/ Beal Gully vs Ice Line

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Jonny on 14 Mar 2019

A core shot on one of my Mammut Phoenix halves (leaving 45 and 15m sections - I've given the other rope of the pair to a friend) means I'll be needing a new set of half/twin ropes. For ropes of this diameter I think Beal's Unicore construction is a big selling point, and people speak highly of their dry treatment and durability. Now the issue is whether to go with the Ice Lines, which are a similar diameter to the Phoenix (8.1 vs 8.0 mm), or the Gully, at 7.3 mm. For various reasons, I'll be going for 70m versions (greater range climbs without fixed [typically 50 - 60m] pitches, longer simul-pitches with PCD protection, fewer A-threads on ice route descents, and longer rope life if ends need to be cut). This means the full kilo saved with the Gully pair over the Ice Lines makes a bit more of a difference.

The concern, as ever, is handling (control while abseiling, catching lead falls) and cut rope. Honestly, since my first halves were (another pair of) the skinny Phoenix's, I'm used to them and have never had an issue. My belay device is the MicroJul, which should be fine for the Gullies. And since I'll be using the ropes as halves on rock pitches, there is some redundancy for rope cutting.

Still, I'd be keen to hear opinions, especially from any Gully users. How have they been?

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Jonny on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to Jonny:

EDIT: I got the weight difference wrong (I compared with the old version of the Ice Line) - the Gully pair is only 400g lighter than the Ice Line pair.

Post edited at 12:19
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alexm198 - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to Jonny:

I bought a pair of Gullies for an expedition to the Himalaya last year and have used them quite a lot since then, in Scotland, a bit of winter climbing in the Dolomites, and even on a couple of trad lines when nothing else was to hand. I've also climbed on Icelines quite a lot, and at the moment use a pair of Edelrid Apus (which are very similar to the icelines) as my winter ropes. 

Overall, I think the Gullies are great. They're really light, and so far I've had no issue with durability, but they haven't seen a massive amount of use. I certainly wouldn't use them for anything long and abrasive, like alpine rock lines on granite. They're quite tangly and they get kinked more easily than other ropes, but that's to be expected at 7.3mm. The only other drawback is that one has to use a MicroJul, which IMO is a piece of shit. But it sounds like you get on with it, so that doesn't apply. 

Icelines will certainly be cheaper and a bit more durable, but if weight is your main concern go for the Gullies.

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RM199 - on 14 Mar 2019

I bought a gully following a really cheap deal online (£80). 

Ive used for 1 week in Cogne and a few winter/ alpine routes. So far so good. Seem fairly durable. One thing I’d say is they are very fast to abb on. Not bad in my set up as I pair it with an 8.1mm rope so that slows things on a double ab, but worth bearing in mind. 6mm prussik cord also struggles to bite for the same reason. 

Cheers

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alexm198 - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to RM199:

Ah yeah I meant to say the same -- I have a 5mm prussik which seems OK but it's a speedy abseil!

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Jonny on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to alexm198:

Good to know. I don't think they'd get much use on long, pure rock lines, which aren't really my thing. Mostly ice, mixed with short rock sections, and ridges. They would be my only halves though, so they'd have to do for everything else.

I actually don't get along very well with the MicroJul. It's super grabby when paying out rope, and not very smooth on abseils. Might give the Air Force 3 from Beal a try as a second device. The Reverso 4 is said to work well too.

Are your Gullies and Apus's 60 m then? Straightforward choice even for the Himalayan climbs?

Post edited at 14:02
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alexm198 - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to Jonny:

> I actually don't get along very well with the MicroJul. It's super grabby when paying out rope, and not very smooth on abseils. Might give the Air Force 3 from Beal a try as a second device. The Reverso 4 is said to work well too.

Totally agree, it's infuriating to lead belay with because of the grabbiness. And I find setting it up in guide mode counterintuitive (not good when you're tired) and fiddly (not good when you're pumped). Intrigued that the Reverso 4 is meant to be OK -- that's what I use for everything else but bought a MicroJul as I assumed the Gullies were too thin for it. Suppose I should have actually tried using the Reverso first!

> Are your Gullies and Apus's 60 m then? Straightforward choice even for the Himalayan climbs?

Yep, both 60m. No smart reason for that, just that it's always what I've used. Our planned descent in the Himalaya was downclimbing a ridge so no need for too many abseils. 

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Jonny on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to alexm198:

> Intrigued that the Reverso 4 is meant to be OK -- that's what I use for everything else but bought a MicroJul as I assumed the Gullies were too thin for it.

Just a comment I read somewhere, but Petzl do cite 7.1 to 9.2 mm as the range for half ropes. Worth a try maybe, since life's too short to be hating a piece of metal. ;-)

> Yep, both 60m. No smart reason for that, just that it's always what I've used.

Yeah, rope length choice is a funny thing. I suspect that even many of those of us who don't climb many equipped routes are 'guilty' of going along with conventions here. And that's probably fine. There are so many factors that rope length affects that it's tough to form an independent opinion, and 'wisdom of the crowds' starts to shine. The gradual up-creep of rope length over time could be due to weight reductions (which suggests that rope management time/communication on long pitches/drag were never the main factors in keeping ropes short); increases in endurance; improvements in clothing to keep belayers warm; the tackling of harder routes where abseil descents are required... or about a hundred other possible reasons. Or the sluggish creep might be just resistance to change towards what was always an ideal rope length. Hard to say!

Anyway, the Gullies sound good. I like the impossible-to-confuse colour scheme too, apart for the unfortunate red-green colour blind among us.

Post edited at 16:29
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Jeff Ingman - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to Jonny:

I've been using the Beal Gullies for 4 yrs, and ice lines prior to that. I like both the ropes but, like you, I wanted the reduced weight of the gullies. They've been a really good buy and I would get them again. The handling has been good and the dry treatment has worked well, but it's just started to give up on the most used member of the pair. I use them with a reverso 4 and a 4mm prussik. I tested the reverso 4 with the gully rope at a climbing wall to make sure that it would stop a fall, it did, and it has since held 2 falls outside in snowy conditions.

I also used it as a second rope on the Cassin on Piz Badile a couple of years ago, but clipped 90% of the runners with a Beal Joker, we took the gully in case we had to get off in a hurry (60m abseils). I think dragging the gully up this massive granite shovel may have ruined the dry coating? who knows, it's done a good job.

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GarethSL on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to Jonny:

I have Gullies as my alpine ropes which have so far proved excellent and I would be tempted to get a pair in 70 m for ice (but got the tendons cheap so not too desperate there). They handle really well, have a great sheath % so are surprisingly durable and the unicore is a big plus in my opinion. They twist easy tho and as the sheath is quite stiff I find that the twists are much harder to get out than with more slick ropes.

I've used the Gullies, Edelrid Skimmers 7.1 and now Tendon Masters 7.8 with a Reverso and pivot without any issues and find smooth abseils quite reassuring. I have a micro-jul that I got with the skimmers but as we all know its just crap. 

If you're looking for something a little thicker, then there is also the Edelweiss elite in 7.8 but you will have to check out the stats. I think they are around the same g/m as the ice-lines, but are perhaps a little more compact, come in 70 m lengths, have unicore and I believe a quality dry & thermal treatment.

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Jonny on 09:12 Fri
In reply to GarethSL:

Thanks Jeff and Gareth for your experiences. I've plumped for a pair (of Gullies), and at 70m which I think suits the types of climbing I like (on rock only to a limited extent, and on routes without established belays).

Interesting that Edelweiss also make Unicore ropes. I thought it was a Beal patent. I suppose the Elite is then less compact if it's thicker at a given weight - might be a bit more supple then, although I did read that some of their unicore singles are overly stiff. I can't find any feedback on the Elite though, and only Edelweiss seem to be selling it (through their website). And not particularly cheap either.

As for slippy (and therefore smooth) abseils being reassuring - I tend to agree! I spent a while just taking a 60m 6mm cord for abseils on mountain routes with steep scrambles. Combined with a sling harness and munter on a single locker, I never felt unsafe. 5mm prussiks still grabbed fine if I had one rigged, and a gardening-gloved hand had enough purchase. Jerks place stress on the anchor and make things trickier all around, after all.

Anyway, thanks all.

Post edited at 09:20
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