5 Pieces Of Space Age Mountaineering Gear
In the past, manufacturers have relied solely upon product engineers to develop lighter, stronger and safer mountaineering equipment. But to improve these attributes further they are now turning to the world of science. More and more, companies are employing or consulting with scientists to take advantage of the latest breakthroughs in engineering, physics and materials.
So whether it's a new metal alloy or a synthetic coating, here are 5 of the most futurist and science-filled pieces of mountaineering gear...
- Kevlar and carbon layers
- Co-moulded EPS foam with polycarbonate shell
- Geometric, open-air design allows unparalleled ventilation
- Internal foam pads boost comfort
- Ratchet adjuster with buttons
- Tuck-away suspension system
- Removable headlamp clips
- Weight: 199g (M/L)
Black Diamond's R&D team was tasked with creating an ultra-lightweight climbing helmet that was comfy and met all safety standards. They delivered! The aptly-named Vapor helmet is constructed from a series of carbon fibre rods (impact-deflection), wrapped in Kevlar sheeting (tensile strength) with EPS foam (shock-absorption) holding it all together.
Thankfully the designers didn't forget about the fact that alpinists would be wearing the helmet for extended periods during an ascent. They created an ergonomic cycle-helmet-like system that cradles the head,a geometric shape provides ample ventilation and put in some old-fashioned foam for extra comfort.
- Warp Strength Technology effectively disperses pressure
- Burly Double Weave outer
- Waistbelt with soft edges for comfort
- Self-locking waist and leg buckles
- Four reversible gear loops
- Four ice clipper slots
- Wear safety markers on belay loop and tie in points
- Weight: 395g (M)
Whether it be a WI6+ ice route or alpine classic, this lightweight, durable and versatile harness is ready for your next challenge.
The fundamental differentiator from a 'standard' harness is Arc'teryx's use of their Warp Strength Technology. This may sound like something Chief Engineer Scotty of USS Enterprise would be involved with, but it is in fact a system whereby a climber's load is evenly distributed across the entire width of the harness structure. As a result, the harness is a lot more comfortable and less material is needed - reducing weight and bulk.
Here is Arctery'xs very own 'Scotty' (Tony Richardson) explaining the development and use of WARP technology:
- Inner boot
- Thermo-isolated EVA, 3D mesh and aluminium, and PrimaLoft 600 insulation
- Altitude footbed – Cocona and aluminium top lining for optimal comfort
- Cut-work EVA/EVA footbed base for breathable and long lasting cushioning
- AG last inner boot – precise yet comfortable fit with superb heel hold
- Outer boot
- Nylon/Kevlar K-Tech and S-Tech gaiter is light, durable and abrasion resistant
- Elastic S-Tech fabric used on pressure points for increased comfort
- OutDry membrane provides full waterproof, breathable protection
- Lightweight Carbon fibre insole gives torsion control and good resilience
In the Phantom 8000, Scarpa has managed to produce a boot that performs quite brilliantly in some of the world's most inhospitable areas. The boots are bursting with tech that Scarpa has either developed in-house or sourced from external companies who are experts in their niche.
One such example of this is the use of Cocona and aluminium in the footbed. The aluminium reflects heat while the Cocona (made up of active volcanic particles and activated carbon from coconut shells) is excellent at absorbing heat, trapping moisture and processing it - keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
The upper boot also has excellent moisture management. Utilising an Outdry liner, it creates an impenetrable waterproof layer that can still wick away moisture.
Eagle Light Pro Dry 9.5 x 80 Rope
- Single rope
- Pro Dry finish gives outstanding dirt and water resistance
- Pro Dry ensures optimum performance in cold and wet conditions
- Thermo Shield finish for perfect handling
- Impact Force: 9.3kN Falls: 10
The 'Light' is thinner and lighter than the standard Eagle rope yet it retains the same high saftey specs. Edelrid uses their Pro Dry process to coat every core and sheath yarn with a microscopic synthetic fluoropolymer. This coating reduces the friction between the individual fibres, vastly improving load strength. It also forms a hydrophobic barrier that protects the rope from dirt, water and sweat.
Another of Edelrid's impressive technologies is Thermo Shield. This is a thermal stabilising process that results in consistent yarn behaviour for an easy-to-handle rope.
This combination of performance and safety makes for a fantastic rope built to handle the worst conditions while giving you every possible weight advantage.
Men's Eigerjoch Advanced Jacket
- Diamond Fuse technology gives superb abrasion resistance
- 850 fill Responsible Down Standard (RDS) HyperDRY goose down
- Down is hydrophobic; it absorbs less water, dries faster and retains loft when wet
- PrimaLoft Gold Active synthetic insulation in the hood and under arms
- Mammut Vertical Motion Construction for optimised alpine ergonomics
- Mammut High Reach Technology gives unrestricted movement when climbing
- Mammut High Visibility Backer ensures visibility on alpine terrain
- Mammut Thermo Management system for weather protection and comfort
This space suit-esque jacket certainly looks like it is from the future and it has the credentials to back it up. It combines natural 850 fill down with synthetic 4-way stretch insulation under the armpits and hood for a ridiculously impressive warmth-to weight-ratio. All this warmth is encased in a protective water and tear-resistant Pertex Diamond Fuse shell.
A close up of Diamond Fuse material
"Diamond Fuse fabrics use yarns with unique diamond shaped filaments. These filaments lock together to create a durable and highly abrasion resistant fabric. This engineered structure allows Diamond Fuse fabrics to remain very stable over extended wear and washing."