The best climbing ropes don’t call attention to themselves. If something about my rope stands out to me while I’m climbing or belaying, that’s usually a bad sign: coils that keep it from feeding out fast enough, rough spots that catch on the quickdraws, frays that make me question the safety of whipping on it … even bright colors that distract me out of the corner of my eye. When a climber is working through a hard crux, there’s no mental space for anything else. I need to be able to trust that my rope will keep me safe so that I can give everything to the climb.
So, what I appreciate most about The One rope from Beal are the aspects that don’t immediately stand out. If I wasn’t looking out for these qualities, they’d go unnoticed — and that’s just the way I want it.
From the moment I pulled this rope out of the package, it slipped below the radar. I almost forgot it on the steps before heading out to the crag because I’m so used to bright neons and loud patterns on ropes that can’t help but make their presence known. But The One’s subdued blue doesn’t leave you feeling like you just stared straight into the sun. Sure, it might take a little extra brainpower to keep from leaving it behind, but I’ll take that over getting blinded every time I make a clip.
Plus, there’s an even better reason for the subtlety. The toned-down colorway ties into Beal’s sustainability goals with this rope. Avoiding a brighter design cuts down on dyes and chemicals that leach out of the rope over the course of its lifespan. The One is also made from 100 percent recycled material — from the rope itself to the minimalist packaging.
It’s also the first climbing rope to qualify for OEKO-TEX certification, which means that it’s been through rigorous testing to ensure that no harmful substances played any part in the process. On top of that, Beal plants a tree for every rope purchased. And when you’ve finally squeezed all the life out of it, just send it back to Beal to feed it back into the recycling circuit.
These sustainability measures offer their own peace of mind for any eco-conscious climber. It’s often tough to reconcile the disposable nature of gear with a desire to have a more positive environmental impact. Now there’s one fewer existential distraction to worry about.
The benefits don’t stop there, though. The One’s “soft touch” sheath construction functions just like it sounds. The exterior is soft to the touch, which does both climber and belayer a favor. It glides through your fingers for fast and stress-free clipping, and flows through your belay device without kinking up and ruthlessly shortroping your climber. You can also count on a much more comfortable catch thanks to reduced friction between rope and carabiner.
Additionally, it’s made using Beal’s exclusive UNICORE process, which bonds the core and the sheath for increased safety.
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The One shines on redpoint attempts when your rope is the last thing you want to think about. The only downside is that durability isn’t this rope’s strong suit. It can’t handle a ton of wear and tear before losing strength. I wouldn’t choose The One for heavy projecting when I’m falling more than actually climbing because that would put it on a fast-track to a much too early retirement. This rope is here for a good time, not for a long time — so save The One for when the send is right around the corner.
Lucie Hanes is an avid writer and adventurer on rock and trail with a passion for sharing her outdoor enthusiasms through journalism and mental strength consultation.