No.1 Tree Climbing Rope
16 STRAND rope is made up of a load supporting cover and a core of separate long fibers.
DOUBLE BRAID rope is made up of a braided cover and braided core that share the load.
STATIC rope is made up of a load supporting core of parrallel strands and a cover to protect the core.
But what does the mean to a new tree climber?
When I bought my first tree climbing rope I was missold a static rope for ddrt technique.
I didnt realise why it was a mistake for a long time.
Tree climbing ropes are constantly being rubbed and pulled against rough tree bark and must have a hard wearing cover. We tie knots in our ropes and so the rope must be able to 'hold' a knot well.
Static ropes generally do not 'hold' a knot well and have a thinner cover than double braid and 16 strand ropes.
16 strand is wonderfully simple rope and very hardwearing.
I always use it when I take beginners climbing.
It is stretchier than double braid and static rope.
If you are using srt technique you will waste energy because of the stretchyness of 16 strand.
16 strand splices easily also.
Double braid must be used with pulleys.
This is because the core and cover work independently to give the rope its strength.
It has a more complex construction but when used correctly is very strong and has a wonderful 'feel' when handling it. Double braid ropes tend to be slightly thinner and smoother than 16 strand ropes.
There seems to be a trend at the moment for making larger and softer double braid rope (imori and vortex), this makes it easier to 'grab' the rope when ascending.
Double Braid also splices easily.
Static ropes nearly always have some stretch unless you get a truely static Dyneema or Technore rope.
I mentioned wasting energy on stretchy 16 strand rope, I must say that climbing on a completely static rope means that if you fall their will be no energy absorbtion in the rope and it will be transfered to the climbers body, which is potentially bad. breaking points are met sooner when dynamically loading a static rope.
Static rope generally does not splice.
Static ropes are designed for access only although they are being explored more and more by climbers all over the world who are changing to srt work positioning.
It is of course a climbers choice which rope he or she chooses to use but I recommend a dedicated arborist rope for all tree climbing and rigging applications.
Further than that you will have to decide yourself!