There are some really cool products coming in Spring 2015. Please keep in mind I didn’t make it to every booth so these are just the major players. Items should be hitting store shelves around February.
Arc’teryx’s harness line-up goes from 9 harnesses down to 5. All harnesses have redesigned leg loops and a wider swami for increased comfort. I didn’t ask about price: it’s Arc’teryx, you know what to expect. The models are:
Black Diamond has redesigned their ascenders. Called the Index they’re now lighter, more ergonomic, and have bigger clip-in holes.
Camp keeps on churning out great gear. The Air CR gets a redesign for more comfort and durability. Adjustable leg loops, 4 large gear loops, 3 ice clipper slots and around 350 grams.
The sleek-looking Energy is only $50! It’s pretty basic but $50 is an incredibly good price for a decent harness.
The Matik takes the crown as the most expensive sport belay device on the market. For $200 you get a hot-forged aluminum body and precision-cast stainless steel for any rope-contacting parts. The lever has a built-in anti-panic mode: over-pull the lever and the device reverts back to locked-up mode. You also can’t clip a biner through the device unless it’s been properly loaded. And it apparently provides a dynamic belay, reducing impact forces by around 40% vs “static belay devices.”
The Nano 22 is the continuing evolution of this light biner. Superb gate action, a good size and great handling. All for 22 grams.
The Solo2 is your basic handle-less ascender. Cool feature: the lower clip-in point is slightly offset for ergonomics. Nice touch.
The Speed helmet has been around for a while, but it gets a new look. Very comfortable.
The DMM Chimera is essentially a Phantom with a snag-free nose. Sign me up for a rack of these for winter climbing.
There’s a lot of speculation about DMM’s $50-retail Grip. Basically, it is a tube-style single-slot belay device with a split-apart body that’s held together with magnets and a spring. Weigh the rope and the Grip splits apart, pinching the rope against the biner, allowing for more control and needing less force. Though a couple comments come to mind, I honestly cannot comment on practicality or usage, but I will say that it is great to see innovation happening. Only downsides as far as I can tell, though I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll see a second version of this device sooner rather than later: single-rope only and no guide mode. A two-slot version with guide mode would have the potential to become the best alpine belay device out there.
The Pivot solves a problem that I rarely encounter: feeding slack to your second(s). By putting in a pivot at the guide-hole, DMM has increased the leverage you can exert on the release-hole. A simple, but effective, improvement on the typical ATC.
Edelrid has a new alpine harness, the Wing. Laminated construction makes it small and light. Four gear loops and two ice-clipper slots. Criticism: the ice clipper slots appear to be located directly over/under the forward-most gear loops. I hope this is a pre-production issue only. 330g
Fixe has updated the Aliens: lighter, narrower and with a smoother trigger feel. They’ll also come in two versions: standard sling, as well as extendable sling versions.
Grivel has three harnesses in the works. The Ares’s key feature are leg loops that are attached to the waistbelt, eliminating the crotch-pinch under load.
The Poseidon is ice and alpine oriented, and to that end it is dry-treated. That’s right, a dry-treated harness.
The SML is basically a daisy-chain for your quickdraws. I think these will be extremely handy for bolted-anchors: just clip the two biners and you’ve got a ready-made load-rated masterpoint.
Mammut is reorganizing their entire rope line-up to better comply with the new UIAA water-resistance standard. There will be three levels of rope:
Classic are untreated, basic ropes. There will be four in the line-up: 9.5 Infinity, 9.8 Eternity, 10.0 Galaxy and 10.2 Gravity.
Protect ropes will have a coated sheath, increasing their water-resistance as well as being more durable. The line-up is same as the Classic ropes, but also adds the 9.2 Revelation.
Dry ropes have both the core and the sheath coated, and absorb only 1% of their weight in water when tested to the UIAA standard. They’re also going to be much more durable than either the Classic or Protect ropes. The 7.5 Twilight, 8.0 Phoenix and 8.5 Genesis twin/double ropes are all in this class, as well as the triple-rated 8.7 Serenity. All the other ropes listed above will be available in Dry.
The Zephir gets a redesign for more comfort and less weight. Dedicated to sport-climbing, it’s sub-300 grams and has two moulded gear loops up front as well as two, small, flexible loops at the back.
Mammut also introduces another locking mechanism with the Crag HMS Slide Lock. Pinch the ‘buttons’ in the gate, slide down and it’s open. I wonder how it will handle dirt, and suspect it’ll be really hard to open with gloves.
Metolius adds a solid-gate version of the all-purpose Bravo biner, and puts a wide dogbone in the middle. Nice.
MSR takes it’s Reactor stove technology to the somewhat-less-extreme-minded users with the Windboiler. The stoves are highly wind-resistant and cold-weather capable.
For those who live in an area where the snowpack is dense enough for snowshoes, this is cool: the durability and toughness of plastic ‘shoes fused with the traction of the steel frame models. Cool bit: quick-release, ratcheting closure straps.
Optimus’ take on the wind-protected all-in-one stove ‘system’ is the Elektra FE. In an interesting take, the stove is actually a regular Crux Lite with a windshield that snaps onto the canister, while a heat-exchanger is built into the pot. Superlight, compact, and multi-purpose.
The Polaris Optifuel promises to be the most versatile stove on the market, capable of burning pretty much anything (canister gas, liquid canister gas, white gas, diesel, unleaded fuel, kerosene, jet fuel) without the need to change nozzles, or anything else, on the stove. Simply attach your fuel source and you’re good to go. For four-season use, it can burn canister gas with the canister flipped upside down. Very, very cool.
Petzl brings the Hirundos in line with their other harnesses. Same features as before: non-adjustable leg loops, four gear loops and two ice-clipper slots. The addition is FuseFrame technology for more comfort and dyneema tie-in points.
The Aquila looks to be the adjustable-leg version of the Hirundos, so the two share the same features.
The remaining harnesses get new colours. And you can get a chalkbag to match…
The Ascension gets noticeably lighter, with bigger clip-in holes. Small, but welcome, improvements.
Petzl is also bringing out four new axes: Summit, Summit Evo, Glacier and Glacier Literide. The Summit Evo feels particularly capable, while the Glacier Literide is very light.
Sterling revamps a significant number of ropes. The Nano 9.2 drops down to 9.0, becoming the Nano IX. Dry-treated only, they’ll come in bi-pattern options and are now triple-rated.
Other new ropes are the Helix 9.5, which feels nice and supple, and the Aero 9.2 which will come in standard and dry finishes. Both will come in bi-pattern versions as well.
Wild Country is going to colour-code their draws according to length. I haven’t seen this before, but it appears to be a really good idea. The dogbone and the rope-end biner are colour-matched and denote the length of the draw. Cool.
Some new lockers from WC with a very smooth, even feel to the screwlock action. Impressive.
Superlight offset rocks from WC. Not much else to say about these!