Best Climbing Rope

When done right, climbing is one of the safest extreme sports. However, properly protecting a climber requires knowledge and skill that must be learned, and if done wrong the consequences are disastrous. The system used to keep climbers safe typically involves two people attached to a single rope. The climber ties into one end of the rope referred to as the sharp end, and the belayer connects themselves further down the rope with a device that creates friction to hold the climber up if they happen to fall. Choosing a climbing rope can be a confusing process that involves a certain amount of knowledge of the sport. That is why we have created this guide to get you started on your research. Take a look at our top picks below.

Standout Picks

Sterling Slim Gym Rope
The Sterling Slim Gym is a thick rope designed to be used in the gym. Coming in shorter lengths, this rope is easier to maneuver on indoor walls that don’t exceed 12 to 15 meters.
Sterling Evolution Velocity Rope
The Sterling Evolution Velocity is a fantastic rope option for both beginner and novice climbers. Reviewers love the stiff feel and durability of this rope.
BlueWater Icon Rope
The BlueWater Icon is a skinny rope designed to be as lightweight as possible and perfect for advanced climbers. Coming in a variety of different colors, this rope won’t weigh you down as you go for the send on your project or hike deep into the backcountry looking for new cracks.
Amazon Link
$177.71
Petzl Volta Rope
The Petzl Volta is a thin, lightweight, all-terrain rope that can be used for basically any type of climbing. The thin diameter does require skill to handle, so this rope is recommended for experienced climbers only.
Sterling Fusion Nano IX Rope
The Sterling Fusion Nano is a versatile rope that is designed to work well for basically any type of climbing. With a skinny diameter, this rope can be hard to handle and is not recommended for beginners, top-roping, or projecting.
Petzl Arial Rope
The Petzl Arial comes in two different colors so that you can pick the one that fits your style best. Bright orange will help you stand out at the crag, while a deep brown will stop the rope from showing dirt. Do be aware that dark-colored ropes tend to get hot in the sun, which can become a hassle for the belayer.
Mammut Infinity Rope
The Mammut Infinity is an all-around great rope that can be used for a variety of climbing styles. With a diameter that is on the thin side, this rope is also lightweight and won’t weigh you down on a long approach.
BlueWater Lightning Pro Rope
The BlueWater Lightning Pro is a fantastic rope that comes with a plethora of great extra features. It can be purchased in multiple colors and at multiple lengths, so the rope can cater specifically to your style and needs.
Amazon Link
$218.96
Gear Coop
$221.95
See Deal
Mammut Eternity Climbing Rope
The Eternity will last you a lifetime, thanks to the lifetime guarantee and overall durability. It has a great hand-feel and is available in many different lengths. If style and color is something that is important to you, you'll be able to choose from violet and white or neon orange and violet.
Edelrid Boa Rope
The Edelrid Boa 9.8 is a versatile and sturdy rope that comes in an assortment of multipatterned attractive colors. This rope has been called the "Rope of the year" and has been featured in UK's Climber magazine.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

There are three different types of rope that one can buy: single ropes, half ropes, and twin ropes. Although these types of rope look similar, each goes through a different process for being properly rated. Only use a rope in the style for which it has been intended and tested.

Single
Single ropes are the most common style of rope. The name ”single” indicates that these ropes are meant to be used on their own without any other ropes for protection. These ropes are most commonly used in sports climbing, trad climbing, big wall climbing, and top-roping. When using a single rope the climber ties into one rope and then attaches this rope to quickdraws, cams, or nuts as they climb. These ropes have a diameter of 9mm or larger and are denoted by a number “1” found at the end of the rope.

Half
Half ropes are meant to be used with another rope. When climbing with a twin rope the climber ties into two ropes and then alternates attaching each rope to their protection. Typically they will use one rope for protection that is located to their left and the other rope for protection that is located to their right. This style of rope is typically used for used for ice climbing and mountaineering to create redundancy in protection, and on wandering multi-pitch routes to decrease rope drag. These ropes have a diameter of 8 – 9mm and are denoted by a “1/2” symbol on each end.

Twin
Finally, twin ropes are used in tandem with another rope, hence the name “twin”. For this system, a climber again ties into two ropes, but unlike the half rope system, both ropes are placed in every piece of protection. These ropes can be even skinnier than half ropes, with some having a diameter of less than 8mm. Twin ropes are used in ice climbing, mountaineering, and on multi-pitch routes that do not wander. They are denoted by the infinity symbol on each end.

Features

A great extra feature that is becoming more common is dry treatment on ropes, which prevents a rope from taking on water if it becomes wet. Dry treatment is not especially important for sports climbers or single pitch trad climbers, who typically stop climbing if it begins to rain, but it integral for multi-pitch climbers and ice climbers.

Multi-pitch climbers can’t hide from the rain and therefore need a rope that won’t get soaked through when wet. Water doesn’t damage but will make it much heavier and more difficult to manage. This is even more important for ice climbers, who climb in freezing temperatures. If their rope takes on water there is the added danger that it will freeze, making it stiff and stopping it from functioning properly.

Size

The standard diameter is 9.8mm. This width strikes a good balance between ease of movement through your belay device but does not move so quickly that it can be hard to handle for inexperienced belayers. This width is also light enough that it will weigh the climber down as they climb, and knots are easy to tie.

In general, thicker ropes are easier to manage for beginners, while thinner ropes require more skill. When picking rope diameter, another consideration is the length of the approach and the length of the climb. If you are going to be walking a distance to get to your climb, a thinner lighter rope is desirable. This is also true if you will be doing multi-pitch climbs or mountaineering, where you will have to carry your rope up hundreds or thousands of feet of elevation gain.

Weight

Cutting down weight by choosing a thinner rope is also important since rope length is never an area where less is more. Choosing a rope that is long enough for the climbs you want to do is crucial, since a to short rope may cause a climber to repel off the end, or for the rope to slip out of the belay device, rendering the system useless and causing the climber to fall.

Before getting on a climb always remember that your rope must be two times as long as the climb – reaching the top may be the goal, but a rope is useless if it can’t get you safely back on the ground. For most climbs a 60m meter rope will be sufficient, however more and more longer routes are being put up these days.

If you can afford it, buy an 80m rope. With a rope of this length, you will be able to confidently get on almost any climb. Still, always double-check the length of a route. As an extra precaution always also tie a knot at the end of your rope, that way even if a mistake is made your climber won’t fall.

Value

As a climber, you know that all of this equipment can add up. For that reason, when we determined the value of each rope, we looked at more than just the price. We considered the versatility, durability, length, and overall feel of the rope. Nobody wants to invest in something that won’t last or simply isn’t worth the price.

A great way to keep your ropes in great shape is to protect them by investing in a rope bag. This type of bag will keep the ropes from accumulating dirt and grime, therefore extending their durability and overall value.

Top 10 Picks

1. Sterling Slim Gym

Where to buy
Sterling Slim Gym Rope
Amazon Link

The Sterling Slim Gym is a thick rope designed to be used in the gym. Coming in shorter lengths, this rope is easier to maneuver on indoor walls that don’t exceed 12 to 15 meters.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope that is specifically designed for sport climbing in an indoor rock gym. This rope has a static elongation of 8.4% and a dynamic elongation of 35.3%. Its impact force is 8.6kN and it is rated to take 6 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope has no extra features.

Size
This rope is available for purchase at 25m, 30m, 100m, and 200m. Each of these lengths are specifically catered to gym climbing. The short lengths are for individuals who wish to pursue sport climbing on short gym walls. Double-check the length of the walls in your gym before purchasing either of these ropes.

Weight
At 30m, this rope weighs 4.2-pounds. The long lengths are made for gym owners, who wish to buy the rope in bulk to set up gym top ropes. The diameter of this rope is 10.1mm, which is thick for a single rope. The thickness of this rope is also ideal for gym climbing, as the thick rope moves less quickly through a belay device and therefore is great for less experienced belayers.

Value
This rope is much cheaper than the average price, however, it only comes at short lengths and doesn’t offer any extra features.

Summary
The Sterling Slim Gym is designed for beginner climbers who sport climb in a gym. The thick diameter will move more slowly through a belay device and is therefore ideal for unpracticed belayers. The thickness of this rope also withstands the stresses of top roping and elongated hangs better than a thin rope.

2. Sterling Evolution Velocity

Sterling Evolution Velocity Rope
Amazon Link

The Sterling Evolution Velocity is a fantastic rope option for both beginner and novice climbers. Reviewers love the stiff feel and durability of this rope.

Read more

Use
This is a sport and trad version. The impact force of this rope is 8.8kN. It has a static elongation of 8.6% and a dynamic elongation of 26.4%. The Velocity rope is rated to take 6 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope comes with a one year warranty, though we don't think that you will be wanting to return this item. This rope can take quite a beating which makes it ideal for beginners.

Size
The diameter of this rope is pretty standard at 9.8mm. It is only available in 60m or 70m.

Weight
Weighing in at only 62grams, this rope is perfect for climbs where weight and durability are key.

Value
With whichever length you choose, this rope is priced similarly to the other products on this list.

Summary
If you are looking for something lightweight and durable, the Sterling Evolution is a great choice. It's 9.8mm and usable for any long routes and onsighting. The Velocity has a robust, stiff feel to allow for easy clipping. The newly revamped rope has a core that features a sheath construction that is lightweight, but also very durable.

3. BlueWater Icon

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$177.71
BlueWater Icon Rope
Amazon Link

The BlueWater Icon is a skinny rope designed to be as lightweight as possible and perfect for advanced climbers. Coming in a variety of different colors, this rope won’t weigh you down as you go for the send on your project or hike deep into the backcountry looking for new cracks.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope and is best used for sport climbing or trad climbing. Its thin diameter makes it a poor choice for top-roping. This rope has a static elongation of 7.2% and a dynamic elongation of 32.7%. Its impact force is 8.8kN and it is rated to take 5 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is available in bicolor options. It is also available as a double-dry treated rope, meaning the sheath and core both repel water.

Size
This rope is available at 60m, 70m, and 80m. It has a diameter of 9.1mm, which is very skinny for a single rope.

Weight
The skinny diameter means this rope is lightweight, but also that it is difficult to handle and requires an attentive and expert belay.

Value
This rope has a price point similar to most other ropes.

Summary
The BlueWater Icon is a great, super lightweight rope ideal for multi-pitch climbs. It also works well for sport climbing, however, due to its super thin diameter repeated falls and long hangs should be kept to a minimum.

Amazon Link
$177.71

4. Petzl Volta

Where to buy
Petzl Volta Rope
Amazon Link

The Petzl Volta is a thin, lightweight, all-terrain rope that can be used for basically any type of climbing. The thin diameter does require skill to handle, so this rope is recommended for experienced climbers only.

Read more

Use
This rope is certified as a single, half, or twin rope, making it ideal for basically any type of climbing. The skinny diameter does make it more prone to wear and tear, so try to avoid top roping or other types of climbing where you will hang on the rope repeatedly and for long periods of time. Each rope type that this rope is certified as has its own safety ratings. As a single rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.5%, a dynamic elongation of 33%, an impact force of 8.6kN, and can take 6 UIAA falls. As a half rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.5%, a dynamic elongation of 30%, an impact force of 6.8kN, and can take over 20 UIAA falls. Finally, as a twin rope, this rope has a static elongation of 6%, a dynamic elongation of 26%, an impact force of 10.5kN, and can take over 30 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope has a middle mark that alerts you once you have utilized over half the rope. It is dry treated, so it will repel water in wet conditions, making it a great choice for ice climbing, mountaineering, and multi-pitch climbing.

Size
This rope is available in 30m, 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m, and 100m.

Weight
It has a diameter of 9.2mm, which is lightweight but also makes it more difficult to handle.

Value
This rope is more expensive than most other climbing ropes.

Summary
The Petzl Volta can be used for sport climbing, trad climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering. Its lightweight means it works well on long approaches and multi-pitch climbs. The only areas where this rope is not an appropriate choice is for beginner climbers and top roping.

5. Sterling Fusion Nano IX

Where to buy
Sterling Fusion Nano IX Rope
Amazon Link

The Sterling Fusion Nano is a versatile rope that is designed to work well for basically any type of climbing. With a skinny diameter, this rope can be hard to handle and is not recommended for beginners, top-roping, or projecting.

Read more

Use
This rope is certified as a single, half, or twin making it a great choice for ice climbing, multi-pitch trad climbing, and mountaineering. It can also work well for sport climbing and single pitch trad, however, one should avoid taking repeated falls or hanging on this rope for elongated periods of time. Each rope type of this rope is certified and as has its own safety ratings. As a single rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.0%, a dynamic elongation of 26.4%, an impact force of 8.5kN, and can take 6 UIAA falls. As a half rope, this rope has a static elongation of 7.0%, a dynamic elongation of 27.6%, an impact force of 6.6kN, and can take over 15 UIAA falls. Finally, as a twin rope, this rope has a static elongation of 3.6%, a dynamic elongation of 25.3%, an impact force of 10.4kN, and can take over 20 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is a dry rope and is available for purchase with a DryCore technology, which treats the core but not the sheath, or DryXP technology, which treats the entire rope and guarantees less than 5% water absorption. This rope is also available as a bicolor rope, which means the pattern changes at the halfway mark, making it easy to tell exactly where you are on the rope.

Size
This rope is available in 30m, 40m, 50, 60m, 70m, and 80m. The bicolor version is only available at the lengths of 60m, 70m, and 80m.

Weight
This rope has a diameter of 9.0mm, which is very skinny and should only be handled by expert climbers.

Value
This rope is on the pricier side for climbing ropes.

Summary
The Sterling Fusion Nano is a multi-purpose rope that is a great choice for almost every kind of climbing. The very thin diameter makes it extremely lightweight, and its tripe rating makes it a great choice for ice climbing, multi-pitch climbs, and mountaineering.

6. Petzl Arial

Where to buy
Petzl Arial Rope
Amazon Link

The Petzl Arial comes in two different colors so that you can pick the one that fits your style best. Bright orange will help you stand out at the crag, while a deep brown will stop the rope from showing dirt. Do be aware that dark-colored ropes tend to get hot in the sun, which can become a hassle for the belayer.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top-roping, and trad climbing. This rope has a static elongation of 7.6% and a dynamic elongation 32%. Its impact force is 8.8kN, and it is rated to withstand 7 UIAA drops.

Features
This rope is dry treated, and will, therefore, repel water if it gets wet. A middle mark at the center of the rope alerts the belayer when they have lowered past the halfway mark.

Size
This rope can be purchased at 60m, 70m, and 80m. Think carefully about the length you need before buying a rope, since extra length never hurts but not enough could mean you come off the end.

Weight
This rope has a diameter of 9.5mm, making it thinner than most ropes but also more lightweight.

Value
The price for this rope is average for what one should expect to pay for this type of product.

Summary
The thinner diameter on the Petzl Arial makes it a lighter weight rope. This is especially helpful if you plan to buy it at the length of 80m.

7. Mammut Infinity

Mammut Infinity Rope
Amazon Link

The Mammut Infinity is an all-around great rope that can be used for a variety of climbing styles. With a diameter that is on the thin side, this rope is also lightweight and won’t weigh you down on a long approach.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope, which means it is best for sport climbing, top roping, and trad climbing. The static elongation on this rope is 6.5% and the dynamic elongation is 30%. The impact force of this rope is 8.4kN and it is rated to withstand 7 to 8 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is dry treated, meaning it will repel water when it gets wet. This makes it a good choice for ice climbers and multi-pitch climbers who prefer to use a single rope.

Size
This rope can be bought at the standard lengths of 60m, 70m, and 80m, meaning you can cater the length to your needs.

Weight
It has a diameter of 9.5mm, which makes it thinner than most other single ropes. This is an advantage if you are looking for a lightweight rope, but does mean that it will slide more quickly through a belay device.

Value
This rope is on the cheaper end for what one can expect to pay.

Summary
The Mammut Infinity is a great rope for sport climbing or single and multi-pitch trad. Although it will also work well for top-roping, its thin diameter means it will fray more quickly, and repeated hangs may compromise the rope after some time.

8. BlueWater Lightning Pro

Where to buy
BlueWater Lightning Pro Rope
Amazon Link

The BlueWater Lightning Pro is a fantastic rope that comes with a plethora of great extra features. It can be purchased in multiple colors and at multiple lengths, so the rope can cater specifically to your style and needs.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top-roping, and trad climbing. This rope has a static elongation of 8.9% and a dynamic elongation of 32.2%. Its impact force is 7.8kN and it is rated to take 8 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is available for purchase with or without multiple extra features. It can be bought with a double-dry water-resistant coat that protects both the sheath and core from getting wet. The double-dry version is also available in a bicolor pattern, that shifts at the half-way mark.

Size
This rope is available for purchase at 60m and 70m.

Weight
It has a diameter of 9.7mm, which is average for sport ropes.

Value
The price for this rope is similar to that of other climbing ropes.

Summary
The BlueWater Lightning Pro is available with or without dry treatment or a bicolor pattern. This makes it very customizable to your needs and your budget.

Amazon Link
$218.96
Gear Coop
$221.95
See Deal

9. Mammut Eternity

Mammut Eternity Climbing Rope
Amazon Link

The Eternity will last you a lifetime, thanks to the lifetime guarantee and overall durability. It has a great hand-feel and is available in many different lengths. If style and color is something that is important to you, you'll be able to choose from violet and white or neon orange and violet.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope, but still quite versatile. Its best uses include sport, trad, gym, or an occasional multi-pitch climb. It has a static elongation of 5.5%, a dynamic elongation of 31%, and an impact force of 8.5kN. It is rated to withstand 8-9 UIAA falls.

Features
The flexibility of this rope is very impressive. It has been described by many as “supple” and provides secure braking when descending with a belay. The middle of the rope comes pre-marked, providing extra security when rappelling. This rope is not dry treated.

Size
Are you ready for this? We haven’t seen many ropes that are available in such a wide range of lengths. Depending on where you shop, you can find this rope in lengths of 40m-320m. Most popularly, you’ll find it offered in lengths of 40m, 50m, 60m, 70m, or 80m.

Weight
The diameter of this rope is 9.8mm. This is the most common and versatile size in the climbing world. As mentioned before, this rope is lighter than some of its competitors. It weighs 64-grams per meter.

Value
The price of this rope varies, depending on the length. However, it is priced quite averagely and also comes with a lifetime warranty from Mammut.

Summary
Whether you are a professional or a beginner, the Eternity is a great product to have in your arsenal of climbing gear. It has a great hand feel, is versatile, and comes with a lifetime warranty. While there have been slight issues with the rope kinking, it is not enough to keep us from loving this addition.

10. Edelrid Boa

Where to buy
Edelrid Boa Rope
Amazon Link

The Edelrid Boa 9.8 is a versatile and sturdy rope that comes in an assortment of multipatterned attractive colors. This rope has been called the "Rope of the year" and has been featured in UK's Climber magazine.

Read more

Use
This is a single rope and is best for sport climbing, top-roping, and trad climbing. This rope has a static elongation of 9.3% and a dynamic elongation of 32%. Its impact force is 8.8kN and it has been rated to take 7 UIAA falls.

Features
This rope is not dry treated, and therefore, is not recommended for snowy or rainy use. All lengths of this rope feature a middle marker with two black lines. All of Edelrid's ropes are finished with "thermo shield" treatment. This helps to maintain the integrity of the ropes and keeps them functioning like new with each use. If you are eco-conscious, you will also appreciate that this rope is Bluesign approved and manufactured with 89% less water and 63% fewer chemicals.

Size
This rope can be bought at 40m, 60m, 70m, and 200m. Only use the 40m rope for gym climbing, or if you are absolutely certain that the climb you are getting on is less than 15m in length.

Weight
The diameter of this rope is 9.8mm, which is the standard width for sport climbing ropes.

Value
This rope is priced on par with other similar products.

Summary
The Edelrid Boa is an amazing option. Users love the smooth feeling, diameter, and slack. The only complaint that we have dug up on this rope is the fact that the color you order may not be the same color that arrives on your doorstep. Each rope is made from recycled yarn and the color patterns will vary.

Sources

  1. Ed Celesa, BEST CLIMBING ROPES OF 2019, Blog
  2. Robin Gilmore, 10 Best Climbing Ropes, Buying Guide
  3. Kate Sedrowski, BEST CLIMBING ROPES OF 2019, Outdoors Blog
  4. N/A, How to Choose Climbing Rope, Climbing Safety Site