The Trango Catalyst is a skinny rope (9.0 mm) with the durability and abrasion resistance found in a thicker workhorse rope. This rope handled excellently and the extra security from the Unicore technology impressed testers.
Handling The handling of the Catalyst is the feature that stood out for testers. Right out of the plastic, the Catalyst knotted well and ran smoothly through a variety of belay devices. Testers were impressed with the supple feel of the rope even after 30 days of climbing in a variety of settings. The Catalyst bites nicely into itself and the knot holds secure when tying into a harness or anchor point.
Resistance to Dirt The Catalyst features a DuoDry treatment of the sheath and core that did a remarkable job of keeping the rope bright and free of dirt.
Durability The Catalyst proved to be remarkably durable for a rope of its size. Trango suggests this rope can be used as an everyday workhorse but most testers were skeptical of that claim. Yet, it proved to be a tough rope as it was put through all kinds of abuse such as sharp and abrasive rock while leading and top roping. Even after a wild, swinging top rope fall across a sharp edge of crystalline granite the sheath showed nary a trace of wear. After being repeatedly whipped on in leader falls, drug through the sand and dirt, and lowered over sharp edges on all rock types, the Catalyst proved its durability.
Features At first glance, the Catalyst is a pretty simple rope with a solid teal color, which drew rave reviews from testers and neighboring climbers alike. The simple black middle mark was initially easier to find than many similar middle marks, including that on the Trango 9.9mm Lotus, owing to a good contrast with the bright teal color. Over time, it became harder to see as the middle mark seemed to wear off some and not stand out in contrast to the rope’s bright color. The sheath is bonded to the core with the Unicore technology that proved to provide an extra level of security from the danger of a cut rope over a sharp edge. And, the Catalyst includes a DuoDry treatment of the sheath and core to aid with handling and to help repel water when the rope gets wet.
Versatility The Catalyst has great versatility and is an appropriate rope for sport climbers, trad climbers and ice climbers. Due to the characteristics described, the Catalyst was a popular choice in a wide range of climbing scenarios. The Catalyst has great versatility and is an appropriate rope for sport climbers, trad climbers and ice climbers. Due to the characteristics described, the Catalyst was a popular choice in a wide range of climbing scenarios. Ice climbers should find comfort in the Unicore technology that provides extra security by bonding the core and sheath together. And, the DuoDry treatment gives the rope a dry treated core and sheath for use on snow and ice climbs. The only other limitation was the skinny build of the rope made some less experienced climbers less comfortable with the handling and belay control of the rope. While experienced climbers were not bothered, many commented about how important it was to use an appropriate belay device otherwise slippage through a device could occur. Hence, the Catalyst may not be the best choice for newer climbers as they learn the ropes and gain full control of their belaying.