Off the Wall: Hassle-Free
Climbing equipment is becoming notably easier to use,
partly because designers are focusing on converted gym
climbers who want to move to serious outdoor rock.
The equipment shown here will lighten your pack and reduce
your chances of fumbling while placing protection, making it
easier for you to enjoy the pure challenge and fun of the
climb. Which makes this gear right for veterans as well as
All prices in U.S. dollars.
Ropes are the heaviest pieces of equipment in your climbing
pack. A fat, 11-millimeter [0.4-inch] rope can weigh more
than nine and a half pounds [four kilograms].
The Beal Stinger ($175; +1 802 985 5056;
www.climbhigh.com) and the PMI Elite ($150;
800 282 7673 [U.S. and Canada only]; www.pmirope.com)
both use virtually the same construction and materials to
achieve striking weight reductions.
These 60-meter-long [66-yard-long], 9.4-millimeter-in-
diameter [0.37-inch-in-diameter] ropes weigh a svelte 7.6
pounds [3.5 kilograms].
The Stinger (shown) and Elite each have a lower impact
force than any other single rope, transmitting less force to
the climber at the moment a fall is stopped. This means a
softer catch, plus less potential for a catastrophic tug on the
protection you've placed in the rock. The Stinger and Elite
are also available dry treated, which helps keep them from
soaking up water.
Climbers covet wire-gate carabiners because they weigh less
than standard solid-gate models and are less likely to vibrate
open in a fall. However, in the past wire gates had one
significant drawback: Their locking mechanisms used
notches that threatened to snag on bolt hangers or wired
nuts, making fumbles more likely. The DMM Wire Lock carabiner ($10; +1 801 942
8471; www.dmm.wales.com) combines the wire gate's
trademark light weight and convenience with a smooth,
tongue-and-groove wire closure. The result is a carabiner
that's easy to clip, very light, and extremely strong.
The first bolt on a sport route may be 12 feet [4 meters] off
the ground, meaning that a climber is not protected for at
least a few moves. The Epic Stick Clip ($29; 888 902 5462 [U.S. and
Canada only]; www.advancedbasecamp.com) unfolds to
extend your reach by a full 9 feet [2.7 meters], letting you
attach your quickdraw to the first bolt while you're still
standing on the ground.
In the old days, climbers would sometimes accomplish the
same task by attaching a quickdraw to the end of a tree
branch with athletic tape; the Stick Clip works much better.
The device collapses into six 18-inch [46-centimeter]
sections, slipping easily into your pack. And it's only 6.7
ounces [190 grams], so you'll barely notice the extra weight.