Best gear for rock climbing

On crag days most of us want to be comfortable. On crag days, we want our warm-up shoes to be nice (rather) and the nettles and pebbles of the world to stay outside of our socks. On crag days, we want to wear a stylish backpack, stay warm when belaying, and feel good about the environmental impact our gear decisions have on the world.

But of course, most of the gear we want to use on our crag days can also serve very well in other settings, at the gym for example, or on that fun type two trip to the mountains. Discover these new equipment, each of which has been tested and reviewed for Escalationthe latest printed issue of, and every one of them we loved.


Getting There

Zamberlan Salathe GTX RR


As someone prone to climbing hills in search of new rock, I’m always on the lookout for long-lasting, supportive approachers. The Salathe has struck a sweet chord: It’s a mid-rise, boot-like shoe with solid protection that still has enough “stick-um” (Vibram Megagrip) and agility for fifth-class scrambling. in the Flatirons, Colorado. What I liked: The tongueless entry and toe-to-toe lacing system, combined with soft Hydroc bloc suede uppers, make it easy to put on. The high heel cuff kept my socks from smudging and sand from the insole. The shoes were springy and stayed that way thanks to the dual-density EVA foam midsoles. And they’re indestructible: after five months of continuous use, they’re still going strong. (Another tester, Dakota, liked the snug fit and noticeable toughness, but had to deal with their stiffness, especially the toe box over the cracks.) These are not shoes to attach to your harness for the not multiple, but for gnarled approaches (banks, slabs, scree balls, scrambling) and/or carrying a big bag, they are perfect. Bonus points for meticulous Italian craftsmanship!

—Matt Samet

packing in


Black Diamond Blitz Pack 20L


The author wears a belay parka, insulated pants, avalanche gear and snacks with room to spare in the Blitz 20L. (Photo: Emilie Grenier)

Do you have equipment that your partner has always coveted? For my climbing partner Emilie, it was the 20-litre Blitz: a lightweight and surprisingly sturdy summit pack, we’ve ridden countless alpine and ice routes in the Canadian Rockies. Updated for 2022, the Blitz is upholstered in durable 100D “Mini Rip” fabric – a newly created material that holds up well to rough stacks and brief periods of transport – and offers welcome water resistance in the rain. and the spray. If the pack’s 14 ounces are too “heavy” for alpine purposes, drop two ounces by ditching the hip belt, foam back panel/impromptu bivy pad (losing it makes packing the bag easier in a backpack). trip) and Velcro-axe grab handles. Twenty liters was an ideal size for day missions: the pack sat high on the hips when climbing, but was still large enough to hold layers, support and water. The “one-handed top closure” is, as advertised, easy to use and allowed me to grab lunch while insuring; the durable rope strap was also a nice touch. My favorite update was the pick fixing points – now a simple bar of metal (more durable than plastic) that you can manipulate with fixed numbers. The Blitz is also available in a 28 liter size.

—Anthony Walsh

climbing green

Mammut 9.5 We Care Crag Classic Rope

$150 (60 million),

Mammut’s classic We Care Crag rope is a “trash can”. Or rather, it could have been garbage. Let me explain: strings are made in bulk – think hundreds of yards on a giant spool – then cut to length. Historically, excess rope, consisting of new and perfectly safe yarn, was discarded. The We Care Crag Classic’s sheath is made from this leftover yarn, eliminating much of the rope-related waste. In the field, the rope held up well for up to two months on rough Canadian granite, and its sturdy 9.5mm diameter was encouraging when grating over sharp edges and squeaky flakes on backcountry alpine roads. -country. The cord felt soft out of the box, which makes me doubt its long term performance, but so far it’s on par with other cords. It is rated for 6-7 UIAA drops, weighs 59 g/m, has a dynamic elongation of 33%, a static elongation of 8% and an impact force of 8.8 kN. For reference, these values ​​are the same for the standard 9.5mm Crag Classic; the only real difference is the more eco-friendly and waste-reducing manufacturing process.

Climb comfortably

Quantum Scarpa


The Quantic is an interesting new shoe: a mid/high-end all-around shoe that does everything very well, is comfortable and light (13.4 ounces, shoe size 40.5) and, given its softness (epic smear!) almost better in the gym than on rock. The shoe has an airy microsuede upper and mesh tongue, dual strap closure, Scarpa’s PAF (i.e. split) heel and visible asymmetry that distributes pressure from the big toe outwards – the shoe is basically flat, with a thin (3.5mm) XS-Edge outsole. We had samples with a host of testers, who sent up to 5.13 and V9 in them. Almost everyone raves about the comfort: like the Veloce, Scarpa’s workout/gym shoe, the latest is relaxed, but sharper and more precise, with a slight toe bite for jibs. They are sensitive and excellent on slightly sloping terrain; however, for green or slabby micro edging in, say, Eldo, Rumney or Squamish, our tester Steve recommends “something stiffer,” a sentiment backed by two taller/taller testers. As their designer, Heinz Mariacher says, “My intention was to offer an all-around performance shoe, a mix of lightness, sensitivity and good precision”, representing a step up to more advanced shoes for beginner or intermediate climbers.


Stay warm

Eddie Bauer Downclime Alpine Parka


People generally think that Eddie Bauer is a street outfit. But, in 1963, Lou Whittaker wore an Eddie Bauer parka to the summit of Everest in minus 35 degrees and 50 mph winds. The company had supported this expedition, which put the first American on top. Now, with the Downclime Alpine Parka, Eddie Bauer offers what he calls an 8,000 meter jacket that’s also ideal for climbing – or rather belaying – your winter cliff. The parka features ultra-warm 800 fill down filling, extra-long sleeves and a hem that covers the thighs. Still, it’s lightweight (28 ounces, M for men) and packs away nicely. The jacket is specifically designed for belaying, with a two-way zipper that allows easy access to the belay loop and zippered pockets that sit well above your harness. Inside are stretch mesh pockets, ideal for warming up rock shoes. The absence of baffles on the sleeves prevents the wires from snagging on rocks or branches, and the fabric is a thick, durable nylon. The hood is a bit shallow but fits over a helmet, but not over your forehead. M and W versions available.

—Alison Osius

Virginia F. Goins