The Best Climbing Rope

The Best Climbing Rope
Climbing ropes are available in a variety of configurations, depending on the activity they will be used for. For instance, climbers doing glacier climbs and high-altitude mountaineering will likely prefer a single half rope, since the fall factors aren't as brutal and every ounce counts. Those doing big wall climbs will prefer a beefy rope that can stand a lot of abuse. Climbers looking to do a variety of traditional climbing and sport routes might choose a single line that will split the difference.


Climbers going to altitude usually choose a single line between 8 and 8.5 mm in diameter. When climbing on technical and vertical terrain, these ropes are designed to be used as a pair, alternately clipping pieces of protection into one or the other rope in a half-rope configuration, or clipping both ropes into each piece of gear in a twin-rope configuration. On glacier travel, a single one of these ropes can be used to save weight. The Petzl Dragonfly 8.2, weighing just 41.8 grams per meter, is an excellent choice. To have extra length for easier pitches, or to have enough rope to use it doubled up on more technical terrain, choose the 70-meter version.

All Purpose

All-purpose ropes should balance weight with durability. A dry treatment, which helps with water repellency, is also a good option. These ropes used to be available in 10 to 11 mm diameters, but manufacturers have increasingly gone thinner, down to 9.4. The Mammut Infinity 9.5 and Petzl Fuse 9.4 are both good choices for lighter-weight all-purpose ropes. For a little more money, you can get the Infinity in a Duodess pattern, which uses different patterns on each half-length of the rope so climbers can quickly find the midpoint when setting rappels.

More Durability

Those seeking a little more durability in their ropes, such as guides and wall climbers, will prefer a slightly thicker line rated to hold more falls, such as the Petzl Zephyr 10.3, Edelweiss Axis 10.3, Mammut Flash 10.5 and Blue Water Enduro 11.0. These ropes are available in a variety of lengths, but 60 meters is probably the best choice, as many newer routes have pitches that will stretch a 60-meter rope to its end to reach the belay point.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.