How to choose a climbing or mountaineering rope

Length, diameter, treatment... Choosing the right climbing rope is important for your safety and the lifespan of your gear. We’re here to guide you!

climbing or mountaineering ropes

Should you be using semi-static, dynamic, single, or double ropes? With so many options, we’re here to help find the right rope for your needs!

Anatomy of a rope

At the heart of a rope is a set of nylon filaments (white strands) known as the core. These filaments stretch to absorb shocks. The core is protected by a sheath, which is composed of colourful braided strings. The rope’s strength and rigidity depends on the thickness of the sheath. It’s important to replace your rope as soon as the sheath begins to show signs of wear.

anatomy of a rope
semi-static rope Simond

Canyoning, spelunking, etc.

You’ll need a semi-static rope. For climbing and mountaineering, however, you’ll need a dynamic rope.

woman  indoor climbing

Indoor climbing 

If you’re a beginner, we recommend that you use thicker ropes (10 mm diameter) for two reasons: You’ll have better grip, and you’ll be able to brake more easily using your belay system.
Their reinforced sheath ensures optimal durability, even if you regularly go toproping, which stresses the rope more.

Single-pitch cliff climbing

Choosing a rope length 

The length of rope you should use depends on where you’re going climbing. Ask for advice at your gym or consult available maps beforehand.

Always allow for a safety margin and tie a knot at the end of your rope! Simond ropes also have a middle mark, so you can tell when you’ve used half the length of your rope.

On a cliff, points may zigzag rather than being in a straight line, which will require using a longer rope.

All dynamic ropes shrink as they age. Shrinkage usually ranges from 2 to 5 percent, but can reach 10 percent depending on humidity, heat, falls, washing, etc.
To reduce this effect, our ropes are always produced with an additional margin. We still recommend that you regularly measure your rope and check the location of the middle mark.

woman climbing with rope

Multi-pitch climbing

If you’ll be rappelling on your climb, you’ll need a double rope.
Important: the term “double rope” can be misleading. This type of rope should always be used in pairs, but they’re sold individually, so remember to buy two.

icefalls and gullies climbing

Icefalls/gullies or mixed routes

You’ll need a dry (hydrophobic) rope treated for snow or ice.
Good to know: Simond’s dry treatment protects both the sheath and the core of your rope and meets UIAA label requirements. 

icefalls and gullies climbing

Classic mountaineering 

If you’ll be climbing in an area with snow or ice, you’ll need a rope that’s specially treated to prevent it from getting waterlogged. Simply look for products with the word “dry” in their name! Dry treatment prevents ropes that are lying in snow or ice from getting soaked and therefore becoming heavier or frozen.
Good to know: Simond’s dry treatment protects both the sheath and the core of your rope and meets UIAA label requirements.
You can opt for the Edge Dry rope. With a diameter of 8.9 mm, it’s our thinnest single rope and guarantees optimal lightness.
This rope also meets double and twin standards.
Available in 50 or 60 m, this rope is suitable for 25 to 30 m rappels, perfect for most classic routes.

However, if you’ll be participating in a race with longer rappels, go for the 8.1 mm rappel rope. It’s the most versatile double rope in the collection.

classic mountaineering
two alpinist glacier hiking

You’re going glacier hiking 

Once again, you’ll need a dry (hydrophobic) rope treated for snow or ice.
Good to know: Simond’s dry treatment protects both the sheath and the core of your rope and meets UIAA label requirements.
You can use very thin ropes when glacier hiking to lighten your load. We recommend the dry-treated 7.5 mm double hiking rope, adapted to a variety of glacier roping techniques.

Important: If you’re glacier hiking using a taut rope, you can rope up on a single strand. Be careful—using this rope for other disciplines requires two strands.   

eco-designed Simond rope

100% eco-designed

All Simond ropes are made in France and designed to limit their impact on the environment.

Our ropes are manufactured in northern France by a partner company that has been a leader in innovative rope braiding for more than 170 years. The ropes are mass dyed using the dope dying technique, which saves water.

Buying a rope is an important investment. You may even have to buy several if you practise a variety of climbing disciplines.
That’s why it’s important to properly maintain your product so that it lasts as long as possible and can be used safely.

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