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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

My First Climbing Rope

By Fran Hammond
30, Jul, 2015

Choosing your first climbing rope can be fraught with confusion but it doesn't have to be if you break it down to a few basic questions

When it came to looking for my first rope I’d only been climbing a few months. I’d done plenty of top roping and seconding and had even done my first couple of leads on borrowed gear. It was time. I was ready to start getting my own stuff, and with Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket I decided a rope was the way to go.

Getting my first climbing rope was a process with many questions: how long, how thick, how much??? I asked as many people as I could and did a bit of reading and still wasn’t much the wiser. I just felt that there were a lot of terms I didn’t understand (like how many UIAA falls a rope can take) and got rather confused. In the end most people gave me same advice and so I went down to the local wall and got myself a very shiny Edelrid Python rope for the following reasons;

1 - It was a single rope - versatile, durable and a good workhorse rope for any kind of climbing be that sport, trad or indoor.

2 - It was 60m long - long enough for most euro sport cragging but short enough for a day at Burbage.

3 - It wasn’t too heavy - Not super light, but manageable. I didn’t need a super lightweight rope at this stage in my climbing, I wasn’t sending any mega hard projects, I just wanted to climb lots.

4 - It was reassuringly fat, but not overly. My Python is a 10mm rope so it fits nicely in most belay devices and is easy enough to handle. The width also gives a good bit of confidence when running it out and makes it more durable in the long run

5 - It was (relatively) cheep. This was my first rope so I wasn’t going to break the bank.

My trusty Python has seen me through several years of climbing now, from Curbar to Kalymnos and various places in between. Single pitch and multi pitch, trad and sport it has got me up countless climbs. It’s now 4 years old and, although |’ve bought other ropes since, this is still my trusted sport and indoor rope.

If I could go back to when I got my first rope I’d give myself the same advice I was given at the time, the 5 points listed above. Your first rope will take a lot of abuse and this should be considered. If they’d been available back then I’d have had a serious look at the Roca Kalymnos and Free ropes. These meet all the points I’ve given above. I’d be hard pressed to pick one in particular but the Free stands out with its extra durability and dry-treating for if you get into winter, or just get rained on.

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