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Outdoor Retailer Winter 2010 Wrap-Up

Submitted by vegastradguy on 2010-01-27 | Last Modified on 2010-03-26

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by John Wilder (vegastradguy)

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Wrap-Up

Hey there folks, it's your resident rock climbing gear editor here to bring you our twice annual visit to the Outdoor Retailer market- Winter edition. Despite rumors to the contrary, I did indeed make the trek north to Salt Lake City to cover the industries latest and greatest for Fall 2010. This time around, though, instead of doing our usual daily blog, I'm doing a post-show wrap-up. This is due to time and work limitations- hope you all will forgive me. Hopefully summer will allow me to return to the daily blogging routing.

First up, some good cause stuff to mention. This year, the Jonny Copp Foundation has been established in memory of Jonny, Micah, and Wade- it's a non-profit dedicated to "providing opportunities to bring creative expression and adventure to life." Find out more at Johnny Copp Foundation. Also in good causes, there was a benefit for the victims of Haiti at the show that raised over $3000.00 for medicine and other supplies. Bravo! Finally, I would personally like to extend a big thank you to the folks at Joshua Tree Climbing Products- Dave and Laurel, who were gracious enough to allow me to store my stuff at their booth and pet their famed pooch Torrent, who won Dog of the Day for the second show in a row. Thanks guys! Check them out at - they make the famous Joshua Tree Climbers Salve as well as a range of other organic products for us climbers! Alright, with that out of the way, onwards to the show floor!

Sterling Rope

The Winter Market finds the floor nearly void of rope manufacturers, but Sterling is defying the trend and showing up with not only their great selection of ropes, but with a bunch of shiny new colors for their Fusion Nano line- my favorite being the fluorescent orange. but pink and brown are also now available. If you liked the fluorescent yellow- go get one, because Sterling is mulling over dropping it from the line. They've also updated colors for the Evolution Velocity and the Marathon Pro series- because not only do you need the best performing rope at the crag, but you also need the best looking one!

Also new from Sterling this Fall will be their new 10mm Dyneema Slings! Look for them in the standard 2' and 4' lengths- no 12" slings for these bad boys, which, imho, are useless anyway for the most part.


This Spring, Evolv is releasing the Elektra (above) and Defy with their Variable Thickness Rand, as I covered in the last OR Show report- has Evolv varying the thickness of the rand to give extra rand where its needed, and less where it isn't. This results in a better performing shoe.

This summer, though, hang tight, because Evolv has a BUNCH of new stuff coming. They gave me some hints and some pics- like the kids shoe shown above (the heel and front are separate pieces, allowing for two sizes to cover everything from tiny to pre-teen). Also, for the ladies out there, keep your eyes peeled- Evolv is working on a low volume high performance (possibly downturned) women's shoe! There are also some unsubstantiated rumors rolling around about a possible high top from Evolv to go head to head against the TC Pro. Time will tell!

Black Diamond Equipment

I bet you want details on these little guys, don't you? That's right, Black Diamond is releasing bronze offset stoppers to add to its line-up! There are six sizes- made of phosphorous bronze and using a special swaging technique to increase strength (the biggest stopper has a 8kn rating, while the #3 has a 5kn rating), these bad boys will retail at about $15 each or $88 for the set- look for them in the Fall.

La Sportiva

So, over the last couple of years, after listening to my lady friends and looking around the industry, its become obvious that there are no downturned performance women's climbing shoes out there. There are some unisex shoes, but by and large, if a woman wants a downturned shoe, she's gotta fit the men's. No longer- La Sportiva is dropping the Women's Muira VS this fall- a true women's shoe (not a low volume men's shoe), it feature's La Sportiva's famed P3 system from the Solution and Muira, but with a thinner rand and more sensitive rubber (Vibram's XS Grip) than the men's version. Look for the shoe in the Fall and it will retail at $155.

In other La Sportiva news, the famed Cirque Pro approach shoe is no more- it has officially been discontinued. Also, the ridiculously pricey (yet high performing) Gandalf shoe has seen a name change- it is now known as the Ganda shoe. Rumor has it that someone owns the copyright/trademark/whatever to that other name for some strange reason- and decided to make a phone call!

Patagonia Footwear

Pictured above is Patagonia's latest trekking shoe- featuring Vibram rubber, a Polartec lining and primaloft insulation, the Das Boot Low (and Das Boot Mid) will arrive this fall at $135 adn $165 respectively. This shoe was designed with the Das Parka in mind- so check it out!

Also, this summer, Patagonia Footwear will be releasing the shoe that they were working on last summer that has the lowest environmental impact possible- I've seen the prototype and it looks burly as it gets, but weighs less than half as much as it looks like it should- can't wait for the production model!


So, I'm a desert rat and I was talking with the ladies from Verde PR and I had mentioned that I love my Buffs for summer UV protection, but I had taken to also wearing a sun hat and they immediately drug me straight over to Tilley- if you don't know about them, you should. They make incredible hats of all types- usually sun hats, all with a Lifetime Warranty- if you damage, burn, or otherwise compromise your hat, send it back for repair/replacement at no cost. They also have 2 year insurance- lose a hat within two years and Tilley will replace it! They also float and are totally packable without losing their shape. Two hats of note (pictures above) are the Organic Cotton Airflo which releases this Spring (and I want one!)- as well as the new Telwool Cap which drops in the Fall- both are $74, but their durability and warranty make them well worth the extra cost.


My apologies in advance for the poor picture quality- my camera was misbehaving at the Julbo Booth- three attempts and this was the best offering. At any rate, this spring, Julbo is releasing its Falcon Lens series- the first photochromatic lens that reacts to visible light, not UV light- this means that your lenses will adjust when in the car (since your car glass filters UV light) as well as on the mountain. Pretty snazzy, eh? Look for them on the Zulu and Spirit frames and the retail to be near $200.


It's no secret that I am a huge Buff fan- with my genetics, I need to keep the sun off my ever growing bald spot- and the Buff is perfect for that. This year, they're releasing two new Buffs- the Reversible Winter Headband (above, right) for the ladies (retail $25), and for everyone, the Reversible Polar Buff (retail $30). I'm most excited about the Polar Buff- instead of having a half polartec, half microfiber sheath, this is microfiber on one side, polartec on the other- and they are not laminated together, which not only allows you to have one side in one side out, but you can shuffle the fabrics so the polartec is inside and out for half, and the same for the microfiber! I can't wait to get my hands on these- they're going to be great for my new addiction to skiing next Fall when they come out!


I had wondered when Metolius was going to slow down a bit- they have been releasing something incredible every show now for awhile- and this show is the first where it seems to be time to take a breather. They still have some new stuff- just nothing major as in the past. Above is the new big one- color-coded FS Mini carabiners- now you can rack your cams to match Metolius Cam Colors- very cool. I managed to miss the retail price on this, but I'm sure it'll be what you expect. Also this fall, all Metolius draws will feature the 'Jig'- the keeper loop for the rope end biner. Finally, Metolius has upgraded the fabric (effective now) on the Colossus- they discovered that a pad this size is going to be drug around alot and beefed up the fabric to accomodate for it.

Totem Cams

I love these guys- they are the little cam company that could! After years of development and waiting, it's time. They are coming to the market- at least, that's the plan. Totem is manufacturing and will sell them directly to the customers- starting in the United States this summer! The cam pictured above is the same as it has been- the trigger has been cleaned up a bit, but it is otherwise the same. The big advantage is that these cams will hold in a 40 degree flare- which is pretty damn impressive. I know you want to know how much- look for them to cost around $90/each- and from the look of things, they'll run in similar sizes and identical color coding to Black Diamond from the #0.3 camalot to the #2 camalot. Time will tell, but they should be available by June or July- keep an eye out for them.

Five Ten

Five Ten has, for the last couple of years, really gone back to its roots and focused on quality and innovative product, and I for one am ecstatic. My first shoes were Five Ten, but I've drifted away, but lately, I've been spending some time in their shoes (namely the Project) and am very impressed with whats coming down the line. This show they're focusing on their new shoes featured at the last show- the Grandstone, a stiff soled high top that is comparable (according to Five Ten) to the TC Pro- this shoe retails at $125 ($50 less than the TC Pro) and is hitting stores now, so keep an eye out. Also, the new price point shoe- the Rogue (under $100 retail), a velcro, all-around gym shoe which should be in stores within the month. Perhaps the biggest news is a surprise return of the Five Ten Newton (pictured above), this shoewas brought back, updated, and is being used by Kevin Jorgenson on his free climbing attempts on Mescalito with Tommy Caldwell- the shoe returns to stores this spring at $109 retail.


I know what you're thinking- why would I visit Chaco? They make sandals! Well, lets face it, who wants to wear shoes on a hot summer day approach to the sport crag? Not me. And I keep hearing about how awesome these guys are, and my favorite Patagonia Footwear person has made a move to, it was in the cards. At any rate, it's a good thing I stopped by- because this spring they're introducing their new Pro series- the Z/1, Z/2, Hipthong, and Flip- all with the river guide in mind, and made with their famous Biocentric Footbed, and most importantly, Vibram Sticky rubber. Oh yes, can anyone say Approach Sandal? The Z's retail at about $100, while the Hipthong is $85 and the Flip is $60, and all come with Chaco's famous lifetime warranty. My apologies to Chaco for the lack of pictures- I managed to forget to take any because there was cake and I got distracted.

Speaking of warranty, if you've got a Chaco that is old and sad, maybe it needs to be Re-Chacoed! Chaco is launching this new program to ensure better customer service, warranty, and Chaco repair. You can resole any Chaco with any rubber, re-web any Chaco with any webbing, or just get your Chaco's back into prime shape. Check out their website for more details.


Pictured above is the new Trango Bigbro. If you are unaware, the Bigbro was designed and patented by Craig Luebben, who tragically died earlier this year in a climbing accident. Craig's family still owns the rights, and in memory of Craig, Trango has added an etching of Craig's daughter- Giulia to every Bigbro in production. Now, all royalties from every Bro purchased go to Giulia's college fund. The first set of these was auctioned off at $4000.00- incredible. So, if you were thinking of getting into the WIDE- now's the time to get a set of these- not only can you now protect the scary, you can also be giving to a good cause. Go get 'em.

In other Trango news- the RED Cinch is coming! It's so pretty! Just think of it- you own a Green Cinch, and now you can own a Red one too! How festive! Also new for Trango is their partnering with SMC to distribute and consult on SMC's climbing and mountaineering division. SMC has some very cool products out, including camo rap rings rated to 30kn (similar to OP's rap rings)- they're about $4/each and should be around soon.

Other neat things coming down the pipe from Trango include the Beta Stick- an 18' collapsible avalanche pole with a stick clip on it. Pricey, but designed with the consummate big waller in mind- stiffer (and longer) than a tent pole, but collapsible! Finally, Trango is releasing the new E-Line Slackline from, a polyesterene (non-stretch) slackline. It's 15m, comes with rigging materials (including a chainlink shaped line lock (think of a chain link shaped OP rap ring)) and 6' of anchor. It'll retail for $85 and be available later this spring.

Finally, look for a new and sexier Trango website launching soon, complete with new features like 'Ask Mal' and new products, including individual Chockstones to replace those you had to bail off of earlier this season.


As usual, the winter is pretty quiet for Mammut, but their new harnesses (pictured) are launching soon and they are worth mentioning again. Built on a very similar system that Arc'teryx uses, Mammut's releasing two of these in a couple of months at $85 and $100 (I might be slightly off on these, but they are substantially cheaper than Arc'teryx)- so keep your eyes peeled.

One very cool new thing from Mammut is the new S-Lite headlamp, a 45g version of their TR-1 light- it has the same exact specs but weighs in at a scant 45g by using a single AA battery instead of three AAA's like its big brother. This will make a great emergency light with an easily replaceable battery (as opposed to the watch batteries of other companies)- look for it this fall.


Usually, the winter market is pretty quiet in terms of hardware- its mostly a softgoods show. Luckily, Petzl thought that was just silly and brings us a new carabiner- and not just any new carabiner. It's Petzl's first foray into wiregate country. Meet the Ange (above). The reason Petzl never did wiregates before was twofold- the notchless factor, and the durability factor. Most wiregates have around 30,000 or so cycles before the gate starts to stick or otherwise not perform. The Ange comes in around 100,000- near to the famed Spirit's durability. They do this by internalizing the spring and using a single wire post for the gate instead of a folded piece of steel (this also keeps the nose profile very small). Thanks to the single post gate (which has a hole for self-cleaning in the nose), it also has an enormous gate opening- the Small Ange has the same opening as a full-sized Spirit, and the Large Ange's gate opening dwarfs the Spirits. The strength, of course, is classic Petzl- 20, 7, 9kn for the small, and 22, 7, and 10kn for the large version- and the price may be best part- the small (which is not that small) retails at $11, and the large retails at $12- not too shabby! (The little black plastic thing on the gate is for both comfort and to prevent snagging as a result of the single post technology). Also look for them in quickdraw form when they drop this Fall.

I bet you thought that was it from Petzl. Not even close. The other big news is the new CORE Rechargable Battery system for the Tikka series. Petzl has developed a rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack that fits in the Tikka2 and newer series with no retrofitting- just pop it into the battery compartment and go. It's 5g lighter than a Tikka with alkaline batteries and the CORE has an equivalent lifespan of 900 batteries. The best part? It charges via USB- which makes it programmable. It'll retail for $40, which includes the battery and the mini-USB cable, but not a wall adapter (thats $25 extra, which is a kit with a variety of options)- but thats no biggie- your PC or iPod charger or whatever can charge this thing up no problems. You can also buy the Tikkas with the CORE system- the Tikka2 ($85) and the TikkaXP ($110) will be available this fall as well.

Also new this fall are a variety of new ice tools- the Nomic, which has a redesigned pick that has a hammer attachment (this will fit on your old Nomic if you get the new pick as well), and a spike on the bottom as well. The Quark lost some weight- about 15%, and should work better with those folks who have smaller hands. Finally, the new Ergo, an all new ice axe that is ridiculously curved- almost 90 degrees from bottom to top. A molded handle allows for multiple grips, and this bad boy is designed for STEEP drytooling and ice climbing. Retailing at $325, look for it in August.


A quiet show in the sock world, Bridgedale is continuing expanding its line of bamboo socks- this time with the women in mind. This fall, look for Hiker socks in both men's and women's, as well as a women's causal line with fancy prints and patterns to go with your ridiculously comfortable socks! I would like to also thank Bridgedale for selling me a pair of Full Height socks for my learning to ski sessions post-show- they were amazing and my feet stayed warm and cozy for two days spent buried (along with the rest of me) in fresh Utah powder!

Sherpa Adventure Gear

I cant believe I've never noticed this awesome little company! Owned by a Sherpa family based in the Pacific Northwest and Kathmandu, this company manufactures everything it makes (except its down products) in Nepal- it employs 200-300 workers in Nepal. They're best known for their wicked cool hats/beanies- but have a full line of product that has been tested in the high Himalayas by Sherpas, the folks who do most of the grunt work on the big mountains up there, as well as most of the guiding. The other great part is a percentage of all of their sales go to a Sherpa Education Fund to help educate Sherpas, who are usually uneducated in their high home villages. This Fall, theyre releasing their Khushi top- a Merino Wool baselayer that features a hood (mens only) and will retail at $90! This looks like an excellent complimentary piece to my R1, dont you think?


Before I mention too much, my apologies to Graham and Cilogear fanatics- Cilogear was SLAMMED at their booth, and I didnt get the full run-down from Graham, which is bad for you and me, but really good for Graham and company, so forgive me, and go visit their website-

The picture above does show their new line-up, including the new V5 packs, which have some slick new feautres, including a D-clip to close the pack without a lid (neat!), a new die-cut recycled frame sheet that also doubles as a whiteboard (apparently this is important), and new colors (yellow/black) and old colors going away (red). These are coming down the pipe now, if I understand correctly- so go get yours.

Also, the new 30L Wally is losing its exterior daisies because 1) no one uses them and 2) they're a PITA to manufacture. Also look for it to lose its exterior lid pocket (but keep the interior one). Retails about $150 and out soon.


My last stop at the show was Rab- that awesome little British company that is coming strong into the US market. I have a couple of their pieces- the Microlight Alpine Hoodie and their Momentum Jacket (both purchased, thankyouverymuch)- and both are incredible. The Momentum kept me cozy and protected while skiing while the puffy Microlight is as cozy as it gets, and everyone is jealous of the slick moldable visor on the hood.

At any rate, this Fall, Rab is introducing the Infinity, a 850 fill down jacket that allows full loft and durability (something no other company can offer) by using the new Pertex Syncro fabric, a fabric designed specifically for this jacket. Retailing at $280, look for it in mens and womens models this fall. Also look for its Primaloft cousin- the Bugaboo for $225 featuring 60g of primaloft and the Syncro fabric as well.

Finally, the Vaporize Lite Tour softshell will also be available this fall- at $140, this innovative softshell featuring a hard face outer and a light inner is designed for high aerobic activities (think ski approach) and is wind and water resistant.


I definitely didn't see everything, but luckily, I wasn't the only climber at the show (imagine that!)- my fellow kickass climber, Sara, theclimbergirl was also there and managed to catch a few things I didnt, including Mad Rock's new Trigger Wire carabiner (complete with video demo!)- so, if you're curious about some things I missed, roll on over to and check out her current and upcoming blog posts about the show.

So, that's about it, folks, hope you enjoyed the somewhat abbreviated coverage of the show- my apologies for not announcing that I would be going and covering as usual, but such is life. will be back, though, at Summer OR to cover all your gear whore needs- so until then, have a day!


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17 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

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5 out of 5 stars Totem cams are the Duke Nukem Forever of the climbing world.
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Uhm, I think you mean Spring 2010? You put Fall 2010. Thanks for the article though.
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Nice recap of the show John! Thanks for the shout out. You are always welcome to crash with JTree crew!
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rschap- nope, by and large, most of the product you see here is due for release in August or September of this year. If its due out earlier, i've specified it when I talk about an individual item. Each show is previewing the next seasons gear- Summer show is for Spring of the following year, Winter show is for Fall of that year.
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Oh,ok, I didn't know that thank you.
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i was ridiculously busy. VTG and I usually have a mellow half hour to discuss stuff or even walk the show...this time I had maybe five minutes. If anybody wants to see the p()Rn wall of NWD packs, start a thread in gearheads...
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5 out of 5 stars It will be interesting to see how the remade 5.10 Newtons work out. The old ones were great--but it's been my experience that every time 5.10 "imporves" an existing shoe, they make it worse. The "Altias" in particular come to mind. Thanks for the nice report.
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I can't wait (drool) to get my hands on one of those Totem Cams. We've got a lot of flared stuff around here and these sound like they may fit the bill. I'm sure my wife won't mind me getting another set of cams, not if she's not around when they arrive anyway.

I found one of them there Tilly hats this last summer and it is quite sweet, though not the end all as they advertise
The Petzl biners look interesting, but not being a biner whor, I'll wait till the jury comes in on those.

Thanks so much VTG, your time and effort are greatly appreciated.

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5 out of 5 stars Totem Cams! Finally! I'll start saving my pennies now. They seem to have a nice small head width and much flexibility. Do you think they are comparable/ replacement for Aliens? (are they really comparable to any cam on the market?)

Also, did you handle the Petzle 'biners? If so, how did the gate action feel? Seem like they will be comfortable to clip?

Many thanks for the effort and write up VTG!
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Totem cams...nothing like aliens- far bigger both in body and head width- they dont even go that small- the smallest is bigger than a green alien. I'm not really sure what to compare them to- such a unique cam.

The biners from petzl- i handled them- weird, the single post wire is very different. I'll probably pick a few up this fall and make a judgement on them then.
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The only thing Totem Cams have in common with Aliens are their flexibility. Those things are so soft in the stem. If you protect shallow horizontals (I'm talking to you NC), I think they'll be pretty good.
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finally a wire from petzl. the best gear gets better.
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""I would like to also thank Bridgedale for selling me a pair of Full Height socks for my learning to ski sessions post-show- they were amazing and my feet stayed warm and cozy for two days spent buried (along with the rest of me) in fresh Utah powder!""

couldn't do the full blog because of 'work demands'? That snow has been killer though. Thanks for the blog -nice as always. The coolest part is that all of the classic vendors actually talk to you. I swear La Sportive are the biggest bunch of stuck-up goons. Year after year..."Our shoes are uber cool and ultimately classic so we don't need to talk to you" Makes me appreciate the vast majority of retailers that will talk to anyone. You never do know who your customers might be.
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My work demands were prior (I didnt arrive at the show until Day 2) to and during the show itself (lots of conference calls)- all the more reason to take a day or two off afterwards and go skiing.

Well, lots of the classic vendors dont actually talk to me- they have PR firms that talk to me- I have a great relationship with Sportiva's PR firm (who also reps for BD)- which is beneficial, to be sure.
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I spent a good bit of my Petzl appointment playing with the gate on the new biners, they seem legit. They should be the lightest keylock out, plus the top and bottom are grooved inside to keep the rope/draw aligned with the spine.
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Too bad you didn't post pics of those new Petzl tools John. They've been causing a bit of a stir in the ice community but pics are available on cascadeclimbers. Lots of improvements, also including an upper pommel for the Quark, hammer OR adze for the Nomic, redesigned heads, three pommels for the Ergo, and a different colour/appearance for the Quark to match the Nomic. They're going to be real popular toys.
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New petzl ice axe pics right here:

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