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Beal Booster III 9.7 mm Dry Cover

posted Jan 6, 2013, 11:33 AM by Italo Balestra   [ updated Jan 7, 2013, 9:40 AM ]

Rope Durability Test
18 months with the Beal Booster III Dry Cover

A rope with a water-repellent cover has been considered by most climbers for many years a rope that should have been used only for alpine climbing routes on snow and ice or glacier walkings. In more recent years, though, it has become clear that, together with protection from humidity and water, the water-repellent treatment provides additional protection from dirt, mud, and abrasion, that significantly improves the longevity of the rope. This has brought many manufacturers to produce more ropes with water-repellent covering and to suggest their use for sport climbing too.

We, at Go Out Project, love innovation and we are always very keen on experimenting new solutions. Therefore, we decided to try the Booster III 9.7 mm Dry Cover, for which Beal explicitly suggest the use for sport climbing in addition to the traditional use on snow and ice.

All Beal's Dry Cover ropes have a chemical covering that protect them from water and abrasion. Each filament of the sheath of Dry Cover ropes is treated with a water-repellent chemical before the rope is manufactured. This chemical covering is polymerised at high temperature to increase the durability of the treatment. The greatest advantages of the protective cover are an enhanced protection from humidity and water and a reduced abrasion damage in normal climbing use.

The new sheath of the Booster III
The Dry Cover version of the Booster III is a compact and light rope, which has exactly the same weight (63 g/m) of the Classic version, a bit more expensive tough (it costs about 15-20% more). However, if the rope is really significantly more durable, as claimed, the bigger initial investment might be worth. To check this we performed a durability test.

Beal Booster III 9.7 mm performances
Impact Force:          7.0-7.2 kN (UIAA Laboratories)
Number of Falls:      10-11 (UIAA Laboratories)
Sheath Percentage: 42%
Weight:                   63 g/m

The sheath on most of the length of the rope is still in perfect conditions after 18 months of intense use
Our Test

We tested the Beal Booster III 9.7 mm Dry Cover (70m length) for 18 months. We used the rope exclusively for sport climbing, we used always a Petzl's Gri-gri to belay, and we always carefully protected and stored the rope in a rope bag. We used the rope approximately twice a week over 18 months. We never washed the rope.

The covering of the sheath really made a difference and we could appreciate its effectiveness in protecting the rope from dirt and abrasion since the beginning of the test. Another noteworthy peculiarity of this rope, compared to the traditional ones we were used to use, is its reduced tendency to twist, probably due to the improved rope-running through karabiner and belay devices.

Close-up of the most damaged part of the sheath, at about 2m from the end of the rope after 18 months of intense use

The Booster III Dry Cover has really impressed us for its durability. The sheath started to be worn only on the more stressed parts of the ropes (those close to the two ends) and only after 18 months of intense use. Classical ropes we previously tested started to be evidently abrated on average already after 12 months of the same intense use.

We can conclude that the Dry Cover treatment is indeed effective at enhancing the durability of the rope. We qualitatively estimated that the lifetime of the rope is increased by approximately 50%.

  • Impressive durability
  • Reduced tendency to twist
  • High price

The Beal Booster III 9.7mm Dry Cover after 18 months of intense use