In short, my favorite rope so far.
I used to be a Sterling Rope athlete, in fact they were my first sponsor. I appreciate this company and have enjoyed climbing on their ropes. I came to know the company and their ropes when a friend introduced me at an event they were hosting at the New River Gorge. I value the fact that this company is invested in quality ropes and more importantly in bringing people together to experience climbing. They surprised me with an athlete sponsorship announcement at the party on the last day of that event. I was overjoyed! It’s an honor to represent a company, especially companies that give so much back to their communities and their athletes.
When I became a Petzl athlete, and Petzl started making ropes, I moved away from Sterling and started using Petzl ropes. It’s nice when an athlete can be exclusive to a brand, especially when the brand can provide the athlete everything they need. While it was sad to leave Sterling, using the Petzl ropes as they sorted out their growing pains with their new rope line taught me a lot about what I like and want in a rope. Over the years, I’ve climbed on Mammut, Edelrid, Beal, and others, yet, I still prefer the Sterling line. This year, Sterling gave me two of their newest ropes to try out and review.
Carolyn, the CEO of Sterling Rope, informed me on all of the latest innovations put into this rope. That was last spring so I can’t remember all or exactly what she said. However, I can tell that this rope handles differently than the ones I used previously. My previous two favorite ropes from Sterling used to be the Velocity 9.8mm (my workhorse rope) and the Ion 9.2mm (my redpoint rope). I remember my boyfriend at the time not being excited to climb on these ropes because the sheaths would turn black and that black would rub off onto anything it touched. I would have black streaks on my clothes and it really was an ugly side affect to an otherwise really good rope. The black was a result of the treatment used on the sheaths to protect the core from dirt and other elements–a positive attribute for a rope. Also, I’d had only one of my Nanos core shot after some friends were climbing on it, falling on sharp carabiners. Don’t do this! Check your gear. Thin ropes are thin and can cut easier than thicker ropes.
I’ve been using the Aero 9.2mm exclusively, as my training rope and redpoint rope, since I got it late spring. It’s well worn in but I love it! And, I hear a lot of praise from others who I let use it. For one thing, the treatment on the sheath has changed and the rope is no longer black. It’s dirty, but not unlike any other rope that has seen it’s time outside all summer and had the use mine has had. This rope runs smooth, really smooth when it’s brand new, but the feeding of the rope is nice through a grigri (must use a grigri 2 because of the diameter of the rope). Finally, the rope has some give in it that helps to soften a lead fall, which for someone light like myself appreciates in case the belayer doesn’t give a good soft catch.
I love the changes put into this rope and have really enjoyed climbing on it this season. It’s still got a lot of life left in it so I don’t anticipate retiring it anytime soon. Everyone who has used this rope with me agrees, this rope is awesome!
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