Brands that are setting the standards right now. There are plenty off brands that used to be cutting edge, Berghaus and Karrimor are 2 but brands that are innovating and taking designs, materials, construction etc forward right now.
Not sure on the 10th but I'm sure theres a few opinions out there.
In reply to Gaz lord:
Arcteryx and Patagonia are well known for producing quality kit, but what are they doing thats cutting edge? honest question, I'm not up to speed with thier gear lines.
definately cutting edge for me would include:
DMM-hotforged ice tools, I-beam biners
Scarpa-Grivel=GSb crampon attachment-first genuinely new attachment for a while.
Wild Country a while back for zero-cams
companies like Trango/Metolius/OmegaPacific for some interesting cam designs (Maxcam,supercam,linkcam) even if they haven't been especially sucessful
In reply to Southampton Tom: for arcteryx although their gear is f*ckin amazing (undebatable) most of it hasnt changed since it was first introduced, like the gamma, theta, beta and alpha jackets none have changed just been improved or modified over the past 5 or so years. patagonia i wouldnt know much about but dmm would definatley be on my list.
Arcteryx produce well cut good looking clothing that's rather expensive. I wouldn't say that there's anything "amazing" about it. Patagonia, however, do that as well whilst holding it's head high on ethical/enviromental grounds (whith regards to energy, building, sourcing materials, charity work etc).
I think BD need a mention from rising out of the ashes of Chouinard (Mick's words?) to create a co-op producing some of the best gear on the market. Never truly ground breaking (I don't think) but a benchmark of quality.
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut: I think you're a bit tough on Berghaus. OK, they do a lot of cheap (ish) mass market stuff, but some of their gear is pretty good and innovative — seam sealed packs, lightweight waterproofs and primaloft jackets, schoeller softshells and their pertex and microfleece jackets, for example.
> (In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut) I think you're a bit tough on Berghaus. OK, they do a lot of cheap (ish) mass market stuff, but some of their gear is pretty good and innovative — seam sealed packs, lightweight waterproofs and primaloft jackets, schoeller softshells and their pertex and microfleece jackets, for example.
So does almost every other clothing and pack brand.
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut: Not many do seam sealed packs — Vaude is one. A lot now do lightweight waterproofs, but Berghaus were early on the market with their Paclite smock, and it's still very good and one of the lightest. Not that many do primaloft jackets, either — Montane, Rab, MHW — certainly not "almost every other manufacturer". Re. the softshells, not that many use schoeller, and I think the Berghaus stuff makes good use of it. With the pertex and microfleece, again Bergause were in there early with their Rage jacket, and there's still not too many others — Rab, Montane and Marmot.
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut: Should be a place for Marmot on there somewhere
Driclime - a classic
they design the best jacket and sleeping bag hoods on the market.
Brilliant Ice climbing gloves based on Motocross gloves.
They just dont seem to bother marketting themselves in the UK
I understood that Arcteryx was one of the the first gear companies to use the 'waterproof zip' on their stuff. I heard that it was an idea they borrowed/nicked from the Vancouver Fire Department kit. These zips are now found on many other gear brands.
Also, weren't Arcteryx involved in developing pressure welding for seams to replace stitching and tape?
BD do desrve a mention for developing the twin-axle cam and making (IMHO) the slickest cams on the market today. Having said this I have not yet used an Omega Pacific Link cam - which looks very interesting.
As I said - I haven't had one in my hand as of yet and it may indeed turn out to be bag of shite as you suggest. It is unlikely that I will be investing in any link cams but I would still like to have a play with one at some point.
My reluctance to buy them is not based on the belief that they are gimmicky but is due to the early release, recall, re-release that happened. Anybody know why this happened? Wasn't it something to do with failing to obtain CE approval?
Same thing happened to me, but with a pair of Oakley sunglasses. I had an old, scratched-up pair of Fives that I acidentally snapped across the bridge. I picked up a freepost Oakley box from my local Oakley retailer (Hallamshire Opticians on West Street in Sheff)and posted off the pieces along with a letter telling them how sad I was that my gigs had died.
About a week later I got the specs back with an all-new frame and freshly polished lenses. They were good as new, and all for free! Excellent customer service.
> (In reply to Gaz lord)
> I understood that Arcteryx was one of the the first gear companies to use the 'waterproof zip' on their stuff.
> Also, weren't Arcteryx involved in developing pressure welding for seams to replace stitching and tape?
yes and yes again, although non of their garments feature welded seams yet, only pockets, w/r zips, hems, powderskirts and other little features. TNF (idea thiefs) have tried this as have MHW with their new summer range, i cant see it being long befor arcteryx do, i guess they are just perfecting it before marketing products that would otherwise be viewed as shite. plus arcteryx hold the patent for the best hood design on the market.
Anonymous13 Jun 2007
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut: Haglofs are also starting to creep into the UK market now, using some fairly cutting edge technology. Theyhave some great well thought out & designed kit, currently the worlds lightest gore paclite smock (the Oz). And some belting new Pro Shell kit arriving this Winter. One to watch maybe ???
> (In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut)
> The names may have changed over the years, but the toys should be a means to an end. I doubt if the requirements to set the standards now are any differrent to 10/20/50 years ago.
> all you need to set the standard is:
> all the rest is trinkets and window dressing
I'd say you need to be able to produce a good finished article not spout a load of 'motivational' bullshit. Most designers have Motivation, vision and passion but that doesn't mean they all come up with groundbreaking ideas
Nick B not logged on14 Jun 2007
In reply to Guy Hurst: Nearly everyone does a primaloft jacket these days.
> (In reply to NYork)
> I'd say you need to be able to produce a good finished article not spout a load of 'motivational' bullshit. Most designers have Motivation, vision and passion but that doesn't mean they all come up with groundbreaking ideas
Good afternoon, I must make myself be more precise because you totally missed the point I was trying to make.
The point I was trying to make was we do need safe reliable gear to climb, but for a large number of us the climbing appears to have become secondary to the shopping experience.
Ground breaking ideas that change the game are rare and I suspect they may average one or two items per decade.Consider the breakthrough bits of kit since the 1940's
Ropes that don't snap
Krabs that don't break
Alloy nuts that replaced chockstones
Two items that allow you to fall - Harness and belay plate
Six items in sixty years.
The fuction of any of the above has only marginally improved since their introduction but the fashion content has grown enourmously.
For the vast majority of us, does it matter what rubber we stand on, plenty of 5c and 6a moves were done only various type of carbon rubber.
Consider the humble Krab, Clog were producing 10mm offset krabs which didn't break and weighted less than 50 grams.
Yet ever year we are informed of another break through - what ever happened to mambas ?
Of course some early gear needed improvement.
Do climbers realy need to ask which is better Rocks or Wallnuts. They are simply different versions of the same thing.
The consumer side has become a game in its own right.
Go to Stanage/Sennen/Almscliff or any other outcrop of similiar size and wittnes people failing on routes of VS with the latest sticky rubber and a rack that belongs on a big wall.
Look at the various posts on Rockfax.
" I am going to somewhere wild and exciting, what is the best boots/rucksack/ luggage ?" - if author was up to the proposed trip they would not have to ask the question
and finally go and listen to half the Walter Mitty type conversations regarding gear in your local store.
It was stated over twenty years ago (by Chouinard) that the climbing world would follow the way of the surfing world and we have. The vast majority of climbing clothing purchase are to do with street fashion
You don't need the latest cutting edge brands to go climbing you need to get on a number 272 bus and go
climbing with what you have got, you will soon find out wha you need.
At this point I shall shamelessly reproduce what buddhamonk wrote here back in Oct 2001.
"I take great pleasure in deliberately dressing down for my trips to the peak,I see it as a positive rebellion against the modern marketing campaigns that seem to be convincing people that they can only set foot off the "beaten path" (including plastic) if they're wearing the right styles,this years technology,etc.
I took a day off work today,went to the Peak,from SV carpark to mothercap,over owler,higgar,burbage west,stanage,sat in the caves whilst it rained (again),back to burb north,south, cross the road, thro the woods to G Cafe,back uphill to lawrencefield and bouldered around on gingerbread (soaking) until too dark. I was covered in chalk,mud,rain,and smiles and had a thoroughly good time,(looking like a homeless person) but bumped into Many people wearing the expensive expedition jackets (light drizzle,low cloud,occasional light showers) waterproof trousers,gaiters,£100 boots,2 extendable ski poles,map in plastic wallet around neck,woolly hat,gloves,laden sack,etc,you get the picture,who both acted and looked thoroughly miserable,no hello as you pass,no reponse to a cheerful greeting,but many looks (at my attire) of pity,several sneers,plenty one~upmanship,even a glance of disgust and a shoulder barge.I sat and watched two walk from their parked car to burb west in full regalia then return to the car and drive away (500yd expedition).my point is,imho, these people are muppets.They miss the opportunity to lose themselves to the atmosphere and grandeur of their surroundings,to the physical delight in a good sequence by refusing to let go of a purely snobbish self belief given them by their supposed sartorial superiority.I did see one or two happy ones but by far the majority were grim faced in silence.Failing to clear or empty their minds of clutter such as theirs they miss out on what could be (was ) a superb day and an experience not to be soon forgotten.They are lifes beginners they dont understand yet, help them if you must but dont feel belittled or out of place when they're around.
of course all this is subjective as none of them deigned to talk to a tramp today "
How many people would be operating in the E grades if we were still using EB's, steel karabiners, heavy 11mm ropes, moacs and Whillans harnesses. All these products fit your list of the only six groundbreaking ideas to have developed in sixty years.
You're right that you don't neccessarily need the very latest gear to get out and enjoy yourself but the increase in climbing standards over the years has gone hand in hand with better equipment being produced.
I do hope that you only own steel ex army karabiners and a whillans harness, if not then all you spout is bull!
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:
i was thinking more like-
juliano and gallo
loopyone16 Jun 2007
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut: Bizarre logic. Good climbers are good regardless of the kit they've got. Not wanting to get into a climbing ethics debate but surely the best climbers are the ones who don't use any gear (apart from shoes of course)
What about Rab, Mountain Hardware and Evolv. Rab and MH make some excellent clothing and Evolv are making some very nice rock shoes. I think theres far too many companies out there who are all making headway in certain fields to consider any top ten list a fair representation.
> (In reply to NYork) GOt to disagree with you, in part.
> I do hope that you only own steel ex army karabiners and a whillans harness, if not then all you spout is bull!
Many thanks for your reply which simply confirms my earlier point on a number of issues.
I may be making an assumption, but I suspect you have an active interest in gear. Now taking that on board.
You ask how many people would be operating in the E grades if it was not for the "new gear".
1) Grades are an abstract notion of our making, the rock does not have any concept of what E5 is, E5 is our interpretation of how differcult the climb is.Ultimately the grade of a route is a simple indicator of how many people can do it.
2) If the advances in gear have allowed an increase in the number of people operating in the E grades I doubt if this can be seen as a real increase in climbing standards because the increased activity levels tend to be restricted to the well protected climbs. The gritstone edges see queues (and arguments) for the well protected crack climbs but you don't see many scuffles from would be leaders and the top ropers on the various routes on Froggatts Great Slab.
Climbing Elder Crack with above the head protection for the full route does not make you on par with Joe Brown nor will it help you lead an unprotected E2.
The climbing population may be greater now than thirty years ago, the number of people owning gear and claiming to be climbers certainly is higher. But I doubt if the percentages of climbers operating at the various levels has changed much in the last twenty years. There may be more people at the very cutting edge of the game but I believe that is down to two things a) more climbers and 1% of a big number is bigger than 1% of a small number and b) improved fitness arising from training ( including climbing walls) and my original list of vision etc.
With regard to your informed comments regarding my kit.
Given your fixation with brands, you seem to have concentrated on the glossy tags and ignored that boring attachment spelling out the life expectancy of the product.
I can't remember if my 1972 whillians harness had any guidance about life expectancy, but it did not matter it wore out. Those labels giving guidance on product life span are a safety net to avoid liigation for those of us lacking common sense and sound judgement
And alas I no longer have any stubias,hiatts or cassin krabs on the rack, I don't know about you but I tend to leave the older gear behind when bailing out because we did not have the benefit of Rockfax to reclaim abandoned gear left in retreat.
Yes I still have a Moac on the rack, albeit rethreaded, again that product life expectancy thing.
Now there would be a brand for sad old gits like me, "Retro Replicas", Moac Nuts, original EB,s Troll Mk 2 harnesses, Orange Whillians sacks and REAL CLIMBING MAGS
To sum up, I always thought style was something to do with how you climbed, I suspect that to some other people style is to do with what brands you wear when you go climbing.
And quite frankly I wouldn't swap places for all the taped
goretex jackets in the Outside clearance sale.
I don't remember ever posting as buddhamonk, he must be a kindred spirit, using gear from the last century.
This weekend I slept in a sleeping bag of eiderduck down from 1971, in a tent bought in 1975/6 and was warm and dry. I expect you are in a similar position, using some gear you have had for years, and look on Outsides ceiling for replicas of the gear you climb with.
Going to the industrial musem in Bradford about five years ago I was amazed to see all their historical vehicles were the ones I had been brought up with, and often driven.
Want a 25 year old Whillans harness, one careful owner?