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Climbing Ropes

Beal Joker 9.1

The Joker has multiple-personality disorder. This 9.1mm lead cord is the first-ever rope certified for single, half or twin use. At 53 grams per meter, it's also the lightest-weight single rope made.

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The Joker has multiple-personality disorder. This 9.1mm lead cord is the first-ever rope certified for single, half or twin use. At 53 grams per meter, it’s also the lightest-weight single rope made, just nudging out the BlueWater Dominator and Mammut Revelation, both 9.2mm single ropes that check in at 55 grams per meter. The 4.2-ounce savings on a 60-meter cord aren’t really appreciable, but this multitasking superlight rope does streamline vertical life. You can string up the Joker for your redpoint send, use it double- or twin-style for zig-zagging trad lines, and ditto for ice, alpine, and mountaineering (it’s dry treated). In the latter applications, if the rope pulls up shy of the belay, just untie from one end, have the belayer pull it down, then continue, a la Dean Potterr, ├╝ber-pitch style. At rappels, the rope’s midpoint pattern change makes equalizing it through anchors a cinch.

In hand, the five-single-fall Joker ($169 for 60m; $215 for 70m) is wispy yet firm. Though a single rope, it behaves like a double: It rappels fast and won’t lock up a belay device as abruptly as a fatter rope. Take precautions: Belay gloves are a yes, but the Grigri, which won’t fully lock on the Joker, is a no.

Beal ropes are distributed in the U.S. through Liberty Mountain.