For rock climbers, no piece of gear is more important than their climbing rope. It is literally the lifeline that keeps them breathing in the event of a fall. Climbing ropes should be frequently inspected for frays and weak spots and replaced as necessary. If you primarily use your rope for lead climbing, it should be replaced after five years, and if you top rope, you should replace your rope every seven years. Here’s a look at some top recommendations for multiple categories of climbing rope.
Top Overall Pick—Mammut Infinity
The Mammut Infinity is a 9.5 mm rope that handles beautifully on the belay. The 9.5 mm is a bit thin for newer climbers, but it makes for a lighter rope—perfect for longer approaches and climbs with multiple pitches. The Infinity will serve equally well on sport routes, and it comes with a multitude of waterproofing options, depending on what you want to spend. However, the waterproof coating also adds abrasion resistance (up to 50%), so spending more up front could result in a longer life for the rope itself.
Top Budget Recommendation—Beal Booster III
The Beal Booster III isn’t the cheapest rope on the market, so it might be a little confusing as to why it’s the top budget pick. Basically, it’s the best rope for the price when you consider performance and durability. The Booster III is a soft rope, making it a great choice for climbers who prefer using traditional gear. It may seem a bit stiff at first, but this rope will definitely soften up with some use. Add to that the great durability and you just can’t beat this one for the price.
Top Sport Climbing Recommendation—Maxim Pinnacle
The Maxim pinnacle has a 9.5 mm, so it travels through belay devices very slickly, but may not be the best for beginners without much experience arresting falls. The thin, soft design also makes for very fast clipping when leading, so it’s the top pick for sport climbing. It also has a higher impact force ratings than most other ropes this size, so if you’re looking to tackle some sketchy routes, the Maxim Pinnacle is a great option.
Top Gym And Top Roping Recommendation—Black Diamond 9.9 mm
A great pick for newer climbers, the Black Diamond 9.9 mm is obviously a thicker option. It isn’t too stretchy for top roping applications, and it makes for some pretty soft catches on the fall. It’s a very affordable pick, further cementing itself as a great choice for beginners. You can also pick it up in shorter (35m and 40m) lengths to use exclusively at the gym so that you can keep your 60m in good shape for the bluffs.