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The Best New Climbing Ropes

Having scoured the conference floor at the OutDoor 2015 Trade Show it seems that there will be very few true innovations in the field of ropes for the 2015/16 season. This is only to be expected; game-changing technology doesn't come along every single year. What we did see however were ropes getting lighter and ropes getting thinner. While this happens pretty much every year and isn't much to write home about, there were a couple of novel ropes/ranges that caught our eye.

The Edelrid Parrot, while undoubtedly an interesting product, will hardly seem like an innovation to those who can remember the Mammut Transformer. Both ropes take sections of yarn that were previously thrown away during the production process and 'upcycle' them into useable ropes. Whereas the Mammut Transformer's upcycled yarns were transfer sections produced in the dying process, The Parrot is constructed from the left-over segments of yarn from the manufacture of Edelrid's other ropes. Like the Transformer, the unique combination of yarn used to produce each rope means that no two Parrot ropes are alike, a definite benefit if you're worried about mixing up your rope with someone else's. While not a truly original idea, it's great to see Edelrid picking up the environmental baton and reducing waste in their production process. With a retail price of just 130€, hopefully the Parrot proves popular enough to inspire other rope manufacturers to follow suit.   

With the full range of ropes from Beal covering such a wide spectrum of uses the company have broken down their ropes into three broad categories aimed at three broad groups of climbers. Their Active Range is targeted towards the indoor climber and those who head outside occasionally. The majority of these ropes are singles and range from thinner sport climbing ropes to thicker workhorse ropes designed for frequent indoor use.

The second of Beal's new rope categories is the Intensive Range, designed for the outdoor rock climber tackling trad, sport and/or longer routes such as multi-pitch climbs or big walls. All of the ropes in this range are dry treated and the majority of them feature Beal's Unicore technology (a linking of core and sheath) meaning that they are ideal for standing up to both bad weather conditions and higher levels of ware. As the name of the range suggests, these ropes are designed for more frequent use and will suit those climbers who are frequently heading outside to climb.

Last but not least (in fact it has the most ropes of any of the categories), is the Mountain Range. Built primarily for those climbing in the high mountains, this range boasts Beal's 'Golden Dry' treatment which meets with the UIAA requirements to qualify as water repellent. Given that the range is being pushed towards alpinists, it also contains the greatest number of half ropes as well as Beal's two triple-rated offerings, the Opera and the Joker. 

While these are merely broad categories and many of the ropes function well outside of their suggested settings this is undoubtedly a useful way for Beal to guide their customers and make sure that they find the ideal rope to suit their needs. We won't be surprised if other rope manufacturers are soon dividing up their ropes in a similar manner.

And as ever, there were also plenty of ropes that were lighter and thinner than ever before...though we're still a little unsure about Tendon's new method of weight comparison.

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