A Beginner's Guide to Climbing Ropes
important to select the right climbing rope for each climb. In order to
select the proper climbing rope, it's important to understand the many
varieties of climbing rope available and their applications.
Static Climbing Rope
climbing ropes are used in many areas of rescue and recreational
climbing including rescues, rigging, rappelling, ascending, and fall
restraint applications. A static climbing rope is best suited for
situations where there is minimal fall risk because it is designed to
have a minimal amount of stretch.
Dynamic Climbing Rope
climbing ropes are primarily used when there is a risk of a fall. When a
climber falls, a well-balanced climbing rope will stop the fall in the
shortest distance, while also lessening the impact felt by the climber
and reducing force on equipment. In order to obtain these goals, dynamic
climbing ropes have much higher levels of twist in the sheath and core
yarns than static climbing ropes. This creates mechanical elongation to
act like a spring absorbing the energy created during a fall.
you have determined whether a static or dynamic climbing rope fits your
needs, the next step is to consider your climbing style. Will you be
climbing using the Single, Twin, or Half climbing style? Each style has
pros and cons and requires a different kind of rope.
Single Climbing Rope
climbing ropes have a diameter of 9 to 11mm and are suited for straight
climbing routes typically found in top roping, rappelling, sport
climbing, and big wall climbing. For top roping and rappelling you will
want a larger diameter climbing rope. This will make the rope more
durable to the friction of running through carabineers and rapel devices
as well as easier for the belayer to control the rate of descent.
Single climbing ropes are typically all purpose climbing ropes and are
designed for climbing where one line is required.
Twin Climbing Rope
climbing ropes are lighter and thinner than single climbing ropes. In
the twin rope system both ropes pass through each point of protection
providing a greater level of safety. This system is typically used for
longer multi-pitch routes.
Double Climbing Rope
climbing ropes are used to reduce drag and provide some redundancy to
the climber. The double climbing climbing rope system provides more
flexibility to the climber than the single rope system and lessens the
impact force on the protection in the event of a fall.
How Long Should Your Climbing Rope Be?
next thing to consider is the length of your climbing rope. Lengths
typically range from 30 to 80 meters though 60 meters is the standard.
With a longer rope you will be able to cut the ends off a couple of
times as they fray and still have a useful length.
How Thick Should Your Climbing Rope Be?
is also important to choose the right diameter rope. In general, the
larger the diameter of the climbing rope the heavier the rope will be.
Larger diameter climbing ropes provide greater strength and wear
protection than smaller diameter climbing ropes but also weigh more and
are more difficult to use. Heavy duty or "workhorse" ropes are usually
10 to 11mm thick and are designed to handle a lot of stress. All purpose
ropes tend to average 9.5 to 10mm. Skinny ropes range from 8 to 9.5mm.
While these ropes are lighter to carry and use they are also weaker and
more susceptible to damage.
Lastly, choose your color!
Climbing Rope FAQs
Q: What's a dry climbing rope?
The typical climbing rope gets wet when it rains and sits in a pool of
water. This makes the rope weigh more, makes it harder to handle and
diminishes some of its strength. A dry rope has been treated to be water
repellent. This typically increases the cost of the rope.
Q: How should I coil my climbing rope?
To reduce twists/kinking, it is best to butterfly coil the rope over
your neck, hand, or leg. Be sure each coil is laid down from left to
right without twisting. At the end of the coil, wrap the sides together
and pull a bight through the top of the coil.
Q: How should I store my climbing rope?
To increase the life of your rope, store it in a cool dry place away
from chemicals and direct sunlight. Do not hang your rope from a coil.