Differentiate Between Dynamic Rope and Rappelling Rope | Informative Guide 2020

Differentiate Between Dynamic Rope and Rappelling Rope | Informative Guide 2020

Looking to try rock climbing or rappelling? Whether you are an avid, seasoned climber or learning the ropes of the trade, having the right climbing rope -which is your lifeline -is crucial. There are two types of climbing ropes, a dynamic climbing rope and a static rope. Here is an informative guide that helps you understand the difference between the two and ensure your next adventure is not only thrilling but also safe.

What is dynamic rope?

The first step to differentiating between a rappelling rope and a dynamic climbing rope is to find the answers to the questions ‘what is dynamic rope?’ and “what is a rappelling rope?” Dynamic ropes are specifically meant for rock climbing. As they are designed to catch you in case of a fall, they need to be stretchable. Dynamic climbing ropes have interwoven fibres that enable them to stretch as much as 40 percent of their length.

This softens the impact on a fall and eliminates the risk of whiplash and other injuries when climbing.

How much weight can a dynamic rope hold?

The total weight a dynamic climbing rope can hold is measured in terms of its impact force. Twin and single dynamic ropes must have 12 kN of impact force. (kN stands for kilo Newton). This means the dynamic rope can hold up to 2646 pounds or1200 kilograms of weight. Half ropes typically have 8 kN of impact force, which translates to 800 kilograms or 1764 pounds of weight-bearing capacity.

What is a rappelling rope?

Static ropes are also called low elongation ropes and are typically used for caving, rescue work, working at heights and so on. In these situations, the rope used needs to have maximum strength and minimal elongation or stretch. With the stretchability being just 5%, static ropes are designed to not stretch, unlike dynamic ropes.

Static ropes are also used for rappelling as they reduce the bounce rate that makes them perfectly suited for descending. The static rappelling rope allows you to descend in a controlled and stable manner while you can create prusik knots for rappelling. It also reduces the bounce of the individual.

Apart from choosing the best rappelling rope, you will also need to master rope rappelling techniques and know how to tie a rappelling harness out of rope to be an efficient climber.

Differentiating between static and dynamic ropes

The key difference between the two types of ropes is their stretchability. Here are some other features that can help you differentiate between the two:

  • Materials and design: Both static and dynamic ropes feature a kernmantle design where a thicker core of heavily braided or twisted yarns is covered by a protective external sheath. The external cover protects the core against abrasion.  The twisted or braided strand in the core gives the rope the dynamic properties or the strength.  The sheath and core fibres are subject to heat and chemical treatments that reduce internal friction within the rope to improve water resistance and improves durability and handling of the rope.  

Dynamic climbing ropes are typically made from nylon, while rappelling ropes can be a combination of polyester, nylon, HMPE or Aramid Fibers.

  • Length and diameter: Dynamic climbing ropes are available in different lengths of 50 m, 60 m and 70 m, while diameters can be between 8.3 to 11.5mm. Static rappelling ropes have a diameter starting from 8.5 mm up to 16 mm. The standard length of the static rappelling rope is 60 meters or 200 feet. Ideally, the thicker the diameter, the stronger the rope.
  • Colour: Generally, dynamic ropes are in yellow or other colours, while static ropes are typically black and white. However, it is not possible to identify what type of rope it is just by looking at the colour.

Best dynamic rope

The best dynamic rope for climbing is the one that meets the safety standards set by the UIAA or Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinismem, an international mountaineering association. The fall count rating is used by UIAA to rate the best dynamic rope. The fall count is when a weight of 80 kilograms is tied to a 5.1-meter rope and dropped to 4.8 meters before it experiences reaction force. The fall count rate refers to the number of times the dynamic climbing rope undergoes the test before it breaks. The ideal fall count rating should be five or more to be UIAA certified, denoting one of the best dynamic climbing ropes.

Some products that make it to the best dynamic rope categories are Topaz Pro Dry Colortec 9.2mm and Tommy Caldwell Pro Dry Dt 9.6mm developed along with ace climber Tommy Caldwell. The VR9 Green is a budget-friendly dynamic climbing rope that you can also find in the list of best dynamic ropes.

You can find a wide range of some of the best rappelling ropes and the top-ranked dynamic climbing ropes Canadians love here.

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