/ REVIEW: Ocun Spirit 9.5mm Rope
Sounds very similar to the Mammut Infinity Protect. Price is also almost the same (the Ocun is slights more expensive not considering any rebates). On the Ocun website it says it's PFC free and the Mammut is bluesign certified.
The Ocun seems to give a much softer catch (7.4 kN instead of 8.4). Information concerning the sheath percentage of the Ocun would be interesting.
I thought if it's not Beal it must be rubbish
I honestly find it quite strange to refer to 9.5 as 'skinny' considering the prevalence of much thinner single ropes on the market. At the mega skinny end the Beal Opera 8.5, Edelrid Canary 8.6 and Mammut Serenity 8.7 - granted these ropes are certainly more specialised towards alpine and high end redpointing (incidentally making some of the most bomber 'half' ropes that you can buy) but they do hold up well to extended use. I've a 50m Canary and it is absolutely brilliant for alpine and hard multipitch. I don't trash it projecting but it has certainly taken some abuse without complaining.
At the somewhat skinny end we have ropes like the Edelrid Swift 8.9, Beal Joker 9.1, Petzl Volta 9.2. These are all perfect redpoint ropes that can also take some serious abuse without getting trashed really quickly. Some climbing partners of mine use the Volta exclusively due to the durability vs handling.
In comparison, ropes like the Spirit, or the comparable Mammut Infinity are workhorses IMO. I have a strong feeling that aside from gym climbing, the days of the 9.8-10mm rope are numbered.
However, a slight caveat - this is a somewhat 'european' based opinion where a 60m rope is considered short and a route length of 40-50m is relatively common. I remember when climbing in the UK I very rarely needed more than a 50m rope, in which case the thicker diameter does present less disadvantages in comparison to the gains in durability.
Not really sure where I was going with this other than that I feel surprised these days when 9.5 counts as skinny.
I think you're right that a case could be made for a certain diameter of single rope being classified as 'skinny'.
However in this review I've just used my experience of the sport climbing ropes I've climbed with and, compared to those and the other ropes I see people using at the wall and crag in the UK, the Spirit seems skinny. In addition, it's slimmer than the ropes we tested in our Midrange Sport Ropes group-test so I suppose in the UKC hivemind it would also be considered skinny. Whether or not this anecdotal observation would justify it being classified as skinny in a comparison chart of different sport ropes is another matter but the Spirit does seem quite skinny to me!
I tend to use 9.8's at work these days for workhorse ropes. Something that'll take some abuse and get jugged on as well. They last well considering they get used daily. Rock Climbing Instructor courses, learn to lead courses, that kind of thing. I definitely consider these chunky ropes. Someone on my last course brought what I guess was 10.5-11mm, felt like we should be mooring a boat with it!
If I'm guiding on singles, like two clients on Dream or something I'll use 9.1's and think of these as just about skinny these days.
Personal climbing on singles my sport ropes are mostly 9.1mm but have a "fat" 9.5mm too.
That's a lot of waffle, to say I don't reckon 9.5mm is skinny..!
I thought I'd pitch in here, simply because it's an interesting discussion.
When it comes to skinny I almost think there's two tiers: there's the long/skinny ropes you're likely to use in Europe and there's the short/skinny ropes you're likely to use in the UK.
For the former, you'd realistically be expecting these to be in/around the 8.9-9.2mm marker. When it comes to falls/durability, because you're on longer pitches (i.e. >30-40m+) if you do fall it's likely to have quite a low impact force because there's a whole lot of rope out - as such it won't wear as quickly.
For the latter, I would say these are likely to be in.around the 9.2-9.5mm marker. If you're climbing routes places such as the Catwalk at Malham, LPT, or the Cornice then the routes are short + hard - hence you're likely to accelerate the wear dramatically. I must admit that I'm still using a 10mm for routes of this nature because of this: anything skinnier wears far too quickly.
Finally, in the eyes of your average climber I still think that the vast majority are buying 10mm singles and 8.5mm half ropes; however, this is changing and I would expect - were the sales research ever to be made avaialble - that the diameter has decreased (i.e. from 10.5mm and 9mm respectively), and will continue to decrease to something nearer 9.5-9.8mm and 8.2-8.3mm, over time.
Either way, I can see where Theo is coming from.
I'm rather inclined to agree that this is perhaps a euro-centric view - although I must say in the Frankenjura I tend to use a 9.5 even though the routes are far shorter.
I must say from a work perspective customers I speak to are mostly buying 9.8mm or less, unless it's for gym climbing, in which case the 10mm ropes still do very well.
There was a thread recently on the Facebook big wall climbing group (if I recall correctly) where a chap was bemoaning that his 7.5mm Mammut Twilight halves were wearing really fast, but was singularly against the idea of simply using two skinny triple rated ropes such as the Beal Opera.
Personally I've centralised in both respects, in that I tend to use 9.5 or skinnier singles but prefer triple rated for use on alpine terrain - either a single or double. The flexibility and increased durability is so worthwhile in my opinion!
Seb Bouin has made the second ascent of Adam Ondra's Move (9b/+) at Flatanger, Norway. The route is 55m long and can be divided into three sections: 20m of 8b that leads to a kneebar rest, followed by 20m of 8c+/9a to an uncomfortable knee bar and finally a...