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PMI Vertical Specialist Jay Smith takes PMI’s new 8.9mm Erractic with Unicore® technology rope for a test drive!

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Read what this climbing legend has to say about it:

My New Favorite Rope

I have been using PMI’s new Erratic 8.9mm Dry rope now for several weeks, on ice and mixed climbing routes. The new Unicore® technology gives me that extra confidence in the ropes ability to take the punishment of the sharp choss rock here in the San Juans of Colorado. The ropes sheath shows very little wear thus far, even after numerous times being lowered off mixed routes of sharp limestone, quartzite and welded tuff/ volcanic ash of the Campbird area and surrounds. This is always very hard on a rope.

One property that is unique to the Erratic rope is that even if the rope receives a core shot, from say a large rock falling on it or a grating across a very sharp edge, the sheath will still stay intact. This is quite reassuring on a long route where your rope has got to last till your back safely on the ground.

One time, while climbing in the Kitchatnas of Alaska, our lead rope received a small nick in the sheath during the ascent. Once seen it became a huge concern since we still had many difficult pitches to go up before we would start our descent back down. The only tape we had was the tiny factory piece that wrapped the tail. We reattached this over the small fray. Soon that fell off and the sheath began to wear. We made the summit and then began the 18 raps needed to descend. Four hundred feet from the ground, the sheath blew and the core came out like spaghetti. Of course this jammed somewhere above when we went to retrieve our rope, forcing us to cut it and complete the descent on a single worn 7mm. Obviously, we did make it back down, but things could have been much worse. With the new Erratic, this would not have been a problem as the sheath would have remained intact.

At first I questioned how soft the rope felt (the hand), but this rope handles like no other. Tying knots is simple and I can’t remember ever seeing a single kink. In addition, the dry treatment is superb and the ropes light weight is a huge plus. The one thing I have yet to test is taking a huge whipper on the rope. Maybe I’ll leave that for someone else.

Jay Smith


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