The Petzl Volta 9.2mm rope is certified for use as a single, half or twin rope, which makes it useful for alpine or multi-pitch climbing. I didn’t have the opportunity to test it in those situations, however. I primarily tested the Volta as a lightweight “elite” sport-climbing rope, and so this review is for those who are looking for a thin “redpoint” rope.

petzl_volta0_0Overall, I didn’t love this rope. There are a number of other better 9.2mm ropes on the market that I’d choose for high-end onsight or redpoint climbing before this one.

On the plus side, the Volta was relatively durable, gave a very soft catch, and retained its dry treatment despite a lot of use in the dirt. The Volta might also be the least kinky rope I’ve ever climbed on.

My first impressions of the Volta were that it was very slippery, likely owing to its Duratec Dry treatment, a coating process that waterproofs the rope and helps protect it against dirt, etc. It also felt very “thin”—because, apparently, rope diameter is somewhat subjective, in my opinion, as I’ve used 9.2mm ropes that feel/handle thicker or thinner than other 9.2mm ropes.

Indeed, the first few belays, using a slightly worn GriGri 2, were a little unnerving. With the GriGri’s cam fully engaged, there was still a slow bit of slip through the device. When we switched to a brand-new GriGri 2, we no longer experienced slip through the device. Still, I wouldn’t recommend using this rope with a GriGri 2, even though you totally can (and I totally did). There are other assisted-breaking devices on the market that might work better with this rope—I recommend the Edelrid Mega Jul.

My biggest beef with this rope was its handling. It has a very “mushy” feel to it, which I found made it difficult to clip. I prefer slightly stiffer ropes because I find them quicker to clip. Because it’s so mushy, loaded knots were much more likely to weld together, and therefore untying knots was harder. Finally, though the rope’s dynamic elongation translates to a nice, soft catch, it was a problem for heavier climbers (me) who try to winch themselves up on the rope to work a project.

Because the Volta gives such a soft catch, I might recommend it as a good option for lightweight (female) sport climbers who are used to getting harder catches from their heavier belayers. Or, if you prefer a soft/supple handle, this could be a great rope for you. But if you’re a heavier sport climber and like a stiffer rope, look elsewhere for your next 9.2mm redpoint rope.

Petzl dynamic ropes from Petzl-sport on Vimeo.