All cairns point toward the crag! The booming popularity of rock climbing has spawned more niche, safe, and featherlight gear.
For 2017, keep your eyes peeled for more gym-centric products, women’s-specific shoes, and kids selections. New, light, durable, technical products will help elite climbers send bigger projects at faster speeds.
Here are a dozen fresh pieces for the gear bag:
1) Edelrid Loopo Lite
Dubbed the lightest harness — in the world — Edelrid creates the Loopo Lite. The 2.8-ounce Dyneema harness is made for ski mountaineering and glacier travel. The leg loops unlatch, so athletes can access and exit quickly sans unclipping from skis.
2) La Sportiva Maverink
For kiddos, La Sportiva introduces the Maverink (MSRP $120) with a customizable upper, so that kids can have fun creating their own design—a feature that also helps pairs from getting misplaced with friends’ shoes at gym practice. The design features no edge technology, which helps students-of-rock hone their footwork technique. Visible on the interior side of the forefoot (where the upper meets the sole) the rounded edge sticks and remains on the foothold longer compared to a pointier edge that springs off.
3) CAMP USA Dyon
Dyon—a new carabiner from CAMP USA—debuts the patented KeyWire design: a wire gate combined with a brand new keylocking closure. Engineer talk: The latter has definitive, minute angles, which shortens the load sections (where weight is loading on a specific leg of material) and rockets gate strength—i.e. safety—above the 7 kN requirement: up to 11 kN.
4) Five Ten Urban Approach
The Urban Approach shoe from Five Ten is for gym seekers: warm-up sessions, route setters as they create (and test) fresh wall arrangements, and walking on wood floors: the Stealth Phantom rubber outsoles won’t buff or mark surfaces.
5) Edelrid Ohm
Edelrid launches an assisted-breaking device, the Ohm, which helps to level out the weight difference between a climber-belayer team. By how much? Up to double the pounds. At the first bolt, the resister is installed like a quickdraw. If the climber falls, the device increases rope friction to halt the jolt.
6) Edelrid Skimmer
Edelrid also unveils the Skimmer: among the lightest weight, certified ropes on the market. The Skimmer is the “skinniest half rope on the market” at 7.1mm. It weighs in at just 36 g per meter, is certified as either a half- or twin rope, and will hit the market in summer 2017.
7) CAMP USA Alpine Flash
For the technical alpinist and ice climber, CAMP USA constructs the Alpine Flash harness with less bartacking, thus, fewer failure points. Eliminating bartacks also helps to reduce overall weight, and the design molds to the body for improved walkability. Other features include four gear loops, space for packing 24 ice screws, and a low-profile waist for flush pairing with a pack’s belt.
8) Petzl Grigri+
Great for newbies and emergencies, Petzl releases the Grigri+ with anti-panic technology: When the belayer pulls on the handle too hard a brake tugs the rope to a stop so the climber isn’t dropped.
9) Wild Country Revo Belay Device
Th Revo assisted-belay device is so cool we gave it a Best In Show award. The revolutionary rope-catching design catches a climber in uncontrolled decent. The bi-directional, auto-locking belay device overcomes mis-loading of rope, among the most common of belay-related climbing accidents. The Revo will pay out, lock, and keep the rope aligned.
10) Scarpa Origin
Prioritizing the expansion of women’s specific offerings, Scarpa debuts the ladies’ lower volume version of the Origin for climbers just getting started. Designed for comfort, the profile is relatively relaxed (as in, not sharply curved) and features a beefier rubber construction—because students of rock wear down shoes a bit faster as they acquire their footwork technique.
11) La Sportiva Gripit
Talk about tiny spider monkeys: the Gripit is a young kids climbing shoe—imagine three-year-olds up to age 7—that revolves around comfort. The design has a wide forefoot and is adjustable to size, so as the young ones grow, they don’t need to toss their pair. Created by La Sportiva, the shoe also features the no edge technology sole to help a growing climbers hone their footwork.
12) Metolius Belay Glasses
Taking preventative measure against neck strain, Metolius offers-up the low-profile belay glasses (creatively named, the Belay Glasses) to help enhance peripheral vision via an optimized prism lens.
13) Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet
Based on the classic Half Dome helmet, Black Diamond premieres a women’s specific version with a ponytail-friendly shell design, a one-handed fit adjustment dial, headlamp clips and a low-profile suspension.
14) So Ill Climbing Shoes
So Ill made a splash when it introduced some slick-looking, gym-centric shoes to Kickstarter in spring 2016. The campaign raised about $155,000 for the upstart shoe maker. The shoes will become available for pre-order in October, with availability in the coming months.