Climbing Rope Reviews

Modern climbing ropes are lighter, thinner, and more durable than they've ever been, and they're also more expensive than ever! Climbing's editors will help you choose the right rope and find the best value. Here you'll also learn how to care for a rope and when to retire it.
  • HPECTrad

    Gear Guide 2014: Trad Climbing

    From cams to carabiners to shoes, here are 18 of the best new products for plug-and-chuggers.

  • ECSport

    Gear Guide 2014: Sport Climbing

  • HPEC

    Gear Guide 2014: Editors' Choice Awards

    Innovative, smart, lust-worthy, and just plain cool: 10 new must-have products that topped our testers’ lists.

  • Mammut-Serenity-Rope

    Your Lifeline: 5 New Ropes for Sending Season

    The climbing rope is a unifying piece of gear. Primarily, it connects a climber to his belayer, but every tribe member who wants to get higher than 15 feet off the ground ties into one, whether he’s toproping or big walling. (The Honnolds and Crofts of the world don’t count!) However, a toproper and a big waller will be looking for two very different cords. Our testing crew visited nearby Colorado areas, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, half a dozen Utah crags, and California’s High Sierra to find the five best single ropes on sport, trad, and alpine routes.

  • Arcteryx-Haku-Rope-Bag

    Arc'teryx Haku Rope Bag

    The Haku makes transporting and flaking a breeze, with this bag, bucket, and tarp in one ultra-portable package. When you’re done climbing, flake your rope onto the 4’x4’ tarp, grab the corners and give a shake, and the cord will disappear into an attached nylon bucket (that lies flat when not in use).

  • Edelrid-Snipe-Rope

    Edelrid Snipe 9.8mm

    Slated for a fall 2013 U.S. debut, these ropes sold out so fast in Europe that Edelrid couldn’t meet demands for both the U.S. and all of Europe—and that should tell you something. The Snipe is a 9.8mm rope that increases to 10mm for six meters at each end and in the middle using Edelrid’s EnduroTech technology.

  • Beal-Unicore-Tiger-10mm

    Beal Unicore Tiger 10mm

    The brunt of a rope’s strength comes from the core, and while the sheath doesn’t add significant strength, it does protect the core from damage. A sliced sheath will quickly unravel, exposing several feet of core, making the rope unusable. Solution? Beal introduced Unicore technology last year in two ropes; this bonds the core to the sheath via a thin, lightweight filament that’s woven between the two.

  • Bluewater-Icon-91mm-Rope

    BlueWater Icon 9.1mm

    This cord quickly became the top choice among our sport climbing testers thanks to its supple feel, easy handling, thin diameter, and kink-free performance. “We’ve had this line for about seven months, and it permanently stays in the rope bag as our go-to cord,” said one testing duo. “It hasn’t kinked once on 100+ pitches, and it clips like a dream.”

  • Metolius-Ropemaster-HC

    Metolius Rope Master HC

    Although the average diameter of most ropes is getting smaller, the standard length is growing, and Metolius has responded by making their tried-and-true rope bag in a “high capacity” version. For day trips to Clear Creek Canyon and weekend trips to Shelf Road, both in Colorado, the bag easily fit an 80-meter rope and full rack of 15 quickdraws.

  • 2012 Gear Guide: How to Buy - Ropes

    The climbing rope is the centerpiece of your safety system. Unless you’re bouldering, it’s your most critical climbing equipment. You may buy a one-size-fits-all rope, or build a quiver of ropes that suit each type of climbing you do. Modern nylon climbing ropes use a kernmantle design, meaning they have a thick “kern,” or core, providing most of the strength, plus a thin “mantle,” or sheath, to protect the core. Extensive twisting of the core yarns gives a rope most of its stretchiness and energy-absorbing capabilities.

  • New England Ropes/Maxim Airliner 9.1

    2012 Gear Guide: Ropes

    New England Ropes/Maxim Airliner 9.1: Easy clipping and complete smoothness out of the gate made this Maxim rope an absolute favorite for the serious sport climbers in our test squad. Knots were easy to tie and untie, and initial kinks were kept to a minimum. The 9.1mm diameter is absolutely perfect for redpointing—thick enough to stand some abrasion and big whips, but thin enough (61 g/m, or less than 9.5 lbs for a 70m rope) to feel like there’s practically nothing there.

  • GG-Beal-Joker_31509.jpg

    2011 Gear Guide: Ropes

    Over the winter, we climbed with a wide sampling of single ropes (most are new for 2010/2011) and boiled the selection down to eight favorites. During the review process, certain biases became evident: Some testers wouldn’t even look at a rope above 10mm in diameter, while others nervously said “no thanks” to anything under 9.8mm. Dry treatments also became a point of contention: Sport climbers in Colorado shrugged them off as an unnecessary extra expense, while ice climbers were incredulous at this indifference. While such characteristics will factor into your own decision, we hope to at least point you in the right direction on the journey to find your dream cord.