This year UKClimbing and UKHillwalking sent four reporters to OutDoor 2011. In the first report, Sarah Stirling introduced the show and announced the Outdoor Industry Award Winners 2011 - REPORT: OutDoor 2011 Europe's Biggest Gear Event. In the second installment, sound recordist Alan James covered Rock Shoes in his own words, and captured some of the big players on video. Next Dan Bailey pitched in with some news on Camping Gear. In this fourth instalment, Alan James takes a look at developments in ropes.
Ropes have undergone some major technical improvements in recent years. They are thinner, more durable and handle better than the top ropes of only a few years ago. Belay devices have had to be re-designed to take account of the new ropes such has been the pace of development. This year's OutDoor Show 2011 had some interesting new developments on show.
First off, like many rope manufacturers, Mammut are making efforts to reduce waste and help the environment and they presented us with a new rope, a 9.8mm SuperDRY single rope called the Transformer. What's special about this? It is made from what are called transfer yarns. When the sheath yarns are dyed by the yarn dyer, the change from one colour to another during this process - say from red to blue - means that you get long stretches of yarn that are neither one colour or another, but a mix. These multi-coloured yarns are usually disposed off. Mammut have secured a deal with the yarn dyer to buy these multi-coloured tansfer yarns and are using them to make ropes, in this case the Transformer. Each rope is unique, a mix of different colours from the sheath to the core. A great use of a material that was once thrown away and comes in 60m and 70m lengths.
Over on the Sterling Rope stand they were excited about their new Photo Rope which at 7.8mm is one of the thinnest half ropes on the market. I was also lucky enough to bump into Chris Sharma who gave us a run down on his favourite ropes in this short video clip.
Also see - A Visit to Sterling Rope in Maine: How Ropes Are Made
and this comparative review
The Unicore dynamic climbing ropes from Beal caught our attention not least for the striking advertising.
Beal Diablo Uni Core rope
The Unicore static ropes were launched by Beal last year and now they have two Unicore dynamic climbing ropes. What is Unicore? It is a process that binds the core of a rope to its sheath by a using a thread of glue when the rope is braided. This means that rope slippage is eliminated, increases rope life and they say, that handling is improved. The Diablo Unicore 10.2 and 9.8 will be available soon. We have both on test and will be reporting back.
One of the heavyweights of rope making in Europe is Edelrid - years of experience and a huge range of ropes. For the UK this year an interesting new product Boa 9.8mm rope. This is described as a good introductory sub 10mm rope and features Edlerid's own Thermo Shield treatment (a heat treatment that prolongs the longevity of the supple rope handling). It also uses the new DuoTec process which provides a permanent middle marker.
Edelrid Boa 9.8mm rope
Also see this UKC comparative review
Tendon's Master range are the top of the line of their collection - extremely light ropes with a small diameter and low weight, for the toughest sport climbing and for extreme ascents in the mountains. Big news for 2012 will be the arrival of their new 8.9 Master. It's a universal, versatile rope that is triple certified to work as a single, half or twin rope. It has a low weight of 52g / m and a Complete Shield finish. A complete double impregnation increases its life span and its resistance to moisture, abrasion and penetration of impurities into the rope.
This year, DMM have launched their own new range of ropes. DMM have distributed other rope brands in the UK for over 20 years, so they know the British market well and also know what makes a truly great rope. Read more in this news item - DMM's Rope Range Launches.
<a data-cke-saved-href="http://dmmclimbing.com/products/ropes/target=" href="http://dmmclimbing.com/products/ropes/target=" _blank'="">Read the ROPE REVIEW: Edelrid Swift, Tendon Ambition, Sterling Nano