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Beal Booster III Review

Not the best handling but excellent overall performance
Beal Booster III
Credit: Beal
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $220 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Soft catches, low impact force rating, durable
Cons:  A little too stretchy for top roping, stiff
Manufacturer:   Beal
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 30, 2021
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 11
  • Handling - 35% 7.0
  • Durability - 25% 9.0
  • Weight - 20% 5.0
  • Catch - 20% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Beal Booster has been around for as long as we've been climbing. It was one of our tester's first ropes that she ever purchased, and she started climbing almost 25 years ago. The current version, the Booster III, is an update on years past, so if you remember the old one and didn't have fond memories of it (it was a serious bungee cord), the latest iteration is a big improvement. The handling is a little stiff at first but loosens up with use, and the catches feel great. In fact, it has the lowest impact force rating of any rope in this review (7.3 kN), making it a good choice for harder trad climbs with marginal gear. Although there is a lot of elongation compared to some other ropes, we didn't get a concerning bungee feel when top-roping. We also found its stretch to be great for taking whippers when working your sport project. It's lightweight for the diameter, and very durable. We didn't notice any sheath fuzz even after over 70 pitches on it. The Beal Booster III is a great line though, and it can present you with a chance to save quite a bit. Combined with its excellent durability, it really stood out and earned its Best Buy award.

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Beal Booster III
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Beal Booster III
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
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$199.95 at REI
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$300 List
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$229.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Soft catches, low impact force rating, durableDurable sheath, supple feel, soft catches, saves some weight over thicker workhorsesLight, durable, super soft and supple handleGreat handling, durableLightweight, good handling, and soft catches
Cons A little too stretchy for top roping, stiffMiddle marker wears out quickly, still heavier than thinner ropesNot durable enough for heavy duty sport climbing, a lot of stretch when secondingHeavy for the diameter, high impact force ratingNot very durable, expensive
Bottom Line Not the best handling but excellent overall performanceThis rope is a winner due to its superior handling, durability, and excellent catchesThe perfect light and skinny rope for climbing high above the groundA great rope for advanced sport climbingA nice handling rope that is great for redpointing
Rating Categories Beal Booster III Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla... Petzl Volta Maxim Pinnacle Petzl Arial
Handling (35%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Durability (25%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
5.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Catch (20%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
Specs Beal Booster III Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla... Petzl Volta Maxim Pinnacle Petzl Arial
Diameter 9.7 mm 9.5 mm 9.2 mm 9.5 mm 9.5 mm
Weight (g/m) 61 g/m 59 g/m 55 g/m 61 g/m 58 g/m
Lengths Available 60m, 70m 60m, 70m, 80m 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m 60m, 70m 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m
Dry Coating Option Dry Cover Mammut Dry Treatment Duratec Dry Endura Dry 2x treatment DuraTec
Middle Mark or Bi-Pattern Option Middle mark Middle mark Middle Mark Bi-pattern option Middle mark
Certified Use Single Single Single, Half and Twin Single Single
UIAA Fall Rating 8 7 6 7 7
Impact Force 7.3 kN 8.8 kN 8.6 kN 10.3 kN 8.8 kN
Static Elongation % (in use) 9.7 8 7.5 5 7.6
Dynamic Elongation % (first fall) 38 33 33 26 32
Sheath Proportion % 42 40 42 36 40
Calculated Weight of Sheath 26 g/m 24 g/m 23 g/m 22 g/m 23 g/m

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Beal Booster III 9.7mm weighs 61 g/m. It has a low impact force rating (7.3 kN) and a high static and dynamic elongation (9.7% and 38 %). This rope is available in Classic, Dry, and the "Golden Dry" finishes (less than 1% water absorption), as well as with a "Unicore" weave, where the sheath and core are bonded together to prevent sheath slippage. We tested the Dry version for this review.

Performance Comparison


Beal Booster III climbing rope - this rope is a great all-around performer, with soft catches and...
This rope is a great all-around performer, with soft catches and good handling.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Handling


As we mentioned above, we weren't in love with the handling of this line when it was new. The chart below shows how it compared to the other ropes for handling.


It felt very stiff out of the bag, and didn't feed smoothly through our hands when belaying. It did soften up quite a bit over time and by the end of our testing period, clipping and overall handling felt a lot smoother.

Beal Booster III climbing rope - this was one of the rope who's handling changed a bit with use. if...
This was one of the rope who's handling changed a bit with use. If you're not that happy with the feel at first, it will soften up a bit with use.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

It isn't a particularly kinky rope — some of the lines that we tested seem to kink up if we even look at them the wrong way — though it is possible to put kinks in any line with a staggered anchor while lowering or top-roping. Although it isn't our absolute favorite in the handling department, it still works well.

Beal Booster III climbing rope - there is quite a bit of static elongation with this line, and we...
There is quite a bit of static elongation with this line, and we noticed it when top rope belaying. It felt like a bit of a chore to keep the line tensioned properly.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Catch


We like the catch on this line, and it received a high score for its performance in this category.


With a 38% dynamic elongation, we expected a soft catch from this rope, and we got it. It felt a little spongy when top roping but not nearly as bad as with a couple of the worst offenders in this department, despite having nearly the same elongation ratings. This just confirmed to us though that you have to take the numbers listed on the packaging with a grain of salt. Climbing ropes are tested in extremely controlled conditions that don't always translate to real-world experience.

Beal Booster III climbing rope - we used this rope for top roping the kids, and it was a little on...
We used this rope for top roping the kids, and it was a little on the stretchy side. If you're mostly top roping, you'll be better off with a rope with less static elongation than this one.
Credit: Scott Ring

Speaking of numbers, this rope does have the lowest impact force rating of any rope in the review, 7.3 kN. This rating comes from a very specific test, whereby an 80 Kg solid mass takes a 1.77 (factor) fall on a fixed point. The maximum force allowed is 12 kN, as this was determined to be the maximum amount of deceleration the human body can withstand. The reality is that a "real" fall with a squishy human (instead of a solid mass) and a belayer (instead of a fixed point) will never result in those types of forces, but ropes are engineered with worst-case scenarios in mind, which we appreciate.

So, what can we take from its lower impact force number? Assuming that ropes behave similarly in real-world scenarios as they do in drop tests, this rope might have a lower impact force in a real-world fall than a rope like the Maxim Pinnacle, who's max rating was 10.3 kN. This is something to consider if you're traditional climbing and want to minimize the forces on your gear.

Beal Booster III climbing rope - the lower impact force rating of this rope means less force applied...
The lower impact force rating of this rope means less force applied to your fall point. If you're falling on solidly placed bolts, that might not be a huge concern for you, but if you're placing micro wires and 00 cams, the less impact force the better!
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Weight


This rope weighs 61 g/m, which is on the light side of the spectrum for a 9.7mm rope. To put it into a "what am I carrying in my pack" perspective, a 60m length of this rope should weigh about 8 pounds. This makes it slightly heavier than some of the 9.5mm models in this review, but that 1/3 of a pound might hardly be noticeable in your pack or while you're climbing. Those looking for a lightweight option for alpine or multi-pitch routes should check out one of the super-thin cords we have reviewed here, in the 8.9mm to 9.2mm diameter range, as they offer significant weight savings for bigger adventures.


Durability


This rope impressed us most of all with its durability, and it topped our ratings for this category.


After more than a dozen days on this rope and over 70 pitches, we're not seeing too many signs of wear. There's little to no fuzz on the sheath, and we couldn't identify any noticeable wear spots. The rope does look a little dirty though (the downside to a light-colored rope), and the middle marker is mostly faded and easily mistaken for a dirty section.

Beal Booster III climbing rope - can you spot the middle marker? no sheath fuzz after our testing...
Can you spot the middle marker? No sheath fuzz after our testing period, but we did have some dirt "glazed" onto the sheath by our GriGri, making it hard to pick out the middle after a while.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

This rope has a 42% sheath proportion, and typically, a rope gets retired from too much sheath damage, so, the more sheath, the better. However, this is not the only indication of durability, as some other ropes seemed fine with only 36% sheath. Ultimately, if you know you are hard on your ropes, you can use this number to try and help you decide which one to get, but don't assume that a lower percentage of sheath will automatically be less durable, or vice versa. We've also added a spec column to convey the actual quantity of sheath (in g/m) in each rope. This will hopefully make it easier to compare the sheath percentages between different weight ropes.

Value


This rope retails for a pretty darn low price in the 60m Dry version (prices vary higher for the Golden Dry treatment and also for 70m lengths). Considering that it handles almost as well as far more pricey ropes, we think this line is a great value. Also, it held up well during our testing and promises to be a durable and long-lasting line, increasing its value even more. For these reasons, it is our Best Buy winner.

Beal Booster III climbing rope - this rope is a great option for traditional climbing, where you want...
This rope is a great option for traditional climbing, where you want to put the least amount of force possible on your gear if and when you fall.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Conclusion


While we weren't huge fans of the Booster circa 1995, we do like current version. The Beal Booster III is a solid line that performs well in a variety of climbing styles and environments. The only exception is regular top-roping. It's durable and not too expensive, and was an easy pick to receive our Best Buy Award.

Cam McKenzie Ring
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