Besides your climbing partner, a climbing rope is your safety line out on the rocks – literally – so it is important that you pick the best one for your needs. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’ve created a list of the best sport climbing ropes for all you sport climbers out there, to help make things a little easier in your decision making process.
There are many aspects of a dynamic climbing rope that need to be considered prior to purchasing. Whether you are just the weekend warrior who likes to get out to the crag for some easy climbing or you are out to redpoint that 12a, the ropes below will get you to where you want to be to crush your project.
For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out the Best Climbing Ropes.
Quick Answer –The Best Sport Climbing Ropes
Sterling Evolution HelixView at BackcountryBeal JokerView at BackcountrySterling Evolution VelocityView at REIEdelrid Swift EcoView at REIMammut InfinityView at REI
Comparison Table– Best Sport Climbing Rope
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Sterling Evolution Helix
Sterling Evolution Velocity
Edelrid Swift Eco
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.
Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.
Available In 40 m, 50 m, 60 m, 70 m, 80 m; Dry 60 m, 70 m, 80 mBi-pattern Or Middle Mark Option Helps You Find The Middle EasierHigh Sheath Percentage Means That Most Of This Rope’s Weight Is In Its Sheath, Which Increases Its Durability
BEST FOR: SOFT CATCHES
Sterling has made quite a name in the climbing rope world, and brings us another great, but skinnier option with the Evolution Helix. This rope can be purchased in varying lengths, so no matter the height of your sport climb, it will work with you.
Not only is this rope dry treated to prevent breakdown in foul weather, but its overall durability will keep it protected against dirt and all the abuse of being used outside. And with a high impact force rating of 8.9 kN, this rope will give you a seriously soft catch on any whipper you might take.
Available In 60 m And 70 m LengthsMiddle Mark Makes Finding The Middle Of The Rope A BreezeUnicore Sheath Protection Means This Rope Is Lightweight And Protected Against Accidental Severing
BEST FOR: SHARP ROCK
Beal brings you the Joker – a lightweight, thin rope that can be appreciated by any sport climber. Being available in either a 60 m or 70 m length, this rope can take you on some of those taller routes that you have been eyeing or projecting.
While nice high-friction granite climbs are loved by any climber, we won’t always find ourselves on them. But if you do, the Joker is built with Unicore Sheath Protection, making it lightweight and better at protecting against any accidental severing. This super durable rope is a superb choice for climbing any sharp rock.
Available In 50 m, 60 m, 70 m, 80 m LengthsBi-pattern or Middle Mark Option Helps You Find The Middle Quickly When NeededTightly Woven Sheath Increases Smoothness While Being Fed Through A Belay Device
BEST FOR: VERSATILITY
Sterling makes the list again with the Evolution Velocity. Similar to the Helix, this rope is slightly thicker and heavier, making it better suited for shorter approach sport climbs. However, with the tightly woven sheath and dry treatment, this rope is so smooth, you don’t have to worry about it getting caught up in your belay device. The smooth finish also means the rope runs easily over the rocks without getting caught up on little features.
Still being rather lightweight, durable, and having a smooth sheath, this rope offers maximum versatility. With that in mind, it may also be a good choice for longer cimbs that require a longer approach when it’s worth carrying a few extra grams.
Available In 60 m, 70 m, 80 m LengthsMiddle Marker Makes Finding The Middle Of The Rope Really EasyEco Friendly Production Strategies Used To Make This Rope
BEST FOR: LIGHT AND FAST CLIMBS
The Edelrid Swift Eco is certainly on the thinner spectrum as far as rope diameter is concerned. Coming in at just 8.9 mm, this rope will slide easily through any belay device for a good catch. But even being super thin, it still carries some weight at 52 g/m, so it’s not so light that it sacrifices durability.
As the name Eco suggests, Edelrid manufactures this rope with environmentally friendly production strategies. That alone can make it a winning choice and you can feel proud using this rope at the crag.
Available In 50 m, 60 m, 70 m, 80 m LengthsBi-pattern or Middle Mark Option Makes It Easy To Find The Middle Of The RopeSpecial Heat Treatment During Dry Treatment Increases Tenacity
BEST FOR: OVERALL USE
The Mammut Infinity is a great all around rope that handles well and gives a perfect catch that is not too hard and not too soft. A thinner rope at 9.5 mm, this rope feeds through belay devices nicely, ensuring you can give out or take in slack quickly if your partner is trying to redpoint.
The rope comes with either a bi-color pattern or the option of a middle mark. This makes it easy to find the midpoint of the rope, enabling you to set up your rappel and note how much rope you have left without all the hassle and guesswork. And no matter what you want to use this rope for, it comes in lengths from 50-80 m.
View at REI
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING CLIMBING ROPES
When purchasing a rope, it is easy to get sticker shock. But it is important to remember, cutting costs can be a huge disadvantage. Ropes are what keep you safe, so while you do not need to break the bank, you are going to be making an investment. However, if you take care of your rope, keep it clean, and store it properly, you will have it for several years, provided there are no huge whippers taken on it. And when you are ready to retire your rope, it can make a nice rug! Here is some good advice on when to retire a rope.
The diameter of a rope is a good indicator for what type of climbing it is best suited for. Ropes that are 9.8 mm and above are best used for beginners and top roping. Ropes at this diameter are easy to hold and will not slip through the belay device. They can also withstand the back and forth through an anchor system in top roping. Ropes that are 9.5 – 9.8 mm in diameter are a good choice for sport and trad climbing, since they are lighter, and overall, easier to manage. Less than 9.4 mm are very light ropes that are often good for alpine or long multi-pitch routes.
Ropes will come in varying sizes from 50 m up to 80 m in length. Shorter ropes can be ideal for light and fast excursions or short sport climbing routes. Standard rope size is 60 m, with 70 m or longer being more ideal for longer trad climbs. It is important to consider what you are using the rope for and always remember what length rope you have when rappelling, as to make sure you do not rappel off the end of your rope because it is too short to reach the bottom (and always remember to tie knots in the ends!). Longer ropes can always be cut shorter as they get older to make them closer to a 60 m rope and get rid of any worn ends.
The longer and thicker the rope is, the heavier it is going to be. While weight is not such a big factor when you are top roping, if you have a long approach to your climb, you will not want a bunch of excess weight to carry. Similarly, on longer routes, you want to minimize the weight you are hauling, especially on multi-pitch where you will also be carrying packs and gear.
Treatment refers to the dry treatment of a rope, meaning the company will coat the rope to help prevent it from absorbing water. While dry treated ropes are not a necessary expense for top roping or weekend adventures, they are a good investment for those who climb a lot and may find themselves out in the elements. A dry treated rope will have a longer life span, and if you are exposed to the elements on a climb, by not absorbing all the water, the rope will not become heavy.
The Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme (UIAA) is the international mountaineering and climbing federation that creates safety standards to which all climbing ropes must adhere when developing ratings. Fall ratings by these standards are used to test a rope to failure.
Given in kilonewtons, this is how much force that is put on a falling weight. In general, a high impact force rating means that the catch will be softer on the climber, belayer, and gear because there will be more dynamic stretch. While not terribly problematic in sport climbing unless you are close to the ground, this can be less than ideal for top roping.
For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out these popular buyer’s guides: