Three Colorado Mountain College Alums (Eric Crosby, Michael Elges, and Ryan Edwards) put together a fundraising expedition to the Alaska Range with the Boulder Mountain Institute to raise money for Paradox Sports, a Boulder-based non-profit that seeks to recognize and foster an individual’s potential and strength, defying the assumption that people with a physical disability can’t lead a life of excellence. Eric, Michael, and Ryan traveled to the Alaska Range earlier this spring/ summer to raise awareness for Paradox through climbing. They truly believe that climbing can help us discover ourselves on a different level. During their trip, they had a chance to test some gear for us as well.
The Sterling Fusion Photon 7.8mm dual certified half and twin rope is on the cutting edge of mountain rope technology. We took a pair of the Photons to the Kahiltna Glacier and the Ruth Gorge in the Alaska Range for a three-week expedition. We never touched another rope on this trip, and did not want to. With the Fusion Photons we bailed on the West Ridge on Mt. Hunter due to Alaskan weather. After inclement climbing weather on the Kahiltna we bumped down to the Ruth Gorge to try to find some more stable conditions. After bailing on routes up the Moose’s Tooth we found our personal success climbing peak 11,300 in a push. A wonderful Alaskan adventure for our team, our trip was part of a fundraiser for Paradox Sports based in Boulder, CO. This fundraiser was organized by Rob Smith of the Boulder Mountain Institute.
These ropes allowed us to travel light with one Photon when on moderate rock terrain, corniced ridges and glaciers. When in more technical terrain, using the other line gave a feeling of confidence even being 200 pounds geared up. Having the versatility and security of clipping one or two ropes is what seems to be a game changer. Being able to just clip one rope on a marginal piece of gear to reduce force, or clipping both into a bomber piece of gear for less stretch on the rope gives you that versatility and confidence. We did not have to employ any of those techniques. We almost exclusively climbed on a single line. The diameter of the line allows for less bulky coils when you want less rope to work with. We did rappel with the two 60m ropes, and we were glad to have that as an option.
These Fusion Photons are easy to pull when belaying with the Petzl Reverso and CAMP’s Gi-Gi. These lines handle well for such small diameters. The Photons seem a little wiry compared to supple fatter ropes. The wiry feel seems to keep the lines from tying themselves into bites. The colors of our ropes, yellow and purple, were great in contrast and beautifully bright.
The only issue that I had with the Photons is the lacking of a middle mark.
The Fusion Photon dual half and twin rope is a mountain tool that has fully exceeded my expectations of what a rope system can be. I look forward to the next time I am lucky enough to use these ropes!