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Having in the last few years chosen to buy skinnier ropes to save weight, when I saw that Mammut had brought out the Serenity I got very excited. Yes I know I live a sad and lonely life but just hear me through.
Why was I so excited? Because like the Beal Joker, it is a Single, Half and Twin rope.
Now I can see advantages in that for alpine, scottish winter, trad, sports - you name it, there is a benefit. So I found my self going to the bank, withdrawing a substantial amount of my doughnut money (which sadly means I am now on a diet - possibly not a bad thing) and entering one of the more famous Lakeland retailers, money in sweaty palm.
My first outing was to Shepherd's Crag and to start with we needed to uncoil it. As usual the rope became a huge bundle of knots. But then a strange thing happened - having recoiled it and walked to the crag, it then unfurled beautifully, lying in a glistening orange heap on the deck giving a first indicator that this was going to be a nice rope to handle.
For its first test, we paired it with an 8.2 double. You could hardly notice the difference in sizes (although the 8.2 was a little furry but hey). Fischer Folly, Kransic Crack and Ardus came and went and I noticed that actually when I was a way above my last gear, it actually felt more comforting clipping a single. Next we went for a quick ascent of Little Cham, using it as a single. Here we really noticed how well the rope handles - soft and slick, it glides through your plate, hardly ever requiring a detangle. Coiling the rope at the top I was beginning to think I had made a good choice.
So the next test came three days later on Aonach Mor. Again we used it as a single on Tunnel Vision Left-hand. The snow being somewhat sunblushed made for an exciting lead, and again the rope did exactly what it said on the tin. Initially it was a little disconcerting being above a single 8.9 cord, but I soon got used to it, enjoying the lack of drag and weight despite running out the full length of the rope to reach the top.
Finally the next day we found ourselves at the base of Agags Groove for an alpine-ish ascent. At last my ropes weight matched the weight of the rack making the walk in more pleasant and climbing long pitches a breeze.
So what are the downsides?
Cost - at between £109 and £168 the Serenity ain't cheap for a single rope. But then remember it is so much more than that. Lets face it - with deals out there the price is brought down to just above that of a skinny double.
What are the real advantages?
Use it on its own - it's light making you less knackered when you get to the crag (always a benefit for a loafer like me!). It makes for simple ropework when you're on easy ground so you can leave the other half in the sack. When you're on the glaciers you can have the added security of a full single.
With skinnier ropes the type of belay device you use can be an issue. My ATC Guide was more than fine. I would have thought the XP would do as well. For self-locking type belay devices the Serenity diameter is too small for a Gri-Gri but is fine with the Edelrid Eddy or Faders SUM.
Diameter: 8.9 mm
The Mammut Serenity is treated with Mammut's COATINGfinish® where the fibres of the rope are coated with Teflon®. This reduces abrasion between the rope fibres and increases slippage which means the stresses are evenly distributed and the rope can withstand greater forces. Hence the reduction in weight and diameter. This rope is also dry-treated with Mammut's superDRY® and duraFLEX®.
More info: www.mammut.ch
Mike Kann enjoys the wide spectrum of climbing activities: trad climbing, Scottish winter, sport climbing and alpine. His favourite experiences include topping out on the Frendo Spur, and the Drain in Val Gardena. He runs Montagna www.montagna.co.uk.
© mike kann
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Mike Kann: