We have watched climbing ropes evolve in the past years to meet better safety standards. We have quickly moved on from the fat ropes and left them to top-roping school groups.
Ropes have moved away from the usual 11mm ropes and evolved into UIAA certified single ones. These single ropes are durable, light, and so skinny that we had to redesign belay devices so they could fit.
The first thin rope to pass all three tests of dynamic ropes is the Beal Joker 9.1. The joker rope is a high-end, high-performance rope for climbing. But note that you won’t have much rope left when you jug the captain.
The Beal Joker 9.1 is a high-performance climbing rope with two models; the Joker 9.1 and the Joker 9.1 Soft. Both models boast of exceptional quality, with only slight differences.
If you visit sports crags, you will notice that nearly every climber works with a brake-assisted device alongside the sub 9.4mm, and they take many falls during their routes.
The Joker 9.1’s safety has a guarantee, which is the tiny membrane that rests between the rope’s core and sheet, thanks to the UNICORE technology. This technology allows the rope to stretch under stress and load without breaking. So, even if the sheath gets damaged, the rope will function properly and not cause an accident.
Who are the Beal Joker 9.1 ropes for?
The Joker 9.1 and the Joker 9.1 Soft ropes are exceptional high-end ropes for people interested in reducing weight as they climb higher. It is also great for mountaineering, running ridges, and high-end multi-pitching.
If you’re new to this, Beal Joker 9.1 is not your ideal first rope. It is also not a good option for heavy usage areas and top-roping.
The rope will help you climb hard and offer soft catches, making it a great one to consider for couples that handle a massive weight difference.
Specifications for the Beal Joker 9.1 ropes:
Both ropes have the same spec, as seen below.
• Weight: 53 g/m
• UNICORE technology
• UIAA and CE Certified (Single, Half, Twin)
• UIAA Certified Water Repellent – Golden Dry
• Single Impact force: 8.2kN
• Half Impact force: 6kN
• Twin Impact force: 9.5kN
• Single UIAA falls: 5
• Half UIAA falls: 20
• Twin UIAA falls: 25
• Black middle mark
Both joker ropes pass through auto-locking multiple pitch devices when belaying from above. They also fit through a GRIGRI for secure climbing and other activities.
You need skills in belaying to use a tube device due to the ropes’ skinny nature. Their softness also makes it tricky, so you will also need gloves.
Both ropes offer you smooth clipping and easy landing. However, you might have to shorten the tail in your figure 8 knot to balance the diameter and knot size.
The two ropes have their weight as a massive advantage because it is easy to notice the difference between the 9.1mm Joker and other heavier ropes.
Although both versions of the joker rope are easy to handle, the regular Joker 9.1 was a favorite during the testing. This choice is because the Soft version often curled up when feeding into the GRIGRI, which leads to jams while belaying.
The regular joker rope was less likely to get tied when being flaked over a hand for throwing. These were the only two differences.
The regular Joker 9.1 rope lasts longer because it has a firmer sheath that endured for a long time before showing signs of wear, and this was after many days of falling when climbing.
The Joker 9.1 soft began to wear off faster. It also showed signs of wear and tear after fewer falls.
Regardless, both ropes are made for performance, handling, and weight saving. However, they cannot handle abuse.
Overall, joker 9.1 ropes offer better performance than fatter and stiffer ropes, but their lifespan is shorter.
We tested both ropes with many processes, including several days of traditional climbing, sport climbing, rappelling, multi-pitching, work routes, etc.
Joker ropes have several notable advantages, including their dynamic elongation, easy clipping, lightweight, perfect handling, mid-marker, and dry-treated nature.
On the downside, it wears and tears quickly, it is a special-purpose tool, and you need braking assisted device to use it.
Generally, both versions of the Beal Joker are fun and exciting to use. I will most likely use them for sports climbing again soon.
The soft catches are a plus, while the excellent performance cuts down its durability.