Edelrid Boa Pro Dry Review
Cons: Stiffer and not as supple as others, heavy
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Edelrid Boa Pro Dry is a 9.8mm rope that comes in either 60m or 70m lengths. It falls in the upper end of Edelrid's rope lineup in terms of thickness, although if you want something fatter, they offer a couple of 10.0mm options as well. It comes either dry treated, which is what we tested, or in a standard, non-dry treated version. You can also buy the Boa Eco if you choose, which uses more environmentally friendly dry treatments and is made out of the recycled ends of fiber reels to reduce waste. However, expect to pay a little extra for this version.
Compared to the other workhorse competition, the Boa was not our favorite. We should say that we actually do enjoy using it, but that the other 9.7 and 9.8mm options that we compared it against simply perform better, and are also more affordable. If you have a bead on some Edelrid deals or are simply loyal to a fault, this is a solid and durable rope that will serve you just fine. But if you are shopping the field, then our Top Pick for Workhorse Ropes handles a lot better and is a bit less expensive. Our Best Bang for the Buck winner is also a solid workhorse that could save you a chunk of change over this rope.
Ropes certainly run the gamut between super soft and squishy versus firmer and less pliable, and to some degree, handling is a personal preference. That said, we found this rope to be a bit less enjoyable and functional in our hands than others we compared it against. Considering it has a dry coating applied to the outside, we didn't find it to be especially slippery or smooth. We like that it comes lap coiled with an end fed through a hole in the packaging that simply requires you to pull the end continuously through the hole in order to flake it out for the first time. In general, however, this rope isn't super flexible, and we found that once twists and kinks found their way into the rope, it was hard to get them out. The inherent stiffness and the propensity to stay a bit kinked, bent, and twisted, meant that this rope often gave us troubles as we belayed. Occasionally this caused us to short-roped our buddies more than we would have liked, and more than they deserved. The thick gauge of the cord also contributes to this effect, as a thicker rope means more friction in the belay device, making it slightly harder to feed out slack, regardless of which kind of device you are using. If you are a beginner, then this may be a good thing and make your belays slightly safer, but most experienced climbers will prefer a rope that handles and belays a bit more smoothly.
Over our test period, which took place over the course of four months and included well over 200 pitches of climbing, we think this rope has held up quite well, and that fact combined with the overall thickness of the rope leads us to believe that it is indeed a durable rope. The sheath is woven in a standard 2x2 pattern that doesn't feel quite as tight to us as on some other ropes. After all the test pitches, we are also starting to see some light abrasion and fuzziness creeping up in places, but this is common among most climbing ropes that we used, especially for sport climbing. The sheath constitutes 39% of the fibers of this rope, and considering it is fairly thick, that means there are a lot of sheath fibers to protect the all-important core. In general, thicker ropes tend to be more durable, and those with dry treatments even more so. As long as you treat this rope well, and it doesn't end up accidentally core shot, we think most shoppers will be more than happy with the durability and lifespan.
This rope weighs in at 62g/m, which ties it as the heaviest rope in this review. If you are to extend that weight outwards to a 70m cord, you are looking at about 9.57 lbs. While that makes it heavier than the rest, it is also right in line with the other thicker ropes we tested, so there is no disadvantage to this cord if you want a rope with a >9.7mm diameter. For comparison sake, you can save about half a pound by choosing a 9.5 mm rope instead, which for some may seem like a reasonable amount of savings, and for others might not be worth worrying about.
We've fallen on this rope many times, and certainly can't remember the feeling that we weren't receiving a soft catch. Since what makes up a soft catch is so subjective, and also has a lot to do with the weight and skill of the belayer, it can be handy to look at the statistics as well. Its elongation percentages — 8.3% static and 34% dynamic — indicate that it should be one of the stretchiest ropes on the market, but our real-world experience didn't exactly back this up. On the contrary, we found it fairly easy to suck the slack out and give a nice and tight belay while top-roping, something that isn't usually possible with extra stretchy or bouncy ropes. It's fall force rating — 8.9kN — is slightly on the high side, but in our real-world experience, we didn't notice this translating into a catch that didn't feel soft.
Retail price for this rope is roughly average for a higher-end 9.5mm rope, and a bit high compared to the other similar workhorses. Considering that its performance is merely average and adequate according to our comparative testing, we can't see a solid reason to spend the extra money. For this reason, we don't consider this rope an excellent value.
The Edelrid Boa Pro Dry is a thick and durable workhorse rope that handles way more like a minivan than a sports car. It is a bit stiffer than most ropes we tested, and combined with its thickness, makes belaying a bit more of a struggle. While we honestly think this rope works just fine for what it is, we think there are more compelling options on the market.
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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