky-smooth sheath and core treatment. Additionally, the Kernmantle design increases the handling and strength of the rope.
4. Edelrid Boa Eco 70m
The Edelrid Boa Eco rope is a great choice for climbers who want a unique look. This rope is made of leftover yarn, so each one looks different. It is still a strong and quality rope, just like other ropes from Edelrid, one of the best climbing rope brands. The Thermo Shield treatment makes the rope flexible, and the Kernmantle design helps with strength and handling.
The Edelrid Boa Eco has a diameter of 9.8 millimeters and is easy to handle whether you’re taking slack or feeding it. This rope is excellent for gym climbing. Still, it can also be useful to your travel climbing gear collection.
5. Beal Opera Unicore Golden Dry 70m
This Beal Opera Unicore Golden Dry 70m versatile rope is loved because it is lightweight and has a small diameter. It weighs 48 grams per meter and has a diameter of 8.5 millimeters. The Unicore construction bonds make the rope supple, abrasion-resistant, and help to eliminate slippage.
This rope is good for people who are not afraid of thin ropes. It also has a water repellent treatment to decrease how much it absorbs water.
6. Beal Tiger Unicore Dry Cover 70m
Beal’s Tiger Unicore Dry Cover is an excellent outdoor climbing rope. It can be used at any time and in many different ways. It is also lightweight, making it easy to clip into your quickdraws, and ideal for all-around climbing. Its unicore construction and Dry Cover treatment make it resistant to dirt, humidity, and water.
The Beal Tiger Unicore Dry Cover will not slip in wet conditions. You’ll have a soft catch with its 7.6KN impact force rating. And because it has a UIAA fall rating of 7-8, you can rely on it at the crag. Suppose you’re searching for a high-quality rope that can be used in any season. In that case, the Beal Tiger Unicore Dry Cover is an excellent choice.
7. BlueWater Ropes Lightning Pro Double Dry 70m
Lightning Pro Double Dry is better than similar-thick ropes. Lighter and with less impact and fall rating. This 9.7mm-diameter rope weighs 61g/m. 8 UIAA fall, 7.8KN impact. Extreme alpine and sports climbers can use it, but it’s simple to clip.
This rope is excellent for climbing adventures. It is easily identifiable with its fluorescent color and bi-pattern. Additionally, it is lightweight and easy to handle, making it a top choice for climbers.
8. Mammut Eternity Classic 70m
The Mammut Eternity Classic rope is an excellent choice for climbers because it is both lightweight and durable. This rope has a diameter of 9.8 millimeters. It weighs only 64 grams per meter, making it easy to carry with you on your climbs. The Eternity Classic is also 70 meters long, making it perfect for longer pitches and sports climbs.
This rope is strong and easy to use, which makes it great for climbing indoors or in dry weather. The core and sheath are balanced, providing extra security when lowering or rappelling. Plus, there is a black dye middle marker for easy identification.
9. Sterling Marathon Pro 70m
The Marathon rope is thin, but it is a good workhorse. It has a width of 10.1 millimeters and a weight of 63 grams per meter. This well-made rope is intended to put you at rest when faced with a difficult project. The core treatment protects the rope from dirt and water, increasing its durability.
The sheath percentage of the Sterling Marathon Pro rope is 38, the impact force rating is 8.6KN, and the UIAA fall rating is 6. It is also available in various colors, but only the non-pattern options include a middle mark. Suppose you are looking for a rope that can easily withstand the wear and tear of strenuous climbing. In that case, you can be confident in choosing the 70-meter Sterling Marathon Pro.
10. Beal Stinger Unicore Golden Dry 70m
When looking for a good rope for climbing, you might find the Beal Stinger Unicore Golden Dry. It is a solid mountain climbing rope designed for advanced climbers who tackle difficult red points on multi-day alpine climbing trips or sports crags. The ultralight rope has a diameter of 9.4 mm and weighs 59 grams per meter.
The Beal Stinger Unicore Golden Dry rope is an excellent choice for climbers. It has a 7 UIAA fall rating, which means it is more durable. The Unicore construction also helps make it more durable and eliminates sheath slippage. Plus, the black middle mark makes it easy to see while rappelling.
Buying a rope for climbing is not a decision to take lightly. You usually can’t test the ropes before buying them, so it is essential to get a high-quality and well-loved rope from the climbing community. It will ensure that you can continue to climb safely and in style.
11. Mammut Infinity Dry 70m
When you combine durability and weight, it's easy to see why the Mammut Infinity Dry is one of the best climbing ropes on the market. This rope helps you move quickly, whether trad, sport, or ice climbing.
The Mammut Infinity has a longer lifespan because of its tight sheath and resistance to abrasion. The dry treatment also helps reduce friction and wear, making it possible to take more falls before the rope goes flat. Plus, the unique heat treatments increase the tenacity of the nylon fibers.
This rope has a black-dye marker to indicate the middle of the rope. This will help with additional security when lowering and rappelling. The Mammut Infinity Dry 70-meter rope has a diameter of 9.5 millimeters and will make a great addition to your mountain adventures.
12. Edelrid Swift Pro Dry 70m
The Edelrid Swift Pro Dry 70-meter is a skinny, certified single rope that is great for sport climbing. It has a diameter of 8.9mm and can be used as a half rope for icy ascents or paired with another rope to form an ultralong multi-pitch. It weighs 52 grams per meter and has fall ratings of five as a single and 22 as a half or twin.
The Edelrid Swift Pro Dry is a popular climbing rope because it is treated to be handled well, has optimal performance, and resists dirt and water. There are three different lengths available- 70 meters, 60 meters, and 80 meters- so you can find the perfect one for your needs.
13. Sterling Evolution Velocity Dry Core 70m
The Sterling Evolution Velocity Dry Core rope is one of the best rock climbing ropes available. It is a 9.8-millimeter dry rope that can be used for ice or rock climbing. This rope has the perfect amount of stiffness so it won't flop during critical clips.
The Sterling Evolution Velocity Dry Core rope is a lightweight, easy-to-handle, and durable option because it has a silky-smooth sheath that reduces rope drag and withstands abrasions. Plus, its core treatment increases the rope's durability by protecting it from dirt and water. Additionally, its Kernmantle design helps with handling and strength because of the stretchy core covered by a durable outer sheath.
14. Edelrid Boa Eco 70m
If you want a rope that is different than all the other ropes, you should try the Edelrid Boa Eco. This rope is made from recycled materials, so each one looks unique. It is still a solid, good-quality rope, like other Edelrid ropes.
This is a great all-around rope that has been treated with Thermo Shield. This helps to keep the rope flexible and strong. The Kernmantle design also makes it easy to handle, whether you're taking slack or feeding it. This rope is perfect for gym climbing but can also be used for travel climbing.
15. Beal Opera Unicore Golden Dry 70m
The Beal Opera Unicore Golden Dry 70-meter rope is certified for single, half, and twin use. This versatile rope is loved by climbers of all types thanks to its weight and small diameter. The rope weighs 48 grams per meter and has a diameter of 8.5 millimeters.
The Unicore construction bonds make the rope more potent, resistant to abrasion, and less likely to slip. It also has a Golden Dry water-repellent treatment, making it less likely to absorb water. If you're not afraid of skinny ropes, then the Beal Opera Unicore Golden Dry is a good option because it is versatile.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Rope for Climbing
The material used to make most climbing ropes is a type of nylon called Nylon 6.6 or Nylon 6. This type of nylon is strong and stretchy, making it a good choice for dynamic ropes that need to be lightweight.
The best overall single climbing rope diameter is between 9.5 and 10 mm. Thicker ropes are more abrasion-resistant and harder to handle for beginners. Still, they create less rope drag and are better suited for advanced climbers. Thinner ropes (diameter 9 mm) are lightweight, easier to handle, and create less rope drag, but they are not as strong as thicker ropes.
Polyester rope is the best type of rope for most purposes. It doesn’t get damaged by water, UV rays, or rot. It is also tough and long-lasting. Polyester rope is not as stretchy as nylon rope, so it is often used in static rather than dynamic ropes when climbing rocks.
Inspection is essential to check if your rope is safe to climb. Even if it’s inspected, the max lifespan for a string is ten years. That lifespan is ten years from when the rope was made, no matter how much or how little it’s been used.
Nylon is the best choice for rope because it is strong and can stretch a lot. Nylon can pull heavy loads and bear a lot of weight.
Trad climbing is a way to climb that uses gear that can be taken off. It is different from sport climbing, which uses permanent gear. With trad climbing, the leader places protection, and then the second climber removes it.