Edelrid Drastically Improves Climbing Rope’s Cut Resistance With Aramid

The Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 is the first dynamic single climbing rope with built-in cut resistance.

The Edelrid Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9mm, to be released in March of 2020, will be the first dynamic single rope to incorporate aramid fibers in the sheath to improve the cut resistance by multiple factors over what is currently available.

Causes of Climbing Rope Failure

Fortunately, modern dynamic climbing ropes are almost impossible to tear. The German Alpine Association (DAV) documented only 64 rope breaks in the past 60 years. In 53 of these, the DAV identified the causes of failure as acid exposure, friction burns, rockfall, and edge loads.


Proper storage and use mitigate the first two causes. Careful route planning and execution can limit rockfall. But edge loads are hard to avoid, even with “proper” usage. The edge doesn’t have to be particularly sharp to cut the rope, especially when there is pendulum movement. This movement adds cutting load to the edge load, with potentially fatal results.

The Problem With Aramid

Aramid is much more cut-resistant than nylon, but it lacks elastic properties, making it an unlikely candidate for dynamic ropes. But Edelrid created a process that integrates the aramid fibers with nylon in the rope sheath while still maintaining the elasticity required to meet standards for dynamic climbing ropes.

Cut Resistance Testing

The UIAA has not established standards for testing the cut resistance of climbing ropes. Edelrid developed a testing rig (see photo at top) and procedure to simulate and reproduce cutting loads under laboratory conditions. Side-by-side testing of the Swift Pro Dry 8.9 and the Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 demonstrate that the hybrid aramid and nylon sheath of the Protect rope almost doubled cut resistance.

Climbing Rope Cut Resistance: Other Information

The Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 retains the Bluesign certification and 3D Lap Coiling process of all Edelrid ropes and carries certification as a single, half, or twin rope.

Swift Protect Pro Dry 8.9 Specs

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

Edelrid will also deploy the aramid cut-resistance technology in a 6mm rap line, which will also release in March of 2020.

Seiji Ishii

Seiji Ishii is the climbing and cycling editor at Gear Junkie and has enjoyed a lifetime of outdoor adventure and sports, from participant and competitor to coach and trainer, and finally as an editorial contributor. His interests have spanned cycling, climbing, motorcycling, backpacking, and training for all of it. He has also designed outdoor and off-road motorcycling gear. He lives in Wimberley, TX, with his daughter and a small herd of pets. Read more of his musings at seijisays.com.