Hands-on Gear Review

Maxim Pinnacle Review

Maxim Pinnacle
Top Pick Award
Price:  $266 List | $242.00 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Great handling, durable.
Cons:  Heavy for the diameter, high impact force rating.
Bottom line:  A great rope for advanced sport climbing.
Editors' Rating:   
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Diameter:  9.5 mm
Weight (g/m):  61 g/m
Certified Use:  Single
Manufacturer:   Maxim

Our Verdict

The Maxim Pinnacle is a great rope, but not for everything nor everyone. This 9.5 mm feels like no other rope out there — it's sleek and supple, without feeling too slippery. It was our favorite rope for redpoint burns where we were making tenuous clips and needed a fast clip and a faster feed from our belayer. It felt fine to fall on, regardless of the numbers on the package, but there is a potential for higher impact forces with this rope, and that's something to consider if you're climbing on gear. As such, we've given this a Top Pick for Sport Climbing designation, with the further caveat that it's probably not the best rope for beginner sport climbers either. If you're new to the sport, check out our Top Pick for Top Roping and Gym Climbing, the Black Diamond 9.9mm.

Like this rope but never want to lose your middle marker?
Check out the Maxim Pinnacle Bi-Pattern, which retails for $283. If you're not familiar with this style of rope, it has one weave pattern on one side and a different one on the other. This lets you know where the middle of the rope is every time, and is very handy when setting up rappels down a long route or even when single pitch climbing and you're not sure if your line will reach back down. Manufacturer's middle markers can often fade and/or blend in with the dirt on your rope, but you'll always see where the middle of a bi-pattern rope is.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Rock Climbing Rope


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Monday
September 11, 2017

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The Maxim Pinnacle is available in 60 and 70 m lengths. All of the versions of this rope come with an "Endura Dry" treated core, and then it is available with a standard sheath or a 2xDry sheath. Maxim bought up New England ropes years ago, but you'll still see the New England label online sometimes, and this line feels similar to some of New England's polyester sheath ropes from the mid-2000's, though this sheath is currently made of nylon.

Performance Comparison


We loved the handling on this line  and it was fast and smooth when clipping on the fly.
We loved the handling on this line, and it was fast and smooth when clipping on the fly.

Handling


We loved the way the Maxim Pinnacle handled. All of our testers agreed that this line had the best handling and clipping action of the test group.


This rope is soft and supple, while still maintaining enough structure for fast and smooth clips. It really feels completely different from any other rope in the test group, even in the way that it coils. When we butterfly coiled it around our neck and compared it to the ultra-stiff Edelweiss Curve Unicore Supereverdry, it took up almost half of the space because the rope was so supple. Our testers all liked the way this rope handled, particularly when making fast clips in tenuous positions, but it may take some getting used to if you're used to most other rope brands.

Glenda Huxter making a quick clip on another Ten Sleep 5.12. This rope had the fastest clipping and feeding action of any line in this review.
Glenda Huxter making a quick clip on another Ten Sleep 5.12. This rope had the fastest clipping and feeding action of any line in this review.

Belaying was also smooth and easy, and we didn't experience excessive kinking with this line. Kinks can be introduced via lowering off staggered anchors, or from improper unspooling. This rope does come in a factory coil, but we took the time to carefully unwind it and didn't experience significant kinking afterwards.

This rope feeds through your belay device smoothly and efficiently.
This rope feeds through your belay device smoothly and efficiently.

Catch


We gave this rope a 7/10 for catch. Did we take a single hard fall on it? Nope! This rope provided soft and bouncy catches every time. But, as we'll explain below, the ratings on this rope did cause us some concern for various reasons and resulted in a slightly lower score.


This line has a 10.3 kN impact force rating and a 26% maximum dynamic elongation. These ratings come from a very specific test whereby an 80 Kg mass takes a 1.77 factor fall onto a rigid belay. The maximum allowed by the UIAA standards is 12 kN, as this has been determined to be the greatest amount of deceleration force that the human body can withstand. In real life falls, with the displacement in both climbers' harnesses, the belay device, and the upward movement of the belayer, nowhere near the maximum force ratings occur. (It's also rare to take a 1.77 factor fall and actually impossible on single pitch routes - you'd hit the ground first!)

All points off! Sport falls felt fine on this rope  and we never felt like this rope provided a "harder" catch when we used a proper dynamic belay.
All points off! Sport falls felt fine on this rope, and we never felt like this rope provided a "harder" catch when we used a proper dynamic belay.

While we were still able to take soft falls on this line with an attentive belayer and a dynamic belay movement, the ability for this rope to exert a higher force is a bit concerning, particularly if you climb on traditional gear and want to avoid blowing pieces. Many of the ropes that we tested had an impact force rating of 8.4-8.8 kN, while some, like the Beal Booster III, are as low as 7.3 kN and 38% dynamic elongation. We can assume from the elongation figures that if you took the exact same smaller factor fall on the Booster as you did on the Pinnacle, you would experience less force with the Booster (as would your gear). That is why we recommend the Pinnacle for sport climbing as opposed to all-around use. Also, because of the potential for more force to be applied, only people proficient with dynamic belaying should use this rope.

The author working out the moves on a steeper line via top rope. This line felt tight and secure when top roping.
The author working out the moves on a steeper line via top rope. This line felt tight and secure when top roping.

The upside to the lower elongation for this line is that it gives a really tight top rope feel, so if you have someone who regularly seconds your harder lines but hates feeling like they "fall" a couple of feet every time they weight a top rope, they'll probably like this line better.

Weight


This rope has a higher weight per gram than the other 9.5 mm ropes in this review. As such we gave it a 7/10 score for weight.


This rope weighs 61 g/m, whereas the other 9.5 mm Mammut Infinity and Petzl Arial weigh 58 g/m. This difference in weight is equivalent to about 6 ounces for a 60 m rope and about half a pound for a 70 m one. Will you notice this difference? That depends. We do appreciate less weight for carrying up to the crag, and when you go light on all of your gear, the ounces do add up. When you're climbing, you often don't notice the weight of the rope until the end of a long pitch, and then it might be due to rope drag more than the weight itself. But you are carrying the weight of the rope on your harness, and if there's a showstopper move at the top of a long pitch, those extra ounces could make a difference.

Durability


We were really impressed with the durability of this rope and gave it an 8/10.


We were initially worried as to how this rope would hold up, as the New England ropes that we had in years past quickly turned into wire-like ropes. So far so good with the Pinnacle, and even after 70 pitches we have yet to feel the rope stiffening. The weave is a 1x1 pattern, which typically lends for better abrasion resistance compared to a 2x2 weave. The Edelweiss Curve Unicore Supereverdry is the only other rope in this review with a 1x1 pattern, and it too showed great abrasion resistance. We can see virtually no sheath fuzz on both of those lines and only a little dirt accumulation. If the Pinnacle was a thicker rope, we'd be tempted to give it a 10/10, but since it is thinner it won't last quite as long as some thicker models, like the Curve.

Was this rope even used? Our log counts 9 days and over 70 pitches  but it still looks brand new  with zero sheath fuzz and little dirt accumulation.
Was this rope even used? Our log counts 9 days and over 70 pitches, but it still looks brand new, with zero sheath fuzz and little dirt accumulation.

Best Applications


The Maxim Pinnacle is not a rope for beginners. It's thin and supple, and it might be challenging for someone new to the sport to belay with it safely. It's also not the rope we'd want to take on a thin-gear testpiece, as the potential for higher impact forces on our gear is concerning. But for those who like to clip bolts, this rope is hard to beat.

If sport climbing is your thing  check this rope out!
If sport climbing is your thing, check this rope out!

Value


This rope retails for $265, and the bi-pattern is $285, which is up there for a 60 m rope. If you're looking for a good rope that's not quite as expensive, check out our Best Buy winner, the Beal Booster III ($210).

Taking a TR burn on Urban Decay at Mt. Charleston. If limestone caves are your favorite climbing locale  this rope might be the perfect one for you!
Taking a TR burn on Urban Decay at Mt. Charleston. If limestone caves are your favorite climbing locale, this rope might be the perfect one for you!

Conclusion


The Maxim Pinnacle is a great niche rope for those who like to sport climb. It's not too heavy, and has great clipping and belaying action. This isn't the best all-around rope, and it certainly isn't suited for beginners, but if you've been sport climbing for a while and are looking for a high-performance line for your redpoint attempts, this is an excellent option.

Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: September 11, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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