Our Favorite Climbing Products
We've been climbing for a while now. Consequently, we have drained many a paycheck to buy climbing gear. Some gear we love, some....not so much. Here are some of our favorite products for climbing.
Petzl Elios Helmet
Petzl Elios Helmet
Lightweight, durable, comfy, and affordable. This helmet protects our domes and we love it! It adjusts easily with a knob at the back of the head that you can crank down as tight or as loose as you like. It also has micro adjustments in multiple spots for the neck and ear straps. It didn't break the bank and we are much safer now that we have them. Two thumbs up!
Black Diamond C4 Camalot
Once you feel the action on the C4s, they will win you over. The design is ergonomic and the action is smooth, which means that they are incredibly easy to place. The C4s have four camming lobes, so they are quite stable in the rock. The double-axle design gives these cams a very wide range of placements (as compared to single-axle cams). They have a flexible stem so you can place them in horizontal cracks without worrying. The entire camming unit is colored according to its size, which makes it very easy to spot the size you need on your rack, even when you are hanging and frantically looking for that perfect size to save your butt. They run a bit more expensive than other brands, but they are so great, we think it's worth it!
You can buy these directly from Black Diamond. Also, you can usually find these on sale or for sale as blems at a lower cost than they offer at the BD website. We love BD, but if you can find 'em cheaper, power to you!
Cristina flaking a troubled rope in her Gramicci Pants
Gramicci pants might look a bit dorky, but we're not suggesting that you wear them on your hot date on the town! They are great climbing pants and are pretty comfy. They have a gusseted crotch, which means that you have total range of motion in your pants without wearing spandex. I prefer them over the Prana-esque yoga pants that are also popular because they are more durable and have good pockets. You can also buy Gramiccis with tapered ankles so you can see your precise foot placements. They run a bit expensive on the Gramicci website, but to be quite honest, I've never bought them wholesale. I got my first pair out of a "Free Box" in Utah. I've found that they run a bit large, so get a smaller size than you may expect. If you don't have access to a free box in an outdoors town (the best!), then you can buy them from Grammicci for $46.
Black Diamond Nut Tool
BD nut tool
We've tried other nut tools (mainly the Metolius Extractor), and the Black Diamond Nut Tool is the best in our opinion. The Metolius tool has a handy clip built into it so you can clip it to your harness easily, but the nose and horn on the back are too small. SuperTopo.com liked the smaller features on the Metolius for small cracks. Different strokes for different folks. The BD tool's nose is large enough to wrap around most nuts/hexes, so you can get amazing leverage. Once you figure out some of the sweet tricks you can do with the BD tool, you'll never leave a piece in the rock. It's also very light. The one downside is that the BD tool doesn't have that handy little clip that the Metolius one does, but really, this is easily overcome. I like to keep a small quickdraw attached to my nut tool as well as some cordelette to tie it to my harness. The cordelette keeps my tool secured to my harness, so that when I'm working on a piece in the rock, I can drop the tool and readjust my body position or yank on the piece with my hand. If you're worried about weight, you can even use one of those cheap keychain clips, as long as you know to never use it for any weight bearing application!
$10 at the BD website. Not bad!
We have not had the opportunity to try out other nut tools, but we hear that the Ushba Titanium Nut Tool is by far the best on the market. SuperTopo.com did a comprehensive review of nut tools and the Ushba won, hands down. It runs $35, however, so its only worth it if you're spending a ton of time with your tool. One of the cool features on the Ushba are the two finger holes in the stem where you can get good leverage and protect your knuckles from the rock as you wail away. If you have the cash or the inclination, the Ushba is probably the way to go.
Mammut Dyneema Slings
As your old slings die off, replace them with these. Light, non-absorbent, compact, rated to 22kN... awesome.