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Edelrid Swift Eco Dry Review

The best choice among the skinny lines we have tested for an extended sport climbing trip.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $310 List | $309.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Eco friendly, nice handle, super light, triple rated, uncoils perfectly from the bag
Cons:  Expensive, dry coating wears off sheath quickly, a tad stiff
Manufacturer:   Edelrid
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 8, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 16
  • Handling - 35% 7
  • Durability - 25% 6
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Catch - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The Edelrid Swift Eco Dry 8.9mm rope allows great versatility for two particular climbing disciplines — alpine climbing and guiding, and king-sized sport pitches. We used it for the latter, taking it on a three-week trip to Spain where we tested it on the mega tufa pitches of Chulilla and the pocketfests of Montsant and Siurana. While an 80m rope may seem preposterously long and unnecessary for all but sponsored pro climbers in the US, the fact is that 40m+ pitches have been de rigueur in Europe for a long time, and international jet-setters who want to maximize the fun of their European limestone vacation are highly recommended to roll with an 80m cord. An 8.9mm keeps you feeling light and relatively untethered as you make those clips high above the ground, and compared to the competition, the Swift Eco Dry can withstand a surprising amount of sport climbing abuse.


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Pros Eco friendly, nice handle, super light, triple rated, uncoils perfectly from the bagSkinny for its diameter, durable, great catch, smooth handlingDurable, excellent feel and handle, soft catchesLight, durable, super soft and supple handleGreat handling, durable
Cons Expensive, dry coating wears off sheath quickly, a tad stiffSlightly stiff, middle mark wears off quicklyPriceyNot durable enough for heavy duty sport climbing, a lot of stretch when secondingHeavy for the diameter, high impact force rating
Bottom Line The best choice among the skinny lines we have tested for an extended sport climbing trip.The top-performing do-everything rope that is also a crowd favoriteOne of the best ropes you can buy, striking a perfect balance between low weight and durability.The perfect light and skinny rope for climbing high above the groundA great rope for advanced sport climbing.
Rating Categories Edelrid Swift Eco Dry Mammut Infinity Sterling Evolution Helix Petzl Volta Maxim Pinnacle
Handling (35%)
10
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7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Durability (25%)
10
0
6
10
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9
10
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8
10
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7
10
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8
Weight (20%)
10
0
10
10
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6
10
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6
10
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8
10
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5
Catch (20%)
10
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7
10
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9
10
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8
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7
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6
Specs Edelrid Swift Eco... Mammut Infinity Sterling Evolution... Petzl Volta Maxim Pinnacle
Diameter 8.9 mm 9.5 mm 9.5 mm 9.2 mm 9.5 mm
Weight (g/m) 52 g/m 59 g/m 59 g/m 55 g/m 61 g/m
Certified Use Single, Half and Twin Single Single Single, Half and Twin Single
UIAA Fall Rating 7 (single), 22 (half/twin) 8-9 7 6 7
Impact Force 8.8 (single), 6.7 (half), 10.4 kN (twin) 8.4 kN 8.9 kN 8.6 kN 10.3 kN
Static Elongation % (in use) 9 (single), 8.6 (half), 5.3 (twin) 6.5 7.2 7.5 5
Dynamic Elongation % (first fall) 31 (single), 28 (half), 26 (twin) 30 31.9 33 26
Sheath Proportion % 34 40 41 42 36
Dry Coating Option Eco Dry Mammut's Dry Treatment DryXP Duratec Dry Endura Dry 2x treatment
Middle Mark or Bi-Pattern Option Middle mark Bi-Pattern or Middle Mark Middle Mark and Bi-Color Option Middle Mark Bi-pattern option
Lengths Available 60m, 70m, 80m 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m 40m, 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m. DryXP: 60m, 70m, 80m 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m 60m, 70m

Our Analysis and Test Results

As mentioned above, this rope serves two different styles of climbing perfectly. We used an 80m version of it on a Spanish sport climbing trip, where we compared it side by side with a friend's 100m long Black Diamond 8.9mm rope (not reviewed by us). Despite being advertised as the same diameter, the Swift Eco Dry felt a little bit thicker and beefier, and was also slightly stiffer in a good way. By comparison the BD 8.9 felt a little squishy, quickly took on an ovular shape from running through quickdraws, and showed more sheath wear with less pitches than our Swift. Edelrid specifically says that this rope is not burly enough for working pitches or top-roping, and if you want it to last as long as possible, we would have to agree. However, while we mostly spent our trip onsighting, we took plenty of huge falls on widely spaced bolts, pulled back up, and worked sequences out, as one would on a normal sport rope, and after over 100 pitches, this rope feels like its only just starting to break in.

The other area of practical application for a thin single rope such as this one is alpine climbing. We will admit to not having tested it for this purpose (yet), yet see no reason the Swift Eco Dry should not be in the running. Saving weight while alpine climbing is a huge bonus, and the fact that it is so thin but rated as a single rope should make guides happy who like the versatility of switching up systems based on circumstances.

Besides the versatility that comes from being a single rope with a meager 8.9mm diameter, what really sets the Swift Eco Dry apart is the "Eco" part of its name. Edelrid incorporates three different production strategies that make this rope the friendliest on the environment that you can buy, a reason all by itself for choosing it (we will admit that this fact alone is what swayed us to purchase this rope before many other fine choices). First, it is Bluesign certified, which means that it has been proven to use significantly less energy and create less pollution during the production process compared to other ropes. Secondly, it is made of an amalgamation of left over yarns from the ends of spools, giving it its unique rainbow color, and ensuring these threads don't simply become wasted. Thirdly, the dry coating is PFC (Perflourinated Chemicals) — free, meaning it doesn't use the highly toxic substances that are used in virtually every other dry treatment, while still living up to the UIAA standard of <2% water absorption for water repellency. We applaud all companies working to introduce products built with higher environmental standards, and recommend this rope for these reasons, as well as its high performance — a double win!

Lap Coil
While it may not be quite cool enough to be a deciding factor in your purchase, we also have to point out how awesome the "Lap Coil" system for Edelrid ropes is. Basically, one end comes out of a hole in the packaging, which you simply pull on as you flake the rope for the first time. This system works perfectly! It avoids the huge tedium of properly uncoiling a rope for the first time, ensuring that a rat's nest of knots and loops does not ensue.

Performance Comparison


The Edelrid Swift Eco Dry is the perfect rope to buy in an 80m length to take on a vacation to Spain! Since its so skinny and light - 8.9mm - it can easily be handled on mega long overhanging pitches without seeming like an anchor. It's also an excellent choice for alpine climbing  most likely in short lengths.
The Edelrid Swift Eco Dry is the perfect rope to buy in an 80m length to take on a vacation to Spain! Since its so skinny and light - 8.9mm - it can easily be handled on mega long overhanging pitches without seeming like an anchor. It's also an excellent choice for alpine climbing, most likely in short lengths.

Handling


This rope handles very nicely, although we didn't rate it quite as highly as the very best Mammut Infinity for this purpose. It starts out very slick, like most ropes, and the first few days we used it we noticed that the slickness combined with its thin diameter meant that belay devices such as the Trango Vergo that are rated to 8.9mm as their low end were allowing it to slip slightly. However, after a few days and around 25 pitches of use, much of the slickness wore away and it took on the texture of semi-rough used climbing rope, not unlike the feel of the Petzl Arial.


For such a thin cord, we love how easy this rope is to grab while clipping, pulling up after falling, or while trying to yard in slack while belaying. It has retained its circular shape very nicely, not flattening out into an ovular shape like some thinner ropes tend to do, which has the effect of focusing the sheath wear on one side of the rope. The Swift is supple and flexible, although not quite as soft and bendable as the Sterling Evolution Helix. We also lent the cord out for a number of days, and those testers agreed that it was a really nice handling rope.

The Swift Eco Dry handles nicely  with no complaints. One of the nicest features of Edelrid ropes is their Lap Coil packaging. One end comes out of the package  as you can see here. Simply pull this end as you flake it into the rope bag  and watch as it uncoils in a minute with no loops  knots  kinks  or headaches - a common nuisance when flaking a rope for the first time.
The Swift Eco Dry handles nicely, with no complaints. One of the nicest features of Edelrid ropes is their Lap Coil packaging. One end comes out of the package, as you can see here. Simply pull this end as you flake it into the rope bag, and watch as it uncoils in a minute with no loops, knots, kinks, or headaches - a common nuisance when flaking a rope for the first time.

Catch


This rope comes with three ratings, as a single rope, half rope, and twin rope, and the numbers for Impact force, static elongation, and dynamic elongation are listed in those orders in our specs table. Understandably, if you use it as a half or twin rope in conjunction with another cord, there will be lower impact forces when falling and less elongation, but we only used it as a single rope, and so will focus on those statistics. Its impact force rating of 8.8kN is right about average for our test ropes, as is the dynamic elongation percentage of 31%. The static elongation percentage of 9%, on the other hand, is a bit high compared to the competition, but that is certainly to be expected from a thinner rope.


Catches on the Swift Eco Dry were comfortable  with no discernible difference between it and thicker ropes. There is a bit of extra sag when top roping  which is to be expected with such a thin rope. Lowering off a mega pocket pitch at Montsant  Spain.
Catches on the Swift Eco Dry were comfortable, with no discernible difference between it and thicker ropes. There is a bit of extra sag when top roping, which is to be expected with such a thin rope. Lowering off a mega pocket pitch at Montsant, Spain.

The high-ish static elongation percentage would lead you to believe that there will be some significant stretch when top-roping with this rope, and we would have to agree. On the other hand, we felt that lead falls were pretty average, but if we had to call them harder or softer we would actually say they struck us as slightly firm. This is just a general impression. After multiple falls on the same pitch, we definitely wanted to switch ends of the rope for the next pitch, both for the sake of the catch and to limit wear on one end. We never had any issue taking falls on this rope, but don't think the catch is quite as soft or springy as with the Petzl Arial.

An 8.9mm rope like this one is on the edge of the allowable range for some belay devices  like the Trango Vergo. When brand new  the sheath was slippery and shiny from the Dry coating  which allowed it to slip slowly through this device even when under tension  something that should be carefully considered with all thin ropes. Check that your belay device can handle the rope before using!
An 8.9mm rope like this one is on the edge of the allowable range for some belay devices, like the Trango Vergo. When brand new, the sheath was slippery and shiny from the Dry coating, which allowed it to slip slowly through this device even when under tension, something that should be carefully considered with all thin ropes. Check that your belay device can handle the rope before using!

Weight


Along with the Sterling Fusion Nano IX, this rope bottoms out the charts in weight, coming in at a mere 52 g/m. This is slightly lighter than the 9.1mm thick Beal Joker, which weighs 53 g/m. This multiplies out to just under 7 lbs. for a 60m rope, or about 9.2 lbs. for an 80m.


Interesting to us is that this rope weighs the same as the slightly thicker Fusion Nano IX, meaning there are more fibers woven into a tighter package in the Swift Eco Dry. This may be one component of why we found the Swift to be the most durable of the skinny ropes that we tested.

The principal advantage of having a skinny 8.9mm rope is that it weighs less  making it easier to haul up and clip when energy is at a premium. Unseen above is the 100ft of two finger pockets and micro crimps  and a thin rope like the Swift can make the difference when its time to send.
The principal advantage of having a skinny 8.9mm rope is that it weighs less, making it easier to haul up and clip when energy is at a premium. Unseen above is the 100ft of two finger pockets and micro crimps, and a thin rope like the Swift can make the difference when its time to send.

Durability


As an 8.9mm single rope, you should not expect this one to last anywhere near as long as a workhorse such as our favorite Sterling Evolution Velocity at 9.8mm. In fact, you really need to be careful to only use it in low wear situations if you don't want to trash it right away. In the alpine that means being mindful of sharp edges and limiting the amount of jugging on it that you do. At the crag that means using it only for onsighting or redpoint burns, limiting the amount of working a route you use it for, and only top-roping on it if the rock is vertical or overhanging with nothing for it to rub against.


After about 80 pitches of use  there are parts of the sheath that have become dirty from metal dust  and a bit of glazing when lowering  but overall the sheath is in great shape  considering that we did exactly what Edelrid warned us not to do -- lots of sport climbing.
After about 80 pitches of use, there are parts of the sheath that have become dirty from metal dust, and a bit of glazing when lowering, but overall the sheath is in great shape, considering that we did exactly what Edelrid warned us not to do -- lots of sport climbing.

Despite its aversion to hard work, we did a lot of top-roping on it, as well as taking plenty of long whippers and subsequently working out the sequences we failed on — standard sport climbing practice. We were surprised by how well the sheath held up, better than our experiences while sport climbing on the Beal Joker, and also significantly better than the Black Diamond 8.9 that we compared it directly to. What didn't hold up, however, was the dry treatment on the sheath of the rope. The entire rope, including the core, is treated to not absorb water, but like many dry ropes that spend most of their life climbing rock, the sheath very quickly lost its slick, coated sheen and soon took on a rougher, more aged character.

The ends of our Swift took a beating  with blowout happening on one end  which often happens when pulling a rope that doesn't land on the ground and cracks like a whip in the air. This happens to all different ropes  regardless of brand and diameter.
The ends of our Swift took a beating, with blowout happening on one end, which often happens when pulling a rope that doesn't land on the ground and cracks like a whip in the air. This happens to all different ropes, regardless of brand and diameter.

At Chulilla  Spain  walls of 40m+ long tufas will leaving you begging for mercy well before you clip the chains. An 80m rope is essential or you won't be touching any of these ET necks. The Swift Eco Dry is a perfect choice for these fantastic routes  and other European sport adventures.
At Chulilla, Spain, walls of 40m+ long tufas will leaving you begging for mercy well before you clip the chains. An 80m rope is essential or you won't be touching any of these ET necks. The Swift Eco Dry is a perfect choice for these fantastic routes, and other European sport adventures.

Value


This rope retails at $250 for a 60m, all the way up to $310 for an 80m cord, placing it firmly on the pricey end of the rope spectrum. We think it performs better than other skinny singles we have tested, and so presents a good value for those who can treat it right and know what to expect. For those who intend or expect to beat up their rope, we highly recommend spending less money on a thicker workhorse option.

The Swift Eco Dry is expensive  a function of its eco friendly design. It is worth the money for European sport climbing trips and alpine adventures  but is only a good value if you use it as intended  not for your run of the mill climbing days.
The Swift Eco Dry is expensive, a function of its eco friendly design. It is worth the money for European sport climbing trips and alpine adventures, but is only a good value if you use it as intended, not for your run of the mill climbing days.

Conclusion


The Edelrid Swift Eco Dry is an 8.9mm rope that comes in lengths between 60m and 80m, and is best used for situations where weight savings is mandatory. We loved our 80m for onsight attempts on 40m pitches at Chulilla and Montsant in Spain, and also laud Edelrid for taking the steps necessary to produce the most environmentally friendly climbing rope they could. While it isn't a highly affordable choice, it is certainly one that is worth the money.

The "tufa" sector in Chulilla  one of many fantastic new sport crags in Europe that will demand an 80m rope.
The "tufa" sector in Chulilla, one of many fantastic new sport crags in Europe that will demand an 80m rope.


Andy Wellman