August 10, 2021

Best Climbing Ropes 12 Type of Climbing Ropes Reviewed

Are you searching for the best climbing rope for your specific requirements? We purchased 12 of the finest climbing ropes on the market today and reviewed them side by side, adding to the over 30 various models we've evaluated and reviewed over the last years.

This side-by-side comparison review discusses which ropes handle the best, weigh the least, last the longest and provide the most dynamic and softest catches. Our professional climbing gear testing team obtained this information at the expense of many climbers who aren't afraid to take falls.

We test ropes all year at famous destinations, our local sport crags, and big mountains, all to bring you the top advice, regardless of the length or diameter of the climbing rope you are looking for. Let's jump and see which are the best climbing ropes on the market.

List of the 12 Best Climbing Ropes

#1 Best Gym Climbing Rope (Indoor Climbing Rope)

Sterling 10.1mm Slim Gym

  • Weight: 3.472 lbs/1575 g (63.0 g/m)
  • Diameter: 10.1 mm

Sterling Ropes 10.1mm Slim Gym Dynamic Rope Overview:

  • Safe and secure handling during use.
  • It's great for a wide range of potential applications at the gym.
  • Works quite well for outdoor climbing.
  • A durable and long-lasting product.
  • Compact and lightweight design for easy travel.
  • Allows for adequate elongation of up to 35.5 for functionality and safety when falling.
  • With its functionality and lower price, it is an excellent choice for climbing beginners.

What we liked:

  • Due to its proficiency in indoor climbing sports, it is excellent for use in climbing gyms;
  • Available in 30m and 25m for use on gym walls;
  • It belays and clips well for a wide range of applications.

What we didn't like:

  • Because the rope is designed primarily for indoor use, there is no dry treatment alternative. This limits weather protection.

#2 Best Sport Climbing Rope

Edelrid Swift Eco Dry

  • Weight: 5.732 lbs/2600 g (52.0 g/m)
  • Diameter: 8.9 mm

EDELRID Swift 8.9mm Eco Dry Dynamic Climbing Rope Overview

  • There is sheath yarn upcycling.
  • The Swift Eco Dry is multi-colored, and no two ropes are identical.
  • There are no connectors, so all threads run the entire length of the rope, so durability and strength are not compromised.
  • Edelrid has used Dry treatment that eradicates PFC use. It is a rope that does not use PFCs while still meeting the UIAA repellency standard.

What we liked:

  • Excellent maneuverability;
  • Environmentally friendly;
  • The 3D Lap coil gets you started kink-free.

What we didn't like:

  • We couldn't detect any flaws for now.

#3 Best Beginner Climbing Rope

BlueWater 10.2mm Eliminator

  • Weight: 8.460 lbs/3840 g (64.0 g/m)
  • Diameter: 10.2 mm

BlueWater Ropes 10.2mm Eliminator Standard Dynamic Single Rope Overview

  • It offers the excellent security and durability that beginners look for.
  • The rope has a UIAA rating of 8, and that's very high
  • The thickness of 10.2mm is sufficient for strength and durability.
  • It does not catch when it passes through belay devices.
  • Improves safety by providing a soft and dependable catch on falls.
  • It's light for its width, making it easy to carry and throw in a bag.
  • The price is comparable to other thin ropes.
  • Performs well on different kinds of climbing, both outdoors and indoors.

What we liked:

  • Strong and durable material;
  • For ease of use, feed smoothly through carabiners;
  • Dense enough, which makes knots easier to untie;
  • Soft catches are included for added safety and comfort;
  • Portable for a rope with a diameter of 10.2mm;
  • It's easy to use and dependable.

What we didn't like:

  • The sheath can quickly and easily fray.

#4 Best Alpine Climbing Rope

Petzl Volta

  • Weight: 55 g/m; 59 g/m
  • Diameter: 9.2 mm; 9.5 mm

PETZL Volta 9.2 mm Dry Dynamic Single Rope Overview

  • The dry method works well in prolonged periods of precipitation.
  • Clips well to provide good control while belaying.
  • Provides flexibility, especially for long pitch routes, ice guides, and alpine guides.
  • On longer pitches, it does not create a lot of drag.
  • Feeds quickly and easily through a grigri.
  • To save effort and time, it comes in a climb-ready coil.
  • Among the thinnest single ropes available.

What we liked:

  • Handling is nice and easy to control right away;
  • In long pitches, it is lightweight and simple to use;
  • The mid marker is easy to recognize, which improves user safety.

What we didn't like:

  • A little bit stiff.

#5 Best Lead Climbing Rope (Gym)

Sterling Slim Gym 30m

  • Weight: 4.166 lbs/1890 g (63.0 g/m)
  • Diameter: 10.1 mm

Sterling Slim Gym Climbing Rope Overview

  • This is a thick rope with a 10.1mm diameter that is ideal for indoor climbing.
  • They are ideal for putting your indoor skills to the test and practice during off-seasons. You can climb all year, even in urban areas.
  • These low-price ropes have high safety ratings and are manufactured to very high standards.
  • They are more abrasion-resistant than many competitor indoor climbing ropes.

What we liked:

  • Excellent gym climbing rope;
  • Excellent safety ratings;
  • Low cost;
  • Abrasion resistance.

What we didn't like:

  • Unsuitable for use on rough terrain.

#6 Best Redpoint Climbing Rope

Bluewater Icon Double Dry

  • Weight: 55 grams/meter
  • Diameter: 9.1mm

BlueWater Ropes 9.1mm Icon Double Dry Dynamic Single Rope Overview

  • Easy handling and a soft feel for efficiency.
  • The construction and material prevent kinks, increasing efficiency.
  • Clips easily and quickly.
  • Dry treatment resists precipitation, which keeps the rope in an excellent state and prevents wear.
  • In comparison to other long ropes, it is lightweight.
  • Great choice for redpoint climbing.

What we liked:

  • Durable and handles well after extended use;
  • In alpine conditions, it does not ice up;
  • An excellent to-go rope because of its versatility and ability to bag easily.

What we didn't like:

  • We couldn't find any flaws for now.

#7 Best All-around Climbing Rope

Mammut 9.5 Crag Classic

  • Weight: 59g/m
  • Diameter: 9.5mm

Mammut 9.5 Crag Classic Individuell Overview

  • 70m length allows for extended rappels and leads on newer routes; 9.5 millimeters diameter is perfect for a lighter rope if you want to move fast and light on the approach and ascent.
  • It is an all-purpose rope that can be used for both traditional and sports climbing.
  • It is the ideal combination of lightweight, diameter, and handling. This blend allows the rope to perform flawlessly.

What we liked:

  • It's ideal for sport climbers when they want to reduce weight without sacrificing durability.
  • The 9.5millimeters diameter offers an excellent balance between low weight and high durability and bulk.
  • 70m length allows for extended rappels and leads on newer routes; 9.5 millimeters diameter is perfect for a single light rope when you want to move fast and light on the approach and ascent

What we didn't like:

  • Some climbers reported the middle marker wears out quickly.

#8 Best Rope for Ice Climbing

PETZL Arial

  • Weight: 58 g/m
  • Diameter: 9.5 mm

PETZL Arial 9.5mm, Single Rope for High-End Climbing Overview

  • It provides a stable lowering when you get used to it.
  • This rope is treated with ever flex handling and Duratec dry, making it suitable for most weather.
  • Capable of withstanding various routes over several weeks, demonstrating durability.
  • Comfort and durability are provided by a medium resistance combined with a soft feel.
  • Maintains flexibility and elasticity over time.
  • You can use it right out of the backpack without having to uncoil it first.
  • The ultrasonic finish connects the sheath and core, increasing durability.
  • Performance and weight are balanced for versatility.
    Among the best climbing ropes available.

What we liked:

  • Lightweight material that is simple to use;
  • Excellent control;
  • Ice climbing rope of the highest quality.

What we didn't like:

  • Not very durable, and a bit expensive.

#9 Best Climbing Rope on a Budget

Beal Booster III

  • Weight: 63g/m
  • Diameter: 9.7mm

Beal Booster III 9,7mm UNICORE Dry Cover Modrá Rope Overview

  • The rope length (80 m) is useful for pitch climbing, saving time by lowering the number of belay stations required. The mega length can hamper short climbs. This length also makes it difficult to avoid rope twists.
  • The 9.7 millimeters diameter is ideal for belay plates in aided braking devices.
  • Appearance and surface. The dry cover treatment protects the sheath from humidity and dirt.
  • The sheath treatment improves handling but is not wear-resistant.
    Its reduced impact force makes for smooth drops.

What we liked:

  • Low weight per meter;
  • Dirt-resistant;
  • Great price/value ratio.

What we didn't like:

  • Twists easily.

#10 Most Durable Climbing Rope

Sterling Helix

  • Weight: 59 g/m
  • Diameter: 9.5 mm

Sterling Ropes 9.5mm Evolution Helix Dynamic Climbing Rope Overview

  • It is a small but long-lasting climbing rope with a new core construction and sheath for high-end trad sport and mixed climbing.
  • The rope is available in lengths ranging from 40 meters to 80 meters and can be purchased with a middle or bipolar marker.
  • Lightweight but long-lasting.
  • Low impact force during falls.

What we liked:

  • Excellent for high-end climbing;
  • Has an option for dry treatment;
  • Lightweight but long-lasting.

What we didn't like:

  • It is expensive.

#11 Best Workhorse Climbing Rope

Sterling 10.1mm Marathon Pro

  • Weight: 11.111 lbs/5040 g (63 g/m)
  • Diameter: 10.1 mm

Sterling Marathon Pro Dry Single Rope Overview

  • Has quite a soft feel.
  • It raps, clips, and catches well.
  • It doesn't get dirtier than this rope.
  • It has good durability to weight ratio. It also packs well.

What we liked:

  • It is an excellent projecting cord;
  • Soft catches and durable sheath;
  • Lightweight.

What we didn't like:

  • Poor handling.

#12 Best Lightweight Climbing Rope

Mammut 9.8 Crag Classic 70m

  • Weight: 62 g/m
  • Diameter: 9.8 mm

Mammut 9.8 Crag Classic Single Rope Overview

  • For convenience, the middle mark is black-dyed.
  • It is made of a durable and lightweight material.
  • Even though the rope has not been dry-treated, it performs well for trad.
  • Flexible and easy to use.
  • Excellent all-around option if you want to use a single rope for a range of different mountaineering styles.
  • High-quality rope at an affordable price.

What we liked:

  • Solid but lightweight;
  • Stretches well during falls;
  • It is lightweight and portable for its length.

What we didn't like:

  • Not dry-treated.

Confused about the Different Types of Climbing Ropes?

Here are the facts about the best climbing ropes and the differences between each type of climbing rope.

1) What does dynamic elongation mean on a climbing rope?

Dynamic elongation on a climbing rope measures the length a rope can stretch with a dynamic weighted fall. The standard dynamic test is used to measure dynamic elongation using an 80kg weight, and the measurement is taken of the first drop.

The accepted dynamic elongation standard for a single-use dynamic rope should be equal to or less than 40%. Dynamic elongation from the standard test is always assumed to be the maximum since, in the field, the maximum value will always be less. The dynamic elongation is closely related to the impact force. The higher a rope's dynamic elongation, the lower the impact force.

However, while you want a high dynamic elongation, you should be mindful of the distances to the ground and ledges. A high dynamic elongation increases the risk of falling to the ground or ledge.

2) What is the meaning of static elongation on the climbing rope?

Static elongation on a climbing rope measures how long the rope stretches under a static weight. The weight is not falling, and the application is equivalent to you hanging on a rope not falling but just hanging in place. The standard test uses a static 80kg weight, and the accepted standard static elongation for a single-use rope is equal to or less than 10%.

A low static elongation is useful when you are top roping and working out a route. It helps you avoid sagging below the holds the belayer is trying to hold too. A low static elongation also comes in handy at the start of climbs preventing falls to the ground or ledges keeping you safe.

3) What does impact force mean on the climbing rope?

The impact force on a climbing rope is the measure of force that a fall exerts on the climber and their gear during a UIAA (The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation). A lower impact force is safe for your gear and yourself, especially internal organs, as it reduces your stress during a fall. The impact force is directly related to dynamic elongation such that the higher stretch your rope has from a fall, the lower the impact fall.

However, it may not always be excellent to have a lower impact force as this may translate to having a higher dynamic elongation which could increase the risk of you hitting ledges. Balancing the need for a lower impact force depends on the kind of climbing you are doing. If you are overhung routes or sketchy trad lines, you will need a rope that gives you low impact force.

4) What does fall rating mean on climbing ropes?

Fall rating is a measurement from the UIAA which indicates the number of simulated falls it took for the rope to break. It can denote the rope's strength, and the UIAA sets the minimum number at five falls. However, you should not base your choosing on a rope on the fall rating only.

That's because the kind of force the UIAA uses is on the extreme high sides and generates forces that are hard to replicate on the practical side. In the field, it is rare to create forces over 5kN, yet the UIAA first fall tests range around 9kN, going up to 12kN on later tests.

Some cheap manufacturers create their ropes to beat these tests and get high ratings to influence buyers but lack proper handling, durability, and catch. As long as a rope meets the minimum standard, you are better off with options that have quality in each aspect.

Best Climbing Ropes 12 Type of Climbing Ropes Reviewed-p

5) What is a single rope in climbing?

A single rope in climbing, as the name suggests, is one rope used on its own in the whole system, and all gear is clipped on the rope. The belayer only has to manage one rope.

It is a simple setup to use, but any rope you plan to use should be rated for single use. Usually, single ropes have a diameter starting from 9mm to 10.2mm and a length of 60m. A single rope is marked by the symbol ’ at the end of the rope.

6) What are single ropes used for?

Because of their simple setup, simple ropes are the easiest to use and the best options for beginner climbers. Their structure makes them ideal for just about every kind of climbing, including less complex trad, sport climbing, gym climbing, alpine, and ice climbing. They also have the advantage of being affordable, and they are durable and resilient against wear and tear.

The type of single rope you use will be determined by several factors, including the terrain, the length of your climbing route, and the kind of climbing you are doing. You mustn't use single ropes for twin rope or half rope setups. In case of a fall, they can generate a higher impact force, around 12kN or more, which can be dangerous to you and your gear.

7) What is a twin rope in climbing?

In climbing, a twin rope refers to a system where two ropes are used as though they were one rope. The two ropes are clipped together in every piece of gear hence the name twin ropes. The design of their function means they are individually the thinnest type of rope used in climbing, typically measuring about 7-8mm. The infinity symbol inside a circle marks twin ropes, and at times the word twin is above the infinity symbol inside the circle.

Twin ropes provide the advantage of full-length rappels, and they also provide the advantage of an extra rope should one break. The redundancy always gives you options in case of an accident. However, because they are thin, you cannot use them individually for two reasons. First, they do not have an individual rating for falls. Secondly, in case of a fall, they have high elongation, increasing the risk of hitting the ground or ledges.

8) What are twin ropes used for?

Twins ropes are used for alpine and ice climbing for two reasons. First, they allow you to abseil almost double what you could with a single rope, which comes in handy when you are getting off routes.

Secondly, you can also share the load with your partner when you are embarking on long approaches. Twin ropes are also excellent for mixed climbing. Their main challenge, though, is their learning curve for both the climber and belayer. They can also be cumbersome.

9) What are half ropes and double ropes in climbing?

Half ropes and double ropes in climbing mean the same thing, and you can use them interchangeably. They refer to a system where there are two ropes for climbing, but instead of tying them both into every piece of gear like twins, with half ropes, the ropes do not share the equipment. Instead, one single rope is used for one gear item, and they are often used interchangeably. It is a complex system but has its unique advantages.

The symbol denotes double or half ropes at the end of the rope. They have individual fall ratings, making them more durable than twin ropes but still less durable and thinner than single ropes. Read our dedicated guide on how to cut a climbing rope if you have to, and how to coil a climbing rope, because you will have to do so.

10) What are half ropes and double ropes used for?

Half ropes and double ropes allow you to spread the weight across the various pieces of gear, reducing the impact force on each item. This attribute makes them excellent for marginal trad placements. They are also great for general trad climbing and climbing wandering routes since they reduce rope drag.

Just like the twin ropes, the presence of an additional rope doubles up your abseil length, which is useful in alpine climbing. The extra length also helps in an emergency, and the extra rope provides redundancy should one rope break.

Their downsides are that they make for a complex system with a longer learning curve, and they can cause issues with rope management. The individual ropes are also less durable than single ropes making them vulnerable to wear and tear.

11) What are static ropes, and when do you use them?

Static ropes are ropes designed not to stretch or elongate when weighted or under a load. Because of the little to no stretch, the ropes allow for steady and bounce-free climbing, making them useful for building anchors, rappelling, and hauling loads. They are often set as the fixed rope for descent and can also lower injured people.

You cannot use static ropes for lead climbing, top-roping, or similar climbing forms as they are not tested or rated. More importantly, their little stretch makes them a hazard in case of a fall as they increase the impact force you and your gear will be under.

12) What are dynamic ropes, and when do you use them?

Dynamic ropes are designed to elongate when weighted or bearing a load. Their design allows them to absorb the energy of a sudden load like what happens during a fall much faster than with a static rope, and in doing so, they reduce the peak force of the impact. As such, they reduce any risk of injury on your part and also protect your gear from the extra strain of the fall's impact.

Their attributes make them excellent for all climbing needs. They are, however, not great in cases where you need to haul a load up or where controlled climbing is necessary because of the extra bounce.

Last but not least, once you choose your best climbing rope, make sure to read our article on how to clean a climbing rope for a greater durability.

Our #1 Product Recommendation in the Best Climbing Ropes Category

The rankings on rappellingequipment.com are curated to save you time by aggregating the best reviewed products from the most reputable companies. We may receive a commission if you buy something using a link on this page.

About the author 

Bernice

Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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