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REI Dividend + Need a New Rope = Which rope?
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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Mar 19, 2012

Bowens, you make an impassioned argument about something you know little about.

What pray tell, is a rope that is going to grow with you as a climber? Is that inexpensive 10.2 going to hold you back from the rad sending you could have pulled off with the 9.8 that costs $100 more?

Would you care to explain your thinking in your earlier post that $200 ropes all seem to be pretty good? Or much better than $120 ropes? My experience has been the opposite. I have had great ropes at both prices and lousy ropes at both prices. I would rather save that $80 and buy another rope sooner, thus climbing on a newer rope more often. I have seen a brand new expensive rope chopped in the middle by rockfall it's first day out of the bag.

Your argument about cams falls flat. Ropes are a consumable item, whereas most hardware will last for years and years. Further, if you want to get a lighter thinner rope, your old cheap rope will still prove very useful for a toprope line or use at areas with rough rock. You know, the quiver you spoke about.

That REI $140 rope is a good rope for a beginner, intermediate or advanced climber.


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By dorseyec
Mar 19, 2012

Bowen - You are out of your element and clearly don't know what you are talking about. Everyone here is disagreeing with you and it is clear you are a new climber that does not know what they are talking about... Please quit before you dig yourself deeper.


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Mar 20, 2012

Bowens wrote:
If a climber is smart, they will extend their anchors so that the rope does not run over a rough edge.


But as a beginner I doubt that he will be climbing vertical or steeper. The real dammage to a rope is nto the climb but the lowering over a feature. Extended anchores or not, lowering of any kind is hard on a rope.

Bowens wrote:
Occasionally this is unavoidable, but occasionally ropes get snagged on rappel and must be violently yanked over rough edges and through choss and trees,


Not very often is my experience, In 18 years of climbing I have done this maby 3 or 4 times, I think you need to rethink you rap anchors

Bowens wrote:
Like I said, my rope has seen way more abuse from trad climbing, and even sport climbing, than it has from toproping.


This dosnet make since, unless you are top roping steeper than you are lead climbing.

Bowens wrote:
That said, I can't see any justice in saving $50 over the course of 2 years, at the cost of greater utility in your rope, simply because you think that you're going to beat it up at first.


Beginners are harder on ropes than seasoned climbers, they fall more, stand on ropes, set anchors in less than Ideal spots ect ect ect. besides saving $50 is a small cam or the start of saving for another rope, harness cheap shoes and what have you.

Bowens wrote:
Would you advise a new trad climber to buy the cheapest possible protection for their first rack because they are going to abuse it way harder while they are still learning to place gear? I think that you'd probably advise them to get the nuts and cams that they will continue to appreciate as they grow as a climber; otherwise they'll just end up replacing their first purchase anyway. I'm just suggesting that the same applies to ropes; that when choosing a first rope, you choose one that can grow with you.


This is a stupid analogy, yeah more expensive cams are better than the el cheapos. Cams can last years, and how does a rope grow, rope are expendable assets. What the OP needs is a rope is not super expensive, but one that will serve his needs and last untill he gains the experence to chose a rope for his climbing style and preference in rope feel/handling.

My suggestion is to pick up a reasonable priced 10.2-10.5mm that will take a good amount of abuse.
I have had a brand new $280.00 9.5mm take a core shot on its first whipper, it was a sharp edge that the rope hit and just about any rope would have cut, but I would cry less over a 140.00 rope than a much more expensive rope. I have also had a $98.00 PMI gecko rope last three years a moderate top roping. All ropes sold at REI and like climbing stores are CE and UIAA certified, the duribility varieries a bit between ropes but there you go...


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By bearbreeder
Mar 20, 2012

TCUs can be hella cheap ... they last just as long as anything else ... not to mention the old cheap rigid stem friends ...

from mammut on rope wear ...



get a cheap rope for your first one .... i have $$$$ mammut duodess ropes, skinny singles, twin/doubles, beefy top ropes ...

and you know which i use the most??? .... the 85$ fully certified tendon 10mm rope ...


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By frankstoneline
Mar 20, 2012

Rei has some clearance ropes right now for pretty good deals, mostly 10.2's I think, but that would be pretty ideal for a first rope. Spend the extra cash on a rope bag with a tarp.


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By Bowens
From Carlsbad, CA
Mar 20, 2012
New Yosemite

caughtinside wrote:
Bowens, you make an impassioned argument about something you know little about. What pray tell, is a rope that is going to grow with you as a climber? Is that inexpensive 10.2 going to hold you back from the rad sending you could have pulled off with the 9.8 that costs $100 more? Would you care to explain your thinking in your earlier post that $200 ropes all seem to be pretty good? Or much better than $120 ropes? My experience has been the opposite. I have had great ropes at both prices and lousy ropes at both prices. I would rather save that $80 and buy another rope sooner, thus climbing on a newer rope more often. I have seen a brand new expensive rope chopped in the middle by rockfall it's first day out of the bag. Your argument about cams falls flat. Ropes are a consumable item, whereas most hardware will last for years and years. Further, if you want to get a lighter thinner rope, your old cheap rope will still prove very useful for a toprope line or use at areas with rough rock. You know, the quiver you spoke about. That REI $140 rope is a good rope for a beginner, intermediate or advanced climber.


It could be that I am wrong about the relative damage imposed on a rope from the various types climbing. I humbly apologize for spreading what may be misinformation.

That said, and just as a point of clarity, I never said that a new climber should buy a 9.8; I suggested a 10.2 like most. All I was saying is that perhaps the cheapest possible rope is not as good an option as a rope that costs $50 more and has greater utility (weight, dry treatment, longevity, hand, middle-marks etc.). This is based on my own experience, petty though it may be, and obviously may not be good advice for others. Perhaps, instead of responding with my opinion, I should just respond with my experience purchasing my first rope.

Having purchased my first rope six months ago, I opted to spend $50 more than bare minimum and I am very happy with the decision. I purchased a Mammut Gravity 10.2 60m, and it has seen me through the the early stages (where I toproped a lot and hardly fell, because I didn't climb anything where I could fall), and it has transitioned well to other climbing pursuits as well. The following characteristics, although unessential, naturally, have been of great benefit to me: being a dry rope, it has dealt well with the occasional rain, mud, seep, and puddles that it is exposed to. Having a middle-mark has been very convenient for many reasons, and the rope has a wonderful hand which makes it easy to work with, clip, belay, etc. It also kinked very little in the beginning, whereas my experience with other cheaper ropes was the opposite. I also like that it has a higher than minimum fall rating, meaning that I can lead on it with confidence for quite some time. At this point, I have climbed around 100 pitches on it, and it has held up quite well.

I hope that my personal experience is less objectionable than my opinion.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Mar 20, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Bowens wrote:
Would you advise a new trad climber to buy the cheapest possible protection for their first rack because they are going to abuse it way harder while they are still learning to place gear?


No, but I would encourage them to buy used, good gear as I did. I also got 2nds of C4s for a great price that were brand new. The only flaw was the anodized coloring was off hue.

Bowens wrote:
I'm just suggesting that the same applies to ropes; that when choosing a first rope, you choose one that can grow with you.


Well, no. Ropes are as someone else once said "consumables." And yes, if you can afford more than one you have a variety that you keep for only doing certain kinds of things. So I still stand by the advice that if you have only one rope, make it inexpensive.

As people have pointed out, many beginner routes are slabs. This guarantees that your rope will run over the slab while toproping. It will be unavoidable. Here in Colorado at this crag called Highwire is a 5.9 slab with an overhang at the beginning. In one group outing with some beginners my rope got used for a toprope and was core shot when I got it back. So that does in fact happen.


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By Bowens
From Carlsbad, CA
Mar 20, 2012
New Yosemite

Stich wrote:
No, but I would encourage them to buy used, good gear as I did. I also got 2nds of C4s for a great price that were brand new. The only flaw was the anodized coloring was off hue. Well, no. Ropes are as someone else once said "consumables." And yes, if you can afford more than one you have a variety that you keep for only doing certain kinds of things. So I still stand by the advice that if you have only one rope, make it inexpensive. As people have pointed out, many beginner routes are slabs. This guarantees that your rope will run over the slab while toproping. It will be unavoidable. Here in Colorado at this crag called Highwire is a 5.9 slab with an overhang at the beginning. In one group outing with some beginners my rope got used for a toprope and was core shot when I got it back. So that does in fact happen.


I don't object to used hardware.

More on point; the OP said that he plans on toproping and sport climbing in the Donner/Tahoe area. Maybe someone with experience as to the style of climbing there can give him some more specific advice.


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By RimWalker
Mar 20, 2012

Wow, I didn't think my post would stir up so much controversy - thanks for all the input, really, but maybe climb more and jump down each other's throats less?

I'll also be getting an assortment of slings and quickdraws so as to set up anchors properly (with instruction from a very experienced friend) without dragging the rope over the top of the climb.

Living in the Sierra, I do plan on progressing past top ropping and sport to trad and alpine, but imagine that'll be on the next rope, when I can actually afford that gear. Hopefully sooner actually - just on other people's gear.

Thanks again everybody, I think I've got enough good info from here and local advice that I'll be able to make an informed decision.


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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Mar 20, 2012

Bowens wrote:
It could be that I am wrong about the relative damage imposed on a rope from the various types climbing. I humbly apologize for spreading what may be misinformation. That said, and just as a point of clarity, I never said that a new climber should buy a 9.8; I suggested a 10.2 like most. All I was saying is that perhaps the cheapest possible rope is not as good an option as a rope that costs $50 more and has greater utility (weight, dry treatment, longevity, hand, middle-marks etc.). This is based on my own experience, petty though it may be, and obviously may not be good advice for others. Perhaps, instead of responding with my opinion, I should just respond with my experience purchasing my first rope. Having purchased my first rope six months ago, I opted to spend $50 more than bare minimum and I am very happy with the decision. I purchased a Mammut Gravity 10.2 60m, and it has seen me through the the early stages (where I toproped a lot and hardly fell, because I didn't climb anything where I could fall), and it has transitioned well to other climbing pursuits as well. The following characteristics, although unessential, naturally, have been of great benefit to me: being a dry rope, it has dealt well with the occasional rain, mud, seep, and puddles that it is exposed to. Having a middle-mark has been very convenient for many reasons, and the rope has a wonderful hand which makes it easy to work with, clip, belay, etc. It also kinked very little in the beginning, whereas my experience with other cheaper ropes was the opposite. I also like that it has a higher than minimum fall rating, meaning that I can lead on it with confidence for quite some time. At this point, I have climbed around 100 pitches on it, and it has held up quite well. I hope that my personal experience is less objectionable than my opinion.


So your experience is that you have owned one rope? And have climbed on it for 6 months/100 pitches?

So it is fair to say you haven't got much basis for comparison.

Let's look at the things you shopped for: weight, dry treatment, longevity, hand, middle-marks

Weight: Shouldn't be primary concern for a newer climber.
Dry treatment: Depends. I climb out west, I don't ice climb. I don't get dry treated ropes. It's my experience and opinion that the dry treatment wears off/out fairly quickly anyway.
Longevity: Tricky, because you flat out don't know off the shelf. All you can really go with is weight here. Generally heavier ropes (ie, thicker) will have thicker sheaths. However, even a single bad toprope setup can burr up your sheath, even on a fat rope. And it is impossible to tell off the shelf if a rope will retain its dynamic properties throughout it's life.
hand: Another thing you can't shop for while it's in the bag. If you haven't used the rope, you don't know. I've had ropes that start normal and get stiff. I've had ropes that start normal and turn into limp noodles. Most ropes fall somewhere in the middle.
middle marks: Who cares. You can add your own middle mark with tape or a sharpie.

In my opinion and experience, the only feature worth paying for is bicolor/bipattern, and even then only some of the time. It can be really handy for multipitch raps, but it becomes worse than useless if you have to trim your rope some time.

My point is this: Most climbers (myself included) don't know what they are getting when they buy a new rope. The exception is when you buy a rope you have experience with. For this reason, it is my opinion that you are better off buying a cheaper rope more often, than buying one really expensive rope and hoping it lasts for years and works for everything.

Finally, my theory on rope kinking. You can put a kink/twist in any rope with a poor anchor setup. It is not always the climbers fault, sometimes there is a weird bolt setup or something. However, you can always take the kinks/twists out of any rope. Don't blame the rope.

And for the OP: For climbing in the Tahoe/Donner area a 60m rope will work for 99% of the routes. There are a couple routes at lover's leap where a 70m is handy for lowering off, or a second rope can be taken up. However, as a newer climber toproping and transitioning into leading, you will likely not be doing these routes for a season or two. So I would suggest the least expensive 10mm+ 60m rope you can find.


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By dorseyec
Mar 21, 2012

caughtinside wrote:
So your experience is that you have owned one rope? And have climbed on it for 6 months/100 pitches? So it is fair to say you haven't got much basis for comparison.


Exactly bowen, you don't know what you are talking about yet you made like 5 posts that were at least a couple paragraphs long argueing with people who have much more experience than you.

How are you so sure that the extra $50 you spent got you such a superior rope? What do you have to compare it to? I am glad you are happy with your rope but that does not mean a cheaper one would have performed any worse... and you could have an extra shiny new cam in your rack!


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Mar 21, 2012
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

I was actually in REI today looking at ropes - I got my check and am buying a rope.

My experience in the past years:

I bought a Petzl 10.2 and a Mammut 9.6 (? but a thinner 60 ). The Petzl 10.2 was core shot in 3 trips to a top rope area on McDowell granite. It is now sitting in about 2 or three lengths now for extension and anchor pieces.
I still climb on the Mammut to this day... it just did Cat and the Hat and Birdland in Vegas amongst other trips over the course of a year and a half. Not core shot but a bit frayed in a couple spots.

I think that you should get a rope that is going to take the abuse that your probably going to give it top roping on granite as you learn to climb but I dont think the amount you spend is indicative of the quality these days. I started out with a BlueWater which I still have to this day, I canyoneer with it now since I climbed on it literally for 3 years and finally thought I should replace it. It is not frayed at all and I would climb on it again. It was 140 bucks.
If your going to the Red Rock Redevenous in Vegas - they sell the training ropes for cheap ... this may even be one of those.
I was pretty bummed that the $249 Petzl I bought vwas shot as quick as it was. I believe in they're products and thought I was finally buying a good rope cuz i spent more money - but the Mammut has clearly outshone the Petzl twice now. Since I'm looking for a new rope - I asked an older climber I respect about those New England ropes since I saw them too - He stated he bought one and its been great... Trad climbing moderate to hard routes in Northern Arizona.
Just my .02 - I think Im going to get the Mammut Apex... Decent price and its only $20 bucks more - but Im partial to Mammut now

What I would do was think about how many falls I was going to take on the rope learning to trad climb :) Then you use your buddies rope :)


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Mar 21, 2012
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

ClimbPHX.com wrote:
but I dont think the amount you spend is indicative of the quality these days.


Exactly... gimmicks have more to do with the price of the rope than quality.

Buy the cheapest rope you can find from any of the major rope makers and you'll have a quality rope. None of these guys make a bad rope.


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By dorseyec
Mar 21, 2012

ClimbPHX.com wrote:
I started out with a BlueWater which I still have to this day, I canyoneer with it now since I climbed on it literally for 3 years and finally thought I should replace it. It is not frayed at all and I would climb on it again. It was 140 bucks. I was pretty bummed that the $249 Petzl I bought was shot as quick as it was.


What this doesn't make any sesne!? Bowen told me that a more expensive rope is going to be a better longer lasting rope.... blasphemy.


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By Chalk Norris
From Brighton, CO
Mar 21, 2012

70m bi color maxim glider! enough said


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Mar 21, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

REI has a Maxim 10 mm 60 meter rope on sale that has no dry treatment. I'm picking one up Friday for general use cragging. I think I bought the same rope more or less back in 1997. As I recall it was a great rope, did the job, and I had no complaints what so ever.

Mammut Apex

The New England Ropes Equinox is a nice price, too.


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Mar 22, 2012
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

I just bought the Mammut Apex - 60 m - With dividend and 20% it came to $111 - Its normally 160. Thats pretty main stream and with the 20% its economical since this is my third rope in my arsenal.

Its a 10 5 - so its a little thicker than I would have picked but you cant beat the price. Mammut has done me right before and will continue for the life of this one!


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By Woodchuck ATC
Mar 22, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Can you use this new 20% coupon offer in addition to your dividend for an REI purchase?

www.mountainproject.com/v/rei-20-off-coupon-available-now/10>>>


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Mar 22, 2012
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

Yep! Thats the beauty of it!
If your an REI member they have it in their computer so you get your dividend off and then they input that they used your 20%


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By Matt Pierce
From Denver, CO
Mar 27, 2012
View from the first belay ledge on The Staircase (5.5)

I use a Sterling Marathon Pro 10.1 and love it...

One thing that has come up though and maybe someone can clarify on this - a friend I climbed with last year said his grigri couldnt be used on anything smaller than a 10.1 - (wouldnt bite)

So if you dont want to piss off your belayer...


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By bearbreeder
Mar 28, 2012

should be 9.7 mm for the original gri gri ... though some sources will say 10mm

on the flip side, it can be a biatch to pull a 10mm or over through some of the newer assisted locking devices once the rope gets a bit fuzzy and still

if yr using an assisted locker ... something around a 9,8mm is the best compromise between durability and feeing in yr device IMO


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Mar 28, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

First generation GriGri; Petzl stamped on it min 10mm max 11mm.

Close up
Close up


You could still use it for the upper 9mm range, especially if the rope was fuzzy, but it's probably better to stick to the manufacturer's suggested use. The GriGri will still function like an ATC even if it doesn't lock assist. In that case though, it would probably make more sense to just use an ATC or Reverso.


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By bearbreeder
Mar 29, 2012

it used to be 9.7 mm "accepted" ... for a reference see here ...

www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/article.aspx?id=1547

Take extra care with skinny ropes as they offer less friction, and thus more potential for non-locking situations than fat ones. In their catalogue, Petzl recommend between 10-11mm single ropes only (9.7mm accepted) obviously, the beefier your rope, the greater your margin of safety all round.

ive personally found that some 10mm ropes when they get fuzzy no longer feed well through a gri gri 1 or 2 ... or an mammut smart for that matter


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By Zach Joing
From Boulder, CO
Apr 8, 2012
Scarface Indian Creek

Bought a petzl xion about mid winter. Have had it out maybe ten times on ice/relatively smooth rock. Showing significant signs of wear allready. I would say it'll be shot by the end of this fall. Not a good choice!


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By Charles Porter
Jul 10, 2012

I'm a new climber and was wondering about good info on ropes. Where can I go to get good accurate info on the different types of rope and uses, and maintenance? I've already paid the price for using the wrong rope once and am lucky I wasn't hurt, much.


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