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.
The rest of the MS Team
Edelweiss Performance: Light on the Back, Small in the Pack
Posted on: July 18, 2012
MSRP: $229 (60m), $259 (70m)
There are falls, falls, and falls. The first type are usually done sport climbing and don't really count. They're like cups of coffee; you lose track of how many you've had between dawn and noon. The second type of fall you remember. These are the long falls, the falls on gear, the falls with some blood. This type tends to invade your memory right as you transition onto the face or as you blindly shove a cam into a dark crack. Finally there are the falls you can't forget. The ones you see and hope never happen to you. These falls involve falling stone, cartwheeling ice tools and/or checking the responsiveness of the victim. All these falls have one thing in common: the security, actual or imagined, of the rope you're tied into.
For over two years, I've tied into an Edelweiss Performance for an unknown amount of the first type of falls a couple of the second and thankfully none of the third. I first purchased a purple Performance in 2008 with the intention of only using it in the mountains. At 9.2mm and only 53 g/m Performance is built to perform in the alpine. At the time the Performance was the lightest rope I could find in the 8.9mm-9.3mm range. I loved that rope. It took up relatively little space in my pack and was light enough that it could be tossed in as a "just in case" measure. After a winter of very gentle use in Montana's Absaroka and Gallatin ranges, it became my main climbing rope. Over time, I got used to new belayers momentary shock as they handled the thin and supple 9.2mm rope for the first time. And, on sport routes a short, "Easy, this rope is wicked elastic," became a common preamble to my partner pushing above the first bolt. Eventually that purple Performance retired into an old age of roof painting and construction use.
When I got the chance to review a single rope, I figured I could put my past experiences to use and give the Performance another look.
But now I live in Vermont and I climb differently. In Montana, the Performance's size and weight was amazing on half-day approaches. Here, Cannon Cliff was only a forty-five minute hike from the parking lot. The small diameter seemed to make the rope squirrelly and kinky now that I wasn't depending on its small size to fit in a pack with weekend's worth of gear. But most importantly of all, I was used to climbing on middle-marked ropes. Not having a middle-marked single rope is just annoying. I wasn't unhappy with the Performance, but I wasn't as totally in love with it either. Then I went to Utah. Getting lost in the San Rafael Swell's slot canyons returned my love of the light single rope. Anyone who has ever tied into the sharp end of a lone 7.8mm knows why it's a bad idea. The 53g/m Performance on the other hand is still light enough to easily carry, and doesn't induce a feeling of stupidity if for some reason you do decide you need to lead.
My second Performance packed in a 30L sack. [Photo] Keese Lane
After more than twenty months of climbing with Edelweiss Performances, I feel pretty qualified in my judgment of the rope. The Performance works well on ice, but not as great as twins. Sport cragging with it is fine. (One should be aware of its elasticity and GriGri crazed partners may be confused by its diameter.) Where this rope really stands out is on alpine rock. When a single rope is required, and the approach cannot be done in sandals, the Edelweiss Performance is my choice. It's light on the back, small in the pack, and in my experience an actual lifesaver when carried as a "just in case" measure.
Pros: Light, Thin,
Cons: No Middle Mark, Cost, Squirrelly