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To Dry Treat or Not to Dry Treat: The Debate on Rock Climbing Rope Treatments

To Dry Treat or Not to Dry Treat: The Debate on Rock Climbing Rope Treatments

Rock climbing is a thrilling adventure that demands a high level of safety and equipment reliability. When it comes to choosing a rock climbing rope, one decision climbers often face is whether or not to invest in a dry-treated rope. Dry treatments are designed to enhance the rope's performance in wet conditions and reduce water absorption while also increasing durability, however it can also increase the price of your rope. In this blog post, we will explore the arguments for and against getting your rock climbing rope dry treated, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your climbing needs and preferences.

Why should I get my rope Dry Treated?:

Improved Water Resistance:

One of the primary advantages of dry-treated ropes is their ability to repel water. These ropes undergo a treatment that coats the fibers and helps minimize water absorption. This feature is particularly beneficial when climbing in wet or snowy conditions, as it helps prevent the rope from becoming heavy, lessening the impact on performance and handling.

Enhanced Durability:

Dry treatments can improve the durability and longevity of your rope. By reducing water absorption, the treatment helps minimize the formation of ice crystals within the rope's fibers. This reduces the risk of the rope becoming stiff or brittle in cold conditions, potentially extending its lifespan.

Resistance to Dirt and Contaminants:

Dry treatments also provide a degree of resistance to dirt, dust, and contaminants. The coating repels particles and prevents them from embedding deeply into the rope's fibers. This can make cleaning and maintenance easier, as well as help maintain the rope's performance over time.

Why should I Skip the Dry Treatment:

Increased Cost:

Dry-treated ropes typically come with a higher price tag compared to non-treated ropes. If you're on a budget or just starting out in climbing, investing in a dry-treated rope may not be a priority. Non-treated ropes can still perform well in various climbing conditions, especially if you predominantly climb in dry environments.

Limited Breathability:

The coating applied during the dry treatment process can reduce the rope's breathability. In the odd case where your rope does absorb moisture, thenthe  moisture trapped within the rope may take longer to evaporate, potentially leading to increased drying time between climbing sessions. In humid conditions, this reduced breathability may contribute to the growth of mold or mildew, requiring more diligent maintenance and care.  This is a rare case, and in most cases can be easily avoided if you store your rope properly.

Personal Climbing Style and Environment:

The decision to get a dry-treated rope may also depend on your climbing style and the typical environments you encounter. If you primarily engage in indoor climbing or climb in dry climates where wet conditions are rare, a dry-treated rope may not be essential. However, if you frequently venture into alpine or ice climbing, where water and moisture exposure is more common, a dry-treated rope could prove beneficial.


The choice of whether or not to get your rock climbing rope dry treated ultimately depends on your specific needs, preferences, and climbing style. Dry-treated ropes offer improved water resistance, enhanced durability, and resistance to dirt and contaminants. However, they come at a higher cost and may have reduced breathability. Consider the climbing environments you frequent, your budget, and the potential benefits of a dry-treated rope to make an informed decision.

Remember, regardless of whether you choose a dry-treated or non-treated rope, proper care, maintenance, and regular inspection are crucial to ensure the safety and longevity of your climbing equipment. Consult with experienced climbers, gear experts, and trusted manufacturers to gather additional insights and select the rope that best aligns with your climbing goals.

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