The gatherings of our tribe are always a time of celebration, whether it be a party in central Wyoming, or a trade show in the scorching hot basin that is Salt Lake City. And even if the “main” reason we are there is to dork out on gear, we all know the real reason is to reconnect with friends far and wide. It’s always fun to see familiar faces, catch up on life, find out what kinds of inspirational things others are up to. I always leave the show with a renewed vigor for what we do on this site, (and a pretty good hankering to get out and climb as well after four days of walking around like zombies.)
There was actually quite a bit of fun stuff at this show, and potentially some ground breaking gear, though that will remain to be seen. Below are some highlights, those who don’t care about gear should change the channel. We also got to check out a sneak preview of this year’s Reel Rock Tour, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. While I thought last year’s was fairly uninteresting, this year’s will likely be a don’t-miss event. But on to the gear!
Arc’teryx has a fun new rope bag, similar to the Edelrid Caddy, and the Miura 45 is an ultra-functional crag bag.
The big news at Black Diamond are the new X4 Camalots, a single stem cam that goes down to the old .1 and .2 sizes, with stacked axle technology allowing for a greater expansion range than other similar units. They also have the Vapor helmet, which is even lighter than the new Vector. Can’t wait to get one of those.
CAMP has redesigned the Tri Cam into the Tri Cam Evo, which allows for three placement options instead of two. They also stiffened the sling to allow for easier one handed placements. And their new Supernova harness should appeal to the ladies, as it was designed and tested extensively by women.
Edelrid is putting out the Flycatcher, a 6.9mm double rope, the smallest in it’s class. In fact, they had to manufacture their own belay device to work with it, the MicroJul, which is similar to the Mammut Smart. The new Orion harness uses some fancy webbing technology to bring comfort to a high level. And the popular Caddy rope bag gets some shoulder straps, addressing a common complaint about it being a pain to carry around.
Evolv has a new all-around trad shoe, the Axiom, and we are still waiting for the Astroman to show up.
Five Ten is introducing a new last, designed around keeping your foot flat while still offering a high level of performance. The Stonelands collection features three new models built on this last, a lace up, velcro, and slipper, all of which take the traditional approach to making shoes and turn it on its toes. The velcro slipper is stiffer, and the lace up is actually relatively soft, relying instead on the lace system to provide support. It’ll be interesting to see how these actually handle out on the rock.
Mammut’s signature harnesses get a redesign, and the Sensor 10mm rope is the the first to use a texture change at the midpoint and the ends. The idea is that as it’s going through your belay device it feels like speed bumps, alerting you to where you are on the rope. And the 8.7 Serenity is now the skinniest single rope in the known universe.
Millet upgrades their Absolute 9mm rope to the TRX, with the Triaxiale braided core technology that incorporates several different strands, which adds to the longevity of the rope. Skinny ropes tend to take a beating, and it’ll be interesting to see how much better this one holds up.
Metolius has a beautiful looking new hang board, the Contact, along with a new belay biner, the Gatekeeper. They are also introducing a mid-size lightweight ‘biner, the Bravo, which weighs 30 grams but is still big enough to be functional.
Outdoor Research showed a slew of new products, the most interesting to climbers are the Whirlwind Hoody, a lighter version of the popular Ferosi Hoody, the comfy Air Brake belay gloves, and the new technical sportswear shirts that look and feel like cotton but perform like synthetics.
Patagonia had a slew of new things, the most interesting to me being the resurrected M10 shell, a redesigned DAS Parka, and the Harding pants.
Lots of new gear at Petzl, most notably the new Sirocco helmet, weighing a mere 165 grams. It’s so light you have to pick it up to believe it. The expanded polypropylene actually flexes when compressed, but then returns to it’s normal shape. Some people were even standing on it, crushing the helmet and then watching it come back to form. This one’s not going to win any fashion awards, but certainly brings us closer to the day when helmets will be so light and well-ventilated they’ll be the norm.
Also at Petzl, their bread and butter harnesses got redesigns, making them wider on the sides and narrower at the pressure points in front and back. And the beloved Spirit finally joins the 21st century, 20% lighter and with a new Express draw.
Rab takes the popular Boreas pullover and gives us a jacket version in the Zephyr. They also added a treatment to take away the stink, as anyone who’s lived in the Boreas for days on end can attest that things get a little pungent.
The Salewa Wildfire blurs the lines between approach shoe and climbing shoe, can’t wait to get a pair of these!
Scarpa introduces the new Instinct VS, a single strap version of the popular Instinct, featuring Lorica uppers and a 3mm Vibram XS Edge sole. These look rad.
Sterling has some new tag lines, which come in 8mm,7mm or 6mm diameters, and are available as 65m or 75m lengths. The idea on those lengths being that rapping on a 60 or 70 meter cord you will have rope stretch, while the tag line is static, so the extra length compensates for that. Plus if you need to beef up an anchor or something, you can cut off some material and still get down OK.
Trango is now distributing Tenaya shoes, a company from Spain known for their high end but comfortable shoes. The Tatanka was a lace up version I tried on at the shoe that felt very similar to the Five Ten Anasazi.
There was also a bunch of other great stuff from La Sportiva, Sanuk, DMM, Fixe, Icebreaker, Osprey and more. Thanks to everyone for a great show!