Sean Smith is your definitive climbing nerd. Whether it is about gear or techniques, or the geology and the history of a route, Sean eats it up and will talk your ear off about it, if you let him. Sean has over 5 years of indoor and outdoor guiding experience, having coached youth and adults, including several national qualifiers, and most recently working with Movement Climbing and Fitness as well as guiding for Denver Mountain Guiding. His favorite part of taking guests into the mountains is sharing hidden views in classic climbing spots. Sean always puts safety first, along with the enjoyment of his guests, striving to leave lasting memories and smiles, and inspiring climbers to look forward to their next objective. – Denver Mountain Guiding
No item is more important in the climbing world than the rope, and finding one that meets all the needs of a great day out is rare. Many climbers will also fear the initial un-kinking and breaking in of a new rope. When I got the Edelweiss Curve 9.8 I immediately unpackaged it, grabbed a beer, and set to the long process of getting it climbing ready. My estimate of a protracted effort was overkill, however, and after only a few flakings and a run through a belay plate, the Curve ran smooth and was ready to be recoiled for the crags.
The Curve comes with Edelweiss’ Perform3 concept, giving it more flexibility, energy absorption, and making it lighter. The lightness can definitely be felt during carries and at the end of long pitches. It was also very nice to see the Curve didn’t come with the usual stiffness of a new rope; requiring longer tails on tie-in knots, and for the ropes’s first climb my figure eight sat nicely without much fuss. When the rope was weighted the added energy absorption could be felt in some additional stretch. The Curve lists a 9.4% static elongation and definitely gets to that quite easily in a fall on top rope.
Another one of Edelweiss’ concepts put into the Curve is what they call their HD Cover offering better handling and abrasion resistance. There seems to be a lot of rough rock around Boulder that likes to take the sheath off ropes, especially on the fountain sandstone of Eldorado Canyon and the Flatirons. To really test its durability I made it my main rope for guiding the First Flatiron, even after getting dragged over the slabs and making the stepped rappel off the back there is little to no wear on the rope, in fact, it still looks fresh out of the bag.
One aspect of the Curve I’m quite happy about is the large, dark, beefy middle mark on the rope. Knowing how much faster many transitions go when the middle of the rope can be found quickly I’m often remarking my ropes, or getting frustrated finding a faded stripe or two. On the curve the Mid Mark seems to be almost painted on the outside of the rope, to the point of needing to pull slightly harder to move it through a plaquette. When needed it is easy to find without much searching. I’m sure that some of the ease in finding it is the sheath construction and the rope’s abrasion resistance, which seems to help it resist fading in color or absorbing dirt as well, but I would imagine that mark will be pretty easy to find for a long time coming.
The Curve 9.8 seems to lend itself well as a lead line for long multipitch routes, as well as trad and sport red-pointing. When using it for a top rope setting be mindful of the additional energy absorption and stretch during the starts of routes. However, the sheath construction should help protect the rope from some of the added abuse that comes with a day of TR-ing. The Curve offers great handling and knotting, and runs through gear like a dream, while not being a significant weight by the end of long pitches.