Gone are the days when there was only one option to choose from for a rock solid climbing rope – half inch 3
strand rope. Now there are four major types of climbing rope, with variations in diameter. In this post I will
discuss which rope construction works best with the style of climbing that you might need to do.
12 Strand Climbing Rope:
Works well for traditional climbers who run their rope through a natural crotch in the tree (i.e. no cambium saver).
Soft feel; does not work well with mechanical ascenders or eye-eye prusiks. Holds knots well. If you are climbing
with a Blake’s hitch or Tautline, this line works great.
FORESTRY PRO ROPE
16 Strand Climbing Rope:
Most versatile construction. Works well through a natural crotch or friction saver. These ropes have a firmer construction than 12 strand,
so they work fine with ascenders, eye-eye prusiks, Blake’s/Tautline. If you don’t know which type of rope to get, choose this one.
NEO PRO ROPE
24 Strand Climbing Rope:
For a “new school” climber — designed to be run through a friction saver/false crotch. Not recommended for use through a natural crotch.
Works well with ascenders and eye-eye prusik.
CHERRY BOMB ROPE
32 Strand Climbing Rope:
These are static lines designed for canopy access using Single Rope Technique (SRT) or working the tree SRT. They work very well with
ascenders, mechanical work positioning devices (Rope Runner, Unicender, ect.), and eye-eye prusik with a Rope Wrench. Since they have
less give/bounce than dynamic ropes (12,16, 24 strand) these ropes are dangerous to use with traditional Doubled Rope Technique (DdRT).
In DdRT the rope is doubled, effectively stiffening it up — if a climber falls into a 32 strand line that is doubled, there is no give, meaning a
very abrupt stop. However, if you are climbing SRT, this is your rope.
FINISH LINE ROPE
A Note on climbing rope diameter:
1/2″ is standard diameter climbing rope. Smaller diameters tend to work better with eye-prusiks, as climbers experience less binding during
descent. Additionally smaller diameters run through mechanical ascenders more smoothly. All climbing rope, regardless of diameter, must
conform to the ANSI standard of at least 5000 lbs Tensile Strength. All of the climbing ropes that Cutter’s Choice carries exceed this standard.
Fraser Teeple is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist and can be reached at his website:
Link to Fraser Teeple Web Site