A rope is a rope right? Not much difference between them? Well, actually there is. Some handle better than others, some are more durable, some can take more falls, some give you a softer catch, some are more resistant to abrasion over sharp edges, some recover quicker after a fall, some have specific climbing uses, some are all purpose. Want to learn more about ropes? Try this: Everything You Wanted to Know About Ropes, and if you want to get technical try this: Fall Factors Explained.
Ropes are getting thinner, lighter and stronger as technology develops, as well as handling better and lasting longer. Below is some news about ropes from the OutDoor Show.
DMM, working with Beal ropes, have developed a range of DMM ropes for the UK market. These aren't rebranded Beal ropes - Beal ropes are distributed in the UK by Lyon Equipment - but are a new range being built to DMM's own specifications. The DMM ropes aim to balance the durability needed to cope with tough British rock and weather conditions while still retaining ease of handling and, importantly, low impact forces so that you get a soft catch if you fall off. The prices look competitive.
The range, available January 2011:
DMM Resolution 8.5mm
An 8.5mm half-rope for traditional and alpine climbing. Available with either a Classic or an Omnidry finish. (Omnidry ropes feature a durable dry treatment on both the core and sheath). Available in 50m and 60m lengths.
Suggested Retail Price: £105 to £143
DMM Statement 10mm
This is a 10mm single rope that combines great durability and performance. Available with either a Classic or an Exodry finish. (Exodry ropes feature a durable dry treatment on sheath). Available in 50m/60m/70m/80m lengths.
Suggested Retail Price: £105 to £150
DMM Prodigy 9.8mm
A lightweight, but durable 9.8mm single rope for sport climbing. Tough enough for working routes and red-pointing, but light enough for on-sights where every gram counts. Available with either an ExoDry or an Omnidry finish. Available in 50m/60m/70m/80m lengths.
Suggested Retail Price: £140 to £225
DMM New Breed 9.4mm
A lightweight sports rope that is ideal for on-sighting and red-pointing whilst being equally at home in the mountains. Light, supple and yet really tough. Available with an Omnidry finish. Available in 50m/60m/70m lengths.
Suggested Retail Price: £138 to £189
Also available from DMM are scrambling ropes, wall ropes, static ropes and accessory cords.
Mammut ropes were previously distributed by DMM. Now the whole range of products is under one roof in Macclesfield and Chris Nichols and new recruit Tom Cain (who used to work for Wild Country), are in charge of Mammut's climbing products.
New for 2011 is Mammut's 10mm Vertex Rope, improving on the popular Passion with an improved fall rating and reduced weight, which results in a safer and lighter rope.
Available in 40m, 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m and 500m lengths.
Impact Force: 9.1 kN
Weight: 63 g/m.
Great price too: SRP of £95.
Also available are the Clima 9.5mm and Apex 10.5mm.
Joining the Beal Joker, Mammut Serenity and the Millet Absolute Pro is the Edelrid Swift Pro Line: an 8.9mm triple certificate rope that can be used as a single, twin and half-rope. You can use it as a single sport rope, double for trad climbing and as a twin on alpine/ice routes.
Impact Force: 8.8 kN
Falls: 5 (as a single rope)
Price: 50m £160, 60m £190, 70m: £210, 80m: £240
Environmentally Friendly Ropes
EDELRID is the first rope company world wide to successfully certify its ropes under the stringent bluesign® Standard, which means that throughout all production procedures, all raw materials from the single fibres through to treatments are vetted, ensuring only the most environmentally friendly processes possible are used.
Every component is assessed from the yarn through to the treatment process and receives a rating based on its eco toxicological impact eliminating potentially harmful substances before production even begins. After winning the Outdoor Industry award in July 2009, Edelrid was awarded the ECO Responsibility Award at the Winter ISPO 2010.
Sterling Rope, well established in the USA and in mainland Europe, have entered the UK market distributed by Si Berry and Beta Climbing Designs. Sterling are based in Biddeford, Maine and are one of the few companies that personally hand-check each rope by the hands of a real person before they are bagged and shipped. Chris Sharma is one of their boys as are Sonnie Trotter, Will Gadd and Nicolas Favresse - hey they have no Brits on board yet!
Available at several retailers in the UK are the Evolution Dueto (an 8.4mm half-rope in 50m or 60m); the Evolution Velocity (a 9.8 sport/single rope that Chris Sharma uses to work routes) and the Fusion Nano (a 9.2 single rope for redpoints and onsights). Then the workhorse of the range is the Marathon Pro - a 10.2mm single rope similar to the Mammut Galaxy.
Tendon presented their new colour designs to classic rope models in the range at Friedrichshafen, and they met with a great response. Other new products that will be appreciated by users of static ropes in particular are the new 'Static' with a diameter of 9 mm which is certified as a type A rope and 'Static' 12 mm which meets the requirements of the NFPA standard.