BlueWater Lightning Pro 9.7 mm ReviewMarch 20, 2017
- Good handling
- Great versatility
- Bipattern middle easy to find
- Average durability
- Got dirty quick
The BlueWater Lightning Pro is a versatile 9.7 mm dynamic climbing rope that works well in sport, trad and ice climbing. Receiving average marks in durability and resistance to dirt, the Lighting Pro was popular for its handling characteristics and its ability in a wide range of climbing genres.
The BlueWater Lightning Pro was a popular rope with testers thanks to its soft, supple feel and smooth sheath. Testers appreciated the handling of the Lightning Pro when it came to tying knots and pushing a bight through a belay device. The rope took knots well and provided a secure catch when belaying. The Lightning Pro didn’t fair quite as well as the Edelrid Boa Eco or Sterling Evolution Velocity but it still received high marks for its easy clipping while on lead and handling while on belay.
Resistance to Dirt
Out of the plastic, the Lightning Pro tested was an eye catching color that reminded testers of highlighter yellow. With use that eye catching color lost its luster significantly. It took several days of use for that color to be diminished but in the end, the Lightning Pro’s resistance to dirt was pretty average compared to other ropes tested in this group. Before and after pictures reveal the dirt and aluminum oxide picked up by the sheath.
For durability, the Lightning Pro performed admirably after dozens of days of climbing on both rock and ice. The rope used during testing shows wear on the sheath in the form of some slight fuzziness but is still very serviceable and the core is in great shape. During in-house testing the Lightning Pro showed average wear on the sheath during our abrasion test compared to other ropes in this group and showed more damage to the sheath than some of the other ropes during our sharp edge test.
The Lightning Pro is available in a number of configurations, giving buyers great freedom to fine tune the rope to their liking. It is available with standard or a double dry treated sheath and a bi-pattern along with three different color options. The bi-pattern double dry-treated rope we tested was particularly popular because the middle of the rope was easier to find than all of the other bi-pattern ropes tested. The contrast between the two patterns was particularly easy to spot, even after much testing and dirt was worked into it, and stood out compared to other bi-pattern ropes where the contrast was more subtle and harder to spot.
The Lightning Pro was considered the most versatile of the ropes tested in this group. Testers pointed to the easy handling and feel of the rope as making it work well in rock and ice climbing. Testers often commented that the rope felt smaller than the 9.7 mm diameter and they appreciated the easy clipping and handling in belay devices. On ice, the Lightning Pro proved just as adept as on rock thanks to the dry treatment option. The bi-pattern made for easy identification of the middle mark, which was appreciated by those rigging rappels on multi-pitch climbs where only one rope was needed.
Schneiter is an AMGA-certified guide, founder of Glenwood Climbing Guides, and very quick on his draws.