Saturday December 7, 2013
It's really cold right now in Colorado. The temperature hasn't climbed above 10 degrees for the past few days and at night it drops down below zero. If you're out hiking in the mountains or doing approaches to ice climbing routes then you need to stay warm, especially your neck and face. The best thing to wear for winter warmth is a buff.
Buffs, those sewn loops of colorful stretchy fabric popularized on the TV reality show "Survivor," are indispensable for climbing, skiing, and mountaineering when it's frigid outside. While I used to wear red bandanas around my neck and chin, I now wear a buff when the winter weather chills down like today.
Buffs offer great weather protection for your neck and mouth from snow, rain, cold, and sun. They're versatile and ultra-light. Wear a buff under your helmet to cover your ears and one around your neck. Buffs come in all kinds of wild colors and fabrics including Polartec and CoolMax polyester.
BUY A BUFF FOR YOUR CLIMBER
Photograph above: Doug Hatfield wears a buff on a cold winter day on Mount Sherman in the Colorado Rockies.
Photograph © Susan Joy Paul
Friday December 6, 2013
Helmets are essential gear that protect your head from falls and falling rock. What better gift is there than buying your loved climber protection for his or her head so that if stuff happens they will come home intact. This past year a couple new innovative helmet hit the shelves of your local climbing shop. Check 'em out and buy now for Xmas.
The new Petzl Sirocco climbing helmet offers featherlight head protection, weighing in at a mere 165 grams or 5.8 ounces, or about half the weight of other climbing helmets. The orange Sirocco is made from polypropylene foam, which has a high rate of energy absorption, and is super strong with excellent impact resistance. The Sirocco has an unfinished look since there is no outer shell covering the foam. The helmet has a webbing adjustment system, cutting down on weight, and a magnetic buckle for one-handed operation.
Black Diamond also designed the Vapor, another futuristic climbing helment that weighs 186 grams or 6.5 ounces, slightly more than the Sirocco. The Vapor uses sheets of Kevlar and carbon rods sandwiched between foam layers, which minimizes weight without sacrificing protection. Large ventilation ports on the sides increases air flow on hot days. A suspension system with a racheting adjuster lets you customize the Vapor to your head size.
Read more about climbing helmets:
Parts of a Climbing Helmet
Helmets are Essential for Climbing Safety
When to Buy a New Climbing Helmet
Tuesday December 3, 2013
It's great to climb light and fast. When you're speed climbing, you get up more routes if you carry less weight on your rack. To climb fast and high, put "new ultralight carabiners" on your Christmas list.
Cut crucial weight by carrying the Nano 23 and Orbit carabiners from CAMP USA on all your quickdraws and cams. The Nano 23 carabiner, available in polished, bronze, and orange, is the lightest in the world at a mere 23 grams each, while its cousin the Orbit is the lightest keylock carabiner at 45 grams or 1.6 ounces. It comes with both straight and bent gates. Use these ultralight carabiners to shave the pounds off your El Cap Nose or Cruise rack.
SHOP AND COMPARE:
Buy Nano 23 Carabiners
Buy Orbit Carabiners
Monday December 2, 2013
It's winter here in Colorado and the temperatures later this week are going to plunge down in the teens for high temps. Keep your hands or your climbing partner's hands warm on approach hikes or spring bivouacs by asking Santa for a new pair of Trekker Gloves from Black Diamond.
The Trekker Glove provides basic hand warmth as well as increases your grip on trekking poles. The back of the hand has a lightweight breathable mesh for ventilation. The goat-leather palm and a palm patch allow for increased grip on your poles and help you avoid blisters on long days.
The gloves, weighing a mere two ounces, are best for hiking approaches, trekking, backpacking, and expeditions. Sizes range from XS to XL.
BUY BLACK DIAMOND TREKKER GLOVES FOR XMAS FROM $29.95.
Read more about mountaineering and climbing gloves:
Keep Your Hands Warm: Avoid Cold Hands When You're Climbing
The Best Mountaineering Glove System