One of the most important considerations when rappelling is the nature and size of the rope you will be using. The quality of rope you choose is connected to the quality of experience you’ll have, as well as the safety in the process.
If you’re wondering what rope size you should use when rappelling, then there are several considerations to make. You need to consider the diameter of the rope, and the weight of the rope, and also choose between static and dynamic ropes.
Don’t get confused yet; this post will explain what you need to know about rappelling ropes and help you to choose the best rope size for rappelling.
Do You Use Static Or Dynamic Rope For Rappelling?
You can use either static or dynamic rope for rappelling, but you’ll need to make that decision based on your understanding of the nature of both ropes and what you need them for.
One of the first things you need to understand when rappelling is the difference between a static and a dynamic rope, and how they affect your rappelling activity.
Dynamic ropes consist of interwoven fibers that expand when weight is placed on them. Dynamic ropes can stretch up to 40% of their actual length because of their elastic nature.
They are designed to catch you if you fall, or at least reduce the impact of a fall so that you don’t suffer whiplash or serious injuries.
On the other hand, static ropes don’t stretch or expand when loaded (at least not beyond 10% of the original length). The absence of flexibility reduces the safety and protection you get when landing with static ropes.
Static ropes are more cost-effective than dynamic ropes, making them an option still for rappelling.
While it is best to use dynamic ropes when rappelling, static ropes can also be used when there’s little danger or risk of falling; especially by someone used to the act of rappelling.
How Thick Should My Climbing Rope Be?
The size of rope to use for rappelling will depend on several factors; including how much weight the rope will be carrying, your level of expertise, and the kind of equipment you’ll be using.
Your climbing rope should be between 9mm and 10mm thick. The rope should also have great quality and should be a dynamic rope.
Thicker ropes of 10mm are more recommended than their 9mm counterparts because thicker ropes are more resistant to abrasion and produce more friction, which is good for beginners.
The added friction climbing rope offers some extra security by making the rope run slower through the belay. Thicker ropes also last longer than lighter ropes.
However, experts and advanced climbers can handle thinner ropes of 9mm. These ropes are lightweight and easy to carry around, especially if you’re looking to get a long rope of between 70 and 80 meters.
Performance-oriented rappelling also does better with thin 9mm ropes because they have less rope drag.
Overall, it is recommended that a beginner uses a single rope with a thickness of 10mm and a length of 60 meters.
Now that we mention single ropes, it is important to understand what they are; as well as their alternatives, which are half ropes and twin ropes.
Single ropes are the most common climbing ropes. These ropes are often between 9 and 1mm thick, and they are trailed behind the climber and fastened to every piece of protective equipment.
Half ropes are recommended for wandering or hard routes climbing that don’t need as much protection. These ropes are mostly smaller and often have a diameter between 8 and 10mm. They are often secured to a single piece of protective equipment.
Twin ropes are often the most complicated, especially if you are a beginner at climbing. Using twin ropes means carrying two lengths of rope and connecting one to all your protective equipment.
Twin ropes are often thinner than half and single ropes, and have a diameter of 7.7mm. Twin ropes also give you twice the length of a rappel
Finally, what size rope is good for rappelling?
Well, if you are confused with so much information provided above, we made it simple and easy for you with the below summary 😊
For basic rappelling, you’ll need a rope size that ranges between 7mm and 11mm.
Most of the great rappelling ropes you’ll find out there are around 8.5mm wide, making them easy to support a range of weights and comfortable to hold onto.
Ropes between 9mm and 11mm thick are also extra safe to rappel from.
Can You Rappel On 6 Mm Rope?
It is possible to rappel on a 6mm rope, but it isn’t recommended that you do so.
The task of rappelling using thin ropes between 5 and 6mm is one reserved for people with vast experience.
You’ll also need to use more specialized equipment with this rope, such as carabiners with extra friction and massive backup knots.
It is advised that you don’t rappel with any rope that’s smaller than 7mm, even if you aren’t a beginner. This is to prevent avoidable mistakes and accidents.
Can You Rappel With 8mm Rope?
Yes. You can; and safely too.
Experts say ropes that are 7mm and above are recommended for rappelling and safer for you.
Ropes between the range of 8mm and 11mm offer better performance and will be more compatible with the rappel equipment you’ll be using.
Indeed, the size of your rope is directly connected to the success or failure of your rappelling adventure. So, before you go shopping for just any rope for your next rappelling session, ensure that you follow this guide to avoid costly mistakes.
No matter your experience level, it is always safer to follow expert recommendations concerning the right rope to use for rappelling.
Beyond the size, also ensure that you get these ropes from a trusted brand that’s known to produce high-quality rappelling ropes to avoid accidents caused by a low-quality ropes.