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How to choose the right climbing rope 2021

Updated: Feb 25

Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned pro, rock climbers need several different types of accessories to ensure they stay safe and have fun. Each item is important and plays an important part in the rock climbing experience. Arguably, the rope is THE most important piece of equipment the rock climber owns for pretty obvious reasons. However, as with most things, not all climbing ropes are created equal, and they come in different sizes, lengths, and strengths. The main two types of climbing rope are static and dynamic. Dynamic ropes are designed to stretch to absorb the impact of a falling climber. Static ropes stretch very little, making them useful for pulling or lowering a climber who may be injured, and hauling gear up or down a rock face. Most climbing ropes have a certification tag on each end. This tag will tell you whether it is a single, double or twin. These numbers will be inside of a circle. Twin ropes have a sideways "8" inside a circle. You can also check the packaging the rope comes in, it will have the same information.


Most climbing ropes usually come in 9mm or 10mm in diameter, but they also come in thinner and thicker sizes depending upon use. Take care to never confuse the certifications because if you use a double or twin rope when the right rope would be a single, that could result in a fatality.


The standard length of today's climbing ropes is 60 - 100 meters long (200 - 328 ft.). The length you choose really depends upon your role in the climb. If you are a belayer you want to make sure you get the length right because if the rope length is too short, you might have enough rope to lower the leading climber back to the ground. Whether you climbing a single-pitch crag or multiple-pitch route, this is one factor in determining how long your ropes should be.

UIAA certification

UIAA stands for the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation. Founded in 1932, the UIAA is the international federation for climbing and mountaineering. The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) was founded in 1932 and has a global presence on six continents representing 89 member associations and federations in 66 countries. The UIAA has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1995. When you see a genuine UIAA sticker it means the equipment has been tested to the most exacting standards. It is recommended that you do not buy rope on the Internet as not all equipment that has the UIAA sticker is actually UIAA certified. You can verify that your equipment is UIAA certified by going to the UIAA database here:

Our recommendations on the best, UIAA certified rope manufacturers

  • Mammut 9.5 Crag Classic - No rope does a better job of including all the attributes we want – durability, soft but safe catches, great handling, and all at a reasonable price

  • Sterling Helix - An excellent rope that is durable, the perfect diameter for all styles of climbing, and handles great

  • Petzl Volta - Excellent handling and not too thick, this rope is an ideal choice to shed some weight

  • Edelrid Swift Eco Dry - Ultralight, durable, no PFC chemicals

  • Maxim Pinnacle - Alpine and Multi-pitch climbing

*Recommendations based upon information from website:

For a deeper dive into rope buying advice, details and specs, you should visit The website here:


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