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Sterling Rock Gym Review

Sterling Rock Gym
Credit: Sterling Rope
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Price:  $70 List
Pros:  Short, so handy to bring to the gym. Burly, so won't wear out fast
Cons:  Not versatile, rough, heavy even for such a short rope (did you say training weight?)
Manufacturer:   Sterling Rope
By McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 18, 2010
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Our Verdict

If you are looking for a cheap rope that you can bang up in the gym, the Sterling Rock Gym is a great option. Since it comes in short lengths, like 37 meters, it can be inexpensive yet last you a long time. Its thick diameter and its burly sheath all prolong the life of this rope, which makes it a great training tool. If you are looking for an inexpensive full length rope, check out the Maxim Equinox or the most recent Best Buy winning Beal Booster III.

Our Analysis and Test Results


The 10.4 mm gym rope is a pretty standard rope to use at a gym. It can either be the rope placed there for top-ropes, or it could be short rope supplied (by yourself or the gym) for leading. In either case, this rope is made to be burly with an extra durable sheath construction so that it can take heavy usage for a longer period of time.

Gyms seem to run things two ways- you have to supply your own lead rope (which tends to mean you know how to lead) or they give you a rope. Either way it is nice to use a shorter rope, because you never need 60 meters to climb 40 feet, and who wants to wear out their nice rope indoors? At first I thought since it would just be for sport climbing that a skinny rope would be preferable, but then I realized I could probably take twice as many falls on a 10.4 and as a gym rope it would last quite a while. (Isn't training in the gym a lot about preparing by whipping anyways?)

For a top-rope rope- this rope works quite well because it is so burly. Features that would not make it desirable for your outdoor rope actually make it better for indoors, for example it feels rough as it feeds through belay devices, but it has a lot of friction, which is perfect for the beginning belayer in the gym.


In part because of its burliness, the weave is thick on the sheath which is rough and does not glide or feed through belay devices well. This does add some friction to the belay, but it is rough on the hands and leaves them with a semi-chapped feeling after a lot of use.

At 67 g/m, this rope is quite heavy, however if you only use it in the gym, the weight doesn't matter as much since you aren't carrying it on approaches or dragging it up 100 foot climbs.

After heavy usage as a top-rope the sheath bunches at the end and curls up into a stiff loop. I think this happens to all gym ropes when the belay is always on the same side of the rope, however it is noticeable and undesirable when this happens. This is why gyms tend to flip their ropes over, so that the sheath bunches the other way, to prolong the life of the rope.

Best Application

Obviously this rope was made for gym climbing, as a top-rope or a lead rope.


This rope will last you a while, especially if you are only using it for training in the gym. It would be worth your money to buy this rope just for the gym, and you can save your nicer, longer ropes for outdoors.

McKenzie Long
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