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Gear Guy

Selecting a Gym Rope

I'm looking for a new rope exclusively for leading at a local indoor gym. I've been using a 10.5mm, but would like a 10mm. We have to use a Grigri at ...

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I’m looking for a new rope exclusively for leading at a local indoor gym. I’ve been using a 10.5mm, but would like a 10mm. We have to use a Grigri at the gym. Any suggestions?


Come now, leading in a gym? What’s next, gym crevasse rescue? Joking aside, I do wish we could call the activity where you go first and string the rope through bolts every four feet and have all the holds pointed out with bright tape something other than what we call it when we string the rope outside where the bolts are six feet apart and the holds are marked with chalk ticks and skid marks.

You are in luck, Craig! Almost every rope maker has a gym-specific cord, one with an extra-thick sheath that can take the punishment meted out by clown parties and frat boys (don’t let them steal your proj!) Note that some gym ropes are static, meant only for toproping. A lead fall on a static rope will deliver instantaneous deceleration, enough, in fact, to liquefy your heart and send it squirting out your anus. Awkward!

You did note that your rope has to work in a Grigri, which limits the selection a bit, although a rope’s stated diameter can be more marketing than actual reality because climbers equate rope diameter with weight, while ignoring the grams-per-meter bit, which is what really matters if you are looking to go fast and light. Some rope manufacturers might capitalize on this. A “10mm” rope, for example, might be 10.1mm or even larger, or it could be smaller. Who knows? Since Petzl recommends the Grigri for use with ropes from 10mm to 11mm, you do have leeway and these gym-specific lead ropes fill the bill: Mammut 10.2mm Gym Rope, BlueWater 10.1mm Dynaplus; Maxim 10.2mm Elevate and the Sterling 10.1mm Slim Gym. Depending on where you buy, you might be able to purchase the rope by the foot rather than an entire spool or a cut length, saving you coin since you need, what, 30 feet of rope to lower from the anchors of the blue route?