Of the six ropes I own, four are Mammuts. Most of my friends own at least one Mammut rope. And pretty much everyone I talk to that has owned or used a Mammut rope says they’ll buy another one. This could mean one of two things: Mammut ropes are really cheap or, more likely, they are great ropes that not only last a long time but also perform at a high level.
In the case of the Mammuts, it is definitely the latter. The sheaths stand up to a ridiculous amount of abuse, the coatings repel water exceedingly well, and the ropes handle supremely regardless of age. Add in bi-pattern (duodess in Mammut-speak) options for many of the single ropes along with a wide variety of diameters on offer and you have a comprehensive lineup that is hard to beat. Yes, the price is sometimes higher than comparable ropes from other manufacturers, but rarely can those ropes match the performance of a Mammut.
Over the past few years, I’ve owned and used a variety of Mammut ropes. All of them have exceeded my expectations, so here’s a quick rundown of their features, as well as overall impressions of the individual ropes. Yes, this is a bit techy, but the better you understand your equipment, the better you can use it to its maximum advantage. So, read on:
Mammut has two primary finishes, COATINGfinish and superDRY, and here are the differences:
COATINGfinish – this is the company’s best finish, in which the individual fibres are PTFE coated to reduce friction and improve resistance to moisture and dirt absorption. COATINGfinish is primarily intended as a performance-enhancing treatment, minimizing internal friction of the fibres and allowing thinner ropes to withstand more loading cycles (falls, hauling, rapelling, etc.) Its secondary characteristic is that the coated fibres are also more water resistant. Basically you end up with a lighter and better handling rope with superior water and dirt resistance.
superDRY – this treatment is applied twice: once to the rope’s core and sheath during the heat treatment phase, and then again as the finished rope is given its final ‘coating bath’ run. superDRY is intended to reduce the amount of moisture absorbed by the rope, but also helps repel dirt and grit, making for a longer-lasting, more durable rope.
Additionally, when looking at a rope, I always take into consideration the sheath percentage and gm/m. Generally, the more sheath a rope has, the more durable it will be. Similarly, there are some very, very thin ropes out there that don’t actually weigh any less than slightly thicker ropes: gm/m is a useful stat for comparing rope-to-rope. Mammut calculates the sheath percentage by weight (i.e. weight of sheath divided by total weight of rope). My head works better with different numbers, so I have converted the sheath percentage as a diameter value in mm (please not that these are not official numbers).
And, in case you’ve been out of the game for a while, there are three different types of dynamic climbing rope available: single, half (aka double) and twin. Singles are used independently and clipped into each piece of protection; a single rope must hold five falls of an 80kg mass. Half or double ropes are used together, and clipped to pro individually; half ropes must hold 5 falls of a 55kg mass (the idea being that by the time one rope has reached full elongation, its half is starting to catch the fall as well). Twins are used in tandem, with both ropes clipped into each piece of pro; twins must withstand 12 falls of an 80kg mass.
Finally, onto some impressions of the Mammut ropes:
8.0 Phoenix – half/twin – 42 gm/m – 42% sheath (3.36mm) – 6.0kN half / 9.5kN twin – superDRY
These are wonderful ropes; thin, supple, and incredibly tangle-resistant for such a thin rope. They make a wonderful ice rope due to their light weight, small pack size and high water resistance.
8.5 Genesis – half/twin – 48 gm/m – 49% sheath (4.165mm) – 5.6kN half / 8.3kN twin – COATINGfinish
Noticeably thicker than their Phoenix counterparts, the Genesis make an excellent alpine rock rope. With almost half the rope diameter concentrated in the sheath, in combination with the COATINGfinish treatment, they are an extremely durable rope. Almost funnily fat in comparison to the 8mm-or-thinner halfs, these are very durable, workhorse ropes that last for years. I’ve got a set for those chossy Rockies alpine climbs where 5.8 A1 really means 5.10 with a lot of loose rock.
8.7 Serenity – single/half/twin – 51 gm/m – 38% sheath (3.306mm) – 8.4kN single / 6.3kN half / 9.7kN twin – COATINGfinish
This is one of the newer, triple-rated ropes that are scarily thin. You look at this thing and think “It’s a single?!” Yet, in use it’s a wonderful rope to work with, handling beautifully and seemingly disappearing in your pack. I’ve even talked to a few climbers who use it as an everyday working rope, not just a secret on-sight weapon.
9.2 Revelation – single/half/twin – 55 gm/m – 36% sheath (3.312mm) – 8.7kN single / 6.6kN half / 10.1kN twin – superDRY – (duodess available)
Based on stats alone, the 8.7 Serenity is the better buy, with almost the same amount of sheath but slightly lower weight and pack size. The Revelation, however, is available in duodess, making it an attractive single for multi-pitch ice and mixed, bringing with it a tad more durability than its thinner brother.
9.5 Infinity – single – 58 gm/m – 40% sheath (3.8mm) – 8.7kN single – COATINGfinish – (duodess available)
This has been my everyday rope for the past three years, and it is still going strong. It still handles wonderfully, resists freezing pretty well and hasn’t fuzzed all that much. I attribute much of this to the rope’s high sheath percentage. By today’s standards, the 9.5 sits in between workhorse sub-10 ropes but just above thin 9.something ‘sending’ ropes. For me, it has been the ideal rope – relatively small and light, yet able to handle everything from TR-ing rock (and ice) to projecting sport and mixed routes, and even getting dragged up several hundred metres of ice.
9.8 Tusk – single – 64 gm/m – 38% sheath (3.724mm) – 8.8kN single – superDRY
As I see it, essentially the predecessor to the 9.5 Infinity. A few friends still use one as their training rope, and every one I’ve ever used still handles really, really well. Compared to the 9.2s and 9.5s I’m used to, the 9.8 feels quite thick, and is more prone to ‘sticking’ in some modern ATC devices. However, as a durable workhorse you can’t find much better than this – I’ve projected on one of these that’s a few years old and it still provides a nice, soft catch. If you’re to have just one single rope, it’s hard to go wrong with one in the 9.8-10mm size, and the Tusk is exemplary for this application.