Spartan races have many obstacles that require varying levels of physical effort. Rope climbs are among the toughest obstacles.
Because of their height, rope climbs are one of the most difficult challenges.
At any obstacle course race, you find ropes to climb walls, cross mud pits, or reach a raised point. You can prepare for the event by training with climbing ropes in your workout.
The Spartan Race: The Obstacles
Obstacles vary from race to race, but there are some mainstays that are worked into every event.
- Fire Jump
- Climbing Beneath Barbed Wire
- Wall Climbing
- Mud Crawling
- Over-Under-Through (Climbing Over, Crawling Under, And Then Crawling Through, As Name Suggests)
- Spear Throw
- Carrying Heavy Objects
- Herculean Hoist
- Tyrolean Traverse (Rope Crawling Across A Precipice)
- Monkey Bars
- Traversing A Wall (Similar To Rock Climbing)
- Hobie Hop (Hopping Through Tires With Rubber Band Around Legs)
- Slip Wall (An Inclined Wall With Grease)
- Zig Zag Log Jump
- Steep Mud Inclines
- Tractor Pulls
- Underwater Submerging
- Atlas Carries (Carrying A Large Concrete Stone)
- Tire Flips
- Stepping Stone Challenges Across Water
- Rope Swing
- Rope Climb
The Rope Climb
The Height of the Rope Climb
The length of the rope can vary depending on the particular event, but it is usually between 12 and 16 feet long.
The rope is approximately 1.5-2.5 inches thick (diameter).
Note: for comparison, a typical rope climb in a Crossfit is 15 feet high.
Supporting one’s own body weight is difficult enough, even when the weight isn’t placed directly on the wrists and hands.
What’s more, the nature of the races usually means that the ropes are caked with mud and soaked with water, making it even more slippery and difficult to get proper purchase during a climb.
This is what really separates the athletes from the fairweather competitors, and it is often one of the obstacles that most participants fail at.
How Do You Do the Rope Climb in the Spartan Race?
A rope climb can actually be tackled in a variety of different ways.
The method described in this video works well because it minimizes the overall work your arms need to do.
To make the challenge of the Spartan Race even harder, there are penalties for any competitor who FAILS to complete a particular obstacle.
These are generally dependent on the nature of the failure, and can vary a lot, but some penalties include 30 burpees per failed event.
Is Climbing a Rope a Good Workout?
Rope climbing is a full-body workout and a great strength test.
It is excellent for developing the upper body. It requires strong hands and forearms.
It also improves grip strength, agility, and coordination.
Obstacle racers must properly execute rope climbing exercises, regardless of whether they are professionals or weekend warriors.
The Spartan Trifecta
Aside from the main obstacle race, there are other variations of the competition that can be entered and competed in, like the Spartan Trifecta.
The Spartan Sprint
Sprint is the first leg of the Spartan Trifecta, a triathlon-style event (along with the Beast, and the Super) where competitors can vie for a special award.
This includes a simple trail with 20 obstacles that must be overcome. There are differences in difficult terrain, including water and mud, and it is generally a short distance race of 5km.
The Spartan Super
This race includes 25-30 obstacles, and is a middle-distance race of around 8-10 miles.
Far more difficult than the Spartan Sprint, the Spartan Super is the second leg of the Spartan Trifecta Award.
The Spartan Beast
The third leg of the Trifecta, the Spartan Beast involves 30-35 obstacles, and a 12-14 mile course across rough and difficult terrain.
This is known as being the most demanding and difficult part of the Trifecta. It is the event where most competitors bow out.
Other Event Types
As well as the Trifecta, there are other endurance races.
The Spartan Ultra
As the Trifecta, if not more so, the Spartan Ultra involves a 30-mile course off rugged terrain, wherein competitors must overcome 60 obstacles.
Spartan Kids Race
The Spartan Race also has events for children (aged 4-13).
This was created for both boys and girls within that age bracket, and is to encourage them to have fun through exercise.
This is broken into three age ranges:
- 4-8 = a ½-mile run.
- 10-13 = a 2-mile course with obstacles.
- 11-14 = a 5-mile course with obstacles (although only in select cities).
The Spartan Trail
The Spartan Trail is a more simplistic course, which involves competitors running extended distances off the beaten track.
The Spartan Race – History
The Spartan Race is a series of obstacle races founded in the United States, but franchised in over 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, South Korea, and
several countries within Europe.
But what is it, and how did it begin?
Founded in 2007 by author and businessman Joe De Sena, The Spartan Race began as a spin-off of the Death Race – a 48-hour-long endurance race started in 2007.
Designed as a more manageable endurance race for a wider target audience of participants, the first event was held in 2010, at the Catamount Outdoor Center in Williston, Vermont.
This first occasion saw around 500 participants compete in a series of obstacle races that required them to run, jump, crawl and swim to have a shot at victory.
Whilst all participants earned a medal, only the top three won further prizes to mark their athleticism.
In 2012, Raptor consumer partners became the sponsors of the event. This changed in 2013 when De Sena partnered with Reebok, changing the name to the Reebok Spartan Race Series.
As of 2020, Spartan attained Tough Mudder after they were forced into involuntary bankruptcy proceedings. Spartan purchased the franchise, and the sum of its debts, for $700,000 dollars.
This included the responsibility for honoring pre-paid ticket refunds to fans.
Whilst Tough Mudder is thought to continue, it will be under the Spartan name going forward.
Popularity for the events grew after Universal Sports broadcasted a special on the race in December of 2013.
This led to the commissioned television show Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge on NBC, championed by the same producers who created American Ninja Warrior and similar endurance reality shows.
The Bottom Line
And there we have it, everything you need to know about the Spartan rope climb height.
Wildly popular amongst all genders and age groups, what the Spartan Race pushes is endurance, personal exceptionalism, and excitement.
Are you up to the challenge?