Last updated: July 9, 2018 at 10:37 am
Climbing is a great sport filled with adrenaline and excitement. It allows you to escape from your everyday concerns and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. However, what most people fail to realize is that one needs high-quality equipment in order to fully experience the perks of this particular sport, and finding such equipment isn’t an easy task, especially if you don’t have much previous experience. It’s important to remember that more often than not one’s life depends on the quality of their equipment and it’s extremely important for you to get the best possible ropes on the market, or else you risk jeopardizing your wellbeing.
In case you’re not sure about what kind of equipment you should start with, looking into different ropes is probably a good start. If you don’t have any experience when it comes to purchasing climbing ropes, both our reviews and buying guide should offer enough insight for a good start.
We’ve come up with a couple of reviews of top-rated ropes so that you can get a general idea of what to expect if you decide to invest in some of them. The most important thing to remember here is to always choose quality over affordability because it can and will save your life.
If you’re in a hurry, check out the Black Diamond 9.9mm. This model is the burliest one of ropes for heavy use. Also, it boasts a thick diameter for your varied climbing life. Check it out!
|Product Image||Name||Main Feature||Price||Rating|
|Black Diamond||• Very durable and lightweight|
• Great design
• Diameter of 9.9mm
|Petzl Arial||• Durable|
• UltraSonic finish
• Diameter of 9.5mm
|Sterling Rope Evolution Velocity||• Durable|
• Great all-around rope
• Diameter of 9.8mm
|BlueWater Lightning Pro||• Great handling|
• Good quality
• Diameter of 9.7mm
|Sterling Slim Gym||• High quality|
• Great price
• Diameter of 10.1mm
Our 5 Top Rated Climbing Ropes You Can Buy
Black Diamond 9.9mm – Editor’s Choice
While Black Diamond ropes are a relatively new addition to the market, they can easily compete with the most popular ones thanks to their great design and more importantly – quality. As you can guess, this rope has a diameter of 9.9mm and weighs 64 grams per meter. It’s a good solution for alpine, sport, and even gym climbing. It’s available in four different lengths – 35, 60, 70, and 80 meters.
The dynamic elongation of this model is about 32% which is okay because it indicates lack of stiffness, making it versatile and appropriate for a variety of climbing activities. As far as the weight ratio goes, this rope is amongst the heavier ones in this particular category. However, a heavier gram per meter ratio is somewhat expected with thicker ropes. On top of that, when one considers the full length of the rope, the overall difference adds up to about 3 ounces more than other, lighter ones. Needless to say, it isn’t as relevant as one might think. As far as durability goes, a 9.9mm rope is inherently more durable in comparison to thinner ones. However, it lacks dry treatment which can consequently lead to less resistance towards abrasion. The good thing here is that you can always wash your rope in case you’re climbing in dirty places and avoid unpleasant scenarios.
Due to its non-dry finish, this rope isn’t something we would recommend for any type of ice climbing that involves snow and wet circumstances. It’s also somewhat heavy, so you would probably stumble upon some predicaments by hauling it over long distances. As far as the best application goes, we feel like it’s a great choice for gym climbing, especially because it’s available in various lengths. In conclusion, it’s a good rope for a reasonable amount of money meaning you shouldn’t have too many issues getting the hang of it.
- Very durable and lightweight
- Holds 32 oz. of water
- Cover protector for the cap
- The writing comes off
- Could use more color options
- Leaks after a couple of years of use
This popular rope has a diameter of 9.5mm and is designed for experienced climbers who are looking for a good balance between performance and weight. It features Duratec try treatment meaning it’s more resistant to dirt, water, abrasion, and other elements. On top of that, the characteristics such as grip and handling are retained longer in wet as well as cold conditions. Therefore, it’s a great solution for mountaineering and alpine climbing that includes snow, rain, dirt, etcetera.
What makes this particular rope slightly different than the others is the UltraSonic finish which improves durability and prevents frayed ends. The sheath is bonded together with the core which guarantees better reliability in most situations. It also features a middle mark which indicates the middle of the rope to make various maneuvers much easier to handle. The EverFlex method of thermal treatment is also one of the great things about this particular model because it stabilizes the core thus improving consistency and offering a much better grip. The best thing about it is the fact that it’s quite easy to clean and doesn’t stretch much. It’s great for belaying and rappelling as long as one uses the appropriate accompanying equipment.
As far as disadvantages go, there truly aren’t many of them. The one that most people point out is the actual price of the rope itself. It’s a bit on the premium side, but it’s definitely well worth the money. Whether you’re a professional or not, the Petzl Arial is something we would recommend adding to your collection. The weight is not an issue at all as it features around 58 grams per meter. Dynamic elongation is 32% while the static elongation is 7.6%. If you’re looking for a high-quality climbing rope and are not concerned about the somewhat premium price, don’t hesitate to look into this particular model.
- UltraSonic finish
- Slightly more expensive in comparison to others
Sterling Rope Evolution Velocity
A fine equilibrium between stiffness and smooth sliding is quite difficult to find nowadays, especially due to the saturation of this particular market. However, this particular model is a great solution for people who are looking for a fine balance between durability, smoothness, and most importantly – affordable price. Whether you’re into sports climbing or any other traditional way of climbing, this rope might be a good solution. It features a diameter of 9.8mm and length of 60 meters. It’s somewhat lightweight, but more importantly – it’s good both for professionals and enthusiasts alike.
The main selling point of this rope is the fine balance of various features. As we said, it has just the right amount of stiffness coupled with a smooth sheath which is able to withstand abrasion and slide almost effortlessly to reduce drag. The vast majority of Sterling ropes feature a dry core treatment meaning abrasion is significantly reduced as well as absorption of moisture. The overall weight of the rope is 62g per meter which translates to about 3720g at 60 meters. Sterling said that this is one of their best-selling models presumably due to its great handling capabilities.
While this isn’t the most lightweight choice on the market, it has a pretty wide appeal to many climbers including both professionals and avid enthusiasts. Although there aren’t many downsides, some things should be pointed out. For example, this rope isn’t something we would recommend for long days of alpine climbing or long approaches due to its thickness as well as weight. However, even if you use it for applications that aren’t necessarily recommended, it will hold up just fine. The price is pretty reasonable, although we would have liked seeing a more affordable one.
- Great all-around rope
- Fine balance between stiffness and smoothness
- Somewhat heavy
- Some people find it too thick
BlueWater Lightning Pro
In case you’re looking for versatility coupled with good quality, this particular rope might be the optimal choice. It works well with a vast range of applications including sports, ice climbing, and more. Whichever climbing genre you are a part of, the BlueWater Lightning Pro should meet your expectations. As far as durability and dirt resistance go, this model received above-average marks.
The thing that made this particular rope popular amongst avid climbers is the smoothness and great handling. Tying knots and using the belay device is a breeze thanks to the flexibility and good design. Resistance to dirt is okay, but it’s not as impressive as one would expect. Nonetheless, it showed good performance even with some dirt and aluminum oxide on the sheath. When testing durability, most climbers had good things to say about it, but the caveat here is that there are plenty of other ropes with very similar capabilities meaning the verdict on durability is about average in lieu of being great. As far as the features go, this is where this rope stands out from the rest. It’s available in a variety of configurations giving you plenty of room for fine-tuning. Whether you’re looking for standard or double dry treated sheath, different color options, or bi-patterns – this is the model you should consider checking out. With a diameter of 9.7mm, it isn’t the lightest rope around, but easy clipping and handling in belay devices make the thickness issues go away. On top of that, thanks to the dry treatment, the rope showed great performance in both dry and wet situations.
The only thing most people didn’t like about it is the fact that it gets dirty pretty quick. While that isn’t something that would affect performance too much, it’s still somewhat of a concern for avid climbers. However, thanks to the dry treatment, it’s fairly easy to clean and maintain in good condition.
- Good handling
- Neat features
- Gets dirty quickly
- Average durability
Sterling Slim Gym
Sterling is a pretty well-known brand thus the high quality of this rope doesn’t come as much of a surprise. If you’re an indoor climber and in need of a great rope, take a moment and check this one out, it’s probably one of the best ones one can find for the price. It has a diameter of 10.1mm, an impact force of 8.6kN, and is EN892 certified.
Chris Sharma is one of the best rock climbers in the world and this brand is reportedly one of his favorites. While this rope isn’t foreseen for ice climbing and other outdoor activities, it’s one of the best for indoor applications. One of the things that makes this model so desirable is its durability. This is a true workhorse rope designed to withstand quite a bit of pressure and still remain safe and suitable for everyday use. While a 10.1mm diameter seems pretty thick, it doesn’t limit this rope in any way, it catches and clips well and without any issues. The thing that might somewhat limit your experience is the weight of this rope. Due to its thickness, this rope isn’t the best option for long approaches as it weighs slightly more in comparison to thinner versions.
There is no dry option since the model is intended for indoor use. It is available in two lengths (25m, 30m) but most people opt for the lengthier version. Due to its somewhat short length, the price is more than acceptable and suitable for every pocket. In conclusion, if you’re looking for a great solution to your indoor climbing adventures, the Sterling Slim Gym is a pretty good one. It’s simplistic, easy to use, and most importantly – reliable and durable.
- Great price
- High quality
- Somewhat heavy
Three Dynamic Rope Categories
Dynamic climbing ropes can be divided into three popular categories. Each of those has its own strengths and intended uses. The three categories in question are – single, twin, and half ropes.
The single rope system is one of the most widely used thus one of the most common types. The principle is pretty straightforward – the leader has to tie only to one single rope and attach every piece of protection to the same rope. It’s also a convenient type for managing assisted braking devices. The drawback of this type is the increased drag on pitches and lack of redundancy. Every single rope is rated to hold multiple falls.
In this method, the climber ties into two ropes and clips both of them into every piece of protection. While climbing, these two ropes are treated as if they were a single rope. The catch here is to use the combined strength of two separate ropes in order to catch a fall because neither of those single ropes was designed to hold a fall. The main characteristic of these ropes is that they are usually thinner and lighter than single ones. However, unlike the single rope method, this particular one offers redundancy and ability to rappel full-lengths. Contrary to popular belief, this is one of the least used methods due to the inconvenience of clipping two ropes at once as well as predicaments with the durability of models with small diameters.
The half rope method is far more complex than both single and twin system. Each half rope is rated to hold a fall. However, they are significantly skinnier than single ropes meaning they are far less durable and not capable of withstanding multiple hard falls. The leader is usually tied into both ropes and can alternate between clipping to a protection of either of those two ropes. This is the most notable feature of half ropes because it provides backup in case of failure. In other words, should the first half of the rope fail, the second will provide the necessary safety.
The half rope system is quite difficult to get the hang of because it requires excellent rope management. On the other hand, it saves a lot of time and effort because it can support up to two followers allowing them to climb simultaneously.
How To Choose The Best Climbing Rope for Yourself
In order to find the best possible rope for yourself, you first have to consider a couple of important things that aren’t always as obvious as one might think. In other words, if you’re not a professional climber, chances are you aren’t aware of every single important aspect of climbing equipment which can consequently lead you to invest in something that either doesn’t meet your expectations or is simply of low quality. Both scenarios are pretty bad and thus should be avoided. Take a moment and check out our buying guide and you’ll get a good idea of what to look for and which combination of features will yield the best results.
Depending on the type of climbing you’re planning to tackle, the diameter, as well as the sheer weight of the rope, is extremely important. Sometimes, one needs a rope to be as thin and light as possible while a different type of climbing calls for thicker and heavier ropes. The general classifications for climbing ropes include skinny ropes (8.9 – 9.4mm), all-around ropes (9.5-10mm), and workhorse ropes (10.1-11mm).
It’s important to remember that these classifications aren’t set in stone and are susceptible to change due to one’s personal preferences. However, they pose a good set of guidelines for future climbers. In general, thicker ropes are usually more durable, but that isn’t necessarily the primary feature you should refer to.
Finding a suitable rope length is a pretty straightforward thing. As you may know, the vast majority of popular ropes are available in few different lengths and it usually comes down to finding a suitable one for a particular climbing scenario. Some scenarios call for shorter ropes while others call for lengthier ones. In other words, there is no “good or bad” here as it all comes down to your requirements. Always make sure to invest in a rope that offers enough length for a particular application or else you won’t have a good experience.
The majority of people who are just starting with this sport usually don’t pay too much attention to dry treatments as it comes off as another buzzword. But, contrary to popular belief, dry treatment does make a difference. It means that a particular rope has been treated with coatings that are water-resistant meaning that the core and sheath should stay dry at all times. This results in better durability, especially if you’re an avid ice climber. The models that are dry treated usually cost a bit more in comparison to non-treated ones and are usually a worthy investment if you’re looking for more protection. On the other hand, if you’re specifically into indoor climbing endeavors, there is probably no need to invest in dry-treated models.
As one can imagine, safety should be your top priority when buying a climbing rope. The reasons are pretty self-explanatory – you wouldn’t trust something with your life unless it was tested and approved by reputable climbing federations.
Therefore, before you even start considering a particular rope, make sure it comes with an appropriate safety certificate. There are various elements that are considered in these certificates including the fall rating, static elongation, dynamic elongation, and impact force.
While there are no strict rules one should follow when it comes down to pricing, it’s strongly recommended that you avoid particularly cheap models because they are usually cheap for a good reason. In fact, you shouldn’t put your life on the line for a few dollars less. On the other hand, just because something is unexplainably more expensive in comparison to the average price doesn’t mean it’s proportionally better. It all comes down to finding a fine balance between the price and the quality of a particular model.
The vast majority of manufacturers offer a colored marker on the middle of the rope so that you can find it more easily. However, as the rope gets dirtier, the middle marker tends to fade away which can consequently lead to serious issues. If you need to find the middle of the rope easily, it might be a good idea to consider a bi-pattern one. These are usually covered in one design pattern which changes into a completely different one in the middle of the rope. That way, you can always find the center point, even if your equipment gets dirty. The biggest drawback here is the fact that bi-pattern ropes cost a bit more.
Climbing is a great sport, but it requires quite a bit of dedication and knowledge. In case you’re struggling to find a perfect one for your needs, don’t hesitate to look into some of our reviews to get a better insight of what to expect from a particular model. Also, if you don’t know what to look for and pay attention to when purchasing, read our buying guide and you should get a good idea of how these things work and what’s worth investing in.
The most important thing here is your safety and you should never look to compromise that. Always look for ropes that are approved and feature a safety certificate.