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Beal Joker 9.1 Review

beal joker 9.1
Overall
4.6
  • Handling
    (5)
  • Durability
    (4)
  • Performance in lowering
    (4)
  • Weight
    (5)
  • Waterproofing
    (5)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

The Joker is a rope that has made history in climbing at the crag and now gets a makeover with the Unicore treatment that makes it even safer. Handy, lightweight, elastic. A rope for performance seekers but not for everyone.

Pros

  • Versatility
  • Lightness and compactness
  • Safety (Unicore)
  • Dry treatment
  • Abrasion resistance

Cons

  • In the first few months of use it may slide into the blocking device

I have been using the Beal Joker for several years, which is why I decided to publish an in-depth review on this rope.

This is the third Joker I have purchased, after putting two old and worn models in the basement, but they still do their dirty work.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to climb with many other ropes, from different brands, but by now I feel I have a special confidence with this model. Let’s look at its strengths.

The Beal Joker in detail

beal joker rock climing
Remarkable confidence of use, easy-to-handle rope and light weight

The Beal Joker, 9.1 mm, was the first rope on the market with such a thin diameter to meet all the requirements necessary for approval. The manufacturer’s desire, therefore, was to offer a rope of a high technical level for experienced climbers while maintaining high safety standards.

Not only for sport climbing, in fact the rope is approved not only as a single rope but also as a half and twin rope. In addition, the dry treatment ensures safe and durable use even in alpine environments (mixed rock and snow).

Joker in alpine mixed rock and snow environment
Joker in alpine mixed rock and snow environment

I have used clips from an old Joker model for wide-ranging climbs in the alpine environment, for example on the Biancograt ridge of the Bernina.

knot of beal joker
Rope compactness and cohesion

For the past few years, moreover, the Beal Joker has benefited from the Unicore production method; what is this? a system of sheath construction aimed at creating solidity between sheath and core. This makes the rope safer in case of abrasions and cuts of the outer part.

On the net you can find several videos of overload tests with abraded sock.

unicore
Unicore construction

This construction technology, combined with the Thermo Fluid treatment (increased compactness of the sheath fibers), ensures greater compactness and cohesion of the rope’s entire structure; even after several years of use, the cat-tail bulges typical of worn ropes are avoided.

climbing on granite with beal joker rope
Perfomant and technical rope, pay attention when belaying to sliding in blocking devices

Compactness and thinness also have cons in some cases; in fact, at least for the first 3 / 4 uses, great care must be taken in the way of belaying.

The rope slides easily inside the classic belay devices, so more care must be taken than usual.

With use and with amortization of the rope this drawback disappears completely. This is more a limitation of the Joker than an inherent characteristic of ropes of this diameter.

beal joker on belay
Beware of sliding in the belay device!

Another delicate aspect of this rope is its dynamic stretch, which is typical of Beal ropes. Compared to similar ropes on the market, the percentage of dynamic elongation is quite pronounced (35%). So be careful to keep a shorter safety in the first few meters to prevent the first roped party from reaching the ground.

Conclusions

beal's rope on rock

In conclusion, I really appreciated the versatility and light weight of this model, which is suitable both for ambient climbs and for the pursuit of sport performance.

I would like to emphasize that this is not a model suitable for everyone, but only for climbers of good level, who appreciate the minimum weight and have good experience in belaying the first rope.

In particular, given the typical dynamism of Beal ropes, be prepared for long and definitely dynamic falls 🙂 .

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