The final ISPO Munich 2012 report: an update on some new climbing and walking hardware and footwear to look out for this season, plus previews of gear coming next winter. Other news items in this series are here:
There were plenty of new skis at ISPO Munich; climbing hardware, not so much. DMM definitely stole the show with their stack of new products. New winter protection, a modern leash system, colour coded screwgate carabiner packs, cams combining elements of the 4CU and the Dragon ... and, of course, the range of axes due next winter.
Read more and watch the video of what's new at DMM here: WITH VIDEO: New DMM Axe Range.
The new Vector is apparently Black Diamond's lightest ever helmet, designed to encourage those who don't like wearing them (230g in size S/M)! Protected with ultralight co-moulded EPS foam, it also offers plenty of ventilation 'ports'. Other features: ultra-secure headtorch attachment clips, and the suspension tucks away to protect it while in your pack. It's available in four colours and two sizes.
Also new: two four-season harnesses for ice to rock, the Aspect and Lotus (women's). Built with BD's 'Dual Core XP Construction', designed to offer an ideal balance of comfort and light weight; they weigh 410g in size medium, have Forged Speed Adjust buckles, four gear loops, plus a haul loop and super strong abrasion patches.
We first saw the beautifully simple Black Diamond Gridlock at OutDoor 2010 (see Best In Gear: Friedrichshafen OutDoor Show 2010); by OutDoor 2011 they had invented 'Magnetron' technology (see OutDoor 2011 - Hardware). At ISPO The Magnetron Gridlock, which combines the two technologies, was awarded the Plus X Award for innovative technology that is unique and viable for the future.
More innovations: last year Black Diamond introduced their 'FlickLock' fold-up walking and ski poles. This year they received an ISPO Award nomination for their new Carbon Probe ski pole, which features a new 'FlickLock Pro' concept: a stainless steel, low profile mechanism, with apparently more than twice the holding power of classic FlickLock. BD's ski poles will feature it next winter; the walking poles will stick to Classic FlickLock, which is explained in the video below:
A few months ago, Adidas bought Five Ten. It's unlikely three stripes will begin adorning Five Ten shoes, or that the brand will change significantly under the guidance of Adidas. The two companies have made clear they will continue to be performance focussed.
The Adidas Group, who also own Reebok and owned Arc'teryx between the years 2001 and 2005, are no strangers to the climbing world. Over the last couple of years we have witnessed them focus in on the outdoor sector, with a growing presence at outdoor trade shows. We wait to see what changes occur at Five Ten!
In the meantime it's business as usual. A new shoe, the Velcro Outlaw arrives next Winter. There is no finished sample yet, so we don't have a photo. The RRP will be £75, so this will be a regular use 'price point' shoe. It will have a 'revolutionary' new anatomical last, which promises all round performance, from edging and smearing to toe and heel hooking. The rubber will be Stealth C4.
There will also be a women's version of the Coyote, an entry level shoe, which promises out-of-the-box performance and comfort. It also has a Stealth C4 sole. Image right. This shoe was launched in January but hasn't hit the UK shops yet.
It seems a long time ago since we first saw the Avatar back in 2010. The prototype was blue, and an air of mystique was cultivated by shrouding it under material in a glass dome.
Its final weight is 690g, the price £240, and it arrives this November. The axe, which won an OutDoor Industry Award last year, has a head made of a magnesium used in F1 cars. The metal choice apparently improves the balance and saves weight. The blade is hot forged Ni-Cro-Mo steel and its angle is adjustable.
Grivel had a new axe in progress show us. The X Blade will hopefully launch next winter. Its multi grip design and symmetry are similar to the Avatar (£240), but the materials and construction are more X Monster style: the blade and shaft is in a single piece. At £100, it's a more affordable / budget axe aimed at younger climbers. A hole in the shaft can be used to attach a leash.
There are also new rucksacks and haulsacks on the way - we particularly liked the dinky 12 litre Mago (£25). It's a neat design that won't get in the way of your harness. Perfect for carrying just shoes for the descent, keys, water, snacks or rain gear. It has a padded back, single padded mesh strap and special mobile phone pocket.
Montane will be launching a new pack range in Spring 2012. There will be four packs: The 6 litre Batpack (£40) designed for 'done in a day' ultra endurance events, trail and fell running; the Anaconda 18 (£60), a fast mountain superlight ultra pack; the Cobra 25 (£70), a multi-use super light pack; and the Medusa 32 (£80), a multi-season 'mountain master' pack.
Montane have 18 years experience in mountain performance clothing, but this is the British brand's first foray into packs. With neat tailoring, zip garages, internal storm baffles and specifically-sourced tough yet lightweight fabrics, the range was clearly developed from a clothing manufacturer's perspective. It looks clean cut, but with plenty of useful features.
The packs have been developed using the same philosophy of lightweight comfort, function, durability and weatherproofness as the clothing range. Interesting details include a 'buddy pocket' in the lid, which can easily opened by others in your group while you're wearing the pack. This lid also a stiffened lip so you can easily find things in there and they won't fall out. The middle sized packs also have 'buddy handles' so you can help someone get their pack on. Other details: all the buckles can be clipped either way round to reduce faff; the pack back panels are designed to avoid jacket abrasion; and the 'Dual Tool' system allows tools to be stored upright as well as upside down.
We tried out the new Petzl Nao (£135) in Petzl's 'lighting tunnel'; it's available this Spring. If you haven't seen this head torch with new 'reactive lighting' technology, see this news item. An integrated light sensor allows the head torch to instantly and automatically adjust the beam pattern and light output based on conditions. For example, if you are reading a map it switches to proximity lighting (beam wide and less powerful); If you are descending a ridge it will automatically switch from proximity lighting to distance lighting (beam more focussed and powerful).
The E+lite (£25), Petzl's ultra compact and reliable 'emergency' headtorch, has been updated: 26 lumens (up from 16), a 29m beam (up from 19m), and a 55h max battery life (up from 35h). A new red LED gives a smoother beam pattern and the weight has also been decreased; partly because it now has a retractable Zipka-style fine headband.
Petzl say the volume has been decreased by 48%, and the weight by 43%, but this is a bit of a cheat as the new E+lite comes without the red plastic case!
Other news - a new lightweight hammer option has been developed for the Quark, Nomic and Ergo ice tools. This reduces the weight from 58g to 20g for the classic hammer, apparently also improves balance and, for those who prefer their tools without adze or hammer, protects the head if hammering becomes necessary.
Scarpa's new Boostic (£115) is available this Spring. Bringing together elements from four other boots in the range - Stix, Booster, Mago, Rockette - it tries to make the most of all their best features. Apparently it has the toe power of these top end boots combined with a one-piece full-length sole to add additional power. The rubber is XS Edge and it has some extra sticky pieces over the toe for delicate toe hooking.
Steve Roberts talks us through the shoe's features below:
The new Batura 2 (£495) features two layers of Gore-Tex. A new construction method allows the Gore-Tex layer to be applied to the inside of the shell, and then laminated to a Gore-Tex stretch membrane on the outer gaiter. The technical, waterproof and breathable high altitude mountaineering boot has apparently taken years of extensive research and field testing to perfect.
Below, Clive Allen talks us through the Batura 2's features:
The new rope on the Sterling stand was the ION2 9.4mm single line in Sterling's Fusion range.
The ION2 is a smooth handling rope that comes in some eye-catching colours and various lengths. The rope is 3g per metre lighter than the ION1 making it one of the lightest in its class and it promises to be hard wearing, too.