Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 Preview: Climbing gear

Climbing brands pinpoint gear for everything from steep pitches to user comfort. Get a preview of climbing gear to hit retail shelves in 2015.
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Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014, SNEWS is previewing some of the top trends and new products you’ll see at the trade show and Open Air Demo in Salt Lake City, Aug. 5-9. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition.

It’s an exciting time to be a climber, as manufacturers dial in the right equipment for the job.

There is an increasingly large array of tools available for the pursuit of the vertical world. Some are better for steep pitches protected by bolts, others serve long routes where climbers place their own gear.

From high-end footwear designed to be able to stand on the smallest of footholds with confidence, to cutting-edge harnesses that allow us to fail in supreme comfort, there is a slew of new product coming down the pike for spring/summer 2015 that will help climbers achieve their goals, whatever they are.

Recognizing that the future lies in specialization, this coming year’s products will appeal to a wide range of consumers. Manufacturers have moved from “one size fits all,” to “how can we build the best thing for this particular group?”

“In being on the ground with the consumers, we saw two different communities,” said Andrew Coutant, director of equipment at The North Face. “One group that wants to go fast and light, and the other that prefers more features and doesn’t mind the weight.”

It’s representative of the inspiration behind many of the new products you’ll find at this year’s show.

>> Not happy with the current crag pack offerings, Trango launches what it feels will be the ultimate pack for single and multipitch cragging. With a stand-up design, pouches for guidebooks, shoes and more, the Crag Pack (MSRP $99) offers all the features you always wished your pack had, without breaking the bank.


>> La Sportiva’s Speedster first introduced the No-Edge concept, the Futura refined it, and now, the Genius (MSRP $190) is the ultimate expression of it. The Genius is a No-Edge shoe that’s as technically dialed as the Testarossa, with unparallelled precision and sensitivity on the smallest of footholds, plus a lacing system that allows for a more precise fit than the previous slippers. Unlined, with a 3mm sole of Vibram XS Grip2 rubber, it’s meant to allow advanced climbers to stand on their feet more confidently than ever before.


>> Realizing that there is rarely one solution to a problem, The North Face is offering two new climbing packs. One is for the crowd that likes as many bells and whistles as possible, in a fully customizable package: the Cobra (MSRPs $220; 50L/$250 62L). The other is for people who are cutting off the ends of their toothbrushes to save weight. For them, the Shadow (MSRPs $149; 30L/$179; 40L) is a rugged yet lightweight pack that can go anywhere they can.


>> For spring 2015, Arc’teryx revamps its entire harness line, going from nine models to five. It simplified things into three categories, two of which have men’s and women’s versions. The SL-340 (MSRP $119) is a superlight harness (unisex) designed for sport climbing, with only two gear loops and minimal bulk. The FL-365 (MSRP $145) is the all arounder of the group, with four gear loops. And for the ice climbing/mountaineering crowd, there’s the AR-395a (MSRP $159), with adjustable leg loops and ice clipper slots. They all feature improved strength, durability and comfort, thanks to a double-weave fabric, and the leg loop shape has been improved for a better fit.


>> For those looking for a shoe to help them on steep, overhanging climbs, Scarpa presents the Furia (MSRP $169). It’s an incredibly light and sensitive shoe designed for bouldering, steeps and training, which weighs only 195 grams. To achieve this, Scarpa eliminated the midsole, meaning there’s nothing between your foot and the rock except 3mm of Vibram XS Grip2 rubber. They’ve also developed a new rubber compound for the patent-pending Power Connection Band, an actively tensioned rand that helps transfer energy to the front of the shoe, and improves its sock-like fit. Likely to be popular with intermediate to advanced climbers, it’s a training tool for building increased foot strength in the gym.


>> Teaming up with Gore-Tex, Five Ten introduces its first waterproof-breathable approach shoes. The Guide Tennie Mid GTX (MSRP $180) and Camp Four GTX (MSRP $180) remain mostly the same, but now feature Gore-Tex to appeal to customers in damper climates.


--BJ Sbarra 

These are just a few of the new products to debut at the show. Be sure to check out much more new and trends in the O.R. Daily, Days 1-4, published live at the show, and available digital format each following day of print on SNEWS.