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Rope and Draws, The essentials

Original Post
Toby LM · · Calimesa, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

Looking to buy a rope and some draws to start sport climbing.

What size is best for someone not looking to save on weight, looking for a rope that will last awhile. 10? larger?

whats a good length? 70m?

Do brands matter?

Looking for advice from people that have experience using different kinds of ropes and draws and what they have liked and disliked.

Keep on climbing

Barrett Pauer · · Brevard, NC · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 775

9.8mm 60M rope
12 inexpensive draws

Brands arn't a huge deal. The more you save, the more you have for gas to go climbing

Toby LM · · Calimesa, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

Awesome, thanks for the input

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Depending on where you climb, a 70m rope can be useful. I saw that you're from SoCal, and the Owens River Gorge has some routes that a 70m rope will make a LOT easier. I live in New England now and a 60m rope is fine here, but if I were back out west I'd definitely get a 70.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 125

Buy the cheapest reputable gear you can find... to a point. You want to make sure that the gear has good action in your hands. I tend to prefer wire gate biners, but there are also plenty of solid gate options as well. I ended up looking for sales and buying multi-packs and got down to about $10 per draw for Trango Phase and Camp Express draws.

The thicker ropes will be more durable, but they also are tougher to feed through some belay devices. A 70m is handy, but if you are in an older area, a 60m rope is probably going to be fine. You may also be able to save money with a non-dry treated rope if you are only climbing in dry conditions. I would probably get a 9.8mm non-dry 60m on sale if I really wanted to start on the cheap.

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

9.8mm x 70 meter x dry treated

10 draws. No functional difference from one brand to the next. I personally always get the Black Diamond orange and silver pack.

coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70

I'd be careful ignoring brands on ropes. There have been some really lame ropes in the past few years...

I'd stick with Mammut or Edelrid. Still Swiss and German made. Not to slag on another brand specifically, but notice you don't see people griping about those cords online. One popular "Euro" brand moved its production to Africa--endless problems. Some of the more popular US brands get so fuzzy so quickly, it's a joke.

I'd spend a few bucks extra on a quality rope---and yeah, 9.7/9.8 would be durable but still handle OK--and get a deal on anything else from a reputable company.

Good luck, man, enjoy!

Zach Holt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 60

Save money on your draws, but splurge a bit on a rope. 70 meter ropes are fantastic, but I'd be wiling to bet most people get a 60 m rope for their first rope. This also depends largely where you will be climbing. I highly reccomended getting a rope from a highly reputable brand and if possible a rope that was lap coiled prior to packaging and shipping. I've had some crummy ropes, but Mammut, Petzl, and Pinnacle ropes have all been great!

JK- Branin · · Southern New Hampshire · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 58

Read up on your climbing area to decide rope length, or if you plan to travel much just spring for the 70. Opens up a lot of options. I've always been a fan of a high quality 10.2mm rope for an everyday workhorse rope.

Draws... Just get the cheapest reputable draw you can find to start. You can upgrade later after you've developed preferences and still keep the cheap draws for really long routes, hanging on a project, etc. Some of my favorite options for cheap draws are the Cypher Firefly draw (I LOVE these draws for the price... I'd get the "mixed"), the CAMP orbit wire, and the Black Diamond livewire (the afore mentioned orange and sliver... although not orange and silver anymore). For a couple bucks more you can get the BD Posiwire, which is worth it I think. I really like solid gates on the bolt side, but that is entirely preference. IMO it's also worth buying a couple slings and turning two draws out of a rack into alpine draws.

Jordan Marvel · · Tempe, AZ · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 5

Buy a 70-80M rope, you won't regret it.

will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 270

I'd recommend going for a nicer set of draws and a more inexpensive rope. It seems like most people tend to thrash their first rope pretty quickly, but it's probably going to take you a little while to wear through the rope end biner on those draws. My preference is for draws with key lock solid gates (bent gate if you have them on the rope end as well). These handle much nicer when cleaning steep sport routes. I used wire gate draws for many years and they usually clip nicely, are light, but the gates aren't always as durable. Biner size is an important factor as well. Small biners may be light, but might also be harder to clip.

Ropes-I'd recommend 9.8-10.2, this should be pretty durable, but still fee well through most belay devices. It seems like belay devices are being manufactured for smaller and smaller ropes these days and all my partners hated using the last 10.5 rope I had (retired several years ago) for this reason. look at route descriptions and talk to other climbers in your area to see if you can get by with a 60. Don't get a dry treated rope. If you get into ice climbing later then you can think about a dry rope.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

If you use a Grigri, don't go too much thicker than 10mm. It gets to be a pain to feed when lead belaying. I prefer to not have to disengage the cam. As others mentioned, 9.6-9.8 is perfect, +/- .2 or so.

Jack Stephenson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 25

As a newer sport climber myself, I've also had to recently make this decision.

Draws: after researching for quite a while, the only real safety concern present when comparing draws that are CE and UIAA certified is gate style. According to BDs QC lab studies, the most common reasons for failure is loading the carbiner when the non-key lock carabiner is attached to the bolt improperly, causing off axis loading. To quote KP, black diamonds main QC guy, "literally a force twice someone's body weight bouncing on that thing will snap it". The way to go is a solid, keylock style gate for the bolt side, or if you really prefer the wire, the new(ish) hoodwire carabiners are also a safe option. For the rope side the choice is yours. I prefer the snappy action of a wire gate. Outside of the gate style, go for affordable from a reputable brand. Black diamond sells quick packs of 6 draws from previous seasons (same biner, new color and minor modifications to the dogbone) for really cheap. You could come out with 12 draws for under $120. Oh and a stiffer dogbone makes clipping a bit easier, it's nice to not have the draw flopping around everywhere.

Rope: 70 meters because why not, honestly. There's no route that you can't climb Bc your rope is too long, only too short.
9.5-10. Honestly 10 is a freaking thick rope. But if it aspires confidence in you, have at it. I like the feel of a 9.5, feeds incredibly smooth through a gri-gri. Dry treatment if you carry your rope outside of your pack, otherwise I don't think it's necessary for single pitch. Buy from a reputable brand.

Hope this helps.

Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 183

One benefit to getting a 70m rope is that if you have to cut a chunk off the end, your rope is still long enough for most (almost all) routes, saving you from potentially having to buy another rope before your first one is totally worn out.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Jordan Marvel wrote:Buy a 70-80M rope, you won't regret it.
A 70 can make sense; an 80 is still overkill and mostly pointless, esp. for a new climber.
JK- Branin · · Southern New Hampshire · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 58
Jack Stephenson wrote:...the most common reasons for failure is loading the carbiner when the non-key lock carabiner is attached to the bolt improperly, causing off axis loading. ... The way to go is a solid, keylock style gate for the bolt side, or if you really prefer the wire, the new(ish) hoodwire carabiners are also a safe option. ...
Nose hooking is 100% pilot error. If you like the way wiregates feel, get wiregates and pay attention. No matter what you get pay attention. Some keylock gates have the nose shaped in such a way nose hooking is still possible (although far less likely).

Virtually all gear failure is pilot error. No matter what gear you have, know how to use it, and while gear use should become automatic it should never become complacent.
Jack Stephenson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 25
JK- wrote: Nose hooking is 100% pilot error.
I totally agree, and obviously BD does as well as they still sell the things. I also doubt that anyone has ever nose hooked on purpose, and I prefer to stack the cards in my favor.
Toby LM · · Calimesa, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

Thanks everyone for the input, super helpful. I love al the opinions.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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