The Mammut Infinity is a 9.5 mm rope that comes in three options: Dry, Protect, and Classic. The different terminology can be confusing, so we'll break it down for you here. The Classic rope has no water repellent treatment, while the Protect has a dry treatment on the sheath only for added durability. The Dry version has a dry treatment applied to the core and sheath and is one of the only models in our review to meet the 2014 UIAA standards for water repellent ropes (1% water absorption). We tested the Dry version for this review in a bi-pattern, which cost a whopping $280 for a 60 m. The single pattern version is much less ($240) while the Protect ($200) and Classic ($150) are also less expensive.
Climbing at the "Hood" in our Editors' Choice winner. This all-around rope worked equally well on hard sport climbs and long all-day routes.
The Mammut Infinity is one of the higher scorers for handling, but not quite our favorite overall.
It isn't the supplest rope when brand new, and even after the "break-in" period, it remains a little stiff. Not stiff like the wire-like Edelweiss Curve Unicore Supereverdry, but nowhere as supple as the Maxim Pinnacle. It still feeds smoothly through belay devices, particularly with assisted braking models, like a GriGri or with ATC-style devices in auto-block mode. It also feels great for quick clips on harder routes.
Objectively evaluating the catch of a rope can be a difficult task. Many other factors can affect the "softness" of a catch besides the properties of the rope itself. These include the weight and motion of the belayer, combined with the length of the fall and the amount of rope out. So, when evaluating for catch, we were mostly trying to see if we noticed anything out of the ordinary and if the rope's listed specs for impact force and static and dynamic elongation made sense. Here's how we scored the various models for their catch.
This rope found the sweet spot between providing a soft catch but not being too soft or stretchy for top roping. It has a 6.8% static elongation and 30% dynamic elongation, which is less than some other ropes in this review, but probably why it felt fine for top roping. Some ropes are made on the stretchy side, which is great for taking whippers, but can be annoying when belaying your second or if you have a nervous top roper. They ask you to take, you do, and they still "fall" a few feet and get rather upset. We also used this rope when projecting sport climbs, and didn't notice that the catches felt progressively harder like they did with some other models, most noticeably the BlueWater Ropes Lightning Pro.
This rope weighs 58 g/m, making it one of the lightest models in this review. Taken over the length of a 60 or 70 m line, this lower weight makes it almost a pound lighter than a thicker rope with a 64 g/m weight.
While this lower weight is to be expected with a 9.5 mm rope, this rope actually felt a little thicker compared to other company's advertised sizes. With the Infinity, this size discrepancy wasn't really an issue because it handles well and its weight is equal to, or lower than, other ropes with the same listed diameter, but it does illustrate an issue in selecting a rope based solely on the advertised diameter. As we mention in our Buying Advice article, diameters are not measured consistently between manufacturers, and ropes with the same advertised size can feel noticeably different in hand. Therefore, we advise shoppers to also factor the weight of the rope into their selection. In our opinion, it is a more objective measurement and more important for the overall performance.
This rope is light for the diameter and won't weigh you down, whether you're making hard clips on a short sport climb or toting it up a Class V in-a-day route.
If you are looking to go lighter, and are an experienced belayer, then both of the "skinny" lines that we added to our review are worth considering. The 9.1 mm Beal Joker weighs 53 g/m and has a Unicore construction, making it our first choice for the alpine environment. We also loved the handling on the Sterling Fusion Nano IX, for a thin line, that is, and it's 52 g/m is great for those 40 and up meter sport projects. However, lighter ropes are typicaly not as durable nor as easy to handle, and we think the Infinity bridges the best of both worlds in that it is light but still has great handling.
We were really impressed with the durability of this rope, and the chart below reflects that.
Mammut's in-house testing team determined that a dry coating on the sheath and core helps their ropes achieve a 50% higher abrasion resistance compared to the non-dry version, and the sheath-only coating (Protect) gives the rope a 40% higher resistance. We know from personal experience that a coating can help prevent dirt and grime from entering the sheath, which results in better longevity, and for this review we tried to test only dry treated ropes so as to compare apples to apples when it came to durability.
We did start to seem some minimal sheath fuss after 80 pitches, but it was still handling well and didn't take on as much dirt as other ropes.
This rope held up very well during our testing. It still looked virtually brand new after 40 pitches, so we put 40 more on it and were still pleased with the result. We did start to see some sheath abrasion at that time, but it was holding up better and was less dirty than the Petzl Arial. It also has a 42% sheath proportion, which is one of the highest in this review. The contribution from sheath proportion is relatively simple to understand; more mass in the sheath means more material to resist abrasion. In our opinion, under normal use the majority of ropes are retired from damage to exterior sheath rather than damage to the core, so the amount of sheath is important. As a final note, we also liked how the ends were finished and didn't have any issues with them splitting open.
This rope forgoes the standard plastic end caps, but the ends are well-sealed and didn't splay open on us.
The Mammut Infinity is a great choice for a variety of uses and climbing styles. It's lightweight, so if you're heading out on a long multi-pitch climb, it won't weigh you down. It also has a dry core and sheath treatment, making it a great option for ice climbers as well. It's one of the few ropes that we tested that's available in a bi-pattern weave, which, while it does help drive up the price of the line, also makes finding the middle of your rope much easier. If you're new to climbing though, or top roping a lot, you might be better off with a thicker rope, like the Black Diamond 9.9mm. If you're looking for a thicker rope for projecting, check out the 9.8mm Sterling Evolution Velocity, our Top Pick for a Workhorse Rope.
Glenda Huxter sport clipping the Infinity. This rope is a great all-around rope that's equally suited to short sporty lines and long trad routes.
While this is one of the most expensive lines in this review ($280), it is also our top performer. In that sense, it is a great value, but not everyone can or wants to drop that much on a rope, particularly if you're climbing a lot and going through two or three ropes a year regardless. It is also available for a lot less money if you don't need or want the double dry coating or the bi-pattern weave. The Classic version ($150), is downright affordable. If you don't ice climb but want the extra durability that the dry coating provides, then the Protect version ($200), is a great middle choice.
The Mammut Infinity gave a solid performance in every category that we ranked it in. While it isn't the highest scorer in every individual category, its overall score ended up higher than any other model's. There are many other ropes out there that might surpass the Infinity for one particular application or another, but none of them can match the consistent benefits across a range of disciplines. All of our testers agree that if you can only have one rope, you can't do any better than this one.