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How To Choose Climbing Ropes?
As is the case with most outdoor activities, choosing equipment for climbing is something that should be considered carefully. After all, your safety is paramount. The right equipment can save your life, this is why it is vital to choose the right ropes for your next climbing experience. If you have little experience with choosing your own climbing ropes, we have created an overview with important information to consider.
What Are The Different Types Of Climbing Ropes?
Once you start looking at climbing ropes, you will notice that there are various categories. Depending on the environment you want to go climbing, the rope must match that environment. To help you on your way, here is an overview of common rope types used for various climbing conditions.
Single ropes - These ropes should only be used in controlled environments such as an indoor climbing facility or trad climbing. As the name suggests, the single rope is used on its own, this means that no additional ropes will be added to your equipment.
Even though they are solely used in control environments, single ropes will be available in a variety of diameters and sizes. Controlled climbing can be variable too, so it is a good idea to purchase single ropes of various diameters and lengths to ensure you always have the right one for the job.
Half ropes - This kind of rope is suitable for both outdoor and indoor environments. The name is somewhat deceiving though, as half ropes actually consist of two ropes. Each rope will provide you with protection for one side, e.g. the left or the right.
Compared to single ropes, half ropes have some benefits. Firstly, they can go a lot further than single ropes. They also provide added protection, as you will still have the second rope if one were to fail.
On the flipside, only the more experienced climbers will climb with half ropes, as they are a little harder to operate. The overall weight of the half rope is also heavier than that of the single rope.
Twin ropes - These topes are quite similar to the previously mentioned half ropes. There is one crucial difference though, as these ropes are clipped through each piece of your equipment, this means it is used as a single rope but provides the protection of a half rope.
Static ropes - The unique thing about this kind of rope is that it has zero stretch, this opposed to the other climbing ropes mentioned today. They are commonly used for search and rescue, but also for hauling loads up and down the mountain. Naturally, this kind of rope should not be used for regular climbing purposes.
Climbing Rope Diameters
The diameter of a climbing rope is vital, yet they can vary considerably from rope to rope. Static ropes tend to be the most variable, with diameters ranging between 9 to 13 mm. That being said, single ropes can have a diameter of over 10 mm, yet it averages between 9.4 and 9.9 mm.
Twin ropes tend to be the shortest in diameter, usually between 7 and 8 mm. Half ropes are a little bigger, ranging between 8 and 9 mm.
How Long Should My Climbing Rope Be?
Climbing can be done outdoors and indoors, so the length of the rope you may need can be variable too. Below, we will explain how you determine the length of rope you will require.
Outdoor ropes - It is always useful to check the height of the climbing route you are going to tackle. If your climbing route is 40 meters for example, you want a rope double that length, in this case 80 meters.
Indoor ropes - indoor climbing routes will be considerably shorter than those in the outdoors. For most indoor climbing facilities, you will need a rope of approximately 40 meters.
Can Climbing Ropes Have Special Features?
Climbing ropes can be equipped with special features, although these usually relate to the finish the rope has received during the manufacturing process. It can also refer to a special marking on the rope itself, which can be useful before you start climbing. Features such as this are usually descripted on the packaging label.