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There are a lot of considerations when picking out a pair of climbing shoes, but in the end it's what fits your foot and the style of climbing you want to do. If this is your first pair of shoes, check out my article "Climbing Shoes - Your First Pair" for some tips, but beyond that, here we go. I recently picked up a pair of Evolv Defy VTRs and honestly could not be happier with them. Having a wide toe box, I was really concerned when going to purchase a new pair of shoes that I was going to have the long and strenuous search like with hiking boots, but was pleasantly surprised when trying these on. Just like all climbing shoes, the fit is definitely snug, but there was no ankle dig issues, and the fit around the toes was not too bad. I definitely threw them off after every wall for a while, but after a couple weeks, grew pretty accustomed to them. Now they aren't a very aggressive shoe, but being somewhat new to climbing, I have yet to do a move yet where the shoes, not my technique, were the obstacle. They have also been quite durable. I've used them about 4-5 times a week over the last 4 months and outside of a very small rubber chunk out of the bottom of one shoe, they've held up quite well and there have been zero issues with any glued pieces. They are also 100% synthetic, so the overall shape of the shoe has not changed at all from the first day to my most recent climb. Now there is one big con to these shoes, and that is the stink factor. I prefer to climb without socks, (which may be the root cause), but they pretty much smell like they could kill small animals. I've done all the tricks, air them outside overnight, spray them down with Lysol and/or Odor Eaters, and even put them in the freezer overnight, and it kind of helps, but only temporarily. In the end, I would still totally recommend these shoes to any climber, new or experienced. Happy Climbing!...Read more...
Being new to climbing there are a lot of things that don't come naturally, and one of the biggest is the shoes. Climbing shoes aren't like slipping into the latest pair of Nikes or Adidas. They're going to feel tight, constricting and borderline painful at times, but in the end, they're totally worth it. If this is your first pair of shoes, find a local climbing store and physically try them on before jumping to a particular brand or model just because. The advice from a knowledgeable sales rep with climbing experience is totally worth the extra money you may spend over the latest Steep and Cheap deal or Amazon listing. Some key points to remember if these are your first pair of shoes is:
- The Fit: You want them to be snug, but not painful. A loose shoe may be more comfortable, but in the end, it is going to restrict your climbing. Remember, you're going up the wall, not down the trail, so don't get hung up on how they feel walking around in them.
- Leather or Synthetic: Leather shoes will stretch more than most synthetics so take that into account. Leather shoes will also do better in the stink department over most synthetics.
- Velcro, Slip-on or Shoestring: Velcro will be sturdier than a Slip-on and easier to get off and on than Shoestrings, but it's really all personal preference here.
- The Shape: The bigger the arch, the more painful they could feel to a new climber, so go with whatever feels the best for your foot and arch. However, as you progress, a higher arch will be a more aggressive shoe allowing for more technical moves with your feet, but start off with whatever feels the best.
- The Cost: Don't let the price be you're only influence. Get the shoe that's just right for your foot, not just your pocketbook.
- Shop Around: Don't be afraid to try on lots of shoes. Just like any other shoe...one may good, but that other pair may be even better.
- The Look: This sometimes drives decision making more than any other, so although you should like the look of what you're buying, performance is key, you should always try to choose function of fashion.
A couple years back an interesting story made its way around climbing Internet forums. In it, an experienced (relative to his partners) climber led a team of two others up the Shawangunks classic, High Exposure. High E is only a 5.6, but it’s a Gunks 5.6, which means it involves a roof of substantial size. Awkward in the extreme, the move past the roof has sent more than one unprepared follower into the ether. And let me tell you, that particular ether is immense. It’s not uncommon for the hapless second to end up dangling in mid air, unable to even touch the rock to resume climbing. Unfortunately, this particular leader rigged his second and third climbers in a cow-tail configuration. That means two followers on one rope, tied into the end 3-5 meters apart. The cow tail’s fatal flaw is that, if the last climber falls, he takes the second climber with him. It is as close to unavoidable as it’s possible to get, and this party was, of course, unable to avoid it. Even more unfortunately, the leader was belaying with a plaquette-style device, perhaps even an immensely popular Petzl Reverso 3 or Black Diamond ATC-Guide. He was unable to release it and lower his team to the ledge from which they started. Long story short... with the last climber out of reach of the wall, both of them hung in the air helpless as a two-inch trout, until some other brainiac attached the third climber to an intermediate anchor and instructed her to cut the rope. (Yes, cut the rope. Don’t even go there. That’s not the point of all this.) The point is, how many Reverso 3 and ATC-Guide users have actually tried to release a dangling follower -- under a full load with the climber hanging free in the air? I have a sawbuck that says very few.
|Petzl’s recommended release and lower method is difficult to accomplish under full load.|
|Redirect the sling and the brake, attach the sling to you, and then weight it fully to open the device wide. Keep your hand on the brake!|
Ever since having our first child my wife and I have been looking forward to taking her climbing. This summer was finally the summer that she was able to rope up for the first time. To get her going we bought a Petzl Kids' Ouistiti Harness The Ouistiti is the smallest in Petzl line of kids' climbing harnesses. Kids need a full body harness because their hip bone structure isn't defined enough for a regular harness (some will say it also isn't strong enough) and it helps keep them upright.
Petzl Kid's Ouistiti Harness Features
- Full-body design accommodates a child's body so they can climb safely
- Works for children from ages 4 to 9 years old who weigh less than 30 kg (around 66 lb), so one size fits all
- Safety: the adjustment buckles are located on the back of the harness and are out of reach of the wearer
- Bicolored webbing, black on the inside, color on the outside
- DoubleBack adjustment buckles
- Double chest tie-in point
- Price: $49.95
Petzl Kid's Ouisititi ReviewPetzl got many things right with this harness. They had to give it a lot of thought to help kids want to wear it and want to climb. For starters, it's made by Petzl so you know the quality is high. They moved all the buckles and adjustments to the rear of the harness to reduce kids playing with them. They made the leg loops padded to increase comfort. The colorful designs on the outside of the webbing keep it looking interesting for the kids. They even gave the storage bag a little shoulder strap so a kid could carry it. If your child is anything like mine, she was so stoked to be able to carry her own harness. My only complaint with the Ouistiti is adjustability. The only adjustments are up on the shoulders. My little girl is on the smaller end of the spectrum (about 35 lbs) and the harness is almost too big. As a result the leg loops were big on her and the straps that link the leg loops to the shoulder straps had a lot of slack in them. Legs loop adjustment and back strap adjustments would have made a better fit for her. However though, because everything is linked together, the harness still kept her safe. I gave her the "pick her up by the tie-in point and bounce her test" a few times and there was zero chance she could have slipped out. The big concern is getting the extra slack catching on the rock and getting stuck. Three-and-a-half year olds have a bit of a hard time facing the wall when being lowered or falling. The Good
- Harness made to get the wee ones on the rock
- Little details to keep the kids excited
- Low adjustability
Bottom Line:We are stoked to get our kids out on the rock and we want them to be safe. Petzl made a high-quality harness with the Ouistiti Kid's Harness to will keep them safe from the little years to the bigger years. You can't go wrong with the Ouistiti. Buy Now: Pick up the Petzl Kid's Ouistiti Harness and get your little climbing.... Read more...
When I was in the market for a new rope I wanted something lighter in weight than the 10.2mm x 60m rope I was using, it had to work for both sport and trad routes, and it had to last a long time. After researching I chose the Edelweiss Laser Arc Climbing Rope - 9.6mm. Edelweiss is a known and trusted name in the climbing community and has a good reputation. The Laser Arc fit everything I was looking for and threw in a couple things I didn't know I wanted.
Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope Features
- Thickness: 9.6mm
- Type: Single Rope
- Length: 60m and 70m
- Dry: Yes
- Sheath Construction: Double-pick
- Impact Force: ~8kN (with 80kg)
- Elongation: 7.5%
- Center Mark: Yes
- Falls: 6
- Recommended Use: Sport, Alpine
- Weight: 61g/m
- Price: $250
Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope ReviewMy experience with the Laser Arc 9.6 has been extremely good. I've been using the rope for a few years and it is still running strong. I've used it from sport redpoints, to top-roping with the family, to long, multi-pitch trad routes. It honestly has excelled in every situation. My absolute favorite feature is the bi-pattern on the rope. This wasn't a requirement when I bought the rope, but it will be for every rope I buy in the future. It takes all the guesswork out of finding the middle. No more scanning the rope for the mark you colored with a marker. I had full confidence on every rappel and it was super handy on long multi-pitch routes for gauging distance. I thought that 9.6 might be a little skinny and it wouldn't hold up. After a few years of use it's starting to show some where and tear. It has taken some big falls, it's rubbed against thousands of feet of granite, limestone, dolostone, and many others, and it is still in good shape. I wish I would have purchased the 70m to get the extra distance for longer sport routes. 60m has been long enough though for just about everything I've done. There's been a couple of instances where we had to really stretch the rope to get it long enough and one time about 5 feet of downclimbing was required. If you plan on doing a lot of top-roping, get a thicker rope. The Good
- Long-life (well, I've experienced long life with it)
- Good all-around rope
- Too thin if you want to do a lot of top-roping
Bottom Line:You really can't go wrong with the Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope. It you want a good all-around climbing rope, go with the Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6 Climbing Rope. Buy Now: Pick up the Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope ... Read more...
When Metolius introduced its Safe-Tech harnesses they were the first and only such harnesses of their kind. They were born of a simple idea -- make sure that every point possible to clip or tie into is bomb proof! Safe Tech did something no other harness did: it protected the wearer from the full range of stupid harness mistakes. Forget to double back your buckle? We got your back. Clip into a leg-loop keeper strap? You’re dumber than a bag of hair, but still, we got your back. In fact, anyplace you can clip on a Safe-Tech harness is STRONG. You may be a bit uncomfortable, but you’ll live to enjoy it. You might think that, years later, the game would be different and every harness out there would be so forgiving. And yet, Safe Tech is still unique in the harness world. Such unparalleled safety consciousness, however, is not the reason I wear a Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe today.
Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe FeaturesThat it sits firmly atop the heap when it comes to protecting me from a hypothermic fit of dehydrated brain farting is not the Safe-Tech Deluxe’s only redeeming quality. There’s so much more:
- Engineered to provide every possible extra margin of safety
- Wherever possible, each component is engineered to withstand a load of 10 kN. * 2250 lbf (10 kN) Spectra gear loops * 3600 lbf (16 kN) Spectra rope locator * 3600 lbf (16 kN) rear haul loop * 1500 lbf (6.6 kN) leg loop elastic
- Two belay/rappel loops make setting up for rapples and multi-pitch belays easier*
- Reinforced, Long-wearing tie-in point*
- 3-D adjustable-rise system assures the perfect fit
- Shaped 3/8" foam provides maximum support to the lower back
|The author hanging around in a Safe Tech. Photo: W. Young|
Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe ReviewI’m almost as worried about accidentally tying into a gear loop as I am accidentally onsighting 5.15. Still, that’s sort of the reason I bought my first Safe-Tech harness over six years ago. I was setting a lot of routes in the local gym, and my preferred method of carrying holds from point A to point B was via 5-gallon bucket clipped to a gear loop. I was plagued by the notion that one might break and, perhaps, send a 20-lbs. bucket of plastic -- Wile E. Coyote style -- right onto some hapless child’s head. There are three main reasons I keep on buying them. The Good
- I don’t have a typical climber’s body, which puts me somewhat at the mercy of harness designers. 3-D allows me to customize all the usual suspects plus the harness’ rise -- the vertical distance between the swami and leg loops.
- Shy of a big-wall harness, the Safe-Tech Deluxe is the king of low-back support.
- I have -- once or twice -- failed to double back my buckle before my partner caught it. Should I actually manage to leave the ground without the double pass, this buckle will still hold 10kN, which is more than most ropes’ impact-force ratings.
- I don't set in a gym anymore, but I do spend quite a bit of time equipping new routes and re-equipping old ones. With a Bosch, tools and a sack of steel hanging from the 10kN gear loop on my hip, I can swing around all day and never have to worry about it breaking.
- I don’t need two belay loops, but it’s easy enough to clip them as one.
Bottom Line:The Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe is not just comfortable and safe. It’s more comfortable and more safe than any other harness in its class. So, if safety and comfort are your things, slip into a Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe! If you can’t get it to fit you perfectly, well, it’s probably your fault, not the harness’. ... Read more...
|A single factor-2 fall was harsh enough to produce core shots. The damage seen above was in the clove hitch near the belayer's end of the rope, which he had used to attach himself to the anchor. Photo courtesy of Rockclimbing.com user, "Sittingduck."|
- Leave your thin cord on the ground!
- Test your belay device on your rope of choice. Says Rich Goldstone: “If you can't do a single-strand free-hanging rappel comfortably, you'll never control a high-factor fall.”
- Buy a belay device with a grooved brake side, but be aware that according to knowledgeable and concerned sources, with a thin rope such a device still might not be enough of an edge. You may also be able to add friction to the system simply by adding a second belay ‘biner. Consider also buying a locking-assist device, such as a Mammut Smart. (But be aware that such devices are not automatically the best answer. They take a lot of practice to use well, and they tend to add impact force in a fall.)
- Wear gloves. In Goldstone’s opinion, “Gloves are in the same category as helmets.” Not everybody wears them, but everybody should.
- A guide hand is wasted in a hard fall. When belaying a leader who’s in a position to pitch bigtime, keep both hands on the brake whenever possible.
- When leading out on multi-pitch climbs always always always clip your first piece of protection before leaving the relative safety of the anchor. If possible, continue to protect often low on the pitch.
- If you believe a hard fall is likely, consider positioning the belayer several feet below the anchor, and then clipping the anchor as the first piece of protection. This shortens the potential fall relative to the amount of rope in the system and lowers the fall factor. (See photo at right.)
|Fall-factor 2 potential? CHECK. John Wesely races for the Hudson River Railroad on Grand Central, the Nears, Shawangunks, NY. Photo: © Greg Burns.|
Have you read Rope Thickness and Belay Devices, Part One? When ropes first began to really thin out, I purchased one that clocked in at a previously unheard of 9.4 millimeters. On its maiden voyage, I led out on the second pitch of something or other and placed a bomber mid-sized cam right off the belay. A few feet later I got something similarly solid, and shortly after that -- just below the crux -- I clipped a bolt. I was around 30 feet out from the belay with excellent protection, but that’s still not a lot of rope. Juggy holds were in short supply, slopers seemed more the norm, and soon, I was airborne. The fall was short by climbing standards, maybe six feet, but my wife, who was belaying with a (since discontinued) first-generation Petzl Reverso held the fall only with a maximum amount of effort. To this day, she reports being barely able to hold that small fall. She had both hands on the brake, and that alone probably saved my life. Do the math: six feet of fall divided by 30 feet of rope equals a fall factor of only 0.2. Had I fallen but a few feet higher, I might not be here to tell the tale. Had that fall been of a much higher factor, say with only the first piece off the belay -- or none -- I certainly would be talus food right now. It’s important to note that, with the knowledge of the time, we did everything right.
|Fall factor is the length of the fall before rope stretch (20 feet in the above diagram) divided by the amount of rope in the system (10 feet). This is the hardest fall possible on the least amount of energy-absorbing rope... and you and your belay device (not to mention the climber) might be left holding the bag.|
A few years back I reviewed a 9.2-mm rope for another website. It left me grinning from ear to ear as I put the poor thing through the proverbial ringer, especially when I beat it senseless on my project du jour, a steep, single-pitch trad climb with a high crux that offered gear at my feet. I pitched over and over again as I tried in vain to work out the sequence, and through it all, that skinny little rope was my faithful companion. My belayer arrested each and every fall effortlessly. That day, however, might have had a horrible ending if the circumstances had been different. Make that climb a multi-pitch route with a crux right off a high belay; make it poorly protected to achieve a high fall factor, too, and an easy catch on the part of the belayer is no longer a foregone conclusion. Slap an old-school belay device -- one not grooved specifically for additional friction -- into the equation, and the result may be more grim than many of us would care to think. When and why did ropes get so thin?
|A 9.4-mm cord next to a 10.4. Though there isn't much of a difference visually, in terms of friction, the divide may be vast.|
|Older tech on the left and newer on the right. Note the notches in the right-side devices. The intent there is to add friction to your catch. Though whether those notches are enough to catch a hard fall with a thin cord is at issue, it's fair to say that the older devices are not, all by their lonesome, up to the task.|
At the start of pretty near every climbing season, I face a dilemma: which climbing shoes to buy. When I first began climbing in the late eighties, the choice was easy. There were only a few pairs of climbing shoes on the market and they were all fairly similar. They were all high tops. They were all lace ups. They were all stiff as boards and none of them were all that sticky by today’s rubber standards. Now, there are literally hundreds of shoes from which to pick, and the choice is, shall we say, complicated. Standing in front of the shoe display at my local climbing shop, it seems so daunting. Lace up, Velcro or slipper? Soft or stiff? Cambered or not? Slingshot rand? What type of climbing do I mostly do? Fit (which is the single most important factor in a shoe choice) aside, which is the right shoe for me? Given the uncertainty surrounding new climbing shoes and how they’ll work for me, is it any wonder that, year in and year out, I pick the same make and model? Over and over again, I pick the Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym.
Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym FeaturesAs climbing shoes go, the Moccasym is refreshingly simple, and none of its features are high tech. Five.Ten hit on a winning formula with this one. There’s just no good reason to change them!
- Unlined leather upper
- Soft and supple Stealth C4 sole
- Slingshot rand
Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym ReviewThe Good
- Stealth C4 rubber is, in my opinion, stickier than a murder charge on Charles Manson. Even later versions of Five.Ten rubber do not perform as well.
- The sole under the Anasazi Moccasym is softer than a new-born puppy. This means sensitivity and gripability (the ability to grasp foot holds with your toes, much like a monkey) are high. This softness also enables the Anasazi Moccasym to deform to rock irregularities and smear like a champ.
- Easy on, easy off: granted, this goes for any slipper, but I’ll mention it anyway, because it’s such a huge factor in my decision to keep buying them. I remove them at every opportunity -- no fuss, no muss -- even when hanging at multi-pitch anchors. I suppose a “comfortable” shoe would suffice, but what’s more comfy than bare feet?
- The Moccasym’s low toe profile also makes it a surprise winner for crack climbing, especially thin cracks.
- Unlined leather stretches, which makes the Moccasym difficult to size. What’s more, the larger the shoe, the more unlined leather it has and the more it stretches. I figured my sizing out early on, so I’m set, but given that this shoe could stretch the equivalent of a full size... or less... or more... a correct size first try isn’t a foregone conclusion. You won’t know if you got it really right, until after a break-in period.
- Unfortunately, the soft sole under the Anasazi Moccasym also makes it difficult to dial in miniscule edges on slabs, which require you to place most of your weight on tiny features. Along these same lines, it takes a strong-footed, precise climber to really make use of something so soft. This is not a good beginner shoe.
Bottom Line:Five.Ten’s Anasazi Moccasym has been around longer than almost any other model of shoe I can name, and there’s a reason why it’s the best-selling slipper of all time. I dread the day they discontinue this model -- a day I might also consider quitting climbing. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll just buy enough pairs to last the rest of my life! Buy Now: Pick up the Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym and find out why so many people before you did the same. ... Read more...
The evolution of the carabiner is remarkable in its scope. Hold a clunky steel round-stock oval of yesteryear in one hand and a modern ultra-light ‘biner of today in the other, and the difference will make your brain boil. Changes, not only in carabiner design, but also in manufacturing techniques, have left us with something far different than its grandfather. The Wild Country Helium, for example, sits at the very apex of the evolutionary arc.
Wild Country Helium FeaturesThe Helium brings to bear a host of advances in one carabiner, but leaves a few others behind. One trend they dropped -- thankfully -- is that of shaving weight by making carabiners smaller. Wild Country certainly picked and chose its features carefully, and the result is something outstanding.
- Clean-wire nose
- Hot forging
- I-beam back
- High strength, full size and yet still superlight
- Flatwire gate
- Individually Tested to 10kN
Wild Country Helium ReviewI use Wild Country Heliums primarily on Quickdraws and runners (for bolts and traditional protection) for a host of reasons. First up, at only 33 grams, these suckers are light. Sure, they’re big boned compared to, say, Metolius’ FS Mini or C.A.M.P.’s Nano, but 33 grams isn’t exactly an albatross either. Plus, Helium has a few assets those others don’t, which more than make up for the extra ten paper clips. The Good
- The Helium is full sized, which makes it easier to work with, especially gloved, than the handful of lightest ‘biners on the market, which all shaved size to save weight. Instead, the Helium relies on its I-beam construction and Flatwire gate to lessen the amount of metal and create one of the strongest non-lockers available.
- The Helium has a whopping 10kN gate-open strength, which, along with only a few other models available, is the highest you’ll currently find. It’s not uncommon to see carabiners with as low as 7kN in that department, which is actually an achievable force in a hard fall. In addition, every single Helium was individually tested to 10kN. Talk about piece of mind.
- The Helium’s Clean-wire nose makes it easier to clip and unclip virtually everything from the Helium, including and especially bolt hangers when cleaning all those forearm-exploding steep rigs.
- The Helium’s sling-side basket is a bit on the small side, so anything other than a skinny Dyneema dogbone seems to rest less than optimally away from the spine. It may be best to stick with skinny bones on these, such as those that come with the Helium quickdraw set.
Bottom Line:Years ago I crashed at a friend’s house while traveling the western U.S. on a snowboarding trip. Said friend lamented that she had no time to climb anymore (I know -- nuts, right!?), but that she had just recently received 12 Helium quickdraws for X-mas. Maybe, she mused, she could Ebay them. “I’ll give you $100 for all of them right now!” I blurted and the deal was done. One Helium quickdraw retails for $25.50, but even had I paid full price, I would still consider it one of the best climbing purchases I’ve ever made. Buy Now: I can make a dozen phone calls right now and find a dozen people who love Heliums. I can’t find one who doesn’t. Rack up with a mess o’ Wild Country Heliums and you won’t regret it. ... Read more...
As an outdoor enthusiast, I spend most of my time and free cash getting cool new toys like cams and harnesses. For this reason, I'm not super familiar with nice cars. I spend most of my time trashing my Toyota Tacoma, filling with with climbing gear, dogs and muddy people. So, I don't really have a great breadth of knowledge regarding upscale vehicles. However, I recently came to a conclusion. It seems that a few brands within the outdoor industry seem to parallel nice car brands. Arc'Teryx was the first one that came to mind. Expensive, they're much like the ferarris or a porsches of the climbing realm. They make very high quality equipment. Yet is it necessary to spend all that money to get a functioning product? No. But, ooo, man, does it feel nice to sit in luxury for a bit. This was the case with my Arc'Teryx R280 Women's Climbing Harness. Certainly the most expensive harness I've had my hands on, I was curious to see if the price difference ($135 new as opposed to a measly $45.95 for a basic Black Diamond Harness) was worth the comfort difference.
- All around harness
- Self locking buckles
- Fixed leg loops
- Weight: 10.1 oz
- Sizes XS thru XL
Pros of the Arc'Teryx R280
- Packable- The R280 gets practically as small as my Alpine Bod Harness, and weights near nothing. The plastic molded gear loops can be snapped on and off, so you can truly use this harness as a lightweight alpine harness. Mine squished down to the size of my two fists combined.
- Comfortable- Warp Strength Technology distributes the pressure of a fall or simply sitting in the harness throughout the entire waistbelt as opposed to simply throughout a single piece of one inch webbing with lots of padding (how harnesses are typically constructed). Despite being thinner than most harnesses, the change in the way this harness distributes weight makes it just as comfortable, if not more so.
Cons of the Arc'Teryx R280
- Pricey! Definitely the most expensive all-around harness I've seen.
- The drop seat attachment to the back of the harness isn't as secure as some I've seen. A little time hiking with a pack on over the harness, and I'd managed to accidentally undo my leg loop keeper straps, accidentally dropping my seat.
Rarely do I buy things just because I like the color. However, the Black Diamond Aura Sport Climbing Harness was an exception. It's bright yellow- my favorite color! After getting over the sweet bright color, I was stoked on the harness and all of it's features. Both the new Aura and Ozone (the men's version of the harness) are made with Black Diamond's Kinetic Core Construction, to save on weight but still offer you enough comfort when you whip on it. Unlike most harnesses, which are constructed by placing padding around a 1 inch strip of webbing that goes the length of the waist loop, KCC harnesses are one continuous piece of material throughout the entire waist loop. This distributes the force of a fall (or just weighting the harness) throughout the entire waist belt as opposed to just through that 1 inch piece of webbing. The idea is that you'll get the same amount of comfort with less weight.
Key Features of the Black Diamond Aura Harness
- KCC- Kinetic Core Construction. Less weight, same amount of comfort.
- Minimalist Racking loops- 1 on each side allows you enough space for up to 10 Livewire QuickDraws (11 if you really cram them) per side. Not enough space for your trad rack, that's for sure, but ample space for draws for a sport route and anchor draws.
- Speed Adjust Buckle- Just give it a cinch and you're set to go. Already double backed.
- Weight- 11 Oz! For a size medium, less than 12 oz. Insane.
- Fixed leg loops
- Sizes- XS through L, fitting waist sizes Be careful though, the leg loops seem to have shrunk compared to other BD harnesses. Definitely one to try on since they are fixed.
I just got back from Melbourne, Australia and if you like the outdoors (but still want to be near a large city with excellent work prospects, large companies, and great food and culture) then I think Melbourne is probably the place for you in the Southern Hemisphere. On top of that, when I was there just a few weeks ago the exchange rate was almost 2 AUD for 1 USD. Not bad at all... Melbourne is located on the southern coast of Australia, not far across the sea from Tasmania and Antarctica. The saying in Melbourne is that if you don't like the weather, hang out for a few minutes because it is bound to change. When you are on the coast, it can be 120 degrees Fahrenheit and then within 5 minutes you feel a cold front come up from Antarctica and it drops to 70 degrees in a moment. It just hits your back and you feel a 50 degree swing in 5 minutes! The ski resorts aren't far from Melbourne either, so you can see why the outdoorsy folks might prefer it to Sydney, which is out on the Eastern coast. I arrived in Melbourne and was greeted by my friend David, a semi-professional Australian Football League player who had a knee injury last year and called it quits. He said that when AFL is on (April - September) Melbourne is the place to be --- it is all that anyone in Melbourne (even all the girls) talk about during those months! Rugby Union and Rugby League are also huge --- I was in heaven with 2 or 3 channels playing nothing but rugby 24x7. Melbourne also regularly hosts Formula 1 Grand Prix races right in downtown, and is teeming with traveling fans during that time. I checked in at the hotel ----- "Oaks on Lonsdale" which was only $150/night AUD (wow...$80USD!). The Oaks on Lonsdale is a high-rise hotel in the heart of Melbourne, walking distance to all the main attractions of the city. The hotel is located on Lonsdale Ave in downtown and has large, very recently-renovated and stylishly-decorated apartments -- each with their own kitchen and washer/dryer. See my picture at right, that I snapped when sitting down for dinner my first night. There is an IGA grocery store right next door, so you really are set once you settle in. The washer/dryer helps a LOT because then you can pack much lighter (jeans, one pair of shoes, and a few shirts) and then just do laundry at night. I went down under for more than 2 weeks and just took a carry-on --- no checked baggage going through customs! Just up the street from the hotel is St. Peters ---- a gorgeous Catholic cathedral built during colonial times. The outside is blackish-brown stone (other buildings are also that reddish-brown sandstone that is so prevalent in Australia...very reminiscent of Utah red rock). Inside it is the traditional cross in floorplan, with a raised central altar area. The roof and rafters are a gorgeous dark wood, and the detail throughout was very impressive. About a block from St. Peters Cathedral is the free Melbourne trolley system, which you can catch to take you around sort of a belt route of Melbourne. Next stop was the Melbourne Museum, and then down to Victoria Markets (aka, Vic Markets) which are very much similar to Pike Place Market in Seattle. A little ways away from the Vic Markets you'll run into the old Bath House which is where the outdoor sports shops are located. There is a high-end climbing gym called Hard Rock Climbing Gym and it rivals the downtown REI in Seattle for exceptional indoor climbing (see pics at right). A few blocks away is the office of Melbourne International Backpackers too --- a great place to grab a guide and go do some camping in the outback, or along the beach. Unfortunately my itinerary did not include a few days' excursion into the outback. Instead I gave a speech at Melbourne City Hall, with a great brunch-and-mingle out on the old pillared deck high above the street (see pic at right). And the rest of the week was meetings and good food...though my flight left just as the rest of the guys were treated as members guests to the Presidential Room of the colonial-era old-boys club called "The Kelvin Club." Before I left, however, I did have the chance to have a delicious wagyu steak and some roasted kangaroo at The Meat & Wine Co. -- a great restaurant alongside the river in town. But you'll feel like an anaconda after that --- too full to eat for 3 days! All in all, it was enough to get me to want to go back during their winter (our summer) and try out the ski resorts, take in more of the water, and hit up the Melbourne International Backpackers for a camping trip into the outback. Oh yeah, and catch a few Aussie Rules football matches while I'm at it too!...Read more...
I spent a good chunk of my spring break in a harness. No complaints here, since that means I was out doing some pretty fun stuff. Not only did I spend a lot of time in a harness, but I spent a lot of time in a comfortable, lightweight harness; the Black Diamond Primrose Harness. The women's specific version of the Momentum harness, the Primrose is a great all around harness. Ice climbing, rock climbing (even canyoneering for a day!), this harness has done it all for me. The Primrose comes with a variety of buckle and leg loop choices. Let's break them down.
- Primrose: The straight Primrose name indicates a traditional buckle system for the waist and fixed leg loops.
- Primrose AL: Traditional buckle system for both leg loops and waist. This makes the leg loops completely adjustable, which is idea for ice climbing. Space for added layers, the ability to take your harness off without doing the "hop on one leg" dance in crampons...
- Primrose SA: SA Stands for Speed Adjust- both the leg loops and waist are adjustable, and the buckles are pre-threaded, so all you need to do is give it a pull and it's safe.
Key Features of the Black Diamond Primrose Harness
- Four molded gear loops- allow you to rack up for a long trad route or grab a few draws and head up that sport climb.
- Clipped leg loops- drop your leg loops quick if you need to make a bathroom run but don't want to dismantle you're whole upper half.
- Padded bullhorn waist with increased rise means that the harness really will fit better than a men's harness. That increased rise means that the waist of the harness will truly sit above your hips, where it needs to be for safe usage. The bullhorn shaped waist also means accommodation for hips, something that men's harnesses don't tend to have.
- Comes in sizes extra small - large: Accommodates waist sizes from 24 inches through 36 inches.
Along with canyoneering in Zion, I also spent a few days climbing in Red Rocks, NV during my spring break. I finally had a chance to leave the snow behind and try out my Christmas present- new Five Ten Anasazi LV Rock Climbing Shoes! After climbing a few pitches in these shoes, they began to settle in, and I was super excited to finally have a shoe that truly fit my foot. Though I wouldn't quite call them comfortable, they climb like rock stars.
Five Ten Anasazi LV Rock Climbing shoes
- Synthetic upper= Minimal stretching. After about 10 pitches, mine had stretched a little bit, but just enough to accommodate my slightly larger right foot. After that, no more stretching.
- LV= Low volume (no, it's not "Lady's Version"). Boy, does Five Ten mean low volume. I have a mid-volume foot, and the "split overlapping" tongue barely overlaps. If you've got a really low volume foot, you're psyched about these shoes!
- Heel= Awesome! Full rubber coverage offers great traction on all parts of your foot, and the 2 "pull-on" loops make for easier shoe entry. Still had to yank on them pretty hard, but totally worth it for the fit of the heel.
- Velcro closures= easy on and off.
I am a wuss. It's true. When it comes to rappelling especially, I hate it when my hands get rubbed raw from holding the rope in the break hand as I head downward. To limit the wuss-factor, I use a pair of Metolius Climbing Gloves. Being that I am a bit on the lighter side, I am usually having to pick up the rope and actually feed it into the device, so these gloves see a lot of regular wear when I'm climbing.
Get the Facts on The Metolius Climbing Glove
- 3/4 length fingers allow you to maintain dexterity while still providing a good amount of coverage
- Webbing hooks allow for clipping gloves with a carabiner to wherever you want them
- Velcro wrist closure keeps gloves snug
- Great for rappelling AND belaying- palms are reinforced
- Again, a word about sizing- I have kinda tiny hands, and the XS is almost too big on me. The sizing chart from the Metolius website indicated that I would need a size Small glove, and those were definitely too big. Be sure to try them on if you're got hands on the extreme end of the spectrum, be it large or small. Also, keep in mind that they're going to stretch a bit.
This past summer I figured it was time to retire my old Trango climbing harness. Since Black Diamond is a brand that I trust for a lot of my gear I figured a climbing harness from them would be a good choice. To figure out what harness I'd buy, given that there are a number of Black Diamond harness models to choose from, I listed what I wanted in a harness
- Adjustable leg loops - I prefer adjustable leg loops cause I climb throughout the year
- 4 season capability - Minimize the amount of fleece or other fabric on the harness that might make it a one season
- Gear loops made for rock climbing but will work for alpine and
- Comfortable - it has to be comfortable for long alpine or even big wall
- Light - I wanted to be sure it wasn't too heavy
...combines a Speed Adjust waistbelt and leg-loop buckles with all of the Focus’s features including: SoftEdge construction, pressure-molded gear loops, 15 kN-rated haul loop and ultra-comfortable 3D molded foam.As for myself? I call it perfect for my style of climbing. Comfy all day on a route on the Grand Teton and easy on easy off at my favorite crag. It's light enough that I barely feel it. For the all around climber, the Focus SA from Black Diamond is as sweet as red-pointing! Buy Now: Pick up the Black Diamond AL Climbing Harness and let your mind be at ease.... Read more...
My room at my house has a unique decorative theme: Harnesses. Black Diamond would be proud. My walls don 4 different Black Diamond harnesses, so I can grab one and go at a moment's notice. For sport climbing, I reach for the Black Diamond Women's Diva Harness. Super lightweight yet padded nicely, the Diva is a great choice for sport climbing and gym endeavors. With fixed leg loops, you don't have to worry about undoing and redoing your leg straps: the Diva is just ready to go whenever you are. Though the Diva still has gear loops, they are smaller, fewer and less beefy than that of the Primrose or other BD harnesses, again making it lighter! Because of this, I wouldn't recommend taking the Diva for a multipitch trad route, you wouldn't be able to rack up if you're taking anything more than a few small cams.
Get the Stats on the Black Diamond Diva Harness
- Diva comes with racking grooves, where you can toss that 1 draw when you need a quick clip
- Fixed leg loops make transitions between the car and the crag quick
- The Diva comes in sizes 2-10, accommodating waist sized 24-34 inches
I have stinky feet. My roommates have stinky feet. We are a house of stinky feet. This is mainly due to the fact that our toesies are regularly crammed into small purple stink bombs, also known as climbing shoes. All three of us sport the Evolv Elektras for our days on the smeary sport routes. A softer climbing shoe, the Elektras are a great shoe for beginner climbers who are looking for something more on the comfortable side. They are also great for days at the crag when you are single pitching it for the morning. The velcro closure makes for easy on and off when you're ready to give your feet some wiggle room. The upper sole is synthetic, so while it may dry quickly from your foot sweat, be ready for it to retain the smell for days to come.
Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe
- Minimal stretch when out of the box
- TRAX XT-5 soles provide great smearing capabilities
- Velcro closures make for easy in and out of shoes and easy adjustment