The new rope range released last year from Petzl is made by Edelrid to Petzl’s specifications. According to Petzl the ropes are not a re-branded version of Edelrid’s existing ropes, but rather a totally new range, designed from the ground up. The Volta is the lightweight, do it all rope in the range, with a 9.2mm diameter and rated for single, half and double use, it’s aimed at the climb-it-all, four season climber.
|Best Uses||Alpine, sport, trad, ice climbing and mountaineering.|
|Pros||Superb handleability, lightweight and durable.|
|Cons||Not a lot to say, apart from the black version may make the middle mark hard to spot.|
When the Volta first arrived with us in the shop I was a little sceptical as this rope feels totally different from any other rope I’ve ever used. If you pinch it between your finger and thumb it flattens out and feels a little loose. However this is a part of what makes the Volta a pretty unique rope. Petzl have used what they call Duratec Dry and UltraSonic Finish, to give this rope its extraordinary handleability and, of course, to keep it dry.
The UltraSonic Finish basically fuses the sheath to the core to help make it more durable. This also means that the rope end markings don’t come off after the first 10 minutes of use, something that I’ve always found really annoying with just about every other rope on the market.
It also comes with a ClimbReady marking which means that once you’ve cut the tags and packaging off, you can just chuck it straight in your bag and head out climbing, no need to uncoil and recoil for hours on end. It’s a really nice touch and I expect to see most other rope manufacturers start to use this approach.
To read the full list of specs, check out Petzl’s website.
So, how does it perform in reality?
I’ve been using this rope for a few months, but a late season trip to the Alps gave me the perfect opportunity to put this rope through its paces properly. The main objective of the week was get on long multi-pitch sport routes of 400-500m, and with the evenings drawing in, a fast and lightweight approach was needed and the Volta seemed like a great choice.
The first thing I noticed is that this rope resists tangling like no other rope I’ve ever used. Seriously, it’s so smooth that it’s a joy to handle. Pitch after pitch of hanging belays and awkward stances the rope flaked onto super-aggressive Ecrin granite or looped around the back of my neck and we didn’t have a single tangle issue.
Because of its low weight, just 55g per metre and again its super smooth handling, clipping is easy and efficient, tying knots is neat and tidy and coiling it at the end of the day is no fuss. The other thing I noticed was that despite its minimal diameter, holding a fall felt like I was using a much larger diameter rope.
Around 50 pitches later, numerous abseils and a day working routes in the valley with plenty of falls the rope still looks like new, with no furring or fuzzing.
To sum up I really can’t find any faults with this rope. If you’re looking for a skinny single or want to combine two lightweight ropes for long sport or alpine routes then the Volta is a great choice. It’s not cheap, but then you get what you pay for with this rope, and it’s certainly comparable to other branded ropes in its class.
The Volta comes in two colours, striking orange and black. I haven’t used a black version, but one drawback that I can see is that the middle marks might be pretty tricky to spot.
The Volta is available in 60m, 70m and 80m lengths and you can find it on our site here.
About the Author
Alex Palmer is the co-owner and founder of Cold Mountain Kit and started climbing back in 1989. He's climbed extensively throughout the UK, French Alps and has been as far afield as Yosemite, Northern Patagonia and South Africa. A total trad climbing snob.