Thinner rope safer: Edelrid Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 cut resistant

Edelrid claims to have cracked the code and have a bona fide, cut resistant dynamic single climbing rope. We put it to the test.

In the summer of 2019, Edelrid announced that he had developed a way to use aramid in dynamic ropes, release of the first dynamic single climbing rope with cut resistance. Aramid lacks elasticity, but the German brand has devised a process that integrates nylon with the cut-resistant material that still provides the required elastic and energy-absorbing properties.

We tested the Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 for a year, especially on rocks with crystals and sharp edges. The aramid in the sheath shows no signs of damage from the cuts caused by the leader’s whips and long sessions of top-roping over rough granite and sharp limestone. The three-tiered Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 was thin and light for one, but the extra cut resistance inspired confidence when rocky surfaces did something else.

Progress impressions

Edelrid packs the Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 using its 3D winding method. I pulled the rope straight out of the package and avoided the twisted and knotted rope bird’s nest that can result from other wrapping methods.

Right away I felt the sheath had a waxy surface and the rope was tight. The 8.9mm triple cord felt tiny to be used on its own. I thought this rope, paired with a double rope, would be the perfect setup for long road trips when the goals and styles of climbing could span the gamut and storage space was limited.

The coloring and pattern was surprisingly odd but very noticeable which could be a plus, especially in alpine terrain.

The stiffness made it difficult to tightly wrap the 70m cord into flakes the first time.

Specifications Edelrid Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9

  • Diameter: 8.9 mm
  • Weight: 53 g / m
  • Standard falls: 6/20/20
  • Lengths: 60 and 70m
  • Bluesign certified
  • Color: Night Green
  • MSRP: $ 279 and $ 310

Test grounds

I saved the Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 specifically for use on two cliffs: Enchanted Rock and Continental Ranch.

The first was the Enchanted Rock. This central Texas destination features traditional, bolt-on pink granite roads with painful crystals protruding from mostly slab-to-vertical faces. The formations are pretty but destructive, shredding skin, shoes and clothing.

It is ideal for testing the durability of a rope sheath, especially a top. The anchors are often far from the top of the tracks and the low angles produce abrasion along the entire length of the rope used.

The other area I chose was a private limestone sport climbing area on the Pecos River in Texas called the Continental Ranch. This area is only open for climbing a few times a year, preventing the routes from wearing out or polishing. Water droplets etch the faces of the slab vertically in pockets, cracks and other incredibly sharp features. Again, this area looked like it was meant to shred skin, ropes, and other gear.

Did Aramid Make a Difference?

I do not have eDge load test bench as Edelrid used to compare this string with his non-aramid strings, the UIAA also doesn’t have cut resistance standards. But the Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 suffered a lot of abuse in a short period of time.

The usual scenario in Enchanted Rock was to have a leader set up a route, establish a top rope, and then have the novice climbers work on the line. This top rope often produced edge loads on both sides of the rope at the top of routes and exposed the entire working length of the rope to continuous dragging over sharp crystals. He suffered a lot of abrasion through the sheath in 2 days, exponentially more than the usual days at the rock. What it didn’t do much was put the leading fall forces on the Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9.

And that is precisely what happened at the Continental Ranch. Because the area is rarely open and my partners have been there only once (if at all), sight attempts on bolted sports lanes were the name of the game and then repeated paw kicks on said channels.

The rope knocked the leader down all day for 2 days, slack building up on the faces with new, uncrowded lines with sharp edges all over. The little leader constantly falls under stress in the same place on the rope.

After a total of 4 days of beating, my verdict on the Edelrid Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 is an unequivocal “yes”. Aramid improves cut resistance and overall durability of the jacket, especially as a single rope under 9mm.

The waxy feel and stiffness disappeared after the first 2 days, improving tactile sensation, knotting ability and cord compressibility. After the 2 days on the crystal strewn granite boulder the sheath showed some haze, but not something I wouldn’t expect from any other rope. But close inspection revealed no other signs of wear.

After the 2 days of falling lead on sharp limestone elements chiseled with water, the rope had the same appearance and the same handling. It was a pleasure to use it as a red dot rope given its small diameter and low weight. And knowing that there was aramid in the sheath and how it worked on the granite boulder inspired confidence when taking whips out of things that looked like laser etched.

Another attribute to note was that after repeated short drops on the same section of rope while working the crux movements on the lead, the rope never softened in that area, nor did it visibly lose its cylindrical profile. . This quality was impressive considering the number of drops on such a small diameter rope.

I was not able to test the dry treatment on this rope other than it rained a little, where it did not absorb noticeable water.

Edelrid Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9: Final thoughts

It is difficult for me to say which climber could not take advantage of the Edelrid Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9. Paired with a double rope, it makes a great quiver for the traveling roving climber who has no plan and wants to climb everything in any style.

As a single rope, the small diameter and resulting low weight make it an excellent red dot rope.

And the added cut resistance can provide peace of mind on all levels, from alpine festivities to boulder falls. It was nice knowing I had Aramid in the scabbard tipping the scales in my favor. Edelrid’s internal testing showed that this 8.9mm rope had the same cut resistance as a 10mm rope with 176 pounds!

Until something better comes along, the Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 is my favorite all-round rope.

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About Tommy Dodd

Tommy Dodd

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