By: Dave Westlake
Fixe is a Spanish hardware company that may not be so well known to climbers in the UK. They are a true grassroots climbers brand, having been in business for nearly 30 years and made a big contribution to bolting efforts through donations and support for bolt funds. Many regular climbers will have encountered a Fixe bolt hanger or two on their travels. Now, a wider range of products – including quickdraws, ropes and apparel – is finding its way onto the UK market. In fact, the ropes in the Fixe range come from a much longer lineage, as the company merged with 125 year old rope manufacturer Roca some years ago.
The Siurana 9.6mm is a keenly priced rope that I’ve been testing for the last few months. I’ve used it mainly sport climbing in the UK, with the occasional trad outing and a bit of top roping and indoor training thrown in. In a nutshell, the Siurana is a medium-diameter sport climbing rope that is suited to a wide variety of climbs. It clocks in at 9.6mm diameter, and comes in lengths of 30, 40, 50, 60 and 80 metres – a good range with something for everyone. And, not to be overlooked during a cost of living crisis, the price of the Siurana is especially appealing at little more than £1 per metre - with the popular 60m version costing a bargain £69.95.
The other technical specifications belie what you might be expecting in a ‘budget’ rope too. The Siurana is thoroughly dry treated, which enhances these ‘all-rounder’ credentials, as does the ‘Endurance’ braiding that makes the sheath more durable than ropes made using a more traditional construction. Fixe say the endurance ropes in their range use a higher density braid, and this means they “slide more easily over their working surfaces” such as carabiners and lower off anchors.
On the sharp end
So far so good, but how did all this stack up when I tested the Siurana?
The slick operation was apparent in the feel of the rope from the first time I tied on; the rope feels slicker than most and flows very smoothly through the belay. This took a bit of getting used to of course, and some might find it unnerving at first. That said, it gives the rope a real high quality feel when clipping on route and overall I felt it was a good feature. At 59g/m the Siurana is light enough for use as a redpointing rope, and combined with the slick feel this made clipping feel second nature.
As the name suggests, Fixe say the Endurance technology means the Siurana and others in that range withstand abrasion more robustly. I was suspicious about this, given that durability is often the area where budget range products can let you down. However, I needn’t have worried. When comparing the Siurana with other ropes in its price range, I’d cite durability as a strong point. In fact, it proved more durable than many premium ropes I’ve climbed on. After a lot of use the Siurana did take on a slightly ‘wirey’ character, and at this point it moved from being my main climbing rope to one of the older ones I tend to call upon for the hard graft of going bolt-to-bolt working climbs. This transition happens with all ropes, and – despite its low price tag - the Siurana didn’t get kicked across the garage floor any sooner than my last rope.
Overall I was very impressed, and I’d not hesitate to recommend the Fixe Siurana to anyone. The fact that it costs a lot less than most of its peers is a bonus, but the bottom line is it’s just a really good quality rope that stands tall against offerings from the likes of more well known manufacturers.