How to Pick a Climbing Rope

How to Pick a Climbing Rope
Climbing is an inherently dangerous sport, and participants rely on excellent equipment to keep them safe in harsh environments and precarious situations that would be otherwise unnavigable. The rope is the most basic piece of climbing safety equipment, and it must be chosen with care. Because the climbing environment can vary from an air-conditioned indoor gym to blizzard-racked mountain peaks, ropes also vary in design and robustness. Choosing the right rope for your climbing style and setting is essential to staying safe in a vertical world.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
List the activities with which you will be using the rope. Do you only climb indoors? Will you be using the line for rock climbing, ice climbing or mountaineering? The intended use of the rope makes a difference in its design.
Step 2
Determine the length of rope you will need. Most recreational climbing ropes are 50 meters long, but many manufacturers offer longer ropes for mountaineering or other specialty uses.
Step 3
Select the right rope thickness for your activity. An 11-millimeter-thick rope is the standard in strength for most climbing demands. A thinner rope can be used for simpler mountain travel, such as glacier navigation. Very thin ropes, under nine millimeters, are used in pairs as double-rope protection systems for vertical climbs.
Step 4
Check for special features like waterproofing. Waterproofed ropes are popular in outdoor climbing and mountaineering. When a rope gets wet, it loses some of its strength. Waterproof ropes are treated to prevent this. However, they are also more expensive, and if you will only be using your rope for indoor climbing, you will not need this feature.
Step 5
Make sure your rope is certified for climbing. The Union Internationale De Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) conducts elasticity and strength tests on lines to make sure they are safe for climbing. Make sure your rope carries a UIAA certification.


Article Written By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from The Ohio University. He has been a professional writer since 2008, specializing in outdoors content and instruction. Johnson's poetry has appeared in such publications as "Sphere" and "17 1/2 Magazine."

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