While most climbers carefully seek out the perfect rock shoe fit and style to maximise their performance, says James Ibbertson, few apply the same logic to ropes. In the past his own rope selection criteria has been simple. "Which is the cheapest long rope in the shop?" Well ... colour may have come into it too - "Which is the cheapest long non-pink rope in the shop?" The potential impact a climbing rope could have on his performance and enjoyment never really came into it. Can the superlight and robust Edelrid Falcon rope persuade him to think differently?
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"...Although it costs more than I have previously spent on a climbing rope it is probably worth the extra pennies. Given the extra baggage cost on flights currently, it may even save you money!..."
Most serious climbers take great care in their selection of rock shoes, seeking out the perfect fit and style in order to maximize performance. In fact, most of us have several different pairs; each tailored to a specific rock type and style of climbing, and damn the expense! Why spend £80 when that £100 pair could make you climb a bit harder? Curiously, when it comes to rope selection, few apply this same logic. One rope is much the same as the other - isn't it?
Not according to Edelrid, who have been making high performance ropes for over 146 years, and take quality, safety and innovation very seriously. Their ropes are also very eco-friendly by the way - Edelrid are apparently the first rope manufacturer world-wide to fulfil the stringent 'bluesign®' standard, which guarantees that all raw materials and manufacturing processes are as environmentally friendly as possible.
"...Compared to other ropes I have used it handles exceedingly well; tending not to kink or jam..."
Extremely light yet robust, their Falcon rope is billed as 'ideal for hard routes, on-sight, flash or redpointing when every gram counts.' With its special Pro Shield treatment (designed to make the ropes stronger), the multi-talented Falcon can also tackle mixed routes and ice climbing. So how did it perform?
Initially the 9.4mm rope proved very slick and great care was needed when using a GriGri as it could be slow to catch. However, after a little use the Falcon wore in and this was no longer a problem. (Ed's note - the GriGri is designed to be used with ropes between 10-11mm diameter. It is not certified or recommended on ropes thinner than 10mm. The Edelrid Eddy belay device, reviewed in comparison to the GriGri here by Adrian Berry, can be used with single ropes from 9-11mm diameter.)
Compared to other ropes I have used it handles exceedingly well; tending not to kink or jam. Edelrid's Thermo Shield treatment is designed to give the rope perfect handling properties. So there are no excuses for your mate 'hosing' you!
When climbing longer sports routes the weight and drag of a rope becomes much more noticeable. The Falcon does feel significantly lighter and runs smoother than many other ropes I have used, which makes a significant difference when making those crucial last clips.
The rope also repels dust and dirt relatively well, which I assume is due to the tight weave and dry finish. So far I have been impressed with its durability. It shows no signs of significant wear after intensive months of use.
"...For many modern sports routes, a longer rope is now essential. Commonly routes can be 40 + metres per pitch and a longer rope can literally be a life saver. Significantly, this lightweight rope performs well as a twin rope with an ATC. So, for any trip where you are mixing trad with sport it is a good choice..."
Edelrid Falcon Rope
For many modern sports routes, a longer rope is now essential. Commonly routes can be 40 + metres per pitch and a longer rope can literally be a life saver. Significantly, this lightweight rope performs well as a twin rope with an ATC. So, for any trip where you are mixing trad with sport it is a good choice.
Although the Edelrid Falcon cost more than I have previously spent on a climbing rope it is probably worth the extra pennies. Given the extra baggage cost on flights currently, it may even save you money!
PRICES 50m - £139, 60m - £166, 70m - £194, 80m £222
About James IbbertsonJames Ibbertson or 'Ibbo' as he is known to his friends, is 35 and based in Otley.
As an accomplished and enthusiastic rock climber with nearly 20 years experience, he describes himself as being most proud of climbing grit routes on-sight or ground up - flashing 'Three Blind Mice' and 'Desperate Dan' as well as climbing others ground up such as 'Balance It Is' and 'Shine On.'
Flashing French 8a and climbing font 8a must also feature highly.
James describes other notable achievements as leaving Doncaster(!) and surviving nights out drinking with Owen (Tomkins).
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by James Ibbertson: