Beal Opera 8.5mm | libertymountain.com | $219.95 (60 m) | ★★★★½
With a diameter normally reserved for half ropes, the Opera is the skinniest single-rated rope on the market and the first to break the mythical weight barrier of 50 grams per meter. With a tight-knit sheath and a medium- stiff hand, it was also one of the most durable. Beal’s Golden Dry treatment is applied to every strand of the core and sheath, and kept it from absorbing any water when I dropped the rope into a creek. In both handling and performance, the Opera is much like a slimmed-down version of the Joker, Beal’s 9.1, one of my favorite skinny cords.
The Opera has the most stretch of the three, around five percent more, something to consider when taking big whips with a lot of rope in play. But if trimming the fat is your top concern, the Opera could be the solution.
Ratings range from one to five stars. 5 stars The best in its class, with no major shortcomings and competitive pricing. 4 stars Product is among the best and innovative, but can have one or two minor flaws. An overly high price can count as a flaw. 3 stars Good but average, with no standout or innovative feature. Might have more than two minor flaws. 2 stars Has a serious flaw or shortcoming that compromises performance. 1 star Gear has serious issues and isn’t recommended.
This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 227 (July 2015).