Climbing rope is used for a variety of activities, from mountain climbing, rock climbing, potholing and cave exploration. Arborists may also use this type of rope in certain tasks. Such activities require lines that are easy to handle, have high abrasion resistance, are compatible with climbing tools such as hitches and have good visibility. The latter is especially important when operating in low light conditions or caving.
Climbing ropes come in the form of dynamic or static, and the two types have specific uses.
Dynamic ropes are most commonly used when it comes to climbing as they have greater stretch, which reduces the chance of injury from a sudden fall. They can absorb the energy that is created during a fall, protecting your body from serious injuries.
Static rope has considerably less stretch, making it better suited for hauling items up or lowering injured climbers. This rope will not absorb the energy or shock caused by a fall. Static lines should never be used for lead climbing or top roping.
We have a selection of climbing rope and climbing equipment from brands such as Donaghys, Marlow and Southern Ropes, all of which comply with EN 1891 and CE certifications so you can be assured of their quality and safety.
Shipping with free delivery in the United Kingdom is available with all our orders and every cord can be custom cut, so contact us today to discuss your rope needs.
What are the best ropes for climbing?
Dynamic ropes are usually the best choice for climbing rope and there are three varieties.
Single rope is preferred for top-roping, big-wall climbing, trad climbing and sport climbing. It is designed to be used on their own, not with another rope, hence the ‘single’ terminology. These ropes are easier to handle in comparison to the two-rope systems.
Half ropes are best used for ice climbing and mountaineering, and you need to use two ropes when climbing with these. One rope should be clipped to protection on the right, and the other on the left, so they run parallel, to reduce rope drag. Climbing with half ropes is more challenging than single rope, so it is only recommended for a climber with experience. It is vital to ensure that you don’t mix half ropes by brand or size – they are designed to be used as matching pairs.
Twin ropes are similar to half ropes and are preferred for rock climbing and ice climbing or climbing on non-wandering multi-pitch rock routes. With twin ropes, you clip both lines through each protection in the same way you would with a single cord. You will get more rope drag than a half rope system, but they are lighter and well suited for non-wandering routes.
Static rope does have a place in climbing. It works best for rescue work and to climb fixed lines with ascenders and in other situations when you don’t want the rope to stretch.
Climbing rope sizes
Climbing ropes come in various diameters and lengths, so it is important to consider the different options and range available before buying.
The thinner the rope is, the lighter it will be and therefore, will require less effort to carry when doing a multi-pitch climb. However, a thinner rope is often less durable. A thicker line will give you greater abrasion resistance and increase durability. Generally speaking, a thinner, lighter rope will be best if you are hiking long distances, and a thicker diameter will be best for top roping on craggy surfaces.
Ropes that are less than 9.5mm in diameter are skinny and lightweight but are more challenging to handle and less durable. You will need to work with a very experienced belayer as the lines slip through climbing harnesses and protections easily.
Diameters of 9.5 – 10.4mm are more versatile and can withstand top-roping while also being relatively lightweight. These are popular for sport climbs and trad climbs.
The thickest dynamic ropes of over 10.4mm work best for big-walls climbing and frequent top-roping thanks to their durability and increased abrasion resistance. The 11.7mm Donaghys Cougar Rope is the largest diameter rope we stock.
Climbing rope length also varies, although with Access Ropes you can order lines to be custom cut. Typically they range from 30m to 90m, with 60m being the standard. For outdoor rock climbing, your rope needs to be at least double the length of the pitch you are climbing. So if your pitch is 20m, then your rope needs to be at least 40m.
All climbing ropes must adhere to a strict set of safety standards and be tested by independent labs to verify their certification. The standards considered with climbing ropes include their fall rating, static and dynamic elongation and impact force. Aside from these requirements, you must always ensure your tools are well maintained and stored correctly - this includes your belay plate, climbing shoes, rope, hitches and every piece of equipment you need.
Fall rating specifies how many falls a rope can withstand before they start to fail. They are tested by dropping a heavy weight on the rope, usually around 80kg, repeatedly until they start to show signs of weakening. Single ropes must take a minimum of five falls without breaking. The higher the fall rating is, the longer the rope will last.
Dynamic elongation measures how far the rope stretches during its first test fall. The CE892 and UIAA requirements that a rope should stretch no more than 40% of the rope length. The higher the dynamic elongation is, the longer a fall will be, which is why a lower number is preferred. Less elongation reduces the likelihood of a climbed hitting the ground when they fall. Having said that, a lower number will also create a greater impact force on the climber.
Static elongation measures how much a dynamic rope stretches when it is holding a rope. It cannot exceed 10% of the rope length. Higher static elongation suggests that the rope is less efficient as much energy is lost through rope stretch.
Impact force considers how much force, in kilonewtons, is placed on the falling weight during the first test fall. A lower impact force figure gives you a softer landing on the rope if you were to fall; however, this is often accompanied with greater stretch, which may not be ideal for your situation.
What ropes do we have in this category?
Our dynamic rope from Southern Ropes is ideal for use as a rope for rock climbing or trad climbing. It has a 100% Nylon Kernmantle, braid on braid construction and has an elongation of 26.89%. This rope has a diameter of 11mm, is available in four different colours and can be custom cut according to your preferences.
From the Marlow brand, the Dynamic Climbing Rope is one of the preferred lines for professional climbers across the world thanks to its ease of handling. It is made with twisted nylon cores and has a zero sheath slippage. You can choose either the 10.5mm or 11mm line, both of which have a dynamic elongation of 35% and are available in bright red or orange - ideal for tackling new sport routes
The 11.7mm Donaghys Cougar Rope has been specifically designed with Arborists and tree climbers and comes in the highly visible colours of bright orange or blue. This line is made with a nylon core and a polyester sheath, with braid on braid construction and is highly compatible with prusiks and hitches.
Contact our team today for more info on our climbing rope products.