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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Metolius Monster Rope: Worth the Weight
Posted on: August 27, 2007
MSRP: $159 to $235
Lengths Tested: 9.8mm (70 meters) and 10.2mm (70 meters)
Weight: 10.8 and 10.9 pounds, respectively
When you hear the name "Monster," it may conjure visions of a huge, ugly beast. Or for all you movie buffs it might bring a horrifying vision of Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci. Scary. Luckily, when I hear the name "Monster," I associate it with Metolius' climbing rope line—burly and strong.
I spend my days off from guiding in the spring and fall climbing around Moab. With my backpack already filled by a colossal desert rack for bagging towers and long splitters, I am not inclined to add anything to my pack, especially if it indicates that it is "monstrous."
As an intensive rope user, someone who the industry recommends should retire their lifeline every few months, I am always in the market for durable ropes. Over the last fall and spring I have used the 9.8mm (70 meter) and the 10.2mm (70 meter) Metolius Monster Ropes. I have high standards for my personal ropes and could go with many different cords that the industry offers but, I must admit, I was very intrigued by the "Monster Markers"—a revolutionary marking system that weaves nylon fibers through the rope, resulting in a highly visible pink marker thirty feet from the rope's ends, and two bright orange makers at the center. I appreciate that the markers can still be felt when traveling through the belay device and anchors, helping to warn of the middle and ends of the rope. When doing long routes and climbing in low light situations, this becomes a safety mechanism—a real plus.
Manufactured for Metolius by Lanex in the Czech Republic, these ropes fulfill the UIAA requirement and CE standards of the industry. The 9.8mm is a nine-fall rope; the 10.2mm is a twelve-fall line. The Monster cord is great for any climber looking for a durable, low-kinking, nice-handling rope.
I was a little concerned on the fifth day of use after pulling my rope at the end of a ten-pitch day at Indian Creek: the flag markers were gone! Upon closer inspection I realized that the nylon flags had been worn down but you could still see the orange and pink threads. Even after many heavy use days following my unwarranted fear, I was still able to spot the markers.
Admittedly, when it comes to ropes, increased diameter and length translate to more weight. The 10.2mm weighs only a fraction more than the 9.8mm, and both are comparable to other manufacturers' ropes of the same diameter and length. Both ropes are durable and have a nice hand when sorting or paying through the belay device. The Monster marking system seems better than black ink that wears off. At $235.00 for the 10.2mm (70 meter, dry) it's easier on the pocketbook than a bi-color rope. Although all climbers should be prudent to pick the right rope for the job, size does matter in the desert. Monster ropes are big, durable and not that heavy. The 10.2mm and 9.8mm cords are a new personal preference for durability and handling on many desert routes and towers.
Pros: Monster Markers that denote the middle and ends of the rope without the price of bi-color, durable
Cons: Heavier than your standard alpine rope