Types of rope
There are basically three different types of rope, each best suited for different applications, which are tested according to different standards.
Single ropes are the most common type of ropes used. Depending upon diameter and length they can be used for most conditions. The main advantage is simple handling. A disadvantage is that only routes up to a half rope length high, with subsequent lowering or rappelling, can be climbed.
Single ropes come in diameters of approximately 8,9 to 11 mm and weigh between 52 to 77 grams per meter. Single ropes, withstand at least five falls with an 80 kg mass
Twin ropes must only be used in pairs and are clipped together into each piece of protection, as with single rope technique (= Twin rope technique). The two ropes offer redundancy and thus, increased safety in the case of shock loading over a sharp edge. They are therefore especially suited for alpine climbing or demanding routes where retreat may be necessary. They offer the highest safety margin and allow full length rappels. With diameters from approximately 7,5 to 8,5 mm and a weight of between 38 to 45 grams per meter they are, together, about as heavy as the heaviest single ropes. With standard testing the ropes must withstand 12 falls with an 80 kg mass.
Half (Double) Ropes
Half ropes, with regard to strength and weight, lie between single and twin ropes. They only offer standard safety when they are used as a pair. But here you have the choice between twin rope technique, where both ropes run parallel through the protection and half rope technique, where the «left» and «right» ropes run separately through different protection points. This technique allows friction to be reduced in the case where protection points are widely spread and reduces impact force. This is of benefit when climbing traditionally protected routes. A belay method which enables the independent control of each rope must be used. Half ropes are tested singly with a 55 kg mass and must withstand five standard falls. They come in diameters from 8 to 9 mm and weigh 41 to 55 grams per meter. In single strand form they are suitable to belay two seconds.
BALANCED ROPE CONCEPT
The manufacture of a rope is always a compromise between a high number of standard falls and low weight, low impact force and reduced elongation. For years Mammut has pursued the philosophy of the Balanced Rope, which holds that an outstanding rope is not distinguished by a single outstanding characteristic, but by the optimally balanced sum of all its performance characteristics
Optimum safety in even the harshest conditions: the Coatingfinish™ on the core and sheath ensures that DRY ropes absorb almost no water and do not freeze at low temperatures. Even after soaking in water for 15 minutes, a DRY rope still achieves 80% of its specified number of standard falls.
Excellent durability thanks to the coating finish on the core and sheath: In abrasion tests, DRY ropes achieve 50 % higher abrasion resistance than ropes of the same diameter with a conventional finish. Sealing the core and sheath provides protection from dirt and increases the rope’s durability.
The combination of Coated Core and Coated Sheath Technologiy gives DRY ropes lasting water and dirt repellent properties. DRY ropes scored 1% on the UIAA water absorption tests.
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DRY ropes cover the full range of applications from sport and gym climbing to alpine mountaineering and ice climbing. DRY ropes make an impression with maximum performance, maximum safety, maximum durability and comfortable handling.
Thermal treatment means that PROTECT ropes feature higher performance and offer one to two more standard falls than CLASSIC ropes. Even after soaking in water for 15 minutes, a PROTECT rope still achieves 50 % of its specified number of standard falls.
The Coatingfinish™ on the sheath gives PROTECT ropes a 40 % higher abrasion resistance than non-treated ropes. Increased dirt-repellency makes PROTECT ropes more durable.
The Coated Sheath Technology improves PROTECT ropes’ dirt and water repellent properties. PROTECT ropes scored 36 % on the UIAA tests.
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PROTECT ropes offer increased rope performance, perfect handling and greater durability for both outdoor and indoor climbing.
Mammut has been producing top-quality ropes for over 150 years. Sophisticated quality assurance processes guarantee maximum safety. Tests show that even if non-coated ropes easily meet safety standards when dry, they weaken significantly when wet.
Mammut® CLASSIC ropes’ balanced sheath to weight ratio mean that they offer high durability.
Mammut’s CLASSIC ropes do not feature water-repellent treatment. CLASSIC ropes scored 46 % on the UIAA tests.
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CLASSIC ropes offer high quality and good value for money – they are the first choice for outdoor climbing in dry conditions and indoor climbing.
The intended use determines which rope is best. It therefore makes sense to have a number of different ropes that can be used according to the type of climb. So, for high friction use, such as working routes or, top roping, a rope with a higher sheath proportion is useful. For alpine use, especially with ice, a drytreated rope is recommended. With possible sharp edge loading, or for longer rappels, twin, or half ropes are the first choice. The following gives examples of typical usage, each with the specific performance characteristic required by the rope.
Alpine Rock Climbing
i.e. High Sierra, Bugaboos, Wind River Range.
As soon as more difficult rock with a uniform level of difficulty comes in to play – meaning that a fall is possible at any time, classic belaying from anchor to anchor is necessary. Whether single or double – respectively twin ropes are used, depends mainly upon whether rappelling, or down climbing will be undertaken. In broken terrain, shorter rope lengths can be sensible.
Long Ice and Mixed Routes
i.e. Moonflower Buttress, Walker Spur, Droites North face, difficult waterfalls.
Only half or twin ropes offer the highest safety margins and enable long rappels in difficult terrain. Dry-treatment, easy handling and low weight all help with quick, efficient rope management. Long rope lengths are particularly useful on ice routes where pitches can often be run together.
Ice Climbing / Dry tooling
i.e. Vail, Ouray.
The requirements are similar to those of sport climbing, though dry-treatment is essential. With bolted mixed routes a single rope can offer simpler handling, though in sharp edged rock terrain the safety margin given by twin ropes is welcome. On poorly protected mixed routes, as typically found in Scotland, the half rope technique reduces the load on the «safety chain».
i.e. Mt. Rainier, Denali, South America.
With classic tours in mixed terrain and single climbing pitches up to grade 4 or 5 it is usual to down climb rather than rappel. Here it is advantageous to use a single rope. Or, a doubled half rope length can be used, though then only half the ropes length can be used. A dry-treated rope is also recommended here.
Multi Pitch Sport Climbing
i.e. Mt. Charleston, Red Rocks, El Portrero Chico, Wenden, Verdon.
Twin rope and half rope techniques offer the best safety margins and full rappelling distances. Dry treatment is useful in changeable conditions. Sharp edge resistance is guaranteed by the appropriate ropes. (Half or twin ropes).
i.e. Rifle, Smith, Rumney, Thailand.
With frequent falls, a burly rope is important. The impact force can be reduced by a dynamic belay. Handling and weight should be optimized for performing at the edge. Longer ropes (70/80 m) are needed at many modern sport climbing areas to allow safe lower-offs. Climbing Gyms Climbing Gym surfaces wear a rope more quickly; sturdier ropes and thicker sheaths are an advantage.
Working routes with Frequent Falls
i.e. Training on a local crag.
Frequent falls cause extensive wear. Therefore, a «work horse» of a rope is required. Weight is less important than longevity.Top Roping / institutional UseTo combat lots of abrasion and hard wear, a tougher sheath construction is an advantage. As long as falls by the second only are possible, then, circumstances allowing, a half rope can also be used.
Big Wall Climbing
i.e. El Capitan, Baffin.
A single rope is most often used for big wall climbing, while a static rope is used to haul. It’s desirable to have a large safety margin and tough sheath.
i.e. Mountain rescue.
High safety reserves and low elasticity are the most important properties of a mountain rescue rope.