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In this excellent answer to Ideal and Minimal Rope Diameter for Lead Climbing it is shown how the falling weight affects the drops a rope is expected to survive.

This led me to the following questions:

Should I take my weight into account when I buy climbing equipment, especially if I am heavier than 80kg?

Should I retire my equipment at a different point according to my weight?

Are these answers different for different part of equipment (e.g. rope, harness, belay device, biners, quickdraws, protection...)

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The standard fall test for single ropes is performed with 80 kilo and all the other equipment is designed around the loads appearing at the fall test (typically with a 100% reserve). So generally speaking there is no reason to take your body weight into a account when buying climbing equipment.

There are two exceptions however: Trad gear can have quite a big spread (I have seen big stoppers rated as low as 8KN) but even with a lighter body you might want to buy something with a good rating. Via Ferrata sets are known for being problematic at very low body weight, especially for small and thin women and children. For these it makes sense to ensure they are suited for one body weight

  • I have some micro stoppers rated at 2KN, they're basically for aid climbing only, just for holding body weight, or for being used in a multi-stopper anchor. – ShemSeger Feb 7 at 21:08
  • Sure there is micro stoppers which are only good for aid climbing. But in this case I am really talking about the big ones which sometimes can have horribly low ratings as well. By the way I would never recommend to use a 2KN micro stopper in an anchor if you have any choice. Even as support it's rating is too low – Manziel Feb 7 at 21:23
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    Also consider ratings on biners. While closed-gate strength is plenty, you might want biners with 10 kN open-gate strength if you are heavy. – Guran Feb 9 at 7:19
  • @Manziel I have fallen on 2kN stoppers and less than 2kN #1 copper and alumiheads. They didn't rip. Pretty amazing. – QuantumBrick Feb 13 at 21:07

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