Beal JOKER 9.1mm UNICORE
After having been the first thin rope on the market to meet the requirements for all three standards for dynamic ropes, Beal JOKER will now benefit from the latest UNICORE technology.
Tendon is a relatively recent name on the UK climbing rope market, and based on the performance of the 'Master' 9.2mm I have recently been testing, the brand looks set to take the high-end climbing rope market in Britain by storm.
Allcord, the UK distributor for Tendon ropes, gives this introduction to the ropes on their website:
"Tendon is the new name for the range of dynamic and static ropes developed specifically for the climbing market by the long-established Czech Republic rope maker Lanex. From ultra light 7.9mm half/twin ropes for hard-core alpinists to extra durable 11mm ropes for group use, the Tendon range covers it all. Unique features available include: Teflon® protection to the yarns; SBS braiding system whereby every strand of the sheath is braided individually, not as a pair which is normal. This creates ropes which are more wear-resistant and smoother to handle."
The model I have been testing is the thinnest rope in the 'Master' series, which at 9.2mm enters the specialist market for superlight single ropes: these are ropes designed specifically for climbing long (usually sport) pitches in excess of 30 metres. On such routes, reducing rope drag and weight using a thinner and lighter rope has become the norm, and most of the major rope makers including Mammut, Beal, Edelrid and Infinity have launched ultra-thin single ropes to cater for the requirements of modern sport climbers.
Having used the Master 9.2mm intensively for several weeks in two of Europe's premier sport climbing areas - France's Gorge Du Tarn and Spain's Mascun Gorge, Rodellar - I am convinced that it is the best superlight single rope I have used to date. It handles perfectly, being extremely supple and very easy to clip with. More impressive, though (since most of the flagship ropes of major brands perfom like this when new) my 70-metre Master 9.2mm is still handling and performing as well now as when it was fresh off the reel, having easily withstood the abuse of a few thousand metres of European limestone, and more than a few big falls! I have never used a climbing rope that has withstood this level of use / abuse so effectively.
At £130 (SRP) for the 70m 9,2mm Master, Tendon are aiming straight for the top end of the market. Judging by the performance of this rope, the Czech manufacturer is likely to become a benchmark against which the top-end ropes of other leading brands are judged.
See below for the technical details of the Master 9.2mm:rope diameter (mm) 9.2 weight (g/m) 53 number of UIAA falls 5-6 max. impact force (kN) 6.8 sheath slippage (mm) 0 static elongation (%) 9 dynamic elongation (%) 35 knotability 0.8