Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
Roca Winter Climbing Ropes
By Jay Oram
06, Feb, 2015
Which rope should I choose for my winter route?
Which Roca ropes making a huge range and all of the bewildering choice for climbers now it may be hard to pin down which rope is best for you. Everyone is individual and this is just some general guidance based on using the ropes and what the manufacturers have to say...
If you are planning to spend a lot of time out in the snow or Ice, or possibly just trudging around some Scottish hills in the pouring rain - your rope will perform better if it doesn't double in weight when it touches water. Generaly known as a dry treatment - each indiviual fibre ina rope is coated in some way to stop this from occuring, the Roca ropes range has a 'Totsec' coating.
What Roca says -
"Tot Sec - A dry treatment that covers every filament of both the sheath and core of the rope before fabrication. This makes it an ideal choice for use in more extreme winter conditions, helping to prevent water absorption and ropes icing up. The Tot Sec treatment enhances rope handling characteristics in wet/cold conditions and will also extend the life-span of the rope."
In reality it just makes these ropes suitable for all types of weather. The following ropes have the 'Tot Sec' treatment: Migu / Trek / Wenden / Siurana / Minus / Dominator
This narrows the choice down slightly. The next choice would be the main use for the rope, if you are looking for a lightweight walking and low grade scrambling rope or a rope to carry in emergencies then check out the Trek - 30 metres (7.9mm) - should cover all these choices.
If you are looking for a do it all rope that can be used for all your climbing with a bit more of a winter slant then all of the single ropes are ideal, you can choose your favourite diameter (generally the thicker the easier it is to handle and the harder wearing it is) and if you are unsure I would just go for your favourite colour! Your choices would be the Siurana or Dominator. Don't rule these out as just an all rounder rope though - both of these are lightweight and capable ropes for sessioning a hard winter climb or drytooling site and could be just what you are looking for.
The ropes that are left are a little bit more specialised, but don't let that scare you off, it could be what you are looking for - The Migu, Wenden and Minus are all half ropes. With this style you need a pair for climbing and you have the option of clipping both or one of the ropes in each piece of gear you place, this creates less rope drag which can be crucial on some winter climbs with less than 100% bomber gear. If you pair a set together this will reduce the force applied to an anchor, something specialist twin ropes users have done for years on hard ice only routes.
Another option with these double ropes is to take a single one on a scramble or long alpine route without much vertical climbing - they are often lighter and have a reduced pack size compared to a single rope and if used properly will keep you more safe than not having a rope at all - this is not in the manufacturers guidelines and if you are not experienced I wouldn't start like this, but it is an option for those with the know-how.
Let us know your feedback on the ropes and we will keep evolving this article with more resources and information!