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's our favorite rope for redpoint burns where we are making tenuous clips and need a fast clip and a faster feed from our belayer. It feels 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.
Maxim Pinnacle Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great handling, durable
Cons: Heavy for the diameter, high impact force rating
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
We love the way the Maxim Pinnacle handles. All of our testers agree that this line has 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 feels completely different from any other rope in the test group, even in the way that it coils. When we butterfly coil it around our neck and compare it to the ultra-stiff Edelweiss Curve Unicore Supereverdry, it takes up almost half of the space because the rope is so supple. Our testers all like the handling on this rope, 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.
Belaying is 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 unwind it carefully and didn't experience significant kinking afterward.
We gave this rope a 7/10 for catch. Did we take a single hard fall on it? Nope! This rope provides soft and bouncy catches every time. But, as we'll explain below, the ratings on this rope do 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!)
While we still took 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. Most of the ropes that we tested have 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 same smaller factor fall on the Booster as 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 upside to the lower elongation for this line is that it gives a 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.
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. If you really want to lighten up and are a proficient belayer, consider the Beal Joker, which weighs only 53 g/m.
We were 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 lines. 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 also has a 1x1 pattern, and it too has excellent abrasion resistance. We can see virtually no sheath fuzz on both of these lines and only a little dirt accumulation. If the Pinnacle were 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.
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).
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