This lack of chemical treatment means the ropes in this line are made of 100% nylon and are bluesignÂ® approved (which certifies that the materials used are environmentally friendly and harmless, from the beginning of the manufacturing process to the end consumer).
We wanted to put one of these ropes to the test and decided to choose the VIRUS for its high versatility. It is designed for all levels; from beginners to experts. It has a reasonable diameter that allows fairly easy handling on the wall, without reducing safety for the average climber.
Test: Manu CÃ³rdova
UNPACKING THE ROPE
As soon as we unpacked the rope, a difference became apparent, compared to the earlier range. The packaging of the rope has changed. Apart from the label, it now comes with a roll of PVC and some brief instructions on handling, first use and recommendations.
After unpacking the rope and removing the sealed straps, we were able to check the rope's malleability. For a 10mm rope, it feels good. The sheath is a bit stiffer than what we're used to from BEAL's INTENSIVE range. However, this could be due to the absence of chemical treatment, which means the sheath has to be more durable.
The end markings show the CE mark, the main features and the traceability of the product. We also noticed that, like most BEAL ropes, this one also has a half-way mark.
We began by unrolling the rope and running it through the belay point several times. Here we found it twisted slightly more than other BEAL ropes (due to the stiffer sheath as mentioned above). However, these kinks disappeared after pulling it tight and running it through several times. From that point on it became a very comfortable rope to use, and even the stiff feel of the sheath disappeared.
It performs really well with any belay device, and is excellent for assisted braking with devices like the grigri, making the VIRUS is a great choice for newcomers to climbing.
The only point that requires careful attention during the first few uses is when it comes to tying a knot in the rope. The initial stiffness of the sheath means it's important to dress the knot and tighten it well to avoid any nasty surprises. As we mentioned, though, this soon disappears with use.
After further use of the rope we noticed that its dynamism is very similar to the ropes in the INTENSIVE range; with very low impact force to allow a softer fall (although this, of course, depends mainly on the belayer).
Thanks to the diameter of the rope, zig-zagging up a route is fairly easily, which is an advantage for beginners when learning to belay.
RUNNING THE ROPE THROUGH THE CARABINERS
As we began to use the rope more intensively, we were able to evaluate how it runs through the carabiners, which is quite important for expert climbers. In spite of its 10mm diameter, it runs through the biners well when climbing on large overhangs and multi-pitch routes. And even though it is slightly heavier than thinner ropes, it is also more durable, which means it's a great choice when you're pushing the limit on climbs that involve falling again and again until you finally manage to redpoint the route.
After highly intensive use, but without reaching the point of having to cut off the ends, we can say that the durability of the rope is good. We tested it by falling on new and worn carabiners as well as on long and short routes and the rope responded very well. This is another point in favour for both beginners and experts.
Although the rope was put to intensive use, and the sheath design responded well, we were unable to put it to prolonged testing over a period of several months. However, it was certainly given the kind of treatment that an average climber would give over the same period of time.