How To Coil a Climbing Rope in 9 Easy Steps


how to coil a climbing rope

How to coil a climbing rope? It seems like a simple question, but if you’ve never coiled a rope before, it can be daunting. You might not even know where to start.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help. In this article, I will explain how to coil a climbing rope in easy steps. I will also provide some tips on how to make the process easier and faster. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, read on for all the info you need!

How To Coil a Climbing Rope in 9 Simple Steps

Coiling a climbing rope might seem like a daunting task (and very frustrating if you get tangled up with all the gear you’re brining) but with these 9 simple steps, anyone can do it! Grab your climbing rope and follow along:

  1. Step 1: Locate the center of your rope, which is usually indicated by a marker. If it doesn’t have one, hold both ends together and walk your hands down until you find the halfway point.
  2. Step 2: Once there, grab onto that midpoint in one hand while looping both strands over each shoulder with your other hand. With this method, carrying any sized rope will be an effortless task!
  3. Step 3: Stretch out and grasp the rope beneath your opposite hand.
  4. Step 4: With one hand, slowly pull the rope along while simultaneously creating enough space with your other to flick two strands over your head. Allow them to rest on both shoulders after successfully completing this step. Then move onto the opposite side and repeat!
  5. Step 5: Continuously drape the rope over your shoulders until only four meters remain. Then, with both hands-free, gather the middle of each loop and wrap it around your arms for easy access.
  6. Step 6: For a secure hold, wrap the two ends of the rope around all coils near the top 3-4 times. This technique works best if you start at the bottom and work your way up.
  7. Step 7: Thread each end of the loop through the topmost coils as depicted in the illustration.
  8. Step 8: Thread the opposite directions of the rope around both loops and pull firmly to coil your rope! It’s as easy as that.
  9. Step 9: If you have enough rope (at least 1 meter in length), tying it across your back is simple. Cross the tails over your chest, securing them with a wrap around your back and bringing the ends forward to tie together at your waist. This allows you to comfortably bear the weight of whatever gear you must carry on your journey.

If you’re more of a visual learner, here is a video that walks you through this process:

The Other Coiling Methods

Of course, there are other ways to coil your rope. In the following section, you’re going to learn how to create a double-standard butterfly coil, a single-strand butterfly coil and a mountaineer’s coil.

Tip: When coiling a rope, it is best to use the same technique for all heights and lengths. This will help you remember which direction to coil in, as well as how many times each loop should be wrapped around the core.

Double-Strand Butterfly Coil Method

How To Coil a Climbing Rope the double butterfly method

This popular coiling and carrying technique for climbing ropes can assist in suspending the rope or fashioning a “backpack coil” that’s simple to carry.

  1. Step 1: You can begin your coiling technique from the center or either end of the rope -both will work just fine! Starting in the middle allows you to undo any knots or snarls as you proceed toward each end.
  2. Step 2: Clasping both ropes in your hands, draw them apart to form a loop of roughly four feet. You’ll find the perfect size for you with just a bit of experimentation!
  3. Step 3: Gather your rope and hold it above the back of your neck. Once in place, let the strands fall gently over both shoulders.
  4. Step 4: To coil the rope, start in the middle and grab one end with each hand. Gently pull apart allowing the rope to wind around your shoulders until 8-10 feet of both strands remain free at either side.
  5. Step 5: Grasp both ends of the rope with your hands and lift the rope high over your head, allowing the loops to fall symmetrically at each side. With one hand (typically your weaker one), place it where your neck was in order to hold all strands together.
  6. Step 6: To secure the rope bundle, lift all of the coils in front of you with your non-dominant hand. With a firm grasp from your dominant hand, wrap the remaining lengths horizontally around the pile 6-8 inches below your other hand and continue to move upwards.
  7. Step 7: Pull a tight loop of both strands through the hole at the top of your bundle. Grasping this loop, take the remaining length and thread it over our secured bight before pulling it back through itself.

You’re done!

OPTIONAL STEP: Tie Your Backpack

If you want your rope to be hanging from your back to make it easier to carry (proving less strain on your arm), then here is quick guide on how to do just that:

Grasp a strand of the remaining rope with each hand, and employ them to heave the coil upon your back with its loops facing downwards. Subsequently, drape the two strands parallel around both sides of your neck.

Glide your palms down the ropes and then transfer them behind you. Interchange the strands between both hands, followed by bringing them back in front of you. They must consequently cross over your shoulders before being sent behind for a second time to form a coil-like shape.

To ensure your extra comfort, take the time to tie a square knot around your waist to secure yourself. You may also opt to attach this knot on your belay loop if you are still wearing a harness.

If you find yourself with an excessive amount of rope, wrap it once more around your waist. If there isn’t enough to tie the knot though, simply unwrap a strand or two and reclaim the slack for use in tying it off.

Doing this will make your rappelling experience easier and safer with this innovative backpack of rope – an ideal method for you to keep the ropes organized after a multi-climbing session, so you don’t have to carry tangles of rope.

Single-Strand Butterfly Coil Method

This method is a great alternative to rope bags and is perfect for cragging or approaches. It allows one end of the rope to be easily accessible, while also being easy to throw over your backpack. Plus, you don’t even need a rope bag!

  1. Step 1: This approach is more straightforward as you will be braiding one strand at a time. All that’s left for you to do is pinpoint the beginning of your rope!
  2. Step 2: As with the initial technique, grab approximately 4 feet of rope between your hands.
  3. Step 3: Gently drape the scarf over your neck so that its two ends rest lightly in front of your shoulders.
  4. Step 4: With your hands taking turns, continually haul armfuls of rope to lift onto your neck. When only a single load (4-6 feet) is left, you can then stop.
  5. Step 5: Grasping both ends of the rope in either hand, lift it above your head until it lay across your front side. Place one palm on top of where you neck was just a second ago; this will allow for each loop to dangle symmetrically on opposite sides.
  6. Step 6: Begin another coil, slightly shorter than the initial one. Instead of allowing the loose end to dangle off your hand, create a small bend and keep it in place as depicted below.
  7. Step 7: Instead of wrapping the single bundle horizontally as you would with the double, use the remaining rope to wrap vertically around the center. Begin a few inches away from your bight and wind toward it while ensuring that each loop is drawn taught.
  8. Step 8: When you come to the conclusion that there is an insufficient rope for yet another wrap, thread it through your bight.
  9. Step 9: Securely locate the rope strand attached to your bight on the opposite side of the wraps, then tug it firmly to fasten the bight – this should lock in place and hold up securely.

The rope can now be draped across the top of a pack for easy portability. A rope coiled using this method should stay flaked and tangle-free, and the end is readily accessible when it’s time to start climbing.

Mountaineer’s Coil Method

easiest way to coil a climbing rope

This technique is best used for carrying ropes in alpine terrain. It allows for easy storage and prevents your rope from developing any significant kinks or coils.

  1. Step 1: Grab the end of the rope with one hand, while using the other to create a loop that will serve as the center point of your coil. You can either tightly grip the rope, or use a carabiner to secure it.
  2. Step 2: Grasping both ends of the loop in one hand, proceed to coil it around your body as if you were putting on an oversized belt. Make sure that each loop is drawn taught and rests against the previous ones without any kinks or twists.
  3. Step 3: At the tail-end of your coil, you will likely have a few feet of rope remaining. Create a loose loop on both sides of the coil and tie one end to itself so that neither can slip out anytime soon.
  4. Step 4: Swing this bundle over your shoulder or onto your pack with an added carabiner for extra security. When you’re ready to move, simply pick up the bundle, hold onto the free end of rope and go!

How To Stack a Climbing Rope

Coiling a climbing rope allows for neat storage and easy portability; however, it must be ‘stacked’ properly in order to guarantee that the rope feeds out smoothly while you climb.

Start at one end of the rope and carefully feed it into a neat pile on top of your rope bag or an uncluttered section of the ground. When you tie in both ends to straps, it’s easy for you to locate them next time.

As soon as you are prepared to lead climb, make sure that the leader ties himself/herself securely with the higher part of the rope.

How To Store a Climbing Rope

Keeping your rope in top condition is essential for safety and prolonged use. After every climbing session, assess the rope’s wear – look out for frayed sections, dirt, and flat spots caused by excessive abrasion. If any of these occur, it’s time to retire that particular line.

Ropes should always be stored off the ground in a cool and dry area. If possible, hang the rope from a rack or pegboard and make sure it doesn’t come into contact with anything that might snag it.

When packing away your rope for an extended period of time, make sure to store it loosely in its bag so that air can circulate freely. This will help keep your rope supple and in proper condition for the next climb.

Do You Need a Rope Bag?

Rope bags are designed to make it easier to transport and store your rope, as well as protect it from dirt and other debris. They are typically constructed of a durable material such as Cordura or polyester that can withstand abrasion, UV exposure, and inclement weather.

Good rope bags will come with features like interior pockets to store small items, heavy-duty zipper closures, and an adjustable shoulder strap for comfortable carrying.

Ultimately, these bags make transporting and storing your rope a much easier task – making them a must-have accessory for any climber!

Can You Coil a Doubled Rope?

Yes, you can coil a doubled rope. In fact, it is often the preferred method for long multi-pitch routes as it allows climbers to access both ends of their rope quickly – without having to untangle or uncoil them.

The process of coiling a doubled rope is similar to that of a single rope, however, it requires a bit more precision.

Final Words

In conclusion, with a few basic steps, you can neatly coil and store your climbing rope safely and efficiently so that it remains tangle-free each time you’re ready to hit the trails!

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