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Bluewater Xenon 9.2
$205.95 at Backcountry
$199.95 at REI
$109.95 at REI
$244.95 at REI
|$192.83 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Nice balance of weight and durability, reasonable price, rated for single, half, or twin usage||Durable sheath, supple feel, soft catches, saves some weight over thicker workhorses||Outstanding handling and catch, great bargain, impressive durability, sheath is made from repurposed yarn||Tight weave with excellent handling, exceptional PFOA-free dry treatment, durable||Soft catches, low impact force rating, durable|
|Cons||Average handling, minimal sheath, not a standout performer in any metric||Middle marker wears out quickly, still heavier than thinner ropes||Slightly heavy, not available with any dry treatments or as a bi-pattern, lighter color stains easily||On the heavier side, expensive, only available with dry treatment||A little too stretchy for top roping, stiff|
|Bottom Line||A decent but basic climbing rope that does little to stand out from competitors||This rope is a winner due to its superior handling, durability, and excellent catches||An environmentally friendly and high-performance rope at an affordable price||A workhorse rope that handles great and can survive lots of abuse||Not the best handling but excellent overall performance|
|Rating Categories||Bluewater Xenon 9.2||Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla...||Mammut Crag We Care...||Sterling Velocity X...||Beal Booster III|
|Specs||Bluewater Xenon 9.2||Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla...||Mammut Crag We Care...||Sterling Velocity X...||Beal Booster III|
|Diameter||9.2 mm||9.5 mm||9.5 mm||9.8 mm||9.7 mm|
|Weight||56 g/m||59 g/m||59 g/m||62 g/m||61 g/m|
|Lengths Available||60m, 70 m, 80m||60m, 70m, 80m||60m, 70m, 80m||40m, 50m, 60m, 70m 80m||60m, 70m|
|Dry Coating Option||Standard, Double-Dry||Classic, No Dry Treatment||Classic, No Dry Treatment||XEROS Dry Treatment (PFOA-free)||Dry Cover|
|Middle Mark or Bi-Pattern Option||Bi-pattern or Standard||Middle mark||Middle mark||Bi-Pattern or Standard||Middle mark|
|Certified Use||Single, Half, Twin||Single||Single||Single||Single|
|UIAA Fall Rating||Single 7, Half 22, Twin 44||6-7||6-7||6||8|
|Impact Force||Single 8.1 kN, Half 6 kN, Twin 9.3 kN||8.8 kN||8.8 kN||8.6 kN||7.3 kN|
|Static Elongation % (in use)||Single 4.8%, Half 4.8%, Twin 3.1%||8.8||8.8||8.8||9.7|
|Dynamic Elongation % (first fall)||Single 34, Half 30.4, Twin 27.2||33.8||33.8||28.8||38|
|Sheath Proportion %||33||40||40||35||42|
|Calculated Weight of Sheath||18 g/m||24 g/m||24 g/m||22 g/m||26 g/m|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Bluewater offers the Xenon 9.2 in 60m, 70m, and 80m lengths. Each length is available as standard or double-dry treated, and each length is also offered with a single or bi-pattern color configuration. For this review, we tested a 70m double-dry-treated model with the green/black single-pattern color.
The sheath on the Bluewater Xenon 9.2 features the normal 2-over-2 weave that's common on most climbing ropes and preferred by most of our testers. This sheath felt slightly softer and looser than our favorite ropes. The overall rope, however, still felt supple while tying knots or belaying. The double-try treatment left this model a little slippery at first so be careful until it's properly broken in. After that, it offered slightly better handling than an average rope.
A 9.2mm rope is on the skinnier side for an all-around rope for most cragging applications. At this diameter, you benefit from lower weight and nicer handling at the expense of potentially reduced durability. Its sheath proportion of 33% equates to it containing 18 grams of sheath per meter. That's on the low end for a rope with its thickness. A few thinner ropes we tested actually contain more sheath per meter.
The primary advantage of a skinnier rope like the Bluewater Xenon 9.2 is weight savings. It tips the scales at a respectable 56 g/m. Most climbers will be able to notice the difference between this and thicker workhorse ropes which generally weigh around 62 g/m. For a 70m rope, that would equate to nearly a pound of weight savings. For shorter routes or at convenient crags, that might not mean much. But it's a welcomed savings on long approaches or at the top of rope-stretching pitches.
The Bluewater Xenon 9.2 is part of the new generation of ropes that are UIAA rated for usage as a single, half, or twin rope. We only tested it in a single rope system but our testers reported soft, pleasant catches during small lead falls. They also noted solid top-roping performance with limited stretchiness. On paper, this makes sense too. This rope's impact force and elongation specifications lie within the "sweet spot" range that seems to supply the best performance in our real-world testing.
Should You Buy the Trango Agility 9.1
The rock climbing rope market is a crowded field and we realize cost is a huge consideration for most shoppers. The Bluewater Xenon 9.2 retails at a modest price premium compared to the most affordable ropes. In testing, we didn't identify much in the way of performance to justify the added expense. This is decent rope but it only becomes a great value if you can find it on sale.
What Other Rock Climbing Ropes Should You Consider
If you're searching for the best deal, we think the Mammut Crag We Care Classic 9.5 provides a better bargain at full MSRP. That rope, however, is a little thicker and heavier than the Bluewater Xenon 9.2. Near the same diameter, the Edelrid Tommy Caldwell Eco Dry 9.3 and Petzl Volta both seem to offer better performance if you're willing to pay more.
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