If you are a nature lover interested in rock climbing, there are some technical points you will probably bump into. One of the commonly asked questions among rock climbers is what gear should they buy for safe rock climbing.
As you know, the most famous, and most important part of rock climbing equipment is securing gear. Ropes or cords, and different kinds of webbings are generally used for climbing activities.
The general question you can often see on the Internet is: what is stronger, webbing or rope?
Although both webbing and rope can be used for rock climbing, among these two, static rope is stronger and shows better results when pulled over an edge. However, since webbing is a cheaper option, a lot of climbers opt for it since it is strong enough for their climbing adventures.
In the following text, you can learn more about webbing, climbing ropes, as well as many other aspects of rock climbing equipment parts.
Table of Contents
- 1 Webbing vs. Static Rope
- 2 Static Rope
- 3 Safety Advantages of Static Rope
- 4 Webbing
- 5 Tubular Webbing vs. Flat Webbing
- 6 Types of Climbing Knots
- 7 Types of Rock Climbing
- 8 Is Top Rock Climbing Safe?
- 9 What to Consider When Choosing a Climbing Gear
Webbing vs. Static Rope
Let’s cut the chase and answer your question now. Both webbing and static rope are pretty strong, but considering all the data we have found and some test results, static rope seems to be stronger than webbing.
Those results show that static rope is about three times stronger than webbing when it’s pulled over an edge, and much stronger when pulled along a sharp edge. But this doesn’t mean webbing is useless.
Both these parts of climbing gear have some pros and cons. Some people choose ropes, the others choose webbings. Whether you are climbing in cold or hot weather, you just need to find the climbing gear that meets your requirements. The following topics might help you to decide what’s the most convenient option for you.
A static rope is a climbing rope that has minimal stretch. It has the same construction as dynamic rope, which means the strength of the core rope is protected with an abrasion-resistant cover.
But, the fabrics and methods used for static rope manufacture are different, so the result is a rope with less stretch. The static nature of this rope may limit its usage in some situations, but it can be perfect in others.
If you don’t have a stretch of a dynamic rope, you should never climb on a static rope. Since the rope material can’t stretch and absorb the force of the fall, the climber could get some serious injuries.
Even if you practice top-rope climbing, you should still use a dynamic rope. Despite its non-dynamic characteristics, the static rope excels in anchor construction.
The lack of stretch enables the master point to stay fixed, which results in reduced rubbing over edges because the anchor is weighted and unweighted frequently.
If the static rope has diameters of 8.0mm or smaller, manufacturers will often call it a cord. There are some recommendations that static rope for anchors should be from 9.5 to 10.5mm in diameter, that way you can use it with a device like a GriGri.
Safety Advantages of Static Rope
The good versatility and adjustability of static rope can give you the option to set a well-equalized, stronger, and safer anchor. Check out two specific safety advantages of static rope.
Most climbing failures of the materials result from abrasion against sharp edges. A static rope showed great results when it comes to abrasion resistance.
Only a few fibers of round rope are exposed to the rock edge, and the rope loses just a few fibers at a time. While for webbing, almost all of the fibers get abraded during every climbing cycle.
Easier Tether Possibility
The good safety advantage static rope provides is the possibility to tether ourselves in during our work near the edge without any extra equipment by our side. When using a round rope, you can use a friction hitch and attach yourself to an anchor leg with an adjustable tether.
If you have an extra static rope in your anchor, you can use it as a separate safety rope. You can use a GriGri on this rope to be attached as you approach the edge.
There must be a stopper knot on the edge of the rope, where the setter is attached. This way the system is closed, ensuring the rigger won’t fall off the rope’s end.
There are two types of webbings, tubular and flat webbing. Tubular webbing is a round nylon tube. This type of webbing is more powerful than flat webbing because it has extra, doubled material.
Make sure the webbing is reserved for tying your nylon slings and you shouldn’t use it in an anchor unless it’s doubled up. The main advantage of webbing is that it is much cheaper than static rope.
Tubular Webbing vs. Flat Webbing
Many climbers have debates regarding what type of webbing is better. What are the main differences between these two webbings? Both of them are different, and tubular webbing was even designed with some particular advantages.
Tubular Nylon Webbing
Tubular webbing has wrap-around webbing that improves the overall strength. One-inch width tubular webbing can take about 4.000 pounds of force before splitting. It is more flexible than flat webbing, and it’s very soft, which allows you more use than flat webbing.
Because of its elasticity, tubular webbing glides more easily over jagged surfaces, which leads to less tearing. It can be bought in up to 9.000 pounds breaking point strength.
Because tubular webbing is very easy to use it’s often a must-have part of every climbing gear. You can make a knot more easily with it than with flat webbing. Its flexibility holds knots better. Tubular webbing might be a great choice for every enthusiastic climber.
Flat Nylon Webbing
Flat webbing consists of hard weaved webbing of tough nylon fibers. It has great strength which makes it a valuable tool for many goals. When it comes to rock climbing, flat webbing has some weaknesses.
During scratching over rough surfaces such as rocks, its stiffness causes tearing. Even though flat webbing can be remarkably strong, it is not as tough as tubular webbing of the same size.
Flat nylon webbing has a strength of 270 to 5.500 pounds per one-inch width. Nylon fabric by itself is well-known for its capacity to stretch without breaking and it can also return to its original shape.
Good Uses for Tubular Webbing
There are various ways you can use tubular webbing. Here are some of them.
- You can make an improvised harness with 20 feet of webbing.
- Use tubular webbing to increase your static line back from the edge.
- You can make great padding for other soft gear abrasion protection from sharp edges.
Types of Climbing Knots
When it comes to rock climbing, it’s good to know what are the types of knots combinations. To make it easier for you, we made a list of commonly used knots in climbing.
- Munther Hitch
- Clove Hitch
- Bowline on a Bight
- Prusik Knot
- Bachmann Knot
- Fisherman’s Knot
- Figure 8 Follow Through
- Overhand Knot
Types of Rock Climbing
There are different types of climbing techniques. Some are very dangerous, the others are safer. But, you must be aware that there is no absolutely safe version of any climbing activity. Check below some main types of climbing:
- Top Rope
- Free Solo – most dangerous type of climbing without any protective gear, fall would result in serious injury or death
Is Top Rock Climbing Safe?
Top rope climbing, also known as top roping, is safer than many other forms of climbing. Of course, the technique must be properly used.
If you have a good belay and a firm set of anchors, you are minimizing the number of accidents that can happen to climbers who perform top-roping.
Even though this is a relatively safe climbing technique, all climbers need to be cautious when setting up everything for their climbing session.
How to Lessen Tree Impact During Climbing?
When doing any outside activity you should try to minimize the impact on the trees and soil. This is especially important when it comes to the soil around the tops of anchors.
Whether you are using rope, webbing, or slings, be sure to protect the tree carefully instead of pulling the bark of the tree. If you can, always try padding the tree, or if possible use rock preferably than the tree.
What to Consider When Choosing a Climbing Gear
There are a lot of factors to consider when preparing your climbing kit. Regarding the topic we wrote about, it’s very important to have the right type of climbing ropes by your side.
To make sure you have everything you need when it comes to climbing ropes you need to know what type of climbing will you perform. Climbing on rough rocks seeks for a harder, thicker type of rope, like a static or dynamic rope.
On the other side, webbing is also a very good choice for climbing, especially for knot tying and equipment padding, because of its flexibility.
Whatever you opt to choose, be sure you follow all the safety measures for rock climbing.