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Sterling Evolution Helix Vs Velocity


Original Post
S Anderson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 2

I'm pretty new to climbing and at this point climb only at my local gym.  I'm signed up for a leading class and would like to buy my first rope. I've found some good deals on both the Sterling Evolution Helix and the Velocity.  The Velocity seems to be very well regarded and I've not found as much info about the Helix. 

 My Main question is regarding these two ropes.  From the few reviews I have read the Helix is durable for it's size and according to it's spec sheet it is rated for more falls than the Velocity. The Helix is also lighter and seems like it's in a size range that will work with a variety of belay devices.  Furthermore I can find the Helix for less money.  Given those facts and that I don't know enough at this point to have a personal preference between the two.  Is there a reason I would pick the Velocity over the Helix? 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

The velocity will last much longer than the helix. I generally recommend 9.8mm to 10.2mm ropes for new climbers as they tend to climb lower angle routes and top rope more, which usually puts more wear and tear on ropes. The velocity is pretty much the best workhorse rope on the market, imho. 

You can ignore the # of falls a rope is rated for- it basically means nothing in real world terms. 


S Anderson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 2

So is there an objective why to tell which rope is the most durable? Size doesn't seem like it should be the only factor in determining a ropes durability. Does the fall rating factor in or is that number just nonsense?

Dave Alie · · Golden, CO · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 75

It's an imperfect science to predict how long ropes will last because when you take them outside, no two ropes really experience the same set of forces wearing on them. In addition, in can take only one sharp edge to bring to rope to retirement age, regardless of how many times you've used it. This makes definitive durability statements difficult. Generally, I agree with John that the "fall rating" is not a number that you should keep in mind when you're climbing, but to a limited extent it can be helpful when comparing ropes to buy if you are looking for something specific. Better than that though (for a first rope to be used in the way john describes above) you can also look at the "sheath proportion." This is a measure of how much of the fibers are part of the sheath vs. part of the core. The core of the rope is really what catches you and holds the fall, the sheath protects the core against mechanical abrasion like running over rock or carabiners, getting exposed to dirt, etc. 

If you're mostly looking to toprope and do some moderate leading (as opposed to working an overhanging sport project which might entail large numbers of decent-sized falls) you might want more sheath than someone whipping endlessly, as most of the wear and tear on the rope in beginner-to-moderate climbing is likely to come from general abrasion rather than catching lots of big falls. Conversely, if your rope only really sees steep routes where it doesn't run over rock much, then goes straight back into the rope bag, you might be willing to sacrifice some of the sheath material for a lighter overall rope. 

Beyond all that, though, ropes are generally robust enough that a good, thick rope should last you a long time. I agree with John here as well: pick up a 9.8 to 10mm or so rope, take good care of it, and you should be good to go. The velocity is a great workhorse rope, but I'm also a proponent of the idea that (for a first rope) whatever you can find a good deal on in that size range is likely your best bet. Don't obsess too much, you'll be able to come back in the future with greater knowledge of what type of climbing you do most and what your preferences are and thus be able to spend your money on the features you most want. 

Kyle Elliott · · Everett, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 775
S Anderson wrote:

So is there an objective why to tell which rope is the most durable? Size doesn't seem like it should be the only factor in determining a ropes durability. Does the fall rating factor in or is that number just nonsense?

It's gonna come down to a variety of factors. The higher the percentage of sheath by mass is, the more you can reasonably say it will be more durable, but that's mostly speculation. Thicker ropes are going to have more sheath material in general, but there are some thinner ropes that meet the bill. 

S Anderson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 2

Awesome pulled the trigger on the velocity. I'm sure it will be a solid rope to learn on. Thanks again for your advice.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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