Somewhat surprisingly, not a lot of new hardware to report on from the show but what there was is very cool. So, without further ado, let’s start with the coolest product we found:
Dry Ice The Kronos ice tool is the first T-rated CE-certified ice tool made from wood. Yup, read that right, wood. It’s basically dozens of thin layers of wood (I forget which kind) with some kinda of laminate in between squeezed in a giant press to form the one-piece shaft and handle. They are stunningly gorgeous. And incredibly stiff — I didn’t have a chance to swing them, but I did manage to find enough space for a couple figure-4’s and there is absolutely no flex in the pick or shaft. Weight is claimed to be around the same as a Nomic, and the picks are supposedly some of the toughest out there. MSRP is $380 but then each of these tools and picks is hand-made and hand-finished by one guy in the UK. That’s pretty cool.
Next up for coolest product have to be BD’s Ultralight C4’s. They, too, are gorgeous to look at. And around 25% lighter and $10-15 more than ‘regular’ C4’s. Picking them up, they feel almost featherweight — the weight difference between these and standard C4’s is staggering. Look for them on an alpine rack near you in Spring ’16.
A bit more info on these from BD: “The dyneema core is protected from abrasion by the stem and protected from UV by the thumb loop which has a UV protectant built into it. The main dyneema core is not replaceable. The dyneema slings are replaceable — as are all slings on BD cams. The ultimate strength ratings of UL cams are 2kN less than equivalent size C4.”
Next up, DMM’s Vault racking aluminum biners. As ice screws get more expensive, and I keep reading about friends breaking their plastic ones, these make more and more sense. With DMM’s typically beautiful craftsmanship, these aren’t cheap at $45 MSRP, but then neither is a rack of ice screws. Two version will be offered, the wiregate weighing in at 61g and the locking gate at 72g.
Take a closer look and you can see the red tab engaged with the upper part of the Vault. The gate is locked in this position; turn the release and it locks in the ‘open’ position so you can take off your screws without having to lock/unlock the mechanism every time.
Oh, these are very cool too! Modern ski routing boots have such a wide range of movement that they pop open the heel piece of typical crampons. So Grivel went ahead and designed a release for the front welt of ski boots. Innovative, and very cool! There will be two versions, the Ski Tour with a steel front section and the Ski Race in full aluminum.
Next up is Mammut’s Multi-Pitch chalkbag, with pockets for all your necessities and stretchy-cord on the bottom for attaching a jacket or shoes. Pretty cool concept, though admittedly not well suited to routes / locations where you might need more clothing, food or water.
Large side-pocket with key clip and, showing some great attention to detail, a little spill-proof mesh gate at the bottom of the main zipper opening.
There’s a much larger pouch on the ‘outside’ of the chalk bag.
I honestly can’t decide which of the below items are more interesting, so they’re in alphabetical order.
BD’s got a new harness, the Solution. It’s construction is akin to the ultra-thin style popularized by Arc’teryx. Sport, or trad, only as there are no ice-clipper slots.
Two colours will be available, blue and grey for men, red and lighter grey for women.
Camp has a new helmet with a suspended harness, the first in years. It’ll be called the Titan.
The suspended mesh harness is comfortable and promises to vent better than foam pads.
This new ultralight harness from Camp looks really cool, too. It’ll be called the Flash, and retail for a reasonable $80. It’s very light (200g +/- if I remember right) and very, very thin. Supposedly somewhat comfortable, as well.
DMM’s been working on their Dragon Cams and have come up with a solution for better gripping strength, something they’re calling TripleGrip. First, they make oversized cam lobes on purpose. Then, these lobes are CNC’d with longitudinal grooves to increase the amount of ‘edges’ contacting the rock. They also remove the colour anodizing for increased friction. Finally, if you look closely, you’ll see that the lobes are ‘fatter’ in the middle to create more surface area in optimal placements.
This is a crazy lock – DMM call it the DuroLock and it is technically a four-stage opening, which is ideally suited to glacier travel where you want an accidentally-openable-proof gate. Basically, you lift and rotate the purple sleeve which catches on the green sleeve. Then, maintaining pressure, you rotate it back, this time rotating the green sleeve as well, which opens the gate. Easier than it sounds, with some practice.
Edelrid are joining Mammut as the only two companies to use all their rope fibres, including that which would previously be discarded. Spinning shorter sections of coloured fibre they create uniquely patterned ropes, no two of which are the same. Called the Boa Eco it’s a 9.8mm and will come in 60m and 70m, with Edelrid’s mid-level Thermo Shield treatment.
This is the Huascaran and it takes top spot for oddest looking harness… and also one of the lightest, at only 220g for a size S.
..and this is the Huascaran’s swami, basically the two load-bearing sections connected with webbing. Much more comfortable than it looks, we’re told.
Grivel is solving more safety issues by eliminating the possibility of cross-loading the bolt-side biner with the Captive. It looks like a belay-loop capturing belay biner, but is meant for the gear-end side of sport draws. Having had a number of biners cross-load on me during lead falls, this seems like a really good idea.
Now, this is awesome – when’s the last time anyone has introduced a piton/alpine hammer? This is Grivel’s Thor, and it feels perfectly balanced and very well weighted.
This is the Wall Rider from Mammut. Super cool, and I think will be great for ice and alpine routes that see a lot of ice and rock fall but when you still want a lot of venting. Very, very cool (pun somewhat intended).
Petzl is revamping their whole crampon line-up to be cross-compatible (apparently they aren’t?!). Now you’ll be able to buy different front section separately, increasing headaches for shops but making life better for the consumer. One heel piece + multiple front sections = money saved. Love it, thanks Petzl!