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Category Archives: Product Launch

The New UIAA Dry Rope Standard

Does your dry rope truly stay dry?

In the past, “dry” ropes have always been something of a mystery. Without any universal standard and certification to properly identify ropes as dry, brands were free to label any rope they wanted as such. Dry coated sheath? Call it a dry rope. Dry coated core? Bonus. Spray some Nikwax on it? Sure, slap a “dry” label on it. Happily, after nearly 10 years of research and testing the UIAA Safety Commission has approved a new standard for water repellent ropes.

Here at Bentgate we’re psyched to see a proper standard for dry ropes because a wet rope can be downright deadly. The dynamic performance of a wet rope can be reduced by 70% when wet. Assuming a wet rope does catch your fall without issue, it can still cause serious damage that lasts long after the rope has dried. And we’re not talking about a totally soaked rope; a rope even just splashed or sprinkled with water will suffer performance decreases nearly as major as a fully soaked rope. Keeping your rope dry while climbing is serious business for the life of your rope and yourself.

Since circumstances don’t always allow for climbing to simply stop at the first sign of moisture, having a rope that stays dry in wet conditions can be a literal lifesaver.  This is where the UIAA’s new dry standards come in. To qualify as a dry rope under the new standards a rope must absorb no more than 5% of it’s weight in water after a 15 minute soaking. By absorbing so little water, a certified dry rope will maintain its handling characteristics and safety in wet conditions. The bottom line here is that you can climb safely in that surprise downpour or not-so-frozen ice route.

How the UIAA certifies dry ropes

To begin testing a rope for dry certification the UIAA is subject to light abrasion. This abrasion mimics a few days of use for a rope and mitigates the risk of certifying a rope that will lose its dry treatment from routine use. To create this abrasion, the UIAA runs a rope through three threaded machine screws. Each nut is weighted with 5Kg and the rope sample is then run back and forth between the nuts 30 times. With the sample’s dry weight recorded, the UIAA can now water the test sample: A constant stream of 2 liters of water per minute runs over the test rope for 15 minutes. The test sample is immediately weighed and compared to the dry weight, and if the increase of weight of the wet rope is less than 5% it can now be UIAA certified as dry.

Buying a UIAA certified dry rope

At this time, ropes sold in the USA are not required to be UIAA dry certified in order to be labeled as dry; Ropes sold in Europe, however, are. To be sure you’re purchasing a proper dry rope, look for the UIAA “water repellent rope” stamp. Mammut, Edleweiss, and Beal are the only brands selling UIAA certified dry ropes in the USA at this time. Check out the video below to see how the UIAA tests ropes and the impact a dry treatment can have on a rope.

SCARPA Freedom Ski Boot Preview

SCARPA has some new Freeride boots coming out for the 13/14 season and they are legit.

These boots have all the features that we have been looking for in a solid Sidecountry/Freeride boot. They are stiff, light, have a wide range of cuff motion and will step into any type of alpine or AT binding that is currently on the market. Bentgate had the chance to meet up with Kim Miller, CEO of SCARPA North America to go over the details of the boot.

The Freedom boot line was developed with input from big-mountain ski pioneer Chris Davenport and meld alpine-level ski performance and construction with lightweight backcountry friendly features.

Three years in development, the collection includes two men’s and two women’s boots. Notable features include:

NEW shell mold and construction
- Lower-volume overlap construction (101 mm last width) with two-and-two buckle configuration and stiff progressive flex

- Light Weight: 3 pounds, 13 ounces per boot in Pebax construction(size 27)

- Carbon Core Technology, a technique that over-injects the boot’s lower shell around a carbon-fiber core. This substantially stiffens the boot without adding unnecessary material and bulk, improving power transmission to the ski throughout the length of the boot shell

 

NEW interchangeable sole system
- A new interchangeable sole system that employs a bolt-through connection to the Carbon Core frame, with hardware that screws into all-metal interfaces in the upper shell, enhancing the power transfer to the ski, and eliminating slop in the system.

- Two sole optoins. The Vibram Mountain Plus Sole is a lugged sole that is outfitted with the Dynafit Quick Step-in inserts and the Vibram Mountain Piste Sole is DIN compatible for use in alpine bindings or non-tech AT bindings

- Interchangeable sole separates below the the binding ledge to insure maximum power transfer when skiing with  alpine bindings

NEW ski/walk mechanism
- SCARPA’s innovative new Ride Power Block ski/walk mechanism is a two-part design with tight tolerances resulting in alpine-level performance.

- Great cuff articulation with 27 degrees for efficient walking and touring. 7 degrees of resistance-free back flex and 20 degrees of forward flex.

- Forward lean is 14 degrees with +/- 4 degrees of adjustability

 
Scarpa uses heat moldable Intuition liners in their boots and are putting them in the Freedom SL. This is a huge deal for us at Bentgate because these liners are Warmer, Lighter and more Moldable than anything else we cary. Here is a breakdown of the Intuition Speed Ride liner and Instant Fit Ride liner.

If you have a question about the new SCARPA Freedom lineup post it in the comments and we will do our best to answer it.