Tips to buying your first sport climbing rope
Running through the main factors you would need to consider when buying an entry level climbing rope, Advice for any beginner adventurer looking to make the best purchase for their specific needs.
Starting with the basics.
There are two types of ropes, DYNAMIC and STATIC. If you are looking for a rope to climb with you will need a DYNAMIC rope to cushion your falls. Static ropes are generally only used for rigging, abseiling and rescue work. They are not something you would want to take a fall on.
If you are in the market for your first rope, you are most likely a beginner on lead whether you are climbing outdoors or on plastic the differences are irrelevant in the start. The first thing you should consider is the ropes thickness. Anything between 9.8 – 10.2mm would be a good entry level thickness.
This is because you will be falling on at a fair amount and you would like your rope to last you a longer period through the wear and tear of leading an top roping While it is not so thick that it doesn’t move easily through a belay device or weighs you down excessively on those long walks to the crag.
Dry ropes are firstly more expensive, taking this into consideration (knowing most of us work with a budget) - they do tend to last slightly longer. However, a rope is a part of your equipment that you will need to replace eventually. It may be a smarter decision to spend the spared cash on hardware you do not need to replace so regularly such as quickdraws or your harness and just go with an untreated rope until you become more a more serious climber hitting the outdoors more that plastic.
Another issue I have found personally with Dry ropes at a beginners level, is that they move much more quickly through belay devices, which is great when you are climbing with experienced climbers who are used to either thinner ropes and treated ropes and like to project hard on lead but this could prove problematic when you and your friends are just starting out and are still getting used to using the equipment.
Sticking with the standard 60m rope is probably best for most beginner climbers. It covers the majority of climbs available to you and is lighter to carry than a 70m. However, it is also a good idea to review the area in which you will be climbing the most outdoors before making this purchase decision. In most areas a 60m will suffice. However, in areas like Waterfall Boven there are many routes that require 70m ropes.
Buying Second Hand
I would never advise buying a rope second hand. You just don’t know its history and what its been used for. It could last you a long time or a week and you really do not want to find out its core shot after taking I big fall on it.
Rope Colour and Markings
Ropes come in many colours. Choosing a colour really comes down to your preference. However darker ropes tend to show dirt less than lighter ones. One important feature to take into consideration is that the rope you chose has a middle marking. This is for safety when climbing longer routes to make sure the climber can be lowered to ground without the rope coming up short. It there is a rope that you have your heart set on is not marked. The there are alternatives such as buying specialized makers to mark the rope yourself.
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