How to Choose the Best Climbing Rope

Last Updated on October 25, 2020

When buying the best rock climbing rope, most climbers face a somewhat disconcerting situation when looking at the manufacturer’s label where a series of completely unintelligible data appear: Shock force, displacement of the shirt, elongation.

With this article, we want to explain some of these concepts so that each climber can make a choice as accurately as possible, and based on all this data and not only for its diameter, length and price.

How to Choose the Best Climbing Rope

What Diameter to Choose?

The diameter of the ropes for sports climbing ranges from 9.1 mm for the thinnest strings to 11 mm for the sturdiest strings.

The choice of the diameter of our rope will depend on the use to which we are going to allocate, for example, if we are starting in sport climbing it is advisable to use ropes of 10.5 to 11 mm as they will better withstand the friction of the top-ropes and the time we will spend hanging on the rope looking for the best way to get on the road.

On the other hand, if we are advanced climbers, we will surely need a lighter rope that will provide us with the longer tracks, sacrificing the durability of our rope. The intermediate diameters (10.2 or 10.4 mm) are the most versatile.

How Many Meters Should My Rope Have?

This is a very personal decision and will depend on the length of the routes that we are going to climb on a regular basis.

We recommend that you do not have less than 60 meters for outdoor climbing or 50 for climbing walls, and no more than 80 meters for longer routes (although there are always exceptions).

What Does the Shock Force Mean?

Shock force is the amount of energy the climber receives in a fall, so the lower this value is, the less impact it will receive in a “flight.”

How to Choose the Best Climbing Rope

What Is “Number of Falls”?

This is a value that indicates the number of Factor 2 drops that a rope is able to withstand before breaking and is measured in the laboratory by making these drops every 5 minutes.

“The flights” can have a value ranging from 0 to 2, the latter being the most recorded that can be suffered, and is calculated by dividing the meters of rope used from the insurer to the climber that has fallen, between the meters of the fall.

Surely you will understand it better with the graph next to it. The UIAA requires that the ropes support a minimum of 5 falls of factor 2, and the higher this number, the greater the security provided by the rope.

I Do Not Know What Elongation of a Rope Is for

The value of elongation or lengthening of a rope is the percentage that is stretched by supporting a weight of 80 kg. The higher its value, the less impact a climber will receive when making a top-rope, for example.

Sliding Shirt, I Do Not Understand Anything

The strings are composed of 2 main parts that are the soul (the fibers that go inside the rope) and the shirt (the outer part that protects the soul).

The value that is indicated for the sliding of the shirt suggests the millimeters that the shirt moves on the core of the rope in a laboratory test carried out with 2 meters. The lower this value, the better the performance will be given by the rope.

How to Choose the Best Climbing Rope

How Long Does a Rope Last?

Most manufacturers suggest that a rope should be discarded after 5 years regardless of the use that has been given. If you are a regular climber, the rope will not last you more than 2 years at the most, and soon you will see the wear suffered by the rope shirt, which is our witness to measure the deterioration.

If you climb a little, surely at 5 years your rope looks like new, but you should be aware that the fibers with which they are built lose their properties over time.

That is why it is very important that when buying a rope, it is manufactured in the current year. The year of manufacture can be found on the white label at the ends of the rope. You NEVER purchase a ROPE for 2 years or more old.

What Care Should You Give My Rope?

Keep the rope always away from solvents and chemicals. Car trunks are not the best place to keep a rope for this reason. Always keep it in a clean and dry, away from direct sunlight place and if you are possible in a case. Try not to accumulate dust and dirt.

Small crystals of rock and sand can seriously damage your rope with use. These are the basic knowledge that you must take into account when buying a new rope. Do not forget that if you need help, in Climbing Zone we advise you without any commitment.


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