Advances in climbing rope technology continues to make rock climbing easier and safer. I’m sure Jan and Herb Conn would have loved to tie into a modern dynamic climbing rope rather then the 60 foot piece of manila climbing rope they had. Poor quality climbing ropes were a main reason that early adventures climbed with the motto “the leader must not fall.” Imagine sport climbing without leader falls. The first rope I bought was a bright pink Edelweiss 12mm tank. If I had it to do over again, I’d buy that same rope. The current crop of skinny ropes are great to haul around, but don’t take the abuse of a good old fat string. We are trading durability for lightness in our climbing gear. Now days, I love the 9.8mm ropes. They slither up routes really well, and feed through my belay device with ease, and if I take care of them, last long enough. If you are looking for a rope to abuse out sport climbing or dragging up a big wall, consider something with some meat to it. Many people ask me about Dry Treatments. My stock answer is that if it rains where you climb, or you are going to drag your climbing rope into the mountains or out ice climbing, then get the best super duper dry treatment you can. If you climb here in the Black Hills where its dry as ever on most days, save your cash to buy a cold drink at the end of a hot day climbing Devils Tower.
Eliminator 10.2 Rock Climbing Rope review – These ropes used to be the work horses of Sylvan Rocks Climbing School. Believe it or not, falling is part of learning to climb, and these ropes seem to take the abuse in stride. The only Eliminator we had to retire early was the one Cheryl put her crampon spike through. These ropes are a great mix of light weight and durability. Consider this… it only weighs 3 grams more per meter then the Glider 9.9mm, and I can tell you, its a heck of a lot more durable. The only reason we started buying other ropes is that we had so many Eliminators that we needed ropes in new colors to keep them all straight. Now that Blue water has new colors, we will see a fresh batch here in the spring. Update: We have started running almost all 9.8mm ropes. The Eliminator is a great string, but the staff just like the skinny lines. I can’t say that after a months use in a double blind test – any of them could tell the difference, but that is another story.
Sterling Climbing Ropes
Marathon Pro 10.1 Rock Climbing Rope review- We bought several of these this spring in the 70 Meter variety, and are very satisfied with the performance and durability. They have a nice mix of stiffness and suppleness that makes tying in comforting. Ropes that are to stiff don’t seem to hold a knot as well, and nobody likes that.
Evolution Velocity 9.8 Rock Climbing Rope review – Our staffs favorite ropes. Matt, our head guide has carried a set of these around for most the season, and speaks highly of them. If I can buy a 9.8mm rope that stands up to a season of abuse like that, I’ll buy them again and again. They kept there shape, didn’t fuzz out, get fat, or have the sheath stretch off. Best of all, Matt said they were easy on his precious joints, and pulled through his device easy. If you have ever spent a week or several months climbing and belaying every day, you quickly understand the importance of not wasting energy belaying. We buy the non dry ropes and have fine luck with them.
Fusion 9.8 Rock Climbing Rope review – Also a solid preforming climbing rope from Sterling. First impression is that they are a bit on the limp side. I like ropes with a little stiffness to them. Time has shown that these ropes hold up as good as the Velocity. We have burned up several pairs of them. At the end of the day, the Velocity seems to be the favorite. The velocity is slightly less expensive and for whatever reason we like the stiffer hand. Take that whatever way you want to.
New England – Maxim Climbing Ropes
Glider 9.9 Rock Climbing Rope review- These ropes are great. We are ordering more and more of them. A little more expensive then some of the strings in our line up, but I agree with Rock & Ice Climbing Magazine – ” a fabulous feel with out being soft and mushy…noticeably reduces drag…joy to handle…” Plus the tight stiff sheath wears well. If you can find the non dry treated bi-color it is a GREAT deal. If you climb in wet or snowy conditions, go ahead and pay for the treatment, and you will love this rope. UPDATE: this is my wife Cheryls and I’s favorite climbing rope for our personal trips, but for the schools use on the sharp abrasive rocks in the Needles of Custer State Park, the Sterlings just seem to hold up a bit better over time. The Glider Ropes from Maxim seem to end up getting core shots quicker when used day in and day out to guide with. At a place like Devils Tower, I think they would last a very very long time and make the guides there quite happy.
Apex 9.9 Rock Climbing Rope review – Worst ropes we’ve ever bought. The weave is loose and they had holes in the sheath within weeks… one had to be retired after just days. It amazed me that one rope company could have both our most favorite and least favorite ropes. Total waste of money!
Petzl Nomand rope review – Over the years, Petzl has made some of my favorite climbing gear of all time. In short, the climbing ropes that we have used from them have been less then stunning. They have a great hand, excellent technical stats, but at the end of the day, they don’t hold up as well as others we have used. They are fairly new to the rope manufacturing game and I expect them to improve and continue to hold their status as they do in other areas of climbing gear. As far as a value. Remember, they are all dry treated, so when comparing ropes, if you want to compare prices. Remember to compare treated ropes with treated ropes etc. or the comparison is unfair. UPDATE: I think Petzl has greatly improved their ropes over time.
Mammut Tusk rope review – We bought a Mammut Tusk climbing rope to review from Granite Sports last year, and Cheyenne has put it through the paces by using it as his primary guide rope and it still looks great. Long story shore…after several months of guiding, I’d take a whipper on it any time. That rope is holding up very very well. If you are willing to pay a bit more for your string, I think that the Mammut is totally worth the money, and we may very well be seeing more of them at the school. The crystals that make this place so great for climbing are tough on rocks, and this rope has stood up to them with flying colors.