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So this is a bit of an expansion from an answer in the Friday new climber thread- I thought I’d put this together in a little more depth and give people the chance to ask questions and give feedback.

Background- 10 years of climbing outdoors, two years climbing retail, and I’m an AMGA guide.

Your first rope should be a 9.8

It’ll be thin and supple, but beefy and durable enough to last you a good while. The 9.8s of today are the work horse durable ropes of 10.2 of ten (or even 5) years ago. The future is awesome.

This is a pretty great deal, if it goes away, go for a Sterling VR9, an edelrid eco boa, a Sterling Velocity or a mammut eternity classic. Whatever’s cheapest. You’ll get a ton of use out of it, and then you can retire it to a life of being your top rope.

The question that spawned this thread asked what more money adds, so here’s a quick break down.

So the factors that make a rope nicer:

Thinner. As you approach 9.2 and thinner, ropes will last just as long used as a personal rope of a climbing guide, but the weekend warrior that isn’t taking as specific care of them will find that it’s going to get worn and soft and fuzzy much faster. Don’t stress about the diameter. 9.5 isn’t better than 9.6. Every company measures their ropes differently, some under tension, some relaxed, so sometimes it can mean even less than nothing. If you’re looking for useful metrics, check the grams/meter weight (every rope is rated to be as strong, so lighter is better because heavy ropes suck, but it’s a measurement of the amount of nylon that’s there, so more means more durable) and the sheath percentage (higher sheath percentage means a more durable rope that’s going to stand up to more abuse)






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