This season, Beal has completely redesigned its line of sport climbing ropes. In the most basic (ACTIVE) line, they have included the same construction features found in the top-of-the-range collection, which means they have the same safety, impact absorption, handling, reliability and low impact force. But chemical treatments, such as water repellency have been removed, as these are not usually required for this kind of climbing.
In this way, Beal offers a rope with excellent value, and which is less harmful to the environment, by avoiding these chemical treatments. The ropes in this line 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.
A few months ago, we reviewed the Beal Virus rope. The 9.8mm Karma model is in the same range and is manufactured in three lengths: 60, 70 and 80m. This last length is the one we put to the test.
Compared to the superior INTENSIVE line, it is slightly less malleable but still retains a good amount of flexibility. We think this could be due to the stronger sheath, with a rougher feel, which is probably to compensate the absence of chemical treatment.
At first, we found the rope twisted (due to the stiffer sheath), but this was solved after a few uses. The rougher feel also disappeared after a few days climbing, resulting in a smoother and more malleable rope. But you need to be careful with knots on the first few climbs, when itâ€™s still stiff and make sure they are dressed and tightened well.
The Karma belays perfectly and didnâ€™t slip in any of the belay devices we tried. It performs extremely well with the Gri-gri, as it slides smoothly and responds to braking perfectly. This is a real plus for beginners, together with the value for money it provides. Another plus is that, as with most ropes by Beal, the impact force is low and therefore cushions your fall.
It handles very well for its diameter and also runs through the carabiners well, so more experienced climbers, who often choose lighter ropes with a smaller diameter, may appreciate this rope when trying out a route and reserve the narrower rope for the ultimate attempt.
Durable and comfortable, the Karma rope has a medium diameter which offers a good combination between safety and handling. It performs well for belaying and even though it is not treated, it offers exceptional value for money for sport climbers who do not normally find themselves in situations where treatments are required (water-repellency, in particular).