BlueWater Wave 9.3 Review
- Good durability
- Good resistance to dirt
- Rated for both single & half rope use
- Stiffer handling
- Bi-pattern color scheme less effective at finding middle
The BlueWater Wave is a 9.3mm dynamic single and half rope with good durability and resistance to dirt. With stiffer handling due to a thick sheath, the Wave worked best in single pitch sport and trad climbing although dry treatment options make it an appealing rope for ice and alpine climbers.
The BlueWater Wave was the least popular rope with testers in this group of ropes tested. Despite being the skinniest rope in the group, the Wave had a stiff feel to its handling which may be in large part to the thicker sheath BlueWater uses with the Wave. According to BlueWater they took their popular 9.1mm Icon rope and put a thicker sheath on it to improve durability. In our testing, that thicker sheath produced a rope that moves a little harder in a belay device and takes more effort when tying small knots.
Resistance to Dirt
The Wave held up well to dirt despite the rough conditions we put the rope through in testing, scoring just behind the top rope in this category, the Sterling Helix. After dozens of days of climbing, the Wave’s sheath lost some of that initial brightness from when it was new and picked up some black from the aluminum carabiners but stayed cleaner than many of the other ropes tested. This helped testers be able to find the middle of the rope when setting rappels, which was greatly beneficial because testers didn’t find the middle to be the easiest to find.
While the Wave was the skinniest rope tested in this group of midsize ropes, it still proved to be durable and held up well during-in house and field testing, scoring just below the most durable ropes. Its admirable performance in durability may be in part due to the thicker sheath used, as described earlier. During field testing the Wave showed a little more wear in the form of fuzz on the sheath compared to some of the other ropes tested but the rope’s handling characteristics stayed consistent. During in-house testing, the Wave performed just as well as other ropes, with the sheath holding up well during the abrasion test. The Wave’s core was exposed a good amount during the sharp edge test, just behind the top scoring ropes in this group.
The Wave’s standout feature is the thick sheath, making it a fine choice for climbers wanting a skinny but durable rope. The Wave is available in a number of configurations, with three different color combos, Double Dry treatment and a bicolor pattern. The Wave we tested was a light blue bicolor pattern that was appreciated by testers when rappelling and looking for the middle mark on the rope. While helpful, the color change wasn’t the easiest to spot compared to other bicolor patterns tested and was at times missed by testers when running the rope through anchors. Another advantage to the Wave is it is rated for both single and half rope use, giving it some additional versatility to be use on its own or used as a double on routes where rope drag from a wandering line or there is concern for rope cutting due to sharp rock.
Depending on the configuration of The Wave you buy, you could do a lot of different things with this rope. It was most popular with testers for sport and trad climbing as testers appreciated the tough sheath and light weight of the 9.3mm diameter. The stiffer handling makes it a little harder to use when there’s a lot of handling to be had, such as in multi-pitch climbing when you’re repeatedly pulling rope and tying clove hitches. The Double Dry version would make this rope appropriate for ice climbing and a good choice for snow and alpine climbs.
How We Tested It
The ropes in this test were used for a minimum of 25 climbing days each while sport and trad climbing, both single and multi-pitch, in Western Colorado on limestone, granite, quartzite and a variety of sandstones. They were also used on objectives farther afield such as the Utah desert, Zion National Park, and more. They were also used for single and multi-pitch ice climbing. In addition to field testing, a 2 meter section of new rope was used for comparison of its resistance to dirt and durability. That section of rope was also put through an isolated durability test with a sharp edge and an abrasive edge with a 50 pound weighted bag.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our Best Workhorse Ropes of 2017, Best Crag Packs of 2017, along with our other rope tests, climbing shoe tests, as well as other related climbing gear reviews.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
Shop for the BlueWater Wave 9.3
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- Lengths Available: 60, 70 and 80 meter lengths
- Colors Available: blue/red, pink/black, red/blue
- UIAA Falls: 6
- Impact Force (kN): 8.0 kN
- Working/Static Elongation (%): 4.3
- Dynamic Elongation (%): 33.6
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