Holiday Gear Gift Guide
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$229.95 for 60 meters
My first fall on Petzl’s new rope, and what I now consider the aptly named Arial, was looooong. As I continued to test the Arial, I grew accustomed to the bungee-like catch. I also fell in love with the rope’s remarkable handling. the rope is one of the best sport climbing cords I’ve used. The diameter fit squarely in the Goldilocks realm—not too fat, not too skinny. From the factory coil, the Arial is slinky and soft.
Burly. But plush.
The Metolius Belay Glove is all-leather, a nice smooth cowhide. It is thicker and costlier than a leather-palm, nylon-back sport/gym glove (the one from Metolius is $22.95), but the leather will be warmer as temps turn cooler.
Outdoor Research Refuge Air Hooded Jacket
Up to 25% Off, $171.71 – $228.95
Magic is magic because you can’t explain it. The Outdoor Research Refuge Air, which I wore about 100 days last year doing any and everything, is a puffy with VerticalX Air insulation and an ActiveTemp “thermo-regulating treatment” that “dynamically regulates the internal microclimate and boosts comfort.” I could explain that, but that would be like David Copperfield revealing how he made the Statue of Liberty disappear.
Let me just say that the Refuge Air could be the most versatile midweight jacket I’ve worn.
Mountain Hardwear Kor Strata Hoody
55% Off, $101.23
The Kor Strata Hoody is stretchy—like, really, surprisingly stretchy. It looks like, and is, a nice outer layer, but it is also a mid or insulating layer, light and trim. You can climb in it on a cold day, especially if you are warming up, and easily pack it along on a multipitch.
Rechargeable, solid battery life, super bright, great settings, reliable in bad weather—this thing is really, really good. The 350-lumen high-beam of the Actik Core illuminated the scraggly trail far better than their decidedly less powerful head torches. Petzl claims the high setting illuminates up to 95 meters in front of you; I didn’t measure it, but I know it’s the strongest headlamp I’ve ever used. (If you keep it on this high setting, you’ll only get about two hours of power, mind you).
Beal says the Ghost is for “expert climbing and mountaineering,” which I’m not so sure of. If by expert you mean a thoughtful, well-designed harness, then yes, but the Ghost is a fine entry-level harness as well as a project harness, when weight really matters. At 8.8 ounces, it is in the lightweight category, and yet after all the whips I’ve taken on it, it ranks high on my durability scale. There are less expensive harnesses out there, but there are more expensive ones.
Downturned, asymmetric and a supple midsole.
A good car won’t fix a bad driver, but it’ll certainly make it harder for the bad driver to mess up. Likewise, the La Sportiva Testarossas will arguably improve your footwork. Their Goldilock construction makes them top-notch at edging, while still managing a soft, responsive feel. They’re branded as best on steep routes and hard bouldering, but I’d argue they’ll be your go-to pair for hard sport climbing on any route that requires precision, with a few exceptions.
Up to 30% Off, sale $49.00 – $70.00
Though marketed as a bike shoe, the Five Ten Sleuth Slip-Ons are perfect for a casual day at any crag with little to no approach. As someone in the Rock and Ice office put it, “They are going to be my go to approach shoes for Rifle,” a Colorado locale famous for steep limestone and “car belays.”
Kavu Shapiro Rope Bag
This rope bag was designed by a climber with climbers in mind. And it shows.
Professional climber Jeff Shapiro found himself dreaming of an improved rope bag, and, after some do-it-himself arts and crafts, created a prototype. One of his sponsors, Kavu, improved upon some of his original materials and construction and, voila, Shapiro’s eponymous rope bag entered their product line.
Metolius Gatekeeper Locking Carabiner
Cross-loading your belay biner while giving someone a catch is like driving without a seatbelt. Usually, everything turns out fine. But if something does go wrong, serious injury can be the consequence. So why take the risk?
The Metolius Gatekeeper carabiner eliminates the danger of crossloading and will forever end the uneasy feeling that you get when you glance down to see a cross-loaded biner bearing the weight of your climbing partner.
Trunks 30% Off, Sale $44.76
This collection is unabashedly aimed at the climbing obsessed. For those with El Cap aspirations, nothing could be better than being able to study the topo of your dream route at literally all times—whether it be the Nose, Mescalito or the free Dawn Wall (hey, it never hurts to aim high!).
The Electa, made with recycled nylon and lycra elastane, is soft and incredibly comfy, with just enough compression for a flattering shape. I like the high-rise cut, which stays in place without being too tight around the middle. Pair these tights with a sporty tank and you’re ready for the gym or the crag, but they’re great for oversized T-shirts and Netflix as well.
Looking for something else? Check out the offerings from some of our favorite climber-run small businesses
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