Metolius rope bags have long been the benchmark for durable quality and their newest model, the Vortex, is no exception. Without a doubt this rope bag is a deluxe model without peer in the industry. They’ve adopted a new design that breaks away from their popular Ropemaster which incorporates the old style “roll it up and tuck it in the pouch.” The new design has the bag in middle of the tarp. You just stack the rope on it, tie the ends to the corners of the bag, lift up the four corners, and the rope drops into the bag like an ocean whirlpool sucking in a battleship, or a tornado sucking up cows, or some kind of…Vortex.
The first thing I noticed was how much room was left in the bag after dropping a 70-meter rope in it. So I started throwing other stuff into the maelstrom and before I knew it, it’d sucked in a harness, chalkbag, Grigri, shoes, 12 quickdraws… “Seriously?” I thought, as I threw in a light trad rack. Yup, the Vortex swallowed that too, and before I knew it I’d thrown everything I needed for a day of climbing into the bag, cinched it up, and strapped it down with the two unbreakable aluminum buckles. It’s even got an ample outside pocket for small items like climbing tape and car keys.
It offers a padded shoulder strap so you can carry it like a messenger bag as well as two grab handles if you want to carry it like a briefcase. It’s also got an end handle that makes it easy to drop into, and pull out of, a backpack. Honestly, though, I was thinking of getting rid of my backpack altogether for roadside climbing areas like Rifle, Colorado. The large 29 liter capacity of the Vortex makes this bag a game-changer for wandering between routes at the local crag.