The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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Wild Country Infinity Sprint 8.4 60m Double Rope: Infinitely Durable?
Posted on: October 22, 2007
MSRP: 99.99 British Pounds
Weight: 64 grams/meter
Over the summer I tested the Sprint double rope (8.4mm, 60m), a member of the new Infinity line from Wild Country. While the company is a relatively new rope manufacturer, they've got the time-tested reputation to back up their products, and I was not disappointed. The rope, weighing in at 64 grams/meter, has a UIAA fall rating of 8, a relatively high impact force rating of 875 daN, an 8 percent elongation and 0mm of sheath slippage. And as a double-dry rope, both the core and sheath are treated to resist saturation. All of the aforementioned specs prove that Wild Country is truly putting safety and functionality at the forefront of their rope design.
These ropes are great for climbing long routes when you want to have the option of doing lengthy rappels and need a bit of durability without compromising the need to keep weight at a minimum. I clipped, pulled, belayed, stacked and coiled the Sprint again and again from the Tetons to the Bugaboos. Most of the routes I climbed were long and meandering with consistent opportunities for creative route finding. My mind was put to ease by the smooth handling combined with an above average durability. I was also impressed with how the rope did not seem to generate any flat spots near its center or ends. And when falling, the rope transmitted less force, which in turn helped facilitate a softer catch.
Much to my delight, months of wear and tear produced only a few soft spots in the rope. On many of my adventures, the ropes were exposed to wet and dirty conditions with ample potential to get beaten up and cut. But while the durability presented no issues, the rope's dry treatment began to lose its vitality towards the end of the summer. This proved to be one of the rope's setbacks—after several accidental dunks in glacial runoff, it took longer than usual to dry.
Ultimately, I would not be pulling this rope out for sport clipping at the local crag, but I recommend it as an above average rope for those long, moderate mountain routes you dream about. Overall, this has been a great rope that combines durability with a good feel, keeping my mind on the climbing and not on the rope.
Pros: Impressive durability; smooth handling; did not generate flat spots; provided soft catches in case of a fall.
Cons: Dry treatment deteriorated after one summer of use; rope was slower than average to dry.