How confusing is buying a rope these days? Popping into a shop, the 1st thing you’ll get asked is - what are you going to use it for? I always really want to just say something daft at this stage……however I’m not brave enough and do realise that different ropes will suit different types of climbing better and so the more specific you can be the easy it will be to narrow it down. An all rounder is the magic answer, but is there such a thing….
Next be prepared to get bamboozled by tech speak like dry treated, golden dry, sheath %, double or twin, triple rated, low stretch, dry shield or thermo shield, 9.1 or 9.8 and the all important question…what colour? Ropes will stay make you look cool! Who knows what length you want, I use 30m to 60m!
Buying online avoids that human interaction and the techno speak that’s offered by the techno geek, but then that questioning actually helps you work out what you need if you’re not sure.
Once you’ve sussed out what you’d like, then the reality of the price will most likely affect your choice, quite simply the more techno words your rope has, the more pennies it will cost!
I bought my 1st rope off a reel, it was the cheapest and chunkiest I could find and just as well really as I properly trashed it. I stood on it, dragged it up the rock (not extended very well), dropped it off the crag, probably ran over it in my car, but yet it just carried me through my early ‘rope apprenticeship’. I now own a lot of ropes (Viv thinks it’s 4, but double figures were hit years ago!) all of which I use for different types of climbing, whether it’s an emergency confidence rope, a rope for use with new climbers, 20m sport routes or tackling long complicated multi pitch routes.
I recently needed a new set of doubles and started researching my options online, after about 2mins I got pretty bored and so popped into my local shop for some good old fashioned advice. The guys know me, so that bypassed the 1st set of questions and we got straight to the important stuff - price and colour!
I’ve been buying all my single work ropes from the DMM range for the last few years, so I was keen to see what options were available to me. After much deliberation…about 30 secs…I took home a pair of 60m Crux ropes. These are triple certified, so can be used in single, double or twin mode and certainly for work offer a great deal of flexibility. In Spain I took 2 ropes and it meant I could use one for 30m sport routes in the morning and guide 2 clients on a multi pitch in the afternoon. If I had taken a normal set of doubles I would have still have had to take a 3rd single rope for the single routes and whilst I have guided folk on doubles before, the Crux’s afford more protection on sharp limestone. Additionally it cut down on baggage weight too!
The Crux’s are not the lightest or thinest doubles on the market, but personally the extra few grams and the flexibility it affords me far outweigh a lighter / skinnier set of normal doubles. Their handling through a variety of belay devices has so far been perfect and they’ve handled the limestone superbly.
As I said, buying online is easy - if you know what you want, but you can’t go wrong with popping into a reputable climbers shop and chatting to the staff!