Review: Edelrid Canary Pro Dry 8.6mm (70m)

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The Edelrid Canary Pro Dry 8.6mm (70m) rope.

Edelrid knows how to begin your new-rope experience the right way, providing a cleverly packaged paper hole—the 3D lap coil—for your inaugural uncoiling, with the rope coming out clean and straight. Forget dumping your brand-new cord on the floor and rigging a system to flake it several times or frantically shaking endless twisted loops during those frustrating early belays. The slender, dry-treated Canary Pro slides through your hands like silk, and the first few times I used it, on the multipitch routes on Wall of Winter Warmth in Dream Canyon, Colorado, it didn’t twist up at all.

Weighing in at an amazing 51 grams per meter (so, 7.9 pounds total for the 70-meter), this 8.6mm rope can do just about everything. Need a lightweight sport-project redpoint line? An alpine-adventure rope? A tagline you can lead or rappel on in a pinch? A twin or half rope? The Canary is all of those things.

The Canary Pro absorbs your falls like a down pillow, softly and gently, as I found during my several days working the overhanging sport climb Milkbone up in the Flatirons. However, its small diameter does also contribute to a larger amount of rope stretch—as a single rope, it has 32 percent dynamic elongation and 7.4 percent static elongation—which may be disheartening when you’re toproping that offwidth proj and sink back to where you started an hour ago. It’s also harder to batman back up after a whipper, simply because the rope is slimmer than most lead lines. That said, in the balance, having a single line that’s this light in terms of carry and at the top of a long pitch in terms of rope drag more than offsets the inconvenience while batmanning.

After taking this rope into the Black Canyon, I can also say confidently that it’s my new favorite rope for adventure and alpine climbing. The rope pulled smoothly from several extremely chossy rappel stations in the descent gully, never catching or dragging debris down, and was likewise smooth-running on the lower, slabbier pitches of the 5.11 crack-stravaganza Black Snake with its scree and thorn bushes. It has barely frayed at all after several uses on all types of rock—granite, gneiss, limestone, sandstone. I’ve run it over corners in Eldo and hauled up novice seconds while grating it against the granite in Boulder Canyon. I also redpointed my hardest trad route yet with the Canary: Thunderdome at Easter Rock. It’s so light you barely feel the weight of it on your harness. Meanwhile, after I subjected the Canary to several rope pulls into small streams and puddles, it dried very quickly, which was also convenient—according to Edelrid’s literature, the Pro Dry treatment passes the UIAA’s water-repellency test by absorbing no more than 2 percent of the rope’s weight in water.

As for the interface with common belay devices at this small diameter, although the Grigri 2 isn’t rated for anything less than 8.9 mm, in my experience the rope still did trigger the belay-assist function (and the Grigri + does work on ropes down to 8.5mm)—but again, officially, Petzl has not rated the Grigri 2 down to this size. Regardless, belaying is a breeze with the slim diameter, as you would imagine: Rope feeds quickly and smoothly, no shortroping to be had. You can get your partner the slack they need with minimal effort, and take in slack with easy pulls when they need to hang, making the Canary great for extended project belays.

Ultimately, this rope has way more great features than negative, and I am thrilled to keep testing its boundaries across the board. Sure, its small diameter might make your climbing partners nervous at first, but every partner I’ve had who doubted the rope’s diameter changed their mind once they gave it a try. The Canary Pro Dry is an incredibly light, versatile, smooth-handling cord. Given that Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold used it during their speed record on the Nose, it clearly is up to any challenge.