(5 out of 5)
Ropes come in all different sizes, lengths, and patterns based on the type of climbing they support. Alpine climbing typically uses a lighter weight (thinner) rope to save on weight for approaches and long days climbing. Ice climbing ropes have a dry treatment to help increase the longevity of the rope. All that said, your standard crag rope typically includes the following specifications:
- Durable enough to withstand a plenitude of falls and top-rope action. Typically this is a combination of sheath and core construction.
- Long enough for both ends to reach the ground at the crags you frequent. A 70-meter rope if the standard to remove most doubt around whether you have enough rope or not. 80-meter ropes are now on the market which typically is more rope than needed but necessary in some cases. Do your research about climb heights at the crags you frequent before stuffing an 80-meter rope in your crag pack.
- Light enough that you can easily carry it into the crag along with your other gear. A combination of width of rope and length will determine how heavy your rope is.
- Outside of these factors, there are personal preferences around stretch, suppleness, and pattern to consider.
The Sterling Evolution Velocity is Sterling’s flagship rope known for its all-around performance. It’s sits square in the middle of rope specifications allowing for it to be used for sport, trad or ice climbing. While a jack-of-all-trades piece of gear can quickly disappoint those looking for a premium product, the Sterling Evolution Velocity holds up across the board in terms of performance and durability. While the rope may be a bit more pricey than other brands, it’s a fair compromise to make given your rope is your literal life line when tying in.
The Sterling Evolution Velocity should be a top consideration for anyone looking for a new cragging rope, beginner or experience climber alike. It’s 9.8mm diameter is a sweet spot for a lightweight, durable, and performance driven rope that can be used with GriGri or almost any other type of belay device.
We have owned multiple Velocity ropes over the year mainly due to the mileage that you can get out them. They are the perfect rope for single pitch climbs, sport or trad climbing, and also work just fine for multi-pitch climbing. The sheath has always held up nicely despite all the wear and tear that comes from falling, dragging ropes across rocks, and general dirt and grime a rope picks up over time. While a workhorse rope might lead you to believe it’s big and clunky, that isn’t the case with the Velocity. It still remains light and versatile.
The Velocity also has variants available with DryXP technology, a UIAA Water Repellent standard of less than 5% water absorption.
The sheath of the rope is tightly woven, allowing for it to move smoothly through belay devices. the 9.8mm size doesn’t feel overly large compared to other 9.8mm ropes given the tight weave of the sheath. The sheath makes up 35% of the total weight of the rope which is fairly standard but also a nice ratio given the durability of this rope. Compared to the Black Diamond 9.9mm rope, the sheath of the Velocity feels much stronger and doesn’t enter the fuzzy phase nearly as soon.
One of the many sheath patterns and colors of the Sterling Velocity
While this is by no means the lightest rope on the market, it does offer a decent weight given the durability and versatility of the rope. Don’t take any shit from your friends packing in a sub-9mm rope for a day of cragging. That’s like cooking on a backpacking stove when you are car camping.
The rope has a nice balance of stiffness and suppleness. Clipping is easy and so is tying knots.
While not a necessity or performance feature, having a bi-pattern rope or middle marker that doesn’t wear off can save a lot of time finding the middle of a rope when gearing up for a rappel. The Sterling Evolution Velocity comes in a multitude of colors with a bi-pattern option for ease in finding the middle point of your rope.
This rope gets the job done across the board. We have used it for tons of single-pitch climbs, top-roping, trad climbing, and long multi-pitches. It’s a workhorse that won’t let you down for days at the crag. They are also made in gym sizes and hold up nicely for the wear and tear that takes place at the gym.
The Velocity comes in lengths from 35-meters up to 80-meters. Once you are sold on the rope you can get one for the gym as well.
The Not So Good
The Sterling Velocity picks up and holds dirt more so than other brands I have climbed on. It could lead to a loss in longevity without proper care and it will be sure to leave your hands nice and black without belay gloves.
It’s not the cheapest rope on the market but it’s also nice knowing you are tying in with one of the most durable and high-performance ropes on the market. Don’t worry about the few extra bucks, it will pay for itself down the road.
This is the rope to own if you just want to have single cragging rope. It was the first rope that I ever purchased based on a friends recommendation and the gold standard for all other rope comparisons. Some other ropes might excel in other regards but no other rope performs at such a high level across the board.