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Seven Top Mid-Winter Climbing Ropes for Ice/Mixed

Ropes are one of the most important pieces of equipment you will own and there are a lot of great options out there.

In winter, it’s best to have two when ice climbing to help reduce drag, for rappelling and to better protect your route.

Here are seven great ropes for the second half of your winter climbing.

Maxim Pinnacle 9.5 2XDry: Maxim has been one of the industry leaders for years and the Pinnacle 9.5 is as good on ice as it is on rock. The durable sheath lasts long despite high abrasion.

For fall drytooling or mixed climbing where a single rope is the way to go, this is the go-to line. There isn’t a half-way mark, but you can solve that quickly with a marker. (MSRP $289)

Edelrid Skimmer 7.1: Thanks to rope designs, colour patterns and overall product, Edelrid has become one of our favourite rope manufacturers.

The Skimmer 7.1 set meets twin- and half-rope standards. These ropes are crafted for multi-pitch ice climbs where speed is a factor. At 70 metres and with some stretch, you can make long rappels when it’s time to leave. (MSRP $529/set)

Black Diamond 7.8 Full-Dry Half: Black Diamond ropes have only been around a few seasons but already they are becoming winter climbers’ top choice for long ice climbs.

The dry treatment helps shed moisture in wet, frozen and downright brutal conditions. We found the 7.8mm was nearly perfect for feeding into no-threads, eliminating the need to leave a cordellete anchor. (MSRP $220)

DMM Couloir 8: The DMM Couloir is a relatively new rope on the market and after we tested it on steep ice in Ontario, where the air was damp in spring, and on steep Rockies lines, where the air was cold and dry, we’ve concluded these are five-star lines.

They have amazing water repellent, stood up to sharp limestone on mixed pitches, catch big falls softly and never kinked up on us. The one issue is they are hard to find in Canada, but worth the search. (MSRP $220)

Mammut Twilight 7.5: This long-time classic rope was one of the thinnest and driest available for many seasons. They excel on steep ice and mixed.

The rope is light, supple, stays dry long, soft and packs small for those long alpine-ish routes with some ice steps. It takes some time to get used to the small diametre, but you’ll quickly learn these are surprisingly durable. (MSRP $240)

Sterling Fusion 7.8: Sterling is a champion in the rope-making world and the Fusion 7.8 has stood up to the test for the past few years.

From muddy mixed pitches to taking abuse from crampons against ice, the Fusion rocks. Despite being so thin, the stiffness helps keep the ropes untangled, even on those long 70-metre rappels. Recommended. (MSRP $189 to $219)

Petzl Paso Guide 7.7: As a certified half- and twin-rope, the Guide is for you ice and alpine climbers who need a light rope that stays dry.

These are light, are easy to handle and more durable and heavy than some skinny lines. While these can take some abuse, they shouldn’t be dragged over steep and sharp rock very often. Overall, we found these to be a workhorse in the alpine and on long low-angle ice. (MSRP $269)