Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gear Review: Petzl Nomad 9.8mm & Fuse 9.4mm Climbing Ropes

by Jonathon Spitzer

For the past couple years, I have been climbing on Petzl ropes. In both the alpine or cragging environment they remain durable and trustworthy, while also keeping weight to a minumum. The following is a review that Jonathon Spitzer wrote about our favorite Petzl ropes.

Nearing the summit of Poincenot, Patagonia, Argentina

In 2008 I was training for my AMGA rock exam. This exam would be the final exam to complete my IFMGA guide certification. I purchased my first Petzl rope to use for training and during the exam. My climbing partners and I traveled around the Western United States in search of ideal training grounds. We subjected this rope to coarse granite, sandy belay ledges, big whippers, extensive short-roping, precipitation and dirt bag style living. It was even a pillow for a night! This rope remained durable and trustworthy throughout the process. Since then, I have been using Petzl climbing ropes for both guiding and personal climbing. I primarily use the 9.8mm Nomad and a 9.4mm Fuse.

All Petzl ropes come with the “climb ready coil” which helps avoid the agonizing rope cluster and endless re-stacking of the rope before being able to use it. The distinct middle mark is a requirement for me these day before purchasing a rope. All Petzl ropes have a large black section denoting the middle mark of the rope. The Duratec dry treatment helps prevent the rope from absorbing water, which is key when you find the rope in a puddle of barley freezing water at the base of an ice climb. Both of these ropes are offered in 60 meters or 70 meter lengths.

Coiling the rope on the top of one of the Bridger Jack Spires, UT

The Nomad 9.8mm is a great all around rope for rock and ice climbing. I tested this rope on Indian Creek’s splitter cracks, coarse granite at Index, WA, and New England ice climbs, and have found that the thick sheath has held up well from abrasion. This rope has become my “go to rope” for rock climbing and ice climbing. I recommend this rope for multi pitch rock climbing, top-rope climbing, cragging, and ice climbing.

The Fuse at 9.4 works great in the alpine environment and also on long multi pitch rock routes. Last spring, I used this rope while climbing technical alpine mixed routes in the Alaska Range around Mount Hunter. I also use this rope on a professional level and it has become my “work horse” rope while alpine guiding in the Cascades, WA and the European Alps.

The solid foundation and creative design that has given Petzl a strong reputation in the outdoor industry has also been used in the development of these ropes. Petzl continues to deliver quality equipment while keeping safety paramount. A Petzl rope will always be in my backpack for the next day of cragging, guiding or international adventure.

For more information on the entire Petzl dynamic rope line visit

Jonathon in Red Rocks, NV

Friday, April 1, 2011

Desert Rock Climbing

Heading up the final sport pitch on Easter Island. Photo by Jonathon Spitzer.

In late March, Michelle and I packed my tiny honda up and drove south to the Utah desert. We were in search of sunshine, desert splitters and friends. There is something invigorating and refreshing about the southern Utah desert. I've spent quite a bit of time tromping around down there and it never seems to get old.

On top of Easter Island. Photo by Jonathon Spitzer.
Since my life in Seattle is often over booked with school related activities, I have very little time for climbing. I go to the gym several times a week but its not quite the same as climbing outside. When you don't get to climb all the time, the short trips mean so much more. I had hopes of cramming all my climbing goals into this brief trip. Weather and tired muscles dictated otherwise.

Dana Larkin climbing on the Scarface wall. Photo by Jonathon Spitzer.
This is my third trip to the desert that I have brought the rain with me from Seattle! We had snow, hail, sleet, rain and a couple classic bluebird days. On those sunny days, I tried to climb as much as possible. Despite aching muscles, bruised appendages and sore feet, I felt pretty good up high on the rock. I always seem to forget how physical the climbing is in the desert. When the trips are short its hard for me to convince myself to take rest days. I paid the consequence for that when I could barely get myself off the ground on a climb that I know I could have done easily if I was fresh. The disappointment in that day reminds to strive to quality versus quantity.

Michelle heading up.
Climbing continues to deliver some of my most valuable memories and experiences. From laughing with close friends, to athletically moving through a challenging sequence to finding the meditative focus necessary to push through to the next move. Thank you desert for providing a brief moment of raw serenity.

Photo by Jonathon Spitzer.

Petzl Hirundos Harness
Petzl Spirit Quickdraws
Petzl 3-D Attache Locking Carabiners
Petzl Elia Helmet
Petzl Nomad 70m 9.8 Rope
Julbo Whoops Sunglass with Zebra lenses
Many Black Diamond cams