Modern climbing ropes are made of an inner core consisting of many strands of rope and a protective outer core. Climbing ropes come in a variety of different lengths and diameters, the most common of which are 50m and 60m in length. There are two main types of rope, either dynamic (stretchy) or static (not stretchy). Dynamic ropes are used for rock climbing as the stretchiness of the rope takes some of the strain in the event of a fall. Static ropes are generally used when abseiling, where the climber does not require the rope to stretch.
There are 3 main types of dynamic rope on the market. These are:
These are most commonly found indoors on climbing walls, on sport climbs or used on simple outdoor climbs where the protection is in a relatively straight line.
Using a double rope requires the climber to lead on two ropes and clip them into separate runners (if possible alternately). The double rope technique tends to be used mainly when trad climbing.
Twin ropes usually consist of two ropes which have been tested as safe, only when both ropes are clipped into the same protection.
Ropes are available with special coatings and treatments that prevent the rope from absorbing dirt and moisture or to help them slide over rough surfaces with less abrasion. Each rope comes with a fall rating. This is the manufacturers guide to how many “factor 2” falls you can take on a rope before it requires replacing. The fall factor is worked out using the distance fallen, divided by the amount of rope available to absorb the fall. A factor 2 fall is actually quite a large fall and most climbers would think about retiring a rope after having such a large fall. The rope fall rating is more an indication of the ropes strength, rather than it being an actual guide for use.
Before purchasing a rope it is worth considering what type of climbing you are going to use it for, the height of the climbs you wish to try and the conditions that you will climb in. As with all the expensive equipment listed on this site, we recommend you have a chat with your local climbing shop or preffered online retailer to discuss your requirements, before spending your money.