A couple of weeks ago, we showed you some of the new ice climbing hardware coming out later this year. In addition to all the shiny stuff, numerous brands showcased other ice climbing related gear at both Outdoor Retailer and ISPO. Here are some of the pieces we are super excited about.
Anyone who has suffered through the screaming barfies will be psyched on the new Bitterblaze/Ouray Ice Gloves (women’s) from Outdoor Research. These waterproof, insulated gloves use PrimaLoft’s new Gold Aerogel insulation on the palms and in the finger tips to protect your digits from all that cold metal while remaining thin enough to up the dexterity factor. At $135 they don’t come cheap but I would do almost anything to help keep my hands warm when climbing.
One of my favorite ice climbing packs gets an update for next season. Now in its fifth generation, the all new Osprey Mutant combines the best features from the past Mutant and Variant series into one comprehensive range of climbing packs.
The Mutant will come in three sizes — a 22L ($100) daypack/summit pack/multi-pitch pack, 38L ($170) crag pack, and the 52L ($200) large volume expedition pack for big objectives. All the packs feature a full tool lock system on the front, rope stay on the top, and a snow-shedding backpanel.
The 22L is a real minimalist pack with a simple removable webbing hipbelt and a small storage pocket inside the top-zip opening. Weighing in at 1.28 pounds, that’s about it for features apart from side loops for additional compression or attachment points.
The 38L can be stripped down to 32L by removing the lid — the tucked away FlapJacket can be used to protect your gear from the elements instead. There’s an A-frame style ski carry system and a mesh helmet carry. The framestay is removable and the hipbelt comes with gear loops and ice clipper attachment points. The Mutant 38L weighs 2.81 pounds before you start to strip off anything.
The 52L size adds a fully removable hipbelt in addition to the removable framestay and removable top pocket. You get the same mesh helmet carry and FlapJacket to cover the top. There’s an A-frame ski carry system and the hipbelt houses both gear loops and ice clipper attachment points. This alpine pack weighs 3.41 pounds before stripping anything off.
The thing I appreciate about Osprey packs is the low profile padding on both the hipbelt and shoulder straps. It’s less bulky and conforms to your body, enabling the pack to move with you as you climb instead of fight against you.
The Lowe Alpine Fuse 20 and Ignite 15 would make great summit packs or multi-pitch climbing packs. They are super stripped down, lightweight yet durable packs with webbing loops down the front, ice axe/pole attachment points, and a double stitched haul loop at the top for hanging from the belay. A small foam pad down the back of the pack protects you from sharp and pointy gear inside, but can also be removed to form a seat at the crag. The best part? They cost just $35-$40.
The La Sportiva Trango Tower hit the market last year and became popular among alpine climbers as a burly three season boot option. To see climbers through more harsh winter conditions, La Sportiva now introduces the Trango Tower Extreme GTX ($475). The biggest difference can be found in the sole with an added toe bail step for fully automatic crampons, a lighter rand, and a Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort liner to up the warmth factor. A small gaitor around the collar helps keep snow out of your boots.