Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Climbing Ropes

Sterling Nitro 9.8

Sterling Nitro 9.8 climbing rope reviewed by Rock and Ice, the climbing magazine.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

$199 60m standard; $225 dry 4 stars

“This is a really thin rope,” my friend warned me as he shoed up. “So hang onto it hard if I fall.”

What occurred to me in that moment was: I don’t want to have to tell my belayers to hold on. I don’t even want to think about that when I should be thinking about moves.

I have never felt terribly compelled to use skinny ropes. A hoi-polloi weekender, I figure I fall off for other, more basic reasons than my rope not being quite light enough.

But lately I have found a reassuring compromise. The Nitro is part of Sterling’s Fusion series, a line intended for a hard and painstaking climber, unwilling to carry any extra rope weight. But at 9.8mm (impact force: 9.0 kN; Static Elongation: 10%) the Nitro is considered the workhorse of the line, millimeters wider than the super skinnies.

Beyond that, what makes it good is that same solidarity. The rope is not too soft, not too stiff; clips easily, and runs smoothly over rock and through carabiners. The sheath, re-engineered for a higher denier count than ropes in the Evolution series, but lower than in the truck Marathons, allows for a thin rope that is also durable. After using the rope for five months, I see only one snag, near the end. The rope provides a nice soft catch.

I do wish it had a center mark, though, for further peace of mind. As of press time Sterling said it was working on that addition.

Read Maxim Chalkline 10.8mm climbing rope review

Read Edelweiss Laser 9.6mm climbing rope review

Read Mammut Tusk 9.8mm climbing rope review

Read Sterling Ion 9.5mm climbing rope review

Read Petzl Fuse 9.4mm climbing rope review