Sterling XEROS Dry Ropes: More Eco-Friendly, Durable, and Affordable

The Sterling XEROS aims to prevent wear and damage, while reducing the environmental impact and price of its climbing rope.

A wet rope is a weak rope — and a heavy one. But climbers don’t always invest in ropes that are treated to repel water because they’re typically more expensive. Plus, the waterproof coating can wear off, get sticky, or gum up with dirt, which can wear gear and make them hard to use.

Launching today, Sterling Ropes XEROS ropes provide climbers in the market for a new rope a more affordable option that’s still UIAA-certified and won’t absorb water. Sterling also claims the ropes will resist becoming sticky and losing performance due to worn-out waterproofing.

Sterling’s aim is that with the XEROS ropes, you won’t have to coil a soggy rope ever again, even if you’re on a budget. XEROS dry ropes also boast wear-resistance, an environmentally friendly design, and a lower cost than other dry ropes.

sterling xero climbing rope

How Climbing Ropes Are Made

A climbing rope loses 20-40% of its strength when wet. That can happen if you’re caught in a downpour or melting into an icy pitch.

And while processes can differ, typically a dry rope involves weaving fibers, and then dipping the rope into a bath of water-repelling chemicals to coat it. After the rope is dipped, it bakes in an oven, a process that cooks the coating onto the rope’s outer fibers.

But because the coating is applied to the surface of the rope, with use, the coating can wear off and the finish can feel tacky.  The traditional waterproofing process is labor- and energy-intensive, costly, and creates chemical waste.

Sterling Xeros Dry Rope

Sterling treats every individual Bluesign-certified nylon fiber with a PFOA-free waterproofing before it spins those fiber yarns, and then weaves those yarns into ropes. Because every fiber is water-resistant, there is no coating to wear off.

Treating the rope at the fiber level also reduces performance issues related to sheath slippage and the outside getting gummy.

XEROS ropes can be produced significantly more affordably than rope made with traditional dry treatments.

There’s no baking, which saves energy, and there’s no leftover chemical bath to dispose of. By applying dry treatment at the fiber level, Sterling can also make its ropes more affordable.

It’s worth noting that dry treatment itself is not novel to Sterling. Edelrid also has its “Pro Dry” treated ropes. With XEROS, Sterling stakes its place in the dry-treated market, targeting a longer-lasting waterproof rope at an approachable price.

Sterling has converted nearly its entire line to XEROS Ropes, including its most popular models:

  • Duetto 8.4 mm, for the alpine climber who wants a glacier rope or dedicated half rope. Its higher sheath percentage yields greater durability without compromising its performance.
  • Aero 9.2 mm, a durable but skinny rope that is easy to knot and that has a supple feel.
  • Ion R 9.4 mm, for a lead climber or guide who wants a light rope that’s not too thin, and that also has a firm hand, this one has a dirt-repelling sheath that’s also extra durable, and easy to clip.
  • Quest 9.6 mm, an all-around rope for trad climbers with an easy-sliding sheath.
  • Velocity 9.8 mm, a low-friction, one-rope quiver with a soft catch that’s great for any type of climbing.
  • T-10 10.0 mm, a thick and durable rope for top-roping and abrasive rock that’s thick and safe for new belayers.

sterling xero climbing rope

Get Them at a Great Price

Sterling’s prices drop on almost every model, even on models that haven’t traditionally been “dry” ($99.99-419.99). Available now at REI.com, sterlingrope.com, and at your favorite local gear shop on September 1.

Check Price at REI

Berne Broudy
By

Berne Broudy is a Vermont-based writer, photographer, and adventurer. She is passionate about conservation, education, and recreation, and has spent her adult life working to make the outdoors a place where all feel welcome with the gear and skills to enjoy it.