Sterling Evolution Aero 9.2mm Rope
There is quite an impressive selection of climbing ropes on the market. For a climber in Colorado, we require a long list of requirements for our ropes: to be able to perform well on rock, ice, and snow, often all in a single day; to be light enough to carry on long alpine approaches; to be burly enough for projecting, yet nimble enough for sending; to handle comfortably with a range of belay devices, from assisted belay devices like a Gri-Gri to a manual plaquette-style device.
Although it is unrealistic to expect any one rope to perform well in all of these categories, the Sterling Evolution Aero 9.2mm dynamic rope does a fine job of rising up to the challenge. Straight out of the box, the Evolution Aero, with its DryCore and DryCoat treatment, shined in ice-climbing, alpine climbing, and mixed climbing across the winter freezes of Colorado. As the summer climbing season drew on, the same rope was my top choice for multi-pitch rock routes, alpine climbs, and sending sport projects. From steep alpine cracks of The Diamond to big-wall free climbs in Zion to the overhanging limestone of Rifle, the Aero had an excellent handle and feel that was comforting when making difficult clips. During falls, the Aero gave a great catch and was easy to hold, inspiring confidence when logging in airtime working a project.
Unlike many skinny ropes, the 9.2mm diameter of the rope was durable enough for extended use, and it didn’t require “babying” the rope. Sterling designed the 9.2mm Aero with a tougher sheath material and a lighter weight core construction to meet this purpose. The result is a skinny lightweight rope with the burliness and durability of a larger diameter cord.
The bi-color pattern of the rope made rappels a breeze and added a margin of safety for knowing when the half-way mark of the rope was crossed on long pitches. At 56 gm/meter, it is among the lightest of ropes in its class. It comes in a variety of lengths from 50-80m at 10m intervals, and in various color-options. I found the bi-color 60m to be my personal favorite and ideal for a workhorse, all-purpose rope.
While there should always be room a climber’s quiver for “specialist” ropes – like a sub-9.0mm ultralight alpine rope, skinny glacier ropes, and a thicker diameter rope for top-roping with beginning climbers, the 9.2mm Sterling Aero shines for most applications, and was the rope I found myself reaching to the most for a day of climbing.
Written by: Colorado Mountain School Guide Japhy Dhungana