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Skinny Rope Recommendations Please
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By stow
Nov 29, 2012
portion control

I'm retiring my 9.1 Beal Joker after 3 full seasons. I only used it for sport redpoint attempts (and, to be fair, working sessions after failed redpoint attempts) and had to chop the ends 4x (2x for core shots, 2x for extreme fuzziness and softness) so I need a new one. There are a lot of new lightweight ropes out there and I was going to try another, hopefully more durable, skinny rope. I'm fine with how these below rated ropes work in GriGris and Cinches but am interested in the hand and sheath durability.

Was wondering if anyone had any good or bad experience with:

Sterling Nano 9.2 ($150 for 60M at Alpenglow!)
Mammut Serenity 8.9
the new Bluewater Icon 9.1 (this looks pretty good and $189 for a 70M at backcountry)
Edelweiss Performance 9.2
Millet Absolute Pro 9

Thanks!


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Nov 29, 2012
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

I liked the 9.2 nano much better than I liked the joker for handing and wear. My experience with Bluewater and Millet (in particular) these days would have me inclined to try those though. My last bluewater 9.4 was right up there with my old Millet 9.5 as the best two ropes I've owned. Years of life as workhorse ropes. I can not be sure this translates to skinnier ropes though.


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By Superclimber
Nov 29, 2012

I've been watching for deals on the Nano or Serenity. Maybe the Joker. I've read all good things about these. The Serenity is pretty sexy at 6.8 lbs for a 60m. Haven't actually used any of them tho.


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By todd w
Nov 29, 2012

get a 10 mm and stop blaming your rope for not sending.


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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Nov 29, 2012
11th hour of the Sundial

I currently use the joker like you were using, but for alpine rather than sport climbing. personally I'd add the Maxim Airliner to the list, 9.1 same weight as the joker and so far showing to be a whole lot tougher of a sheath, probably the toughest skinny sheath on the market.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Nov 29, 2012
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

todd w wrote:
get a 10 mm and stop blaming your rope for not sending.

Thank you for your wisdom and useful information.

1990 called and said: "10.2, are you crazy? Go buy an 11mm you idiot." I remember my first ropes in the 80's. My 11mm and my "skinny" 10.5. I don't think 10mm ropes came around as singles until about 1996. I recall my first 9.8 in perhaps 2002. It felt skinny at the time. My standard bearer for the last 5 years has been a 9.4. (Bluewater Dominator)

Sometimes it's not about the send, it's about the bad knees and the long hike.


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By frankstoneline
Nov 29, 2012

todd w wrote:
get a 10 mm and stop blaming your rope for not sending.

Right! why would you buy groceries at the store? get a knife and a loin cloth and hunt them on food or scrape them from the dirt! Heathens.

Another vote for the bluewater. my 9.7 and 9.4 are awesome, can only assume their skinnier ropes maintain the trend.


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By Kai Larson
From Sandy, Utah
Nov 29, 2012
Tour Ronde North Face

I've used Serenity ropes for a while. Really like them. Water-resistance is good, handling also good. Need a belay/rappell device that can handle smaller ropes.


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By Superclimber
Nov 29, 2012

Tony B wrote:
Sometimes it's not about the send, it's about the bad knees and the long hike.

Second that.


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By Superclimber
Nov 29, 2012

Kai Larson wrote:
I've used Serenity ropes for a while. Really like them. Water-resistance is good, handling also good. Need a belay/rappell device that can handle smaller ropes.

Reverso works well with my half ropes.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Nov 29, 2012
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Chris Miller wrote:
Reverso works well with my half ropes.

The 'Reversino' works even better.
The DMM 'Bugette' is my favorite small device though.


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By BJ Sbarra
From Carbondale, CO
Nov 29, 2012
el guapo

The Millet Absolute Pro 9 is a great rope, though it feels about the same in diameter as the Sterling 9.2 Nano. I'd go with either of those, especially for the durability aspect.


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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Nov 29, 2012
Crux roof on Freeway...

You consider the 9.2mm Mammut. It doesn't weigh that much more, works better with a GriGri/Cinch, and is little more durable.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 29, 2012

I've climbed on most of the skinny ropes on the market, and imho, the Nano is the best of the lot for handling and durability. Its still a 9.2mm, and you can destroy it quickly if you abuse it, but its a burly rope for its size- i've been using one off and on since they came out and still havent retired it.


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By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Nov 29, 2012
Thumbtastic

^^^I hear just the opposite from Desert Rock Sports-they said lots of complaints and returns on the nanos.

Bluewater Dominator 9.4 is a sick rope and I've retired them more out of paranoia than sheath or core issues after years of use, handle really nice also.

For what it's worth, Bluewater has been supporting ASCA replacement work in Red Rock by donating slings+ropes, personally that kind of thing matters to me, plus I've had really good experiences with all their ropes other than the 9.7s, which are still decent ropes for what I use them for.


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By dancesatmoonrise
Nov 29, 2012
avatar

Some minimal use on my Serenity. Sweet rope. Not sure how well it will hold up to harder use. Enjoyed it in the alpine this fall.

Climbed on a friend's Sterling. Nice rope as well.

Getting a lot of use out of the Mammut SuperSafe - hard sport abuse - fatter, heavier rope - but that's a different concept.


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By Rob Lilley
From Greensboro, NC
Nov 30, 2012
Bouldering at Stanage Edge, England.

I've been using a Serenity for alpine and trad for the last year and I've been very happy with it, it handles like a dream and isn't showing any real signs of wear yet. I've generally had very good experiences with Mammut ropes in the past, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a Serenity or perhaps the 9.2mm Revelation if I were in your shoes.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Nov 30, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Another vote for Bluewater. I don't have one on the skinny side, my thinnest is 9.9 but it's awesome. It's been dragged across rough slab, fallen on repeatedly, top-roped on, and generally abused for the past year and it looks and feels brand new.


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By Jeremy Hand
Nov 30, 2012
slopey

Jake Jones wrote:
Another vote for Bluewater. I don't have one on the skinny side, my thinnest is 9.9 but it's awesome. It's been dragged across rough slab, fallen on repeatedly, top-roped on, and generally abused for the past year and it looks and feels brand new.


+1 for the lightening


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By JMo
From Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 30, 2012
mayflower

Agree w John w that nano is durable for how skinny it is. Blue waters handle like butter tho. Depends on priority. But my edelweiss is a great mix of both qualities.


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By frankstoneline
Nov 30, 2012

Smarty Ports/Shants wrote:
... I've had really good experiences with all their ropes other than the 9.7s, which are still decent ropes for what I use them for.


Out of curiosity what issues have you had with your 9.7? mine has been a workhorse, and for the money probably my favorite rope I've ever owned.


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By stow
Dec 4, 2012
portion control

Thanks everyone for the feedback!

I couldn't get too much info on the Maxim Airliner unfortunately - which is a shame b/c I like their ropes despite the high impact rating.

Looks like the best deals (counting credits) right now are the Sterling Nano 80M for $200 or the Serenity 70M for $180.


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By Highlander
From Ouray, CO
Dec 4, 2012

Had a new nano and core shot it in a week climbing sierra alpine granite other than that I liked the feel of the rope just not that durable. Also core shot a blue water 9.4 dominator pulling it on a rappel in red rocks, had been a great rope up until that point
So far the most durable thinner ropes I have used would be the mammut infinity, and the sterling 9.8 velocity. Both have good feel are light enough and seem to last much longer than the really thin lines.

Best advice is to encourage your climbing partners to buy the really thin lines and climb on their ropes.


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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Dec 4, 2012
11th hour of the Sundial

it is pretty hard finding much info on the airliner, I know Liberty Mountian is the source of supply on it. but I have seen a couple reviews from climbers finding it to be a really tough skinny with maxims/NE's soft catch and without the excess stretch of most skinnys, some are even TRing on it and claiming it to hold up quite nicely


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By bearbreeder
Dec 4, 2012

consider that the serenity has a 30% sheath ... and the revelation is a bit thicker and has a 36% sheath

note that mammut ropes are conservative on the diameter ... basically the 9.5 infinity feels like a beal 9.7 ....

www.highinfatuation.com/blog/straight-from-the-mammoths-mout>>>

Rope Question #1:

Do ropes have different thicknesses of sheath, and why?

Dave:

First question might be why we have multiple ropes of the same diameter that outwardly seem “the same”—what’s the difference? The answer would be that we try to look at who is using our ropes—a beginner climber who is toproping a lot vs. a sport climber who is falling a lot on very overhanging routes vs. a trad climber who is climbing lots of granite cracks vs an ice climber—and design ropes that will give them the highest level of utility combined with light weight and durability.

Since each of the above mentioned climbers tend to ask different things of their ropes, and hence they may need very different propoerties in order to stand up to one form of abuse vs another. For instance, a sport climber who is projecting hard routes is taking a zillion falls that are all relatively short—that puts a huge amount of stress on one very small section of rope, and the rope simply loses its elastic properties there and goes flat. Contrast that to the trad climber who is falling much, much less, but is usually on terrain that is less than vertical—this subjects the rope much more to abrasion of the sheath. Then there’s the ice and alpine climber who virtually never falls, but is routinely dragging the rope over sharp edges, blocky terrain, getting it wet and drying it, etc.

If we build all of our ropes to make the sport climber happy—i.e. they hold a ton of test falls for their diameter—because we need to give up some elements of the rope in order to build a rope that can hold all those falls we might disappoint the other climbers who don’t need a rope to hold so many falls, they need different things from their ropes. One of the big differences between ropes will be how climbers wear it out—if they wear it out from falling a lot, or if they wear it out from abrasion on rough rock. Although there are other elements in play that we can use to affect these properties, one of the differences in construction we use that reflects these design priorities is the relative thicknesses of the core vs the sheath—we can make two 10mm ropes, one having a thin core and thick sheath, and the other having a thick core and thin sheath. All other things being equal, the rope with the thick core and thin sheath will hold more falls before going flat, but wear faster from abrasion; and vice versa.

For instance, our Genesis 8.5mm half ropes are designed for ice and alpine climbing. Climbers rarely fall in these situations but they do subject their ropes to incredible abrasion and they need them to be very cut-resistant. With these ropes we consider a high number of test falls held to be of relatively less importance, so we sacrifice the falls-held rating—which reflects to a large degree how long a rope will last under repeated hard falls—in order to build a rope that will be ultra-durable under very harsh abrasion conditions and will be more difficult to scrape through to the core. We do this in part by altering the tension the rope is braided under, the pattern of the braid, chemical treatments that are thermally applied during the heat-treating process, etc—but we also use a relatively thin core and a very thick sheath, because that helps the rope to be as durable as possible under these types of situations.

Some of our ultra-thin single ropes like the Serenity 8.9mm have a relatively thin sheath because even with all the tricks we can muster we still need a certain amount of core in order to pass the UIAA test for a single rope—in this case we use a thinner sheath to achieve a very low weight and thin diameter, but we do thins knowing that this is a very specialized rope that is only appropriate under very specific circumstances. In these cases they are used by very experienced climbers for hard sport climbs or alpine routes where they are willing to sacrifice a level of abrasion resistance in exchange for lighter weight—this is why we recommend that people do not use any of these very thin single ropes for workout climbing or toproping. People also need to recognize that even though these are single ropes, and even though the diameter is larger than our Genesis half ropes, under conditions where the main danger is cutting or abrasion the thicker rope might actually be LESS durable and have a lower safety margin.

People who are comparing two ropes of similar diameters can usually see this in the test results—Mammut publishes the % of each ropes weight that is sheath so that people can judge for themselves what rope they will be happiest with. If you fall a lot, choose a rope with a high fall rating; if you don’t fall that much then choose a ropes with a thicker sheath (and if the manufacturer doesn’t publish that info call them and ask for it!). If you climb both abrasive rock and you fall alot, then think about how you wore out your last rope—if it went flat 10 or 15 feet from the ends, then get the rope with the high fall rating for the size and if the rope just fuzzed up to the point it felt sketchy or fat or lost its dry treatment, then concentrate on a rope with a thick sheath and a compact weave.


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By Superclimber
Dec 4, 2012

That's good beta, thanks for posting.


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