JHMG Gear Review – Mammut Eternity & Finesse Climbing Ropes
July 31, 2015 | Posted in: JHMG
One thing I’ve learned as a guide is that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, what objective it is but if I’m out guiding, climbing, skiing or simply in the mountains with friends, one thing is for sure…I always have a rope in my pack. The climbing rope is a crucial part of anyone’s mountain kit and thankfully we have many choices on length, diameter, and quality these days. I am always making my rope choices based on the objective and needs for the day but certain qualities that always have my attention are craftsmanship, durability and having the right tool for the job. The past few seasons I have been putting some of Mammut’s climbing ropes through their paces and have found that their cords fill every needed category and go beyond my expectations for a “tool of the trade.”
I have also learned that less is better when it comes to choice of climbing gear and tools. I am always looking for gear that covers a diverse need and has more than one use as I want to be as light as possible and you don’t want to be hauling around every product known to man. At Jackson Hole Mountain Guides we have so many diverse programs that range from single day climbing instruction to multi-day alpine objectives that we need to cover a broad range of terrain, use and “mountain puzzles” like rappels, lowers and terrain belays. One way JHMG has simplified the guide’s kit to cover these diverse days in the mountains is to find climbing ropes that make perfect sense for the terrain, objective and most of all provide the safety and durability that we need in the rugged alpine environment. This is why JHMG as a guide service and climbing school has come to love the Mammut Eternity Dry 9.8 and the Finesse Dry 9.3 to cover the broad spectrum of programs whether its in the Tetons or one of the other many venues of operation.
Over the years Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and Mammut have worked together within the climbing, skiing and avalanche safety realm but throughout this relationship we as the guides have truly seen the advancement and technology of their ropes change and progress to what we find as the best ropes on the market. Both the Eternity and Finesse fit perfectly into what JHMG looks for in ropes all the while covering specific niches that the guides need for mountain and class programs. Both the Eternity and Finesse come with a Dry Treatment that is beyond important when working in the alpine as any day of the year the Tetons can see rain or snow up high. In abrasion tests, Dry treated ropes achieve 50 % higher abrasion resistance than ropes of the same diameter and provide better protection from dirt and grime. Both of these ropes are lightweight for their size, under 64gm per meter and they provide high UIAA standards in fall ratings, impact force as well as a comfortable elongation factor to help with “soft catches” whether its leading or working on a top-rope belay. Another big factor that we look at as guides and climbers is the quality and thickness of the sheath as this is where we do the most damage to ropes. Both the Eternity and Finesse have a 35-40% sheath proportion that makes for a highly durable rope and allows the user to know that the core and overall strength of the rope is well protected with tightly woven strands that make up the sheath.
The JHMG guides specifically use the Eternity 9.8 for working on the Grand Teton and other programs that run out of our Corbet High Camp. As guides we have found that we can work with two 40m lengths for most trips and have plenty of rope on the Grand Teton for all the ascent and descent obstacles. Having shorter sections of the Eternity allows the guides to be lighter and move more efficiently with their guests. The Eternity Dry 9.8 has proven its worthiness time and time again as the guides have consistently beaten, belayed, hauled and dragged these ropes around the rough edges on the high alpine rock of the Tetons. Rob Hess the Chief Guide for JHMG and president of the American Mountain Guides Association has stated “as far as a high quality rope that handles better over time, provides durability in the harshest conditions and has a great price point, the Eternity is our go-to workhorse rope.”
The other big player in the guide’s kit at JHMG is the Finesse Dry 9.3. The Finesse is a smaller diameter yet just as crucial climbing rope for the terrain in the Tetons. I have personally used the Finesse on large alpine objectives and classic Teton rock climbs like Irene’s Arête and the Snaz. The Finesse is a lightweight, burly rope that handles very smoothly when you are pulling meters of rope through a belay device all day. We as guides and climbers log thousands of hours in the alpine realm and the strength, suppleness and quality of the Finesse ropes are key to many of the programs we run at JHMG.
I know personally how hard I can be on climbing equipment, not to mention the other guides at JHMG and the fact that we have many ropes that are now in their 2nd and 3rd season at JHMG is a testament to the craftsmanship at Mammut. I highly recommend the Eternity Dry 9.8 as well as the Finesse Dry 9.3 for the majority of climbing objectives out there, whether you are a recreationalist or professional the durability and value of these ropes will not go unnoticed. As a guide, I’m always concerned with keeping the rope moving and keeping my guests moving towards their objective safely. With the Eternity and Finesse, I have found that I’m never thinking about the rope, it’s simply there doing its job and performing well which is exactly what a guide wants in a piece of equipment.
Written By Senior Guide Brian Warren