While Petzl’s initial foray into ropes was met with mixed reviews, there is no question that they mean business with the 2.0 version of their rope line. I picked up a 70m Arial 9.5 to test out, as I’d previously tried the old 9.4 Petzl Fuse, and was curious to see what had changed. This is what I found.
The handle is beautifully soft and supple, easily moving through the Gri Gri, but thick enough there’s no unnecessary fear about it not locking up in the device. Petzl credits this to their EverFlex treatment, which is a heat process they say stabilizes the core strands. They must be pretty darn stable, ‘cause this thing feels NICE.
I hadn’t been out to the canyon in a while, and was getting back into the swing of sport climbing. I pitched off the crux of a familiar route, a wonderful lob into space that is always easy on the nerves. The catch was delightfully soft, like floating on a cushion of air. (Tip: it helps to have a good belayer, a hard catch is a hard catch, regardless of what kind of rope you have.)
Most of their new cords get the Duratec Dry treatment, which not only helps repel H2O, but also keeps dirt and grime at bay. That being said, I do have some concerns with durability, as I’ve already got some fuzzies towards one end, which seems a little premature given how many days I have on it. Our local winter crag does have really sharp rock, so it may just be a function of that, but it’s something I’ll keep an eye on and update this review as necessary.
Aside from the 9.5 Arial, there’s also a 10.1, 9.8 and 9.2 single ropes, and 8.5, 8.2 and 7.7 for folks who like doubles, so no matter what you are looking for, there’s a rope to fit your needs. The 9.5 diameter has come to be one of my favorite sizes, thin enough to feel sporty, but still thick enough you won’t trash it in a weekend (which I’ve done with skinnier ropes.)
Three and a half out of four stars. The Arial has excellent handling, the catch is soft and the 9.5 diameter means you can use it for just about anything, except maybe big wall climbing. My only concern is how quickly I’m seeing some fuzz, but time will tell if it’s a one time event or a sign of things to come. Regardless, these are some quality cords that shouldn’t take long to establish themselves as premier climbing ropes.
Retail on the Arial (70m) is $260, you can get more info and purchase online here.
Disclaimer: Wait! Before you go handing over your credit card number, ask yourself, do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!