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Sterling Marathon Pro Review

   
Top Pick Award

Climbing Ropes (Dynamic)

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: June 4, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $184 - $225 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight for its diameter, extra thick sheath, DryCore stays dry even without a dry treatment
Cons:  low fall rating for its diameter
Best Uses:  General climbing, Aid & trad climbing, top-roping, project working
User Rating:       (0.0 of 5) based on 0 reviews
Manufacturer:   Sterling Rope
Review by: McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ June 4, 2013  
Overview
The 10.1mm Sterling Marathon Pro manages to be a thick workhorse rope with the lighter weight of a 9.8mm rope (63 g/m.), which wins it our Top Pick Award for a thick diameter workhorse rope. It is versatile enough to be used for just about anything while also holding up to tough usage. This rope does have a comparatively low UIAA fall rating, so if that is important to you, check out the stronger and lighter BlueWater Lightning Pro. For ropes of a similar diameter but with a much stronger fall rating, the Maxim Glider and Maxim Equinox stand out, however they are significantly heavier than the Marathon Pro.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

What stands out about the Marathon Pro is that it is a burly workhorse rope that is noticeably lighter than other ropes in this category, allowing it a wider range of versatility.

Performance Comparison
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The Sterling Marathon Pro is a durable rope. Even when jugging or running over granite it holds up well. This is a great choice if you need a rope that will last through a beating.
Credit: Luke Lydiard

10.1 Workhorse Rope

Weight
Most 10.2 mm ropes in this review weigh either 66 or 65 g/m. Even though this rope is a 10.1mm, it only weighs 63 g/m, which is the same as the 9.8mm Mammut Tusk and the 9.8 Petzl Fuse. So overall, the Marathon Pro is lightweight for its diameter. It manages to fall into the category of a thicker and beefier rope while still shedding some of the weight, which is an impressive feat.

Catch
As a trade off for its light weight, this rope sacrifices a bit of strength. It is rated to hold only 6 UIAA falls, which is much less than other 10.2 ropes, which typically hold 8 or 9. In fact, the 9.2 Mammut Revelation is rated to hold 7-8 falls, and that is a much thinner rope with an even higher strength rating. This doesn't affect our confidence in the rope, but it is a noticeable difference.

The other side of the coin is that it has a low impact force rating, which means it provides a soft and easy catch. Also in comparison to the Mammut Revelation, the Marathon Pro has the lower impact force, and can more comfortably catch a climber.

Handling
The Marathon Pro has smooth and secure handling. Our test rope did not come with any a surface treatments that affect the life or handling of the rope, but it came supple and smooth. It handles more like a thinner rope than a slow, fat rope.

Durability
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McKenzie Long with the Sterling Marathon Pro on a day of early season ice climbing near Saddlebag Lake, CA.
Credit: Luke Lydiard
The Marathon Pro seems to hold up under many different conditions. We tested this rope ice climbing, and the early season snow was pretty wet and sloppy that day. Our version of the rope did not come with a dry coating (though it does come with that option), but simply had Sterling's DryCore technology, where the core yarns are treated to reduce abrasion between the yarn threads and to reduce water absorption. Sterling claims that a wet rope can lose 30% of its strength, and this technology helps to reduce the chances of that happening, leaving the rope light and performing at full strength. We predicted the rope would still get pretty soaked because of the lack of surface coating, but amazingly it stayed dry and didn't take on water or extra weight. It continued to handle well all day, even after sitting in the snow during belays.

The Marathon series of ropes are constructed with a thicker sheath to protect the core and increase the life of the rope. Although this is a burly rope, some frayed threads came undone on the sheath after a fair bit of usage and aid climbing. However, since the sheath is thicker than on a normal rope, this tiny bit of wear is not a cause for concern. Other notably durable ropes are the Mammut Infinity with its Teflon coating or the BlueWater Pulse with its 40 bobbin sheath.

Options and Other Versions
Sterling offers its ropes in the most poular lengths, from 50 meters all the way up to 80 meters. It also comes in a dry treated option.

Best Application
The thickness and durability of this rope make it a great rope for aiding, extended top-roping, trad climbing, or cragging. It is a versatile piece of equipment.

Value
At $204 for a 60m, this rope is pretty average in price. It is also not the most expensive, and for a rope that could be used for just about any climbing application, and will last for many pitches, it is an excellent buy.

Conclusion
If you have big walls on your ticklist, or just want a rope to work to death, this is an ideal rope. It will withstand some hard use and many pitches of jugging before wearing out, without weighing you down too much.

McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 4, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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