Climbing Gear Strength Ratings


Ever wonder how strong that pro or gear really is?  Here’s a list to get you started, and maybe help you win an argument or two.  I’ve wanted to see a list like this for a long time, and after scouring the web and not finding any, decided to make my own. 

Metric notes:  A kilonewton (kN) is a metric unit of force, equal to 100 kilograms, or about 225 lbs.  Ratings are rounded to the nearest kN.

Sources:, tech pages, The Mountaineering Handbook, by Craig Connally, published 2005, checking the gear ratings on some of my own stuff and in the local gear shop.

I made two lists. One is gear ranked in descending order, and the other is gear ranked by category (like seeing small, medium and large stoppers all ranked side by side.)

See both lists here on a Google spreadsheet

Climbing gear strength ratings - descending order.jpg
Climbing gear strength ratings - by category.jpg


Takeaways (for me)

  • There's a BIG increase in strength from 6mm cord to 7 mm cord. Use 7 mm for cordelettes.

  • A tiny wiregate biner may be stronger than a honker "belay" style biner.

  • A well placed bolt is never going to fail you.

  • You can rappel on pretty much anything.

  • Climbing ropes are not tested for tensile breaking strength like most other gear. But, if you stretch a rope until it breaks, that will probably happen around 18Kn. source: