|Best Climbing Ropes||Product Dimensions||Weight||Prices|
|Best Climbing Rope Overall: Mammut Infinity||3" L x 4" W x 6" H||7 lb||$279.95||View on Amazon|
|Best Value Climbing Rope: Sterling Rope Evolution Velocity||20" L x 6" W x 4" H||9.1 lb||from $99.95||View on Amazon|
|Best Climbing Rope for Beginners: BlueWater Eliminator||22.5" L x 8" W x 5" H||9.5 lb||Currently not available||View on Amazon|
|Best Lightweight Climbing Rope: BlueWater Ropes Icon||26" L x 10" W x 6" H||9 lb||$284.95||View on Amazon|
|Best Heavy-Duty Climbing Rope: Sterling Rope Marathon||NA||1 lb||$205.95||View on Amazon|
|Best Gym Climbing Rope: Sterling Rope Slim Gym||20" L x 7" W x 5" H||9.3 lb||from $83.95||View on Amazon|
|Best Thin Climbing Rope: Petzl Volta||25" L x 10" W x 5" H||9.3 lb||$97.46||View on Amazon|
|Best Budget Climbing Rope: Edelrid Boa||5.4" L x 7" W x 22.6" H||10.45 lb||Currently not available||View on Amazon|
|Best Durable Climbing Rope: BlueWater Ropes Lightning Pro||NA||NA||Currently not available||View on Amazon|
|Best All-Purpose Climbing Rope: Sterling Rope Fusion Nano IX Dry||22" L x 8" W x 5" H||9.4 lb||from $199.95||View on Amazon|
Climbing ropes are critical equipment in a climber’s safety system. They are anchored in place to prevent climbers from falling, and are responsible for keeping climbers alive when they do fall off. For non-climbers, it may seem that climbing ropes look the same and are rather simple. The truth is, climbing ropes are full of features that make them suitable for different types of climbs. Some may prefer to buy a climbing rope that does well in many climbing activities, while some want a more specialized rope that is best suited for a specific climbing type.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Climbing Rope
A climbing rope’s main purpose is to prevent climbers from experiencing dangerous falls, so it is only natural that climbing ropes have first-rate construction. Rocks usually have sharp faces, so a good climbing rope will have a sheath that does not easily fray. The tensile strength should also be enough to keep the rope from breaking in case of a fall.
The rope sheath is the woven outside layer of the climbing rope that prevents it from being cut. The weave pattern affects the texture and handling of the climbing rope. Thicker sheaths will provide the rope with more resistance to fraying, but will have the disadvantage of being heavier than thinner ones. Sometimes, the rope will have a color that marks its middle, but sometimes the color is merely for aesthetic purposes.
Most of the rope’s strength depends on its core. It is just inside the sheath, and is made from braided nylon. The nylon in climbing ropes today have a kernmantle design that gives the rope a thick core and thin sheath that protects the core.
Other factors that affect the climbing rope’s performance are weight, length, diameter, dry treatment, and UIAA safety criteria. A climbing rope’s weight is measure in grams per meter, and climbers going on hard routes will want the lightest, high-quality rope that they could find. Rope length will determine the routes available to a climber, and a longer rope will permit climbers to climb further. The rope diameter will limit the type of climbing that it can be used with, so it is important to determine the type of climbing to be done before purchasing a rope. For single, dynamic ropes, the general classifications for diameters are 8.9-9.4mm (skinny), 9.5-10mm (all-around), and 10.1-11mm (heavy-duty). Climbing ropes with dry treatment will have a water-resistant feature that helps them last longer. Ropes with dry treatment will cost more, but they will be suitable for ice or mixed climbing. Lastly, the UIAA safety criteria gives the rating on the level of safety that the climbing rope offers.
Here now are the best climbing ropes that excel in their respective categories.
Best Climbing Rope Overall – Mammut Infinity
The Mammut Infinity climbing rope is packed with all the desirable features that a climbing rope should have. It provides a nice, soft catch and fits any belay device, is easy to clip, smooth and easy to handle, lightweight yet durable, and is highly versatile that it would do well in any type of climbing.
With its 9.5 mm diameter, it is an all-around rope that may be used for sport, gym, trad, and multi-pitch climbing. Its lightweight feature also makes it suitable for long approaches. The Infinity is also incredibly durable thanks to a Teflon-coated sheath.
– highly durable
– good balance of weight
– not specialized
– center mark fades over time
Best Value Climbing Rope – Sterling Rope Evolution Velocity
The Sterling Evolution Velocity falls under the “all-around” climbing rope category, making it highly versatile and suitable for beginners and advanced climbers alike.
The rope is stiff enough to prevent flopping while clipping, and it is lightweight but durable. It is able to handle a good amount of abrasion and friction owing to its quality sheath construction and revamped core. The Evolution Velocity is also good for long routes where its durability and weight are certainly a plus.
– smooth handling
– durable and long-lasting
– has kinks when new
– 35 m has no middle marker
– worse handling than skinnier options
Best Climbing Rope for Beginners – BlueWater Eliminator
Beginners at climbing will feel at ease using the Bluew\Water Eliminator with its durability and the level of security it offers. As a testament to its durability, it was granted a UIAA fall rating of 8, and it has a 10.2 mm diameter. Despite its thickness, the Eliminator is still lightweight and can easily be carried by climbers.
The Eliminator can flow smoothly through carabiners and belay devices, and catches climbers softly when they fall. It is ideal for outdoor and indoor top roping, multi-pitch climbing, and lead climbing. With the features it offers, the Eliminator can quickly become the climbing rope of choice not only by beginners, but also by climbers of any level.
– superb durability
– doesn’t pick-up dirt
– good quality
– may be too stiff
– kinks a bit when rappelling
– no middle mark
Best Lightweight Climbing Rope – BlueWater Ropes Icon
The BlueWater Icon is the perfect climbing rope to bring to trad climbing, multi-pitch routes, long approaches, lead climbing, and basically any climbing activity that requires the most lightweight rope possible.
This ultralight rope is 9.1 mm in diameter and weighs only 55 grams per meter. The thinness of the rope does not affect the smoothness of its handling and belaying.
The Icon balanced thinness with durability, thanks to its sheath that features a tight weave and accounts for 35% of its mass. Although the Icon ropes don’t have middle markers, there are bi-pattern rope options that would be good substitutes.
– offers a smooth belay
– holds up well
– highly durable despite thinness
– no middle marker
– may feel too stiff initially
– not ideal for low-angle terrains
Best Heavy-Duty Climbing Rope – Sterling Rope Marathon
The Sterling Rope Marathon is a bona fide heavy-duty rope that holds up brilliantly in multi-pitch routes, all-day cragging sessions, or any other workout activity that involves a highly durable rope.
It can take a great deal of abuse and abrasion without breaking. Despite its 10.1 mm thickness, the Marathon is surprisingly supple than other ropes in its class, and can effortlessly be used with GriGri, and can clip and catch well. Extra options and multiple lengths are available with this model, giving climbers more reasons to choose the Marathon.
– relatively lightweight for its thickness
– superb durability
– not too supple
– no 70 m option
Best Gym Climbing Rope – Sterling Rope Slim Gym
For indoor sport climbing, the Sterling Slim Gym is an affordable and reliable rope that is 10.1 mm in diameter.
It comes in two length choices of 25 m and 30 m that are adequate for gym walls. The rope belays and clips well, but it doesn’t have a dry option since it is meant for indoor gyms. The Sterling Slim has dynamic elongation, and features a low impact force that softens falls.
– sheath has good abrasion resistance
– handles well
– feeds through an ATC and grigri with ease
– length is limited
– no dry option
Best Thin Climbing Rope – Petzl Volta
The Petzl Volta boasts of being an intensive mountaineering cord with its EverFlex treatment that combines suppleness and durability. Despite its thinness, the Volta holds up quite well to frequent use and abuse. The rope also easily moves through belay, and doesn’t feel too flimsy when held.
Thanks to the Volta’s Guide Dry treatment, the rope collects minimal wetness even when exposed to alpine conditions.
The Volta is available in short lengths in order to cater to mountaineers’ need to break it out for short, technical pitches. The rope is also lightweight, making it useful even in big approaches.
– good catch
– dry coating
– superb handling
– black middle marker not easily seen on black rope
– sheath weave can seem loose
– seems a bit thicker that other ropes with same diameter
Best Budget Climbing Rope – Edelrid Boa
The Edelrid Boa climbing rope defies the common belief that the lower the price, the lower the quality. This 9.8 mm rope can take a beating when cragging, and even lasts longer than some thicker ropes in the market. Its sheath is resistant to abrasions even if put through a lot of pitches on rocks. The Boa handles well in a belay, knots well, and is easy to clip. Although lacking a dry treatment, it has a Thermo Shield treatment enables the rope to stay supple and retain its good handling. The Boa may be lacking some fancy features that other more expensive models have, but it certainly gets the job done and even outlasts other pricier competitors.
– highly durable
– handles amazingly
– no dry treatment
– middle marker hard to find when rope is dirty
– attracts dirt easily
Best Durable Climbing Rope – BlueWater Ropes Lightning Pro
The BlueWater Lightning Pro climbing rope was granted a UIAA 8, and also has an impressively durable sheath. It handles well thanks to it smooth and supple sheath. The rope also knots well, and clips easily. The Lightning Pro holds up well on both rock and ice climbing. It is available in both standard and double dry treated sheath. If used on ice, the Lightning Pro will still perform with its dry treatment sheath.
– UIAA 8 falls
– handles well
– great versatility
– no middle mark
– can get floppy
– can get dirty easily
Best All-Purpose Climbing Rope – Sterling Rope Fusion Nano IX Dry
The Sterling Fusion Nano IX climbing rope is one of the lightest single ropes in the market today. At 52 g/m, it is a favorite among climbers carrying already heavy packs.
It is also suitable for single pitch climbs, long alpine routes, and free climbing big walls. The rope’s sheath also has a tight weave that helps reduce drag when doing quick draws, making it even seem lighter when at the top of a long pitch. The Nano IX offers a gentle catch with its UIAA impact force rating of 8.5kN. It feeds smoothly through belay devices.
– extremely light
– easy handling
– feeds smoothly
– low durability
– slippery initially