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Gear Review - Mammut Genesis Double Ropes
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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Oct 21, 2007
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Last fall, I posted here asking for opinions on double ropes. I ended up buying Mammutís Genesis doubles. Now that Iíve been climbing on them for almost a year, I figured it was a good time to report on my experiences with them.

Mammut Genesis doubles.
Mammut Genesis doubles.

A matched pair of Genesis ropes.

In my limited experience as a leader, Iíd been climbing exclusively on single ropes. Two inciting incidents led me to consider doubles. In the first, I was leading a route called Peek-a-Boo at Table Rock in NC. On the third pitch, the combination of a meandering route and poor slinging of pro on my part put me in a situation of feeling like I was hauling a car up the cliff for the last few moves to the anchors. In the second incident, I was following a friend on Seconds at Laurel Knob; this friend leads almost exclusively on doubles, and it was my first experience belaying with them. The fact that working with the doubles was not nearly as complex as Iíd feared, along with finding out that the skinny ropes were not dangerous to rap on when soaked with water as we bailed out in a thunderstorm, opened my eyes to the advantages of working with double ropes.

Iíd heard good things about the Genesis ropes from people I know who climb regularly at the Gunks. Also, my first single rope was a Mammut, which has held up very well. So after weighing the helpful advice I got on MP, I went with a pair of Genesis doubles.

Observations

I havenít climbed exclusively on my Genesis ropes over the past year; using doubles for sport climbing or single-pitch trad where youíre not going to be belaying from the top usually isnít worth the extra bother. But Iíve been spending a higher percentage of my climbing time leading multi-pitch trad in North Carolina (and a recent week-long trip to the Gunks); and for that kind of climbing, the more I use my Genesis doubles, the more I love them. They feel great in the hand, theyíre less effort to pull slack on for a clip, and I almost never feel noticeable rope drag anymore.

Iíve never been a fan of fat ropes, but the slenderness of the Genesis ropes was startling at first even for me. At 8.5 mm, theyíre about 10% skinnier than my favorite single (an Edelweiss 9.7). But having had the one prior experience climbing on doubles, I felt confident Iíd get used to the skinny ropes.

Right out of the bag, I took the usual precautions in uncoiling the ropes bicycle-crank style to avoid kinks. One I had them uncoiled, I took the extra step of flaking each rope a couple of times to limber them up. This also gave me a chance to see how the ropes feel.

Compared with my Edelweiss, the Genesis ropes have a firmer, more slippery (in a good way) feel to them. The sheath feels tight and tough. When brand new, the ropes had that new rope stiffness, but quickly limbered up after a few climbs. As far as Iím concerned, Bluewater ropes have the nicest handling characteristics, a kind of buttery feel; but the Genesis are almost as good.

A snug, well-dressed knot is important to me, and I wondered how the doubles would be compared to my old Mammut single rope, which has always felt a little like trying to tie a knot in a cable. Fortunately, the Genesis ropes hold knots very well, whether for a harness tie-in or tying the two together for a rap. Getting knots untied doesnít take a lot of effort and cursing either.

Leading on the Genesis doubles is a joy. It could just be my imagination, but pulling up slack for a clip seems to take noticeably less effort. Of course, having two ropes tied into your harness (even skinny ones) is more weight than one single, but I canít tell any real difference in rope weight when I move up the rock (with my crowded and heavy rack, the rope is probably the least of my weight concerns).

The different techniques involved in leading on double ropes took a little getting used to. I would find myself at a pro placement thinking ďclip blue or red, which way am I going next?Ē I probably crossed my ropes more than once (something to be avoided in doubles). After a few leads, though, which rope to clip became fairly second-nature. Itís very satisfying to look down and see your ropes in a nice parallel configuration, several feet apart.

Robert makes the moves on P1 of CCK.
Robert makes the moves on P1 of CCK.

My friend Robert leads P1 of CCK at the Gunks on Mammut Genesis doubles.

Bringing up a second (or even two seconds) on the Genesis doubles is especially nice. I use the BD XP Guide for my belay device, and with my single ropes, using it in guide mode has sometimes made for a lot of effort feeding the rope through. The Genesis ropes, on the other hand, feed effortlessly through the Guide, while thereís still plenty of friction to hold a fall if necessary.

Another good thing about using doubles is having two ropes for a long rappel. Of course, you can do the same thing with two singles, but that means either trailing a rope or climbing with it coiled on yours or your secondís back. From first-hand experience with both of these methods, Iíd much rather get two ropes up to the top by climbing on them rather than hauling one of them.

Low impact force in a fall is another of the pluses with doubles. The skinny ropes are very stretchy, making for a more gradual dissipation of fall force; this not only makes for what should be a softer catch, but less stress on the gear. The downside of this springiness is that it gives the leader more of a chance at groundfall or hitting a ledge than on a single in the same fall.

So whatís it really like to fall on a Genesis rope? My first-hand experience is limited, having taken only one fairly short fall. The scenario was one in which Iíd just moved above my last placement, so it was just barely below my feet, and I was high enough on the rock that there was probably 60í of rope out. With slack and rope stretch, I ended up maybe 12-15í below where I started.

The catch was nice and gentle, noticeably softer than on a single. Whether it made any difference in the gear holding is impossible to know, though in this case I doubt it would have ripped in a single-rope fall. Iíd placed a medium nut with a cam as a backup just below the nut (I knew I was making a crux move, so I wanted some insurance); the nut held without a problem.

The only slight negative experience Iíve had with the Genesis is related to kinking, not long after I started using them. After a double-rope rappel at Looking Glass, my partner and I were pulling the ropes; things got progressively more difficult until finally, even with both of us putting full weight on the rope, it wouldnít move at all. Luckily another climber was on the rock nearby and offered to clear the ropes for us; when she got down, she informed us the rope had kinked on itself so much that a kink had gotten stuck at the rap rings.

As time went on, I didnít run into any more problems with kinking, but the possibility had me very worried on another occasion at Looking Glass. This time, as I was preparing to rap, I stupidly dropped my belay device and watched it tumble 400 feet to the ground. Since I didnít have a spare or the makings for a biner brake, I used a double muenter to rap. The ratís nest this produced was almost beyond belief; I was sure we were looking at stuck ropes again (this time with no one around to rescue us). Fortunately, my partner rapping behind me on her ATC seemed to straighten things out on each of the raps, and we had no problems pulling the ropes. Based on this, I assume any early kinking problem with the Genesis ropes is just a temporary one.

The durability of these ropes has definitely impressed me. Granted, I donít climb on them every day, but Iíve used them enough over the past year to expect some wear and tear. Not so Ė the ropes look like new still. Thereís no sheath fuzzing or other wear that I can see, and the ropes havenít gotten that out-of-round feel that Iíve seen in other well-used ropes. The only change Iíve noticed is that the middle marker is a little harder to find on the blue rope than it used to be. I donít know whether thatís because the marker is wearing off or because the ropes are dirty, though I suspect itís the latter Ė I havenít washed them since I got them.

To conclude: Iím sold on the Mammut Genesis doubles. I have to admit Iíve had hardly any experience with anything else for comparison, but if youíre looking for a pair of doubles, you canít go wrong with these.

Since theyíre a site sponsor, I feel itís only fair to mention that Bent Gate has a good deal on the Genesis ropes, below the suggested $159 retail price.

Pros

  • Durability Ė my Genesis ropes still look practically new; no fuzzing or misshapen sections
  • Smooth handling Ė like other Mammut ropes Iíve owned or used, the Genesis feel great in my hands and feed well through belay devices
  • Lightweight Ė pulling up rope to clip seems to take less effort, and carrying one single on the approach is noticeably lighter in the pack (your partner carries the other, of course)
  • Safety Ė I feel confident these ropes will catch me in a fall; also no worries rapping on the skinny ropes.
  • All the usual double-rope benefits -- reduction or elimination of rope drag; two ropes to rap on without trailing a rope; brining up two seconds at the same time.

Cons

  • Kinking Ė the Genesis ropes seemed slightly prone to getting kinked early on, but this tendency disappeared after a few uses.
  • All the usual double-rope disadvantages Ė rope management at belays; slightly more involved belay technique; very stretchy in a fall.

Specifications

Price: $159.00 (MSRP; Bent Gate has them for $143.95)
Diameter: 8.5 mm
Length: 60 meter
Weight (g/m): 48
Weight (each 60m rope): ~7.5 lb.
Impact force (kn): 6.0
UIAA falls (55 kg): 12-13
Elongation (first fall): 30%
Treatment: Mammut Superdry (core and sheath)

Doubles vs. Singles

For the benefit of those who donít already know it, I thought Iíd include a summary of the differences between single rope technique and doubles technique, and the advantages that come with doubles.

In leading with a single rope, youíll be clipping every protection point. If the route meanders back and forth or traverses, this can cause a lot of rope drag, as shown with the climber on the left in the drawing below. To alleviate this, the leader extends the placement with slings between the pro and the rope. The trade-off is that any leader fall will be somewhat longer, with the possibility of hitting a ledge or other obstacle.


Singles technique: the climber on the left will experience significant rope drag. (image courtesy of John McNamee)

Double rope technique involves clipping only one strand into each protection point. If the route is pretty much a plumb line, this will normally mean just alternating between the right and left rope. In this scenario, thereís not a lot of difference between using a single or doubles (though there are other benefits with doubles; more on that shortly).

But on a line that zigzags, the doubles really come into their own, as shown in the photo earlier in this review of my friend Robert leading P1 of CCK at the Gunks. Moving up and right, heís clipped two placements with the left (blue) rope, letting the right (red) rope simply trail below until his third placement, which is clipped to the red. As he continued on up and left to pull the bulge above, he began alternating clips and each rope trailed him in a nice curve, rather than the zigzag a single rope would make. The doubles system not only reduces (maybe even eliminates) rope drag, it also allows for a possibly shorter fall since the pro doesnít need to be slung as long, or in some cases not at all.

One other benefit of doubles thatís worth mentioning is fall distance on a plumb-line route. Consider a scenario in which the leaderís feet are five feet above her last pro; she makes a placement at head height (another five feet) and pulls up slack in her single rope to clip it (say three feet) when she falls. Not counting rope stretch or slack on the belayerís end, the leader is looking at a fall of maybe 15 feet.

Using doubles in the same scenario will make for a significantly different result. This time, the leader is still pulling up slack on one rope, but the other strand (which is clipped into her last piece) will have no slack at all. This time, the fall will only be about 10 feet, which would be an ankle saver if thereís a ledge 12 feet below the leader.

[Disclaimer: considering the high probability that Iíve made some mistakes in my calculation of fall distances, I hope that you, gentle reader, will focus on the relevant principle rather than the numbers! But feel free to post corrections.]

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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 21, 2007
South of Windy Peak
Nice review. I bought a set of Genesis ropes based on the discussions here back in January. I've enjoyed using them and I'm definitely sold on double rope technique. I've used them extensively and they seem to be wearing fine as well.

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By Sims
From Centennial
Oct 22, 2007
Girls W/ proud Dad.
saxfiend
I started using double ropes after discovering I could belay both daughters at the gym at the same time.
I was able to keep them both climbing on top rope at the same time.
This was done safely I mite add for those of you with no double rope experience.
This system then moved on to top roping outside and on to multi- pitch routes.
I have used this system now for over fifteen years and works as well now that they are grown women as it did when together they hit about 120.
Climbing with double ropes lets both followers climb at the same time. One climbers climbs ahead by twenty or so feet. Leaving any pro that is necessary for the third like on traverses.
Three can climb as fast as two and you have a extra pair of hands at the belay.

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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Oct 22, 2007
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di B...
Thanks for the informative and well written review! As for the comparison between single and doubles when one falls while clipping, the conclusions are right. The actual distances, as I see it, are as follows.

Our climber's feet are 5 feet above the last pro. Her tie-in points are likely higher, say 8 feet. On double ropes, the fall would be 16 feet before stretch. The rope would start stretching when she's 8 feet below the lower anchor.

With a single rope, our climber needs to pull up 4 feet of slack to clip in two feet above her harness. If she falls, she falls 16+4=20 feet before stretch and ends 12 feet below the lower anchor.

The simple rule concerning falls on a single rope while clipping is that you fall twice the distance between your last piece of pro and the one you fail to clip. This excludes stretch and extra slack, as you point out. The length of the fall does not depend on whether you clip above your head or at waist level, though the chances of hitting the deck are higher if you clip above your head because you start lower and you fall the same distance; hence, you end up lower.

Continuing the example, if our climber on a single rope decided to wait until the new anchor is at her waist's level, she'd still fall 10 feet below the previous anchor, whereas with double ropes, she can clip as soon as the new anchor is within reach, and fall at most 8 feet below the lower anchor.

This suggests that with double ropes, the usual warning against not clipping above one's head should be revised. Of course, this only applies when one clips the two ropes in alternation.

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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Oct 22, 2007
Artist Tears P3
Thanks for posting the review. It's clearly evident that a lot of thought and hard work was put into it... Thanks.

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By Coz Teplitz
From Watertown, MA
Oct 22, 2007
Me before a cold Nov day at the Gunks, 2007.
Thanks for the thorough review. By the way, about your comment:

saxfiend wrote:
I was leading a route called Peek-a-Boo at Table Rock in NC. On the third pitch, the combination of a meandering route and poor slinging of pro on my part put me in a situation of feeling like I was hauling a car up the cliff for the last few moves to the anchors.


Having done that pitch a bunch of times, it's almost impossible to avoid character-building amounts of drag. I struggle even when I only place 3-4 pieces and sling 'em all long. Have you had luck with doubles?

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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 22, 2007
South of Windy Peak
Jared Workman wrote:
Those things kink horrendously.


Funny, my Genesis ropes never kink.

Anyway, saxfiend, the picture under "Doubles vs Singles" section doesn't really show double rope technique.

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Oct 23, 2007
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Coz Teplitz wrote:
Having done that pitch a bunch of times, it's almost impossible to avoid character-building amounts of drag. I struggle even when I only place 3-4 pieces and sling 'em all long. Have you had luck with doubles?

Heh, I haven't been back on Peek-a-Boo since I got my doubles. I'm not sure that third pitch is even worth doing, other than just to get to the top.

JL

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Oct 23, 2007
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
John Hegyes wrote:
the picture under "Doubles vs Singles" section doesn't really show double rope technique.

My bad -- I meant for the drawing to illustrate rope drag using singles, as contrasted with the doubles technique shown in the photo early in the article. I've made a couple of edits, let me know if this is clearer.

JL

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By Stefanie Van Wychen
From Golden, CO
Oct 23, 2007
Caguama queen at Homero's in the Potrero
My fiance bought the Genesis ropes about 8 months ago and at first I was a little scared about belaying with them (but not leading since they clip so smoothly, ahhhhh), but it only took a couple times to get used to them. They're awesome for eliminating rope drag (if you can clip them right, I have gotten them crossed) and they feed a lot better through the Guide in guide mode than two single ropes. The only time the thinness of the ropes bothers me is when the leader clips one rope into the first couple of pieces (if he's traversing for example) so if he falls, it's only onto one incredibly skinny rope, which can be tougher to catch than a single fatty rope. Rappeling is no problem with a backup and we haven't had any problems with twirly ropes (sometimes when belaying, but no worse than our single) - but we do flake our ropes out at home after every climb, taking care to smooth out the kinks.

Doubles are also great for protecting a second from a big swing on climbs that traverse (if you can). It can be a pain when seconding if the second rope runs around a corner or is clipped up high and to the side as you may have to flip that rope to keep it from dragging you off line while climbing. I had this problem seconding Blind Faith in Eldorado Canyon - left rope clipped into the the crux 10a crack the whole way and then he ran it out after the crack and clipped the right rope up high and to the right. The entire time I was trying to climb the crack I had to keep reaching out and flipping the right rope over the edge so that it wouldn't pull me off sideways............

Anyway, enough babble, we love our Genesis ropes!!

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Oct 23, 2007
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Stefanie Van Wychen wrote:
My fiance bought the Genesis ropes about 8 months ago

Point of interest: it was your fiance who was helping me try to pull the kinked rope through the rings at Looking Glass as noted in the review! Danny's a great climbing partner.

JL

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By Tabo
Oct 23, 2007
I've been climbing on Mammut Genesis 8.5 doubles for almost 4 years.

I've had "kinking" problems a few times; once when I dropped my belay device and had to use a munter to belay my partner up and then again to rap down. That took a few long raps to clear out. Then another time, after rapping down, I saw that I was rapping with the ropes over the side of the belay device, which twisted it horribly. Again that took a few long raps to clean out. And more recently, I've been teaching some beginners how to flake and coil, rap and pull, and the rope has been getting twisted again, I haven't figured out what's doing it yet. But for the most part, the ropes have had no problems on their own.

As for falls, it's hard to tell since it depends on so many factors, so all I can really say is that they caught me. On the other side, the rope has a lot of stretch, so you've got to be careful belaying up seconds on climbs with low cruxes when you've got a full rope length out.

Overall I've been really happy with the ropes. I'll probably replace them next summer, and if I do it will be another set of the Genesis.

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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Nov 7, 2007
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stile...
I've been climbing on these ropes for a few years now. I'm on my second set and wouldn't be surprised to find myself buying my third next rock season. Great ropes!

--Marc

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By Ian Wolfe
From Fayetteville, NC
Nov 12, 2007
Another contemplative moment for me on Resolution ...
I haven't used doubles too much, but, here is my impression:

For leading, they are great. We used them on The Saber in RMNP, a pretty long alpine climb that involves double rope raps to get down. It was nice to go light and not have to trail a rope. However, I have to say that rapping on them was a little nerve-wracking for me. It might be because I was unused to them, but looking at those two skinny lines going over granite edges kinda made me nervous. While on lead, you have to break both of them to come out of the system, on rappel, it only takes one. Even a small rock falling from high up, displaced by the wind or rain would have really made our day bad. My feelings about them might change in time if I used them more frequently.

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By M.Morley
Administrator
From Sacramento, CA
Nov 12, 2007
8-21-09
Great review, John! I have a fair bit of experience using doubles, and in all honesty, I'm not a huge fan. First and foremost, I don't like all the mucky muck of two cords at belays. Tangles are almost guaranteed. The other gripe I have is the price. You're looking at what, $300 retail for a double rope rig, right? For that price, I could buy a sweet 9.2, plus a 7mil tag line, and still have enough for dinner and drinks at the Mountain Room! Lastly, thin ropes wear out very quickly. With moderate to heavy use, your double rope setup will last 6 months to a year before needing to be replaced. My unsolicited advice is to stick with a single cord, manage rope drag with prudent use of slings, and carry a lightweight tag line for your double-rope raps.

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By Tabo
Nov 13, 2007
Mike Morley wrote:
For that price, I could buy a sweet 9.2, plus a 7mil tag line, and still have enough for dinner and drinks at the Mountain Room!


You can't belay a third person up on a 7m tag line... but let's not get into another debate about the pros/cons, it's been beaten to death on every climbing board out there.

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Jul 12, 2011
Thanks Hank Caylor!
If you are doing glacier travel or general mountaineering, can you use one of the Genesis pair for that purpose?

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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Jul 12, 2011
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di B...
One half rope, like the Genesis, is considered safe for glacier travel. In tests conducted in 2006, they found that even a soaked half rope held 3-4 factor-1 falls with an 80 kg mass. One of the tested ropes was the Mammut Genesis.

Article (in Italian) here

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Jul 13, 2011
Thanks Hank Caylor!
Thanks Brenta

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By Derrick W
From Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 14, 2012
I know this is an old thread, but I thought I'd share an experience. About a year ago I took a 20-25 foot fall onto a 00 TCU while climbing on these ropes. Given that 00 TCU's are only rated to 3kN, I feel it's likely that the same fall on a single rope would have generated enough force to cause the piece to fail. I was caught by just one of the ropes.

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By Dave77
From Watertown, NY
Oct 15, 2012
me in NH
Good to hear, i just bought a set of these ropes....can't wait to get out and use them!

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