Gearbox: 2024 Ropes

Tech Talk: Roped Up

For ski mountaineering, the distinction between static and dynamic ropes is key. Depending on your needs—rappelling, climbing or glacier travel—different lines thrive. Here’s what you need to know before picking the right rope for you.

Dynamic Lines: Half & Twin Ropes

Narrower, and therefore lighter, than a standard climbing rope, half and twin ropes (7.5-8.5 millimeters) are not meant to support a fall on their own. They are two-rope systems, designed to be used in pairs. These ropes are dynamic, meaning they can stretch, making them suitable for catching a fall. Best for: the skier looking to climb who wants a single set of ropes.
Static Lines:

Unlike twin and half ropes, static lines aren’t dynamic, meaning they don’t stretch. Because of this, static lines can’t be used for vertical rock or ice climbing. They’re reserved for walking on glaciers and rappelling. While they aren’t as versatile as dynamic ropes, they are lighter. Best for: the skier who isn’t looking to climb or the skier and climber with a quiver of ropes.

Mammut 7.5 Alpine Sender Dry

“Can’t lose track of these bad boys—especially the neon orange,” our tester said of Mammut’s brightly colored 7.5 Alpine Sender Dry Rope. Just 38 grams per meter (5 pounds at 60 meters), this 7.5-millimeter half/twin certified rope is light and dynamic for ski missions. “Far better than slinging a 9-millimeter climbing rope while touring, but still meets my ski mountaineering needs,” she said. Thanks to Mammut’s Dry finishing, she found the Sender “durable and water repellent,” and was impressed by the test-confirmed, tangle-free performance, though she said, a clean flake took some coaxing initially.

Sterling Dyad Xero

This 7.7-millimeter, half/twin-certified rope weighs in at just 39 grams per meter or about 5 pounds per 60-meter rope. “I’m good carrying that all day,” our tester said, “which can’t be said about all ropes.” Sterling claims its Send-Ready Coil is good out of the packaging, though our tester found the Dyad far more supple after a few pretour flakes. “But they’re a great kink-free option once they’re broken in,” he said. Having spent lots of time in the wet Cascades, he’s a stickler for a good dry rope, and he said the Xeros treatment, which the company claims is more durable and ecofriendly than other methods, held up swimmingly.

Edelrid Rap line

Is it static or dynamic? Yes. German rope maker Edelrid has perhaps created the most versatile accessory cord. “Glacier travel and rappels are a breeze with this,” our tester said. At 31 grams per meter, it’s a bit stouter than others in its class, but that extra weight comes from aramid that gives it better cut resistance, per Edelrid. “The dry treatment kept it from getting waterlogged even in sloppy summer snow,” our tester said. What sets it apart is the twin-rope certification for two falls, which comes from a dynamic safety reserve. “That means I can leave behind heavier half ropes for lines with short technical climbs,” our tester said excitedly.

Petzl RAD line

At 22 grams per meter, our tester deemed the 30-meter option as light enough to live in her pack and the 60-meter as ideal for a “just in case” piece of equipment while exploring unknown alpine zones. She noted some pig tailing but found the 6-millimeter cord was supple enough that she could push them to the ends while coiling. After dropping her kiwi coiling and losing the ends, she was impressed that detangling 60 meters was only “mildly infuriating.”

These reviews were originally published in Issue No. 157. To read more, pick up a copy, or subscribe to read our gear reviews when they’re first published in print.

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