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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Maxim Apogee 9.1 70m Rope: Stands Up to Abuse
Posted on: October 30, 2007
Weight: 55 grams/meter (ca. 8.5 lbs for 70 meters)
I had initially stayed away from using longer ropes due to their weight and bulk. The Apogee, at 9.1mm, dispenses with this concern, but its slim profile gave me doubts about its durability. After significant testing on summer alpine rock routes in the Tetons, alpine climbing in the Bugaboos and the establishment of new multi-pitch sport and trad routes at Rock Springs Buttress in Jackson Hole, my doubts about the rope's durability were firmly laid to rest.
Unlike most new ropes, there were no issues with kinking or that pesky tendency for newer ropes to hold a coil in "rope memory." It was smooth and supple to feed through a belay device. On lead, the light weight was noticeable, mostly in the absence of any feeling of the rope pulling me down. At 55 g/m, the total weight was about 8.5 pounds; a long day or a long approach was not a chore.
Despite its light and skinny profile, the rope still proved durable. I subjected it to a number of different environmental conditions, as well as almost constant climbing use. Maxim's website claims the rope to have "very little degradation from sunlight, and can be used outside over long term if inspected regularly." I must admit, the rope looked better than expected after a few months in the elements. It did show some signs of wear, predominately in the standard sheath fuzzing; however, the sheath's color was not overly faded. Overall the rope held up very well.
The Apogee has an Endura dry-treated core as well as an Endura dry-treated sheath. This gives it Maxim's patented Double Dry treatment and is perhaps responsible for why the rope held up well to the abuse and effectively repelled both water and dirt. The rope's exposure to a variety of conditions did not seem to weather this coating to the point where water reppellency was noticeably reduced. The rope dried very quickly when it was wet.
The $215 price tag is reasonable for a lightweight 70-meter dry rope. It is rated for five falls, standard for a rope of its diameter. However, two minor criticisms spring to mind. First, there is no middle marker. This seems like a basic safety feature that is missing. Second, Maxim put a small piece of rubber on the ends of the rope. When pulling the rope after a rappel it would catch on the rap rings but eventually pull through. This feature needs to be removed. Overall, this is a great rope. I give it a 5 star rating.
Pros: Lightweight; durable; easy to handle; dries quickly and stands up to abuse.
Cons: No middle marker; ends are protected with small pieces of rubber that have the tendency to get caught, particularly on rap rings.