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Petzl Arial Review

A nice handling rope that is great for redpointing
Petzl Arial
Petzl Arial
Credit: Backcountry
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Price:  $260 List | $172.46 at Backcountry
Pros:  Lightweight, good handling, and soft catches
Cons:  Not very durable, expensive
Manufacturer:   Petzl
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 2, 2021
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

We tested the Petzl Arial and were pleasantly surprised in many ways. The handling, catch, and weight per gram are all great! The only thing we are concerned about is the durability — our rope is showing quite a lot of wear, with sheath fuzz and some "glazed" sections of the sheath, which ultimately make it stiffer. Like all ropes made by Petzl, this one is very soft and supple, such that it bends easier than almost any other rope you can buy. Most people we know love this rope. That said, Petzl states that the Arial is made for experienced climbers for high-end climbing, and we agree with this designation. It handles well and provides a soft catch, but it's probably not the line you want to use for dogging your project.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Petzl Arial
This Product
Petzl Arial
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $260 List
$172.46 at Backcountry
$112.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$250 List
$97.46 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, good handling, and soft catchesDurable sheath, supple feel, soft catches, saves some weight over thicker workhorsesLight, durable, super soft and supple handleGreat handling, durableSoft catches, low impact force rating, durable
Cons Not very durable, expensiveMiddle 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 ratingA little too stretchy for top roping, stiff
Bottom Line A nice handling rope that is great for redpointingThis 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 climbingNot the best handling but excellent overall performance
Rating Categories Petzl Arial Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla... Petzl Volta Maxim Pinnacle Beal Booster III
Handling (35%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Durability (25%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Weight (20%)
7.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Catch (20%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Specs Petzl Arial Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla... Petzl Volta Maxim Pinnacle Beal Booster III
Diameter 9.5 mm 9.5 mm 9.2 mm 9.5 mm 9.7 mm
Weight (g/m) 58 g/m 59 g/m 55 g/m 61 g/m 61 g/m
Lengths Available 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m 60m, 70m, 80m 50m, 60m, 70m, 80m 60m, 70m 60m, 70m
Dry Coating Option DuraTec Mammut Dry Treatment Duratec Dry Endura Dry 2x treatment Dry Cover
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 7 7 6 7 8
Impact Force 8.8 kN 8.8 kN 8.6 kN 10.3 kN 7.3 kN
Static Elongation % (in use) 7.6 8 7.5 5 9.7
Dynamic Elongation % (first fall) 32 33 33 26 38
Sheath Proportion % 40 40 42 36 42
Calculated Weight of Sheath 23 g/m 24 g/m 23 g/m 22 g/m 26 g/m

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Petzl Arial is a 9.5mm rope that weighs 58 g/m and has an 8.8 kN impact force rating. Most ropes arrive still in a spool configuration, which is a hassle to unwind and can add tons of kinks to your rope that are difficult to remove. Petzl solves that problem for you and packages this rope stacked. We have to say that we didn't notice too many kinks when using it.

Performance Comparison


Petzl Arial climbing rope - cam mckenzie ring staring down her project on the arial. this rope...
Cam McKenzie Ring staring down her project on the Arial. This rope is great for your hard redpoints where you want a lightweight rope with a soft catch.
Credit: Landon Evans

Handling


It feels a little stiff and slippery when brand new, but quickly softened up and became one of our favorite ropes for quick clipping and belaying. In fact, we like the way this rope handles just as much as our Editors' Choice winner. This rope is 9.5mm in diameter, and may not be appropriate for newer climbers. Skinnier ropes like this can be more challenging to hold on to when arresting a fall when using a standard ATC-style belay device, so if you haven't had much experience climbing you'll be better off sticking with a thicker rope at first.

Need a rope that clips quickly and doesn't feel like it weighs a...
Need a rope that clips quickly and doesn't feel like it weighs a ton? This rope is hard to beat. And yes, we know we shouldn't put the rope in our mouth...
This rope had great belaying action, and it didn't kink up too much...
This rope had great belaying action, and it didn't kink up too much on us during testing.

Catch


We took some whippers on the rope, and felt like we got a soft catch every time. We also didn't feel like the catches got significantly harder when working a route and falling repeatedly at the same spot. Some ropes felt really hard after the first fall, but this one didn't seem to lose too much stretch. It also feels fine when top-roping, although it seems to stretch a bit more than most ropes, which can be slightly frustrating for avid top-ropers who like to rest and suss out the moves without losing all their hard-won progress in the process.

Petzl Arial climbing rope - don't let the face fool you - the catch is fine! when things don't...
Don't let the face fool you - the catch is fine! When things don't go as planned and you fall off your project, the Arial will give you a soft landing.
Credit: Landon Evans

Weight


This rope is relatively light for its diameter. It weighs 58 g/m, which is 5 grams less than some of the 9.8mm ropes in this review. What does that add up to though? We did the math for you, and for a 70m rope that's a difference of 12 ounces. If your approaches are short and your pitches even shorter, you might not notice the difference, but over longer hikes and pitches, that weight can add up. For those who are really looking to save every bit of weight that they can, we encourage you to check out the skinny sending lines featured in this review, some of which weigh as little as 52 g/m.

Petzl Arial climbing rope - you may or may not notice that this rope weighs almost a pound less...
You may or may not notice that this rope weighs almost a pound less than an 9.8 or 9.9 mm rope, but when you go light on all of your gear those differences do add up.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Durability


We've tried to test all of the different ropes an equal amount, keeping a rope log and noting the number of falls we took, and if there were any particularly rough edges that they encountered. The Arial did get a couple more days than some of the ropes in side-by-side testing, because after a while we couldn't get our testers to keep climbing on some of the other ropes with poorer handling. Everyone likes this rope, but after roughly the same number of pitches as the Mammut and Edelrid ropes we compared it directly against, the Arial looks a little worse for wear. There is extensive sheath fuzzing and also some areas where it looks like the sheath has glazed from heat.

Petzl Arial climbing rope - this rope was showing a lot of sheath fuzz after our testing period...
This rope was showing a lot of sheath fuzz after our testing period. It also had several sections where the sheath seemed a little melted. Although it got very dirty, we could still make out the middle marker.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Value


The retail price of this rope is up there with many of the other higher-priced ropes that we've tested. It's only available with a dry treatment, so there isn't really an option to forego this option to save money. Since it is relatively expensive and seemingly not as durable as other similar 9.5mm ropes that we've tested, we don't consider it an excellent value.

Petzl Arial climbing rope - we liked this rope for sport climbing, either for warmups or...
We liked this rope for sport climbing, either for warmups or redpoint attempts, but not for actually working a route.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Conclusion


There was a lot to like about the Petzl Arial, and if it had withstood the abuses of our climbing a little bit better, it could have been an award winner. As it stands, this is still a great option. Especially if you can find it on sale.

Cam McKenzie Ring
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