With Beal’s introduction of a new line of dynamic climbing ropes that feature UNICORE, climbers now have a safer option to consider when purchasing a rope. UNICORE permanently bonds a rope’s sheath to its core, eliminating sheath slippage, allowing a climber to escape off the rope if the sheath has been cut, reduces rope shrinkage, and allows for the temporary cutting of a rope without the sheath fraying.
Climbing ropes are interesting things. Not only is a climbing rope a piece of safety gear, but it is also considered a piece of performance gear. As climbers, we demand that our climbing rope be durable and shock absorbing to better save us in case we fall, as well as desire that the rope be supple, light, and skinny so it will assist us with our onsite or redpoint. The dual nature of climbing ropes makes it so that there are different climbing ropes that are made for all types of climbing:
• Indoor use
• Outdoor use
• Sport climbing
• Trad climbing
• Ice climbing
• Alpine climbing
• Single ropes
• Half ropes
• Twin ropes
• Dynamic lines
• Static lines
…and the list goes on.
As a climber, your friends will always ask you, “What is the best rope that I should buy?” In fact, you even wonder that yourself. With all the different brands and models of ropes, the “simple” action of buying a climbing rope does become mind-boggling. Won’t just any rope get the job done? Aren’t all the fancy features that make one rope different to another just personal preference?
When you look at a climbing rope as a piece of performance gear, then yes, most of the distinguishing features found on today’s ropes cater to the endless line of personal preferences. However, when you look at a climbing rope as a piece of safety gear, then there are some standard features that every climber’s rope should possess. Some of these features would include low impact force, high strength and durability, and no sheath slippage.
The problem with modern-day rope construction is that all ropes are fabricated where the core and sheath of the rope, although tightly woven around each other, are completely independent from each other and can easily be separated. This is where the term “sheath slippage” comes into play. Sheath slippage occurs when the core and the sheath don’t stretch in sync with each other, acting as two separate units. This causes a rope to be lumpy with the sheath bunched up in some areas and over stretched in others.
Ever seen a rope at a climbing gym, used mainly for top roping, that has an excess amount of sheath at the end? Have you witnessed how quickly the sheath will unravel when you cut a rope without searing the ends? What about when the sheath of a weighted rope gets cut on a sharp rock, worn out carabiner, crampon, or ice axe? In all of these cases, the rope is left with bunched up sheath sections, unraveled threads all over the place, and an overly exposed core that is weak and impossible to pass through an ascender or belay/rappel device.
It was for these reasons that Beal, a leading manufacturer of both static and dynamic ropes, started brainstorming, testing, and now manufacturing ropes that don’t experience the unsafe action of sheath slippage. Beal now offers an extensive line of dynamic climbing ropes where the sheaths are bonded to the core, i.e., UNICORE.
UNICORE ends up increasing the safety of a climbing rope without affecting its performance, strength, durability, stretch, and suppleness. UNICORE is much like the biological tissue/membrane that keeps the skin attached to the rest of the body. The sheath of a UNICORE rope stays connected to the core, even when the rope gets cut or wet; keeping both parts of the rope acting as one. UNICORE is stretchy, supple, and compatible with Beal's special water and abrasion resistant treatments. This means that the UNICORE technology can be used on both dynamic and static ropes as well as ropes intended for dry and wet condition.
UNICORE eliminates sheath slippage, even under the most adverse conditions such as excessive top roping and active belaying. With a UNICORE rope, climbers won't experience having sections of the sheath bunching or over stretching.
UNICORE prevents the over exposure of the rope’s core and the excessive fraying of the sheath fibers if the sheath were to get cut or torn. That alone will allow the climber to retreat on a rope whose sheath is cut and still be able to pass it through the carabiners, ascenders and belay/rappel devices.
The sheath of a UNICORE rope stays connected to the core at all times, even when it gets cut or wet; keeping the core covered and reinforced. The sheath of a standard rope, when cut or wet, will unravel, bunch, over-stretch, and bloat independently from the core; leaving the core internally twisted, overexposed, and weak.
On a classic rope, if the sheath is accidentally severed, it frays and bunches over several meters. It then becomes impossible to pass this zone, whether ascending or descending. With a UNICORE rope, the sheath stays in place and the user may escape, either by climbing or by descending, whilst taking all necessary precautions.
UNICORE is a pertinent feature for climbing ropes that isn’t openly visible. Much like an insurance policy, Unicore is there waiting to back you up in a time of need. As the sport of climbing continues to advance, so must the gear. With Unicore, Beal is raising the bar and standard for climbing ropes, offering the needed protection and safety you desire.
Liberty Mountain is the exclusive U.S. distributor of these French made ropes, making Beal a leading brand that is seen in many, if not most of the outdoor retail shops around the nation. Liberty Mountain also directly sells Beal products to the general consumer at www.libertymountainclimbing.com.