The Ocun Spirit is a great all-round single rope for sport climbing, top-roping and trad climbing. Despite its relatively skinny diameter at 9.5mm, over months of sustained use it has proved to be durable and continues to handle very smoothly. When I'm looking for a single rope I have three criteria which are all related and affect each other: durability, handling and weight. How did the Spirit hold up?
To put things in to perspective, 9.5mm is quite skinny for a single rope, skinnier in fact than the ropes we tested in our Midrange Sport Ropes group test. However, I held the Spirit to the same standards and I used it in the way that most climbers would use a single rope: I used it for climbing down the wall over the winter, for sport climbing in Spain and in the UK, for top-roping and for the occasional trad pitch. This included hundreds of pitches climbed, lots of falls taken, and being dragged through the dust of many Spanish sport crags.
All in all the Spirit has worn very well for quite a skinny rope. The rope as a whole is in great condition and looks almost new: with the 'pinch test' you can tell that's there's still lots of life left, there are no unexpected burrs or nicks, and the rope is still its lovely bright pink colour, having avoided taking on a lot of dirt or dust during its use. As can be expected after months of use there are sections of rope closer to the ends, the parts which form your tie-in knot, which are getting a bit fluffier. Using the pinch test I can tell that these areas will probably need chopping off after another month or so of use, but this kind of wear is to be expected and it is not found in any unusual places. In short, the Spirit has worn well for a 9.5mm rope and I expect to get a lot more use out of it, even if I do need to make it slightly shorter.
Straight out of the box (well, once I'd straightened the rope out from the factory coiling), the Spirit has handled extremely well. It glides excellently through a belay device, whether that's a GriGri, ClickUp or regular ATC, which means it's a pleasure to use and doesn't cause any unnecessary drag or short roping. It is smooth to use but not to the extent of being slippery, there is enough friction to feel secure when belaying with it. A skinnier rope will usually handle better than a fatter rope, as it's lighter and has less contact with the belay device, so the Spirit has an advantage here, but the weave and finish on the outside of the rope certianly seem to help. I have actually had a few climbing partners comment on how nice the Spirit is to use.
A factor which can affect handling is how worn a rope is getting. If you've ever had the pleasure of using a particularly fluffy or dirty rope you'll know that these two factors can make it a pain to feed out rope. As the Spirit hasn't become fluffy (apart from the small section mentioned above) and hasn't taken on any dirt, probably due to its Dry and Protect Sheath Coating (you can find out more about Ocun ropes and their features here), its good durabiltiy has meant that it has continued to handle very well throughout its use.
The Spirit comes in at 60g/metre, so 3.6kg for the 60m version I have tested, which is very light for an all-round single rope. For reference, it's as light as the lightest rope in the Midweight Sport Ropes group test, although those ropes are generally thicker. In practice, such a light rope is great to climb with as it doesn't weigh you down, is great to belay with as it's nice and slick through your belay device and, most importantly some might say, is nice and light for carrying to the crag!
A few extras which the Spirit came with are worth mentioning: a rope pen to mark the the midpoint (or new midpoint if you cut your rope), some stickers to mark the end of your rope once it's been cut and a diary to write in the number of falls you've taken (!). The rope pen and stickers are nice touches and something I could see myself using, however the falls diary is perhaps a bit far for me! If you do like to keep a record of how much you use your gear this would be a welcome addition and it all contributes to the safety of your climbing.
The weight of a rope is relative to its diameter, and its diameter to its durability, so it's impressive that as a relatively light and skinny rope the Spirit manages to be quite durable. As you'd expect from a light skinny single rope the Spirit handles very well, aided by its weave and coating. I would definitely recommend the Spirit to anyone looking for a single rope for general onsighting, redpoint attempts and briefly working routes as the Spirit handles brilliantly, is very light and lasts well.
Excellent choice for versatile climbers - this is a rope with optimal diameter, low weight and long life. Designed for rock climbing in the summer and ice climbingin the winter. Ideal for competition climbers. Lightweight, small diameter, easy to handle. Excellent parameters in its category.
- Diameter: 9.5 mm
- Static elongation: 5.7 %
- Weight: 60 g/m
- Dynamic elongation: 38 %
- Number of falls UIAA: 9
- Knotability: 0.8
- Impact force: 7.4 kN
- Length (m): 40, 50, 60, 70, 80
- Sheath slippage: 0.0 %
For more info see ocun.com