What is it?
It is essentially a 60m, 6mm semi-static rope with a micro 'figure of eight' descender called the Nano 8, along with a nice oval screwgate carabiner. It all comes in a handy bag that can be used as a throw bag. Sounds good.
Ok - but what is it for?!
It's for emergency abseils whether you are trekking or ski touring. The 6mm rope is not a climbing or mountaineering rope, it is just for abseiling. It cannot be used to hold actual falls.
The actual products themselves:
The rope is light (31g per metre), strong enough to abseil on (16kn) and not too wiggly, it's actually quite stiff. I've used a lot of tag lines in big wall climbing and having a super thin supple rope is not a good idea unless you like untangling balls of string! This 6mm semi-static rope from Mammut was really good in this respect - it was quite stiff. The rope is also available on its own for £140.
The Nano 8 was very lightweight (it is pretty small of course) at just 44g and worked well with the 6mm rope. It is basically a mini version of the classic figure of 8 descender, but with an extra arm to increase friction and offer a way of wrapping the rope to lock it off and stop you moving - pretty handy. The descender is also available on its own.
The carabiner is a nice and simple oval screwgate with a 24kn strength, 9kn sideways strength and 7kn gate open. It works well with the Nano 8 but is a good quality clean nosed carabiner in its own right. It weighs 75g.
Is it useful?
Mammut say this about the Rappel Kit:
"From the classic Titlis tour in Switzerland to the steep couloirs of Chamonix in France: Rappelling sequences have become an interesting component of ambitious freeride descents and ski tours. The Mammut® Rappel Kit contains everything you need for these rappelling maneuvers: the robust and safe 6.0 Rappel Cord, the practical Wall Micro Oval and the unbeatably light Nano 8. These items of equipment are stored in a handy space-saving bag, within easy reach at all times. The bag can also be used as a throw bag to assist with rope handling when rappelling."
It is clearly a very niche product, but what it does there is no doubt that it does it very well. But did we need it? Not often, no.
Skiing the steep couloirs of Chamonix usually requires some glacial travel and that means carrying a glacier rope such as Mammut's very own 8.3 Glacier Line, so we actually found the times we could take the Rappel Kit and no other rope to be quite limited when couloir skiing.
Where the Rappel Kit does come in handy is skiing on non glaciated terrain with small cliff bands where you might find yourself needing to make a 30m abseil to either gain a couloir from a ridge line (something like the Col du Beaugent ski tour in the Aiguilles Rouges area of Chamonix) or if you're stuck above a steep cliff-banded section such as the complex tree skiing on the Plan de l'Aiguille in Chamonix.
A well put together and lightweight abseiling option for those who are ski touring in non glaciated terrain. A very specialist piece of kit, so only for those who regularly ski steep areas of non glaciated terrain. You could just suck up the extra weight and take a normal half rope, which would give you more options, but for those extreme skiers or lightweight ski touring types this could be a handy bag of gear. It's not that cheap at £175 quid though.
- More Information: Mammut Website
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