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Cosmin Andron and Master 8.9

TENDON MASTER 8.9 – Rope review

The specs tell by themselves a story but an incomplete one by far: At 8.9mm diameter and weighting 52g/m, the Tendon Master 8.9 is rated as single rope (it can be used by itself including on bolted / sport routes), as half rope (for example on trad or alpine routes together with a half rope) and as a twin rope (together with another twin rope on water-ice climbs for example). Nevertheless I do not believe that the option of using it as a twin rope bears any practical purpose in this case as for the given scenario I’d rather carry a 6mm tag-line in my backpack. Nevertheless, what the climber not too fussed with genuine statistics or gear factoids can learn from these are a few basic points: it’s light, it’s strong, it’s stretchy.

In other words that means: it’s easy to carry, it doesn’t wear-out quickly, it catches softly.

I wouldn’t use the Tendon Master 8.9 to work out to death a project in Taghia Gorge. It does come with Complete Shield treatment (check on the Tendon website what does that cover) and it’s beefier than other ultra-light single rope but the abuse such terrain inflicts on ropes requires a totally different tool. I would gladly use it however to onsight any long sport route or go for fast redpoints even in aforementioned Taghia Gorge.

What the Tendon Master 8.9 however excels at is being a mountain guide’s tool. It works almost everywhere and for almost every purpose with the exception of top-roping and other excessively wear -intensive activities.

It’s thin and lightweight so it packs down to small size not noticeably different from a regular half-rope. That means less room occupied in the backpack and lighter burden on he shoulders yet having a fully functional stand-alone rope.

A good choice for glacier travel the Tendon Master 8.9 can be taken then up on any alpine climb and paired with a 6 mm or another half or twin rope for abseils or meandering routes. With its low bulk and soft manoeuvrability the Tendon Master 8.9 is ideal for any situation that requires short roping or fast transitions from pitched climbing and short roping.

There is also no good reason to leave the Tendon Master 8.9 at home even when travelling lightweight to a sport crag. At 8.9 mm (slightly beefier than its competitor) the Tendon Master 8.9 does not only work well with the GriGri 2 (de facto one of the most widely used belay devices in sport climbing at the time of writing this) but it is also rated as such. Also handy for a sport climber the middle of the rope is factory marked.

The Complete Shield assures that the rope stays dry while dragged on the glacier slog and does not feel heavy and wet when one is focused on leading that demanding granite pitch high above the last cam. It also assures that dirt and grit impact are considerably reduced and the life-span of the rope considerably increased. The anti-abrasion provided pulls out the Tendon Master 8.9 from the onsight-only category and offers a decent life-span in moderate redpointing circumstances.

Nevertheless these are fairly general statements. To put it in the proper context however here are the few uses I found over the past year for the Tendon Master 8.9 rope (in 60m length):

  • Guiding a couple of dozen multi-pitch climbs in the Carpathians (Romania)
  • Denali’s West Buttress for glacier travel (Alaska)
  • Poeme a Lou TD 6c 250m on the Brevent in the Aguilles Rouges (above Chamonix) and a handful of other sport climbs in the area
  • Guiding the Harrer Route on  Carstensz Pyramid (Papua)

The rope still looks like new and could handle several times more such a schedule before seeing retirement.

Cosmin Andron

„Tied up“ on e-mail with TENDON.
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