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If you’re in the market for rappelling rope, perhaps you’re searching for a replacement for your old rappelling rope and seeing what’s out there to compare to your old rope.
Or perhaps you’re looking to get into rappelling and want to know which ropes would work best.
Do not use a static rope to catch a rock climber, either in top rope climbing or lead rope climbing. It can be very dangerous to climb with static rope.
Our Reviews Of The Best Rappelling Rope
Xben Outdoor Rappelling Rope
This item is a must if you’re rappelling for work, and need to be up on the ropes for long periods of time.
Having the Petzl Pro Rig Descender will easily hold you tight to the line, and when you want you can flip the handle and lower yourself down.
This rope comes with two metal rings affixed to the rope at each end, making it perfect for a permanent set up of something
If you’re looking to practice your rappelling on a length of 8mm rope, then this would be a good option.
The added metal rings on each end of this rope make it a little dangerous to be throwing over the edge of cliffs, but for an all round everyday rope for hauling heavy objects or tying things down, it’s perfect
Aoneky 10 mm Static Outdoor Rope
This Aoenky static rope is a great rope for beginner rappellers. The thickness means it will be easy to control in a belay device, great for beginners and children.
This rope comes with a sewn in metal clip with a locking carabiner for one end.
If you’re wanting to get into rappelling, this is the rope to start you off.
While it won’t solve all your problems, the thick 10 mm diameter and the firmly affixed metal loop at one end make it great for a permanent rappelling rope.
Sunzor Rock Climbing Rope | 10mm Static Rope
The Sunzor rope, while not actually for rock climbing, is a great rope if you’re into rappelling.
It being a static rope, means that it won’t shift when weight is put on it, making your ascent or descent in your rappelling system will go smoothly.
This rope comes with a lifetime warranty, so that you’re sure to get your money’s worth.
This rope is a great rope if you’re someone who is going to practice with this rope from fixed anchors.
Or maybe you’re an active arborist, in which case this would be a great rope for you too.
Blue Ox Rope 12-Strand Arborist Climbing Rope
The Blue Ox Rope, is great for tree climbing and navigating a tree that is being chopped down.
You can use this rope to pull a falling tree one way or another to make sure it falls exactly where you want it to.
This rope is highly resistant to hand abrasion, milking, sunlight, and twisting.
This is a great purchase for someone who needs arborist rope with a bit of stretch to it, and they need a lot of it.
This rope will be strong enough to handle anything you hang from it, and it will hold up for a long time.
POWER GUIDANCE Climbing Rope
This rope is a different type of climbing rope. This is the type of rope you’d use your bare hands to climb, it’s intended for exercise.
Heat shrink end caps keep your rope from fraying at the bottom where it’s most likely to get stepped on.
This would be a great rope for someone wanting to increase their upper body strength.
Do not attempt to use this in any form of harness, it’s meant to be climbed with your hands and not with any ascenders or what have you.
Climbing Ropes FAQ
Climbing rope can last for a very long time.
Manufacturers recommend that you retire a rope after 10 years of use, but if you’re someone who uses your climbing rope very frequently, let’s say more than a couple times per month.
You may want to consider shortening that life span. Climbing rope often deteriorates invisibly.
That is, most of the wear and tear that happens with climbing rope, happens inside the nylon sheath. That means that you may not be able to see the rope getting weaker but it is.
With each time that a climbing rope catches you, or each time you use your climbing rope to descend a rock face, your rope gets weaker and weaker.
It’s because of this that manufacturers suggest changing out your ropes every 10 years at maximum.
You should consider retiring your ropes if you find any damaged sections on the rope. Any frayed sections mean that the whole rope should be retired immediately.
This is because a rope that’s frayed on the outside, is likely to have some issues on the inside.
And without some complicated camera mechanism, we cannot know what’s happening on the inside, so it’s best to play on the safe side and throw away the rope.
Other factors that should lead you to retire a climbing rope include any deformed sections of rope, that is sections of rope that are thinner than the rest of the rope, or sections that are swollen.
This could mean that the inner nylon strands could be damaged or bunched up, in either case it significantly weakens the rope and makes it much more dangerous.
You should also consider throwing the rope away if there is any significant sun bleaching. The UV radiation can weaken the material making it more susceptible to scrapes and cuts.
Be sure to thoroughly inspect your ropes before every climb for any defects. Ropes should be in pristine, or at least like-new condition before putting your weight on them.
In climbing and rappelling, it’s common practice to destroy climbing equipment when it’s been retired.
This is so that an unsuspecting climber can’t use the gear without knowing any better and get injured or even killed.
How much does climbing rope stretch?
The amount that a climbing rope stretches depends on a number of factors.
First and foremost, whether or not it is a static or dynamic climbing rope.
Static climbing ropes, as we have covered for the majority of this article are not designed to stretch.
They’re meant to hold firmly when tension is put on them. This is very useful if you’re lowering an injured person to safety, and don’t want them bouncing everywhere.
Now this isn’t to say that static ropes won’t stretch at all, but a typical static rope might only stretch somewhere between 10 – 12 percent when fully loaded, that’s with a few thousand pounds of weight put on it.
This amount of stretch is almost imperceptible if you’re rappelling with it. And this is why static ropes should not be used while lead, or top rope climbing.
Being caught by a static rope, with its measly 10% stretch would be painful, not only for the climber, but for the belayer too.
Dynamic rope on the other hand is designed to have a fair amount of stretch in the line.
This type of climbing rope is designed to stretch up to 40 percent longer than its original length when fully loaded.
That means that when a climber falls off the wall, and is caught by this type of rope, instead of it being a hard jerk as it would be with a static rope, it’s a much easier, softer descent.
How old the rope is affects its stretch as well. Old worn out dynamic ropes will lose some of their elasticity over time. Leading to them not stretching as far when loaded.
This can lead to several dangerous circumstances. A worn out dynamic rope will be less and less comfortable over time when catching a falling climber.
Can you rappel with a dynamic rope?
Dynamic rope, as we discussed in earlier sections has a bit of stretch to it.
This makes it a great rope to use while climbing because it will distribute the force of you falling across the entire rope.
But wouldn’t that stretch hinder someone’s ability to rappel or ascend the rope? It can be much more difficult to ascend a tree or rock face using a dynamic rope.
If for instance you’re using a dynamic rope to climb a tree, you may find that you are expending much more energy than you would be using a static rope.
This is easily shown in the first few feet you climb up the rope.
When standing on the ground, with the rope looped through your belay device as high as it can go, you can sit down and almost touch the floor.
The elongation of the rope, its stretch means that the first few feet you climbed did nothing to get you off the ground. This can be disheartening and can make climbing more exhausting.
Another factor to consider is the stretch of the rope at the anchor.
When rope is stretched, it becomes more susceptible to cuts and slices, like how a piece of dental floss would be easier to cut with a knife.
When rappelling, your anchor is often over the edge of a cliff, possibly the sharp edge of a cliff.
If your dynamic rope is stretched tighter than it would be just resting on the ground, it may be more easily cut or frayed by the edge of this rock.
There are of course remedies to this, you can use a rappelling shroud wrapped around the rope at this dangerous location to protect it, or find an alternative way to keep the rope from coming in contact with anything sharp.
Some rappellers will cover a sharp edge with tape to dull it, still others have brought bits of carpet to wedge between the rope and the dangerous area.
You might be wondering if dynamic ropes are easier to cut when pulled taught, why aren’t static ropes?
Well the truth is they are, but you see dynamic ropes, when they stretch, their diameter gets slightly narrower, meaning that when it’s pulled tight there’s actually less rope there to cut.
The protective outer layer is pulled as tight as it can go which makes it the most fragile, and the insides are just another snip away.
Static ropes on the other hand, don’t stretch nearly as far as their dynamic cousins. And as such their diameter stays relatively the same through and through.
This makes them great ropes for hauling heavy loads, and for rappelling, for the reasons listed above.
However, after all that has been said, you can absolutely use a dynamic rope to rappel and you may even find it more comfortable.
The dynamic stretch gives you a kind of shock absorber on your way down.
What size rope should I use for climbing?
Assuming you’ve already decided to use dynamic climbing rope over static climbing rope, which you absolutely should, there are a few different choices when it comes to rope diameter, and rope length.
Dynamic climbing rope comes in many different thicknesses, anywhere between 7 mm up to 10.5 or 11 mm, divided into overlapping sub categories such as half ropes, twin ropes, and single ropes.
What size you climb with depends largely on your experience level and the type of climbing you’ll be doing.
For example, you would want to use a different kind of rope while doing long wandering lead climbs, than you would if you’re a beginner climber looking to practice your skills on a top rope system.
Single Ropes, range from 9.2 mm to 10.5 mm and are great for beginners. These are the thickest of all the ropes available.
An experienced climber may find the thickness off putting since it means slightly more weight to carry with them up the wall, or indeed to and from the crag, but a rope with this thickness is exactly what a beginner would need.
They have the thickness and strength to handle a lot of falls before they have to be replaced.
Giving the beginner plenty of opportunities to fail and fall on the rope without worrying about how many more falls the rope has in it.
Half ropes and twin ropes are useful for someone who is interested in longer, wandering lead climbing routes.
That means someone who is experienced enough to actually perform these long routes and someone who is confident enough in their skills to lead climb.
Both half ropes and twin ropes are very similar sizes, twin ropes measuring 7 – 8 mm in diameter, and half ropes measuring 8 – 9 mm.
The climber using half or twin ropes would tie into two of these ropes before going up the wall.
When trad climbing with half ropes, the climber would pass one rope at a time through the bolt, alternating on their way up.
This dramatically reduces the drag a climber would feel as they climb from the ropes passing through the bolts.
Twin rope climbing operates in a very similar way, however instead of passing alternating ropes through bolts, the climber would pass both of the ropes through the bolts as they climb.
With the ropes being thinner than the half ropes or single ropes, this reduces enough drag to make it easier to climb on more complicated multi pitch routes.
If you’re a beginner, it’s probably a good idea to start with the larger single ropes.
Later, as you get more confident in your skills, upgrade to the thinner half or twin ropes which will still catch you as many times as you need them to, but they’ll be less heavy and more maneuverable.
What is a half rope in climbing?
Half ropes, as we discussed earlier, are a style of dynamic climbing rope.
They are much thinner than the single ropes, measuring only about 8-9 mm in diameter.
Half ropes are used while mountaineering or ice climbing, but especially during long wandering routes where the climber has to clip into a lot of bolts before they reach the end.
A climber who is climbing with half ropes will tie in with two of these half ropes, and the belayer will run both of them through their belay device.
As the climber ascends they will pass only one rope through a bolt at a time, alternating ropes for each bolt.
This means that each rope has half the amount of friction that it would if it were passed through each and every bolt, making it much easier for the climber to ascend.
When deciding on what type of rope to purchase for your climbing or rappelling adventures, there are many decisions to make.
You need to know whether you need static or dynamic ropes, you need to know how long your ropes will last and how well they will keep you safe as you climb or rappel.
Determining the thickness of the rope you choose is an even trickier task because it requires you to be honest with yourself about your current skill level.
If you’re a self proclaimed expert in climbing, you could be just fine with a twin or half rope setup, but there’s always the chance that your ego is taking the reigns and telling you that you don’t need the thicker single ropes.
Listen to your heart, and choose the rope that will keep you safest, not the rope that will make you feel most like a climbing or rappelling expert and you’ll be fine.
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