MOUNTAIN INNOVATIONS: 2017 MOUNTAINEERING GEAR HIGHLIGHTS

26/12/16

MOUNTAIN INNOVATIONS: 2017 MOUNTAINEERING GEAR HIGHLIGHTS

Each year we see a range of technological developments within the mountaineering industry. Whether it's an improvement on an existing design or incorporation of a new space-age material, sometimes the smallest changes can result in a massive leap forward and benefit the end-user greatly.

Mountaineering and climbing hardware buyer Jeremy Stevens picks out his favourite gear innovations of 2017.

Scarpa Phantom Tech

Scarpa Phantom Tech

Key features:

  • Nylon/K-Tech/S-Tech gaiter
  • OutDry waterproof membrane
  • PrimaLoft lining
Scarpa Phantom Tech

Why are you so excited about it?

The latest generation of Phantom mountaineering boots are a perfect representation of Scarpa’s know-how; that combination of futuristic technology (K-Tech/S-Tech gaiter, OutDry membrane, Flexseal zip, Morflex/Vibram sole) and traditional Italian craftsmanship They are still hand-made in Asolo, northern Italy, with one eye on the snowy peaks of the Dolomites. The result is serious footwear for high performance on cold mountains.

Who is it designed for?

These are the business for Scottish winter and alpine climbing. The weight is equivalent to (or even slightly lighter than) a more traditional leather boot, but they are so much warmer.

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Patagonia Nano Air Hoody



Patagonia Nano Air Hoody

Key Features:

  • FullRange breathable insulation
  • Super breathable fabric
  • Close fitting hood

Why are you so excited about it?

Synthetic insulation is ideal for damp UK conditions; it will continue to keep you warm even when wet, while down becomes much less effective when wet. Traditional quilted synthetics offer good static insulation, but tend to be less breathable. Patagonia’s FullRange insulation is part of a new breed of more breathable synthetics, more suitable for active use. The Nano Air teams warm 60g FullRange with a highly breathable face fabric to create one of the most breathable insulation pieces on the market. In use, you really notice the difference.

Who is it designed for?

Anybody moving fast in the mountains in cold weather. The extra breathability keeps you more comfortable in both start and stop phases, while the soft, stretchy fabrics feel great. You do sacrifice some durability, but the gains in comfort across a range of activities will be well worth it for many active users.

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Arc’teryx Alpha SV

Arc’teryx Alpha SV

Key features:

  • GORE-TEX Pro
  • N100p-X rugged face fabric
  • Ergonomic 3D patterning

Why are you so excited about it?

The Alpha SV has earned a reputation as one of the top technical waterproof shells on the market. This winter’s revised version takes the best and makes it better. The key update is in the ‘N100p-X’ face fabric which has an even higher strength-to-weight ratio and is even more abrasion-resistant. Along with this increased toughness, you get the usual Arc’teryx refinements. From the 3D patterning to the micro-seam allowances, the super protective StormHood down to the new Cohaesive hem adjusters – the Alpha SV feels a cut above the competition.

Who is it designed for?

Those looking for the ultimate, most reliable wet weather protection, and those who need total freedom of movement and performance when mountaineering or climbing at their limit. When the rain turns to snow and wind whips from the north, this jacket won’t let you down.

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The North Face Alpine 50 Rucksack

The North Face Alpine 50 Rucksack

Key features:

  • FuseForm construction
  • Seamless transition between low- and high-wear zones
  • Full climbing feature set

Why are you so excited about it?

The North Face have been working with their unique FuseForm technology for several seasons, but this is the first time it’s been used in equipment. FuseForm uses different fibre densities and weaves within the same sheet of fabric; it transitions seamlessly between lighter weight and heavier, more durable zones. Seamless means no need for separate panelling, less stitching and ultimately a lighter, tougher pack.

The North Face Alpine 50 Rucksack

Who is it designed for?

It’s a true mountaineer’s pack. The 50 litre capacity makes it super versatile for alpine and Scottish winter climbing. It can also be stripped back; the frame sheet and hipbelt are both removable, while side compression straps help streamline the pack when you’re carrying smaller loads. All in all, a great combination of features and a glimpse of the future with FuseForm technology.

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Petzl Sarken Leverlock Universal



Petzl Sarken Leverlock Universal

Key features:

  • Universal modular binding system
  • Tempered steel frame
  • Integrated anti-balling plates

Why are you so excited about it?

Petzl’s new range of crampons is all about versatility. The Universal system means that you get two interchangeable front bindings – a metal wire to fit ‘B3’ boots with a toe welt, and a flexible binding for ‘B2’ boots without a toe welt. This means you only need one crampon to fit different boots for different conditions. For instance, you could wear your B2s for snowy mountain walks, and your B3s when the objective is a technical climb – with a simple binding change to adapt the crampon.

Who is it designed for?

The Sarken is a technical mountain crampon, with aggressive T-shaped front points that are precise on ice, yet secure on snow. It’s best suited to steep ground, and will be comfortable on ice or mixed climbs.

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Black Diamond Viper



Black Diamond Viper

Key features:

  • Hydroformed aluminium shaft
  • Adjustable FlickLock pommel
  • Dual-density TPU grip

Why are you so excited about it?

The Viper has got lighter and is now one of the easiest-swinging, most ergonomic all-round tools available. The unique hydroformed ‘Viper’ upper shaft is still there to deliver strength and a stable impact on ice, but the overall package is slimmed down. It also recognises the latest developments in ice climbing, and is now a better leashless tool. This is helped by the adjustable FlickLock rest, which gives a comfortable hand position when daggering up low-angled slopes and allows matching on a single tool when climbing.

Who is it designed for?

Mountaineers looking for performance on gullies, ice falls and mixed climbs. The Viper comes into its own through the middle grades, where its versatility and ergonomics make winter climbing a joy.

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Posted by: Jeremy Stevens Tagged as: Mountaineering,Mountaineering Equipment