Climbing Gear Highlights
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009
The Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is madness this time of year — the reason is the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show, a massive gathering (over 20,000 people, I’ve been told) of outdoor gear and apparel companies, retailers, media, and athletes.Some come here to look for gigs as pro climbers, or to drum up business for their new PR companies. Media nerds like myself come to see what’s new in gear. Day 1 is over and done with (capped with a badass OR Show comp from the guys at NE2C — more to come on that), and so far I haven’t seen any quantum leaps in gear tricknology, but there has been some cool new stuff. I’ll post up some more tonight or tomorrow, after Day 2.For now, check out these highlights:
The EDELRID JUL is a single-rope belay device (think: ATC-Sport) with a techy twist and a designy aesthetic. It’s made of stainless steel instead of the standard aluminum and is coated with a tough plastic — a totally new way of constructing a belay device. The Jul, according to Edelrid, is highly resistant to wear and never gets hot, even after a long lower. Of course, you can’t double-rope rappel with it, but it’s perfect for cragging and will win you style points.
More to come on MILLET’S two new shoes, but the important thing to note is the rubber — I rubbed these two puppies together for about two seconds and they held fast. Will be interesting to see how it sticks to the rock.The PETZL ELIA is a new women’s helmet with some really interesting innovations: the internal suspension’s headband is designed to fit over a ponytail. It’s light and reasonably priced, too (in the $60 range). Petzl also makes a new kids helmet that’s built to bike-helmet standards, so parents who don’t want to get their tots multiple brain buckets can breathe easier. The Elia won the OutDoor Industry Award in Germany this year, FYI.
After a few trips to the drawing board, the METOLIUS FS MINI is finally coming to market. This little bugger weighs only 23 grams and, as you can see, is about half the size of a standard biner. The “FS” in the name stands for “Full Strength,” as this keychain-biner sized dynamo is rated to 22kN. For the fat fingered (me), the gate was clippable, but obviously not capacious — this guys are probably best for those who really need to watch their weight, of for people with very heavy sets of keys.
The new JETBOIL FLASH is an update to their popular PCS (Personal Cooking System). It adds a new nozzle design, a color sensitive emblem on the thermal wrap that lets you know the contents are hot, and a translucent lid, so you can see what’s cooking, among other things. Jetboil also has a new tool (doubles as a bottle opener) that lets you safely puncture your old fuel canisters so they can be safely recycled.