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Climbing Ropes

Sterling Ion 9.5

Sterling Ion 9.5 climbing rope reviewed by Rock and Ice, the climbing magazine.

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Price | 60 m ($210);

70 m ($245); 80 m ($280)

www.sterlingrope.com

3 ½ stars

The Ion is the middleman in Sterling’s new Fusion series, which features the 9.8-mm Nitro (see right) and the 9.5-mm Nano (see Field Tested RI 169). Like the other ropes, the Ion employs a new core design and twisting technology that produce a light rope (60 grams per meter) and a soft catch (8.4 kN). In the field, the five-fall rated Ion was a solid performer, standing up to several months as my primary cord. The core held tough, but the sheath nicked and fuzzed the first time I used it. Surprisingly, the skinnier Nano held up better than the Ion, and has a higher UIAA fall rating of six falls. That said, these light and thin ropes are designated as redpoint cords, to be pulled out for sending and not working routes. The psychedelic, speckled color scheme on the Ion wins styliest rope hands-down, however. Choose between Earth, Wind and Fire, and you’ll be looking good whether you clip the chains, tag the summit or simply holler, “Take!”

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