At ISPO earlier this month, I had the opportunity to walk around and check out some new climbing hardware that I didn’t get the opportunity to see at Outdoor Retailer. From new ice tools and crampons, to ingenious sport climbing quickdraws, there just might be something to add to your kit next season.
Climbing Technology North Couloir Ice Axe: Design for ice and mixed climbing as well as more technical alpine ascents, this ice tool is very customizable. You can choose a hammer or adze configuration, both of which can be removed. The blade itself is interchangeable for ice climbing versus mixed climbing. An extra weight can be added to the head if you prefer a heavier swing. The handle comes with two grip rests for hand support and easy matching. The blade at the base of the handle features a hole for attaching tethers or hooking a quickdraw in panic mode.
Cassin Alpinist and Alpinist Pro Crampons: Built around a similar platform to the Blade Runner, the Pro version of these chromoly steel crampons features the same heel rise and aggressive front points for technical climbing. You get three points of adjustment on front bail, two on rear bail, plus a new heel piece that can slide up and down three positions — these all work together to ensure you get the best fit for whatever type of boot you are wearing. The linking bar is fixed to the heel piece for extra rigidity and can be adjusted in half-size increments on the face plate. Elastic anti-balling plates offer more dynamic snow buildup prevention. The crampons weigh 960 grams and are available in both semi-automatic and automatic configurations. The Alpinist version comes in a universal fit (or semi-automatic and automatic) and is more of a standard mountaineering 12-point crampon but with the same adjustment features. You can also easily switch the toe piece out for different types of climbing without having to buy another full set of crampons. Available in September.
Kong Panic: For anyone who climbs at Smith Rock, you might want this extra long quickdraw to clip that first bolt before you get too far off the deck. Flexible yet rigid enough to clip, the unique device features a carabiner with a mechanism to keep it open until it is clipped securely in the bolt. The same mechanism prevents the gate from accidentally opening under load. You need to add another carabiner or full quickdraw to the bottom end. The Panic comes in 2 length – 30 cm and 45 cm. If you plan to project a hard sport route this spring and want to work out the moves without taking whippers, you will want one of these clip sticks.
Edelrid Ohm: If there is a big differential in weight between belayer and climber, the belayer can easily be pulled off the ground and pulled against the wall in the event of a leader fall. This is not only dangerous for the belayer, but also the leader as it significantly increases the distance they fall. By simply introducing the Ohm into the system, you can prevent this from ever happening. The Ohm is an assisted-braking resistor that you install at the first bolt in the safety chain. In the event of a fall, the Ohm increases rope friction so that a lighter belayer can hold a heavier partner. The device still enables smooth rope pay out and take in when climbing and belaying and has no negative affect on handling.