Updated May 2017
Spring and Summer climbing trips are being planned, and we updated this review to help you find the right rope to pack along. Our Editors' Choice Award winner received an update in new colors and a bi-pattern design, which we detail in the individual review. Our test metrics now include charts for quick comparisons between products in key performance areas, and we highlight the pros and cons of the award winners below. Get a rope and get climbing!
Best Overall Rock Climbing Rope
Good balance of weight
The Editors' Choice award goes to the Mammut Infinity
! This 9.5mm rope is among the most durable while offering versatility as well. At 58 grams per meter, the Infinity is one of the lightest ropes in our test. A medium diameter and light weight make it appealing for long approaches and multi-pitch climbs. Whether you choose to belay with a Gri-Gri or an ATC style device, it handles smoothly. The Teflon coating protects from dirt and grime, therefore extending the life of the rope. If we had to buy only one rope for all of our climbing applications, we would pick the Infinity. Mammut offers a range of coating treatments- Classic, Protect, and Dry- as well as two color options. Available color options have changed since the date of our review — lime green and a bi-pattern blue are available in the Dry treated versions. There has also been a slight price increase.
Read Full Review: Mammut Infinity
Best Bang for the Buck
Sterling Evolution Velocity
Light for the diameter
Worse handling than skinnier options
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. It provides the ideal balance of durability and smooth handling 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.
Read Full Review: Sterling Evolution Velocity
Top Pick for Best Skinny Sending Rope
Sterling Fusion Nano IX
Rated as a single, half, and twin
The recently revamped 9.0 mm Sterling Fusion Nano IX
is hands-down our favorite skinny sending rope. It weighs a mere 52 grams per meter, shedding 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 most thin ropes. 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.
Read Full Review: Sterling Fusion Nano IX
Top Pick for Best Workhorse Rope
Sterling Marathon Pro
Light for its diameter
Extra thick sheath that increases durability
Worse handling than the skinnier options
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 one of the heavier ropes as well as the thickest. 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.
Read Full Review: Sterling Marathon Pro