/ noob question - rope diameters/thickness
First post so apologies if its in the wrong place
Getting back into climbing after a l-o-n-g hiatus and getting some new kit as can't find my old whelens sit harness anywhere ......
Ropes : Confusing a bit. For a single rope what is the difference between all the thicknesses of single ropes ? Is it just a matter of personal preference (or colour !)
Does an 11mm 'handle' differently from a 10.5 or a 10.2 ?
All replies appreciated -- Cheers, Tony
Fat ropes (~11mm) are really for outdoor centers and the like or where extra toughness may be required. Given they're heavy and add little performance wise they're pretty niche these days.
Ropes between 10.5 and maybe 10mm are the workhorse single rope sizes, they're light enough for most climbing and tough enough to last a fair while. You'll probably find the particular weave and surface treatment changes the feel more than the small differences in diameter.
<10mm Singles are still a bit niche, they're aimed at climbers prioritising low weight over longevity. They can be pretty slick and difficult to hold without a suitable belay device. I'd not shy away from a good deal on say a 9.8mm but I'd be wary of the really thin ropes, they're generally pricey and need to be looked after and used carefully.
In reality longevity seems to have as much to do with the sheath weave and the use as it does the diameter. Thin ropes tend to handle and feed better but are harder to hold when abbing or catching a fall so care is needed in matching them with suitable kit. Fatter ropes weigh more. If they're going to get wet and freeze then dry treatment is worth the extra.
For a bog standard getting started again rope something cheap around 60m x 10mm will be easy to use and should last well. Don't get hung up on fractions of a mm, you'd struggle to measure the difference let alone discern it without tools.
Thank you very much
Just to add a tiny bit more. As James says, what you plan to do with it matters. The most punishment you can give a rope is bottom roping, so if you're into that steer towards a thicker rope, 10.5mm. For leading and seconding, you can afford to go a bit thinner because its kinder to the rope.
Reason i ask is i toproped a friends 9.8mm the other week, fell off halway up the 20 m route and almost hit the deck from rope stretch.
My 10.2 seems to have far less stretch; which makes sense physics-wise.
It also feels reassuringly fat getting it through a belay plate :)
Not really, there's lots of other factors, as discussed above.
Hi Robbo - thank you for your feedback. In answering your question I'm 6'4" and slightly less-thin than you are :)
I think I'll go for a dynamic as thick as I can find :)
Perhaps i gave my belayer the benefit of the doubt when i asked if she was paying attention... :)
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