Learning how to coil a climbing rope is a crucial skill for any recreational climber willing to learn climbing outdoors, especially in the mountains.
It’s both a skill and art, and you must put in a bit of effort and patience to master it.
So gear up to learn the basics of coiling a climbing rope in this step-by-step guide.
Get Yourself a Rope or Stuff Bag
Many climbing rope bags come with a hole at the bottom and this is very helpful in coiling the rope. You should try to tie one end of your climbing rope so that it doesn’t pull through the hole of the stuff sack.
For packing the rope, all you have to do is to stuff the rope inside the bag. You must ensure that one end of the rope is kept free so that it becomes easy to find while climbing. You can also tie it to the outside strap of your rope bag.
Step 1: Stacking the Rope
In this step, you will have to run the rope through your hands and stack it in an arranged way so that it cannot get tangled while you try to figure out how to coil a climbing rope.
You must leave the bottom end of the rope coming out from the lower end of the pile of the rope.
Step 2: Holding Both the Ends Together
Your next step is to move the hands at two arm-lengths of the climbing rope while keeping the loose ends together.
You must hold both strands of the rope in the right hand together while spreading both arms side to side. As you spread your arms, you must grasp the length of the rope with your left hand.
Step 3: Draping the Resulting Rope Length Across the Shoulder
In this step, you will have to hold an end of the rope in your right hand and run it across the length of the right hand, shoulder, and over your neck with the left hand so that it reaches to your left hand again for repeating the step.
At this point, you will see that the climbing rope will hang around your neck like a heavy scarf.
Step 4: Grabbing the Slack
Now you will have to hold both the strands of the climbing rope with your left hand while reaching across with the right hand. You should try to grasp both plies of rope between the stack and your left hand.
You will now have to grab the rope slacks and continue in the same manner to flip them over the neck and down to your shoulders.
Continue in this manner till you cover the entire length of the climbing rope. Make sure that you have left 2 feet slack, and in case you wish to carry it as a rope pack, you will have to leave around 5 to 10 feet slack.
In the next step, drape the length across the shoulders taking it behind your neck. You will have to hold both strands with the right hand while reaching across with the left hand for pulling up one more arm-length of rope from the rope slack. You must continue to work with both rope strands together.
Step 5: Looping the Coils
As you are almost done coiling the climbing rope, you will be left with a 6 to 10 feet slack rope. Now you will grab the whole bundle of rope behind the neck, pulling it across the neck so that you have all the rope before you.
Take the coils off the shoulders and hold them in a way without dropping any strands of rope. Bring both hands and take two bundles of rope for putting it in a single large loop.
Make sure that you hold a loose coil in one hand, and it will look like an upturned U shape with the loops lying on the end of the U. You must hold the loop with your right hand while bringing the entire bundle from the back of your head.
Step 6: Locating the Middle Point
Once you pinpoint the middle point of the coils, you will have to hold the bundle so that both the ends of the rope coils drape on each side. Also, collect the separate ends of the climbing rope and wrap both ends of the rope circling the bundle of rope.
Then, secure it tightly in a way so that you can hold the bundle of your climbing rope by the newly made slack. Even if the bottom of the rope coil may appear to be untidy, it will not matter till you have the top of the rope tightly arranged.
Step 7: Tying the Bundle of the Climbing Rope
Now you have arrived at the end of the coiling procedure, and you will have to slide over the loop to the top of the bundle so that it goes over the wrap of rope you have created.
Pull up the loose ends for cinching it down and tying the bundle of rope shut. The rope is now completely coiled and ready for carrying.
Making a Backpack for the Rope
When you think about how to coil a climbing rope, you must consider leaving a long tail of slack to make a backpack with the ending of the rope tied to the bundle. This makes it easier to carry even when you don’t have access to an actual backpack.
All you have to do is swing the entire bundle of rope on your back and take two slack pieces to put one over each shoulder. Lastly, tie a square knot to keep the coil in its place.
Final Thoughts on How to Coil a Climbing Rope
A badly coiled rock climbing rope is painful on all fronts. It’s going to be messy while carrying on the gear bag, very difficult to carry, and doesn’t flake in the desired way.
If you are storing climbing rope for a while or stuffing it inside a backpack, learning to coil, it is worth the effort and can save a lot of time in untangling knots that seem to have tied themselves mysteriously.
Additionally, a clean climbing rope is always easier to coil. Here is how to clean a climbing rope. Before you decide to retire a climbing rope, read our guide on how to cut a climbing rope, in case it is torn somewhere. Always try to first fix your climbing gear before buying new equipment.
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