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2016 Climbing Gear Guide: Editors' Choice Awards

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Climbing Gear Editors' Choice Awards

From Squamish to the Utah desert to Ten Sleep to Greece to Smith to Chattanooga and a few dozen destinations in between, our group of 30 psyched testers ripped fabric, popped stitches, took whippers, smeared, edged, and heel hooked their way through hundreds of products to find the following 11 pieces of near-perfect gear.

See our 2016 Gear Guide for more reviews, on newsstands next week

Rock Climbing French's Dome Oregon
Editor Julie Ellison climbs Roadkill (5.12a) on the unique volcanic column that is French’s Dome, Oregon. Photo: Andrew Burr

The Lightest Cams on the Market

Metolius Ultralight Mastercams Climbing Gear Review

Review: Metolius Ultralight Master Cams
“The action was really smooth, and I had reliable, solid placements with every type of fissure and pod—and a lighter pack to boot,” exclaimed one Eldorado Canyon, Colorado tester. Brownie points: It is all made right here in the U.S.A. Read full review.

Airy, Ultra-Comfy Harness

Petzl Sitta Harness Climbing Gear Review

Review: Petzl Sitta Harness
“Lightweight harnesses aren’t supposed to be this comfortable,” one user said after a few whippers on the limestone tufas of Kalymnos, Greece. Read full review.

Perfect Road Trip Cooker

Jetboil Genesis Stove Climbing Gear Review

Review: Jetboil Genesis
Two van-living climbers refused to pass this ingenious stove down the testing line because they claimed they’d “never be able to find such an efficient, versatile, and compact stove anywhere else.” Read full review.

The Approach Shoe for Modern Climbing Life

Evolv Cruzer Psyche Climbing Gear Review Approach Shoes

Review: Evolv Cruzer Psyche
For sport cragging, bouldering, gym sessions, a stroll through town—and for racking as a descent shoe, the Cruzer Psyche has no equal. Read full review.

Pain-Free Performance

Tenaya Iata Climbing Shoe Gear Review

Review: Tenaya Iati
“These are my quiver of one for anything requiring solid performance,” one tester said. “There’s no hold these don’t grip fantastically.” Read full review.

Double trouble Smith rock oregon rock climbing
Bend Climber Jess Groseth works the arête on Double Trouble (5.10b), Smith Rock, Oregon. Photo: Andrew Burr

Classic Cam Cuts Weight

Black Diamond Ultralight Camalot Climbing Gear Review

Review: Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight
The much-loved Camalot C4 sets the standard for modern spring-loaded camming devices, with snappy trigger action, a great placement range, and top-notch durability. The new Ultralights are all that with about 25% less weight for the whole set. Read full review.

The Only Self-Massage Tool You’ll Ever Need

Armaid Rubbit Self Massage Tool Climbing Gear Review

Review: Armaid Rubbit
“Whether I need to work out the painful knots from a mega bouldering session or keep my legs fresh after a 14-hour alpine day, the Rubbit addresses everything.” Read full review.

Digital Media Specialist Kevin Corrigan cruises up Smooth Operator (5.4) at Carver Cliff near Portland, Oregon. Photo: Julie Ellison

A Light, Simple, Soft-Catch Belay Device

Edelrid Jul2 Belay Device Climbing Gear Review

Review: Edelrid Jul² Belay Device
With no moving parts and a wide range of rope diameters, the Jul² provides assisted-braking capability that every tester lauded for its reliable and soft catch. Read full review.

One Set of Spikes for Wildly Varied Terrain

Black Diamond Snaggletooth Crampons Climbing Gear Review

Review: Black Diamond Snaggletooth Crampons
The aptly named Snaggletooth is an innovative hybrid that combines the stability of horizontal frontpoints with the precision of a mono point. Read full review.

Local climber Mikey Schaefer sinks a small nut on the classic testpiece Sunshine Dihedral (5.11d), Smith Rock, Oregon. Photo: Andrew Burr

Expert Craftsmanship, Bargain Price


Review: Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoe
Beginners, high-mileage gym climbers, and moderate multi-pitch trad climbers will love the price and durability of this $89 shoe by legendary designer Heinz Mariacher. Read full review.

Super-Functional Chalkbag


Review: Mammut Multi-Pitch Chalkbag
Designers increased the size of a classic chalkbag slightly, added a zipper pocket, and put an adjustable bungee on the bottom for a lightweight shell or puffy. “Finally!” one tester said. Read full review.

Julie Ellison crimps on Roadkill (5.12a), French’s Dome, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon. Photo: Andrew Burr

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.