7 Must-Buy Rock Climbing Ropes

Carbine and hook with rope in stone

Key Points

  • Rock climbing rope is the most essential piece of climbing gear.

  • Diligently research the various climbing ropes on the market and buy the best one within your budget.

  • A good rock climbing rope must be durable, dynamic, easy to handle, lightweight, safety certified, and flexible.

A world without rock climbing ropes is a world that limits climbing to bouldering and free soloing. In this world, belaying rocky crags and crushing the route's crux is nothing but a dream. Fortunately, the makers of the universe endowed humanity with climbing rope, allowing you to extend your climbing potential beyond amateur routes and into spheres of climbing even Alex Honnold might find daunting.

What exactly do rock climbing ropes do?

This climbing gear allows climbers to secure themselves to anchors and protection points while ascending. If a climber falls, heaven forbid, rope creates a low-impact force that catches them and produces a graceful, controlled descent to the ground instead of something akin to a bug hitting the windshield.

Not sure what climbing rope to get? Read on.

Black Diamond 9.9mm

Black Diamond 9.9mm rope balances the right blend of soft catch and elasticity. It's stretchy yet firm, thicker, and therefore safer. This rope caters to climbing rookies and top-roping climbers.

Two downsides of the Black Diamond 9.9mm rope are weight and lack of a dry option. It's on the heavier end of the climbing rope at 64 grams per meter (sorry, Americans, the climbing world uses the metric system).

A dry option means a rope has a special treatment that makes it more water resistant. This stops it from becoming heavy, weak, and prone to freezing when used in wet situations. In other words, don't get this rope if you're climbing outside in wet conditions.

If you're new to climbing, the thickness is a comforting layer of protection. For between $120 and $210, that comfort comes at an affordable cost.

Black Diamond 9.9mm

Photo source: Amazon.com

Petzl Dynamic Mambo

Petzl Dynamic Mambo rope proves to be a solid choice for gym and rock climbers. It offers excellent grip and handling.

The rope's thick 10.1-millimeter diameter gives enhanced control for the belayer, ensuring precise management of the rope. The last thing you want as a climber is a belaying partner unable to handle the rope that's stopping you from smashing against the ground.

Petzl is a renowned company in the climbing world, and the Petzl Dynamic Mambo has all the qualities safe climbing rope needs. It's certified by The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation.

The negative aspects of the Mambo are nil. For between $190 and $240, it's a solid rock climbing rope.

Petzl Dynamic Mambo

Photo source: Amazon.com

Sterling Evolution Velocity

Sterling Evolution Velocity rope is a climbing rope that's fine and dandy for most forms of climbing but excels in one particular type: cragging.

It's on the heavier and thicker end of weight and diameter. However, it's not nearly as thick and heavy as other heavy-duty climbing ropes. If you need speed and lightness, this isn't the rope for you. The appeal is for climbers wanting a durable, thick rope that handles like a dream.

If you're seeking a trustworthy and durable climbing rope that endures heavy usage, look no further than the Sterling Evolution Velocity rope. This rope is available in a dry option, which renders it resistant to moisture. It's a reliable and robust option that works best if you're cragging.

Sterling Evolution Velocity

Photo source: Amazon.com

Mammut Eternity Classic

The Mammut Eternity Classic rope is an exceptional piece of climbing gear that caters to all climbers, regardless of their level of expertise.

The versatility of this rope is like having a Swiss Army knife in your climbing gear. The Mammut Eternity Classic is the perfect choice for all types of climbing. Whether you're conquering indoor walls like a superhero or scaling rugged cliffs like a mountain goat, this rope provides steadfast support.

If you're seeking an optimal experience in high-end sport climbing, it may be worth exploring alternate rope options. This rope may prove too cumbersome for that particular activity, where agility and speed are the priority.

Edelweiss Curve 9.8mm

Edelweiss Curve 9.8mm rope isn't a recommended choice. It catches softly, which is great, but standard. Any good climbing rope must do that. The issues of this climbing rope tip the scale into the red and ultimately lead to a product that's not worth purchasing.

The issues are its elasticity and stiffness.

The extreme stretchability of the rope makes it far from ideal for top roping. It's like you're a yo-yo. The rope itself is stiff, ridiculously stiff, like a snake-in-rigor-mortis level of stiffness. This creates a whole host of problems: Belaying becomes more difficult, it's difficult to tie knots, and the rope is tougher to handle, to name a few.

Nobody wants that; nobody needs that. Edelweiss Curve 9.8mm rope costs $168. That's a pretty cheap price for climbing rope — then again, it's a pretty cheap climbing rope.

Edelweiss Curve 9.8mm

Photo source: Amazon.com

Beal Booster III

The Beal Booster III rope is highly regarded for its superior handling, providing climbers with a comfortable and controlled ascent. Its gentle catches and impressive low-impact force rating make it a top choice for those seeking a premier climbing experience with no hassle.

When first handling this rope, you may experience a certain level of rigidity. As you continue to use it, the rope gradually becomes more pliant and flexible. Although it may have slightly more elongation than other climbing ropes, this difference doesn't affect performance.

The Beal Booster III rope is an expensive piece of climbing gear at nearly $350, but the dollars you spend aren't for nothing. This is a supreme climbing rope that every climber with deep pockets and a love for climbing must consider.

Beal Booster III

Photo source: Amazon.com

BlueWater Lightning Pro

BlueWater Lightning Pro rope excels in some departments but fumbles in perhaps the most erroneous way. It's a lightweight rope for its diameter, easy to handle, and a breeze for clipping.

Unfortunately, it's not the most long-lasting of climbing ropes. The sheath displays wear after several uses. It's hard to say exactly how many uses you're going to get out of it, but somewhere in the annoyingly nearer-than-expected future, you're going to have to replace it.

The catch is soft, yet the falls are harder compared to similar climbing ropes. The rope handles well, but it's hard to appreciate the positives when the sheath frays and gets damaged easier than other ropes. For between $205 and $350, the BlueWater Lightning Pro rope is like leftover, fast-food pizza. If you've got nothing else to eat, it works, but it doesn't beat a steaming, hot pizza from your local Italian restaurant.

BlueWater Lightning Pro

Photo source: Amazon.com

The Closest Thing To Flying

Margaret Young, one of the major contributors to women's climbing, once said, "Climbing is the closest thing we have to flying."

Nothing beats the exhilaration of climbing epic heights, then looking down and seeing the incredible distance you ascended through grit, handwork, and athleticism. The sense of accomplishment is tremendous.

That feeling quickly turns to fear if you don't have quality climbing rope. It's the one thing in your entire climbing arsenal that separates you from a fatal fall. Be picky when you're purchasing climbing rope. Get nothing but the best. It's the unsung hero of climbing, the one thing that gets you closest to flying by protecting you from falling.

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