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Return to Gearland


Submitted by j_ung on 2006-02-01 | Last Modified on 2006-11-13

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J_ung at OR I'm off to the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market this weekend and this article, Return to Gearland, goes live Saturday afternoon, 1/28. Start checking back then for regular updates through Tuesday morning.

What can we expect from gear next year? When will the new hotness finally hit the market? What were you thinking when you designed that thing?

Do you have a question for a gear maker? Post it here and I'll do my best to answer it here in this article.

Click a company to go straight there.

Saturday 2 PM:

Greetings from Gearland, AKA, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. The place is abuzz with activity, the opening-morning energy high.

With me this year are Daniel and Helette DuToit, RC.com’s CEO and ad sales babe, respectively. We have a rough schedule ahead, but we’re well into it, so let’s get going.

This is my second OR show and the for the second time in a row I opened by meeting Jesse Mattner from CAMP at the coffee shop across the street. Business called and hightailed it over to the camp booth to see what’s new. Last summer I reported that CAMP was producing Anodized Tricams, but RC.com users quickly responded wondering what on Earth CAMP was thinking making all the slings gray. Gone were the days of grabbing the pink, red, brown, etc. sling… unless you wanted to stick with the non-Dyneema Tricams (which are still available for the purists). But, CAMP heard the outcry and made the switch to colored Dyneema. Says Mattner, “That was straight from Rockclimbing.com. I was sending all those threads to Italy [CAMP’s HQ].”

Camp Colors

Camp is also offering a mini-set of the four smallest Anodized Tricams together for $69.95, a savings of over $10 off full retail.

CAMP is bringing a couple new ice axes to market, too. A CAMP designer spent more time on the shaft of the Awax axes than any other piece of equipment he’s ever designed. Says Mattner: “He spent six months on this alone,” indicating the angle of the shaft. “I was like, ‘Find yourself a girlfriend.’” CAMP also offers its Alp axe with a single-bend shaft for anything less than vertical, though that tool also sports a retractable pinky rest for when the angle steepens.

Camp Axe

Conveniently located three booths down, we paid a visit to NEMO, makers of AirSupported tents. I like this company. I think they’re in this to innovate, and these days, I think that’s a little rare. Last spring I reviewed their freshman offering, the Sako, which has now been replaced by the Morpho, which is essentially just a refined model.

Nemo 1

Where the Sako’s AirBeams were connected, the Morpho’s are separate – no hose in between – which cuts down on weight. Both are now Velcroed into place and are completely removable and replaceable. And while the Sako had a permanent vestibule, the Morpho – here’s where it gets it’s name – can either sport the same vestibule or you can extend the tent to include that space. The result of this feature, known as the SuperFly, is a variable-area tent that goes from 30 to 40 square feet, depending on the weather, the terrain, your height, your mood, whatever. Engage the SuperFly and all the space that Sako had outside, but under the vestibule is now inside the tent. At 4 lbs. 8 oz, the Morpho is also around a pound lighter than the Sako and it rolls into a surprisingly small pouch for packing.

Of major note – and possibly the best improvement to NEMO tents – is that a pump is now included with every tent. Thanks, guys.

Nemo 2

Winner of Climbing Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award, the Tenshi (NEMO’s poled tent) has also undergone a few changes for the better. First, NEMO has added a detachable full vestibule that comes with the tent and doesn’t cost any extra. Second, they’ve added a feature they cal STAT, which stands for Sleep Tight Anchor Transfer. For anybody who has ever spent a terrifying night on a tiny ledge with a rope bringing water in through the door and to a harness, STAT is a way to anchor to the wall, without letting any water or weather into the tent. I could explain it, but a picture is worth a thousand words…

Nemo 5
Clip a biner to the outside and tension it to your anchor (left). Then run a long sling from your harness to the internal clip-in point (middle). Presto: dry and safe, potraledge tech in a tent. Here it is from inside and a little further back (left).

Lastly, NEMO’s single-person bivvy bag/tent is also redesigned to eliminate the AirBeam at the bottom end. The reconfiguration, called the Go-Go, saved weight and this one-person shelter now clocks in at one pound, ten ounces; perfect for backpacking, mountain biking, motorcycling or anytime solo travel is involved.

RC.com users might remember Rockprodigy’s review of another NEMO tent, the Hypno… and that his collapsed one day from a defect that caused air loss in the beam. NEMO has addressed that problem (and repaired Mike’s tent). Says, NEMO Marketing Director, Chris Dickey, “We’re continually refining our designs… and this is only the second generation.”

From NEMO, we made our way to the EVOLV booth (More on EVOLV later) to meet with Kelly Hammer, RC.com marketing babe, and Paul Fish of Mountaingear.com to talk about the upcoming Red Rock Rendezvous. RC.com is sponsoring three self-rescue clinics at the RRR. (Clinic sign-ups are not yet available, so if you’re interested, hang tight; we’ll let you know.)

Paul Fish
Climbs4Fun, J_ung, Paul Fish and RC.com CEO, Daniel DuToit, talkin’ smack at the EVOLV booth.

Montrail was also on our list of meetings this morning and we were running a bit late, so Helette, who doubles as the expedition photographer, and I ditched Paul and company and headed their way. I’ll get into more detail with the review in a few weeks, but Montrail’s newest offerings to the climbing community are on sale now at select stores.

Montrail 2

The Orbit, Index, Wasabi and Magnet, pictured above all sport thermo-molded memory foam to custom-fit to almost every foot. According to Montrail, cook these babies on low heat, put them on (this has to felt to be believed) and let them cool on your foot. Once it’s done, it’s YOUR shoe, 100%. These shoes have various features to distinguish them from each other, for example, the Wasabi offers a cut-out mid-sole for a combination of stiffness on edges and softness when you need to toe down in the steeps.

Again, I’ll get to this more in the review of the Wasabi and the Magnet, but so far the only real complaint I have is that the Velcro on the Wasabi is pretty weak. According to Montrail’s John Conner, this has been address in subsequent production runs and if somebody ends up with some weak Velcro, Montrail will consider it a warranty issue and replace the shoe free of charge.

I haven’t worn either the Orbit or Index, so no comment there, except that both also include the CTX memory foam. All of Montrail’s shoes are priced to sell. You find any of these for over $100.

To make room for the new models, Montrail discontinued the Smoothie, Karma and Cruiser models, so you liked those, well, the upside is that you may be able to find them on close out.

Montrail 1

One other thing I thought looked good from Montrail is a light, trail-running/approach hybrid called the Highlander. Aggressive tread made of Gryptonite on the Highlander is designed for agility and dexterity on the trails. Also expect a new line of sticky-rubber adorned casual shoes that might actually be acceptable in many offices around the country for unltra-high-performance cube farming!

That’s it for the morning, folks, but there will be more later tonight. We have only Black Diamond scheduled, so we’ll also roam at will and try to find you some fun stuff.

Aaaannnnnnd… we’re off! But then… we’ve always been a little off.

Saturday 5 PM

Attention, this just in: Black Diamond C3s are on the market. No more waiting. They’re out. But, the other question from the Return to Gearland Thread, “When can we expect the Tracer helmet?” is a bit more complicated. The official word is sometime next year. When I pressed for more details, answers ranged from, “Who wants to know?” to “We ‘re going to be as vague as possible.” It was all in jest, of course, but the main message is that BD won’t pinpoint a date just yet. If you’re desperate to replace your old brain bucket, go with another option.

BD C3
BD’s Independent Compression Spring Drive means that each of the three separate springs on the C3s operates a different lobe of the unit.

I think we pretty much know everything about these that we can know without actually using them, so I’ll touch on the other big BD news that seems to have been lost in the C3 shadow. Expect the .3 (that’s POINT three) C4. It’s a perfect fit between what would be a blue and a yellow placement if you were carrying Metolius, a hole in sizing that I almost never notice, but when I do… I really do. BD is also packaging a selection of biners that are color coded to their cams. Slave to fashion? Maybe, but damn, how stylie is that?

CORRECTION!

BD colors

BD will also offer a selection of small bags for anything from purse carrying to chalk pottage and light tote. Strangely enough, they’re made from polyurethane tarp material… huh. We’ll see how that goes, but the names are worth mentioning. In order from smallest to largest they are the Robi, Barf Bag and Trash Bag. Nobody can accuse BD of taking itself too seriously! This is actually more a result of BD absorbing the Franklin brand permanently than it is a desire on BD’s part to “go that way,” as is their new brush kit for boulderers, the Necessair (I hope I spelled that right).

BD portaledge
BD has also purchased Anker Climbing Equipment (ABC) as one can see in their line up of big wall gear.

They also seem psyched on a new pack duo, the Boa and Boa Duffle. Both are pack/rope tarp fusion bags designed for convenience at the crag. Sport climbers will be all over both, though personally, I think I prefer the beefier and more-pack-less-duffle Boa. Drop either at the base of your route, open it and climb, pulling the rope directly out of the bag.

32north
With a little time to kill before beer-thirty, the RC.com coverage crew stopped by a couple interesting little spots. One is the 32 North booth. These guys make – for lack of a better word – crampons for regular shoes. Around an icy town or anywhere with treacherous footing (Ooooooo…) the “Stabilicer is designed to keep you from eating curb. Check their website for more info.

Lawson Hammock 2
Here’s something no backyard or campground-campsite should be without, and I’m not talking about the tool in the hammock, I’m talking about the hammock, fool! This company, Lawson Hammock, has found a way to fuse ‘em with tents to create the first truly weatherproof hammock. Waterproof, bugproof… and if you can’t find two trees, it’s OK. This one will stay upright even on flat ground, though you won’t get that cool tropical, swingy thing going.

That’s all for now and I gotta tell you, with EVOLV, Petzl, Mammut and others on the docket, tomorrow's gonna be a big day. I apologize if you only get one post and it comes toward the end of the day. But we’ll do our damnedest!

Sunday... and I have no idea what time it is.

Convenience is the theme of the morning as we stopped to pick up Kelly (climbs4fun) before heading to our 9 AM meeting at EVOLV. When I say convenience,” I mostly mean hers… Kelly was still sound asleep after partying at the Cake show till late last night!

We sat down with Brian Chung, President of EVOLV, to see what the future holds and what’s up with some of the new models that are due out any day now. First, the new models… EVOLV is bringing five of ‘em to market before the spring hits officially. One of them, the Evo, will likely be the most popular. It’s essentially a cross between the Kaos (a personal favorite of mine) and the Defy. Expect it to be just a hair stiffer than the Kaos with extra rubber. Keep an eye out for the aggressive lace-up, Talon, which has been in development for two and a half years with input from several RC.com users and others. The Demorto, with its symmetrical shape, is a nod toward all the mutants with Morton’s toe. And the Electra (Brian’s in love with Jennifer Garner) is based on the Defy, but with a lower volume and heel that women will love. The Rave is a standard soft slipper with an equally soft ($79) price tag. Again, none of these will retail for over $100. Yay!

Evolv 1

Demorto, Talon, Rave, Evo and Electra -- expect all of these to be on shelves by the end of March. The Talon and Rave are the talon and rave are available now, the Evo and Demorto are available 2/15 and the Psyche and DMC will be out by 3/15.

Evolv 2

For the future, EVOLV is taking on a niche that is just starting to see some action, the fashionable, lifestyle shoe that doubles as a light approach shoe. EVOLV’s branding, “From the crag to the club,” is noticeable in this line-up of “kickback” shoes, especially in the new Psyche and women’s DMC (named for DMC’s Adidas, which these shoes resemble). Both of these shoes won’t break your wallet at only $60.

Evolv 3
EVOLV is considering several styles of kickbacks for the future. Above is their concept wall. Almost all of these are still in the prototype phase. None of them are on shelves… yet.

Just as an aside, it seems like the state of the climbing shoe industry, as a whole, is a good one. Right about the time the historically biggest companies lost their stranglehold, there were a lot of innovations and many didn’t work quite as well as planned. But it seems like now, for climbers, there are many high-quality choices on the market with proven shoe tech, and lots of them are very reasonably priced.

OK, enough musing. It’s time to head to Metolius. I think we’ve spent enough time covering Ultralights at this point, so I won’t go there. Metolius has plenty more worth mentioning.

As one walks around the OR show, one sees a lot of new stuff. Almost all of it is interesting and a lot of it seems like a good idea. But every once in while, somebody shows me something so simple and useful, that I just have to smile. I like tech, but I like simplicity far more. Metolius has one such thing, and all it does is mark ropes.

Metolius 3

A variation of the old jerry-rig trick of stitching a piece of thread through your sheath (which is not recommended by manufacturers), this method of marking Metolius’ Monster Ropes is nothing more than a day-glo piece of thread sewn through the rope itself. According to Metolius, it doesn’t compromise strength at all, but still provides a highly-visible and tactile (for ultra-spooky night rappels) warning that the end of the rope is near. Every Monster Rope being made now has this mark at the middle and 10 meters from both ends. Of course, neither Metolius nor I advocate NOT continuing to tie knots in the ends of your rappel ropes.

Metolius is also now selling pre-cut, tied and secured Prusiks, which, as I see it will have some down sides and some upsides. I’m not a huge fan of the pre-tied part. You have a useable Prusik, but the ends are sewn to secure the knot (which is covered in a clear plastic sheath), meaning that you can’t ever untie it to use its full length. So, in that regard it loses a bit of its versatility. The upside, however, is the Prusik’s sheath, which is actually pre-textured. That’s right… it’s fuzzed out for you.

Metolius 2
A pre-cut, pre-fuzzed Prusik. Say what?!

Hold on, hold on… they’re not just selling used Prusiks. Fist of all, as any Prusik user will attest, they don’t work so well when new, precisely because the new sheaths – sans fuzz – don’t afford a whole lot of friction. This sheath is strategically scuffed on extra threads to deflect wear from the true sheath. The effect, Metolius claims, is to significantly prolong the life of a tool that, if used regularly, has to be replaced often.

The really interesting thing is that, if it works well and catches on, we’ll likely see this on Monster climbing ropes, too. That would not only mean a longer lasting sheath, but a rope that, even when brand new is easier for a belayer to grab and hold in hard falls.

Lastly, Metolius has also added five new hold lines to its already considerable plastic collection. All those Karn-shaped holds are worth a look if you work in a gym or have a home woody. The shapes are simple and friendly, but with a few key features you might like, such as thumb catches for added power on roof jugs.

Metolius 1

The jury is still out on another line of Metolius holds, however, called Inside Outs. This variation of the inset, popular early in the evolution of climbing walls, has a square or rectangular-shaped back that fits into a hole in the wall. Designed with home woodies in mind, Inside Outs have the advantage of being easier to install than the old round insets, but the disadvantage of having only a limited number of orientations. Rotate the smaller holds in 90-degree increments and the bigger ones in 180-degree increments.

M’kay, that’s all I have for the early half. We have Mammut, Petzl and more on tap for later. Don’t touch that mouse!

Sunday, 5 PM

I gotta tell you, the EVOLV booth has become our office at the OR. We started the afternoon by meeting with Podclimber and Access Fund. With the Podpeople we discussed a couple of option for the future, including a way to make it easier to listen to podcasts while surfing RC.com. We want nothing from the Access Fund… we only want to give something to them and the community. As of now, the way I update the Access Alert on the front page is, I wander about the site and find the best option for an alert – the hottest issue, so to speak. Now, the Access Fund will contact us and tell us what they need, so in effect, we’re opening our resources for them. Of course, nothing is definite and there are several variables, but we also discussed a pretty nifty way to link our routes database to one they’re currently building, so that, if an area is access sensitive, a link will automatically show atop that page on RC.com to direct users to more information. Uh oh… wait a sec… what the --

Smartwool

Look out! Acrobats in Smartwool underwear! Is that a J_ung Dancer in the background?!

I always knew this was a great resource for access issues, but the Laurel Knob thread really opened our eyes to how much good we can actually do. Expect to us be even more active on that front going forward as we work with the AF, instead of separately.

And then it was on to Mammut. A few questions… a few answers… Mammut’s 6mm Dyneema slings will ship within 4-6 weeks, so expect to see those out and about soon. As for how thin ropes will go, Mammut’s Jeff Cunningham smirks as he says simply, “They’ll go skinnier.” David Hymans, another Mammut employee takes it a bit further. “We’re shaving tenths of millimeters right now and it makes a difference, but to really make a jump, I think they need new materials.” I wonder how long it will take before a special belay device is included with every rope!

And speaking of thin ropes, you’ll also see Mammut’s 8.9mm Serenity – a single-rated cord to show in stores within a few weeks.

Mammut 2

But the biggest news from Mammut – and this is definitely a “wow” moment – is their new Barryvox transceiver. This baby does a couple things that no other transceiver does. First, it offers a real-time 360-degree display that will pinpoint victims in any direction, no matter the orientation of the device. No more walking in arcs to find a victim for whom the clock is ticking. And, the Barryvox can also detect signs of life, such as heartbeat and respirations. While it in no way guarantees life, it does make a rudimentary triage possible for multiple victims. I hate to be blunt, but it would be bad to spend time digging out a dead victim when, 100m further, a live one still has a fighting chance. The Barryvox helps make it possible to make that decision. It’s available in October.

Mammut 1

There’s also a new harness out for Mammut, a very nice option for those looking for a pricepoint, the Mirage. Of note, it’s equipped with Mammut’s ISPO-winning wear protector for the crotch-strap tie-in point.

New on the RC.com docket for this year is Petzl, which was gracious enough to show me the new stuff from the last summer show, too. Anodized Gri-gris are out, so expect to see them at crags soon. And their newly re-designed Nomic ice tool is also up and about. The Nomic now has a somewhat less extreme angle, which makes it considerably easier to swing than its predecessor. According to Petzl it makes a good tool for ice climbers looking to go leashless for the first time – its head weights are adjustable and removable for dry-tooling as well. Petzl’s Bongo hammer (still in prototype) sports a super-long beak, keep an eye out for more on it. By now, you’ve probably noticed the ridges on the Reverso. A couple years back, Petzl also narrowed the slots a little, so if your experience with the Reverso was less than satisfactory, you may want to try again.

Hey all you Tika and Tika Plus fans, get ready for the next level in headlamps. The new Tika Plus is more powerful (up to 32 meters), longer lasting (100 hours at the economy setting) and cheaper! But… BUT… the real Tika of the future is the Tika XP, with a full watt in only one LED bulb. The XP focuses its beam mush better, too, for a full-on spotlight. Slide an integrated diffuser over it for reading and lighted milling about and you get an effect similar to the old Tika’s output. Rappelling in the dark? Can’t find the next anchor? Hit the “Boost” button for 20 seconds of intense light that whips the Tika’s beam into a 50m frenzy. (The battery-pack-adorned bigger light, the Myo, has a 65m Boost – that a full rope length!)

Petzl 2

The XP will accept the new Adapt System, which allows you to actually remove the light from the headband and attach it to various other contraptions. Petzl has a belt attachment for it and the adhesive patch shown above. If only they were making these back when I was living in my truck!

OK, RC.comers, that’s all for Sunday. We’re off to Montrail’s beach par-tay, but we’ll be back on the beat tomorrow for the likes of Trango, OP, Fiveten and Sterling!

Monday, 5 PM

Knowing how Kelly (Cimbs4fun) likes to gloat, you’re bound hear this, so I might as well tell you myself. At least this way I can spin it to my advantage. I lost pathetically to her in the hula-hoop contest at the Montrail beach party. I’m not too ashamed, though, since she also went on to beat every other challenger (until she got skunked by the talented Bobbi Bensman).

Hula hoopin'
OK, so there really is no way to spin this in my favor. Hang your head in shame, J_ung. Hang your head in shame.

Back to business… thank God... and Trango!

Malcolm Daly is a prime example of how a gear maker ought to use the Inturdnet. Trango’s founder and owner is thoughtful, straightforward and perhaps most importantly, responsive. A question pops up on RC.com about Trango gear and Mal, assuming he’s on the grid, is there with an answer. He’s also an innovator, but even so, I admit to being caught off guard when he tells me that Trango is, “Totally whackin’ the line. We’re getting rid of all our commodity stuff. Our motto has always been, ‘Extraordinary Climbing Gear,’ and if I can’t put that tag under it, it’s going away.”

Trango
Trango’s current line up… don’t get too used to it.

He’s careful to point out, however, that there are some exceptions and that there are no solid decisions about precisely what stays and goes. Trango’s classic biners, for example are likely to stay and much of their gear will be redesigned, rather than straight discontinued. “Take for example the Madame Hook ice tool, “It works perfectly, but it’s ugly. It has no rack appeal.” And sometimes, explains Mal, redesign “can be an even bigger challenge than starting from scratch.”

Though few things are definite, look for Trango’s entire crampon line will be revamped, Ball Nuts to be redesigned, and all the ice tools to get a bit of a sprucing up.

My head was spinning, but I still had the presence of mind to ask if Trango and CCH are in talks to buy/sell (respectively) the Alien design.

Sorry, no official comment.

And with like that, we were off to Omega Pacific. Still the biggest news here is the availability of the Link Cam. Thankfully, they started shipping two weeks ago.

Links

OP’s Gary Peterson points out that most folks will still have to wait a bit as they have, “thousands on back order.” Both sizes carry a bit of a hefty price tag -- $91 and $98, respectively – and yes, OP is a little worried about that. But the development of these was long and trying and, hopefully, the units’ versatility will make up for it. Certainly, they’ll make a big difference in places like Zion, where long sections of crack jumaring are increasingly the norm.

According to OP, the hold up had to do with one part, the middle lobe section. “We had an issue,” explains Peterson, “finding a manufacturer who could build it to our tolerances.” But now that these two models are available, the flood gates appear to be open. OP reports that the final design for the biggest size, #3, was just approved and that it will begin production soon. Look for a smaller size in the future, too, but not the near future. It may be a couple years off.

Rap Ring
Also from OP, look for this little baby, a solid aluminum rap ring that’s good for 20kN. Gone are the days of those fucked up rolled aluminum rings! Now if only we could motivate to replace the miles of tat similarly adorning our crags. The price is a measely $2.95. Smile, traddies.

During the middle of our meeting, we got a visit from Michael Lane, OP’s Sales and Marketing Director, and somehow, the subject got onto OP’s former participation in the federal Inmate Industry Enhancement Program. OP came under some fire for employing prison inmates, often from people who mistakenly believed that OP, one, rented the inmates from the state and two, paid them very little. Neither was true and the only reason why OP had to discontinue their participation in the program was to appease a lawsuit that pit the wording of the program against that of the state constitution. “The whole thing was a horribly political situation,” laments Lane, “from the top down.”

It’s worth noting that five of OP’s current employees are former prisoners who came to their jobs after participating in the controversial program and after their releases.

Luckily for my aching wheels, the Fiveten booth is a stone’s through from Omega Pacific, and that’s where the next appointment was. I had a lot of questions from users regarding Fiveten products, so I’ll dive right into them. Deliveries of all the new models scheduled to come out in early spring are either on schedule or early, so if you’re waiting for a Dragon, an Onyx Anasazi Velcro or something else, you won’t have to wait much longer.

Speaking of the Anasazi Velcro, it has undergone a bit of a redesign, most notably the aforementioned replacement of C4 rubber by Fiveten’s Onyx. The heel cup has also seen a modification or two to eliminate the dead space and there’s a cosmetic change to the Velcro straps, which are now made of synthetic leather. Expect the Women’s Anasazi Velcro to receive the same upgrades in 2007.

Fiveten
From left to right: the Onyx-trod Anasazi Velcro, Siren, Dragon, Galileo and Altia. Galileo sales so far have soared above Fiveten’s wildest expectations.

The big news, however, is the new Dragon, which is now a lace up (formerly Velcro). The old Dragon suffered from a baggy heel and a toe box that was painful across the knuckles for many users. The new Dragon addresses these problems with laces, a dual-tension heel and a perforated toe rand that provides a more forgiving fit than the old Velcro model. The Dragon retains its high-performance aggressive aspect for steep climbing.

I’m not a big fan of the old high-top shoes, but many of you are, so get ready for the Altia, which is in production now and will ship to stores by mid-March. Not a lot of dealers will carry it, however, so buy it online at Fiveten.com if you can’t find it. (According to Fiveten, sizing is the same as for Huecos and Spires, if you’ve ever worn them.) If any other shoe companies are planning to produce a high top, they’re playing their cards close to vest. Perhaps they’re waiting to see how the Altia fares.

That’s officially all for me this time around, but unofficially, check back tomorrow afternoon for a little bit more. When will DMM make offsets? Is the .3 C4 already on the market?

Until then, I want to leave with one image. Often, our crags and cliffs go through periods of closure for raptor nesting. Here’s one of the birds, and while I’ve seen them dive bomb ducks from far away, I’ve never one up close, until now.

Peregrine
This rescued Peregrine/Gyer is making the rounds at this year’s show, raising awareness for the still-fragile species.

Tuesday, Noon, Bonus Post!

WHORED! I’ve been whored by Delta Airlines! My 2PM flight is cancelled and I’ve been rebooked on an 11:45 PM to Atlanta, where I have a 3-hour layover. I’ll be home sometime mid-morning tomorrow. Ugh!

But enough whining… I had one more meeting this morning, this time with Royal Robbins to talk about their clothing line. In recent years, RR has really drifted from its roots of climbing clothing, but they’ve assured me that they’re heading back that way. I spent a little time talking to them, because we may have a huge, multi-company women’s climbing clothing review on the horizon and I need some contacts for it. No photos right now, but expect to hear more later this year.

Oh, OK, just two more…

pants2
That’s the Nox Jeans and Journey Fleece on the left, both for men, and the Slub pant for women on the right, which reportedly has the power to, “make any ass look good.”

Lastly, I just want to wrap up a few loose ends. First, is a correction to all the BD cam info: The C3s are NOT out yet, but are due on April 1. The .3 C4 was originally scheduled to appear April 1 also, but BD was able to put it out earlier – last summer. I sincerely apologize for fumbling the BD dates – I have no excuse. The ledge is also due in April. Here are the others:

1. DMM is making Offsets, but they won’t even hit the trade shows until next summer. With luck, we’ll see them in stores soon after.
2. WC has no plans to make any larger Zeroes, however, the new longer-stemmed models should be out in April. And here’s something totally new… how would feel about Offset Zeroes? That’s right… you read it correctly. It is NOT yet in the works, but there’s a chance. One WC rep personally requested that we email info@wildcountry.co.uk with this message or something like it: “Hi, so… umm… I’d really love to see Offset Zeroes from you guys. Thanks.”
3. Unfortunately, Petzl has no plans for either cams or wired biners. But wouldn’t it be cool if?
4. Trango has no plans for larger Max Cam sizes. Says Mal Daly: “Mmmaaayyyybe… the technology is really tricky with big cams, and they already have such a huge expansion range anyway, so… It’s more interesting to us to try to increase the range of smaller units.”

That’s all for this cat, folks! I just want to thank everybody who took part in this blog: RC.com Pesidente, Daniel DuToit and his wife (the photographer), Helette, who is also our ad sales person. But mostly, I want to thank everybody who participated in Return to Gearland by posting questions to the R2G thread. I know I didn’t get all of it and I’m sorry about that, but rest assured, I’ll try again this summer! As for me, I’m done, I’m out, I’m moving on to other things… like trying to get home. But first, I may have to drown my sorrows in the fluffy fresh powder that dumped all over the Wasatch last night.

B-bye!
J_ung

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