Hands-on Gear Review

Petzl Volta Review

Petzl Volta  9.2 mm
By: McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 9, 2015
Price:  $270 List  |  $104.96 at MooseJaw - 61% Off
Pros:  Good catch, rated as a single, half and twin
Cons:  Seems thicker than other ropes of the same diameter, sheath weave seems loose
Manufacturer:   Petzl
69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Catch - 15% 8
  • Handling - 40% 7
  • Durability - 25% 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

A lightweight, soft, and skinny rope, the Petzl Volta falls into our alpine and sending rope category. The Volta and the Sterling Fusion Nano IX were duking it out throughout our tests to see which would earn the Top Pick award for this category. Uniquely, both are certified for use as a half, twin, and single rope, and they are the only ropes in our tests to earn this multi-use status. While the Volta is 9.2mm, the Nano is an incredible 9.0mm in diameter and is lighter at 52 g/m to the Volta's 55 g/m. Needless to say, the Nano plays a tough game, and eventually won out for the award. However, the Volta is a widely liked rope by many of our testers.

The Petzl Volta and eight other high-performance ropes are evaluated in The Best Rock Climbing Rope Review.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Rated for use as a single, half, and twin rope, the 9.2mm Petzl Volta is a thin and lightweight rope ideal for situations where ounces count.

Performance Comparison


Ali Feinberg flakes the supple 9.2mm Petzl Volta  which is uniquely certified for use as a single  half  or twin rope.
Ali Feinberg flakes the supple 9.2mm Petzl Volta, which is uniquely certified for use as a single, half, or twin rope.

Weight


At 55 grams per meter, the Volta is the second lightest rope in our review, just after the Sterling Fusion Nano IX which weighs a feathery 52 g/m. This makes it easy to pack and carry and allows for lower gravity-inducing rope drag on hard sends or long routes.

We usually recommend looking at a rope's weight as well as its diameter, because often the weight will give you a better idea of how the rope will handle than the diameter alone. In the case of the Volta, this is especially true. While it is listed as a 9.2mm diameter, in hand it feels much thicker than ropes of the same diameter, or even larger dimensions. Compared to the 9.4 mm Sterling Fusion Ion R, the Volta feels thicker. However, the Ion does still weigh 2 grams per meter more. It is also worth noting that the Volta's weight is 42% sheath, which could partly account for this feeling of thickness.

The Volta comes standard with Petzl's Duratec Dry treatment. This leaves the surface of the rope slippery at the first use. We also found that Petzl's 9.2mm feels thicker than other brands' ropes of the same diameter.
The Volta comes standard with Petzl's Duratec Dry treatment. This leaves the surface of the rope slippery at the first use. We also found that Petzl's 9.2mm feels thicker than other brands' ropes of the same diameter.

Catch


After polling many climbers, the consensus is that people like this rope. After climbing and falling on the Volta, people find the catch comfortable and easy. With an impact force rating of 8.6 kN, this is what we would expect. That falls right in the range that we have found to be the favorite among our testers.

Handling


When the Volta was brand new, several testers noted that the rope slipped a bit in the Gri-Gri 2. When holding the weight of a fallen leader, the rope would creep slightly through the device, rather than remaining solidly locked off. This belay device is rated for ropes of the Volta's thin diameter as well as much thinner ropes, so this was not an equipment compatibility issue. Petal's Duratec Dry treatment made the surface of the rope feel slippery at first, and this slippery surface is likely what made the rope slip slightly. After a couple weeks of use, the rope broke in a bit and stopped slipping.

When the Volta was brand new  we noticed that the rope slipped slightly through a Gri Gri when holding the weight of the leader. This went away after a couple weeks of use.
When the Volta was brand new, we noticed that the rope slipped slightly through a Gri Gri when holding the weight of the leader. This went away after a couple weeks of use.

Other than the initial slipperiness of this rope, the other noticeably feature is that it is very supple. It is comfortable to belay with and easy for a leader to clip with. One tester noted that is is so supple, it is almost floppy, and this resulted in more tangles than with thinner ropes, especially on multi-pitch rappels. She resorted to re-flaking the rope before any type of use to reduce the possibility of tangles, but did find that this rope untangled just as easily as well.

Durability


After a lot of use on hard sport projects, many multi-pitch climbs, and even some trad FA's, this rope showed no noticeable wear. We think that for a rope of this diameter, it will last an adequate amount of time. The 42% sheath protects the core from abrasion and extends the life of the rope. Besides the workhorse Sterling Marathon Pro, which also has 42% sheath, this is the largest proportion of sheath of the ropes in our test.

Ali Feinberg putting up an FA off the Green River in Utah on the Petzl Volta (while trailing a brighter orange rope.)
Ali Feinberg putting up an FA off the Green River in Utah on the Petzl Volta (while trailing a brighter orange rope.)

Best Applications


Since this rope is certified for three different types of use, it makes for a versatile rope in the alpine. Because of its low weight and soft catch, we also love it for sending sport climbing projects.

Value


Petzl ropes are fairly expensive when compared to other ropes on the market. A standard Sterling Nano will be less expensive than the Petzl model, but the Petzl model always comes with a dry treatment, whereas with Sterling ropes you can choose with or without (which affects the price.) If you can find this rope on sale, it will be a good deal because this rope is durable and comfortable to climb with.

Conclusion


This rope was widely liked among our testers and the climbers we polled. Its low weight, supple hand, and smooth catch make for a pleasurable climbing experience. It just missed winning our Top Pick award for skinny alpine/sending rope, losing to the lighter and thinner Sterling Nano IX.

We found that we did not like the black color of our test rope. Not only does it not stand out well in photos, but it made it very difficult to find the middle-mark, especially in low light situations. If possible, we suggest choosing the orange version of this rope.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Volta is sold in lengths from 30 meters to 100 meters in gray and orange. It comes lap coiled and with a middle-mark already in place. All versions come with Petzl's Duratec Dry treatment.

Paso
Petzl Paso Half 7.7mm Rope
  • 7.7 mm
  • Half rope
  • Designed for very technical practices
  • Features Duratec Dry treatment
  • $199

McKenzie Long

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