Metolius Rope Ranger Bag
The makers of the world’s first rope bag bring back an improved edition of the Rope Ranger this year. While still using beefy aluminum buckles on the compression straps and a large ground tarp made of very durable fabric, Metolius has now incorporated a pocket into the tarp for easier storage of your rope, making it less likely your rope will encounter dirt, which can wear away the fibers and weaken it. Another nice addition is the clear plastic window and neon pink tie-in points, making rope and lead-end identification easier. This bag makes a great addition to a big wall endeavor both on the ground and as a rope bucket when you are many pitches off the deck.
Metolius Torque Nut Tool
Always an essential item for protection removal, the Torque has been slightly modified to include an integrated carabiner, making dropping it less likely, and four sizes (17 mm and 13 mm and 9/16-in. and 7/16 in.) of built-in wrenches to tighten loose bolts. Also, this tool has a curved design and tapered tip for those really hard-to-reach chocks. 2.3 ounces.
Local Metolius dealers: Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington; Eastern Mountain Sports, Manchester, Rutland, S. Burlington, and W. Lebanon, N.H.
Trango Big Bros
Absolutely irreplaceable when climbing off-width cracks or chimneys, these protective devices haven’t changed in design. However, the company will now contribute a portion of the proceeds for each of these sold to a college fund for Giulia Luebben, daughter of Craig Luebben, the inventor of these helpful items who died tragically in a guiding accident in August 2009. A likeness of Giulia is now etched in the aluminum of each Big Bro to remind buyers.
$69.95 to $149.95.
If you haven’t replaced your smallest cams with these active protection pieces by now, you don’t know what you’re missing. Ranging from 3 to 16 mm across the set of five, they fit cracks in which no micro cam can fit. What’s more, the width is almost half that of cams, even further increasing their ability to fit in the smallest crannies. Weight and strength are comparable to cams and they have less propensity to “walk” in and out of cracks, so what are you waiting for?
$39.95 each or now offered by Trango in a set of 5 for $189.95.
Local Trango dealer: Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington
Beyond Coastal Face Stick
Invaluable to those who value their skin but don’t want to sacrifice climbing ability, this SPF 30 water- and sweat-resistant stick applies like deodorant, so you don’t have to get your hands all slimy with lotion (which might make handholds a bit more challenging). Better still, it comes in a .5-ounce tube, so it won’t weigh you down, and this small amount will last you and your partner weeks, if not months. Brilliant idea!
Local Beyond Coastal dealers: The Rugged Bear, S. Burlington and W. Lebanon, N.H.
Petzl Meteor III+ Helmet
Protect your noggin on your multi-day climb with this 8-ounce, super-comfy dome. You will barely know it’s there! And, if you happened to bike or kayak to your big wall destination, you won’t need to switch helmets, because this one meets standards for whitewater and cycling sports, as well! One size fits all with a very easy adjustment system.
Petzl Xion 10.1 mm rope
If you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of extra weight for some peace of mind, consider this new rope from Petzl. While it’s not the lightest rope out there (66 g/m—still by no means heavy), it’s probably the brawniest, featuring a thicker sheath than most ropes and a special, more wear-resistant weave. This cord will take the abuse that multiple days of being dragged over sharp edges and around corners that a lighter, thinner rope might not.
Available in 60 m ($199) or 70 m lengths ($235).
Local Petzl dealers: Base Camp Outfitters, Killington; Eastern Mountain Sports, Manchester, Rutland, S. Burlington, and W. Lebanon, N.H.; Middlebury Mountaineering, Middlebury; The Mountaineer, Keene Valley, N.Y.; Ragged Mountain Equipment, Intervale, N.H.
Gregory Torre 33 L
Aided in design by professional climber Joe Kinder, Gregory brought this crag-specific pack to the market in Autumn 2010 as part of their Fusion LTS line. Featuring two ways into the main compartment—a roll-top and a vertical side zipper—this pack certainly doesn’t lack versatility. Straps across the top provide a quick place to lash on a jacket or a rope and the ice axe loops stash away when not in use. Even with low-profile waist belt, this workhorse will comfortably carry 30 pounds or more.
Local Gregory dealers: Eastern Mountain Sports, Manchester, Rutland, S. Burlington, and W. Lebanon, N.H.; The Mountaineer, Keene Valley, N.Y.; Onion River Sports, Montpelier; Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, Brattleboro.