Outdoor Retailer Winter 2015 Climbing Report

Two days before I was supposed to head to the Winter OR Show, I was NOT feeling well. I’d taken a group out skiing on a 13,000’ peak that morning and the seemingly insignificant cold I had been dealing with seemed to take advantage of the altitude to sucker punch me when I wasn’t looking. Two days of rest, however, and I felt well enough to make the trek and check out all the goods coming out in the Fall of 2015. We didn’t meet with everyone, and it seemed that fewer climbing brands are going to the winter show these days, but here’s a look at all the new stuff we saw that related to climbing.


Their glove line gets a complete makeover, with 25 new models, including the flagship Lithic glove ($249). Primaloft is mapped into the glove, for improved dexterity and warmth, while taped seams reduce the bulk and weight. While I only got to put these on at the show, it was unreal how quickly my hands heated up. These are likely to be a staple with folks who spend their winters working outside in cold environments. The Nuclei AR ($399) is the warmest of their Coreloft jackets, utilizing windstopper, and is fully taped with 100g of insulation.

Lithic glove.

Lithic glove

Nuclei AR.

Nuclei AR

Black Diamond

The Viper ($240) gets redesigned into a more versatile alpine climbing tool, with an adjustable pommel that easily unlocks to reposition wherever along the shaft you want it. The Snaggletooth ($210) is an interesting crampon design aimed at giving us the best of both worlds: snow climbing stability with steep climbing precision via the horizontal monopoint. Their apparel line for Fall ‘15 is ski focused, for those into that kind of thing.



Snaggletooth crampon.

Snaggletooth crampon


The X-Dream Alpine takes the popular steep climbing tool and upgrades it for alpine use, with an adjustable pommel and new spike on the bottom of the handle. For those who already own the X-Dream, they are also selling just the handle separately.


The Cruzer family adds two members, and the original gets a wider toe box to fit a larger variety of feet. The slipper version is for more casual use or as a crag shoe, while the upper end is more burly for demanding approaches.

Cruzer family.

Cruzer family


The Zen is a slick new pack series that offers the option of stowing just about anything that can flop around. The straps stow, the para cord, even the ice axe holders can disappear, for a oh-so-svelte package. Available in 20, 30 and 40 liters.

Zen pack.

Zen pack

La Sportiva

The Trango Ice Cube GTX ($525) is built on the wider Nepal last to offer the most comfortable steep climbing boot in the line. The G2 SM ($790) was developed in conjunction with alpinist Simone Morrow. Two BOA closures ensure you’ll get the best fit possible, with a heat moldable inner boot. The midsole is 3mm of honeycomb carbon insulation for warmth.

Trango Ice Cube GTX.

Trango Ice Cube GTX

G2 SM boot.

G2 SM boot


The Nordwand 2.1 High GTX ($700) is their top of the line climbing and mountaineering boot, with a watertight zippered gaiter, warm Thinsulate 200B lining and the Vibram Teton sole. The Zephyr Altitude ($84.95) is redesigned as more adjustable and lightweight version of their high end and minimalist Alpine Zephyr harness.

Nordwand 2.1 High GTX

Nordwand 2.1 High GTX

Zephir altitude harness.

Zephir altitude harness


Lots of new gear here, starting with redesigned Master Cams and Offset Master Cams. They’ve eliminated the thumb loop and tweaked some things with the stem, making them both lighter (40% lighter than X4’s) and more rigid than the current version. As such, you can now get Master Cams in the previously unavailable #7 and #8 sizes. ($59.95 for 00-6, $64.95 for #7 & #8) The ULA Curve nut has an asymmetric taper for flaring placements. The FS Mini II is redesigned for a larger gate opening and lower weight, and the price goes from $7.50 to $5.95. The Foundry Training Board ($69) will likely be popular on college campuses and other places where people live together in tight spaces. A compact version of the Contact, it’s only 22.75” wide by 8.5” tall, and has just enough hold variety for a complete hangboard workout.


Redesigned Master Cams

Foundry Hangboard

Foundry Hangboard


The big news here was three new insulations they are using. Waterproof down is now used in all their down jackets. They have a new synthetic insulation called Sorona, from Dupont, which is 37% plant based materials. And then they have a new 50/50 down/synthetic blend. The Dual Heel Lift Hoody uses the latter, for an affordable belay jacket at $250. The Elevation GTX ($450) is a climbing shell that uses Gore’s new C-Knit fabric, which felt much nicer in hand then the overly burly PRO.

Elevation GTX

Elevation GTX


The Black Ice 2.0 is a nice looking belay parka that wont break the bank at $239, with 70% 750 fill down and 30% Primaloft Gold insulation. The Fireball Verso Pull On ($149) is reversible, which they say deactivates the insulation and allows it to vent better, meaning you can wear it in a warm or cold configuration. Very curious to test this one out.

Black Ice 2.0

Black Ice 2.0

Fireball Verso Pull On

Fireball Verso Pull On

Outdoor Research

The highlight here was the Uberlayer ($299), a new breathable insulated jacket that uses Polartec Alpha and looks to be an upgrade of this season’s Superlayer jacket. The Diode ($325) utilizes a blend of down and synthetic to create an excellent option for those who need warmth in variable and wet conditions. Lastly, the Iceline jacket and pants are a waterproof softshell offering excellent mobility, breathability and protection.


The Kniferidge pants ($379) and jacket ($449) are waterproof softshell options for ice climbers. A new line of snow packs come in 20,30 and 40L sizes. The Dual Aspect Hoody ($299) should be a popular baselayer, utilizing a combo of Polartec Power Grid and Power Dry materials. Looks like a great cool weather climbing top.

Kniferidge Jacket

Kniferidge Jacket

Dual Aspect Hoody

Dual Aspect Hoody


The Sitta ($160) is their lightest harness, for alpine or sport climbing, which uses Dyneema bands in place of traditional webbing and foam used by other harnesses. They also have three new lanyard/adjustable daisy systems that were interesting, the Connect ($64.95), Dual ($69.95) and Evolv ($79.95), and I imagine will be popular with guide services and aid climbers.

Sitta harness

Sitta harness

Connect system

Connect system


The Catalyst is a 9.0 rope utilizing Unicore technology, which bonds the sheath to the core, increasing the safety margin in the event it gets cut. Seems like a pretty sweet feature to have on a skinny cord, and will likely make it more versatile as well. (70 or 80m lengths, $259.95/$298.95) The First Bolt Draw ($18.95) is a quickdraw with a steel ‘biner on the rope side to reduce wear and help the rest of your quickdraws last longer, or get a set if you are leaving your draws up on a project for while. And their Gym Cuts are 30m ($89.95) or 40m ($109.95) 9.9mm ropes for indoor gym climbing, no more having to use that crappy fuzzball they give you at the counter.

First Draw.

First Draw.

A big thanks to everyone who met with us, great to see you all!


3 Responses to Outdoor Retailer Winter 2015 Climbing Report

  1. Good article. I think you meant to put Cassin X-Dream instead of Camp. Cool looking gear for sure!

    Kevin February 4, 2015 at 7:29 pm
  2. Could you please tell me where I can purchase the Montane Black Ice 2.o down jacket.


    Andrew April 19, 2015 at 6:34 pm
    • Andrew, it wont be out until this fall.

      BJ Sbarra April 22, 2015 at 10:27 am
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 […]

Connect with Us

Real Time Web Analytics