Have you been experiencing a difficult time trying to choose the best rope for climbing? Worry no more for I will review the top-rated. Apparently, buying is not always walk in the park especially if you are planning to do it online. There are so many brands out there in the market, but very few live up to their claims. Being in the industry for over a decade has allowed me to try over 30 different ropes and now I have more than enough knowledge to share with you. In this write-up, I will go into details about the best climbing ropes, types of ropes, and factors to consider when shopping for a climbing rope. I hope that this information will influence your shopping decision in a significant way.
The 5 Best Rock Climbing Ropes In 2020:
Climbing Ropes Comparison Table
Climbing Rope Reviews
After testing more than 30 models, I have curated a list of the best climbing ropes for climbing in 2020. All the products that appear on our list are top class and can be used by all types of climbers. Of course, there are some other ropes that are great but couldn’t make it to this roundup. This list is always updated regularly, so be on the lookout for any upcoming brands.
Mammut Infinity Specs:
- Dynamic Elongation: 30 %
- Impact Force: 8.4 kN
- Length: 40, 60 and 70 meters (43, 65 and 76 yards)
- Diameter: 9.5 mm
- Best For: Alpine, trad sport climbing
Of all the climbing ropes that I have tried and tested, there is none that can outshine the Mammut Infinity 9.5mm. It is one that you can use in all your adventures. Its durability and handling are definitely at the top. Even pro climbers have praised the Mammut Infinity because of its incredible quality and performance. Let’s check out why Mammut Infinity is the best in the market.
If you have tried the Mammut Infinity Protect, you will agree with me that it really feels smooth when clipping especially because of the stiff nature of the rope. Clipping the rope is extremely easy because you just have to push it over the clipping finger.
I also like how the sheath has been tightly woven since it provides a firm and silky smooth touch. There is no incertitude that the Mammut Infinity is one of the best performing when it comes to handling.
Are you the kind of climber who juggles between alpine, sports, single pitch, top climbing rope, multi-pitch and trad climbing? If yes, the Mammut Infinity 9.5mm should be your number one choice. You can use this for all kinds of climbing as it does not wear off easily. This is not the kind of rope that will develop a full-blown core shot after a few uses.
Comfortable catches is another important attribute that makes the Mammut Infinity 9.5mm the best climbing rope. It is rare to find a rope that offers a safe catch without interfering with comfort.
Unlike most, the Mammut Infinity will offer great catches at the start and end of any route. Besides, this has enough stretch to ensure the catch is painless.
There is no doubt that the manufacturers behind Mammut Infinity did a great job. This is just 9.5mm, but it performs like a 10.2mm. Honestly, this the only climbing rope that is built for trad cragging and everyday sport climbing. Even at 9.5 mm, this is light enough for alpine climbing.
Maxim Pinnacle Specs:
- Dynamic Elongation: 26 %
- Impact Force: 10.3 kN
- Length: 60m, 70m
- Diameter: 9.5 mm
- Best For: A great all-around climbing rope that’s not specialized to any one discipline.
Maxim Pinnacle is one of the best ropes for sports and redpointing. You can use it for almost all types of climbing as long as you are a seasoned climber. Being a 9.5 mm, it is sleek than most ropes of the same caliber. Maxim Pinnacle is definitely the rope to go for if you need a quick feed from your belayer as well as a fast clip. Let’s jump straight to the features of this.
According to my experience and expert’s opinion, there is no other rope that offers better handling and clipping other than the Maxim Pinnacle. Despite the rope being soft and supple, it still maintains the structure required for fast and smooth clips. The supple nature of this means that it will take little space when you butterfly it around the neck.
With the Maxim Pinnacle, you will experience a smooth and easy belaying. Besides, you won’t have to deal with excessive kinking as long as you unwind it carefully.
The Maxim Pinnacle rarely disappoints when it comes to catching falls. There is no single time I’ve experienced a hard fall when using this 9.5mm. In simple terms, the Maxim Pinnacle provides soft and comfortable catches throughout. This can be explained by the fact that the rope has a 26% dynamic elongation and a 10.3 kN impact force rating. Although this has bouncy catches, the high impact force is a major concern especially if you are new to the game.
The durability rating of the Maxim Pinaccle is definitely on the same level with the Mammut Infinity 9.5 mm. This is not the kind of rope that will turn into a wire-like line after a few months of climbing.
When you look closely at the Pinnacle, you will notice that it has a 1×1 weave pattern. This means that the climbing rope has the ability to resist abrasion at a much better rate than a 2×2 weave.
- Dynamic Elongation: 32 %
- Impact Force: 8.8 kN
- Length: 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m
- Diameter: 9.5 mm
- Best For: For use in rock, mixed, snow or ice climbing environments
Ever since Petzl changed its partner in 2014, the quality of their Petzl Arial has improved immensely. The current model has a lot to offer in terms of handling, performance, weight, and catch. 9.5mm diameter ropes and it is only available in color orange. Below are some of the key attributes of the Petzl Arial.
One of the attributes that set this apart from its competitors is its great belaying action. Of course, the climbing rope might feel a bit stiff and slippery for the first few days, but things will change after a few climbs. Petzl is absolutely the rope to go for if you prefer fast clips and belay action. Moreover, Petzl Arial is hard to beat when it comes to performance and weight.
Having tested this awesome climbing rope a few times, I can confirm to you that it delivers a soft catch every time you fall. You can fall several times on the same spot and there is no single time you will experience a hard and uncomfortable catch. This shows that the rope does not lose much stretch even after several falls.
Value For Money
As you well know, most that have a high price tag will always do a good job. The Petzl Arial is no exception as it has some of the best features you might be looking for.
Sterling Evolution Specs:
- Dynamic Elongation: 26.4 %
- Impact Force: 8.8 kN
- Length: 50, 60, 70 or 80-meter
- Diameter: 9.8 mm
- Best For: All-arounder
The Sterling Evolution is definitely the climbing rope you should go for if you are looking for a workhose. This is one of the best rock climbing ropes you will ever come across. At 9.8 mm, the Sterling Evolution can withstand a lot of abuse. Besides, it does not have a high price tag like our top 3 brands. Here is why the Evolution is one of the top rated:
Good Handling Rating
Even at 9.8 mm diameter climbing ropes, the Evolution handles well over rough rock surfaces and runs smoothly through belay devices. The only issues are that the line is a bit more cumbersome as compared to the Maxim Pinnacle. The evolution clips nicely but not as fast as our top picks. Make sure you uncoil the rope carefully from its outset so as to avoid kinking.
The Sterling Evolution Velocity features a 26.4% dynamic elongation and an 8.6% static elongation. This allows the rope to offer a combination of a soft and comfortable catch. Unlike some of our picks, the Evolution does not stretch a lot. This makes it a great rope for top roping.
The Evolution Velocity is definitely miles ahead of the Mammut Infinity 9.5mm when it comes to durability. The thickness and tightly woven sheath are the key reasons why it is extremely durable. You can use this on rough rocks without wearing off easily.
Black Diamond Specs:
- Dynamic Elongation: 32%
- Impact Force: 8.4 kN
- Length: 35, 60, 70, and 80m length (38, 65, 76, and 87 yards)
- Diameter: 9.9 mm
- Best For: Sport, alpine, gym and ice climbing
You’ve probably noticed that most of our picks are best suited for intermediate and professional climbers. For people who are new to climbing, the Black Diamond might be a suitable choice for you. This has a thickness of 9.9 mm and it’s definitely one of the best selling climbing ropes.
Great For Beginners
It is obvious that beginners have to purchase a lot of gear before they get into the game. There is a likelihood that you won’t require to have an expensive rope and that’s where the Black Diamond comes in. It’s thickness and handling suit anyone who’s getting into the niche.
The Black Diamond has been designed with the safety of beginners as the first priority. This explains why it does extremely well then top brands when it comes to catching falls. Besides, the stretch of this is comfortable enough for top roping. According to the manufacturer, this boasts of having an impact rating of 8.4 KN, 32% dynamic elongation and 7.6% static elongation.
|Mammut Infinity||9.5 mm||$$$||59 g/m||4.8|
|Maxim Pinnacle||9.5 mm||$$$||61 g/m||5|
|Petzl Arial||9.5 mm||$$||58 g/m||4.8|
|Sterling Evolution Velocity||9.8 mm||$$||62 g/m||5|
|Black Diamond||9.9 mm||$$||64 g/m||4.8|
Types Of Climbing Ropes
Before you decide on which climbing rope is ideal for you, it is important to know the various types of ropes that are available. I am pretty sure that some of you guys have no idea that climbing ropes exist in different types. Without wasting much time let me brief you on the various available options.
Most you will come across fall under this category. They are considered to be more dynamic and their diameters fall between 8.5 to 11 millimeters. All single ropes will always range between 50 to 80 meters in length. Single ropes can catch lead falls without necessarily having a second rope. These types are specifically designed for single and multi-pitch climbing.
These are ropes that are designed to be used together as one. Twin climbing ropes should be clipped together into each piece of gear when climbing.
These are great when you are climbing as a pair in order to control the amount of impact force on a screw. Twin ropes are meant to be used together because they are bit skinny and stretchable. You can use these for ice and mixed climbing.
Half ropes are also known as double ropes and they are mostly used by Trad climbers. Most half ropes are available in the 8mm range. Climbers prefer to use half climbing ropes in the alpine where there are concerns of bad rocks or in places where the routes meander. Unlike single ropes, half ropes exert low amounts of impact force. The problem with these is that they require a lot of management.
Factors To Consider
Choosing the best climbing rope is so easy especially if you know which attributes make a good rope. You should always consider all the factors so that you can increase your chances of picking the best. Below are some of the key factors that come into play.
The diameter of your climbing rope is one of the key factors that should influence your decision. Ropes come in different diameters and choosing the right one is quite tricky. Knowing which diameter suits your needs will save you lots of money. Below are some of the different rope diameters that exist:
8.5mm to 9.1mm (Thin)
This category consists of skinny and light ropes. Their skinny nature makes the ropes more dynamic but less durable. Some companies are trying their best to improve the strength and durability of these skinny ropes. This explains why manufacturers are using Unicore and similar technologies when making skinny climbing ropes. In most cases, these are used by professionals who are looking to push their limits. Avoid using assisted braking belay devices when using ropes in this category.
Skinny ropes are great for redpointing, multi-pitch and Alpine climbing.
9.2mm to 9.8mm (Medium)
Climbing ropes that fall under this category are considered to be the most versatile. In fact, these are the most popular among climbers. Ropes in this category come in handy when you are climbing in areas where you don’t have to save weight.
The good thing about these is that they are durable and have excellent handling. What’s better? These are great for top-roping, multi-pitch and cragging.
9.9mm to 10.2mm (Thick)
Nowadays, it is hard to find intermediate and expert climbers buying ropes that are above 9.9mm in thickness. Such ropes are great for beginners who are climbing in areas where there are sharp rocks. Besides, beginners will always want to feel secure and that’s why they prefer to purchase thick ropes.
As you would expect, thick ropes are really great in terms of durability and affordability. The only issue is their heavy and bulky nature.
It goes without saying that length is an important factor to consider when shopping for the best climbing rope. As you well know, ropes are available in different sizes depending on the pitch you want to climb. Most climbers prefer going with a 70 meters rope because most pitches are 30-35 meters. You can opt to go with the 80 meters climbing rope if you are sure of the routes you will be climbing. 60 meters ropes are also available, but they are not that good enough because you tend to be restricted to 30-meter pitches. In case you are into gym climbing, 40 meters ropes will be enough. I always recommend climbers to buy ropes of the required length so as to avoid hauling extra weight and rope length when climbing.
Durability is a key factor to consider especially when you want to splash a lot of money on a climbing rope. Of course, no one wants to replace a climbing rope after a few sessions. So, how do you know that a rope is durable? Well, there are several things that set out durable climbing ropes from the rest.
I am pretty sure, you have probably heard people saying that dry treated ropes tend to last longer than their counterparts. Well, this is true because various tests have shown that these have more abrasion resistance than untreated ropes. Moreover, the dry treatment prevents water, dirt and grime from getting absorbed into the rope. Of course you will have to part with extra cash to get a high quality and dry treated ropes.
Number of Falls
Before you purchase any rope, it is very important that you check its UIAA fall rating. All are rated for a certain number of falls. For those who don’t know, UIAA fall rating is the number of falls that a rope can withstand before it breaks. Of course, the ratings are given after several intensive tests, so don’t think of retiring your rope after 7 lead falls just because it has a UIAA fall rating of 6.
Surprisingly, such a rope can withstand up to a hundred falls as long as it’s not running over a sharp rock edge. Ensure that you store your ropes in a safe place where there is no acidic chemicals or sharp objects.
A good climbing rope will always have a mark that indicates the middle section. Some marks tend to fade easily which shows that you should go for ropes that use different patterns or colors to indicate the halfway point. This is not an important feature but it comes in handy when you are rappelling and climbing multi-pitches.
The weight is mostly determined by the material, thickness, and weave. Ropes that have a weight rating of 55 grams and below are considered to be lightweight. Those that weigh 55 to 62 grams per square meter are considered to be all-round ropes. Anything above this range should be durable but bulky.
As much as weight is important, it should not be a concern for sports climbers and beginners. Make sure you opt for a light rope if you are an alpine or multi-pitch climber.
Now that you know everything about climbing ropes, I believe that you can now proceed to shop for the best climbing rope in the market. Make sure you consult with your friends or experts if you have any doubts whatsoever.
Other Climbing Gear
Don’t forget to check out our other great reviews for climbing gear such as: Best Climbing Shoes for Beginners | Intermediate Climbing Shoes | Climbing shoes for women | Best Climbing Shorts | Best Climbing Helmets | Vegan Climbing Shoes