Petzl Arial Review
Cons: Not very durable, expensive
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|Pros||Lightweight, good handling, and soft catches||Durable sheath, supple feel, soft catches, saves some weight over thicker workhorses||Light, durable, super soft and supple handle||Great handling, durable||Soft catches, low impact force rating, durable|
|Cons||Not very durable, expensive||Middle marker wears out quickly, still heavier than thinner ropes||Not durable enough for heavy duty sport climbing, a lot of stretch when seconding||Heavy for the diameter, high impact force rating||A little too stretchy for top roping, stiff|
|Bottom Line||A nice handling rope that is great for redpointing||This rope is a winner due to its superior handling, durability, and excellent catches||The perfect light and skinny rope for climbing high above the ground||A great rope for advanced sport climbing||Not the best handling but excellent overall performance|
|Rating Categories||Petzl Arial||Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla...||Petzl Volta||Maxim Pinnacle||Beal Booster III|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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