2012 Holiday Gift Guide for Climbers

Wait, it’s December 14th already!?! When did that happen? Weren’t we just climbing on sunny rock? If, like me, the holidays have snuck up on you this year, you’re probably wondering to get those special people in your life. Fear not, once again, just in time for all of us who don’t do our Christmas shopping in October, we present the annual Splitter Choss Holiday Gift Guide. These are the gifts that will have them oooh and ahhh-ing, and wondering how you know them so well to get such a great gift.

Western Gold

I mostly only boulder for training these days, but there was a time when I was inspired by the outdoor blocks. Still, I appreciate the simplicity and beauty of the pursuit, and Western Gold captures that essence better than any other film in its genre. If you want amped up music and double digit whateverness you’ll need to look elsewhere, as this is instead focused on regular climbers who are out there pushing themselves on challenges that inspire them. (Don’t worry, some of the problems are indeed pretty sick and hard!) This is a gift any pebble wrestler would appreciate in their stocking on Christmas morning. Available for purchase here, retail is $24.99.

La Sportiva Futura

I was skeptical at first when I saw these shoes, but after several months of sport climbing and bouldering with them, I’m a believer. The “No Edge” concept actually makes pretty good sense, and the attached booklet does an excellent job of illustrating why it works. For me, there was no adjustment period between using these shoes and ones with a regular edge, though your mileage may vary. I’ve found them to be excellent for steep climbing with intensive footwork, and felt more connected to the rock then I ever thought possible. They run a little small, I’d go with your standard Sportiva size for bouldering, but you may want to add a Euro half size for routes. Available for purchase here, retail is $170.

Metolius Contact Hangboard

“Whoa, pinches!” That’s a common first reaction upon seeing the latest training tool from Metolius. We’ve had this up in our gym for over a month now, and it’s by far my favorite hangboard. A nice variety of holds, including jugs, several slopers, numerous edges and pockets, and the oh-so-awesome pinches, mean you wont run out of options for working your weaknesses. The texture is perfect and my hands never feel torn up afterwards. Give one of these as gift and they’ll be forever indebted to you when they crush their project in the spring. Unfortunately not available for purchase until Jan 1, 2013, but you can check it out here, retail is $95.

Millet Absolute Pro 9

I can still remember when I was a little nervous about climbing on my first 9.2, and now that feels as normal as 9.8 used to. So it was without hesitation I decided to check out the Millet Absolute 9, which is another excellent skinny cord, with a durable sheath to keep it from wearing out quickly. This thing clips so easy you’ll think you’re cheating, and it gives an incredibly soft catch when you botch the moves on your latest project and take the big one. Plus it’s bright green, which always makes me feel like maybe I’m having just a little more fun than the guy on the next route over with the old, brown rope. Available for purchase here, retail for 70m is $264.85.

Salewa Firetail

This has quickly become my favorite approach shoe, offering incredible comfort combined with technical performance. The multi-fit footbed allows you to dial in the perfect fit for your foot, and a more aggressive toe profile  means it jams easier into cracks when you start climbing. Gore-Tex isn’t often a feature looked for when you live in a drier climate, but after having romped through snow with these on, I’m in. I like the versatility of knowing I can take them anywhere, and that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? I mean who wants to have a quiver of shoes? Take a pair of these and you’ll be set for whatever you encounter. Available for purchase here, retail is $158.95.

Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid

Skim or non-fat? One shot or two? Sometimes we can’t make up our minds, and apparently neither can the Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid. The upper is Nano Puff, the bottom cozy R2  fleece. The result is an incredibly warm jacket that can stand on it’s own for cold weather aerobic pursuits, or work as a toasty mid layer under a shell. So whether you think you need a puffy, or a fleece, or maybe aren’t sure, this jacket has you, err, I mean the person you are buying this for, covered. Available for purchase here, retail is $249.

Black Diamond Focus Harness

The Focus is unapologetically durable and tough. So what if it weighs a little more than those light sport climbing rigs, this thing is designed to take some abuse. From thrashing up granite chimneys, to scumming up Indian Creek corners, this is the harness for those who want their gear to be as tough as they are. Fully featured for long days in the vertical, this is simply one of the finest trad climbing harnesses out there. Oh, and if you prefer to flow up limestone pockets, the Flight is worth checking out. I did a lot of flying in it this summer and it’s as light and comfortable as you want it to be. Available for purchase here, retail is $79.95.

Bouldering: Movement, Tactics and Problem Solving

For the more philosophically inclined boulderer, this just might be the ticket. I was skeptical at first about a bouldering book, but Peter Beal has put together an incredible resource for the novice and expert alike, presenting the sport of bouldering as it’s never been done before. From an in depth look at the history, to technique to falling to considerations for kids, this is book contains a wealth of information you’ll find yourself reading and rereading over again. Available for purchase here, retail is $21.95.

Rab Generator Alpine Jacket

The Generator Alpine has quickly become my go to jacket this winter, offering the perfect combination of weather protection and warmth. The durable outer fabric blocks wind and moisture with ease, making this an ideal winter belay parka. Wrap yourself in one of these and you’ll drift off to your happy place, while your partner is battling it out on the next pitch. Being synthetic, it’s more versatile than down, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use this skiing on days when the temperature hovers in the single digits.  Available for purchase here, retail is $234.95.

Sanuk Kyoto Chill

Come winter, it’s time to put away the flip flops and slip into something more comfortable. The Kyoto Chills are like giving your feet their own toasty little ovens. I’ve been romping around in the snow with them, and they keep my feet plenty warm. In fact, if it’s not pretty cold out, you’ll probably find that they are too warm. At first the fit was a little tight, but they’ve since stretched out, though I’d still described them as snug. It may be advisable to go a half size up in these. Available for purchase here, retail is $85.

Locals Corner

Bulldog Creek Dog Walk (IV WI 4+)

Hayden Carpenter and Tom Bohanon recently repeated an obscure ice climb on the south side of Mt Sopris. Given a brief mention in Jack Robert’s ice guide, Bulldog Creek Walk is described as being 100 meters of WI 4. What they found was seven pitches of ice in a remote setting that makes for one […]

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