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How to Find the Perfect Climbing Rope

From top roping to lead climbing, these are the best ropes to bring to the crag this summer.

Sung Han

When you’re 70 feet up an overhanging rock face, the absolute last thing you want to be worrying about is your rope. It is one of the most essential parts of your rock-climbing kit. You’re not Alex Honnold, after all, and you will fall — so you’d best have a damn good rope to catch you when you do. These six ropes represent the best on the market, but before you pull the trigger and purchase one, follow a few guidelines below to make sure you get the right one.

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to opt for a rope that is greater than 10mm in diameter. You will likely be falling more frequently, and larger-diameter ropes hold up to the abuse better.

If you’re climbing in an area that will expose the rope to moisture, dry-treated ropes are best. They are more resistant to moisture and keep the core from getting wet, which can weaken your rope more quickly over time.

A rope 60 meters in length is a good place to start. Some sport-climbing routes require a rope that is 70 meters long, but the standard-route length at most crags requires a 60-meter rope.

If any damage is detected after a fall, consider retiring your rope. While you may be able to squeeze a few more trips to the crag out of it, ask yourself: am I willing to bet my life on this rope? If there is any doubt, get a new one.

Beal Tiger Unicore Dry 10mm
Super-strong rope suited for just about anything a beginner can throw at it. $154+

Bluewater Eliminator 10.2mm
A great beginner’s option. $171+

Edelrid Apus Pro Dry 7.9mm
Ultra thin for easy carrying and packing. $190

Petzl Contact 9.8mm
The perfect balance between light weight and versatility. $215+

Sterling Fusion Nano IX Dry 9mm
The gold standard in all-purpose climbing ropes. $224+

Mammut Infinity Dry 9.5mm
Great for trad climbing and all-day projecting. $240

If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide on how to select a climbing rope for your needs, REI has some comprehensive advice for beginners.

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