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Climbing Ropes

Rope climbing is an effective exercise for the arms, upper back, core and legs and is used in the military as a confidence building tool as well as for physical training. Becoming popular in nonmilitary circles such as martial arts and hardcore fitness enthusiasts, climbing ropes are usually between 20 and 30 feet high and two to three inches in diameter---the thicker the rope, the greater the grip challenge. Because of the risk of falling, you should perform rope climbing only if you are confident of your abilities and preferably over a soft surface such as grass or a gym mat.

Buying a Climbing Rope

Buying a rope designed for climbing is very important. Balance the relative importance of various features according to the type of climbing activity the rope will be used for. Ropes that are rated at thousands of pounds (but not designed for climbing) may not be adequate. When shopping for a new rope, keep in mind the following demands that climbing has on ropes:

  • dynamic (stretch) characteristics reducing forces on the climber during a fall
  • the importance of diameter, weight and length relative to what the rope will be used for
  • durability from intense abrasion, heavy loads and the elements (sun, rain, etc.)
  • rated at greater than 2000 pounds (humans that are falling can create forces greater than 2000 pounds)

Manila rope is a classic. This rope is a long time favorite for a large variety of uses. Typical applications include:

  • Tug of War games
  • Exercise climbing rope
  • Camp craft and hobby use
  • Landscaping and decoration
  • Rope swings
  • General purpose farm work
  • Commonly referred to as "Hemp" or "Jute" rope