Dry Vs Non-Dry Rope: Which One to Choose for Climbing?

The right choice of climbing ropes can make any challenging ascent successful all the way!

Now is the time to throw your old, stiff ropes away and begin shopping for a new one. When it comes to that, climbers often go for non-dry ropes for their decent price tags.

It’s been a while since dry-treated ropes have entered the market. Given their unbelievable strength retention and smooth handling, they are soon becoming the go-to options for serious climbers.

That said, giving you guys a dry vs non-dry rope comparison is long overdue!

Before we start, remember that the fall rating, sheath mass, and slippage, static and dynamic elongation can tweak any rope’s performance regardless of its treatment.

 

Dry Rope

Be it ice climbing, alpine climbing, or mountaineering, dry ropes are the top-favorite choice of ropes for climbers worldwide. It’s because these ropes receive a special treatment that brings their water-absorbing powers close to zero!

That’s right; no matter how heavy the snowfall or the rain is, dry ropes remain strong in every climate and location.

Dry ropes with an extra sheath treatment have exceptional durability. Thanks to their resistance to edge abrasions that make classic ropes fuzzy and unmanageable over time.

Besides, it takes a long time till the treatment wears off and the fibers break down. So, you get a great value even though dry ropes cost way higher than non-dry climbing ropes.

Our Recommended Dry Ropes

We have two incredible dry ropes that will make a long-awaited visit to your favorite ice park enjoyable throughout!

 

1. EDELRID Tommy Caldwell DuoTec 9.6mm Pro Dry Dynamic Climbing Rope

Coming with the most effective Thermo Shield treatment and a permanent middle-making, EDELRID brings you America’s star rock climber Tommy Caldwell’s signature climbing rope!

To begin with, you can use this 3D, rap-coiled rope right out of the box. Unlike any ordinary climbing rope, you can pass the rigorous tangling and kinking altogether with this one!

Moving on, its brilliant water-resistance speaks a lot about Tommy Caldwell’s keen choices. This non-dry rope skilfully withstands the effects of melted snow and moisture- allowing you to stay focused at all times.

It was not a surprise when we found out EDELRID’s Pro Dry rope expels 98% of the water that it’s exposed to. Needless to say, this one puts non-dry ropes to shame.

And that’s not all; it passed the water repellent test of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation with only two percent of absorption rate!

Whether you’re off to trad, sport, or multi-pitch climbing, you are sure to love the extreme durability and handling of this remarkable rope.

In short, this collaboration between EDELRID and Tommy Caldwell is no less than a masterpiece; a super expensive one for that matter. We believe that it’s worth the price considering the falls are comfortable, and there’s a decent stretch to this unit.

Pros

  • Thermo Shield treatment ensures comfortable handling

  • Permanent middle marking, DuoTec

  • Less than 2% water absorption rate

  • Doesn’t require tangling and kinking before use

  • There’s a soft catch and stretch when you take a fall

Cons

  • Expensive

 

2. BlueWater Ropes 9.1mm Icon Double Dry Dynamic Single Rope

This is a single rope with a 9.1mm diameter- just the perfect size for multi-pitch climbing where durable, lightweight ropes give you the leg-up.

For starters, this dry rope by BlueWater Ropes features an amazing 7.2% static elongation and 32.7% dynamic elongation.

You might have preferred a lower dynamic elongation from this rope. But truth be told, a lower number would result in less stretch which increases the impact force applied on not only yourself but also the gear and belayer during a fall.

Putting that aside, the impact force of this BlueWater Ropes product reflects on its super thoughtful design. It is smartly kept at 8.8 kilonewtons. So, you are going to land softly on the rope without stretching it too much.

Given the fact that an impact force of about 5 kN is unlikely in real-world climbing, this dry rope can easily take multiple falls while still looking brand-new.

Additionally, the rope weight is a satisfyingly 55 grams per meter making it fall somewhere between a lightweight rope and a sturdy, dynamic one.

For a dry-treated, single dynamic product, BlueWater Ropes really pulled ahead with this one. Although we still recommend the EDELRID Tommy Caldwell dry-treated rope for extreme top-roping and sport climbing because of its generous 9.6mm diameter.

Pros

  • Excellent rope weight for trad climbing

  • Tightly braided so that it has less drag

  • Abrasion-resistant design with a 35% sheath mass

  • Lightweight and durable rope

Cons

  • The rope diameter is a bit thin for top-roping

Non-Dry Rope

A non-dry rope is one that hasn’t received any prior treatment for reducing its natural absorption quality. This is why it’s more prone to soak water and moisture from the environment.

The reason why people choose non-dry ropes is that they are cheap and available everywhere. Although, there’s no reason for you to skip non-dry ropes altogether. These are still, in fact, the most suitable ones to practice your climbing skills at the park.

Additionally, non-dry ropes make excellent static ropes that you can use for climbing with hauling loads. Missing out on the durability boost that comes with dry-treated ropes, non-dry ropes are still cool choices for rappelling.

 

Our Recommended Non-Dry Ropes

Here are the two amazing non-dry ropes that helped us with trad and sport climbing not so long ago!

 

1. EDELRID Eco Boa 9.8mm Dynamic Climbing Rope

Here comes an all-rounder rope, designed by experts from Germany and available all over the world. This here is a robust unit that comes with a unique ecological footprint. Its innovative design and excellent price-performance ratio make it a popular choice among the users.

The product comes with a 3D lap coiling system that will enable you to use it instantly, without the hassle of tangling. It is made from excellent quality yarns, so the strength and handling won’t raise questions. The 3D lap coiling ensures that you won’t face any kind of kinking as well while using.

It comes with a special thermo-shield treatment that is crucial to ensure proper handling. This thermo-shield ensures that no matter what the circumstances are, it won’t trouble you while handling. The minimized sheath displacement, a new addition to this one just adds the icing on the cake.

Additionally, the Thermo Shield offers easy handling and ensures a longer lifespan compared to other non-dry ropes. If you’re a big wall climber or love the challenges of alpine climbing, EDELRID Eco Boa is perfect for you!

Overall, this is a quality product to keep your eyes on while selecting the best ropes available on market.

Pros

  • 3D lap coiling system for reducing the hassle of uncoiling

  • Thermo-shield for ensuring proper handling

  • Made from high-quality yarn

  • Robust and sturdy all-around rope

  • Comes with an ecological footprint

  • Excellent price-performance ratio

Cons

  • None

 

2. Black Diamond 9.9 Mm Climbing Rope

dry vs no-dry rope

With a 9.9 mm diameter and 64 grams of weight per meter, this Black Diamond climbing rope is going to be your favorite climbing gear of all!

Usually, with a thick rope, new climbers experience troubles with handling. Then again, a thick rope is more suitable for sport climbing and top-roping than a skinny rope ever will be. Black Diamond piqued our interest with its vibrant blue color and a 2×2 weave pattern.

Although this rope doesn’t come sheath-treated, its high-quality weaving and weight make it durable for all types of use. It’s 7.6% static elongation takes after the premium BlueWater Ropes; except you pay a hundred dollar extra for the BlueWater Ropes.

Featuring a UIAA factor of 6, this Black Diamond rope doesn’t fall too far behind a prized EDELRID. However, its 8.4 kN impact force is slightly lower than EDELRID. And with a 32% dynamic elongation, this one is hardly the right rope for rappelling.

The reason why we put the Black Diamond non-dry rope on our list is that it’s a dynamic product; and, therefore, you can use it for all sorts of outdoor sports. It also makes an excellent gym rope for its weighty construction.

From year-round sport climbing to rock climbing, this non-dry rope is a budget-friendly alternative to your EDELRID which is best saved for special occasions.

Pros

  • 9.9-mm rope diameter is perfect for top-roping and sport climbing

  • Durable design with strong weaving

  • Outstanding sheath quality

  • Stretches a bit and knots easily

  • Ideal for belaying

 

Dry Vs. Non-Dry Rope

The thrills of ice-climbing can have you travel all the way to Sandstone, Minnesota for its majestic location and challenges.

If you’re from Colorado, that’s even better. Climbing at the world-famous Ouray Ice Park is an experience of a lifetime. Before you get all giddy, the real question still awaits- “Should I get dry ropes or non-dry ropes?”

Below, we are going to compare the two ropes against their key areas of difference. It will give you a clear idea of which rope is suitable for your climbing style and weather, and also fits your budget!

 

Static & Dynamic Elongation

If you’re wondering what static and dynamic elongation are and why do they matter, you’ll find your answers right here! For starters, dynamic elongation is the extra length a rope goes when it first takes its UIAA fall. Static elongation is the amount a rope stretches when a standard 80kg weight hangs from it.

As you can see, both measurements have to do something about the stretch and a lower number doesn’t necessarily mean that the rope is more reliable. In fact, a little to moderate stretch is a good thing because it makes the falls feel smooth and exerts a lot less impact on your body, climbing gears, and the belayer as well.

Since dry-treated ropes repel moisture, their strength retention after a fall remains close to the original. On the other hand, a non-dry rope soaks moisture, becomes heavy and stiff in the process. It either makes them stretch more or stretch less which is quite the problem if you ask us.

Rope Weight

If you buy two non-dry and dry ropes of the same weight, our money is on the dry-treated rope for its proven strength-retention quality. No matter what brand it is from, a dry-treated rope with sheath protection will always stay true to its weight and stretch.

Now, the rope weight matters because it gives you an idea of the rope’s core construction. It doesn’t mean that receiving the “dry treatment” added extra grams to these special ropes.

Instead, you get a reliable climbing rope that you can use for top-roping with confidence! If you don’t believe us, you’ll surely listen to Tommy Caldwell, America’s number-one rock climber, who strongly recommends dry-treated ropes for mountaineering!

Rope Diameter

Since we already covered the rope weight, seeing how dry and non-dry ropes held up their factory-set diameter over use was only a matter of time. This is why we set out with the EDELRID Eco Boa and a dynamic single rope by BlueWater Ropes to our local ice park.

After a few days of climbing with both and keeping the natural stretch of the rope in mind, the dynamic BlueWater Ropes retained nearly all of its qualities. Whereas the Eco Boa showed a lot of surface abrasion and friction which, in turn, made belaying increasingly difficult.

The classic weave of Eco Boa got looser over time, and then it became our makeshift gym rope. But we’d be lying if we said it didn’t offer an outstanding sport climbing experience and keep us occupied for several weeks!

Conclusion

Dry ropes, however expensive they are, ensure the most comfortable handling for all your climbing businesses. That said, we didn’t have to dig too deep to find the winner from our dry vs non-dry rope segment.

Considering it’s a collaboration by the world-famous EDELRID company and our American pride Tommy Caldwell, there weren’t many things that could go wrong with this dynamic climbing rope!

If you don’t mind the price, you should definitely get this excellent dry-treated rope for its permanent middle marking and crazy-low absorption power!