Petzl Fuse 9.4mm, 60 meter, $209.95
Petzl has introduced a new line of dynamic ropes from 8.2 to 10.7mm. Coming in as the sportiest is the Fuse, a 9.4mm cord available in 60- and 70-meter lengths. The very first thing I noticed was the rope’s stiffness, which was surprising for a rope with such a small diameter. I said, “Whoa, she’s-a stiff one, all right.” At first, I was worried about tying in with my bread-and-butter knot, the double-bowline, since the knot has a reputation of coming undone, especially if using a cord that is difficult to cinch down. However, the Fuse tied the knot just fine, and after a couple burns, the ends began to soften and tied great knots.
The Fuse, like all Petzl ropes, is treated with Dura Tech dry treatment. I thought that the coating felt slippery, and worried about using the rope in my auto-locking belay device. Quite the opposite, the Fuse fed through the device extremely well (especially considering its small diameter)—it never slipped, and was never out of control while lowering someone.
When I brought the Fuse to a crag that is a one-hour hike from the car, the cord was a welcome change from my previous rope—with its thin diameter, and scant 56 gram-per-meter weight, the Fuse sat in my pack unnoticed. In fact, I was worried I had forgotten it. However, despite one-third of the Fuse’s weight being sheath—a feature that surely contributes to its durability—the thin-diameter cord would not be my first choice for working a project. It’s a bit too skinny to withstand the winching of my 160-pound big ass, and showed signs of wear after a short period of dogging time.
As a redpoint, alpine or ice cord, however, the Fuse is good. You don’t notice it dangling beneath you when you’re trying to send, and thanks to some black markings at the rope’s midpoint, and six meters from either end, rappels are easier to set up.
The Fuse is rated to 6 UIAA falls, and boasts an 8.25 kN impact force, and a dynamic elongation of 34.4 percent—while the numbers make me feel like Jessica Simpson, when I fell on the Fuse, it caught me softer than baby skin. The rope also comes packaged in a butterfly coil, which ostensibly prevents kinks in the cord. I had to flake the rope about five times or so to really get all the twists out, but the gesture is appreciated nonetheless.