Although the Nordwand has held up pretty well after several climbs, it has become fuzzy much more quickly than other, thicker ropes I’ve used. After that single trip to Wyoming, I noticed a light amount of wear (or fuzziness) down the entire length of the rope, and there’s one spot with moderate sheath damage from the time the rope got stuck in a crack during a traverse.
While the Nordwand is still usable with this level of wear, I doubt that the rope will last more than another season. At the very least, the larger wear spot will probably mean that I’ll have to cut the rope short.
Since I don’t have extensive experience with other thin ropes, I can’t definitively say whether this durability issue is the result of the Nordwand’s small diameter or if it has to do with another feature, such as the Double Twist Technology. I have used a Petzl Fuse 9.4, which has held up better than the Nordwand. Granted, I haven’t taken the Fuse on any long alpine trips with wandering climbs… I’ve used thicker ropes that have lasted much longer than the Nordwand, but I can’t say if this is due to their thickness or if something else was at play.
I should note that Dave didn’t experience any durability issues with his 9.5mm Infinity single, which, while it’s only slightly thicker than the rope I tested, has a sheath that accounts for 40% of the rope’s weight. Compare this to the Nordwand, whose sheath only accounts for 36% of the whole.
The Mammut Nordwand handles incredibly well, and kinks just minimally after significant use. However, I found that it does not hold up to continual wear nearly as well as thicker ropes I’ve used. So while it’s an effective option for alpine climbing, other ropes may withstand that abuse a bit better.
This is a great rope for hard red-point attempts as well as mixed and ice climbs. It also performs well on long, alpine and multi-pitch routes where weight and rope stretch are important considerations, or when climbing with half or twin ropes is important.