Climbing ropes get no respect. They get thrown off ledges, trampled by dogs and forgotten in cars on hot summer days. And despite all this abuse, we expect them to save our ungrateful butts every time we pitch off our project or blow the on-sight burn. And they do, every time, never breaking, always catching. So, it is with great pleasure that I get to write about the Roca Endurance 9.6mm, a rope that exceeded expectations with its excellent handling and outrageous durability.
Roca is a Spanish company that was founded in 1891 by Joan Roca Ballesta. They soon became the leading Spanish rope manufacturer with most of their production consumed by the commercial market and navy. Then, in 1963, they started making braided polyamide climbing ropes. UIAA endorsement was obtained in 1970 and they are currently ISO 9001 certified.
My first impression of the Endurance 9.6mm, 70 meter non-dry (80 meter available in 2017) was echoed by everyone that laid eyes on the glowing cord during its first few months of use, “Holly sweet jesus that rope is bright!” Imagine vibrating electric yellow that is so defiant you’d think it was plugged into an electrical outlet. Interestingly, the glow seemed strangely pleasing and a number of people went out of their way to ask for the rope’s make and model. Now, six months on and one washing later, the Endurance’s pigment has matured into a more subdued, almost greenish shade reminiscent of oak tree leaves.
Roca builds the rope with their Endurance technology that they say will increase its life by 60%. Part of the magic is the sheath’s one-over-one weave pattern. This tight construction method keeps dirt from penetrating the rope’s surface, gives the Endurance a soft hand, and reduces carabiner and rock friction.
In the field, I found all these claims to be true. The rope’s soft and flexible nature mitigated drag and made clipping gear and belaying buttery smooth, while repetitive leader falls, abrasive rappels and monkeying around on top-rope did little to nick the sheath. These observations were not just my own as friends who climbed on the Endurance consistently commented on its ease of clipping and light overall feel.
After six months of use that included a spring Eldorado Canyon season, numerous sport climbing days in the South Platt and Western Slope, and one 1500′ alpine limestone free climb, the Endurance is showing some minimal sheath wear but not nearly the level of surface fuzz, nicks or shape deformation that I would expect. Going forward, I have no doubt that it will easily outlast a fall sport climbing season. So, if you’re in the market for a high-performance, durable, all-around rope that dishes out the feel of a lighter, skinnier cord, make sure to take a close look at the Roca Endurance 9.6mm.
But wait, there’s more! Are you a store looking to carry the Endurance? Know that Five Ten recently became the exclusive North American Distributor of Roca ropes, Alien camming units and Fixe climbing hardware. For the last 26 years, these three brands have up been managed in the US by Kevin Daniels under the Fixe Hardware banner. Kevin will play a vital role in facilitating this collaboration and oversee the expansion of the climbing accessory product line for Five Ten.
Retail: $189.95 (70m, non-dry) (Full Dry is $239.95)
Dave Sheldon has been writing tech pieces and equipment reviews for the outdoor industry for over 15 years. When he’s not climbing around Boulder or burning valuable resources commuting to Rifle Mountain Park, he’s hard at work in his Rolfing practice. Dave can be reached through his website.