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Hardgoods

Field Tested: Tendon Master 9.4

Basics

Dry-treated sport-climbing rope, ideal for redpoint goes.


Pros

Handles nicely, striking the perfect balance between stiff and supple.

Cons

Not the most durable (although still holds up well enough for average use!)


Our Thoughts

A high-performing sport/redpoint and trad rope with an excellent braid (minimal kinking), generous stretch, and effective dry treatment (Complete Shield). Competitively priced. Rope is durable enough for average use but heavy use did cause fuzzing and, eventually, the need to trim the ends.


Size Reviewed

70 meters

Weight

58 g/m

Price

$0

Brand

Tendon


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From the Czech Republic, with Love

Adam Ondra is the best climber in the world. And he used this rope.

Well, Tendon ropes, that is. Looks like his contract changed with Black Diamond and he’s now using their ropes, but still. If Ondra trusted Tendon, at any point, then I figured they had to be good. I wasn’t disappointed.

Haven’t heard of ‘em? Until I noticed Ondra giving the company a tag, neither had I. Tendon is based out of the Czech Republic. The brand has been around since 2005, although the parent company, Lanex, has been weaving ropes since World Word II (about 80 years). The company primarily specializes in ropes, although they also make slings, draws, helmets, et cetera.

A Soft Catch

The Tendon rope I tested, the Master 9.4, was much stiffer out of the bag than other ropes I’ve worked with. Stiffer, but in a good way, with just the right amount of supple. In fact, the question “What did you say this rope was?” was posed to me multiple times by a friend. “It handles so well!” he’d exclaim. Quite frankly, I agree. The rope was easy to use in a Grigri and during desperate clips. Plus, it never got too kinky. The handling may be attributed to the sheath construction, which is the product of the “Simple Braid System,” or SBS. If you look closely at the rope, you’ll notice it. According to Tendon’s site, this braid system yields a more compact sheath and prevents dirt and other small particles from working their way into the core. Plus, the SBS makes the sheath smoother than those with the traditional tandem braid.

Also, wow, that stretch! My suspicions were confirmed when I checked: at 37 percent dynamic elongation, this rope will give and then some. Sport climbers are nodding their heads, and trad climbers, too. Because not only does this rope sit on the high end for dynamic elongation, it’s low for max impact force—a mere 7.9 kilonewtons. So overall, a soft catch, with less stress on the gear.

Complete Shield

The rope is available with or without dry treatment, which Tendon calls “Complete Shield.” I tested one with. Both the core and the sheath are treated with a Teflon concoction, which does the job. I took note: Even on the hot, humid days, the rope stayed not only dry but compact, while my other rope, which is also supposedly dry treated, swelled. (FYI, I’ve just been told that Tendon is switching up their dry-treatment mix soon to one that is eco-friendly.)

Since it’s 9.4 millimeters in diameter, it feels fairly lightweight, making it great for redpoint attempts and weekend warriors.

Overall, this rope is great, but also worth considering are two cons. For one, while I’d certainly say the Tendon 9.4 is durable enough, it’s not the most durable rope I’ve ever used. It lasted about two months of regular use before I had to start choppin’. The sheath always fuzzed up first. Once a line of fuzz appeared, a core shot was soon to follow. And this brings me to my second con: Whatever is in their dry treatment makes it difficult to melt the core and sheath together after cutting the rope. A small lighter just won’t do. You’ll need to employ the jetboil (open flame) technique for best results.

The rope is available in 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 100, and 200 meters. I tested a 70-meter red. The middle marker, which I’m always on the lookout for when belaying a partner on longer climbs, was sufficiently noticeable, however I do wonder if that would still ring true for the darker colors. Just a thought, if you think you’ll be cutting it close (regardless, remember to always tie a knot at the end of your rope).

At $275 for a 70-meter with the Complete Shield protective treatment (or $242 without), the price is competitive, or possibly on the higher end. But I think most sport climbers will find it worthy.