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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Outdoor Retailer Roundup: Climbing Gear

Shoes that stick, rope worth investing in, and a Grigri 2 overhaul.

by: Sami Bruce, Backpacker Reader Reporter

Petzl Nomad (Courtesy Photo)
Petzl Nomad (Courtesy Photo)

I’m surrounded by some of the world’s top-of-the-line gear at this year’s Winter Outdoor Retailer show so narrowing down to my five favorite pieces for the first day is super difficult! But choose I must and these are my favorites:

Climbing Shoes - Five Ten Outlaw and La Sportiva Futura
Most climbers will agree that finding an all around high-performance climbing shoe with nice comfort is hard to come by. My first stop on the show floor was Five Ten and my eyes went directly to the pair of Outlaw kicks displayed on their wall. They are comfy and light, and there’s not a hefty downturn, but just enough to give anyone the performance they need during those technical climbs outside or gaining endurance in the gym. Plus, the Five Ten’s Stealth soles are super sticky and durable no matter what kind of rock you smear them on. With the versatility of this shoe and the pricing at $109.95, I’ll definitely be waiting for these in Fall 2012.

I own the Miura VS from La Sportiva and it is my most aggressive, high-performance climbing shoe. I’ve been envying those with the Solutions and I recently discovered the Speedster which made my decision of investing in another pair of La Sportiva shoes even harder. Lo and behold, La Sportiva has done it again. Combining the Solution’s lacing system and performance, and the Speedster’s comfort, the Futura was born. It slides on so easily even with a tight fit but what’s so great is it already has that feeling of being broken in. It literally molded to my foot perfectly and the price of $170 has made me even more excited for April 2012 besides the (hoped for) amazing weather for climbing.

Climbing Rope – Petzl Nomad
I’m in need of a durable, dry treated, lightweight climbing rope and Petzl might have just sold me on one. The sixty-meter Nomad 9.8mm with Duratec dry treatment fits my high standards of that perfect rope. Pricing at around $275 and weighing only 63 grams per meter, it’s the best investment since my 1991 Geo Metro. Let the twenty-foot whipers begin.

On Belay – Grigri 2 Overhaul
Last year, the Grigri 2 belaying device was recalled after Petzl discovered that exerting excessive force on the fully extended handle of the device can cause internal damage which resulted in the handle to get stuck and disable the assisted braking function. Petzl has fixed the problem by reinforcing the pin and making it way more durable. Priced at around $100, weighing 20 percent less, and 25 percent more compact than the previous Grigri, it looks awesome to my tiny hands and budget. Plus, having an assisted braking function on your belaying device helps you catch someone that weighs twice your size (or so I’ve been told).

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