Mammut Glacier Cord

Review: Mammut Glacier Cord

Mammut’s new Glacier Cord is designed to be used as part of a lightweight rope kit to allow alpinists, mountaineers and skiers to deal with various challenges and emergencies. This includes rappelling cliff bands, roping up for glacier travel, undertaking crevasse and cliff rescues, etc. Of course lightweight kits like this have been available for some time, the most well-known being Petzl’s RAD kit. Mammut hasn’t copied other companies’ designs, but rather come up with their own version of this exceptionally handy alpine tool. So how does it compare? Well let’s dig into it!

Mammut Glacier RopeThe Mammut Glacier Cord does not come as part of a kit but rather as a stand-alone rope/cord. This is a bit different as companies have typically made all the associated specialist devices needed for dealing with such specialized cords. Instead Mammut has designed and tested the sheath on the Glacier Cord to work with Petzl’s TIBLOC and MICRO TRAXION. This means that the Glacier Cord has the same 4 kN minimum breaking strength as the RAD line when used with the Petzl devices (tested in accordance with EN 567). As more companies develop devices like the MICRO TRAXION (the new Edelrid SPOC for example) I expect that Mammut will also certify their rope for use with them, or vice-versa.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s look at the actual specs.

Specs:

  • Hyperstatic cord (<2% elongation)
  • Weight: 25g/m
  • Diameter: 6mm
  • Length Options: 30m & 60m
  • Strength: 14kN
  • Color: Yellow
  • Sheath: Aramid & Polyester
  • Core: Dyneema
  • Certification: CE EN 564
  • Dry Treated
Mammut Glacier Rope
A glacier rescue/travel kit which includes the Mammut Glacier Cord. As you can see I have included the Tibloc and Micro-Traxion as they have been tested for use with the new Cord.

Materials & Construction:

The 6mm hyperstatic Mammut Glacier Cord features a Dyneema® core with a 1×1 weave aramid/polyester sheath. The aramid in the sheath makes the rope more grippy than pure polyester. This provides additional friction when rappelling, lowering, etc. It also makes up for the dry treatment which reduces friction. The Dyneema core allows the cord to be quite strong (14kN) for a 6mm rope while also minimizing stretch. Testing done in the last few years has shown that static ropes make arresting a crevasse fall a bit easier.

Mammut Glacier Cord
The three main alternatives for a super-lightweight glacier rope: Sterling/CTOMS Trace (left), Mammut Glacier Cord (center) & the Petzl RAD line (right).
Mammut Glacier Rope
A close-up of the same three 6mm lines.

When compared to 8mm dynamic half ropes, which are often used for glacier travel, the 6mm Glacier Cord represents a weight saving of up to 40% (25g/m versus 37-42g/m for 8mm+/- dynamic half ropes). However, the Glacier Cord is a little heavier than the popular RAD line which comes in at a feather-light 22g/m. Of course, over a 30m rope, the difference between the RAD line and the Glacier Cord is only about 90g. Not something that’s going to break your back, however little bits of weight here and there can add up.

Differences & Similarities with Other Glacier Rope/Cord Options:

MAMMUT GLACIER CORD PETZL RAD LINE STERLING/CTOMS TRACE ROPE
Unit Weight: 25g/m 22g/m 28g/m
Measured Weight (30m): 0.80 Kg 0.65 Kg 0.85 Kg
Dry Treatment: Yes No No
Middle Mark: Yes No Dual Pattern
Breaking Strength: 14kN 12kN Not Advertised
Materials: Sheath Aramid Polyester Aramid PPE Technora Aramid
Materials: Core HMPE (Dyneema™) HMPE Nylon

Handling:

Mammut Glacier LineThe Mammut Glacier Cord is quite compact and cord-like. It’s much different than the RAD line, but similar to Sterling’s TRACE rope. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have a nice hand, because it does! It’s just not as soft and doesn’t have the tendency to flatten like the RAD line. It’s also a little less likely to tangle.

Use & Performance:

The dry treatment and middle mark on the Mammut Glacier cord are definitely winning features! The rope stays dry when used to travel through wet snow over glaciers keeping the rope light when it goes back into my pack. The dark middle mark is exceptionally easy to pick out on the fluorescent yellow cord making it really easy to divide up the rope for travel or set up a rappel.

Mammut Glacier Rope
The bag that’s included with the Glacier Cord features an internal tie-in point (red) for the end of the rope as well as daisy chains stitched in along the sides (white) to secure it for travel or use. Very functional.
Mammut Glacier Line
With the Glacier Cord stuffed into the included bag there’s still room for a rescue kit (not including the harness), though it does get tight.

As can be expected from any specialist 6mm line/rope/cord/etc., some specialized (or at least very specific) equipment is needed. Tube style belay devices are not designed for use with such a thin rope. Even half-rope / twin-rope specific belay devices like the new BD ATC Alpine Guide or the Edelrid Micro-Jul are only meant to be used on ropes down to 6.9mm. That’s not to say they that these belay devices won’t work, only that they weren’t designed to be used on ropes so thin.

One of the keys with dealing with this exceptionally thin rope seems to be the carabiner. To increase friction a ‘biner with an H-beam construction like the Petzl Attache is ideal. In testing the rope I used the ATC Alpine Guide (designed to be used with ropes down to a 6.9mm diameter) and increased friction by using two Attache carabiners. This seemed to bring the friction up to a quite reasonable point. I was able to hold the brake strands with just two fingers.

The Italian (or munter) hitch also worked quite well though it didn’t add as much friction as the belay device. Of course a Monster Munter is also an option and added enough friction that I almost didn’t have to hang onto the brake strand at all. Of course it can be much harder to hang onto the brake strand of the Glacier Line when wearing gloves so I found a back-up quite useful.

Mammut Glacier Rope Rappel
Different rappel options: Munter (left), Monster Munter (center) & a tube style belay device (right). I found the belay device with 2 carabiners offered an ideal amount of friction though it was outside the recommended rope range for the device. The regular Munter with two strands works reasonably well but has a little less friction than the belay device.

Summary:

Pros: Compact and Light, Dry Treated, Middle Mark

Cons: Expensive

Overall: The Mammut Glacier Line is my personal go-to for a lightweight rope as the dry treat and middle mark more than make up for the extra 90g it has on the RAD line. I also like that it’s a bit stronger.

If you’re interested in the Petzl RAD kit check out our review here: Petzl RAD Kit Review

Black Sheep Adventure Sports was provided with review samples but of course this didn’t influence us in any way.