The Best New Climbing Gear from Outdoor Retailer
Last week was Outdoor Retailer’s summer market! The summer market is focused on rock climbing, so I wandered the halls looking for the coolest new climbing gear. This is what I found.
adidas Five Ten Grandstone Climbing Shoes
This is by far the item I am most excited about. The Five Ten Grandstone’s have high ankle protection, a fully covered toe box, and a mostly flat sole perfect for long days on the wall. The Grandstones are designed to be a high-performance trad shoe, with the highly coveted C4 stealth rubber. (The color scheme is pretty slick too) On the Grandstones, The top of the toe box has a flap of rubber instead of being fully covered. I am interested to see how that holds up over time, as one of my biggest issues with all day trad shoes is how easily the rubber peels back from the rand. I asked one of the reps at the Five Ten booth and he assured me the testers have had no problems, but I’m going to wait to pass judgment until I’ve tried them myself. However, having the C4 stealth rubber is very exciting. In conclusion, I’m looking forward to seeing another high-performance trad shoe on the market and I can’t wait to try these out!
Z4 Camelot’s from Black Diamond
Just when you thought Black Diamond was done reinventing their own design with the new C4’s, they do it again with the Z4’s. These cams are going to replace both the X4’s and the C3’s on February 1st, 2020. For the first time ever, Black Diamond has created a (patent pending) RigidFlex stem. I played around with these cams (which come in 0-.75 plus a full set of offsets) during the conference and they are sweet. These cams have the flexible stem that made the X4’s popular, but an added stem sheath makes them rigid when the trigger is engaged to make placements easier. I placed the .75 a few times and found that unlike the X4 .75s, engaging the trigger does not cause the cam to ‘taco’ in half, which is why I never bought a .75 X4. After chatting with one of the reps about the Z4’s he let me know that these double axle cams are narrower and lighter than their C4 counterparts and the .75 is even lighter than the ultralight .75. To me, they seem like the perfect hybrid between the X4’s and the C3’s. I was never a fan of the 3 lobed C3’s, so I’m looking forward to trying out the new double axel microcams as well.
Half nuts from DMM
In the world of climbing gear, let’s not forget passive pro! The new DMM Halfnuts are 38% lighter than their Wallnut counterparts. With a single wire and reduced width, these bad boys are perfect for shallow placements and pin scars. In other words, they’re the nuts you need for Yosemite climbing. I have to be honest, I learned to climb in Indian Creek and so nut placements have never been my forte. However, messing around with these for a few minutes and I got to thinking about how nice they would feel sinking into a small flaring crack. They remind me of the DMM Peenuts, same offset shape, just a bit narrower. When 2020 rolls around I think I’ll treat myself to a new set of Halfnuts, and then finally I’ll start placing them.
First Ascent Instant Coffee
I first ran into these guys last fall in Indian Creek. They pulled up their camper van, pulled out a table, put up a sign stating ‘Free Coffee’ and waited for the dirtbags to show up. And show up we did. First Ascent Coffee is a brand of coffee made by climbers, for climbers. They offer instant coffee as well as regular whole bean coffee. While this isn’t climbing gear exactly, I do think it’s worth a mention in this list. Their instant coffee is designed for backpacking trips, multi-day climbing trips, bike-packing adventures and anything else you would need to save space, but also desire hot yummy coffee. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am unappealing (to say the least) before my first cup of coffee in the morning. With first ascent, I see the potential for wall climbing or alpine trips. The instant coffee packets are very very small, which makes them perfect for packing light. After a few cups of their Hero Day Blend, I’ve decided I quite like the flavor as well. For me, the price at $19.99 for 8 packets of instant coffee is a bit steep. However, as a gift for a friend, or something nice to treat myself with, I would think of this as a perfect solution.
Boulder Denim Alpine Pant
Boulder Denim is a Canadian company born out of the desire to have stylish and functional climbing pants. I’ve been enjoying their pants for a few years now, but I’m really looking forward to their newest line of Alpine climbing pants. They are technically called the “Chino-Jogger Hybrid” pants, but I’m calling them the Alpine pants because “Chino-Jogger Hybrid” is too much to say. Instead of looking like a pair of jeans you’d see on a hot guy at a bar in New York, these alpine pants look more like comfy Carhartts. They have tapered ankles with an elastic tightener, deep pockets (my favorite), a high(ish) waist, and zipper pockets on the thighs for the important things you don’t want falling out 8 pitches up. They are a unisex style, so everyone can look forward to trying these pants out when they hit the market later this year.
There is some high quality and experimental climbing gear coming out in the next year. As a climber, I am really excited to see the innovation and creativity put forward by these brands. And I can’t wait to try them out for myself. If you went to OR what gear should I have included? What were your favorite picks from OR? Let us know down in the comments!
Kaya Lindsay is the social media coordinator for Yosemite Facelift. She is also a writer and photographer with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors. In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing ever since. You will most likely find her in a parking lot or coffee shop, camera in hand, planning her next grand adventure. Connect with her on Instagram @OneChickTravels
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About the Gear Tester
Kaya Lindsay is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors.
In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing. Since hitting the road she has begun a career in filmmaking and is currently working on her One Chick Travels series, highlighting solo female travelers who live and work to pursue an adventurous lifestyle. Her films have been highlighted by major brands such as Backcountry and Outside TV. To fulfill her passion for writing, she chronicles her many adventures in her blog. Professionally, she writes for the adventure sports company Outdoor Prolink and The Climbing Zine. Kaya hopes to spend many more years in her tiny home on wheels, Lyra, and is currently living in Moab Utah.