Is a skinny 5.9mm cordelette strong enough?
You bet it is!
Since a cordelette is almost always on my harness, my cordelette of choice is the Sterling PowerCord, 5.9mm in the 18ft length—the lightest, most compact cordelette that I can get my hands on.
I use cordelettes primarily for rigging anchors (both single and multi-pitch). Learn more about Building Climbing Anchors and Quad Anchor in our blog. However, cordelettes are also useful for self-rescue.
Sterling PowerCord isn’t just a normal nylon-type of cordage that you can buy for pennies by the foot at most climbing shops.
PowerCord is special. It’s made of Technora, which is twice as strong as your standard nylon cord of the same diameter—this is why PowerCord can be 1-2mm skinnier than other cordelettes. In fact, the 5.9mm Powercord has a minimum breaking strength (MBS) of 4429 lbs or the equivalent of 19.7 Kn. That’s plenty strong for any anchor rigging I’ll be doing with it.
The secret to the PowerCord’s strength lies within its braided Aramid core fibers. Aramid is similar to Kevlar, the material that bulletproof vests are made from. It has 4 characteristics that make it a good cordelete material:
- High tensile strength
- Low elongation
- Low water absorption
- High melting point. A high melting point is especially important for use in a rescue scenario.
How do you get your hands on one of these?
You can find it here on the Sterling Rope website, or ask at your favorite local retailer.