The Difference Between Static and Dynamic Rope

rapellingA rope is a rope is a rope. Most people would say that there’s not much to it. It’s just a length of cord that you tie stuff with. But really there are lots of different types of rope with different properties and uses. The properties of a rope aren’t significant if you’re just tying newspaper together, but what if you’re trying to secure something more valuable? The type of rope you use is very important when it comes to things like climbing, caving, or rapelling.

Rope can be separated into two main categories – static and dynamic rope. Static rope doesn’t stretch. If you have a piece of static rope that is 10 feet long, it will always be 10 feet long. Dynamic rope on the other hand elongates when subjected to significant force. It doesn’t stretch like bungee cord, but there’s a little bit of give to it.

A dynamic rope is the only option for rock climbing. In a sport where you are actively battling gravity, falling is an inevitability. If you took a fall while lead climbing with a static rope, there would be nothing but a momentum-halting jolt at the end of it. However, a dynamic rope will stretch to cushion a fall, making it a much softer experience. Climbing with a static rope increases the chance of injury.

While dynamic rope is essential for climbing, it’s not as suited for something like rapelling or just lowering gear. Since you’re working with gravity, you’re taking those high-impact falls out of the equation and so you don’t need the movement of a dynamic rope. In fact, that movement can actually be a disadvantage. Unsteady lowering can cause little bounces in the line. Gear that isn’t completely secure can fall.

Whenever you’re climbing or rapelling, remember to only use ropes that are rated for climbing. It doesn’t matter the diameter of the rope, but rather the way that it’s made, what it’s made of and how much weight and or force it can support. We carry a wide selection of rope here at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters. We sell paracord and accessory cord and rope ranging from 2mm up to 11mm by the foot. We also carry dynamic ropes for climbing!

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