Mammut Infinity Review
Cons: Slightly stiff, middle mark wears off quickly
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mammut Infinity Dry is a 9.5mm rope that feels a bit thinner than most other ropes of this diameter. Mammut ropes tend to all feel this way, in large part due to the very tightly woven sheath that seems to effectively compress the core into a tighter package than other brands of rope. This tightness is easily noticeable in the weave of the sheath, which contributes to its durability and lack of fraying over time, but also in the handle of the rope, which could also be described as tight. It comes with dual dry treatment inherent, meaning that both the sheath and the core are treated for an absorption rate of less than 1.5% according to UIAA tests. It is possible to buy this rope in "Protect" and "Classic" versions, without the dual dry treatment, for less money. We tested a single patterned weave, but duodess weaves are also available, and the lengths one can buy ranges from 60, 70, and 80m.
The reason this rope rules so much is its great versatility combined with durability. 9.5mm in diameter is the perfect middle ground between weight and longevity. In short, this rope will last you a long time, even when treating it to the most demanding of daily climbing tests — relentless projecting of sport routes. At the same time it functions great on multi-pitches or in the alpine, where its burly sheath is appreciated and it doesn't weigh too much. For a quiver of one, this rope is your ultimate choice.
While this rope handles nicely, we wouldn't call it its strongest suit, nor would we rank it up there with the best in this department. In general, we feel that Petzl and Sterling ropes tend to be the softest and most supple in our hands, attributes which are nice on the skin but also make tying knots and belaying as easy as possible. By comparison, the Infinity Dry is a bit stiffer and not quite as easy to make a sharp bend with. This comes into play when forcing the rope through a belay or rappel device, but is not such an issue that we would describe it as annoying or a detriment to performance.
When fresh out of the packaging the rope is very slick and smooth to the touch, which we really appreciate. This slickness can be attributed to the dry coating, which begins to wear off as you put the rope through the ringer outdoors. The slickness fades as the rope wears in, but the tight weave remains, giving this rope a pleasant handle.
The durability of this rope is truly impressive and is one of the things that sets it apart when considering a purchase. Normally we wouldn't expect such high durability out of a 9.5 mm rope, but the tightness of the 2x2 weave of the sheath really seems to do a great job at ensuring that it doesn't break down and fray nearly as quickly as other ropes. We would not hesitate to recommend this rope as a total workhorse, and indeed that's how we tested it, by taking it to the sport crag multiple times per week and falling, pulling up, and hanging on it over and over and over again.
The Infinity Dry features a sheath proportion of 40%, ranking it up there near the top. Since it isn't super thin, this percentage guarantees that there are a lot of fibers in that sheath. Indeed, in our testing, this rope fuzzes out less than any other rope we have used, but conversely is a bit more likely to end up glazing from repeatedly running over carabiners in the same spots, and sometimes becomes a bit stiffer over time. It's a good idea to let it rest or to swap ends after taking falls or hard dogging sessions.
The dry treatment certainly aids in the durability of the sheath itself but also doesn't seem to last as long as some other dry treatments. You will quickly wear the treatment off the sheath by cragging, and then can't expect it to stay totally dry in the mountains. If you are looking primarily for a mountain rope, consider buying something even thinner and dedicating it solely to that purpose, so the dry treatment is more effective. Unfortunately, we found that the middle marker of our non-duodess rope wore off pretty quickly, so keep marking it if you need to. On the other hand, the ends stay nicely bonded over time, without fraying.
This rope weighs in at 59 g/m, which isn't bad compared to fatter 9.8 or thicker ropes, but is by no means as light as the 52 g/m cords that are 8.9 or 9mm thick.
This weight is roughly average when it comes to 9.5mm cords, so one shouldn't think they are getting the lightest cord in the world, nor the heaviest. According to our math, this would add up to be around 9.11 lbs for a 70m rope, which is a bit more than half a pound heavier than the Petzl Volta 9.2mm. You will likely not really notice this extra half a pound on your repeated walks to the sport crag, and the difference is also not so much if you want to climb a route with a long approach, but can't afford, or don't own, a lighter, thinner rope.
This rope affords perfectly comfortable falls, and is most certainly not a rubber band. We tested this rope extensively at Smith Rock, a climbing area where the distance between bolts is much further than the average sport climbing area, leading to some pretty massive whippers. On none of these shriek-inducing plummets did the catch strike us as anything but perfectly comfortable, and the falls we caught while belaying likewise felt similarly normal.
The numbers would tend to back this up. With an 8.4kN fall force, and 30% dynamic elongation, there are no outliers, and nothing to suggest that this rope would behave any differently than one would expect. The 6.5% static elongation, on the other hand, is fairly low compared to the competition, and suggests that this rope would be a good choice for those who top-rope a lot, as you are not likely to sag as far from rope stretch when you hang as you would with some others. That said, this is only a percentage, and when we hung while top-roping, we still lost a few feet of hard won ground, as you always will.
Depending on the length you get, the price of any rope will vary. You can tack on some extra bucks if you want a duodess weave, which can be nice for telling where the middle marker is, especially since the one on this rope wears off quickly. While the Infinity is by no means the most affordable rope you can buy, this price isn't bad considering the quality, and since we think it's the best rope in our review and worthy of an award, we think it is worth the money.
The Mammut Infinity Dry wins our Editors' Choice award as the best climbing rope because it combines the durability you would expect from a workhorse, but in a thinner, more easily handled package. This rope is versatile for any sort of climbing application, from multi-pitching to alpine climbing, but we love to use it as an everyday crag rope. For those who only use or own one rope at a time, a 9.5mm such as this one is the perfect choice, and while it isn't especially cheap, the great performance ensures that you will get good value for your purchase.
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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