Climbing is one of the best outdoor adventures for many. However, it may be the most challenging for some, especially if you have never done it before. Reaching the top of your climbing route is usually your first challenge. But once you’ve done with the ascending, the other challenge is when descending your climbing route.
Fortunately, with the right tools and equipment, such as rappelling ropes, your descending will not only be safe but efficient. When you plan to take on such an adventure, you might be surprised by the several options of climbing ropes in the market. However, not all of them are suitable for rappelling. Therefore, if you wonder how to pick the best rappelling rope, the following tips will help you through it.
What is the best rope for rappelling?
Static ropes are preferred over dynamic ropes because they don’t wear as quickly over sharp edges. Dynamic ropes can be used for rappelling, but the user will want to keep en our out for any damage on the rope.
Dynamic ropes are better for climbing since this type of rope is better at absorbing shock when the climber falls.
This article goes into much more detail, one finding the best rappelling rope for your trip.
When thinking about going out climbing, two types of ropes will be on your list. These are the dynamic ropes and static ropes. While the dynamic lines are designed with highly elastic and stretching capabilities, they are mainly suitable for ascending.
Most dynamic ropes can stretch up to 40 percent of their original length. This stretch helps them catch you down just in case you fall. On the other hand, the static ropes are less stretchy, making them a suitable option for rappelling.
Usually, the static ropes are composed of a sheath as well as a core. The core contains individual strands that provide the much-needed strength to support your weight while descending. The sheath help in holding together the strands to endure the abrasions and other abuses the rope experiences against the rocks as you go down.
In general, if you are looking for a rappelling role that will offer exceptional safety and performance, the best choice should be static ropes.
Diameter and Length
There are different choices of rappelling ropes when it comes to diameter and length. Usually, choosing the diameter of the rope is always a balancing act. Are you in search of a durable rope? Or a rope for lightweight carriers? The climbing ropes are often grouped into three depending on the diameter and the intended use. These groupings include single, half and twin.
Single ropes are intended to be used by a single individual .they are designed with a diameter of 10.5 mm and below. Note that the thicker the width, the stronger the rope is. However, even with thin lines with as little as 8.6mm diameter, you can still rappel safely, provided that you don’t carry huge loads with you. If you plan to rappel in alpine regions, hard redpoints, or long pitches, you should go for single ropes of diameter 9.5 and above.
Half ropes, also known as double ropes, are ropes that are used in pairs. One advantage of these ropes is that you can descend with a full rope length when you rappel. Secondly, they are safer when rappelling in places with constant rockfall. Just in case one rope is cut by a sharp rock, the other will remain in support. The half ropes are also much more durable than the single rope since the weight they support is evenly shared between them.
Designed for alpine climbing, the twin ropes are a good option. They have a very thin diameter of about 7.1 mm. The thin rope makes them light and easy portability. However, their thinnest doesn’t affect their strength whatsoever. They come in twin.
Unlike the half ropes, the twin ropes are clipped together to offer more protection. At the same time, the twin ropes don’t twist or tangle easily. This makes them withstand higher impact forces than both single and half ropes. Depending on your use, you can always select the best rope diameter from the three, i.e., single, half, and twin ropes, respectively. Note that not all rope diameters work well with rappel devices. More skinny ropes can be challenging to grip over.
Weight Per Foot
The other thing that will make you pick the best rappelling rope is the weight per foot. Frequently, a skinny rope can be light in weight. However, this isn’t true in all situations.
Some thin ropes have a dense weave, making them heavier than a fatter rope with a looser weave. Therefore, always go for a rope with tight and dense weaves as it will serve your rappelling needs with efficiency.
Before deciding on the length of the rope to buy for your rappelling, always consider the length of the route or pitch you will be climbing. As a golden rule of thumb, the total length of the climbing route or pitch should be half that of the rappelling rope. In other words, if the pitch or climbing route is 50 meters, the length of the rope should be double, i.e., 100 meters.
When planning to do indoor climbing, you should go for ropes about 35 meters long. On the contrary, if you plan to do outdoor climbing, the rope should be about 70 meters in length. This is because outdoor climbing tends to be longer than indoor climbing.
Dry and Standard Climbing Ropes
While some ropes are manufactured without additional considerations, some ropes manufacturers offer dry treatment to their ropes. Usually, the dry treatment is applied around the sheath as well as the core during the weaving process.
Dry-treated ropes are more expensive than standard ropes. However, their costliness can be substantiated in one way or the other. First, the dry treatments help the rope repel water hence maintaining its top performance regardless of the weather.
Therefore, if you will use your rope to rappel in ice-prone or moist regions, this type of rope will best serve you. Secondly, the dry treatment helps in lubricating the rope .this makes it more durable and easier to handle. Finally, through lubrication, the ropes frictional force, which leads to shear and tear, is greatly minimized.
Rappelling Ropes Summary
Finding the best rappelling rope can be a daunting task, especially with so many options available in the market. However, to pick the right rappelling rope, always go for static lines. They are designed explicitly for rappelling purposes.
Other than that, you can consider various factors such as length, diameter size, dry treatment, and weight per meter. When all these factors are put into consideration, be assured you will select the best rappelling rope for your adventure.
Need Gear for Your Rock Climbing Trip?
If you are planning a rock climbing adventure, you want to make sure that you have the right gear. Check out our beginners guide for rock climbing equipment.