Best Overall Rock Climbing Rope
The 9.5 mm Mammut Infinity
wins the Editors' Choice award because it is one of the most durable and versatile ropes we evaluated, giving it the widest appeal. The medium diameter allows it to handle any style of climbing, and the Teflon coating keeps the rope feeling fresh longer than most other ropes. It only weighs 58 grams per meter, which is one of the lightest in our test, and it handles smoothly in Gri-Gris and ATC style belay devices alike, making it the perfect choice for long approaches or multi-pitch climbs. If we had to buy just one rope, this would be the one we would put our money on. You can purchase it with three different coating treatments from Mammut, in a variety of lengths, and in regular or bi-pattern versions.
Best Bang for the Buck
Sterling Evolution Velocity
The 9.8 mm Sterling Evolution Velocity
, weighing 62 g/m, hovers at the lighter end of our workhorse rope classification. This allows it to have a long lifespan without being too burdensome to carry. We find that it provides the ideal balance of durability, smooth handling, and low weight while keeping the price relatively low as well. This earns it our accolades for the best value climbing rope. This rope can be used for any climbing discipline, from ice to difficult sport climbing, and is versatile enough for the well-rounded climber to bring along on every new mission. We recommend it as someone's first climbing rope, the rope for someone who will only own one rope, or as part of a rope quiver to bring out for the hang-dog days.
Top Pick for Best Skinny Sending Rope
Sterling Fusion Nano IX
The recently revamped 9.0 mm Sterling Fusion Nano IX
is hands-down our favorite skinny sending cord. It weighs a mere 52 grams per meter, shedding extra unneeded ounces so you can send your project or bust out an epic push in a day. The tightly woven sheath makes it feel thinner than the specified diameter while making it last longer than you would expect with such a thin rope. With smooth, supple handling, this rope is just plain fun to climb with, however belayers should use extra caution when catching falls with this tiny rope, especially when it is new. This thin cord will not last as long as thicker ropes, but no other rope is quite so featherweight and fun. Use this as your specialty rope and get the Best Buy winner as your everyday project tool.
Top Pick for Best Workhorse Rope
Sterling Marathon Pro
Burly enough for jugging and repeated top-roping sessions, the 10.1 mm Sterling Marathon Pro
earns the distinction of the best workhorse rope. Time and again, this rope has outlasted other models in our tests, proving that it has enough life in it to take the hardest abuse. Weighing 63 grams per meter, it is not the heaviest rope in our review by any means, though it is the thickest. Also with a relatively low impact force rating of 8.6 kN, the catch on this beast is quite soft and comfortable. For those who like the confidence supplied by fatter ropes or who want a rope that can take a beating, the Marathon Pro is the one that will withstand the harshest conditions.