Skinny line for trad vs. do-it-all rope


Original Post
M Bageant · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 50

Just looking for some opinions, since ropes are expensive and not returnable.

I currently have an aging Mammut Infinity, which is a very capable do-it-all rope. I love this rope and have no complaints, but it is expensive and it makes me sad to wear one out every 2.5-3 years. I'm about a 60-40 split for sport/trad, but all of my ropes so far have died from sheath abrasion and not flat cores (I am a light climber).

I'm looking at either:

(1) Getting a 70m Sterling Evolution Aero (56g/m, 7 falls, 40% sheath) mainly for multipitch climbing, plus a Sterling Evolution Velocity or equivalent for cragging;

(2) Getting a 70m Mammut Infinity (59g/m, 8-9 falls, 40% sheath) for multipitch climbing, plus a Velocity equivalent for cragging; or

(3) Just getting a 70m Mammut Infinity as a do-it-all cord, and retiring it to cragging only if it gets trimmed.

Right now I can get the Evolution Aero for $20 more than the Infinity. My cragging cord still has some life so I'll be holding off on buying the Velocity.

Anyone got any thoughts on this?

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70

I've owned a Velocity, Infinity, and Ion2Fusion (so kind of but not really like the Aero).

Food for thought: do you need a 70m for your big day rope? I'd take the extra durability of a slightly bigger rope over an unnecessary 10m if you don't need it where you climb. Both my Ion2Fusions gave out after about a year. Granted, I flattened the cores and cragged and probably climbed 150+ days a year on each. Either way, the skinny ropes really don't last if you use them.

I personally really liked the 70m Infinity as a cragging rope, but it was heavy on big days coming from a skinnier rope. I core shot it and it's my gym rope now.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

2-3 years is pretty good if you use it a lot,,stick with Mammut

M Bageant · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 50

Thanks for the reply, Mike.

I like the Infinity as a cragging rope too, and a 60m is just fine for where I crag. I definitely want a 70m line for big days, but I also want a *light* line for big days.

I guess the key thing that's sticking in my mind is that the Aero is only 3 g/m lighter than the Infinity, so it's not really doing me any favors there (only saves me half a pound over 70m).

The Nano IX for example would save me 5g/m, so about a pound over 70m, so that's a lot more compelling.

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70

Yeah if you are committed to two ropes and don't mine shelling out for the skinny one, I guess you might as well go as light as possible.

My buddy and I carried his Mammut Serenity and my Infinity into a climb last year and it was truly nuts how light that rope is (just looked it up -- same as the Nano IX).

I just bought whatever ~9.4 was on deep sale the last time I bought a rope, but would happily go smaller if I had 2 ropes.

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 123

I wish I got 2-3 years out of a rope.

Sorry to break it to you, but ropes are consumables. Just like pretty much all climbing gear. It wears out. That's part of the game. You just have to budget for it. I just buy whatever is cheap. I try not to spend more than $100 on a 60M rope and around $120 on a 70M rope. I have a couple expensive ultralight cords that I save for special occasions/big alpine/climbs/international travel but for my every day cragging.... I don't care an iota. I just buy whatever is between 9.6 and 10.1 and cheap.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Jon H wrote:I wish I got 2-3 years out of a rope. Sorry to break it to you, but ropes are consumables. Just like pretty much all climbing gear. It wears out. That's part of the game. You just have to budget for it. I just buy whatever is cheap. I try not to spend more than $100 on a 60M rope and around $120 on a 70M rope. I have a couple expensive ultralight cords that I save for special occasions/big alpine/climbs/international travel but for my every day cragging.... I don't care an iota. I just buy whatever is between 9.6 and 10.1 and cheap.
This.

My view is that if you do a wide range of types of climbing, it is better to have a selection of several types of ropes to choose from. While you can get by with a 9.5 as an "all around" rope, this rope ends up being a little too heavy to carry into the mountains, and a little too thin for heavy duty hangdog abuse. I think it is nice to have a slightly studier rope for sport crag abuse and a super light and skinny line for long routes. A 9.7 and a 9.2, perhaps. Or go even farther in both directions and have a 9.8 and a 9.1. And, of course, never pay full retail for a rope.
M Bageant · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 50
Dave Schultz wrote: Kinda sucks to have a quiver of ropes ($$$); but if you do, than you are always using ropes in the appropriate setting. Additionally, you're ropes don't get smoked as fast because they are being used in their best application (saving $$$).
Yeah, Good point. Someone else made a good point to me in person that if you're 50-50 between fat rope and thin rope pursuits, you should specialize and get the benefits of both. If you only do one thing 90% of the time, buy a rope for that, and borrow/make do the other 10% of the time.

Looks like I should shop around for a quiver.

Some good deals on ropes out there right now, btw.
BrunoPoco · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

I here good things about the Mammut rope,

I've owned a Beal Joker for a few years now. I do find that the "do it all" style ropes are not very durable.

For trad they are great but the Joker got trashed in no time when used for sport and I had to cut a 12 foot section off after the 4th time used.

I kinda regret not just buying a thinner sport rope.

I've also noticed many experienced climber friends of mine are now all stating to do the same.

I hope that helps.

BrunoPoco · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Oh I forgot. I recently purchased a beal Tiger and seems good. and I own a verdon too. I'm thinking that once I retire my joker i will be happy to climb on the skinny and thick rope combo for trad.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
M Bageant wrote:... but it is expensive and it makes me sad to wear one out every 2.5-3 years.
Man, that's no reason to be sad, I'm happy if I get a full year out of a rope!
M Bageant · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 50
kennoyce wrote: Man, that's no reason to be sad, I'm happy if I get a full year out of a rope!
Ah, I'll have to get out climbing more and wear my ropes out faster, then! ;)

But for real, the Infinity is a really bulletproof rope when it comes to durability.
Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 273

simple
buy on sale / closeout

I find a 70m quite useful, but only some of the time.

Buy 2 or 3 ropes, when they are on a huge discount (black friday type sales).

Variety is great.

Multiple ropes mean you don't have to run out and buy one at MSRP when yours wears out, gets unexpected damage, etc.
I had a new rope sitting at home for many months before I decided to semi-retire the older one. I picked that one up for under $100, 60m double-dry. Couldn't pass up that price, even though I didn't need it yet.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 478
M Bageant wrote:Thanks for the reply, Mike. I like the Infinity as a cragging rope too, and a 60m is just fine for where I crag. I definitely want a 70m line for big days, but I also want a *light* line for big days. I guess the key thing that's sticking in my mind is that the Aero is only 3 g/m lighter than the Infinity, so it's not really doing me any favors there (only saves me half a pound over 70m). The Nano IX for example would save me 5g/m, so about a pound over 70m, so that's a lot more compelling.
If you're killing ropes from sheath abrasion don't get a nano. It's only around 27% sheath percentage. Good core thickness for taking lead falls on overhanging bolts, not so hot for dragging over sharp rock. I have one as my alpine rope and like it then, I still crag with a 9.8 that I got on sale cheaply.
BrunoPoco · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

This is a great article on the subject.

http://andy-kirkpatrick.com/cragmanship/view/the_skinny

M Bageant · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 50
Nick Drake wrote: If you're killing ropes from sheath abrasion don't get a nano. It's only around 27% sheath percentage. Good core thickness for taking lead falls on overhanging bolts, not so hot for dragging over sharp rock. I have one as my alpine rope and like it then, I still crag with a 9.8 that I got on sale cheaply.
Thanks for the tip, I was looking at the Nano but was nervous about the low sheath!
Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
M Bageant wrote: Thanks for the tip, I was looking at the Nano but was nervous about the low sheath!
Check out the Bluewater Icon 9.1mm or the Wave 9.3mm. Both ropes have a burly sheath for being so skinny.
Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70
Bill Kirby wrote: Check out the Bluewater Icon 9.1mm or the Wave 9.3mm. Both ropes have a burly sheath for being so skinny.
I blindly bought a Wave on steep sale maybe 6 months ago and use it now as my only rope. The downside of the thicker sheath seems to be increased likelihood of kinking, but I like it a lot and would get another. For sure seems burly compared to other small ropes I've had.
Todd Anderson · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 145
Mike Mellenthin wrote: I blindly bought a Wave on steep sale maybe 6 months ago and use it now as my only rope. The downside of the thicker sheath seems to be increased likelihood of kinking, but I like it a lot and would get another. For sure seems burly compared to other small ropes I've had.
Same experience for me, except with the Icon. Maybe not as buttery smooth as some of the skinny Sterling ropes, but my Icon probably has 40-50 pitches on it and barely has any fuzzing. It did seem to take longer than usual to get all the twists out, though.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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