Petzl Arial 9.5 Review
- Great handling
- Good durability
- Good versatility
- Got dirty quick
- Middle mark was hard to find after heavy use
The Petzl Arial is a quality all around 9.5mm dynamic single rope for sport and trad climbing with great handling. Petzl’s Duratec Dry treatment comes standard on the rope and makes the Arial a great option for ice climbing. The Arial proved to be a durable rope through extensive testing although the rope got dirty quick and the middle mark was hard to see after heavy use.
The Petzl Arial was a popular rope with testers for its handling characteristics, sharing the highest score for handling in this group of midsize ropes tested with the Sterling Helix. The Arial has a soft, supple feel from day one and maintained that good feel for tying knots and working with belay devices throughout its life. Petzl credits the EverFlex treatment they use, a thermal treatment that stabilizes the core strands with giving the rope the ability to maintain its good handling after extensive use.
Resistance to Dirt
All Arial ropes come with Petzl’s Duratec Dry treatment to help make the rope resistant to dirt. While the treatment worked well in the short term to keep the rope clean, after extended use and abuse while testing the Arial got dirty and lost its bright orange color. Hence, in the long run, the Arial proved less resistant to dirt than the best ropes tested in this group. The dirt and aluminum oxide picked up on the sheath also made it harder to find the middle mark.
The Arial held up really well during testing and while it didn’t score the highest marks in terms of durability, it came in a close second. Despite the dozens of days the rope was used on ice, sharp granite and on desert sandstone, the Arial’s handling characteristics were well maintained. The sheath shows obvious signs of wear with some fuzz and looks a little worse off than other ropes but the core maintains it’s consistent feel upon inspection. The Arial also performed well during in-house testing, showing fuzz on the sheath during the abrasion test and a modest amount of core exposed during the sharp edge test.
The Arial comes with a black middle mark to aid in finding the halfway point of the rope. When new, this middle mark proved useful but over time that middle mark became significantly faded and in conjunction with the dirt the rope picked up it was hard to find. Petzl bonds the core and the sheath together in a process called an UltraSonic finish to prevent frayed ends and this proved very effective. Most of the ropes tested show signs of sheath slippage and frayed ends, particularly where we cut off a section of rope for isolated testing, but the Arial didn’t suffer a similar fate. Many users will also appreciate the ClimbReady coil, making it easy for the Arial to be pulled out of the plastic and used without having to go through an arduous process of unwinding to prevent twists and kinks. All Arial ropes come standard with a Duratec Dry treatment that worked well while ice climbing and it’s available in three popular lengths, 60, 70 and 80 meters. No bicolor option exists with the Arial.
The Arial proved to be a good all-around rope for rock and ice climbers. The standard and effective Duratec Dry treatment worked well in keeping the rope from icing up on wet and cold days of ice climbing and the rope is small and light enough for some climbers to give it a go on snow and alpine objectives. The Arial’s versatility is increased by its ability to work well in both sport and trad climbing owing to its good durability and popular handling.
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.
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- Lengths Available: 60, 70 and 80 meter lengths
- Colors Available: orange, gold
- UIAA Falls: 7
- Impact Force (kN): 8.8 kN
- Working/Static Elongation (%): 7.6
- Dynamic Elongation (%): 32
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