There’s nothing more important than finding a trustworthy and safe rope when going out to climb as it can be the difference between life and death. In this article, you’ll learn what we think are some of the best climbing ropes on the market today. We will go over why we think these ropes are good enough to make the list and if they are lacking in any major aspect. To purchase the best climbing ropes for yourself, think about what you want to get out of them and how you plan to use the rope.
Top 10 Best Climbing Ropes
1. Petzl Volta
This rope is on the higher end and is known to last a long time. There is an ultrasonic coating over the rope that makes frayed ends almost unheard of. It’s lightweight and thin enough to use in most, if not all, climbing scenarios. It also comes in different lengths that make it even more versatile.
One downside to this rope is that it isn’t beginner-friendly. If you are just starting climbing, we recommend some of the other easier ropes talked about in this article.
Petzl’s Volta climbing rope is coated in a dry treatment that keeps water, dirt, and abrasion at bay for longer than without this treatment. It also helps climbers in wet weather to keep grip stronger and makes handling easier throughout the climb. Because this rope is thinner than some, it isn’t going to be as durable as thicker 9.5 to 9.8 ropes. With all this information, take into consideration what type of climbing you want to do and how much a good dry treatment and anti-fray technology mean to you.
Sample Customer Review…Great all-rounder rope very easy to handle in any weather fast deliveryRead more reviews on Amazon.com
2. Mammut 9.5 Crag Classic
A great climbing rope that is thin enough to provide easy handling and keep off some extra weight while also being thick enough to last a long time and give you some much-needed durability. It gives all kinds of climbers the ability to use a strong and hefty rope while also not lugging around extra weight. This rope is an all-around good choice for many different climbers because it does great with catches and comes in different lengths for your particular needs.
This rope is known to wear pretty well despite the occasional fraying and sheath glazing. It maintains its flexible nature throughout its lifespan. Overall, it’s a great option for climbers looking for a rope that is versatile and will last.
Sample Customer Review…Bought this rope to start learning how to repel. I have used it on three different excursions and it has a very quality feel to it. Something that is important when you are hanging 50 ft in the air from it. Thanks!Review from backcountrygear.com
3. Sterling Evolution Velocity
Because this rope is 9.8mm in diameter, it’s perfect for novices and beginners. A climber can easily handle the rope and it is lightweight and durable enough for pretty much every climber. This particular climbing rope has been a tried and true staple in many people’s lives due to its great size and durability.
The lifespan of this rope is also fairly long compared to others. It’s great for people who plan to only own one rope or want to have a really reliable and trustworthy climbing rope to use in multiple different climbing terrains. One downside is the price. Of course, the longer length you choose the more pricey it will get so if you’re looking for a short rope it won’t be as expensive.
Sample Customer Review…It’s easy to handle and clip and has a very reasonable weight. Has held up well so far.Read more reviews on Amazon.com
4. Petzl Arial
The Petzl Arial is another rope made by the Petzl brand who are known for their soft and supple feeling ropes, and the Arial is no different. It is a 9.5mm rope that weights 58g/m with varying lengths between 60m to 80m. This rope offers itself double stacked to prevent any kinks, also comes with a dry cover that can resist water and abrasions. This rope is ideal for climbing in rainy or snowy terrain or even on a nice hot day, for the extremes. This rope will be great for almost any kind of weather or scenario. Even providing soft catches and is able to handle very well. Petzl is made for the experienced climber, if you consider yourself experienced this could be a great rope choice for your next adventure!
Sample Customer Review…Amazing rope. I have used it quite a few times. The rope stretch isn’t horrible and it is easy to clean. It is smooth to use for belaying and rappelling. Customary quality Petzl…I love these ropes. This is my fourth one and they’ve all lasted a long time under heavy use. Always remain supple…Beautiful, strong rope. Lives up to the Petzl name.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
5. Petzl Mambo 10.1
The 10.1mm diameter makes this rope great for both indoor and outdoor use. It’s versatile enough to use while at the gym and the lengths available range from 50m to even 200m. This rope comes with an ultrasonic finish that helps reduce the number of frays and therefore lends itself to having greater durability. A middle marker is also put on this rope to help climbers with certain maneuvers.
Thermal treatment also comes with this rope to help ensure stability in the core keep consistency. This treatment along with the overall design of the rope makes the grip easy to maintain. If you are concerned about weight, this may not be the rope for you. It is heavier than some others on the market but many can overlook this issue because of all the positives.
When purchasing a climbing rope, it is the first coiling and uncoiling that can be a challenge. To help with this problem, Petzl Mambo 10.1 comes with unique coiling technologies that make it completely ready for use and helps the user avoid uncoiling problems.
Sample Customer Review…I used this rope for the first time this weekend. I’m very pleased with its durability and how it handles knots/belay devices. I was set up on a popular climb and several partners asked if they could have a turn on it. Every one of them mentioned that it was a really nice rope and liked how it felt. I’m very pleased.Read more reviews on Amazon.com
6. BlueWater 9.7mm Lightning Pro Double Dry
This rope is incredibly lightweight for its size compared to others on the market. It has a 9.7mm diameter and comes in a variety of lengths. The rope is soft and supple enough to give you a great and sturdy grip. Another positive of this rope is the double dry coating that performs to keep the rope from absorbing water and lessening the integrity.
One downside to this rope is that it has been known to wear easier than some others. It has a hard time handling the same amount of abuse as others on the market however, if you take care of this rope it should last a while. There is great versatility in this rope as it is ideal for alpine climbing and sport.
Sample Customer Review…I absolutely love this rope. It handles so smooth, pays out easy through a grigri, and has already taken a beating while using it to do some route development work, and still looks good. The bi-pattern is so easy to decipher which for me (being color blind) can be an issue with some other bi-pattern ropes. It’s not too heavy for a 70m and the diameter is enough I still feel solid taking whippers on it. One other thing is I didn’t uncoil the rope like I normally do with new ropes and it didn’t get all kinked up when I first went and used it. It has gotten some twists in it when I was rapping on a windy day but it wasn’t too hard to unravel. This is to me, is the perfect rope.Read more reviews on Amazon.com
7. Beal Joker
If you’re a skinny line lover, this one’s for you. You can use this rope for single, half, and twin line climbing. It’s truly the first of its kind and continues to be a leader in its field. There is a dry treatment to reduce water damage and promote a longer lifespan. It has a uni-core design, meaning that the core and sheath are bonded. This type of rope is helpful because if the rope gets cut mid-climb, the sheath won’t strip and cause a major accident.
Thinner ropes are more difficult to handle. So this particular climbing rope isn’t going to be great for beginners who will need easier handling. It is incredibly light, so you don’t need to worry about weight when carrying it for longer distances. This rope isn’t as durable as others on this list. It likely won’t last you as long as some of the thicker options, but it serves its purpose very well. For a climbing rope as versatile and thin as this one, it certainly is one of the best for what it does.
Sample Customer Review…Great rope. Looks and feels good!Read more reviews on Amazon.com
8. Edelrid Boa Eco
Each individual rope will look different because this rope is made out of leftover yarn. Despite its interesting and modern look, it still has the strength of any regular climbing rope from this brand. It is treated with a thermal shield that helps to stabilize and keep the rope supple throughout use. With a 9.8mm diameter, it is a great size for multiple different climbing activities.
This rope works really well for gym climbing but it works great for outdoor activities too. It’s a sturdy, well-made all-around rope that has many different uses and because it is made out of leftover material, it helps the planet too!
Sample Customer Review…Amazing rope.. got it as a less expensive 40m alternative to my Petzl volta dry which I use only for ice climbing. This not only exceeded expectations for summer rock climbs but is comparable in weight and performance as ropes that are 2x the money. Great job Edelrid! Since having this rope I’ve actually tried many other Edelrid items like harnesses and belay devices and they have all been superb.Read more reviews on Amazon.com
9. Sterling Slim Gym
Gym climbers, this one for you! At 10.1mm thick, it’s great for beginners or anyone who is looking to improve their skills. Even though it is on the thicker side, it’s known to handle almost like a thinner rope. This rope doesn’t have any dry treatment and also lacks a middle marker. But for indoor use, it still has some great qualities that make it a fairly common beginner rope.
This rope comes in a variety of lengths for your specific desired purpose. The price is also pretty good compared to others of its kind, another feature many beginner climbers look for. You will be able to use this rope for a long while as long as you take care of it because it’s incredibly durable. If you’re in the market for a beginner or gym-specific rope, this is a fantastic option that you should look more into.
Sample Customer Review…This is a really nice rope. It is very smooth and moves nicely. It has good dynamic stretch as well.Read more reviews on Amazon.com
10. Beal Booster III
The Beal Booster III is the latest rendition of this climbing rope line if you remember the previous lines and did not have a good time. This rope is a good reason to come back to this line as this is a big improvement to their shortcomings. It is a 9.7 mm rope with an impact force of 7.3kN and only a weight of 61g/m. This rope offers a more notably soft, lightweight, and flexible feeling experience. This rope includes a high dynamic and static stretch with its low impact forces which makes it great for certain types of climbing!
It is a stiff rope at first but after a few climbs, you’ll break into it just fine, and does not begin to fuzz after many uses ensuring many climbs to come before replacing this rope. This rope is also dry covered protecting it from moisture and heat. With all these features in one rope for an inexpensive price compared to other ropes out there on the market, this is a steal to be considered!
Sample Customer Review…Bought as my first rope on sale, Fantastic product, I use this for outdoor climbing, sport, and top rope, its got a good stretch so it feels like you actually fall on Top rope if you have some slack on the rope, and being caught on a good fall with this rope on lead feels great. Great color on feel on belay, have yet to use it in wet conditions but I don’t doubt it would be great.Review from rei.com.
Buying Guide: What to Look for When Purchasing a Climbing Rope
Bi-pattern and Middle Mark Ropes
Middle marks are used as reference points to let you know where the middle of the rope is. The mark indicates the middle of the rope and helps you know that your ends are even in situations like rappelling. These ropes are helpful but at times it can be difficult to find that reference point when the rope gets dirty or old.
Bi-pattern ropes on the other hand are covered in two different patterns. These ropes have different patterns in each end, so it is very easy to point out the middle of the rope. Bi-pattern ropes can be more expensive but are worth the price.
Length of the Rope
There are varieties of lengths of ropes when it comes to climbing ropes. The standard rope length is said to be 60m and 70m ropes, but you can choose the best length by considering the type of climbing you will be doing. It’s up to you and your comfortability but always remember that your rope needs to be long enough so that half its length is equal to or greater than the pitch you will be climbing.
There is a wide range of rope diameters and different rope diameters are used for different types of climbing. Some climbing might need thin and light ropes, whereas some need a highly durable, thick(heavy) rope. So when choosing your rope, you need to consider the type of climbing you’ll be doing then use that as a guide to the diameter you need your climbing rope to be. Usually, for rope climbing like alpine climbing, and multi-pitch, skinny ropes between 8.5-9.2 millimeters are used. These kinds of ropes are the lightest while also being the strongest.
All-around ropes or medium diameter ropes are usually between 9.2 – 9.9 millimeters and are usually the most wanted and popular of all climbing ropes due to their versatility. These kinds of ropes are all-rounders and can do it all, from lead climbing to multi-pitch and top roping. They are durable and their handling is great.
Some ropes are above 10 millimeters, which are bulky and heavy but can be a great choice if you are looking for something that’s least expensive and most durable. These can be a great choice for novice climbers as well as projecting and those who prefer to top-rope.
UIAA Fall Rating
UIAA rating is a measure of the number of falls the rope held during the certification tests and can also be referred to as resiliency. Here, the higher the rating is, the better you can expect the rope to hold up against standard wear and tear.
Dry treated ropes can be a great choice if you are someone who does outdoor climbing. These ropes resist water, moisture, dirt and have a longer lifespan. But if you are someone who only does indoor climbing, dry-treated ropes are not necessary.
Our list of the best climbing ropes hopefully has given you some ideas of what the common features a rope has and what you may be looking for. Different climbing ropes serve different purposes because of their size, length, diameter, and many other factors. Know where and how you want to climb so you can make the best choice for your own personal climbing rope. There’s definitely a rope out there that will suit you and your needs perfectly!
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Written by Courtney Ludwig, Sonam Wangmo Thakuri, and Steven Nguyen