Rock climbing is a sport that forces you to trust ropes, harnesses, carabiners and other equipment with your very life. Because of this, top-quality gear that is strong, durable and easy to use is imperative.
Metolius recently debuted several rock-climbing products with safety features that exceed the industry standard. The company built redundancies into its harnesses, beefed up its ropes, added instructional markings to carabiners and tweaked several other product lines to make its gear as safe as possible.
The Safe-Tech harness line, which comes in three models ($69 – $85), has no non-structural components. This means that every strap, buckle and gear loop on the harness is made to hold the weight of a climber. (Most climbing harnesses have weak points that can fail if a climber incorrectly ties in.)
Except for the elasticized leg-loop straps, which hold 1,350 pounds, all other points on a Safe-Tech harness are rated to hold at least 2,250 pounds — the maximum impact force a modern climbing rope will experience during a fall, according to Metolius.
The company’s Monster Ropes ($189 – $226), which come in 9.8mm and 10.2mm diameters, were manufactured to be stronger and more durable without adding a lot of extra girth. All Monster Ropes also come with a chemical treatment that repels water, making them “dry” ropes that are usable on snowy mountain climbs or in other wet conditions.
Metolius’ Range Finder cams ($48 – $69), which are removable anchors climbers place in cracks, have markings that show when the cam is correctly positioned in the rock. A series of red, yellow and green dots on the side of the cam let climbers quickly assess the quality of the placement to make sure they are placing the right size anchor.
Using the Metolius gear on a recent trip, I was happy with its performance. I’ve long wished that harness gear loops would be strong enough to support a climber’s weight — just what the Safe-Tech harness does. The Range Finder system on Metolius’ cams worked well in most situations. About 90 percent of the time, the indicator dots were easily visible while I was slotting the cam in a crack to make an anchor.
The company’s efforts to add safety features to its equipment — without substantially upping prices — should be applauded. Subtle touches like the visual tool on the cams and the blatant safety markings on the harnesses will undoubtedly make the sport of climbing a safer game to play.
Contact: Metolius Climbing, 1-541-382-7585, http://www.metoliusclimbing.com.