Types of Climbing Rope

Rope is one of the most essential gears for any climbing activity. Learning about the durability and resistance of each types of ropes can ease off your work and even save you in the nick of time. Here is the list of modern ropes available in the market and their usages.

#1 Dynamic

A dynamic rope is a somewhat elastic rope used primarily in the climbing, such as; mountaineering, rock-climbing and boldering. The greater stretch allows a dynamic rope to absorb the energy of a sudden load,  which is quite common during the climbing.

The sudden fall or the heaving loads of the climbers can counter-react on the rope’s strength, therefore, dynamic ropes helps ease such loads and lessen the chances of breakage.

Kernmantle ropes are the most common type of dynamic rope, and nylon has replaced all natural materials such as hemp since 1945 for durability and strength.

Dynamic rope
Dynamic rope

The modern ropes are mostly made from Nylon, which requires less maintenance, and rated by the UIAA for certain standards and testing. They come in a variety of lengths and diameters, with the most common lengths being 50, 60, and 70 meters.

Ropes that are frequently used are often inspected for cuts, abrasions, or frayed areas; any cut or fraying that passes into the core of the rope is cause for concern. Ropes can also be washed to clean them of any extensive dirt or grime.

Single rope

Single ropes are designed to be used alone, and are by far the most common, and used for top-roping, sport climbing, and trad climbing.

Half rope

Half ropes are also used as a pair, but only one rope is clipped through each piece of protection- the climber alternates which rope is clipped through each piece. On wandering routes where protection is placed far apart on either side, half ropes can significantly reduce rope drag.

Twin rope

Twin ropes are used by treating the pair of ropes as a single rope, clipping both ropes through the same carabiner at each piece of protection. Twin ropes share many of the advantages and disadvantages that half ropes have compared to single ropes

There are all-purpose dynamic ropes available too which can be used for all the climbing purposes.

#2 Static

Static rope
Static rope

A static rope is designed not to stretch when placed under load, and are mostly used for rescue operations, lifting the loads and caving etc.

The static ropes have fewer purposes during the climbing and are restricted to certain applications. It isn’t recommended to use static ropes during any form of climbing, except abseiling.

Climbing Essentials

Check out the complete list

  • Alpine Climbing Harness – A good climbing harness should be light and simple in design, easy to put on and take off with gloves on, with positively foolproof locking features.
  • Crampons – Crampons must fit boots perfectly; steel crampons with anti-balling and ability to toe point positively and safely into ice. The lighter the better – extra weight on your feet is much more strenuous than anywhere else on your body.
  • Ice axe – Ice axe should be versatile and light. A general purpose technical ice axe (T rated) but not too aggressive.
    Ascender: Ascender or Jamar, a mechanical device used for ascending on a rope; must be suitable to be used with gloves or mittens. Practice using it with thick gloves on again and again.
  • Multi-LED Head Lamp – Multi-LED Head Lamp and spare batteries are essential; we do not recommend single bulb lights due to lower reliability
  • Carabiners – Minimum 2 locking carabineers, 1 large and 1 small and 4 regular.
  • Rappel Device – Figure 8, ACT or similar; be familiar with Munter Hitch as it may save your life if you lose your rappel device (which happens a lot)
  • Trekking Poles – Very handy for the approach; adjustable types are the best (preferably with a simple outside locking mechanism)
  • Slings – One 3m(10ft) and three 2m(6ft)
  • Prusik loops – Never hurts to carry a few (e.g. 0.6m and 1.2m), they come in handy in many situations
  • Masks, hoses, and regulators – Good quality for your safety.
  • Altimeter – ABC watch or more advanced GPS watches will do the trick. Watch for battery life
  • Climbing helmet – Climbing helmet is essential safety gear for crossing areas under rocks and ice cliffs; light weight is essential.
Upper Body
  • 1-2 (medium insulation) short-sleeve Merino shirt(e.g. Icebreaker Merino 150 or lightweight 200, Odlo Revolution medium)
  • 2 long-sleeve Merino shirts (e.g. Icebreaker Merino 150 and/or 200 or Odlo Revolution, one medium and one thick)
  • One fleece pullover, medium weight.
  • One fleece jacket.
  • One hardshellwaterproof Gore-Tex jacket with large hood to accommodate the climbing helmet. The Arc’teryx SV range is expensive but offers excellent wind and water protection.
  • Lightweight down jacket for chilly days in base camp or warm layer when stopping for short breaks.
  • One very warm expedition grade goose-down (duvet) jacket with hood or a down suit if you prefer, for high altitude use (e.g. Northface, Rab etc.)
  • One pair lightweight liner gloves. These will be worn when tying knots etc.
  • Mitten: Goretexovermitts (that block the wind) matched with the very warm down mitts, spare mitts might also be useful (For instance, Mountain Equipment Redline)
  • Warm wool or synthetic hat that covers your ears
  • Balaclava or face mask
  • Scarf or neck sleeve
  • Bandana or head scarf is useful for dusty conditions
  • Ball cap or brimmed sun cap
  • Glacier Sunglass with side shields (2x)
  • One pair of ski goggles (optional with light and dark lens) for windy conditions
Lower Body
  • Merino underwear briefs (Icebreaker, Odlo etc.)
  • One pair walking shortsOptional
  • One pair walking trousers for trekking and around camp
  • Two pair thermal Merino bottoms (Icebreaker 150 or 200 or Odlo Revolution)
  • One pair very thick thermal Merino bottoms (Icebreaker 200, Odlo Revolution Thick)
  • One pair polar fleece trousers or similar mid layer trousers
  • One pair Gore-Tex (over)trousers or bibs. Waterproof/breathable with full side zips
  • One pair of Goose-down trousers or bibs. You may prefer a down suit (Northface, Rab, etc.)
  • One pair of plastic boots suitable for >8,000 meters. (For instance La Sportiva Olympus Mons, Millet or equivalent good quality plastic shells with inner boots; avoid tight fit with heavy socks)
  • One pair sturdy leather or synthetic (Gortex) hiking boots with good ankle support for the walk to base camp
  • One pair cross-trainers, running shoes and/or sandals for Kathmandu and in camp
  • One pair down bootiesOptional
  • Two pair med-heavy poly or wool socks
  • Two Pair of liner socks. Polypropylene or wool
  • Vapour barrier liner socks or plastic bread-bags (matter of preference)
  • Two pair lightweight trekking socks, poly or wool
  • Light Merino wool or cotton socks for in town

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