First Look: Metolius Monster 8.9
Complete Shield dry treated
Static Elongation: 6.9%
Dynamic Elongation: 33%
Sheat Slippage: 0mm
Max Impact Force: 8.7 kN
Weight: 52 g/m
Days Tested: 6
In choosing climbing ropes, we’re used to weighing very cut-and-dry options. A thick, heavy rope will be frustrating to lug up to the cliff everyday, but you’ll be able to fall on it over and over without compromising durability. A light, skinny rope won’t be nearly as durable, but it will be easy to carry, and could make the difference between another fall and sending a project.
The Metolius Monster 8.9 is quite the skinny rope, at just under 9mm, and a glance at its specs had me wondering about its durability. But the Monster is part of a newer generation of ropes that kick the idea that durability and longevity always, and only, come with thickness.
After a several days of climbing with the Monster 8.9, I’m pretty excited about it. It seems to be plenty durable while being on the skinnier, lighter end of the spectrum, and it has some thoughtful, notable features.
Weight and Thickness
Metolius boasts that the Monster 8.9 is one of the lighter ropes on the market, and at 52 grams per meter, it is, in fact a little lighter than some other ropes (though only just barely). Sterling’s Fusion Nano 9.2mm weighs in at 53 grams per meter, Mammut’s Serenity 8.7mm is 52 g/m, and Edelweiss’s Performance 9.2mm is also 52 g/m.
At this weight, the Monster 8.9 actually functions like a much heavier, thicker rope. It works well in belay devices and does not feel challenging to handle as some skinny ropes can due to reduced friction. It moves smoothly over rock and so far has handled rough and abrasive rock without getting “fuzzy.” The Monster seems to hold up under these conditions better than the Mammut Nordwand 9.3 I tested last summer. The Nordwand, like several other skinny ropes, became fuzzy and lost its factory coating quickly under the pressures of alpine climbing.
The Monster’s simple green and red sheath has no bicolor, and leaves out the popular black marking at the center of the rope. Instead, it has Metolius’s signature middle mark, tufts of neon orange nylon fibers poking out of the sheath, looking a bit like fly fishing flies.
This middle mark does look pretty nerve-wracking at first (almost like it could be a core shot or other serious damage), but it is very easy to identify, and does not seem to cause any sort of unusual drag or wear on this section of the rope. Other middle marks, especially the black coloring at some ropes’ center lines, are often too subtle to see as easily and become even more difficult to spot as the rope ages or as the light dims at the end of the day. Even bicolors and changes in a rope’s sheath pattern can be challenging to detect, and can lead to lost time at rappels and other transition points.
The Monster’s middle mark is the easiest to find on any rope that I’ve used, including the Mammut Sensor, which employs raised ridges at its middle mark. And as an added bonus, it’s easier for belayers to feel it as they move rope through their device.
Metolius’ Dry Treatment: Water Resistance and Durability
The Monster is dry treated with Metolius’ “Complete Shield TEFLON Eco” treatment, designed to protect the rope against both water and abrasion. So far, under some short drizzly bursts of rain in Colorado, the Monster has kept from absorbing water and has dried quickly once removed from the rain.
The Complete Shield coating also gives the Monster a little stiffness that allows it to feed through belays quite easily, but it’s not so stiff to make tying clean knots challenging. So far, the rope hasn’t gotten fuzzy at all, and the coating is holding up very well after several multi-pitch climbs, three rainstorms, and a few exciting falls on harder routes. I’ll continue to climb with the rope and subject it to some wet weather, but so far I’ve been very happy with its water resistance and the fact that is has shown no signs of being susceptible to abrasion.
Even with its light weight, so far the Metolius Monster 8.9’s durability seems totally adequate. This, combined with its well-designed middle mark, makes it an attractive option for both long, multi-pitch climbs and redpoint attempts. I need to log more time with the rope to see how it will hold up in the long term, but so far I am very impressed with the Monster 8.9 and expect it to continue to perform well.