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More rope facts

A climbing rope is not just your typical rope. It is longer and built entirely differently! In this djungel of ropes, you will easily get lost – what do I need? What features? How long? There are a bunch of aspects to pay attention to before purchase! 

Different ropes, different norms

Climbing ropes first of all vary between single ropes, half ropes and twin ropes. The single rope is used indoors or when sport climbing. It has a diameter of around 8,9 to 11mm. The half rope is used when alpine climbing or when belaying yourself. This is always used in pairs. It is thinner than the single rope and also used on the glacier. The twin rope is a combination of a half rope and a single rope. These are also used in pairs, but other than with half ropes, both ropes are put in the interim fixation. If you fall, both ropes will be strained, which is why these ropes can be thinner.

All ropes used when you could possibly fall have to be dynamic. Only if this is the case, they can actually stretch and catch your fall accordingly. With a static rope, you will quickly get injured in case of a fall! Static ropes are therefore not build to climb with, but to for example pull material behind you or abseiling only. By the way, each rope also has a specific number of crashes after which you should get a new one! And before heading into the mountains, make sure you check for possible damages.

Characteristics of your climbing rope

First off – the length. The longer the rope, the longer the routes you can do. Lengths vary from 40 to 80 meters. Also, the longer it is, the more expensive and of course the heavier!


Some ropes also have impregnation, or Thermo Shield. This guards the rope from water, which is especially important when doing glacier tours or ice climbing! Glacier ropes are also lighter and thinner.

The thicker the diameter, the more weight the rope has. If you are doing a lot of top rope climbing, the traction on your rope is quite high, which is why you should get a quite thick one. Same goes for indoor climbing because here, the rope will often get stuck. Also, make sure the rope fits your belaying device!

Then there are so-called rap lines. These are good for pulling up material, for abseiling or as an emergency rope. They have a thinner diameter and are really light weight! 

Climbing rope – and what else?

A climbing rope by itself does not really give you much. You also need additional gear such as your harness, climbing shoes and a climbing helmet! And of course, the right belaying device and carabiners to fit your rope.

Read more regarding climbing ropes

Safe on the mountain and in the climbing hall: Everything you need to know about ropes

Climbing ABC: The most popular types of climbing

Climbing Essentials: All you need to know

Get vertical with the right pair of climbing shoes

©Climbing rope by Mikey Schaefer  ©Coloured climbing ropes by Simon Grietl