Technology in climbing is nothing new—the industry is always evolving to assist humans with their mountain pursuits. That said, the tech keeps getting better. Gear is getting lighter, more durable, more functional and more fluid, giving climbers an edge while they are performing physically demanding feats. Having the right gear doesn’t just make climbing easier, it also makes it safer. New products features mean your outdoor adventures need not be death-defying. Here we have outlined some of the most exciting new gear to come out this year.
The GriGri+ ($150) is an assisted braking device from the French climbing company Petzl. Although the GriGri has been around for many years, the GriGri+ iteration has taken belaying to another level of safety. When used correctly, this product breaks with some assistance instead of traditional belay devices that are entirely manual. The new GriGri+ has two modes for either lead climbing (which feeds rope easier) and top rope (which catches and locks faster). It also has an anati-panic locking system in place when the lever is pulled too hard during descents. Thus making the GriGri+ an ideal tool for both novices and experts.
Black Diamond Equipment’s new Camalots (protection devices used in traditional climbing) have shaved 25 percent of their predecessors’ weight off. For longer routes, losing equipment weight can make a huge difference. Black Diamond was able to remove this weight off their Ultralight Camalots ($90 to $130) by replacing the steel cable with a stronger, lighter-weight Dyneema cord, smaller wires in the mechanism, and a lower profile sling.
American-made Sterling’s new Dry XP ropes ($90 to $370) far exceed the UIAA’s (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation) water-repellent standard of less than 5% water-absorption. Water changes ropes over time, making them heavier and more susceptible to damage. It can also affect the stretch and the rebound of a rope, ultimately changing the performance of the rope. Dry XP works with a DryCore process for the internal fibers and an external nanoparticle coating called DeltaDry that’s environmentally friendly.