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Tendon Master 8.6mm Triple Rated Rope Review

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

I often climb as a team of three. With efficient team work on a route that is to be pitched entirely, it's not that much slower and the belays are much more sociable.

In the past, the down side of a team of three meant choosing between carrying two heavy single ropes or seconding on one strand of skinny half rope. This was not something that bothered me on pure ice routes, but on rock, in particular sharp Fiordland granite or loose stuff [the rest of NZ] it was always at a considerable risk and there are a good many stories and stats to prove it.

Enter the Triple Rated Rope, and in my case, the Tendon Master 8.6mm. Triple rated ropes can be used in either a single, double or twin configuration.

I'm of an age group that is sometimes slow to pick up on new trends. I didn't get a triple rope until this summer following a weekend helping Dan Joll on his Dreamliner project in Milford Sound. Two Tendon Master 8.6mm ropes were light enough for him to lead on in double rope configuration, but gave Rachel and I complete confidence while seconding and a good number of falls were taken by all.

I've used mine for multi pitch routes all summer, both locally on the schist and in Fiordland, it handles beautifully and is showing little sign of wear. Being a dry rope, I'm figuring it's going to get used a lot on the Remarkables this winter. This is an incredibly versatile rope.

This was never going to be a tech article getting into micro details, but here’s what I consider when buying a new rope:

Make and model: If my trustworthy mates has one and raves about it there's a good start.

Price: Never ever, I hate ropes that kink, tangle and twist around each other and don't last. Buy what's cheapest and you'll be dealing with that every time you use it.

Most likely use: There's a lot more choice than there used to be so, Alpinism with long approaches – twins or halves; cragging – something 9mm or larger; but for a good general-purpose rope this Tendon Master 8.6mm has quickly become my best ever favourite.

Scary stuff: Force reducing characteristics on marginal or unquantifiable gear placements, this is not about the rope diameter, that's negligible when compared to the amount of rope in service between the leader and belayer. Read about fall factors to better understand this.

More scary stuff: My primary concern on rock is most often about weighted ropes and sharp edges, if you're protecting the fall potential adequately the stronger your rope the better your resilience against rope damage or catastrophic failure. If you're not managing to place protection adequately take yourself and your new rope off to Arapiles for a few weeks holiday.

If none of this makes sense: revert to bouldering at your local Uprising gym, from what I saw of Henry Booker and his young mates this summer this is where we should have spent our youth.

By Lionel Clay

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