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Trango Agility 9.1 Rope: Triple Rated and Packed with Safety Features

Designed for alpine, sport and trad, the Agility 9.1 has an abrasion-resistant sheath and red die that marks the ends

gena on the great escape Photo by: Chris Van Leuven

Over late winter and spring, I tested the Agility 9.1 treated with Duo Dry for sport and trad cragging in Yosemite up to 5.12. I also took it twice up the four-pitch 5.11c sport route, The Great Escape at the Park’s Chapel Wall.

For the first lap on The Great Escape, I partnered with Zach Milligan (who had recently skied Half Dome from the summit to the Valley floor). During that outing in early spring, where we climbed at a cold north-facing crag, the rock was so frigid that it turned our fingers and toes to wood. Since we couldn’t feel our hands and feet, we couldn’t feel the holds, and I took increasingly longer lead falls until we bailed. I liked how the Agility 9.1 was soft and supple, which made clipping a breeze. Falls were also soft due to the 33 percent (single) dynamic elongation.

trango image
The Agility lineup. Photo: Trango

Additional features include a triple rating – meaning it can be used as a single, twin or double, low weight at 56 grams per meter, and a “Spider Wear” sheath for durability. Available in bright green or yellow with red ends, the Agility 9.1 looks like a multi-colored flag. One of four Agility ropes by Trango, the colorful 9.1 is designed for alpine, sport and trad and is available in Dry or Standard, and in 70m and 80m lengths. Duo Dry is a waterproofing treatment for both the sheath and core.

The other three Agility ropes are the 7.6 with Dry and Standard finish in 60m, a 9.5, which is available in 60, 70, and 80m, and in Dry or Standard. And the 9.8, which only comes in Standard, in lengths 40, 50, 60, and 70m. All four ropes have a black middle mark and feature a weave pattern for better handling. Only the Agility 9.1 has the Red Flag safety feature designed to reduce accidents during rappels and lowering.

Attentiveness, tying backup knots, and clear communication are key in preventing lowering and rappelling accidents. But human error or other accidents still happen, which is why this year, Trango introduced the Red Tag treatment in the Agility 9.1mm rope. By dying the final five meters of rope fire-truck red, they’ve added a visual signal – stop here – to their ropes.

“It’s really good for making sure you’re not going to lower your partner off the end or fall off the end of your rope if you’re rappelling,” says Trango athlete Drew Ruana.

“Lowering a climbing partner is among the most common situations leading to injuries and rescues,” wrote Mike Poborsky in Know The Ropes: Lowering Fundamentals To Save Your Life the 2013 American Alpine Journal (AAJ). In 2018, also in the AAJ, Dougald MacDonald echoed that statement, adding that single-pitch lowering accidents were growing at an “alarming rate,” with the number doubling that year from six to 12. He wrote that “More than half of all lowering accidents reported in Accidents [in North American Mountaineering] in the past decade occurred when the rope end shot through a belay device and the climber fell uncontrollably.”

Back to that cold day with Zach on The Great Escape. After rappelling off the route from midway due to the biting cold, we talked about how we liked the Red Flag on the ends and how they acted as a visual signal. After reaching the ground, we continued with more cold weather cragging at the Chapel Wall. Here we exchanged belays from our stances over piles of snow — where the Duo Dry treatment kept the rope dry — and continued the theme of taking leader falls due to frozen hands and feet.

Gena Wood on The Great Escape
Gena Wood on The Great Escape, Chapel Wall, Yosemite. Photo: Chris Van Leuven

A few weeks later and now under warmer conditions, I returned to The Great Escape with Yosemite Climbing Ranger Gena Wood. That day I took fewer falls than before, with some lobs up to 20 feet. After reaching the top, where we took in views of Yosemite Falls, Gena gave me her thoughts on the rope. She agreed that Red Flag helped us spot the ends and was a welcome safety addition. And she also suggested the half-and-half style dying pattern would be a time saver as we wouldn’t have to keep track of the middle mark when threading the anchors.

Today, some thirty pitches of sport and trad later – sometimes over snow and wet rock — the Agility 9.1 still looks and performs as new. This “new” look is due to the Duo Dry finish, which sheds dirt and moisture. The only signs of wear are near the ends where the red die is over the green. Here bits of the lower die show through from underneath.

MSRP $354.95 (USD) for Agility 9.1mm with Duo Dry finish. Available at Trango.com.

Lead photo: Chris Van Leuven