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What that rope do?

Original Post
David Phillips · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2019 · Points: 0

I am new to climbing
Only have been In the gym so far
Looking to start outdoors
Any information on what kind of rope to buy would be great.
What brand
Size
Length
Treatment
Anything you have. 
Thanks. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

"What That Rope Do"

Start by changing the title to this thread.

How long are the routes in your area? That will determine if you want a 60 meter or 70 meter rope.

For your first rope, get something 10 mm or larger diameter. Get a cheap dynamic climbing rope. Don't worry about dry treatment or all the specifications, as you can be easily overwhelmed trying to analyze all those.

Have fun.

Allen R · · Daytona Beach, FL · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

Find friends with ropes and get what they use for your area.
Alternatively get a 9.8 60m like everyone else does for their first rope

Scott Hall · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Hey David!  Congrats on making the effort to transition outdoors!  A couple things before I get into rope details....if you haven't already, please take the time to read up on good leave-no-trace practices.  With the increase in popularity in climbing crags in many places are seeing increased impact, so please take the time to understand and help others understand how to minimize impact.

What kind of climbing are you looking to do?  Assuming it's single pitch sport, a 60 or 70 meter non-dry offering from most rope manufacturers should be more than sufficient.  The first rope I bought was a Mammut Eternity 70m with a 9.8 mm diameter.  I loved this rope and I still use it as a fixed line!

Bear in mind new routes are generally, at least in my home area, becoming longer and longer, so I recommend starting with a 70m rope.  I know the allure of a lighter weight, i.e. shorter or skinnier rope might be attractive, but usually a larger diameter will correlate with increased life.

What kind of belay device are you working with?  There are some newer devices that will limit the range of diameters you can comfortably or possibly safely work with, so take the time to review which diameters your primary belay device is recommended for.

Bi-pattern ropes are incredibly handy to have, but most definitely not necessary and generally more expensive.  I use one when taking friends out on shorter easier routes so both ends can be climbed on without confusion, but I'm not sure you'd need one while just starting.

Dry ropes are generally used for alpine conditions, which is another way to say wet, cold, and miserable.  Wet ropes are not inherently dangerous, but they do tend to be miserably heavy when soaked.  

I would recommend a rope with a middle marker.  Depending on how the ethics in your area work, you may be rappelling off of single pitch climbs.  While I don't endorse this method of descent, it is still the ethic in many areas, so do some research before you blow a bunch of money on this rope.  A HIGHLY visible middle Mark will make your rappel descent much more efficient and less dangerous.

A couple more sidebars.....as you fall further down the rabbit hole, please try to get involved with trail days, fundraisers, crag maintenance days, and being part of the community.  Sport climbs only exist because some very motivated people spend their time, money, and a lot of energy developing them.  Research the work and effort that goes into it, and try to help how you are able.  

Lastly, here are some specific rope recommendations.

Mammut Infinity 9.8mm 70m non dry.
Sterling Ion 9.4mm 70m non dry.
Sterling Evolution Velocity 9.8mm 70m
Sterling VR9 9.8mm 70m

Lots of Sterling suggestions, but I've honestly just found that they handle better than similar offerings from other manufacturers.

Do your research, learn how to manage risks and make good decisions, and have fun!!!!

Jeremy S · · Southern California · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 45
Scott Hall wrote: Hey David!  Congrats on making the effort to transition outdoors!  A couple things before I get into rope details....if you haven't already, please take the time to read up on good leave-no-trace practices.  With the increase in popularity in climbing crags in many places are seeing increased impact, so please take the time to understand and help others understand how to minimize impact.

Wow, what a great dose of positivity to start this Friday!

+1 to everything Scott said, but IMHO unless you live near areas with notoriously long climbs, a 60m will suffice. Sure a 70m comes in handy but that's ~30 extra feet of rope to lug around and that can get old quick, especially in the gym.

OP, where are you from and what kinda climbing are you looking to get into?
Jeremy S · · Southern California · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 45
David Phillips · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2019 · Points: 0
Scott Hall wrote: Hey David!  Congrats on making the effort to transition outdoors!  A couple things before I get into rope details....if you haven't already, please take the time to read up on good leave-no-trace practices.  With the increase in popularity in climbing crags in many places are seeing increased impact, so please take the time to understand and help others understand how to minimize impact.

What kind of climbing are you looking to do?  Assuming it's single pitch sport, a 60 or 70 meter non-dry offering from most rope manufacturers should be more than sufficient.  The first rope I bought was a Mammut Eternity 70m with a 9.8 mm diameter.  I loved this rope and I still use it as a fixed line!

Bear in mind new routes are generally, at least in my home area, becoming longer and longer, so I recommend starting with a 70m rope.  I know the allure of a lighter weight, i.e. shorter or skinnier rope might be attractive, but usually a larger diameter will correlate with increased life.

What kind of belay device are you working with?  There are some newer devices that will limit the range of diameters you can comfortably or possibly safely work with, so take the time to review which diameters your primary belay device is recommended for.

Bi-pattern ropes are incredibly handy to have, but most definitely not necessary and generally more expensive.  I use one when taking friends out on shorter easier routes so both ends can be climbed on without confusion, but I'm not sure you'd need one while just starting.

Dry ropes are generally used for alpine conditions, which is another way to say wet, cold, and miserable.  Wet ropes are not inherently dangerous, but they do tend to be miserably heavy when soaked.  

I would recommend a rope with a middle marker.  Depending on how the ethics in your area work, you may be rappelling off of single pitch climbs.  While I don't endorse this method of descent, it is still the ethic in many areas, so do some research before you blow a bunch of money on this rope.  A HIGHLY visible middle Mark will make your rappel descent much more efficient and less dangerous.

A couple more sidebars.....as you fall further down the rabbit hole, please try to get involved with trail days, fundraisers, crag maintenance days, and being part of the community.  Sport climbs only exist because some very motivated people spend their time, money, and a lot of energy developing them.  Research the work and effort that goes into it, and try to help how you are able.  

Lastly, here are some specific rope recommendations.

Mammut Infinity 9.8mm 70m non dry.
Sterling Ion 9.4mm 70m non dry.
Sterling Evolution Velocity 9.8mm 70m
Sterling VR9 9.8mm 70m

Lots of Sterling suggestions, but I've honestly just found that they handle better than similar offerings from other manufacturers.

Do your research, learn how to manage risks and make good decisions, and have fun!!!!

Wow, this was a lot of great info! 

I appreciate taking the time to help me out. I started researching and got overwhelmed. I am in Washington right now so I’m waiting for the rain to stop. Mostly single pitches from what I’ve seen here. I will definitely look into leave no trace. I need to get a belay device the only one I’ve used is a gri gri. Do you know how to find out if said events are happening? 
John Clark · · San Francisco · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 478

9.8mm classic mammut is a workhorse as everyone says. Stick with the grigri until you are doing multipitch, then stick with the grigri. I would say grab an 80m cause mammuts are cheap and why not have the extra margin for error. I only use an 80m for cragging and a 60m for multi (sometimes 70m, but not often).

Gumby King · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 25
John Clark wrote: 9.8mm classic mammut is a workhorse as everyone says. Stick with the grigri until you are doing multipitch, then stick with the grigri. I would say grab an 80m cause mammuts are cheap and why not have the extra margin for error. I only use an 80m for cragging and a 60m for multi (sometimes 70m, but not often).

Ummm... grigri makes rappelling a little more tricky and arguably not idea for someone new.  For belaying, yes a grigri.

Scott Hall · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

David, as you're finding out from responses, opinions will vary on length.  Maybe put together a small selection of climbs you'd like to accomplish in the next year and see if any of them require anything longer than 60 meters of rope.  I honestly think the Mammut 9.8 in either 60 or 70 would do you very well, with the added benefit that they are on sale at REI right now.  Start picking apart the details of what you'll need for climbs you'd like to do, as that's the basis of how you make well-informed decisions.  That is arguably one of your most valuable skills.

Since REI was mentioned, Imma take a second to stand on a soap box/pulpit....you should never pay full price for climbing gear.  There are so many resources that offer discount gear that it is absurd to pay full MSRP.  No, you probably will not get pro deal prices (unless you're a military vet), but websites like backcountry, steepandcheep, and moosejaw, have a ton of gear at discount prices.  Also, I've had enough personal experience at REI to recommend you second guess the information being sold to you.  If purchasing used gear keep in mind that while hard goods (cams, carabineers, nuts, etc.) Are usually OK, soft goods (nylon/dyneema products) can be degraded by chemicals, UV light, or improper storage and also degrade naturally over time.  Research what your gear is made from and be able to assess and make good decisions based off what you observe.

I'm not plugged into Washington's community at all, but I would recommend asking around the local gym about the local climbers coalition or advocacy group.  The Access Fund will also be a great resource.  Maybe your gym sponsors trail days?

Scott Hall · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Oh shizzle nizzle I almost forgot.  In reference to the GriGri....I'm currently on the GriGri + ATC combo.  Yes even for multipitch.  Yes I catch a lot of shit from the cam and nut people that happen to fall into the middle-age demographic.  When I'm responsible for someone else's safety I tend to follow the ethic of "what's the best possible practice?"

All that being said, I'd recommend being comfortable with GriGris, ATCs, AND MUNTERS....both right and left handed, because if some trade dad tells me how dumb my newfangled GriGri is, the ambidextrous munter belay usually gently reminds them their opinion isn't dogma.

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

- On sale
- >= ~9.5mm
- <= ~10.5mm
- UUIA "single rope"
- >= 50m
- On sale

I found 50m ropes and fatter ropes on sale more often in my area. True, you can't climb everything with a 50m. You also can't climb lots of things anyway as a beginner. Length is region dependent though, maybe I've just lived in 50m friendly areas.

Fatter ropes makes ATC hold falls easier, but grigri feed worse.

Khoi · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 45

If you get a rope fatter than 10mm odds are your friends will hate you when it is their turn to belay you, or anyone, with your Fatty McFat-Fat of a rope.

...Unless, you have friends who LOVE a really good arm and shoulder resistance training workout when they belay.

I once had the unpleasant experience of belaying with a 10.5mm rope on a regular bare bones ATC - IT SUCKED!

Cosmiccragsman AKA Dwain · · Las Vegas, Nevada and Apple… · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 121
Khoi wrote: If you get a rope fatter than 10mm odds are your friends will hate you when it is their turn to belay you, or anyone, with your Fatty McFat-Fat of a rope.

...Unless, you have friends who LOVE a really good arm and shoulder resistance training workout when they belay.

I once had the unpleasant experience of belaying with a 10.5mm rope on a regular bare ATC - IT SUCKED!
#BRINGBACKTHE11MM


Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Khoi wrote: If you get a rope fatter than 10mm odds are your friends will hate you when it is their turn to belay you, or anyone, with your Fatty McFat-Fat of a rope.

...Unless, you have friends who LOVE a really good arm and shoulder resistance training workout when they belay.

I once had the unpleasant experience of belaying with a 10.5mm rope on a regular bare bones ATC - IT SUCKED!

Oh stop. It''s not that big a deal.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
David Phillips wrote: What that rope do?
What does that even mean?
Kyle Elliott · · Picnic Point, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1,538

Since you're in WA, If you plan to climb much at index, get a 70m. It's the standard for the area and there have been several accidents from using too short of a rope when lowering or rappelling. 

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0
Kyle Elliott wrote: Since you're in WA, If you plan to climb much at index, get a 70m. It's the standard for the area and there have been several accidents from using too short of a rope when lowering or rappelling. 

Minor point, but since this is a beginner thread!

IMHO you don't rappel/lower off the end of a rope because it's too short, you rappel/lower off the end because you didn't tie a knot in the end.

(Maybe a 70m with knots at the ends will keep everyone happy :)
Jim Bouldin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2020 · Points: 0
Marc801 C wrote: What does that even mean?

I was quite honestly expecting a question on rope physics and behavior under load.

"That rope" saves your ass from death is much briefer and to the point.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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