The new Petzl Volta Guide is touted as an ideal cord for “intensive mountaineering,” certified for single, half or twin rope use. Over the last couple of months, I’ve used it on such cutting-edge mountaineering routes as Glitter Gulch, The Machinist and Velociraptor. Not familiar with these alpine test pieces? Yeah, the truth is these are sport climbs, and I haven’t actually done any mountaineering with this rope, but that’s the thing: it’s also great for clipping bolts!
Like all Petzl ropes, the Volta Guide features the EverFlex treatment, which provides a unique blend of durability and suppleness. Durability is always a concern with a lighter cord, and after several months of use there is some light wear visible on the sheath, but otherwise it’s holding up nicely. Given the small diameter I don’t expect it to last as long as a thicker rope like the 9.5 Arial, but that’s the price you pay for less weight.
Unlike some skinny ropes, it doesn’t feel too meager in hand, which gave added peace of mind when I was pumping out on a steep wall. Likewise, it moves quickly through belay devices when feeding rope to a leader, meaning you’re less likely to short rope your partner who frantically pulls up slack like their life depends on it.
The closest I got to taking this mountaineering was some local ice climbing. One day started off with cold snow flurries and a wintry feel that later turned into sloppy and wet conditions. Thanks to the new Guide Dry treatment, which exceeds the UIAA water repellent standards, absorbing less than 2% of it’s weight in water, I was impressed with how little wetness it collected over the course of the day. I did get a little nervous on lead when kicking at the ice with such a small cord dangling below me, but it certainly made me more precise with my footwork so as not to impale the rope on my frontpoints.
Because it’s aimed at mountaineers, it’s available in several shorter lengths that are ideal when you only need to break it out for short, technical pitches high on a mountain. Weighing in at 54 grams per meter, this wont take up a lot of room in your pack and is ideal for any climbing that requires a big approach, from alpine routes to cragging areas like the Fortress here in Western Colorado. The orange color is not only fun but means the black middle marker really stands out, even after repeated use and some dirt turns it more of a peach color.
For the environmentally minded consumer, all Petzl ropes conform to the bluesign standard, which ensures the product meets stringent environmental and consumer safety requirements.
Retail: $254.95 (60m)
More info and tech specs available on the Petzl website.