5 March 2009

Trouser-harness combination and shoe friction testing machine

The Rossignol Harness Pant builds the harness into the trousers to presumably make it more comfortable and convenient, you won't ever forget your harness and you don't have to worry about taking it on or off - you always have a tie in point available. The converse idea is to build the harness into the rucksack harness - Lowe patented something along these lines about 30 years ago but as far as I know never made use of it.

Rossignol Harness Pant, photo from gearjunkie.

Another interesting idea came from Mad Rock at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Show. They had an adjustable smearing slope for people to try out Mad Rock shoes and compare their 'stickiness' to other brands. The test slab appears to be some kind of sand paper (could this have some effect on results?), but with just about every show maker claiming to have the stickiest rubber this seems to be a very clever way of cutting through the claims - it's hard to beat first hand experience.

The Mad Rock hands on friction test, photo from rockclimbing.com

Finally - a radical shoe design from Vibram, could this be the future for rock boots?

Photo from gearjunkie, where they have a review aswell.

3 March 2009

Totem cams and 20 gram carabiner from Metolius

The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show finished a few days ago and rockclimbing.com has some great coverage.

Some of the highlights are the Totem Cam and the Metolius Mini carabiner which weighs 20 grams. The Totem cam is a unusual looking cam that has independently loaded sets of lobes (see photo and their website) - which they say is great for aiding, marginal placements and flares. There's more info and a worthwhile video at the Totem Cam website.

Image from rockclimbing.com

The Metolius Mini crab looks absolutely tiny, almost keyring sized, and is the lightest crab produced, 3 grams lighter than the Camp Nano, with 22 kN, 8 kN open.

Image from rockclimbing.com

Full coverage at rockclimbing.com: part 1, part 2, part 3.

1 March 2009

Unusual and fascinating gear testing

Kolin Powick is a Quality Assurance engineer at Black Diamond and he has done a load of unusual gear tests using their machines. He has tested the effect of peeing on a rope, the effect of cutting part way through your belay loop, the strength of various anchor equalisation methods, the strength of different abseil knots and loads of other interesting tests.

Particularly interesting is a test he did on a very worn out anchor - the results are very surprising!