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How Climbing Ropes Are Made
Learn how Mammut climbing ropes are made.
It all started in Dintikon, Switzerland, in 1862. Kaspar Tanner had just finished a three-year rope-making apprenticeship and decided to go into business for himself—a decision that would propel a storied, 150-year-old brand into motion. The Tanner family enterprise flourished well into the 20th century and in 1943, the Mammut brand name was introduced. Translating to “mammoth,” the Mammut name embodies both power and strength. Shortly thereafter, Mammut helped pioneer the world of mountaineering through the invention of its first glacier rope to be made from nylon yarn.
In the next 35 years, Mammut kept its focus set on mountaineering, inventing several new ropes—most notably, the first rope to be certified for climbing and the first to feature a braided, kernmantle construction. In fact, it wasn't until 1978 that Mammut shifted its gears away from ropes and towards products like technical outerwear. Its first collection of jackets and pants, the Altitude Collection, utilized the then-new Gore-Tex fabric. With the latest in waterproof and breathable technology, the Altitude set the bar high enough to inspire Mammut to reach further into the outdoor market.
For several years in the early ‘80s, Mammut introduced a stream of new products, effectively transforming it from a well-respected rope company with a few jackets into a major player in the mountaineering arena. Beginning with sleeping bags and climbing gear like carabiners, climbing harnesses, and helmets, Mammut continued to diversify its offerings. It began selling avalanche safety gear—including beacons, shovels, and probes—since 2006, but in 2011, it took a significant step of acquiring Snowpulse, an established developer of inflatable airbag backpacks. Today, it offers a full line of RAS (removable avalanche safety) packs featuring technology designed to significantly improve the wearer’s chances of survival in an avalanche.
Today, skiers and mountaineers look to Mammut for climbing, mountaineering, and avalanche safety gear, as well as windproof and waterproof clothing suitable for the most demanding environments. Mammut’s backpacks, footwear covering everything from mountaineering boots to trail running shoes, and headlamps round out its offerings, which together have made the company a one-stop shop for professional-grade alpine equipment.
However, this isn't to say that Mammut’s resting on its laurels. In fact, it continues to be the authority in climbing ropes, still producing them in Seon, Switzerland. In this way, little has changed in the spirit of Mammut. Small, dedicated, and obsessive, Mammut moves quietly and confidently forward. And when you have 150 years of experience under your belt, it's easy to see why.