The 2016 Outdoor Retailer was a gathering of climbers, brands and industry representatives. While there are many reasons to attend the event, the main one was to reveal what is new for 2017. The following are 20 things that caught our attention for the technical climber.
Arc’teryx Bora AR Pack: The first Bora was built in 1994 and it changed the industry. In 2017, the Bora AR hopes to do the same. Created with a futuristic hip-belt that uses a technology called RotoGlide, the Bora AR is made for those travelling over long distances on complicated terrain. The big and simple compartment allows you to easily organize your gear. Built tough to last season after season.
Black Diamond ATC Pilot: A semi-automatic non-mechanical belay device built ergonomically. Built of steel, the ATC Pilot handles ropes 8.7 to 11 mm smoothly. Other devices such as the Mammut Smart and Salewa Ergo use similar concepts, but it’s hard to beat nice details Black Diamond is known for.
Petzl Grigri Plus: A heavy duty Grigri designed for taking a beating. It has an anti-panic function that prevents lowering when pulled too hard. A switch on the side changes the resistance for lead or top-rope use. Stainless steel protector will prevent wear from the rope.
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Mammut Magic Sling: A new hybrid-style sling with a Dyneema core and nylon outer built to be tough. The strength is retained in the inside and the sheath can take a beating. They come in 60 and 120 cm. The Magic Sling is a combination of old and new technology. Most slings lose 40 per cent of their strength tied in a knot, but the Magic Sling only losses 20 per cent.
Edelrid Bean Bag Crash Pad: A taco-style (no centre fold) bouldering pad with a soft nylon bag filled with EPS beads below the padded upper mat. The beads allow the bag to be manipulated on rocky or steep terrain. It has aluminum hooks and a built-in foot wiper.
DMM Flexform Harnesses: The new line of Flexform harnesses for 2017 (Creda, Eon, Asenna and Dala) combine light and fast with loads of comfort. Long story short, Flexform uses laminated thermoform pads, similar technology to their I-beam biner construction, that keeps thicker material where you need it and thinner material to maintain flexibility. Along the same lines as Arc’teryx Warp Strength and Black Diamond’s Kinetic Core, but in a league of its own.
Maxim Platinum: The newest technology in rope design. Maxim has designed a rope that intertwines the sheath with the core reducing slippage and increasing durability. Created with a special computer program, the colour pattern marks half-rope. As the ends of the rope nears, the pattern changes to let you know.
Grivel Helmets: The Grivel Salamander and new Stealth will be available in 2017. The Salamander is redesigned as an ergonomic and lightweight helmet, but is the more heavyweight (360 grams) of the two. It features minimal venting and will be great for alpine and ice climbing. The headlamp attachment is bomber it has comfortable webbing that adjusts to keep it snug. The Stealth helmet has the same adjustment and headlamp system, but has a futuristic geometric shape and lots of vents that keep it light (195 grams).
Organic Muffin Protector: Organic has long been an industry leader in creating must-have bouldering gear. The new Muffin Protector is created for those humping a number of pads to the boulders. It is a hip belt that can be added to any existing bouldering pad that increases the support. It removes easily and has cushy foam and a mesh liner for breathability.
Scarpa Chimera: The new Chimera has a very soft sole that increases sensitivity. It uses the strong foot-wrapping system that increases tension throughout. It uses three kinds of rubber that gives stretch where it needs to be. The heel locks on and will guarantee stronger heel-hooking. The lacing system is one-of-a-kind and hugs the shoe to your foot nicely. The Chimera is a high-end down-turned shoe for experienced climbers.
La Sportiva Mythos Eco: The Mythos has long been a favourite and in 2017 it will come in an environmentally friendly version. The eco-rubber is crafted from recycled rubber scraps from the factory. It performs the same as the old Mythos and will continue to be one of the top shoes.
Patagonia Grade VII Down Parka: Available sooner than later, the Grade VII Down Parka is built with alpine climbing in mind. Fully baffled, light and durable, baffled helmet hood, cozy pockets, elastic and comfortable wrist to keep in heat, 800-fill traceable down and many more smart accessories make this one of the best down coats on the market.
The North Face Summit Alpine 50: The Alpine 50 uses a construction that minimizes seams and weight, coming in at 1160 grams. It is the newest in a long line of strong and light packs from The North Face and uses their signature FuseForm technology, which was only used in jackets up until now. The top lid is easy to use and doubles as a rope-carrying system. The waist belt and frame sheet can be removed and it has slick pockets for ice axes.
Metolius Belay Glasses: The new Belay Glasses from Metolius will reduce neck strain and fatigue at the gym and crag. They are made with low-profile frames for enhanced peripheral vision and optimized prism. If you spend your days at the crag, belay glasses are a must have.
Marmot Phase Sleeping Bags: The Marmot Phase 30 and Phase 20 sleeping bags are lightweight at 498 grams and 660 grams. The slick new bags have full-length zippers and 150 cm of shoulder girth. The women’s version of the Phase 20 will be available and will weigh 822 grams, which is heavier than the men’s due to more insulation.
Big Agnes Flume UL 30: The Flume UL 30 is the first lightweight bag from Big Agnes in some time. Its 340 grams of 850 fill-power down is enclosed in a seven-denier shell with a two-thirds zipper. Overall it comes in a 623 grams. The baffles hold the down where it should be to maintain heat in the chest and feet.
Five Ten Anasazi Blanco: The much-loved Blancos are back. The updated versions use the same C4 sole but have introduced a thermoplastic midsole to keep the shoe stiff and a new tongue that increases breathability and comfort. They are a no down-turn simple shoe designed for all-day use on a variety of terrain. They are considered the most aggressive of the Anasazi line.
Boreal Diabolo: The updated Diabolo is a high-performance shoe designed to be as comfortable as possible. It has been reshaped with a new last that gives a low-profile and precise toe shame. It has a solid secure double closure that pulls the them in for narrow feet and heels. The Diabolo is beefed up with Zenith Pro rubber that gives excellent control on small edges and steep smears.
Butora Altura: The new shoe company has charged onto the market with a number of top products. They use a regular and wide fitting scheme to accommodate a range of foot sizes. The Altura are a durable shoe with some of the best craftsmanship in the business. It is lined with organic hemp and has padded high-to ankles.
Mountain Hardwear Dragon Jacket: The 609-gram alpine softshell is built to be stretchy and durable. Using their AirShield membrane, Mountain Hardwear has made a great all-round wind and weatherproof jacket. They have included their highly durable Chockstone fabric in areas of high wear and tear.
Also New: The Black Diamond Swift alpine tool and new Venom ice axe. Black Diamond is introducing four dynamic dry ropes (7.8, 9.2, 9.6 and 9.9 mm) from 35 to 80 metres. Edelrid is introducing the OHM to help balance the difference in weight of a lead climber and belayer. They also have the Lopop Lite harness, which is the world’s lightest at 80 grams. Black Diamond and Petzl have all-new headlamp lines, many which can be charge with a USB cord. Petzl’s new Noctilight diffuses the light from your headlamp and turns it into a sort-of lantern that hangs in your tent or car. Gregory and Osprey have slick new packs for climbers. There are rumours that MEC will unveil their own ski line. Grivel, DMM, Petzl and Omega Pacific have new lightweight biners.
We will have in-depth reviews on Gripped.com and in Gripped magazine of the above products over the next few months.