A rope for climbing is not suitable for canyoning and a rope for canyoning is not suitable for climbing. Canyoning ropes are specifically designed for muddy, sandy, abrasive, wet conditions and for static loads. They need to be carried for many hours during your entrance in the canyon and then again for your exit to your car. This is why canyoning ropes have a thicker sheath and a tighter wave and are typically made from polyester or Technora with cores made of polyester, polypropylene or Dyneema. These combinations make all canyoning ropes very low-stretch, able to endure canyoning stretching and bouncing, helping the canyoner to have a better control of the descent.
Choosing the right rope is a matter of your own personal preference. Once a canyoner achieves the level of buying a rope usually is counting some extra hours of experience and therefore having tried descending with several ropes. Mainstream canyoning ropes diameter range starts from 8 mm up to about 10 mm. Ropes of 6 mm diameter or more than 10 mm are for special needs.
Depending on the diameter ropes get different qualities of weight, durability and personality. Skinnier ropes flow easier through your descender than thicker ropes, giving you more speed during rappelling. If you need to carry a long rope for a demanding terrain weight can be a hassle. Rocky with sharp edges, muddy, sandy canyons are not the ideal environment for skinny ropes, as they reduce their life expectancy.
According to the material, canyoning ropes again get different characteristics. Apart from the following tips the weight of a rope is an essential factor to consider.
– The poorest choice material for canyoning ropes is nylon, as it stretches, gets heavy by absorbing water and becomes weak when wet.
– Light weight, resisting in absorbing water, often floating are ropes from Polypropylene but they melt easier than others.
– Heat resistance is a good attribute for Technora fiber but not good enough when getting wet, as it becomes heavier.
– Great and cheap material Polyester has a better static, hydrophobic, good abrasion resistance and gets dry quickly but evolves to be stiffen up with use and age.
– Strong and lighter is a characteristic for Dyneema ropes but you need to be confident with your knots, as it is slick and recommended for experienced canyoners.
The cost of you rope adds up to your general expenses when going canyoning. Nevertheless, a proper rope for your descent will add up to your experience, so try to invest the best way possible and always take care of it, to enjoy it as much as possible. An important factor also is the length of your rope. 40 meters, 60 meters and 100 meters are the more common options for an average canyon descent but again it is up to you. Last factor of choosing a rope is colour. Various colours ropes can be a good idea when you want to have more options in lengths matching the rope’s length with the colour for easier and faster use.