Category Archives: Gear Gossip

Must Have Layers for the Changing Season

Spring is here! More accurately, every few weeks those sporadic spring-like days are here! You know the ones where you need everything from a 650 fill down to a great moisture-wicking tank top. To make sure you’re prepared and warm for the changing seasons we’re sharing some of our favorite layers to add to your collection.

Zoa-Hoody-W-Lt-CeruleanArc’teryx Zoa Hoody – Versatile and lightweight, this fleece pullover is good for everything from rock climbing to ice climbing to winter hiking. It’s super soft and stretchy so your movement never feels restricted. The long front zipper makes it easy to pull on and off even when wearing a helmet. Speaking of protecting your noggin, the “ScubaHood” is thin and trim enough to wear underneath your helmet while keeping your head warm. It has great extra features like thumb holes and a flat front pouch pocket with side zippers. I wouldn’t want to get too sweaty in this piece as it is a fleece, but it makes a great warm and flexible addition to your layering system.

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2016 Winter Glove Review

We know, we know, gloves? It’s almost March. Mother Nature has been pretty stingy with the winter weather in New England this year, but we got out there when we could and reviewed our favorite choices for keeping our digits warm!

Black Diamond Women’s Mercury Mitt: These mittens are great for winter hiking, and I found that the dexterity of the gloves would also make them ideal for skiing, mountaineering, and ice climbing. The Kevlar goat leather palms allow for durability and dexterity; I have seen them reviewed by others as standing up well to repeated rope work and rappelling. I was able to remove the liner and keep the waterproof outer mitten shell, which was great for keeping my hands dry and well ventilated on warmer days. I’ve also used these with a thin wool glove liner for extra warmth. These mittens are definitely warm-I did not hike the entire time in these gloves, but rather used them when my fingers needed extra wind protection and warmth, especially on the summits of higher mountains above tree line. As for fit, they feature a women’s specific fit in a range of sizes from XS to L. For reference, my middle finger (from knuckle to tip) measures ~10 cm and I got a size S, which fit well without excess fabric.

Consider these if: you need a warm glove with good dexterity and a removable inner liner.

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Salves for Sore Hands

Whether it’s cold weather, sharp rock, or a brand new hangboard, your climber hands need some TLC! Today, we review some of the products out there to keep your hands smooth, fresh, and flapper-free. We’ll start out with a few salves and finish up with some lotions specifically for athletes and climbers.

climber skin carecrossFIXE HANDS salve is great for preventing and quickly recovering cracks, tears, and flappers. As a part of the SKINourishment family this salve is made of all-natural, food grade ingredients. It feels soft and quite oily, but in a way that you know is bringing much needed moisturize to your skin. The tube applicator also allows you to apply without getting your other hand covered in salve. With ingredients like beeswax, coconut oil, and green tea oil the scent is natural, pleasant, and not overwhelming. You can also feel good about the packaging – it’s biodegradable and compostable.

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How to Wash Your Rope

How to Wash Your Rope

Our two hard-working test subjects ready for pampering.

A Google search of “how to wash your rope” will lead you down a winding path of climbing forums with many opinions on the various techniques out there. Fear not, we’ve combed through all of the existing literature on the subject to provide you with a comprehensive yet simple guide to washing your rope.

Not only will a dirty rope make your hands black, rope manufacturers also recommend washing it to extend life. The silt and sand work their way through the sheath into the fibers causing interior abrasions. The grit is also hard on gear, wearing out biners faster over time and clogging up your GriGri (causing faster wear on its metal parts, as well as your rope sheath passing through it with more friction). So, now that you’re totally out of excuses to put off washing your rope, let’s get to it.

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Shoe Review: La Sportiva Katana Lace

La Sportiva Katana Lace

There’s no doubt that La Sportiva is one of the most trusted brands of climbing shoes out there, and for good reason–their shoes consistently perform well, are incredibly reliable, and they tend to look pretty darn good on top of all that. The La Sportiva Katana Lace, while may be slightly less known than the Muira or Solution, is no exception. I bought these shoes after trying them on at an outdoor store in West Virginia–my Five Ten Anasazis were succumbing to a giant hole in the right toe, and I had no time to get them resoled before my next climbing trip a few days later. I wanted a good introductory aggressive shoe, and the Katana Lace did not disappoint!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Gift-Guide-2015

Get your giving face on and your credit cards out because it’s time to show some holiday love to the climber in your life. Here are a few of our favorite gift ideas this season.

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Guide to Women’s Climbing Pants – Fall 2015

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High-steppin’ should be no problem in the right pair. (Amy in the 3rd Rock Skat Pants)

Good, sturdy outdoor climbing pants are seriously hard to find (#firstworldproblems, we know). To help you narrow it down we’ve sifted through the park ranger styles and “I just left yoga class” options and came up with a list of our very favorites this season. Have a look, and don’t forget to share the love and tell us about your favorite pair!

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Pack Review: Patagonia Cragsmith Pack 35L

Patagonia Cragsmith

Today’s review was written by CXC regular contributor Jess. Here’s what she thinks of the Patagonia Cragsmith.

After years of hauling my gear in tiny daypacks or oversized backpacking packs I decided it was time to finally invest in a specialized climbing pack. For me, the essential features of such a pack would include a padded waistband and a U shaped back pocket for easy gear access. I found these features in Patagonia’s fantastic Cragsmith.

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Fall Climbing Essentials

Ahhhh, fall. The most wonderful time of the year. Here are a few items we’re loving for this season of sends:

Fall-Essentials-2015

1. Friction Labs Chalk – Chalk is chalk, right? Not so much. Friction Labs has created a different kind of chalk that truly keeps your hands drier for longer. Still skeptical? Try it for yourself in fine, chunky, or super chunky and use code cruxcrush to get 20% off any order now through October 10th. Really make it worth your while by starting a subscription and get 20% off the first month!

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Shoe Review: Tenaya Oasi

tenaya_oasi_rock_shoe

While we love our trusty favorites from La Sportiva, Five Ten, and Scarpa, we also love trying out new brands to see what they’re all about. Today we’re featuring a shoe that you may not have see at your local climbing gym, but has made a serious showing in Europe and is starting to pop up in the States too. The Tenaya Oasi is an amazing all around shoe, great for edging, and incredibly sensitive for a downturned sport climbing shoe. This baby has fast become one of my favorites and here’s why:

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