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If you’re heading to the crag, you’ll need a climbing rope just to get off the ground. This is the most significant part of your safety system, unless you’re bouldering (or you’re Alex Honnold). The climbing rope is your lifeline, so you want to make sure you invest in the right one. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we will help you choose the best climbing rope for you.

For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

Climbing Ropes for Beginners | Sport Climbing Ropes

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Quick Answer - The Best Climbing Ropes

  1. Mammut Eternity Classic
  2. Beal Karma
  3. Edelrid Tommy Caldwell Pro DuoTec
  4. Sterling Evolution Helix
  5. Black Diamond Non-Dry
  6. Petzl Arial
  7. Maxim Alex Honnold Series Pinnacle
  8. Beal Booster
  9. Mammut Infinity Classic
  10. Blue Water Icon Double Dry

 

Comparison Table - Best Climbing Rope

PictureNameLengthDiameterWeightDry TreatmentPriceRating
Mammut Eternity Classic40m, 60m, 70m, 80m9.8mm64g/mNo$$4.8
Beal Karma60m, 70m9.8mm61g/mNo$4.7
Edelrid Tommy Caldwell Pro DuoTec60m, 70m, 80m9.6mm61g/mYes$$$4.5
Sterling Evolution Helix70m9.5mm59g/mYes$$$4.7
Black Diamond Non-Dry35m, 60m, 70m9.9mm64g/mNo$4.6
Petzl Arial60m, 70m, 80m9.5mm58g/mYes$$$4.4
Maxim Alex Honnold Series Pinnacle70m9.5mm61g/mYes$$$4.6
Beal Booster60m, 70m9.7mm61g/mYes$$$4.5
Mammut Infinity Classic40m, 60m, 70m, 80m9.5mm59g/mNo$$$4.9
Blue Water Icon Double Dry60m, 70m, 80m9.1mm55g/mYes$$4.9
PictureNameLengthDiameterWeightDry TreatmentPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Ropes for Rock Climbing

Mammut Eternity Classic

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.8mm
  • Length: 40m, 60m, 70m, 80m
  • Weight: 64g/m
  • Dry Treatment: No
Features
  • Multiple Length Options (for gym & outdoors)
  • Black Dyed Middle Mark
  • Durable Sheath

BEST FOR: VERSATILITY

The Mammut Eternity Classic hits the sweet spot between lightweight and durable, making it an excellent choice for a variety of climbing, both indoors and out. Though this rope is not dry treated, it performs well for sport or trad climbing (just try to keep it out of the rain). The rope handles well, as it is flexible and not too stiff.

If you’re sticking to the gym, the 40m length will work perfectly, and if you want to venture outside, you have 60m, 70m, and 80m options. A dyed middle mark indicates the middle of the rope for lowering and rappels.

Beal Karma

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.8mm
  • Length: 60m, 70m
  • Weight: 61g/m
  • Dry Treatment: No
Features
  • Low Impact Force (for softer catches)
  • Made of Sustainable Materials
  • Supple Handling

BEST FOR: VALUE

The Beal Karma is an extremely supple rope that offers great handling, despite its relatively large diameter. It is designed to be a great choice for outdoor climbing, both sport and trad (though it is not dry treated). It offers a low impact force, which leads to softer catches, so you’ll feel comfortable taking whips on the sharp end.

The Beal Karma is also an environmentally-friendly rope made without chemicals or dyes. It is constructed of a trademarked material called bluesign nylon. This means that the company made a certified effort to “reduce negative impacts on the health of the environment, workers and wearer.”

Edelrid Tommy Caldwell Pro DuoTec

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.6mm
  • Length: 60m, 70m, 80m
  • Weight: 61g/m
  • Dry Treatment: Yes
Features
  • Bi-Pattern (for easily finding the middle)
  • Lap Coiled (for out of package use without kinks)
  • Core Bonded to Sheath (for better handling)

BEST FOR: ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE

Designed with pro climber Tommy Caldwell (known for his impressive ascent of the Dawn Wall), the Edelrid Tommy Caldwell Pro Duotec is a high performance rope no matter your climbing objective. Treated with Pro Dry on both the sheath and the core, this rope can handle any environment, from the local crag to alpine conditions.

The Tommy Caldwell Pro Duotec comes in a bi-pattern, so you always know where the middle of the rope is. A Thermo Shield treatment means the core and sheath are bonded together for great handling and better durability. The rope is lap coiled, which means you can use it immediately without having to worry about kinks.

Sterling Evolution Helix

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.5mm
  • Length: 70m
  • Weight: 59g/m
  • Dry Treatment: Yes
Features
  • Lightweight
  • Durable Sheath For Longevity
  • Core Treatment For Durability

BEST FOR: SPORT CLIMBING

The Sterling Evolution Helix is a sport climber’s dream rope. This rope is perfect for projecting your hard sport climbs, as it is lightweight and won’t hold you back on the wall. It has a high fall rating, as well as low impact force, so you can go for the next move with confidence that you’ll get a soft catch if you fall.

Despite its relatively skinny 9.5mm diameter, the Evolution Helix is designed to be extremely durable, thanks to the DryXP treatment, which not only almost completely stops water absorption, but also greatly increases abrasion resistance.

Black Diamond Non-Dry

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.9mm
  • Length: 35m, 60m, 70m
  • Weight: 64g/m
  • Dry Treatment: No
Features
  • Thick Diameter For Durability
  • Durable Sheath For Longevity
  • Middle Mark

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS

The Black Diamond 9.9m makes an ideal choice for a beginner rope. The thickest rope Black Diamond offers, this burly rope is designed to be durable and stand up to abrasion from rock outdoors, while also being a gym workhorse. The thicker diameter offers extra friction in a belay device, making it easier to handle for beginner belayers.

You can choose from a variety of lengths of the Black Diamond 9.9mm, including a 35m for the gym. The rope is also clearly marked with dark dye, so finding the middle is simple when you’re ready to rappel or lower.

Petzl Arial

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.5mm
  • Length: 60m, 70m, 80m
  • Weight: 58g/m
  • Dry Treatment: Yes
Features
  • Lightweight
  • Ultrasonic Finish (bonds core to sheath for superior strength)
  • ClimbReady Coil (ready to use immediately without kinks)

BEST FOR: ICE CLIMBING

If you’re an ice climbing aficionado, the Petzl Arial is a perfect choice for when you’re climbing (or shivering) in cold and wet conditions. The DuraTec Dry treatment helps the Arial resist water as well as abrasion, so it can stand up to all the terrain on mixed routes, from rock to snow to ice.

The Arial is extra durable due to the Ultrasonic finish which bonds the core to the sheath, reducing slippage and fraying ends. The rope handles very smoothly, thanks to the EverFlex treatment to stabilize the strands of the core, and the ClimbReady coiling process which means you can use it straight out of the package without dealing with kinks.

Maxim Alex Honnold Series Pinnacle

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.5mm
  • Length: 70m
  • Weight: 61g/m
  • Dry Treatment: Yes
Features
  • Twill Pattern Technology (for smooth handling)
  • Core & Sheath Dry Treated
  • Bi-Pattern (for easily finding middle)

BEST FOR: MULTI-PITCH CLIMBING

Pro climber Alex Honnold collaborated with Maxim to create a rope that even the noted free soloer would use. Designed to be especially lightweight and reduce rope drag, the Maxim Alex Honnold Series Pinnacle rope is excellent for long multi-pitch climbing. The sheath of the rope has a 2x Dry cover, and the core is treated with Endura Dry, so the Pinnacle can resist whatever weather you might run into on a big wall.

The proprietary Twill Pattern Technology provides super smooth handling and allows the rope to glide smoothly through the protection you place on the route with little rope drag to deal with. The rope is bi-pattern, making finding the middle simple for rappels when it’s time to descend.

Beal Booster

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.7mm
  • Length: 60m, 70m
  • Weight: 61g/m
  • Dry Treatment: Yes
Features
  • Unicore Technology (bonds sheath & core for superior strength)
  • Infrared Treated Sheath (for better handling)
  • Low Impact Force (for soft catches)

BEST FOR: DURABILITY

The Beal Booster is designed to last, thanks to a high sheath proportion and the ThermoFluid infrared treatment, which provides extra stability to the sheath fibers. This not only makes the sheath extremely durable, but also makes for excellent handling. The Unicore technology bonds the core and sheath, which also leads to a longer lasting rope.

The Dry Cover treatment repels water and provides abrasion resistance as well. With both a bi-pattern design and a dyed middle mark, it couldn’t be easier to locate the middle of the rope on the Beal Booster, making for easier rappelling. If you’re looking for a workhorse rope to carry you through every pitch and fall, the Beal Booster should be your top choice.

Mammut Infinity Classic

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.5mm
  • Length: 40m, 60m, 70m, 80m
  • Weight: 59g/m
  • Dry Treatment: No
Features
  • Multiple Length Options
  • Dyed Middle Mark
  • Thin Diameter (for ease of handling)

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT CLIMBING

The Mammut Infinity Classic is a fantastic rope that won’t weigh you down while you’re ascending a climb. At a skinny 9.5mm, it weighs even less than you might expect because it is only 59g/m. Even though this rope is quite thin, it has a thicker sheath, and it handles extremely well.

The Classic is not dry-treated, so it’s best for in the gym (with the 40m rope length designed for that) or outside in dry conditions for sport, trad, and toprope climbing. It does have a dyed middle mark for ease of finding the middle of the rope.

Blue Water Icon Double Dry

Specs
  • Diameter: 9.1mm
  • Length: 60m, 70m, 80m
  • Weight: 55g/m
  • Dry Treatment: Yes
Features
  • Thick Sheath (for durability)
  • Double Dry Treatment (core & sheath)
  • Extremely Lightweight

BEST FOR: REDPOINTING

The Bluewater Icon Double Dry is an ideal rope for advanced climbers working on redpointing difficult projects. It is super skinny at only 9.1mm, so you can’t blame the rope for holding you back (but you should also have a skilled belayer because the rope will slide easily through a belay device). The dynamic elongation of nearly 33% will provide you with a soft catch no matter how many times you whip on your way to the send.

The thick sheath and double dry treatment (both the core and sheath are water repellent) of the Bluewater Icon provide durability and fight abrasion in any conditions. If you’re likely to climb hard sport routes in a notoriously rainy or wet area, put this Bluewater rope at the top of your list.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING CLIMBING ROPES

First and foremost, you need to choose a dynamic rope for climbing. Dynamic ropes are designed and tested to stretch during a fall, which absorbs the impact from the climber’s body. A static rope should never be used for top-rope or lead climbing, as it does not stretch and falling on it would be extremely dangerous.

Climbing ropes come in single, half, and twin types, and for most types of climbing, you will want a single rope, which means you can use it on its own without a second rope. Twin and half ropes can be useful in certain traditional climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering situations, as explained in this article from REI about choosing a rope. All the ropes in this guide are single ropes.

Since a climbing rope is an investment, you want it to be durable, but even the most durable ropes require proper care to maintain their lifespan. REI offers some great advice for cleaning, storing, and inspecting your rope.

LENGTH

Climbing ropes come in various lengths, and it is crucial that you have a rope long enough for what you plan to climb. If you’re climbing in the gym, you’ll want a shorter rope, usually 30m or 35m. Check with your gym to see if they have a required rope length.

For climbing outdoors, 60m or 70m is the current standard. A 70m rope is heavier than a 60m, but some areas have lots of routes that require a 70m rope. You can refer to Mountain Project or a guidebook to see what you generally need where you climb.

 

DIAMETER

Ropes come in different diameters, in a range from about 9-10mm for single ropes. Most ropes for sport and trad climbing outside are in the 9.5-9.9mm range, which offers a good balance between durability and weight. Skinny ropes under 9.4mm are not rated to catch as many falls and are less durable, though they can be excellent for multi-pitch climbing. Ropes 10mm and over are great for gym climbing, but generally heavier than you want to carry to the crag.

It is crucial to check what diameter ropes work with your belay device, because each one is designed to work with a certain range of diameters.

 

WEIGHT

In general, the thicker the rope, the heavier it is, though construction of the rope can play a factor in this. Especially in areas with long approaches and on multi-pitch climbs, you will want a lighter rope.

 

DRY TREATMENT

Some ropes are treated with a water repellent that prevents the rope from absorbing water, which can make it heavier and weaker. This treatment can also make the rope more durable. However, it usually makes the rope more expensive. If you’re ice climbing, mountaineering, or doing lots of multi-pitch trad where you could encounter wet weather, dry treatment is important, but if you only sport climb, it is usually not necessary.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

SHEATH

The outer pater part of the rope that protects the core.

CORE

The inner part of the rope. Stronger than the sheath.

DYNAMIC/STATIC

A dynamic rope is designed to stretch during a fall, absorbing the impact. A static rope does not stretch.

MIDDLE MARK

A black dyed mark to identify the middle of the rope.

BI-PATTERN

A rope that changes color or pattern at the middle of the rope. More permanent and easy to see than a middle mark, but generally more expensive.

READ MORE

For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

2 Responses

  1. Taylor

    Hi I’m looking into the Mammut Eternity Dry, wondering why you put it as a gym rope?

    • Kim House

      Hey Taylor! Thanks for your comment.

      One of the wonderful things Mammut offers with their ropes is your own choice of dry treatment. You can buy from their Classic, Protect, or Dry collections. If you are climbing in the gym only, buy the Mammut Eternity Classic – you definitely will not need the Dry! The Classic is much less expensive and will meet all your needs indoors. Depending on the length of the routes at your gym, you might be able to go in on this rope with a friend, and then cut the rope in two at the halfway mark. 30-35m is a sufficient length for most gyms, but be sure to check first!

      I own a Mammut Eternity Dry and use it all the time for sport climbing outside. If outdoor climbing is in your future and you’re not worried about the cost, it can be a great choice.

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