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How to choose a climbing rope?
When going out to by a climbing rope there are four main features to consider:
- What type of rope do you need?
- What diameter and length should the rope have?
- What features should the rope provide?
- What safety certification should the rope have?
All of these entirely depend on what you need the rope for? Are you going mountaineering? Indoor climbing? Multi-pitch? Etc.
Type of rope
There are three main differences in rope types designed for climbing: single, half, and twin ropes. Furthermore, a difference is made between static and dynamic ropes. In climbing, static ropes are only used when lowering an injured climber or ascending a rope. They are not designed, certified or tested to climb on because they stretch very little, that's what dynamic ropes are made for.
They are not meant for sports climbing but rather for rescue work, caving, climbing fixed lines with ascenders and hauling loads. Static ropes are amazing when you are in a situation where you do not want the rope to stretch, like when injured climber needs to be lowered, hauling equipment up wit a rope or when ascending a rope.
Climbing rope diameter:
The rope diameter of a rope can vary quiet a bit and can make a huge difference on your climbing experience. Thinner ropes for example have the advantage of being lighter than thicker ropes but at the same time they are not as robust and need more skill when belaying with them. So depending on wether you are top roping in your local gym/crag or going for long distance multi-pitches you'll want something completely different.
Static ropes have a diameter of about 9-13 mm.
When comparing ropes these are some features to look for:
- Dry treatment is designed to reduce the ropes water absorption. While a rope is wet it becomes less resistant to falls, and if it should freeze, the rope becomes very hard to handle. Dry treatment is important should you plan on ice climbing for example.
- Middle Mark is a black dye mark half way of the rope to indicate that you have half of the length left.
- End warning marks are shown on some ropes when approaching the end of the rope
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