Here is a round-up of some of the latest gear for the spring climbing season – something for almost any climber.
Training Board – $190
The wide and gently curved shape of the Lapis Training Board allows climbers to train different grip positions at various widths. Perhaps the board’s most innovative feature is the ability to add two bolt-on holds allowing climbers to train specific grip positions. Throw in a pair on comfy jugs and some useful slopers and climbers have an excellent training tool.
Pirate ORCA-Lock – $21
At first glance the Pirate ORAC-Lock looks like many other locking biners; a mini pear-shaped biner with a large diameter round stock body and autolocking gate. But as with many items made by Rock Exotica, it’s the small details that set this biner apart from its competitors. Consider for instance the confidence instilling 11kN minor axis strength or the slightly angled gate path that creates a surprisingly wide gate opening. Alone, these features position the Pirate ORCA-Lock as an excellent locking biner, but when the ORCA-Lock mechanism is added to the equation it becomes clear that this is game-changing product. Although it looks like a conventional twist-lock, the ORCA-Lock can be loaded so that the gate-lock remains open (like a non-locker), but as soon as the gate is used, the gate locks shut. No more fiddling around with locked gates every time a rope or belay device is loaded into the biner. This is also an advantage when the biner is used in a bottom of quickdraw during dangerous runouts. Before starting the route, load the Pirate in the open positing and when the rope is clipped, it locks ensuring that there is no accidental opening. This is brilliant product and highly recommended.
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Helium Friends – $55-65
With the introduction of the new Helium Friends, Wild Country has updated a classic without compromising the qualities that made the original Friends so popular. Some of the more useful new features include a longer thumb-loop stem, better trigger mechanism, improved size range overlap and a modest reduction on weight. What has not changed however is the classic 13.75 degree cam angle, which results in excellent holding power without sacrificing range. The single axle construction, a design that isolates stem movement and minimizes cam-walking has also been carried over to the new cams. In the field, the Heilums work brilliantly protecting parallel-sided, gently-flaring and horizontal cracks. In some placements, the Heliums’ full-strength cam stops allow the units to be placed like a passive nut further enhancing their versatility.
Fraggle Harness – $55
With the new Fraggle Harness, climbers can take Junior to the crag or gym and have them safely experience our sport. The well padded harness is easily adjusted and is rated for children up to 40kg. As an added bonus, Edelrid has included a rear tie-in point which is useful for guiding and belaying Junior during more technical approaches and descents. Unlike other children’s harnesses, the Fraggle’s construction minimizes tangles and simplifies putting it on the budding rock star.