During the last week of September, it’s like a light switch turns on in Yosemite. The once-dormant granite walls in and around the rock climbing mecca are suddenly echoing with happy voices donning new climbing gear: carabiners, belay devices, and helmets—all glimmering in the Sierra Nevada sunlight. What’s behind the rush? Lower daytime temperatures comfortable enough to throw on a top without overheating; conditions that increase friction between hands, sticky climbing shoes and rock; beautiful changing foliage; crisp evenings. In short, it’s autumn, the ideal season for climbers—and for testing out new apparel and equipment.
With summer’s scorching days behind us, it’s time to reemerge from the gym and get outside. Here’s the best new and upcoming climbing gear.
1. Edelrid Neo 3R 9.8 mm
Made with leftover yarns and braids from the production process and thus saving resources, Edelrid’s 50 percent recycled rope—the Neo 3R 9.8mm—is the first of its kind to hit the market. UIAA certified and built with a sheath that’s soft and supple in the hands and with a strong core that stretches 37 percent to gently catch falls, the 63 gram per meter Neo 3R operates like a modern rope should.
Like all Edelrid ropes, it’s bluesign certified—constructed with 63 percent fewer chemicals and energy consumption, 89 percent less water, and 62 percent less carbon dioxide. Available in 50-, 60-, 70-, and 80-meter lengths.
[Prices vary; search local distributor]LEARN MORE
2. Rab One80 Collection
Rab’s upcoming One80 collection (out March 1, 2022) blends comfort, performance, durability, and style with a line of activewear made from recycled materials and fluorocarbon-free DWR. Built in collaboration with their climbing team, the new Rab line includes hoodies, tops, sport tops and pants for men and women.
Made of 92 percent recycled polyester and 8 percent elastane, all items in the One80 collection offer four-way stretch for optimal movement on rock. This material can withstand being ground into the stone without breaking down while providing lasting comfort. Midweight Radian and Dihedral hoodies feature articulated sleeves and elastic binding at the cuffs that are an all-around perfect fit for fall conditions. The pant line includes everything from flexile tights to stretch cotton canvas—all made to move with you. The whole line looks equally in place at the cliffs and breweries.LEARN MORE
3. Five Ten NIAD Moccasym Climbing Shoes
After three decades on the market, the new and improved (and renamed) NIAD Moccasym—a.k.a. “Moc”—is stickier than ever. The softest and most flexible shoe in the updated NIAD line (NIAD = Nose in a Day, referring to the popular Nose route on El Capitan in Yosemite; “in a day” means climbing the route in under 24 hours), the bright red Moc is constructed with unlined leather uppers and an elastic closure system with three-quarters of the shoe wrapped in sticky rubber.
Made for climbers of all levels, these bedroom-slipper comfortable climbing shoes are equally precise in the gym, on less than vertical face routes, and thuggy overhanging lines alike—though not as optimal for vertical edging. All those points are why Chris Sharma used these shoes on his first ascent of (5.14d) Dreamcatcher in Squamish, B.C. over 15 years ago.
Today’s Mocs have an updated heel and an added strip of rubber extending from the inside toe area to the top of the foot, which provides added friction for toe hooking and hand-sized cracks. As the mid-90s adage goes, these slippers feel like Ferraris for your feet.
[$125; adidas.com]GET IT
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