What Rope Should I Buy?

Sterling Solid Blog Oct 1st 2023
Piles of hanks of colorful Sterling ropes

Selecting the right rope depends on your specific needs and intended use. Sterling offers a wide range of ropes designed for various activities, such as rock climbing, rope access, arboriculture, canyoneering, rescue operations, and industrial applications. To determine the best Sterling rope for you, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  1. How am I going to use my rope? Determine the primary purpose of the rope. Are you using it for rock climbing, fire rescue, canyoneering, climbing trees, window washing, or any other specific activity?
  2. Rope Diameter: Rope diameter depends on the construction and materials. Different activities require ropes with varying diameters. In general, thicker ropes tend to be more durable and have higher abrasion resistance, but it also makes them heavier for transporting to the worksite or crag. Thinner ropes are lighter and more suitable for technical climbing, but they may not be as durable.
close-up view of steel carabiners attached to Sterling climbing rope, with climber in background
  1. Gear Compatibility: It’s crucial to pick a rope that is compatible with the rest of your hardware and equipment. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions for all your equipment to ensure the rope and hardware will work together.
  1. Rope Length: Check out the area you are visiting and choose a rope length that is appropriate for your intended use. Typically, you need 2x the length of your climb or rappel, but remember to take into consideration wandering lines and overhang. Standard rope lengths for rock climbing are usually between 60 meters to 70 meters, but longer or shorter ropes may be required based on your needs.
an ice climber climbing with bright Sterling rope
  1. Dry-treatment: Dry-treated ropes are designed to have enhanced water resistance and durability compared to standard ropes. For indoor climbing a dry-treated rope may not be necessary, but if you're climbing outside in damp, or wet conditions moisture can compromise the strength and safety of standard rope. In addition, dry treatments may also improve the life span and durability of your rope.
  1. Special Features: Rope technology has developed into many features that enhance safety and convenience such as middle mark, bi-color, and ropes that do not need to be uncoiled from the factory.
a rock climber clipping into a carabiner along a tall cliff
  1. Type of Climbing: Are you going fall and load the rope? Or are you using the rope to climb or access your place of work? Sterling offers both dynamic and static ropes. Dynamic ropes are designed to stretch and absorb impact in climbing falls, making them suitable for rock or gym climbing. Static ropes have minimal stretch and are used in applications like rappelling or rescue work where low stretch is critical for efficiency.
  1. Certification: Ensure that the rope meets relevant rating (single or double) and safety standards, such as UIAA or EN certifications, depending on your region and your industry requirements. Learn more about certifications through this Primer on Certifications blog post.
  1. Rope Construction: Evaluate the rope's construction and materials to ensure it can withstand the conditions of your chosen activity. Ropes are constructed in a variety of different ways to suit the task at hand. Some are simply twisted, others are hollow, and others are kernmantle (core + sheath) with parallel cores or kernmantle with braided cores. Each type has unique properties that affect performance and handling so it’s important to pick the construction that works for you.
a rock climber hanging onto Sterling Kenya rope with his bare hands
  1. Handling and Feel: Sometimes, when you find ropes that fits your needs, is compatible with your gear and has the proper certification and construction, it comes down to personal preference. Sometimes climbers prefer ropes with a softer feel, while others prefer stiffer ropes. Try different ropes by running them through your gear and testing the knot-ability to find one that suits your handling preferences.

If you still have questions or are unsure about which rope will work best for your specific application, feel free to contact us. We can help! You can also consult with experts at your local gear shop for more personalized advice.